CPUE/Diver Research Project

Scuba Diving on the Great Escape Southern California Live-Aboard Dive Boat

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Posted by David Osorio on December 05, 2003 at 08:37:50:

Hello All,

It's come to my attention that there's been much discussion about apparent nearshore commercial fishing activities in the Carmel Bay Ecological Reserve. This past October and November, CDFG took part in a cooperative research effort with local commercial fishermen, UC Sea Grant, and PISCO UC Santa Cruz.

The study at 4 sites in Carmel Bay compared the catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) of standardized fishing gear (trap, stick, and hook-and-line gear) to diver counts. The purpose was to quantify differences in species composition, size, and apparent fish abundance inherent to the different survey methods. This information is necessary to both plan and interpret any wide-scale surveys of fish abundance.

Several sharp-eyed divers and members of the public called DFG's CalTip with questions about the fishing activity in the area. All fishing activities were conducted under a Research/Collection Permit issued for the project. Briefly, I'll address some points of concern:

Fishing Methodology
All fishing activities associated with this study were catch-and-release.
Three of the 4 research sites were indeed located within the Carmel Bay Ecological Reserve where commercial fishing is prohibited. (The reserve boundary runs between Pescadero Pt. in the north to Granite Pt. in the south.) The sites in Carmel Bay were chosen based on the anticipated difference in fish density at each, and the fact that Carmel Bay often has more favorable weather conditions than sites elsewhere. Sixteen survey days were completed (4 replicates of each method at each site).

Communication/ Field Identification
Each fishing vessel had at least 2 observer-biologists on board during fishing operations, however they may not have been wearing distinctive clothing. To help prevent misunderstandings during future efforts of this sort, we will make sure to adequately mark each vessel with "DFG Research" signs. The Marine Wardens in Monterey were notified of the fishing activity associated with the project and returned telephone calls from individuals who contacted CalTip.

Status of Report
Participants are now in the data consolidation/analysis phase of the project. Results of the project will be written up and submitted to a peer-reviewed journal for publication.

More information on the study's design and motivation will soon be available on the DFG website. I will post links to this listserve early next week. Thanks for you patience while these items are made available on the web. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


David Osorio
California Department of Fish & Game
Marine Region
20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100
Monterey, CA 93940
Phone 831-649-7195
Fax 831-649-2917
Email dosorio@dfg.ca.gov

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