Mississippi Shrimp Actions

Work Plan

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

Action 1 – Reduced Bycatch Through Voluntary TED/BRD Checks.
Action 2 – Tow the Time Campaign.
Action 3 – Skimmer Trawl Project.
Action 4 – Development of a Bycatch Management Strategy.
Action 5 – Exploration of Traceability Systems.
Action 6 – Evaluation of Observer Coverage Levels and Achieve Statistically Appropriate Coverage.
Action 7 – Evaluation of 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 Species Caught by the Fishery.
Action 8 – 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.
Completed Actions

 

ACTION 1: Reduced Bycatch Through Voluntary TED/BRD Checks.

Reference

G.U.L.F. SBR 7.2.2(d), 7.2.2 (g)(iii), 7.6.9(a)(i,ii,iii), 8.5.1(a), 12.10(c)
MSC Principle 2 – bycatch; endangered threateened and protected species; ecosystem

Participants – All

 

Summary

Compliance with TED and BRD regulations requires ongoing maintenance to ensure that bycatch is minimized. Participants agree to work with harvesters and docks to ensure that BRDs and TEDs are properly tuned through regular courtesy checks (at least annually) by Texas Sea Grant and/or NOAA Gear Monitoring Team. Documentation of gear inspections will be maintained by participants.

Action 1 Progress: Gear Check Summary
Year Total # Vessels Insepcted # Fully Compliant # With Non-Compliances # Compliances Fixed On Site
2017 14 7 7 6
2018 19 12 7 2

2018 Gear Evaluations

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ACTION 2: 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

 

Summary

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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
April 2016 Distributed Tow Time Stickers to MSCFU board for distribution to members. MSCFU
December 2016 NOAA published a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and proposed rule to eliminate tow times and require TEDs in skimmers; butterfly and wing nets. NOAA
December 2016 FIP Committee members will continue to encourage tow time compliance until the new rule is finalized. MSCFU; M and M Shrimp; Gulf Pride.
January 2017 Participants attend NOAA scoping meetings on proposed rule for TEDs in skimmers. MSCFU; M and M Shrimp; Gulf Pride
February 2017 Participants coordinated an educational workshop for industry members to further discuss the proposed rule and solicit public comment from industry. MSCFU
March 2017 Visited two docks to distribute 50 Tow Time Decals. G.U.L.F.
June 2017 Distributed 10 Tow Time Decals at the docks in Biloxi. G.U.L.F.
March 2018 Distributed Tow Time Decals at Louisiana Fisheries Forward Summit and continue to distribute to docks and other agencies. G.U.L.F.

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ACTION 3: Skimmer Trawl Project.

Reference

Industry recommendations
G.U.L.F. SBR  – 7.1.2(a,b)

Participants – All

 

Summary

While the status of the final rule regarding requiring TEDs in skimmer trawls is unknown, participants agree to explore other avenues for encouraging tow time compliance and documenting compliance  within the fleet. Shorter tow times not only decrease likelihood of sea turtle interaction, but also result in a higher quality shrimp. Several options exist for documenting and enforcing tow times and participants will explore the best fit for their businesses. As of summer 2018, G.U.L.F. is working with Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United and Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium on the funding and development of a mobile application to track and record tow times which would increase compliance and provide data on shrimp quality.

Action 3 Progress
Date Progress Participants
June 2018 Developed proposal for tow time mobile application – seeking funding and development opportunities. G.U.L.F.; MSCFU; MS-AL Sea Grant Consortium

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ACTION 4: Development of a Bycatch Management Strategy.

Reference

MSC Principle 2 – bycatch; endangered, threatened, and protected
species; ecosystem
G.U.L.F. SBR 7.2.2 (d), 7.2.2 (g)(iii), 7.6.9 (a)(i,ii,iii), 8.5.1 (a), 12.10(c)

Participants – All

 

Summary

Participants agree to work with MDMR to develop a bycatch management plan for state waters and agree to work with vessels to encourage use of BRDs on vessels within state waters.

Action 4 Progress
Date Progress Participants
September 2017 G.U.L.F. and participants in the SFP Shrimp Supplier’s Roundtable wrote a letter of support to NOAA’s Cooperative Research Program supporting a proposal focused on data collection for bycatch and observer coverage. MSCFU; Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable
June 2018 G.U.L.F. developed a survey to assess voluntary use of BRDs in state waters which was distributed through MDMR's Spring 2018 newsletter. G.U.L.F.; MDMR

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ACTION 5: Exploration of Traceability Systems.

At a committee meeting on 1.11.17,  participants expressed interest in exploring traceability to differentiate and highlight domestic product. As of summer 2018, G.U.L.F is exploring development of a traceability system for pilot testing with the shrimp industry.

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ACTION 6: Evaluation of Observer Coverage Levels and Achieve Statistically Appropriate Coverage.

Reference

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

Participants – All in collaboration with SFP Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable

 

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 6 Progress
Date Progress Participants
September 2017 G.U.L.F. and participants in the SFP Shrimp Supplier’s Roundtable wrote a letter of support to NOAA’s Cooperative Research Program supporting a proposal focused on data collection for bycatch and observer coverage. MSCFU;Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable.
July 2018 In July 2018 the Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable will host a workshop bringing together the NOAA Observer Program and stakeholders with expertise on fisheries certification and/or Gulf shrimp to identify solutions to Observer Program-related barriers to certification. Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable

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ACTION 7: Evaluation of 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 Species Caught by the Fishery.

Reference

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

Participants – All in collaboration with SFP Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable

 

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 7 Progress
Date Progress Participants
September 2017 G.U.L.F. and participants in the SFP Shrimp Supplier’s Roundtable wrote a letter of support to NOAA’s Cooperative Research Program supporting a proposal focused on data collection for bycatch and observer coverage. MSCFU;Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable.
July 2018 In July 2018 the Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable will host a workshop bringing together the NOAA Observer Program and stakeholders with expertise on fisheries certification and/or Gulf shrimp to identify solutions to Observer Program-related barriers to certification. Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable

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ACTION 8: 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 – SFP Shrimp Suppliers Roundtable

 

Summary

The recent Louisiana 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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COMPLETED ACTIONS

Develop a Mississippi Shrimp Task Force.

Reference

Industry recommendations,
G.U.L.F. SBR – 7.1.2(a, b)

Summary

Participants agree to work with MS shrimp industry members and MDMR to develop a task force with representatives from each area and each aspect of the industry (skimmer and otter trawl fishermen, dealers, processors, biologists and managers).
Update – Due to lack of MCMR interest, Committee determined that best path is to engage the Commission informally and update on progress of project. Should need for industry task force arise in future, Committee will support formation and continue to be engaged.

Date Progress Participants
December 2016 Mississippi Commission on Marine Resources met to vote on establishment of Mississippi Shrimp Task Force. Motion did not carry. MSCFU; M&M Shrimp.
January 2017 Due to lack of interest from MCMR determined that best path forward is to engage the Commission informally and update on progress of project. Should need for industry task force arise in future the FIP Committee will support formation and continue to be engaged. -

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