Submission deadline passed.
Managers of the West Coast groundfish fishery need reliable information on discarded catch in order to assess and account for total fishing mortality and to evaluate the effectiveness of management measures, including rebuilding plans for depleted stocks. During the past decade, trip limits for West Coast groundfish vessels have been substantially reduced, and trip limits have been applied to increasing numbers of species. If discard mortality is higher than currently projected, then overall fishing mortality rates will likely be higher than sustainable levels. Without current and ongoing information on the levels of catch and discard in the fishery, managers may be either overfishing or missing harvest opportunities by wide margins.
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), in cooperation with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), wishes to obtain the services of approximately forty (40) at-sea fishery observers to work on vessels off the states of Washington, Oregon, and California. The vessels designated to carry observers will be selected by NMFS, and will be required to carry those observers while fishing for groundfish during the assigned period. The observers will work at the direction of NMFS field program coordinators. Observers will collect scientific, management, and other data through on-board interviews of vessel captains and crew, observations of fishing operations, measurements of selected portions of the catch and fishing gear, and collection of samples. While at sea and before the conclusion of each deployment, observers will follow the procedures detailed in the West Coast Groundfish Observer Manual to obtain data and collect samples. Observers will record data on appropriate forms or enter data electronically using a laptop computer provided by NMFS or PSMFC. Observers will be debriefed approximately once every 2 months. The database will be used to prepare reports for use by state, commission, fishery management council, and federal fishery biologists and managers.
Q&A Responses – posted 11.9.2010
Original posting date: 10.15.10