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. At-sea compliance monitors are currently deployed into this fishery to record all at-sea discards of IFQ species (100% monitoring).
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
- A discard chute study has been developed to address this option.
- 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