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Report of the Scientific and Statistical Committee. Caribbean Fishery Management Council Scientific and Statistical Committee Oct 30 & 31 and Nov 1, 2012 San Juan, PR. Outline. Review of species u nits with ACL overages 5 – year research priorities

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report of the scientific and statistical committee

Report of the Scientific and Statistical Committee

Caribbean Fishery Management Council

Scientific and Statistical Committee

Oct 30 & 31 and Nov 1, 2012

San Juan, PR

  • Review of species units with ACL overages
  • 5 – year research priorities
  • Reviewed letter from CFMC to NMFS regarding proposal to list queen conch
what happens if annual catch limits acls are exceeded
What happens if Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) are exceeded?
  • When ACLs are exceeded, accountability measures (AMs) are triggered, resulting in a reduction of the fishing season for that species/species group.
  • AMs are not triggered if NMFS, in consultation with the CFMC and SSC, determines that the overage occurred because data collection and monitoring improved rather than because catches actually increased.
ssc reviewed l ist of species species units that had exceeded their acl
SSC reviewed list of Species / Species Units that had exceeded their ACL
  • The ACLs for species units that were designated overfished or undergoing overfishing was determined in 2010.
  • The determination of whether the ACL had been exceeded for these species was based on the average of the annual commercial landings for 2010 & 2011.
  • Note that landings values provided by the SEFSC were tentative at the time of the SSC meeting.
species units reviewed continued
Species units reviewed continued
  • ACLs for species units that were not designated overfished or undergoing overfishing were established in 2011.
  • The determination if the ACLs for these species was exceeded is based on only 2011 annual landings.
  • PSE (Proportional Standard Error) is a measure of the variability of the data. PSE’s higher than 25 should be viewed with caution and those above 50 indicate high variability and low precision.

Annual landings of recreational species are estimated based on the results of recreational intercept surveys (catch data) and telephone surveys (effort data).

  • Table 3. Annual number of intercepts that reported one of the wrasse species in the ACL unit.
  • Note: Number of wrasse intercepts are generally low
ssc review of overage of recreational wrasse acl for puerto rico
SSC review of overage of recreational wrasse ACL for Puerto Rico
  • PR DNER provided the following information:
    • Hogfish are the most important wrasse species landed by recreational fishers in Puerto Rico
    • Spearfishing was thought to be the method used for most of the catch of hogfish
    • Hogfish (Capitan) is considered a prized trophy fish among recreational fishers in PR
    • It was thought that spearfishing had increased significantly since 2009, especially through the development of a kayak based fishery, which the MRFSS sampling had not fully sampled.
recreational wrasse landings
Recreational wrasse landings

ACL is 5,050 lbs.

ACL was exceeded by 9.7 % or 488 lbs.

Wrasse landings peaked in 2008 and have declined steadily since then.

This decline occurred at a time at a time when effort was thought to have increased. It is not clear if increasing effort has led to the observed decline in the stock biomass.

The SSC made recommendations for further analysis of wrasse data.

Note: data incomplete for 2012.

ssc conclusions wrasse
SSC Conclusions - wrasse
  • Based on these considerations, there is no substantiated evidence to support the idea that the observed overage is due to any methodological changes in data collection or behavior of the fishery.
  • Kojis emphasis – However, important to take into account that the overage is small (488 lbs or 9.7%) and error (PSE) in the estimate of landings high.
commercial queen conch landings st croix
Commercial queen conch landings – St. Croix

ACL is based on average of 2010 and 2011 landings data

ACL was exceeded by 33% because of 2010 landings

Landings in 2011 were at the ACL level

queen conch trips and fishers
Queen conch trips and fishers

Number of trips track landings

Number of fishers reporting varied over the years

There was no evidence from the number of fishing trips and number of fishers reporting in 2000 – 2011 that there have been any significant changes in reporting by fishers.

It is clear that there was a peak in reported landings in 2006 of approximately 240,000 lbs and a subsequent fairly rapid decline, apparently reaching the ACL by 2011.

acl overage for queen conch on st croix
ACL overage for queen conch on St. Croix
  • Based on average landings data from 2010 and 2011, the ACL was exceeded by 33% (68% in 2010 and 0% for 2011). It was noted at the SSC meeting that 2011 data needed to be verified to ensure it is the final total.
  • The Division of Fish and Wildlife keeps track of queen conch landings and closes the queen conch fishery once submitted catch reports show the ACL has been reached.
  • The 2010 overage occurred, at least in part, because the ACL was reached before all catch reports had been submitted.
  • It looks like this has been corrected in 2011.
ssc recommendations
SSC Recommendations
  • SSC noted that conch landings peaked in 2006 and rapidly declined to nearly the ACL level in 2011.
  • Kojis emphasis - It appears thatmonitoring of queen conch landings and the closure of queen conch fishery to ensure the ACL is not exceeded is improving.
  • SSC noted that preliminary data from a survey by Hill et al. confirmed that St. Croix harbors a significantly higher density of juvenile and adult queen conch compared to STT/STJ and PR
  • The SSC recommends that the SEFSC determine the density levels of queen conch adults and juveniles that need to be achieved in order to increase the ACL for queen conch in the US Caribbean.
commercial grouper unit landings st thomas
Commercial Grouper unit landings – St. Thomas

ACL of 51,849 lbs was based on average landings of from 2000-2005 (OFL) and with 15 % reduction.

The ACL was exceeded by almost 5,000 lbs or 9.6%

Landings declined from 2009 to 2011 but remained above the ACL level

grouper unit st thomas trips and fishers
Grouper unit – St. Thomas – trips and fishers

The number of fishers reporting varied only slightly between 2000 and 2010, but increased dramatically, by about 90%, in 2011.

The number of trips with reports of grouper increased from 2000 to 2004 and declined slowly after that except for 2009.

ssc conclusions grouper
SSC Conclusions - grouper
  • Since the total grouper landings declined in 2010 and 2011, along with the number of fishing trips, it is unlikely that an increase in the number of fishers reporting was responsible for the 2011 grouper landing overage.
  • While a change in the dynamics of reporting was observed during 2011, its implications on total grouper landings remain unclear.
  • The SSC concluded that there was insufficient evidence that enhanced data collection or monitoring efforts significantly contributed to the grouper overage in 2010 and 2011.
snapper unit 2 puerto rico commercial landings
Snapper unit 2 – Puerto RicoCommercial Landings

Based on expanded landings data, the ACL of 145,916 lbs was exceeded by 156,072 lbs or 107%.

It was exceeded in both 2010 and 2011.

Because of lack of staff at the Puerto Rico Fisheries Lab in 2010, the expansion factor 2009 was used in 2010 (Fig. 7). The expansion factor for 2011 was based on surveys conducted in 2011 of fishers and their catch.

pr expansion factors
PR Expansion factors

Estimated landings or expanded landings are obtained by dividing landings by the expansion factor.

For example, if the reported landings in 2006 and 2011 were 100,000 lbs in both years, but the expansion factor was 0.5 in 2006 and 0.8 in 2011 then the expanded landings in 2006 would be 100,000/0.5 = 200,000 lbs and in 2011 would be 100,000/0.8 = 125,000 lbs.

changes affecting expansion annual factors
Changes affecting expansion annual factors
  • Starting in 2011, the Secretary of DNER allowed fishers to submit trip reports after the 60 day deadline.
  • Prior to 2011, trip reports were not accepted if submitted 60 days after a fishing trip.
  • Thus in 2011 the number of trips increased due to the change in regulations.
  • However, the correction factor used to expand the landings, took this increase in number of trips into account.
snapper unit 2 pr
Snapper Unit 2 – PR

There were fewer trips with reported Snapper Unit 2 after 2002.

However, the number of trips increased between 2009 and 2011.

The number of fishers reporting (unexpanded) almost doubled between 2009 and 2010 and then declined in 2011.

cpue catch per unit effort
CPUE (Catch per Unit Effort)

The CPUE remained steady

ssc conclusions
SSC Conclusions
  • Because Puerto Rico generally calculates annual correction/expansion factors for four distinct coastal areas around Puerto Rico it appears that the overage is real and not owing to enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts.
  • The increase in landings in 2010 and 2011 could be explained if stocks have increased or fishers have gone further afield to harvest unexploited stocks.
  • Based on all of the above, the SSC concludes that the overage is real given the data presented, which we understand to be the best available. However, we feel that the data for 2010 may be less accurate than years for which the correction factor was directly calculated and this may have impacted the results.
ssc concerns
SSC Concerns
  • Correction/Expansion Factor
    • In 2010, the correction factor was not directly calculated and that for 2009 was used.
    • Landings for 2010 showed the largest overage for Snapper Unit 2.
    • Correction factors are historically variable and their accuracy may have a large impact on the expanded landings, affecting the estimation of ACL overages, both in their occurrence and extent.
more ssc concerns
More SSC Concerns
  • Possible fishing area expansion
    • General impression that the fishery for Snapper Unit 2 experienced a significant expansion in the area fished over the past decade or more.
    • If true, expect the ACL would not have been based on the full potential of the fishery.
    • As a consequence overages would be expected to occur that would not be related to any change in stock status.
    • The SEDAR assessment conducted in 2011 for queen snapper showed a significant increase in the mean size of fish landed in recent years and concluded that queen snapper were not undergoing overfishing.
    • This trend is consistent with an expansion in the area fished, although other explanations are also possible.
    • Unfortunately, there are no data publicly available to verify if such an expansion in the area fished has occurred. This would be necessary for any re-evaluation of the ACL though the SSC felt fishermen may have the needed information.
5 year priority research needs
5-year Priority Research Needs
  • Revised outline based on Dr. Mike Sissenwine’s recommendations
  • There was insufficient time discuss this further.
  • SSC members agreed to work on fleshing out the outline and provide a Draft of their section by December 20, 2012
  • The SSC needs to meet at least once more to review the research needs and prioritize them
queen conch listing
Queen conch listing
  • The SSC reviewed the letter from the CFMC to NMFS and concurred with the CFMC opinion that queen conch not be listed under the ESA based in part on the fact that queen conch receives enough protection to ensure its preservation.