Project Title: Analyzing Coral Bycatch Information in the Context of Bottom Trawling Intensity off the U.S. West Coast
Goal or Purpose

To compile data on coral and sponge by-catch in the region and analyze their locations in the context of maps of recent bottom trawling intensity.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

Maps of encounter rates of coral and sponge by-catch will be provided to the Pacific Fishery Management Council as part of their upcoming 5-year review of Pacific Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat (EFH). In addition, maps of bottom trawl intensity from 2002-2005 and 2006-2010 will be provided. These maps will be used to assess recent risk to Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs), particularly those areas that support biogenic habitats containing corals and sponges. We will work with the Council to identify further analysis and associated products that might be helpful in reviewing essential fish habitat, as well as fulfilling mandates of the Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program to minimize interactions of corals with fishing gears.

Fiscal Funding:
  • FY 2011 @ $15,889

 
Region(s):
  • Pacific Council
Location(s):
  •  None Defined.
Map from the Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS) Marine Habitat Viewer, showing coral observations (colored circles) from NOAA Fisheries bottom trawl surveys conducted between 1980 and 2007 off the coast of Washington overlain onto colored rectangles summarizing total groundfish catch (lbs.) for commercial tows in 2009 that used bottom trawl gear. Credit: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Oregon State University's Active Tectonics & Seafloor Mapping Lab
Project Type:
  • Bycatch Analysis
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NMFS NWFSC
Team Members:
  • Marlene Bellman
Project Title: Analyzing Coral Bycatch Information in the Context of Bottom Trawling Intensity off the U.S. West Coast
Methods/Approach

Records of coral and sponge by-catch recorded by fishery observers and during research trawl surveys in the Pacific region were compiled to produce maps showing relative encounter rates of corals and/or sponges from 2001 through 2010. In addition, data on commercial bottom trawl effort collected by state logbook programs were compiled to create maps of bottom trawl fishing intensity off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California. The maps will be used to analyze risk or vulnerability in light of the distribution of recent commercial trawling activity as well as existing area closures to bottom trawling.

Project Results and Management Outcomes
This project resulted in an extensive information base including map figures and associated GIS data layers (with metadata) categorized into two themes: 1) known locations of corals and/or sponges either from direct in situ observations or from catch records from trawl and dredge surveys or from observers of commercial fishing operations, and 2) extent and intensity of commercial fishing effort within 3 main gear sectors: bottom trawl, midwater (pelagic) trawl, and fixed gears.  
This information was used directly as part of the 5-Year Review of Pacific Coast Groundfish EFH by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council.  Information was provided during Phases 1 (ended Sep 2012) and 2 (ended Apr 2013) of the review, and can be downloaded from the EFH Catalog.
Another direct result of this project in conjunction with the Council's review of groundfish EFH involves contributions of records to the national database of observations of deep-sea corals, developed and maintained by NOAA's Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program (DSCRTP).  Many of the records recently (i.e., last 3 years) added to the database were required deliverables of major research activities, funded by the DSCRTP.  Others were compiled directly for the current review of groundfish EFH and added to the national database during Phase 2 of the review.
Project Title: Analyzing Coral Bycatch Information in the Context of Bottom Trawling Intensity off the U.S. West Coast
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
Backlinks:
  •  None Defined

FY11_01_image.jpg
Map from the Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS) Marine Habitat Viewer, showing coral observations (colored circles) from NOAA Fisheries bottom trawl surveys conducted between 1980 and 2007 off the coast of Washington overlain onto colored rectangles summarizing total groundfish catch (lbs.) for commercial tows in 2009 that used bottom trawl gear. Credit: NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Oregon State University's Active Tectonics & Seafloor Mapping Lab