Conservation Engineering Work In US West Coast Groundfish Fisheries

Monday, September 9, 2013
Governor's Hall I (trade show) (Statehouse Convention Center)
W. Waldo Wakefield , Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division-Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Newport, OR
Mark J.M. Lomeli , Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Newport, OR
Beginning in 2004, the NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) initiated a fisheries conservation engineering program. Through key regional collaborations with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, and the fishing industry, the NWFSC has been able to pursue a wide-ranging array of conservation engineering projects relevant to reducing bycatch and habitat impacts from mobile fishing gear. In the past two years, these projects included: 1) Reducing Chinook salmon, rockfish, and Pacific halibut bycatch in West Coast groundfish fisheries using bycatch reduction devices, 2) Bycatch reduction in the ocean shrimp fishery (juv. groundfishes, ESA-listed eulachon, megafaunal invertebrates, 3) Providing loaner video camera systems and BRD prototypes to the fishing industry, 4) Examining selectivity of codends that differ in mesh size and configuration in the bottom trawl fishery. Much of our current and projected work has been in response to rising needs for bycatch solutions that began in 2011 when the groundfish trawl fishery started management under a catch share program. Reducing bycatch has the potential to allow fishermen to more effectively utilize their catch share quotas, increase their net economic benefits, and potentially result in higher annual catch limits.