Evaluating Rapid and Accountable Commercial Harvest Reporting in the Maryland Blue Crab Fishery

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 1:30 PM
301B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
H. Ward Slacum Jr. , Oyster Recovery Partnership, Annapolis, MD
Brenda Davis , Fisheries Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis, MD
Steve Early , Fisheries Service, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Annapolis
Bryan Stevenson , Electric Edge Systems Group Inc., Victoria, BC, Canada
Kate Culzoni , Council Fire, Annapolis, MD
Jodi Dew-Baxter , Coastal Monitoring and Assessment Program, Versar, Inc., Columbia, MD
Ryan Corbin , Coastal Monitoring and Assessment Program, Versar, Inc., Columbia, MD
Cellular service coverage has become so reliable that the prevalence of mobile technology in fisheries is providing resource agencies and industry an opportunity to improve management and business decisions through access to electronic harvest reporting and management systems.  In 2012, Maryland blue crab managers, fishing industry representatives and other stakeholders implemented a pilot project to evaluate if daily reporting using an electronic reporting system could improve the quality of harvest information reported by the blue crab fishery.  An existing reporting system (FACTS™) was modified to accept reported harvest and the usability of the system was evaluated by crabbers from every sector of the fishery during the 2012 and 2013 seasons.  Crabbers were initially trained to use the reporting system and most took less than 3 trips to become proficient with reporting.  A portion of all 5581 crabbing trips were randomly monitored at the dockside to verify harvest and determine reporting accuracy.  Data entry errors and forgetfulness accounted for most of the reporting discrepancies.  The occurrence of some discrepancies was minimized by assigning additional data validation rules and automated text message reminders.  Overall, managers and industry participants reported increased reporting efficiency and data quality using mobile technology and the FACTS™ system.