Stock Assessment Review and Annual Catch Limits Caribbean Fishery Management Council Barbara Kojis, Ph.D. SSC Chair Comment on Appropriateness of ACLs for Fisheries Management in the US Caribbean Data not available for vast majority of stocks to calculate ACLs ACLs are difficult to apply to the stock structure in the US Caribbean because of: ◦ Large number of stocks ◦ Interactions among stocks ◦ Interactions between fisheries and stocks Need to invent methods to calculate ACLs Lack adequate resources (people with expertise, time) to do this Stock Assessment Process Currently conducted through SEDAR (Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review) process which consists of 3 workshops ◦ Data Workshop: compiles and reviews all available data on selected species and assesses adequacy of data for conducting a stock assessment ◦ Assessment Workshop: one week of intensive data analysis ◦ Review Workshop: Independent experts review the data, results, and conclusions The SEDAR process has been conducted for several species, but no stock assessment has been determined to be adequate primarily because of data limitations. Examples: ◦ Queen conch – lack of useful effort data ◦ Yellow tail snapper – too few samples – fish is commonly caught but using a special technique that was infrequently sampled As a result – SSC has not peer reviewed stock assessments or set annual catch limits for species or species units, except for some of the species designated as overfished where MSY set to 0 Status of Available Data in USVI and Puerto Rico for Stock Assessments Lack of requirements for species specific data in fisher catch reports in USVI PR Trip Ticket Problems: ◦ Tickets require species specific data but, in earlier years, fishers did not ID many species ◦ Multiple trips recorded on a single ticket so catch/effort cannot be determined Accuracy of data provided by fishers on trip tickets/catch reports ◦ Some fishers in VI state that they do not accurately report catches on Catch Report forms ◦ Fishers in PR refuse to turn in trip tickets when angry with DNER Lack of checks on accuracy of data because ◦ No requirements for dealer permits in the VI and PR ◦ No separate dealers - fishers sell their own fish to individual customers in the VI and to some extent in PR ◦ Port sampling participation by fishers voluntary and cooperation varies among fishers ◦ Funding for port sampling has declined over the years and the cost of sampling has increased resulting in fewer samples Adequacy of long term fisheries independent research for stock assessments needs to be assessed. SEAMAP-C University of PR and VI NOAA NMFS NOAA Ocean Recreational Fisheries Data – Puerto Rico MRFSS has been conducted in PR since 2000 but data is inadequate given the importance of recreational fishing in PR ◦ Very small sample size It is estimated from the MRFSS data that the recreational sector catches are equal to 100% of the commercial catch so comprehensive data on this sector is extremely important Recreational Fisheries Data – US Virgin Islands USVI – information on recreational catch is limited ◦ No MRFSS has been successfully implemented ◦ A telephone surveys was conducted in 1992 by Jennings ◦ A telephone survey confined to registered boat owners in the USVI was conducted in 2000 by UVI, Eastern Caribbean Center through a contract with DPNR/Division of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) ◦ DFW annually gathers information on catch/effort of fishing tournaments and has written several reports ◦ DFW conducted surveys of shoreline fishing effort in early 2000’s, which is available in an in house report The above studies tend to show relatively low participation in recreational fishing of reef fish in the VI SFA 2005 and the Status of Fisheries Data Sustainable Fisheries Act Comprehensive Amendment of 2005 (SFA 2005) ◦ Acknowledged that fisheries data in the US Caribbean were inadequate not only because of data limitations but also because much of the data not compiled and available for analysis ◦ Combined taxonomically related species into a variety of species units ◦ Based MSY and OY on the mean of recent catch data The SSC recommended that all data from the USVI and PR be compiled and available for analysis for future SEDAR stock assessments and any other analyses required for determining status of stocks and OFLs and ABCs Data SEDAR January 2009 a SEDAR will be held to review all available data to determine adequacy for ABC estimations Establishment of Working Groups The SSC recommended and the CFMC established two working groups to assist the SSC in establishing OFLs and ABCs ◦ The Technical Monitoring and Compliance Group (TMCT) Responsible for ensuring the data is compiled Recommend methods for data analysis and determination of OFLs and ABCs to the ACLG and SSC ◦ The Annual Catch Limit Plan Development Group (ACLG) – modeled on the SFA Working Group. Responsible for: Reviewing and updating the SFA 2005 status determinations Assembling data on trends in effort, abundance, size, etc. Updating the data in the SFA 2005 Using the revised data and life history parameters to reassess the species groups Ascertaining the feasibility of establishing island-based fishery management Providing SSC with an assessment of the adequacy of the data to determine stock status and trends, and it the data are adequate, perform the analyses SSC also recommended that data from other relevant research programs be used in the analyses TCMT Recommendations to ACLG and SSC Recommended using average landings to estimate MSY – similar to the method used in SFA 205 Recommended using TIP data to partition snapper and grouper landings from the USVI by species Recommended calculating separate limits and targets for the St. Thomas/St. John District, the St. Croix District, and Puerto Rico Recommended using MRFSS data to estimate recreational landings and set limits in Puerto Rico No MRFSS data exists in VI and the Team provided no recommendations for estimating recreational catches in the VI ACLG Recommendations to the SSC ACLG concurred with TCMT with respect to appropriateness of SFA 2005 model but made more specific recommendations on which landings should apply to which species units Recommended setting OFL equal to MSY and establishing the ACL based on the 25%, 50% or 75% lower confidence limit of the average catch as adjusted for stock status The ACLG asked the SSC for a recommendation on how to set the ACT ◦ Should it be set to OY, or ◦ Should it be based on the ACL as reduced by management uncertainty SSC’s Response SSC recommended adjusting MSY (based on average catch) using the following equation: ◦ Status scaler x average catch x vulnerability Status scalers incorporate the risk status of species in the fishery Defined as: At Risk (overfished or undergoing overfishing) = <1 Undetermined = 1 Not At Risk = >1 ◦ Vulnerability is based on susceptibility and productivity factors being considered by the current Vulnerability Evaluation Working Group The SSC also recommended that ABC be set at 25%, 50%, or 75% of the lower confidence limit (LCL) of average catch as adjusted for stock status ◦ Formula: ABC = MSY – (Avg. Catch * %LCL) The SSC also requested guidance for applying different percent confidence limits Fishers as Partners in the Process The St. Thomas Fishermen’s Association (STFA) is a non-profit organization that is making a substantial contribution to the process ◦ They have carried out research on: Bycatch for various gears and other data on catches Currently carrying out field work to determine the feasibility of various sized escape vents in traps to reduce bycatch ◦ Participate in SEDAR, TCMT, ACLG, and SSC meetings as members and in providing testimony – local knowledge is invaluable St. Croix Fishermen’s Association – also a non-profit organization – trying to emulate the role that the STFA is playing in management of their own fishery And After Setting of OFLs and ABCs The SSC expressed concern that the Council had fisheries management plans/regulations in place but little was being done to monitor landings and compliance on a timely basis The SSC recommended that once OFLs, ABCs, ACLs, and ACTs had been set, that a Monitoring and Compliance Team be established to continuously monitor landings and compliance and report to the CFMC when ACT and ACL levels have been reached or exceeded so that action can be taken ◦ Local government agencies are federally funded to collect landings data. It was recommended that federal funding agencies request that this data be required to be collected, entered into a database, and summarized in a timely manner (monthly), so that lands can be monitored in real time. Outcomes – besides OFL & ABC Data, data, data – need to assess where we are and what is feasible ◦ What data do we need to carry out stock assessments ◦ What data can the expect to gather given the types of fisheries present in the US Caribbean Accuracy Timeliness ◦ What should be the focus of data collection given people and time constraints Indicator species? Broad based catch effort data?
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