Science Seminar

12 PM–1 PM | Online | Public

Have major management changes led to more selective fishing in Canada's Pacific groundfish fishery?

Science Seminar

For our April seminar, Dr. Robyn Forrest from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Pacific Biological Station in British Columbia, Canada will give a talk titled:

"Have major management changes led to more selective fishing in Canada’s Pacific groundfish fishery?"

The seminar will be 45 minutes followed by 15 minutes for general questions and discussion. Then for those that would like to join, there will be a 30 mins in-depth discussion afterwards.


The British Columbia groundfish fishery has experienced three important management changes since 1996: 1) the 1996 introduction of 100% at-sea observer coverage and individual transferable quotas (ITQs) in the bottom trawl fishery; 2) the 2006 introduction of 100% electronic monitoring (EM) and ITQs on all remaining vessels; and 3) the 2012 freezing of the trawl footprint and a bycatch limit on cold water coral and sponges (CWCS). In addition, substantial decreases in quota for yelloweye rockfish (Sebastes ruberrimus), an incidentally-caught species, were introduced in 2016 following assessment information that the stock was highly depleted. We analyzed the extensive logbook database arising from the observer and EM programs to evaluate whether these management changes had incentivized more selective fishing practices in the groundfish fishery. We used spatial clustering methods to define fine-scale fishing grounds in the longline and trawl fleets. We then calculated the relative utilization of these fishing grounds before and after management changes to evaluate whether the fleet had employed spatial avoidance to fish more selectively, specifically with respect to bycatch of yelloweye rockfish and CWCS. We present evidence that the longline and trawl fleets were able to reduce bycatch of yelloweye rockfish and CWCS by avoiding areas with high encounter rates with these species. We conclude that non-spatial management measures can have highly spatial outcomes in terms of meeting management objectives. We also note that key ingredient in the workability of major management changes is involvement by the fishing industry in their design and implementation.

Short bio

Robyn Forrest is a research scientist at DFO in the Quantitative Methods Section at Pacific Biological Station. She has Bachelor of Arts, majoring in theatre Arts from Curtin University in Western Australia; BSc majoring in Marine Science from University of Sydney, and a PhD and post-doctoral fellowship from the University of British Columbia, where she worked with Tony Pitcher, Carl Walters, Steve Martell and Murdoch McAllister.

Her main research interests are: management strategy evaluation (MSE) for fisheries; implementation of ecosystem-based fishery management; quantifying links between fish productivity, reference points and sustainable management for data-limited species; and performance of fishery management systems.

Current projects include:

• Development and simulation-testing a framework to select management procedures for data-limited groundfish species.

• Using simulation to identify robust approaches for accounting for environmental change in management of fisheries.

• Analysis of spatial changes in fishing effort in BC's groundfish fishery following major management changes.