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CLOSED: Statistician Services for Albacore Catch per Unit Effort Study RFB

Submission deadline passed.

This project focuses on sampling of the recreational for‐hire fleet targeting North Pacific albacore and other highly migratory species (HMS) from ports on the U.S. west coast. The objective of the project is to design a data collection pilot program that would employ onboard observers, enhanced dockside sampling, or a combination of both to determine what long‐term modifications to current sampling programs would be necessary to produce more reliable estimates of catch and effort from the fleet.

Analysts with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southwest Fisheries Science Center have identified the west coast HMS for‐hire fleet (also called the Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel (CPFV) fleet) as a potential data source to develop a consistent and reliable index of relative abundance for North Pacific albacore tuna, which could represent a valuable addition to data for stock assessment.

The first phase of the project will involve a review of existing programs to determine the utility of the current database and to identify what additional data might be needed along with developing alternative strategies for collecting it. Since HMS for‐hire trips tend to depart and return from port outside of regular sampling hours, they are not sampled by state marine recreational survey programs at the same coverage levels as other recreational trips on the coast. Because of this coverage issue, current catch and effort estimates produced by the state marine recreational survey programs in Washington, Oregon, and California may not provide a sufficiently complete sample for developing an index of abundance.

In addition to the state survey programs, there is a logbook data collection program that has been mandatory since 2005. The logbooks collect catch and effort data from the for hire fleet, but there are questions about the completeness and accuracy of the data which is obtained. To date, the information from the logbooks has not been used in any manner by the stock assessment scientists.

The results of the analysis of existing programs will be used to develop a pilot sampling program to collect the data needed to test hypotheses about alternative potential enhancements to current sampling programs. The pilot program would help identify what enhancements to current data collection would be needed to develop the abundance index, and whether there is a cost‐effective way to collect this additional data.

Original posting date: 9.10.09

Download RFP Sep. 10, 2009 alt text