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Update on harbor porpoise take reduction plan monitoring initiatives : compliance and consequential bycatch rates from June 2008 through May 2009
  • Published Date:
    2010
Filetype[PDF - 848.04 KB]


Details:
  • Personal Authors:
  • Corporate Authors:
    Northeast Fisheries Science Center (U.S.)
  • Series:
    Northeast Fisheries Science Center reference document ; 10-22
  • Document Type:
  • Description:
    "Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan (HPTRP) compliance and bycatch rate analyses are updated for US Northwestern Atlantic gillnet fisheries using data from June 2008 through May 2009 (the 2008-2009 fishing year). The observed overall compliance rate with the 1998 HPTRP regulations, which were in place during the 2008-2009 fishing season, was 53.2%. Dividing the fisheries by region, the New England gillnet fishery had a compliance rate of 51.9%, and the Mid-Atlantic gillnet fishery had a compliance rate of 56.3%. Bycatch rates from the 2008-2009 fishing season were also examined relative to the 1998 and 2010 HPTRPs, even though the 2010 HPTRP amendments were not yet in place. Observed bycatch rates were much higher in the new management areas (MAs) implemented through the 2010 HPTRP amendments (which were not in place during the 2008-2009 fishing season) as compared to the observed bycatch rate in the 1998 HPTRP MAs. In the New England fishery, the observed bycatch rate in 2010 HPTRP MAs that are not included in the 1998 HPTRP (0.171 harbor porpoise/mtons landed) was over seven times the observed rate in the 1998 HPTRP MAs (0.023 harbor porpoises/mtons landed). Correspondingly, 59.5% (22 of 37) of the observed takes in the 2008-2009 fishing season occurred in the times and areas which will be managed under the 2010 HPTRP but are not managed under the 1998 HPTRP. Bycatch rates in the 2010 HPTRP areas associated with Consequence Closure Areas (CCAs) were well above future target rates that would trigger seasonal closures. The bycatch rate (0.101 harbor porpoise/mtons landed) in the 1998 and 2010 HPTRP MAs in nets that did not have the required number of pingers, was almost three times higher than the bycatch rate (0.035 harbor porpoise/mtons landed) from pingered nets in the same times and areas. This indicates that pingers still appear to reduce bycatch of harbor porpoises, although it is not possible to currently determine how many of the pingers were actually functional. Hypothetically, if the 2010 HPTRP amendments had been in place during the 2008-2009 fishing season and there was full compliance with the 2010 HPTRP, then it is predicted that the observed bycatch could have been reduced by 35-46%. Total estimated bycatch for the entire US Northwestern Atlantic gillnet fisheries (as compared to the subset observed by the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program) would likely also decrease by a similar amount"--Abstract.