The goal of this study is to compare and evaluate the effectiveness of electronic monitoring (EM) and the currently utilized National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program (NPGOP) monitoring methods to operate effectively in a commercial longline (hook-and-line) setting. This is a cooperative study with the NMFS, International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC), Pacific States Marine Fishery Commission (PSMFC), and the commercial fishing industry.
For each trip conducted as part of the study, the vessel will have EM equipment installed and, depending on the size of the vessel, one or two observers providing coverage thereby allowing side-by-side comparisons of EM and observer data. There may be two to four vessels fishing simultaneously. Hence, a total of two to eight observers are required in each phase of the research. It is preferable to have the same observers participating in the study for the entire study period. Depending on the size and number of the vessels participating on the study, fewer observers may be required.
Currently, the larger boats typically participating in the halibut fishery may also target sablefish during the same haul or trip. These vessels are therefore required to carry and pay for a NMFS-certified observer for 30% of their fishing days during each calendar quarter for the sablefish fishery. For this project, that relationship will change and PSMFC will pay the observer contractor directly after confirming observer deployment. Only those observers arranged through NMFS/PSMFC for this study will be paid through this project.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), in cooperation with NOAA Fisheries, is conducting a cost earnings survey of the West Coast open access groundfish and salmon fleet through this request for proposals (RFP). The PSMFC has already completed a cost earnings survey of the West Coast limited entry fleet. The Limited Entry survey attempted to conduct in-person interviews with the owners of the approximately 300 limited entry commercial fishing vessels active on the West Coast, and obtained a response rate of about 70%. The open access groundfish and salmon survey, which is the subject if this Request For Proposals, will cover the much larger open access groundfish and salmon fleet, which consists of 1,352 vessels which do not have limited entry permits and made trips during the 2005-6 period targeting groundfish and/or salmon.
Because of the relatively large size of the survey population, this survey will use a combination of mail questionnaires, telephone interviews, and in-person interviews. The survey design calls for attempting in-person interviews with 413 vessel owners, telephone interviews with 258 vessel owners, and collecting data through a mail questionnaire from 681 vessel owners. The purpose of this RFP is to solicit proposals for conducting the 671 in-person and telephone interviews which will be attempted by this survey. PSMFC staff will conduct the mailing portion of this survey.
The chosen contractor will review survey materials and protocols developed by PSMFC and NOAA Fisheries, and conduct in-person interviews using these materials and protocols. Development of materials and protocols for this voluntary survey has sought to maximize the survey response rate by accounting for the unique characteristics of commercial fisheries survey research. Compared with other fisheries cost earnings survey questionnaires, the current survey questionnaire is relatively short (Appendix D). Based on discussions with members of the fishing community, the survey is using a combination of mail, telephone, and in-person contact methods. Data will be collected through in-person interviews, telephone interviews, and mail questionnaires.