Fisheries management of the West Coast Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) fishery relies on efficient and accurate estimation of the weight of discarded groundfish species (and species groups) that occur in the fishery. Quota management of these species is based on weight of fish harvested and discarded. This fishery currently requires 100% monitoring by either an at-sea compliance monitor or an electronic monitoring system to record all at-sea discards of IFQ species.
IFQ quota is currently allocated to IFQ groupings and under this management, the weight of discarded fish counts against the IFQ quota; hence the species and weight of discarded catch is crucial information for managers of fisheries where selective discarding of IFQ species is allowed. These data are also critical in the evaluation of different data collection and potential management schemes, such as data collection under EM monitoring.
Alternative management actions that could operate in conjunction with alternative monitoring options include:
- Using discard data from logbooks for quota management with an EM-based auditing system
- Direct estimation of at-sea discard of quota species based on EM-records in a maximum retention IFQ fishery
- Implementation of fisheries regulations that require that fishers retain some IFQ species of fish – e.g. retention of all rockfish
- Implementation of full retention fisheries that require that fishers retain all IFQ species of fish
Discard Chute Study
(Data collection began Spring of 2014)
The purpose of this study is to test the accuracy of EM-based species identification through the use of on-board cameras mounted above discard chutes. Cameras will record images of each fish as it is discarded. Comparisons between EM-based discard data and on-board sampling data will be made at the individual fish level (preferred) and the aggregate level (as available).
The ability to successfully determine the species identity and length of IFQ fish from EM imagery combined with estimation of fish weight based on length-weight conversion (regression) for those species of interest would allow for accurate estimation of IFQ species discards using EM technology. This may in turn provide a viable EM-based method for monitoring of selective at-sea IFQ discards for the purposes of individual quota tracking.
In this study, two questions will be addressed:
- Can individual discarded fish be identified to the IFQ species or species group based on video imagery?
- Can the length of individual discarded fish be recorded accurately based on the video imagery?
In order to answer these questions, two corresponding data streams are needed where on-board observations can be directly matched with EM (video footage) observations. On-board data collection will include two sampling methods of discarded IFQ fish for each haul:
- Individual fish: obtain length, weight and species ID
- Clusters/Baskets of fish: obtain aggregate weight and counts of species