Date of Award

2002

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Mathematics and Statistics

First Advisor

Joe Koebbe

Second Advisor

Richard Cutler

Third Advisor

Keith Criddle

Abstract

In January 2000, the Alaska Department of Community and Economic Development contacted the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding concerns over the methods used to determine catch estimates for the Pacific Cod Community Development Quota (CDQ) fishery. Currently, NMFS determines catch estimates for the Pacific Cod CDQ fishery based on the data collected by observers from the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program (NPGOP).

Observer estimates for catch are based on the random sampling methods for a longline fishing vessel as described in the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Manual. These sampling methods provide an official total catch (OTC) estimate for each haul, or set (longline vessel) made by a CDQ vessel. Once a vessel reaches its individual yearly quota for Pacific Cod-based on the aggregate of the observer 's OTCs- it is no longer allowed to retain the species.

The Pacific Cod CDQ groups are concerned that the observer OTC estimates are over-estimating the catch of Pacific Cod, resulting in individual vessels being prematurely eliminated from the CDQ fishery. The CDQ groups have proposed that round weight estimates (RWEs), calculated from product recovery rates (PRRs), be used in lieu of observer OTC estimates for determining total catch of Pacific Cod on an individual longline vessel-primarily catcher/processor vessels.

Before NMFS can consider the new accounting method proposed by the CDQ groups, it must first be shown that the new method is as good or better than the current method. To be as good or better, the new method must estimate as accurately or more accurately than the current method, the total removal of Pacific Cod for an individual CDQ vessel.

The observer OTC estimate not only accounts for the removal of Pacific Cod, but also for the removal of all bycatch species from the fishery. Should a new accounting method be adopted, it must also be able to estimate the mortality of all species taken in by a vessel. Total removal numbers of both target and bycatch species enable NMFS to make yearly stock assessments and to set future fishery limits. These limits are critical to furthering the primary mission of NMFS-sustainable fisheries.

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