An Integrated Approach to Yellowtail Flounder Bycatch Mitigation in the Georges Bank Sea Scallop Fishery

Wednesday, September 11, 2013: 10:40 AM
Conway (The Marriott Little Rock)
David Rudders , Marine Advisory Services, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (College of William and Mary), Gloucester Point, VA
Within the framework of the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006, Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and Accountability Measures (AMs) are specified as mechanisms to, depending on the situation, end and prevent overfishing in federally managed fisheries.  By their very nature, ACLs mandate a comprehensive accounting of the disposition of marine resources.  For many fisheries that have a bycatch component, this accounting has proven to be a challenge, especially when catch limits for bycatch species are low.  Yellowtail flounder (Limanda ferruginea) has proven to be one such species for the Sea Scallop fishery (Placopecten magellanicus) of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.  In an effort to reduce levels of yellowtail flounder bycatch in order to stay within mandated limits, a suite of diverse approaches with complimentary research efforts have been implemented.  These approaches fall into three broad categories, answered by general questions about the interaction:  1. Does the fishery and bycatch species coexist in time and space? 2.  Does the current fishing gear capture the bycatch species? and 3. What is the disposition of animals captured as bycatch?  Examples of specific cooperative research projects that address questions within these focus areas will demonstrate the efficacy of an integrated approach to bycatch mitigation.