Hawaii non-commercial fishermen describe attitudes and preferences towards management and ecosystem health

During the summer of 2015, the PIFSC Socioeconomics Program in collaboration with Impact Assessment, Inc., completed a survey to better understand what matters most to Hawaii’s non-commercial fishermen. The survey results provide valuable insights from the non-commercial fishing community into their: (a) motivations for fishing, (b) preferences towards fisheries management strategies, (c) satisfaction with Hawaii fisheries management, and (d) perceptions towards ecosystem conditions and threats to the marine environment.

There were three primary groups of fishermen that participated in the survey: (1) vessel owners that indicated that they use their vessel for non-commercial fishing, (2) fishermen that have registered with the National Saltwater Angler Registry, and (3) shore-based fishermen who volunteered to participate in the survey through outreach efforts. A total of 3500 surveys were mailed to fishermen across the State of Hawaii between June and July 2015, and 1180 surveys were returned.

dietFishing for food was one of the most important reasons cited for fishing, and 68% of survey respondents consider catching enough fish for home/personal consumption to be the most important aspect of a fishing trip. Nearly 80% of fishermen indicated that they always or often share catch with family and/or friends and approximately 36% of respondents indicated that their catch is extremely important or very important to their regular diet.

In considering non-commercial fisheries management, a majority of respondents (% of fishermen) think the most important fishery management objectives should be to:

  • Ensure adequate amounts of fish are allowed to mature and spawn (73%)
  • Ensure future generations will have high quality fishing opportunities (68%)
  • Restore depleted fish stocks (64%)

However, respondents were generally not satisfied with current fisheries policies to protect fishery resources. More than 40% of respondents were not satisfied with current monitoring and enforcement of non-commercial fishing regulations, and felt managing agencies were not doing enough to protect declining fish populations and restoring fish stocks that have been depleted. The majority of respondents preferred management strategies that included establishing minimum size and bag limits for certain species and protecting and restoring fish habitat that has been degraded. Respondents were also largely in favor of seasonal closures and increased restrictions on select gear types. Over 40% of respondents ranked non-commercial fishermen as having the least amount of influence over fisheries policy and as being very concerned about the potential socio-cultural impacts of fisheries regulations.

FishHealth_2015Fishermen provided diverse responses when asked to rate the current health of various Hawaii fisheries. When considering fisheries overall in the State of Hawaii 25% reported the health as Good with 17% reporting Poor, although the most common response was Fair (39%). However, there was general concern that fish populations are not heading in the right direction.

trends

The most severe threats to Hawaii’s marine ecosystem, according to a majority of survey respondents are; overfishing in commercial fisheries (68%), marine habitat loss and degradation(60%), and run-off and sedimentation (55%).

Hawaii non-commercial fishermen demonstrated a strong commitment to providing input to fisheries management through the completion of this survey. Nearly 35% of survey respondents provided additional comments when afforded the opportunity at the end of the questionnaire, and 49% of fishermen requested results from this research. Additionally, 40% of survey respondents requested for NOAA Fisheries to maintain their contact information on file for use in future non-commercial fisheries research in Hawaii.

A manuscript providing state-level survey results has been completed and is currently in review with PIFSC editorial, while a report providing more refined summaries for subgroups of the population (county, boat vs. shore, age groups, etc.) is under development. Survey reports will be made available to the fishing community upon publication.

Click here to download a brochure with select preliminary state-level survey results.

For more information about this research or to comment on survey results, feel free to contact us: pifsc.socioeconomics@noaa.gov

For more information about other research from the PIFSC Socioeconomics Program visit our website or browse recent blog posts.

Posted in Socioeconomics and Planning Group, Socioeconomics Program | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PIFSC Young Scientist Opportunity (PYSO) Program Accepting Applications This February for 2016 Summer Internships

The 2016 PIFSC Young Scientist Opportunity (PYSO) program website has been updated with the four new projects available this summer.

  • 2016 Pacific Islands Deep Sea Coral Exploration Story Map
  • Growth Rate, Residency Times, and Foraging Ecology of Juvenile Green Turtles in the Oceanic and Nearshore Waters of the Hawaiian Archipelago
  • Synthesis of Blue Marlin (Makaira nigricans) Recreational Fishery and Biological Information from Hawaii
  • Scientific Communications and Outreach for Coral Reefs in the Main Hawaiian Islands

Since 2009, PIFSC has hosted between one and four summer interns as part of the PYSO program. These interns have worked on projects ranging from the economic uncertainties of the Honolulu fish auction, to calcium carbonate deposition rates on coral reefs. During the summer internship, the interns will be mentored by a staff scientist and have the opportunity to interact with other NOAA interns that are being hosted at the IRC on Ford Island.

Please share the link with any eligible undergraduate students, or institutions, that you think may be interested.

We are accepting applications from prospective interns during the month of February.

For more information, please see http://www.pifsc.noaa.gov/pyso/index.php .

Posted in From PIFSC Director's Office | Tagged , , , , ,

NOAA scientists quantify coral reef growth to monitor the effects of ocean acidification

by Bernardo Vargas-Ángel
Assemblage of branching and foliose corals at Swains Island, American Samoa (NOAA Photo by James Morioka).

Assemblage of branching and foliose corals at Swains Island, American Samoa (NOAA Photo by James Morioka).

Often referred to as the “rainforests of the sea,” coral reefs are some of the most biologically rich and economically valuable ecosystems on Earth. Most coral reefs occur in warm, shallow, clear waters and are built by stony corals together with other organisms that form hard, calcium carbonate skeletons over decades and centuries.

Underwater photo of coral assemblages at Fagatele Bay, American Samoa (NOAA Photo by Louise Giuseffi).

Underwater photo of coral assemblages at Fagatele Bay, American Samoa (NOAA Photo by Louise Giuseffi).

Scientists at the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program of NOAA’s Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center are conducting long-term research to monitor the rates at which reef organisms build their calcium carbonate skeletons and how changes in ocean chemistry, particularly ocean acidification, might impact their growth.

Ocean acidification is a global phenomenon in which increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed into the ocean making the seawater more acidic. The lower pH and higher acidity of the ocean makes it harder for marine creatures, such as shellfish and corals, to build their calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.

CAU assembly unit: a. oblique view, b. side view, and c. in-situ image of deployed CAU unit (NOAA Drawing by Daniel Merritt).

CAU assembly unit: a. oblique view, b. side view, and c. in-situ image of deployed CAU unit (NOAA Drawing by Daniel Merritt).

Throughout the coral reefs of the U.S. Pacific Islands, we are monitoring the production of calcium carbonate using calcification accretion units (CAUs). These underwater units are made of two PVC plates that are placed at specific locations on coral reefs to allow for the recruitment and colonization of crustose coralline algae and hard corals onto the plates. By measuring net accretion, we can determine how much calcium carbonate is produced over a given period of time. Total net accretion on coral reefs can be calculated by measuring the change in weight of CAUs deployed on the reefs for periods of two to three years.

Newly deployed CAU assembly installed at Swains Island, American Samoa.

Newly deployed CAU assembly installed at Swains Island, American Samoa.

CAU plates encrusted with crustose coralline algae after two years of deployment.

CAU plates encrusted with crustose coralline algae after two years of deployment.

We hypothesize that net accretion will vary based on island, region, and habitat—and will change over time. By monitoring net accretion on coral reefs, we will be able to detect changes in calcification rates over time and therefore, assess the effects of ocean acidification.

Spatial distribution and mean carbonate accretion rates derived from CAU deployments by study site (left panel) and island-wide (right panel).

Spatial distribution and mean carbonate accretion rates derived from CAU deployments by study site (left panel) and island-wide (right panel).

A recently published article in the journal PLoS ONE, Baseline Assessment of Net Calcium Carbonate Accretion Rates on U.S. Pacific Reefs, presents a comprehensive baseline of carbonate accretion rates primarily by crustose coralline algae (CCA) on CAU plates deployed on coral reefs at dozens of sites across 11 islands in the central and south Pacific Ocean. The study underscores the pivotal role CCA play as a key reef calcifier and offers a unique perspective to better understand the potential effects of ocean acidification at different scenarios of future ocean chemistry.

CAU plates prepared for processing in the lab show a diverse collection of organisms (a. corralline algae, b. shellfish, c. coral, d. encrusting algae).

CAU plates prepared for processing in the lab show a diverse collection of organisms (a. corralline algae, b. shellfish, c. coral, d. encrusting algae).

Five main conclusions can be gleaned from this study:

Reef at Swains Island, American Samoa (NOAA Photo by Louise Giuseffi)

Reef at Swains Island, American Samoa (NOAA Photo by Louise Giuseffi)

  • Due to the highly variable nature of the carbonate accretion rates, it is expected that coral community responses to ocean acidification will likely vary widely between reef ecosystems, as well as between sites within islands.
  • Crustose coralline algae deposit a highly soluble form of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) known as high-Mg-calcite. Increases in the acidity of ocean water will likely result in lower CCA accretion rates.
  • Under acidified conditions CCA may lose their competitive advantage as the dominant calcifying group of the early reef colonizers, which in turn may have adverse implications for the settlement and development of other important reef calcifying organisms such as corals themselves.
  • Under the projected changes in marine seawater carbonate chemistry (e.g. ocean acidification), the ability of marine calcifying organisms to cope with such changes, and continue offering the ecosystem services they currently provide, will likely be determined by both the magnitude and rate of seawater pH decrease.
  • The combined effects of chronic human impacts, together with decreased pH from ocean acidification, will likely affect reef community structure and therefore carbonate accretion on coral reefs worldwide.

To read the full article go to: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0142196

Vargas-Ángel B, Richards CL, Vroom PS, Price NN, Schils T, Young CW, Smith J, Johnson MD, Brainard RE (2015) PLoS ONE 10(12): e0142196. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0142196

Posted in Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BIBA-SEM! Socioeconomic monitoring in Micronesia: Reflections from the facilitators

By Supin Wongbusarakum

SEM_teamThis fall, I traveled to Guam to participate in an energizing Training-of-Trainers (ToT) workshop—for socioeconomic monitoring training—as one of three facilitators. The workshop brought together nine representatives from five countries[1], in Micronesia and Hawai‘i, and is the latest effort to provide socioeconomic data and information to support the Micronesia Challenge. The Micronesia Challenge is an agreement between these five countries to effectively conserve at least 30% of the near-shore marine resources and 20% of the terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020. Understanding the social, cultural, economic, and political characteristics of these islands is critical to helping resource managers identify potential problems and opportunities, and focus management priorities[2].

Chief Gadao, a legendary chief of Inarajan, a historic village that we visited in southern Guam.

Chief Gadao, a legendary chief of Inarajan, a historic village that we visited in southern Guam.

The aim of this recent workshop was to build on many previous efforts, including two Socioeconomic Measures workshops conducted in 2012 and 2015, and funded through the generous support of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), and Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance (MINA). These two previous workshops developed and tested a set of socioeconomic indicators for all Micronesia Challenge sites and established a regional core socioeconomic monitoring team. With this foundation and ongoing financial commitments from these partners, the recent workshop was the first opportunity to begin training this core monitoring team and building capacity at the Micronesian regional level.

Core SEM team members and facilitators discussed topics for next training workshop in 2016

Core SEM team members and facilitators discussed topics for next training workshop in 2016

We spent the first week deepening the team’s knowledge of socioeconomic monitoring (SEM) based on the guiding document, Socioeconomic Monitoring Guidelines for Coastal Managers in Pacific Island Countries (commonly known as SEM-Pasifika[3]), which was developed and launched by NOAA and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme in 2008. They also worked on planning sessions and practiced their training skills for a socioeconomic monitoring workshop that was conducted with local participants from Guam in the second week.

The trainers-in-training for socioeconomic monitoring in Micronesia include:
Angel Jonathan, Conservation Society of Pohnpei
Bertha Reyuw, Yap Community Action Program
Bond Segal, Kosrae Conservation Safety Organization
Kodep Ogumoro-Uludong, MINA
Kriskitina Kanemoto, formerly with Chuuk Conservation Society
Mark Stege, Marshall Islands Conservation Society
Rachael Nash, Micronesia Challenge
Shirley Koshiba, Palau International Coral Reef Center
Erin Zanre, Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources

All three facilitators came away from this training with a renewed energy and commitment to strengthening socioeconomic monitoring efforts in the region and building capacity of the core team.

Here are my reflections on the workshop as well as those of my two co-facilitators, Brooke Nevitt and Marybelle Quinata.

Supin Wongbusarakum (NOAA PIFSC Ecosystem Sciences Division), “As a social scientist involved in developing guidelines for socioeconomic monitoring and assessing conservation impacts, I do not need convincing that socioeconomic monitoring helps us better plan, manage and conserve marine and coastal resources. The key question to me has not been the importance of SEM, but how we can strengthen and sustain it. After multiple years of SEM efforts in the region, we began to establish baseline data for different sites, some of which has already been used for better planning or management. However, we do not have real monitoring planned for the sites with baseline data and there has been little synergy and exchange across the islands. We needed to find a more strategic way to make the best use of our limited funding and human resources to grow and ensure the sustainability of SEM. One way to do this is to have a regional team committed to SEM efforts and hold strategic planning meetings that allow us to review what has happened and determine how best to move toward effective monitoring and sustainability. I am delighted to see a team forming and a Micronesia Challenge monitoring plan in development. As I learned from Brooke, a cheer in her language, Biba SEM!”

Brooke Nevitt (MINA) Coordinator for Micronesia Challenge Socioeconomic Monitoring, “We have a team! This is SO exciting! Two years ago, Supin came to me and said, ‘Brooke, I think we should try something different than the one-time trainings and assessments we lead around the region.’ And here we are. With representatives from each jurisdiction, we have the opportunity to really move socioeconomic monitoring forward. All of the team members agree that this work is necessary and critical. There is so much work still to be done. But, tackling it together with the support of Shirley, Mark, Kodep, Bond, Angel, Marybelle, Kris, and Bertha, we are making great strides forward. As we would say in the CNMI, Biba SEM! Biba SEM!

Marybelle Quinata (Pacific Islands Regional Office, NMFS, NOAA Guam Field Office), “Working with Supin, Brooke, and the rest of the team has been an exciting learning experience because all of us entered the socioeconomic realm under different circumstances with different professional backgrounds. However, one common factor that unites us is a commitment to our communities that rely on our islands’ natural resources, not just for survival but also to preserve our cultural heritage and identity as Pacific Islanders of Micronesia and the Marianas. During the SEM-Pasifika Workshop in Guam, trainers and trainers-in-training pushed their personal limits. We learned about our strengths, acknowledged our weaknesses, and helped one another improve as facilitators. As the first of its kind, this SEM-Pasifika workshop proved to be a unique learning experience that tested us as a team and also at an individual level. And just like our islands, our team has grown more resilient because of it. I look forward to increasing our knowledge, capabilities, and ambitions as the SEM Core Team Family! Biba!”

Core SEM team members with Guam participants and facilitators.

Core SEM team members with Guam participants and facilitators.

[1] The five Micronesia Challenge countries include Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall islands.

[2] Visit mircronesiachallenge.org to learn more about the Micronesia Challenge.

[3] A copy of the guiding document can be downloaded from the SocMon website.

Posted in Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

NOAA Leads GIS Workshop in Timor-Leste

By Max Sudnovsky and Annette DesRochers

NOAA Fisheries’ team members Annette DesRochers and Max Sudnovsky of the Coral Reef Ecosystem Program (CREP) recently returned from a productive visit to Dili, Timor-Leste. Nearing the end of a four-year collaborative partnership between NOAA and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), DesRochers and Sudnovsky conducted a workshop over three days in support of the Government of Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) Agriculture and Land-Use Geographic Information System (AL-GIS).

Workshop participants from left to right: Alsina F Moulein, DNPA; Horacio Santos, DNGRIP; Maria B de Jesus, DNPs; Orlando H. Kalis, DNGRIP; Rita Soares, DNPs; Jose Quintao, DNPs; Annette DesRochers, NOAA; and Adina Alves, DNPs. Workshop participants not present in the photo include Alda Sousa, DNPA and Max Sudnovsky, NOAA. DNPA = Directorate National For Fisheries and Aquaculture, DNGRIP = Directorate National for Resource Management and Inspection, DNPs = Directorate National For Research.

Workshop participants from left to right: Alsina F Moulein, DNPA; Horacio Santos, DNGRIP; Maria B de Jesus, DNPs; Orlando H. Kalis, DNGRIP; Rita Soares, DNPs; Jose Quintao, DNPs; Annette DesRochers, NOAA; and Adina Alves, DNPs. Workshop participants not present in the photo include Alda Sousa, DNPA and Max Sudnovsky, NOAA.

The workshop was designed to provide the AL-GIS team with an introduction to how NOAA manages coral reef data and how to link the science to support fisheries management in Timor-Leste. Workshop participants from the Directorate National Fisheries and Aquaculture (DNPA), Directorate National for Resource Management and Inspection (DNGRIP), and the Directorate National for Research (DNPs) explored how to make use of the data collected by NOAA-CREP in Timor-Leste.

Workshop participants navigate a geographic information system with the coral reef data NOAA collected for Timor-Leste.

Workshop participants navigate maps of Timor-Leste with the coral reef data collected by NOAA.

Through a series of instructional and “hands-on” GIS exercises, participants learned how to create maps of coral reef baseline data, collected by NOAA and our partners, from 2012 to 2014 and utilize the satellite-derived basemaps that NOAA-CREP developed for the nearshore areas around Timor-Leste.

This workshop was made possible in part with funding from the NOAA Fisheries International Activities and Seafood Inspection Program and served as an interim opportunity to share the draft data results that have been prepared by NOAA-CREP through the NOAA-USAID Timor-Leste partnership. The final results for in-country presentation will be coordinated with MAF in early 2016.

Example of the WorldView-2 satellite image and ground-truth data (left) used to derive bathymetry for the near-shore areas around Timor-Leste (right).

Example of the WorldView-2 satellite image and ground-truth data (left) used to derive bathymetry for the near-shore areas around Timor-Leste (right).

Following the workshop, Michael Abbey of the International Activities and Seafood Inspection Program held a half-day meeting for the MAF fisheries managers and participants from the GIS workshop. The goal of the meeting was to discuss how to bridge the gap between fisheries management and GIS in the context of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management and to explore NOAA’s potential future engagement to support such activities in Timor-Leste.

The NOAA team also participated in a U.S. Embassy Outreach event, “Amérika iha Timor-Leste: Parseria ba Prosperidade,” at Timor Plaza. This event was a day-long exhibition showcasing the relationship between the United States and Timor-Leste. At the event, participants learned about initiatives in the areas of economic growth, defense cooperation, democracy and governance, safety and security, health, education, and inter-country exchange to build a more prosperous Timor-Leste. Visitors also participated in many activities, contests, and quizzes—both live and online—throughout the day. The NOAA booth was one of the most popular stops for many parents and children!

 

Posted in Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Considering catch share management for the Hawaii longline fishery

The Hawaii longline fleet is currently subject to catch quotas for bigeye tuna assigned by two regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs). One quota is assigned by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), for bigeye tuna caught in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), denoted as west of 150-degree W longitude. A second quota is assigned by the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) and applies to vessels greater than 24m in length for bigeye tuna caught in the Eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO), denoted as east of 150-degree W longitude.

source: Pew Charitable Trusts

source: Pew Charitable Trusts

These quotas have been reached in recent years leading to periods of fishery closures (2009, 2010, and 2015) and localized socioeconomic impacts. Additionally, the quota in the WCPO is scheduled to decrease further in the future, creating uncertainty for fishery stakeholders.

PIFSC Socioeconomics Program researchers Kolter Kalberg and Thuy Tran – representing the University of Hawaii Joint Institute of Marine and Atmospheric Research (JIMAR) and Lynker Technologies, respectively, will be in the field between September 2015 and January 2016 to talk to fishermen and fishery stakeholders to better understand: (a) current fishery conditions; (b) concerns for the fishery; (c) management priorities; (d) outlook for the future; (e) knowledge of catch share programs; and (f) interest in considering catch share management.

A catch shares program is a strategy of managing a fishery under a quota which allocates a portion of the total allowable catch to an individual, boat, permit, cooperative, or other entity within that fishery. When participants have caught their portion of fish, they must stop fishing, or acquire rights from another participant.

These management programs have become increasingly popular around the globe, and can be designed and adapted to creatively meet the needs of fishery participants. Quota allocations can be fixed, dynamic, transferable, or a mix of these types. In other applications, quota allocations have been determined by historical catch, even distribution, vessel size, auction-based allocation, or some mix of these methods.

The goal of this research is to start the conversation as to whether alternative management strategies could better meet the needs and priorities of the Hawaii longline fleet and fishery stakeholders. It may be that a catch share management system could provide benefits to fishery stakeholders relative to the current management system — maybe not.

Things to consider about catch shares for the Hawaii longline fleet

  • Allocation – How would allocation occur?
  • Transferability – Should rights be able to be traded or sold?
  • New Entrants – How would new entrants and people exiting the fleet be treated?
  • Crew – How would crew members be considered in this program?
  • Authority – Who would manage the operations of the program?
  • Consolidation Concerns – Should there be limits on the concentration of shares?
  • Equity – Who decides if it is fair?

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Click here to download an informational brochure supporting this project (versions in first languages: Vietnamese, Korean)

Click here to watch a short informational video supporting this project.

For more information about this research feel free to contact us: pifsc.socioeconomics@noaa.gov

For more information about other research from the PIFSC Socioeconomics Program visit our website or browse recent blog posts.

Posted in Socioeconomics and Planning Group, Socioeconomics Program | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,