On behalf of the Fisheries Survival Fund Board of Directors, we would like to take this opportunity to express our sincerest appreciation for the support and contributions from all of our members throughout 2012. We are deeply grateful for your support and generosity.
It is through the support of members like you that we are able to continue to strengthen our program, and develop new and innovative ideas.
We look forward to another strong year in 2013.
The University of Massachusetts School for Marine Science and Technology's (SMAST) Yellowtail Bycatch Avoidance Program is expanding for the 2013 scallop fishing year.
Since its inception in 2010, the program has resulted in a demonstrated reduction in yellowtail flounder bycatch. In the program's first year, the scallop fleet landed its full allocation of Nantucket Lightship scallops, with only 31% of the yellowtail allocation caught. A similar achievement was reached in 2011, when yellowtail bycatch in access areas was only 30% of the allocation. As a result, in both 2011 and 2012 there were no early closures to access areas or subsequent year closures to open areas. The number of participating vessels has increased from 122 vessels in the program's first year to 243 last year.
The 2013 program will include open area scallop fishing grounds in Georges Bank and Southern New England, in addition to the open and access areas in Georges Bank included in previous years.
The program is industry-supported, with funding provided by the Fisheries Survival Fund and the Scallop Research Set Aside Program.
GEORGES BANK YELLOWTAIL FLOUNDER
INCIDENTAL CATCH AVOIDANCE
Dr. Steve Cadrin & Cate O'Keefe
Dr. David Rudders
Coonamessett Farm Foundation
Capt. Ron Smolowitz
FISHERIES SURVIVAL FUND
Tuesday, November 13 at 5:30 pm
(after the Council Meeting)
Newport Marriott Hotel
25 America's Cup Avenue
Newport, Rhode Island 02840
Phone: 401-849-1000; Fax: 401-849-3422
The general public is invited.
Reasonable Refreshments Served.
- 1,150 mt limit on Georges Bank Yellowtail
- 40% share to scallopers for 2013
Limit is more than twice that approved
by US-Canada negotiators
(Saving Seafood) November 14, 2012 -- The New England Fishery Management
Council (NEFMC), meeting today in Newport, RI, passed two motions on issues
that had been surrounded by controversy.
The NEFMC accepted the high end of the range presented by their Scientific
and Statistical Committee for the 2013 catch limit for Georges Bank yellowtail
flounder. The upper bound of the range provide by the SSC -- 1,150 metric
tons -- is the same as the current year, and more than twice the amount
approved in conjunction with Canada under a bilateral agreement. The US-Canada
Transboundary Management Guidance Committee (TMGC) recommended a total 500
metric ton yellowtail quota for the 2013 fishing year. This 500 metric ton
quota would be split between the U.S. and Canada, resulting in allocations of
215 and 285 metric tons, respectively. This would be a 57% reduction from 2012,
when the quota was 1,150 metric tons, and an 81% reduction from 2011, when the
total quota was 2,650 metric tons.
The TMGC set its limit based on their Transboundary Resource Assessment
Committee (TRAC) yellowtail assessment, but, there is a widespread lack of
confidence TRAC assessment from industry and many scientists. The limit agreed
to by the NEFMC would set the US share at 495 metric tons and the Canadian
share at 656 metric tons. The motion passed the Council 9-8.
In a later motion, the Council deliberated over options to set the allocation
of Georges Bank Yellowtail by-catch for the scallop industry. The final
determination concluded that the scallop fleet will receive a 40 percent
allocation of the catch for 2013 and then a fixed percentage of 16 percent for
the years 2014 and 2015.
A low catch limit on yellowtail threatens scallopers, as it is not possible to
harvest scallops without some by-catch of yellowtail. Accordingly, they are
given a yellowtail catch limit, which they can't exceed without triggering
severe restrictions. The scallop industry landed over a quarter billion dollars
in product last year, and for over a decade has made New Bedford, Massachusetts
the nation's most profitable fishing port.
The motion passed in the Council 16-0-1.
The Fisheries Survival Fund, an industry group that includes the majority of full-time,
limited-access scallop permit holders, hosted a forum, "Georges Bank
Yellowtail Flounder and Incidental Catch Avoidance," immediately following
the New England Fisheries Management Council meeting in Newport, Rhode Island.
Georges Bank Yellowtail flounder has
become a serious issue for New England Fishermen in both the groundfish
industry and the scallop industry. Accordingly the Fishery Survival Fund
organized this event to discuss efforts to avoid yellowtail bycatch and to
review the current science behind the yellowtail flounder stock assessment, which
Speakers at the event included Dr. Steve Cadrin and Cate
O'Keefe of the School of Marine Science and Technology (SMAST) at the
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dr. David Rudders of the Virginia
Institute of Marine Science, and Ron Smolowitz of Coonamessett Farms.
After an introduction from Dave Frulla of the Fisheries Survival
Fund, Dr. Rudders presented a historical perspective on bycatch management in
the scallop fishery, as well as a brief overview of the bycatch management
process. He discussed VIMS past work in conducting resource surveys,
particularly scallops. He also briefly discussed discard mortality and
gear-based approaches to avoiding bycatch, such as turtle excluders.
Cate O'Keefe gave an overview of the
history of the University of Massachusetts School for Marine Science and
Technology (SMAST) Yellowtail Bycatch Avoidance System, as well as challenges
the program faces in the future. She described the origins of the program,
which began when members of the industry approached SMAST to devise a way to
avoid yellowtail bycatch, which had shut down the fishery early in previous
years. The resulting program compiles data on the location and quantity of
yellowtail bycatch in scallop areas, and advises the scallop fleet accordingly.
O'Keefe said that as a result of the program, 100 percent of the allocated
scallop harvest was caught in 2010 and 2011, with 243 boats now participating.
However, O'Keefe concluded that yellowtail allocation for 2013, currently set
at 34 metric tons, may be so low that the program might be ineffective. She
said that there was a potential for the scallop and groundfish fisheries to
exceed the total US allocation of yellowtail, leading to reduced allocations in
Ron Smolowitz of the Coonamessett
Farm Foundation discussed the research being done to reduce bycatch by the
Foundation and its partners. One of the methods used is a seasonal bycatch
survey of Closed Area 1 and Closed Area 2 that gathers information on
distribution for most species encountered with scallop dredges such as yellowtail,
windowpane flounder, skates, winter winter flounder, monkfish, and flukes.
Another method of reducing bycatch Mr. Smolowitz discussed was electronic
monitoring which allows fishermen to perform tow by tow data collection that
can be sent to scientific consultants for analysis. The final topic discussed
was the current flatfish bycatch reduction dredge designs, presented with data
derived from comparison tows of the different net designs.
Dr. Steve Cadrin of SMAST presented
data from the yellowtail stock assessment and spoke about its implications for
bycatch allocations and the future of scallop fishing. He stated that the
allocation currently being considered for yellowtail would prohibit the
successful rotational harvest strategy for the scallop industry and prevent it
from catching its target catch. After fully explaining the different data sets
collected by the surveys and their "mixed bag" results, Dr. Cadrin
emphasized the need for higher allocations of yellowtail bycatch for all of the