200710700 - What was old is new again: evaluate the pound net and beach seine as innovative live capture selective harvest gears
Sponsor: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW)
Budgets: FY07: $365,514 | FY08: $405,459 | FY09: $406,792
Short description: The project sponsors will evaluate the pound net and beach seine as live capture, selective harvest gears. These gears are expected to increase bycatch survival while providing innovative methods for harvestable hatchery fish.
Final Council recommendation (Nov 2006)
Funding category: Expense
Recommended budgets: FY07: $0 | FY08: $0 | FY09: $0
ISRP final recommendation: Response requested
This project is fundable in part; however, the ISRP requests a response to address several questions and concerns. The ISRP's primary concern is that the feasibility of new selective-harvest fisheries with pound nets or beach seines should include a number of other factors, e.g., economics and property rights, which are not considered in this proposal. In the response, the proponent should address these other factors, as well as issues of habitat damage resulting from concentration of gear on shore. In addition, it is not clear from the proposal that it would produce the needed information or that it does not duplicate ongoing research on these gears. The proposal has a large budget that is poorly explained (e.g., $136,000-$150,000 annual personnel costs with no explanation as to the number of people, time, etc.; $55,000 for annual costs of supplies with no explanation; etc.) More details are needed on fishing gear mesh size, potential bycatch of non-target species, proposed stress indices, etc. (see comments listed below). The ISRP does not recommend funding stress and reproduction research at this time, i.e., for this first round of feasibility assessment. The proponents should provide some information on the impact of the fishing gear on non-focal species as well as other focal species such as white sturgeon and cutthroat trout. Over and above these concerns the project is fundable, although the pound net component does seem further along in planning relative to the beach seine component. Proposed cost sharing with Washington Sea Grant needs further evaluation. Technical and scientific background: Overall, the technical feasibility issues are addressed adequately to provide a background to the issue. However, the question of feasibility has many more dimensions than technical efficiency, and it would have been useful to have a deeper discussion of these here. For example, economic, political and property rights issues (who owns the gear and the space? How is access allocated? etc.) are not addressed except for a passing reference to economic benefits from harvest. In the response, the proponents should demonstrate that they understand that technical feasibility is only a part of the answer, and that they have a plan for addressing the other components of feasibility. The proponents make the statement: "Ideally a selective fishery would result in a 10% or less mortality to all released salmonids in a fishery where mass marking of hatchery fish occurs at a high rate," and then go on to discuss alternate mortality rates. Probably the acceptable mortality rate is in fact based on socio-economic as well as technical factors. In the response, the proponents should provide a rounded discussion of these factors. The proponents should also state what species of pinnipeds they are concerned about. The section "relevant work to date" with names of the proponents in parentheses would have been improved by the inclusion of citations to processed reports or publications with this information. Relationships to other projects: This section discusses potential cost-sharing opportunities with other funding sources. Since these are as yet unrealized, they are not reflected in budget reductions for this proposal. It mentions a proposed reef net study. The project relates to another proposed selective gear study and to an ongoing selective gear study conducted by WDFW and the Colville Tribes. This study analyzes two of the same gears in this proposed study. This is an important omission. However linkages with harvest management projects are not explicitly mentioned but presumably are in place. In the response, the proponents should explain why, given this ongoing work on the same gears, this study is needed. Objectives: Regarding the ISRP's earlier point about the many components of feasibility, just assessing technical feasibility alone will not in itself address objective 1 (improve harvest). In the response, the proponents should also consider economic, political, access, and regulatory objectives. Tasks (work elements) and methods: The work elements are very poorly presented and are not specifically related to individual objectives. They look like an unedited series of ideas for the proposal. Details on methods are presented generally, and are to be worked out later. They appear to be listed by PISCES work elements numbers. The tasks related to pinnipeds are not related to any particular objective, and are poorly described. Overall this section does not project a confident plan for this research. The response should include a revision to the methods section of the proposal, including but not limited to answers to the following questions: -How will the pound net be deployed, e.g., will it be intertidal? Where are the proposed fishing locations? -How will marked fish be recovered on the spawning grounds given the difficulties in finding carcasses (especially coho)? -What statistical analyses and estimates of variance will be used for data analyses? -What specific stress indices would be used in the study? -What are the mesh sizes of two nets? Monitoring and evaluation: Element 156 -- The proponents request funding to establish fishing locations and times for use of pound net and beach seine gears and to design a study to evaluate reproductive success. The ISRP does not consider the proposed work element to develop a plan for a reproductive success study at the Alsea Research Hatchery using coastal fall Chinook in place of Columbia River fall chinook to be fundable. In the future, this could be submitted as a "stand-alone" proposal in the event that the proposed direct study on Columbia River fish is not possible. The proposed design to "mimic" stress using Alsea River coastal fall chinook does not account for other cumulative stresses, e.g., migration over dams, through reservoirs, elevated water temperatures, low flows, low oxygen, etc., that might be experienced by salmon captured and released in the Columbia River (but not in the Alsea River). Element 157: The proposal would be improved by further explanation of how injuries by fishing gear would be assessed in Year 1 (if injuries not visible to the human eye occur). The visible index to evaluate condition would be improved by recording data on visible injuries from other sources (in addition to marine mammals) including diseases and parasites at the time of capture and release, e.g., lamprey scars, sea lice, fungus, scale loss, net marks, hook scars. For example, fish with existing injuries might experience more stress at time of capture than healthy fish. Element 158: How will "control" fish in the mark/tag study be identified? Insufficient information is provided on the reflex response tests developed by Davis (2005). Element 160: More details are needed on methods to be used to estimate survival. Facilities, equipment, and personnel: In the response, the proponents should provide more details on the activities of Drs. Skalski and Schreck. Resumes are not provided for Carl Schreck and Blair Peterson. Information transfer: In the response, the proponents should provide plans for release and long-term storage of data and metadata. Non-focal species: The proposed work would be improved if there was concurrent evaluation of non-salmonid bycatch of fish, birds, and marine mammals. In the response, the proposal should be augmented with information about possible bycatch of non-salmonids and non-focal species. A number of species could suffer mortalities, depending on mesh size, water temperature, etc. Also is there a concern that repeated beach seining (assisted by winches) will damage estuarine habitat. This would depend on dimensions and weights of the gear (which are not provided).
State/province recommendation: MS: Recommended Action
Review group: MSRT
Recommended budgets: FY07: (n/a) | FY08: (n/a) | FY09: (n/a)
Comment: Tribal members of the MSRT expressed their concern about selective harvest. This may potentially be considered a conservation action in the 2006 Biological Opinion.