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Update on harbor porpoise take reduction plan monitoring initiatives : compliance and consequential bycatch rates from June 2007 through May 2008 : pinger tester development and enforcement from January 2008 through July of 2009
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    "Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan (HPTRP) compliance and bycatch rate analyses are updated for US Northwestern Atlantic gillnet fisheries data from June 2007 through May 2008. These updates stem from the recent Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Team (HPTRT) meeting (December 17-19, 2007) and follow-up conference call (January 31, 2008). Updates are also provided for pinger tester development and HPTRP enforcement for the period from January of 2008 through July 2009. The observed compliance rate with HPTRP regulations for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic gillnet fisheries was 62.2%. Bycatch rates in areas that would trigger closures under the proposed modifications to the HPTRP were significantly higher than the proposed target bycatch rates. The combined bycatch rate in times and areas that would trigger the Gulf of Maine Consequence Closure Area (CCA) was 0.067 harbor porpoise takes per metric ton landed, over twice the proposed target bycatch rate (0.031). Bycatch rates in the proposed Southern New England Management Area (MA) (0.096) were over four times the proposed target rate (0.023). Exceeding these proposed target bycatch rates in two consecutive management seasons would result in closures of the corresponding CCAs. Over 97% of the incidental takes observed occurred in times and areas of existing or proposed management measures, with over 80% occurring in newly proposed times and areas. This suggests that proposed HPTRP modifications are targeted towards appropriate times and in the appropriate areas to reduce bycatch. Bycatch rates in existing MAs, in nets that had the required number of pingers, were about half that of non-pingered nets in the same times and areas. If proposed HPTRP modifications had been in place during the 2007-2008 management season, it is conservatively estimated that observed bycatch could have been reduced by 58% with full compliance. Limited pinger testing showed that 88% of pingers tested were working. Steps are also being taken to improve pinger testers and enforcement efforts"--Abstract.
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