A standard method to apportion groundfish catch to stock area for the purpose of real time quota monitoring under Amendment 16
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A standard method to apportion groundfish catch to stock area for the purpose of real time quota monitoring under Amendment 16
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    "The Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act requires fishery managers to set annual catch limits (ACLs) for all overfished stocks by 2010 (2011 for all stocks). Monitoring of ACLs will require that fishery catches (landings and discards) can be monitored effectively in near real-time. In addition, Amendment 16 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan allows for the creation of additional groundfish sectors, each receiving individual sector Annual Catch Entitlements (ACEs) of managed stocks. The ACEs are smaller subdivisions of the federal commercial groundfish ACL; a sub-component of the overall groundfish ACL. The total groundfish catch (landings and discards) of each sector must be closely monitored to ensure that the individual ACEs and total ACLs are not exceeded. Effectively monitoring the large numbers of quotas, many of which may be small, will require new methods to ensure that the fishery yield is maximized and catch limits are not exceeded. Monitoring both groundfish landings and discards requires information about the total landed amount of all species caught by area and gear type (otter trawl, gillnet or longline). There are a variety of sources for this information, each with varying levels of certainty. In the Northeast Region, the primary source of the total landed catch are the dealer weighout data which are apportioned to statistical area and gear type using the vessel trip report (VTR) data. Discard ratios can be applied to the dealer-based Kall (total retained catch of all species from the fishing trip) for the appropriate gear and stock; this requires assigning a gear and area to dealer-reported landings. All of the data sources that are required to monitor total catch are expected to be available on a weekly basis by May 1, 2010; however, past experience with quota monitoring has shown that incomplete compliance and inadequate data quality will require that alternate data sources and methods be employed to estimate total sector and common pool catch by stock. This document outlines a methodology to account for the all of the varying levels of data completeness expected under Amendment 16 (both sectors and common pool groundfish trips) and provides contingencies for when data are unavailable and establishes incentives to facilitate industry compliance. The objectives of the method are: (1) allow groundfish quotas to be effectively monitored even when information are missing or of poor quality; (2) provide a standard methodology by which fishery managers (e.g., sector managers) can monitor catch; (3) provide incentives to the industry to comply with reporting requirements; and (4) provide fishery managers (both NMFS and sectors) with an understanding of the certainty associated with the estimates of groundfish catch"--Executive summary.
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