Accountability Measures That Accommodate Uncertainty in Marine Recreational Fisheries

Monday, August 18, 2014: 2:10 PM
204A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
James L. Armstrong , Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Dover, DE
Marine recreational fishery management involves significant uncertainty in that catches are estimated through a statistical framework rather than being directly reported as in commercial fisheries.  Additionally, controls on total recreational catches are indirect focusing on fish size and number for individual anglers as well as the positioning of a fishing season within the calendar year.  These controls can only loosely constrain total effort and therefore overall catch.  Furthermore, given that recreational fishing is generally associated with an outlay of money, as opposed to an economic reward as in commercial fisheries, recreational effort generally shifts toward species with a greater likelihood of being caught, such that recreational catches will almost necessarily exceed specified catch limits when those limits reflect underestimates of abundance.  Given the uncertain nature of recreational fishery data collection and management, different accountability measures are needed than those for commercial fisheries.  The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed for implementation a suite of alternative accountability measures that take into account the uncertain nature of recreational data and do not operate under the false premise of precise catch controls.  The accountability measures are variable in that they consider both the condition of the stock and the magnitude of the overage estimate.