Selected tags: Data Collection

Breaking down barriers, building up trust: French & UK Channel scallop fisheries are ready for change

Photo: Matt Watson, MSC

Photo: Matt Watson, MSC

Dialogue is often the first step towards change, and is a sign of willingness to cooperate. And there was plenty of it at the Scallop Management Workshop held recently in Brixham, England. The event was organised by WWF and EDF in collaboration with GAP2, a research project funded by the European Commission. The forum provided an inclusive setting to engage industry on design and management of their fishery and to identify opportunities to strengthen the existing management framework.

For the first time, industry participants from both sides of the French/English Channel were in the same room discussing what changes are necessary to achieve greater sustainability for the shared scallop fishery. More than 60 people took time off the water and from their jobs to tackle the management challenge head on.   Appreciating differing perspectives was a central component of the gathering’s success.  It requires a good deal of patience and frankly, courage, when addressing issues of such cultural and economic importance. Read More »

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Electronic monitoring is improving fishery management across the country

EMWorkshop2014

In previous fishery monitoring posts we explored a variety of obstacles to collecting accurate and timely data from vessels in the Chesapeake Bay, West Coast and New England fisheries. These fisheries don’t just have monitoring challenges in common. They also share a solution: each region is piloting an electronic monitoring (EM) or electronic reporting (ER) system intended to make data collection more comprehensive, flexible and affordable. These are not the only regions exploring how new technologies can be integrated into fishery monitoring plans.  In fact, all eight of the U.S. fishery management regions have, or are currently testing EM or ER tools.

In 2013, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation awarded a Fisheries Innovation Grant to Dorothy Lowman to convene a National Electronic Monitoring Workshop.  Lowman is a natural resource consultant and Chair of the Pacific Fishery Management Council.  EDF cosponsored the workshop, viewing it as a linchpin in bringing fishery leaders together to identify common challenges, and common solutions, to monitoring—one of the most important elements of fisheries management. The workshop facilitated information exchange across regions and helped address outstanding challenges in implementing cost-effective monitoring systems. After more than seven months of planning by a Steering Committee that included fishing industry, managers, monitoring companies and EDF, the National EM Workshop was held January 8th and 9th in Seattle, Washington.   More than 150 fishery managers and stakeholders from across the country attended the workshop along with select representatives from Canada, Denmark and Australia. Read More »

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Effective monitoring is critical for the New England groundfish fishery

[Video credit: Archipelago, NMFS and Frank Mirarchi- FV Barbara Peters]

Collecting timely, accurate and complete information from fishing vessels is fundamental to successful fisheries management.  There is an important nexus between the quantity and quality of data collected by monitoring programs that are used for fisheries science and management that makes it more credible to industry and other stakeholders.

EDF continues to work to improve the performance of New England groundfish sectors by supporting the design and implementation of a cost-effective and comprehensive monitoring program that incorporates the use of electronic monitoring (EM).  The current crisis facing the groundfish fishery with low stock abundance and resulting quota cuts, and high uncertainty of stock assessments, highlights the need to produce reliable fisheries information. Read More »

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Disaster Funds and Cod Problems: Setting the Record Straight about Fisheries in New England

Cod

Photo from NOAA

New England has received a lot of media attention recently about the fisheries disaster declared by President Barack Obama. The precipitous decline in groundfish in New England waters has created an imminent need to help fishermen and fishing communities that depend on stable healthy fish populations.

It is important to dispense with false rumors and to set the record straight.  There is an effort on the part of some to claim that catch shares are somehow responsible for the New England groundfish population declines. To claim this is to suggest that fishermen have exceeded their catch limits and are not following the rules. This is simply not true. In fact, sector fishermen have been working hard to stay under their catch limits, and in some cases remain well below these limits.

In reality, the disaster declaration was based on the fact that there are changes happening in the ecosystem that are impeding the rebuilding of fish populations.  We are forced to confront the frightening reality that fishing is changing in part because our oceans are changing.  We are dealing with a resource problem, not a management problem. Read More »

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Maryland Crab Pilot Aims to Modernize Reporting

Maryland Blue Crab

Photo by: John Starmer/Marine Photobank

When summer time rolls around on the Chesapeake Bay, watermen, tourists and locals alike start thinking about one thing: Blue Crabs. Will there be enough? How much will they cost? How long will the season last?

Past years have seen seasons cut short based on regulations that conservatively lower scientifically determined catch limits as a precautionary management measure, because real-time harvest data is limited.  The process for counting how many crabs have been caught – and by whom – has been problematic, relying on a paper-based system that is time-consuming and too slow to allow meaningful adjustments to catch limits midseason. This year, both watermen and state officials agreed that a new system, using modern and faster technologies, was needed. Read More »

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EDF Co-Sponsors Workgroup on Marine Data Collection and Analysis

Kristen Honey is a Stanford Doctoral Candidate and the current Lorry Lokey Fellow at EDF.

An observer on a fishing boat documenting amount of catchEffective and efficient fisheries management is often limited by available information and the high cost of marine data collection and analysis. Regardless of information gaps, management decisions still need to be made. Common challenges exist because too little is known about fish populations and their dynamics, the spatial distribution of fishing harvest, or monitoring and enforcement of regulatory standards.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation co-sponsored a 3-day workshop at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) in June 2009 on novel analytical approaches to meet these challenges. The workshop, entitled "Analytic Innovations in Minimum Information Fisheries Management", convened 25 experts from around the world to present and discuss innovative research related to challenges in fisheries management.

Workshop organizers included Chris Costello, Steve Gaines, and Sarah Lester from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). The efforts of this workgroup build on prior collaboration and work with the team at UCSB, including Costello and Gaines, who co-authored a study on the viability of catch share programs for halting or reversing fisheries decline.

On behalf of EDF, Diane Regas (DC), Kristen Honey (SF), and Dick Allen (consultant) joined the working group. Collectively, there was a blend of resource economists, marine ecologists, fishery scientists, and applied practitioners (full participant list).

The NCEAS workgroup highlighted applied solutions for fisheries managers, particularly for regions with limited access to fisheries data. Workshop participants discussed recent advances in fisheries management with information constraints. Discussions and individual presentations covered a variety of topics with special emphasis on: 1) spatial management approaches, 2) incentive-based management, 3) stock assessment and management under uncertainty, and 4) multi-species management.

EDF is currently following-up on the workshop’s outcomes, in collaboration with UCSB partners, and we aim to ensure that outcomes are shared widely for improved on-the-ground fisheries reform. Future work may potentially involve a second follow-up meeting for the workgroup and scientific talks on these topics at the 2010 AAAS Annual Meeting. Contact Kristen Honey at khoney [at] edf.org for additional information.

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