Louisiana Shrimp FIP Actions

List of Actions – Click on each action to jump to activity details

Action 1 – Increase TED/BRD compliance and reporting.
Action 2 – Increase compliance with tow time regulations for skimmer trawls and butterfly nets – Tow the Time Campaign.
Action 3 – Evaluate Observer Coverage Levels and achieve statistically appropriate coverage level.
Action 4 – Evaluate current data collection methods and protocols of the Observer Program to determine if current methods are able to identify and quantify more precisely all non-target speices caught by the fishery.
Action 5 – Support more robust state-level bycatch data collection and management.
Action 6 – Engagement with Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries to pursue a more well-defined Harvest Control Rule (HCR) in the event that the stock falls below established reference points.
Action 7 – Compile additional habitat information currently available from
state and federal agencies.
Action 8 – Compile additional ecosystem information currently available from
state and federal agencies.
Action 9 – Evaluate the current Louisiana Fishery Standards (LA R.S.§56:638.5) to determine how these objectives address uncertainty in science and management in consistency with the use of the precautionary approach.
Completed Actions
 

ACTIVITY 1: Increase TED/BRD compliance and reporting.

Reference

MSC PI: 2.1.1., 2.2.1, 2.3.2, 3.2.3
G.U.L.F. SBR: 7.2.2 (g)(iii), 7.6.9 (a)(i,ii,iii), 8.5.1(a), 12.10(c)

Participants – All Participants

 

Target Completion Date – Annual Updates

 

Summary

Data on sea turtle interactions with the fishery is collected and monitored through enforcement and compliance checks carried out by NOAA, US Coast Guard, State resource agencies and trained Sea Grant agents. The NOAA TED Compliance Policy was recently implemented in September 2016. Increasing courtesy inspections will:

1. provide participants with verification that the vessels they are sourcing from are in full compliance and operating efficiently
2. will increase the data available for use in meeting the requirements of the NOAA TED Compliance Policy.
3. Will increase compliance and effectiveness of BRDs/TEDs, therefore, reducing bycatch of primary, secondary, and ETP species.

Participants agree to work with harvesters and docks to ensure that TEDs and BRDs are checked at least annually through courtesy inspections by either NOAA Gear Monitoring Team or Sea Grant gear specialist. Documentation of gear inspections will be maintained by participants.

Gear Check Progress Summary
Year Total # Vessels Insepcted # Fully Compliant # With Non-Compliances # Compliances Fixed On Site
2016 7 3 4 1
2017 46 26 20 10
2016 Gear Evaluations

 

2017 Gear Evaluations

 

Action 1 Progress Summary (in addition to gear checks)

Date Progress Participants
January 2016 Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission approves a Notice of Intent (NOI) to adopt regulations requiring TEDs in otter trawls in state waters. LDWF
July 2016 TED requirements as state law go into effect (Title 76 updated July 2016). LDWF
June 2016-July 2017 LDWF checks 102 boats and 292 TEDs LDWF

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ACTIVITY 2: Increase compliance with tow time regulations for skimmer trawls and butterfly nets- Tow the Time Campaign.

 

Reference

MSC PI: 2.3.2, 3.2.3
G.U.L.F. SBR: 7.2.2 (g)(iii), 7.6.9 (a)(i,ii,iii), 8.5.1(a), 12.10(c)

Participants – All
Target Completion Date – 2018, Pending NOAA Proposed rule requireing TEDs in skimmers, wing nets, and pusher-head trawls (81 FR 91097)

 

Summary

NOAA Observer Program reports indicate that compliance with mandated tow times for skimmer trawls without TEDs is low. Tow time infractions appear partially due to misunderstandings or lack of information on current tow time regulations.

According to 50 CFR 223.206 (d)(3) “The tow time is measured from the time that the trawl door enters the water until it is removed from the water. For a trawl that is not attached to a door, the tow time is measured from the time the cod end enters the water until it is removed from the water.” The tow time method used by the Observer Program (Scott-Denton et al. 2014) does not measure tow times according to this legal definition. In a 2014 Technical Memorandum (Observer Coverage of the 2014 Gulf of Mexico Skimmer Trawl Fishery) the authors state, “In this study, tow time out was not recorded until the cod ends were brought fully on board.” Skimmer fishermen will remove the codends from the water, but leave frames in the water while bags are either checked or dumped. The Scott-Denton study also states that, “For tows when the frames remained in the water between tows, the subsequent tow’s start time was recorded as the next whole minute after the previous tow’s end time.” This is also inconsistent with the definition of tow time in the CFR. This methodology could lead to “noncompliances” recorded due to tow times not being measured based on the legal definition, which is used by fishermen. Such deviation may inaccurately create large noncompliance ratios for observed tows. Additionally, the report indicates that a large portion of non-compliances reported were within 5 minutes of the legal tow time requirement. The average tow time observed from May to June was around 63 minutes, which may be accounted for in the method of observers starting a tow while the codend was still on the vessel.

In 2014, G.U.L.F. launched the Tow the Time campaign in partnership with Louisiana Sea Grant to increase awareness of tow time restrictions. G.U.L.F. outreach staff will conduct dock visits to distribute accurate tow time information and Tow the Time decals to skimmer vessels. FIP Participants agree to distribute materials to their supply chains (docks and vessels) and ensure that skimmer vessels are properly educated and adhering to tow time limits.

Public comment period for a proposed rule requiring TEDs in skimmer, butterfly, and pusher-head trawls closed on February 14, 2017. Participants will monitor the progress of the ruling and assist industry in transitioning when the final rule is published.

Action 2 Progress
Date Progress Participants
July 2016. State law allowing enforcement of federal TED and tow time rules goes into effect. Title 76 (updated July 2016). LDWF
August 2016 Attended five industry meetings throughout Louisiana and distributed 330 Tow Time decals G.U.L.F.
November 2016 Distributed 100 Tow Time stickers in Dulac Paul Piazza and Big Easy
March 2017 Dock outreach to four areas in Louisiana to distribute Tow Time decals (370 distributed) G.U.L.F.
April 2017 Dock outreach to two areas in Louisiana to distribute 80 Tow Time Decals. G.U.L.F.
May 2017 Dock outreach to three areas in Louisiana to distribute 250 Tow Time Decals. G.U.L.F.
June 2017 Dock outreach to five areas in Louisiana to distribute 250 Tow Time Decals. G.U.L.F.

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ACTIVITY 3:  Evaluate Observer Coverage Levels and achieve statistically appropriate coverage level.

 

Reference

MSC PI 2.1.3, 2.2.3, 2.3.2
G.U.L.F. SBR 7.7.3(ii), 8.4.3(b)

Participants – All participants in collaboration with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Shrimp Roundtable.

 

Target Completion Date – 2019

 

Summary

The Observer Program for the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp fishery is currently considered a “Pilot/Baseline” program according to the NOAA U.S. National Bycatch Report (NBR). The NBR indicates that bycatch estimates for the fishery may be based on inconsistent or unreliable information and/or that sampling levels may have been inadequate or inconsistent. A statistical analysis is needed to determine appropriate observer coverage levels for the fishery.  Participants will continue to work in conjunction with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Supplier Roundtable to request that the government perform an evaluation of the program.

Action 3 Progress
Date Progress Participants
August 2016 A letter was sent to the NOAA Observer Program (lead-Woods Fisheries) requesting a statistical analysis of observer program coverage for the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fleet. Paul Piazza and Big Easy
September 2017 Letters of Support were sent to NOAA's Cooperative Research Program supporting a proposal focused on data collection for bycatch and observer coverage. New Orleans Fish House and members of the Shrimp Supplier Roundtable.

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ACTIVITY 4: Evaluate current data collection methods and protocols of the Observer Program to determine if current methods are able to identify and quantify all Primary, Secondary and main species as defined in MSC terminology.

Reference

MSC PI 2.1.3, 2.2.3
G.U.L.F. SBR 7.2.2(g)(iii), 7.6.9(a)(i,ii,iii), 8.5.1(a), 12.10(c)

Participants

– All participants in collaboration with SFP Shrimp Supplier Roundtable

Target Completion Date – 2019
Summary

There is currently onboard observer coverage for the Gulf of Mexico federal shrimp fleet, which collects data on non-target species caught by the fishery. Current observer reports, however, contain some large categories of unidentified finfish, crustaceans, and invertebrates. Participants will continue to work in conjunction with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Supplier Roundtable to address this activity.

Action 4 Progress
Date Progress Participants
September 2017 Letters of Support were sent to NOAA’s Cooperative Research Program supporting a proposal focused on
data collection for bycatch and observer coverage. New Orleans Fish House and members of the Shrimp Supplier Roundtable.

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ACTIVITY 5: Support more rubust state-level bycatch data collection and management.

Reference

MSC PI 2.1.1, 2.1.2, 2.1.3, 2.2.1, 2.2.2, 2.2.3
G.U.L.F. SBR 7.2.2(g)(iii), 7.6.9(a)(i,ii,iii), 8.5.1(a), 12.10(c)

Participants – All Participants

 

Target Completion Date – 2019, Pending LDWF bycatch study

 

Summary

The Louisiana Shrimp FMP reports that about 70% of shrimp landed in Louisiana is caught in state waters. The FMP currently relies on federal data regarding bycatch in the shrimp trawl fishery; however, gear regulations differ between the federal fleet and the state-licensed shrimp vessels, primarily, in that BRDs are not required in state waters. There is anecdotal evidence that many state-licensed shrimpers do use BRDs voluntarily, but there is no quantitative information on how many, what type of BRDs and when they are used (many report using them seasonally). There is also anecdotal evidence that many shrimpers in state waters utilize some bycatch species either for sale or for personal consumption, but again, there is no quantitative data on bycatch utilization.

Participants agree to work with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to evaluate BRD use, bycatch utilization and update bycatch characterization and ratio information for the state level fleet and consider management options based on data collected.

Action 5 Progress
Date Progress Participants
September 2017 Letters of Support were sent to NOAA’s Cooperative Research Program supporting a proposal focused on
data collection for bycatch and observer coverage. New Orleans Fish House and members of the Shrimp Supplier Roundtable.

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ACTIVITY 6: Engagement with Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries to pursue a more well-defined Harvest Control Rule (HCR) in the event that the stock falls below established reference points.

Reference

MSC PI 1.2.2

Participants– All Participants

 

Target Completion Date– 2020

 

Summary

The recent MSC pre-assessment notes that there is a generally understood HCR; however, it is currently unclear what tools the management system would use should the abundance drop to levels near PRI (point of recruitment impairment). A well-defined HCR should be developed that includes pre-agreed rules and management actions to be taken in response to changes in stock status.

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ACTIVITY 7: Compile additional habitat information currently available from state and federal agencies and incorporate into Louisiana Shrimp FMP.

Reference

MSC PI 2.4.2

Participants – All participants

 

Target Completion Date– 2018

 

Summary

GMFMC has a long history of evaluating habitats and determining impacts of fishing. GMFMC has identified essential fish habitat, which extends to the shore and includes state waters and habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC). No specific evidence was provided for the pre-assessment indicating habitat management by LDWF and sea grasses were identified by the pre-assessment as a potential vulnerable marine ecosystem.

Additional evidence likely exists that was not available or considered at the time of the pre-assessment, which can be compiled and presented to address this issue.

Coastal restoration and habitat management are high priorities in the state of Louisiana and several agencies are involved in these efforts including LDWF, the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA), the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources (LDNR) and others. CPRA is the lead agency and has developed a comprehensive Coastal Master Plan for the state of Louisiana which included extensive research on habitat and ecosystems within Louisiana waters.

Several management measures do exist through LDWF and by other Louisiana agencies responsible for habitat and coastal restoration that can be further analyzed and potentially incorporated into the Louisiana Shrimp FMP. For example, LDWF manages numerous wildlife management areas where trawling is prohibited and efforts are in place to conserve submerged aquatic vegetation.

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ACTIVITY 8: Compile additional ecosystem information currently available from state and federal agencies and incorporate into Louisiana Shrimp FMP.

Reference

MSC PI 2.5.1, 2.5.2, 2.5.3

Participants All participants

 

Target Completion Date– 2018

 

Summary

GMFMC and NOAA Fisheries has have a long history of ecosystem-based fisheries management. Current measures for the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery focus on minimizing incidental catch, ETP interactions and habitat impacts. Based on the evidence considered at the time of the pre-assessment, it is not clear whether GMFMC has identified key features most crucial to maintaining ecosystem resilience and productivity. The assessment team notes that information has not been gathered and consolidated in a manner which allows the team to draw conclusions on the ecosystem information, status and management. Additionally, as noteds above, agencies within Louisiana have done extensive evaluations of ecosystems within Louisiana as part of the comprehensive Coastal Master Plan developed by CPRA.

Additional evidence likely exists that was not available or considered at the time of the pre-assessment, which can be compiled and presented to address this issue.

Action 8 Progress
Date Progress Participants
August 2016 A letter was sent to Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council regarding implementation of Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management in the Gulf (lead-Big Easy) Big Easy and Paul Piazza.

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ACTIVITY 9: Evaluate the current Louisiana Fishery Standards (LA R.S. §56:638.5) to determine how these objectives address uncertainty in science and management in consistency with the use of the precautionary approach.

Reference

MSC PI 3.1.3

Participants – Big Easy, Paul Piazza, New Orleans Fish House

 

Summary

Federal science and management is governed by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management Act (MSA), which provides clear guidelines for the 10 National Standards implemented by NOAA Fisheries. MSA guidelines have been translated into scientific and technical guidance and have been interpreted as being consistent with international agreements and criteria for precautionary approaches. Louisiana has similar fishery standards established for state fisheries management through Louisiana Revised Statute 56:638, which contains objectives for the use of best available science; however, it was unclear to the assessment team how uncertainty is addressed within state science and management and whether these objectives are consistent with a precautionary approach.

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COMPLETED ACTIONS

Align the Louisiana Shrimp FIP with “Comprehensive FIP Guidelines

Reference

Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions

Summary

The Audubon Nature Institute G.U.L.F. MAP is designed to be flexible and meet the needs of all its stakeholders. This project currently meets the criteria of the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions Comprehensive FIP.

Completed Action Progress
Date Action
Semptember 2015 Participants requested that the Louisiana Shrimp Task Force provide funding to update the Louisiana shrimp MSC Pre-assessment. Funds were awarded.
February 2016 Louisiana Shrimp Task Force reviewed and approved the MSC pre-assessment for release. Report was provided to participants.
July 2016 Third party certification body selected to complete scoping document based on MSC pre-assessment.
November 2016 Scoping Document completed.
Other Actions
Date Action
March 2016 Meeting in Boston with Shrimp Roundtable – decide on actions for Roundtable for 2016.
April 2016 A Statement of Work from Shrimp Roundtable with two actions (ecosystem and observer coverage) was agreed upon by all participants and posted.
September 2016 New Orleans Fish House joins as a FIP participant.

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