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Vessel trip reports catch-area reporting errors: potential impacts on the monitoring and management of the northeast United States groundfish resource
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    Vessel monitoring system (VMS) positional data were used to validate the statistical area fished and stock apportionment of allocated groundfish landings derived from mandatory VTRs for the period January 1, 2007 to April 30, 2016 (covers fishing years 2008 to 2015) to examine whether changes in reporting patterns occurred after the transition to the catch-share system. Additionally, the relative amount of stock-level catch reporting errors was estimated from the differences between the VMS-based method and reported VTR landings. While the VMS methods can be imprecise, they are useful for detecting shifts in reporting patterns over time and estimating the general scale of the errors. Results show the difference in VMS estimated catch and VTR reported catch changing markedly beginning in fishing year 2010 for several of the quota-limited stocks. These discrepancies occurred despite marginal improvements in compliance with VTR area fished reporting requirements over the same time period. For the majority of the stocks examined, the overall error is estimated to be small and may not substantially impact resource monitoring and stock assessment efforts; however for some stocks the estimated errors are large in one or more years (Eastern Georges Bank and Gulf of Maine cod, Gulf of Maine haddock, Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic winter flounder). While the impacts on some stocks may be large, the magnitude in terms of number of vessels contributing to the overall error is small. Much of the error could be mitigated through improvements in catch monitoring and/or management measures designed to improve catch accounting. [doi:10.7289/V5/RD-NEFSC-17-02(https://doi.org/10.7289/V5/RD-NEFSC-17-02)]
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