Improvements to Fishery-Dependent Monitoring of American Eel in North Carolina

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 11:30 AM
206B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Stephanie McInerny , North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, Morehead City, NC
The commercial harvest of American eel (Anguilla rostrata) has been monitored by the NC Division of Marine Fisheries Trip Ticket Program (NCDMF) since 1994.  Eels harvested by commercial fishermen are held in pens across multiple trips before being sold to the dealer.  This practice results in an underestimation of the actual number of trips taken by eel fishermen.  Lack of effort data resulted in a requirement that ASMFC partner states institute a reporting system to ensure that annual effort and landings of eel are reported by harvesters and/or dealers.  As a result, NCDMF developed the state’s only commercial fisherman logbook program.  Implementation of the program has been challenging due to issues with enforcement, variable participation, and data access.  Roughly 93% of eel logs were matched to trip tickets after extensive reconciliation efforts.  Catch per unit effort (CPUE) calculated as pounds per trip was compared across years.  CPUEs based on trip tickets were larger than those from eel logs.  Highest CPUE values occur in the fall for both reporting programs.  Success in logbook monitoring of this species will provide useful effort information for future stock assessments.