Extension Education and Cooperative Research to Address the Needs of Fishing Industry Stakeholders (hosted by AFS)

Commercial and recreational fisheries throughout North America and around the world face many challenges related to scientific uncertainty, resource management and sustainability, ecosystem dynamics, and socio-economic objectives. Extension education programming is designed to address the needs of industry stakeholders while enhancing and managing natural resources, communicating science and best practices, and ensuring economic growth and sustainability. Cooperative research partnerships among scientists and industry stakeholders produce new knowledge to meet these goals and address key issues impacting fishing activity, fisheries science, and resource management. There are many diverse extension education programs and cooperative research projects ongoing throughout North America and around the world. The objective of this symposium is to share information about ongoing and recent programs and projects in order to expand and improve the capacity for meeting the needs of fishing industry stakeholders. Speakers will be encouraged to discuss not only the successful aspects of programs and projects, but also challenges faced and failures experienced along the way to inform future efforts. This symposium will bring together a diverse group of educators and researchers working with commercial and recreational fisheries in both marine and freshwater ecosystems throughout North America and beyond.

8:00AM A Commercial Fishing Apprenticeship Program for California
  Theresa Talley, Carolynn Culver, Nina Venuti
Despite the downsizing of California commercial fisheries, fishing still provides a viable career for young people, especially given a renewed interest in emerging fisheries and a local food movement that supports the development of direct marketing of seafood products, which allows fishermen to earn a higher price for their catch. These new marketing and fishing opportunities, however, are not well known, and taking advantage of them requires training because regulations are complex and selling one’s product requires a lot of skills. Further, California’s commercial fleet is aging, and there is a need to recruit young, well-educated people into commercial fisheries to maintain this important California coastal heritage. In response, we are developing an 1,100 hr apprenticeship program consisting of 100 hrs of interactive workshops and 1,000 hrs of hands-on training under experienced fishermen. We will discuss this progressive program that is aimed at educating about the opportunities in commercial fishing, as well as the regulations, skills and co-management approaches necessary to keep commercial fishing economically, ecologically and socially sustainable.
8:20AM Coastal Fisheries Extension Enhancement through Dynamic Information Documents
  Edward Camp, Holly Abeels, Angela Collins, Elizabeth Staugler
A growing challenge facing Extension professionals is that industry stakeholders often require up-to-date, spatially explicit, and data-driven information about fisheries—such as fish population changes and threats, fishing effort dynamics, or angler preferences. While data describing these dynamics often exist, they can be challenging to query, analyze, visualize, and provide to stakeholdders without advanced skills in computer programming and data analyses. We describe a collaborative Extension enhancement program that we developed to rapidly create unique, report-style creative works documents for Extension professionals to provide to their county-specific industry stakeholders. We demonstrate how this program was used to provide county tourism development councils with reports to inform advertisement of recreational fishing-based tourism, and also explain opportunities and challenges for demonstrating how such reports affect local economic impact. Finally, we discuss how this program can be expanded beyond recreational fisheries (to include, for example, aquaculture, commercial fisheries, or environmental data), and how the recreational fisheries program can be easily expanded to provide documents to Extension professionals in nearly any U.S. coastal state.
8:40AM Hot Coffee and Fresh Fish: Lessons Learned from 20+ Years of Workshops for Recreational and for-Hire Industry Stakeholders
  Susanna Musick
Since 1995, the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program (VGFTP) has tagged recreationally important finfish with the help of volunteer anglers. The annual tagging workshop provides hands-on training for new volunteers who tag and release fishes and collect and report data for the program. For a related stakeholder group, the Virginia Charter Boat Workshop series provides business and fisheries management information for members of the for-hire industry. Best management practices from these two different workshop series and stakeholder groups will be shared along with evaluation results that helped develop and improve each extension opportunity.
9:00AM Marine Resource Education Program (MREP): Empowering Stakeholders in Fisheries Science and Management
  Alexa Dayton
The Marine Resource Education Program (MREP) provides fishermen and other fisheries stakeholders with the education to participate in the development of best available science, and engage effectively in the fisheries management process. MREP consists of two 3-day workshops annually in each of six council regions; topics include stock assessment approaches, recreational and commercial data streams, independent survey methods, overview of collaborative research, Magnuson-Stevens Act, regulatory processes, and how to get involved in the Council. The informal and neutral setting of the MREP program also fosters relationships between participants, scientists and managers. We developed a 16 question survey to test for attitudinal and behavioral differences between MREP graduates and their peers to assess how effectively MREP has achieved its long-term objectives. We found significant differences between the study population and the control group; MREP graduates demonstrated higher levels of trust in the science accounting for 45% of the difference between the study and control groups, and higher levels of knowledge, which accounted for 22% of the difference between study and control groups. The survey reveals that MREP accelerates stakeholder learning by a decade relative to their peers, and MREP graduates represent a large proportion (35%) of new council members nationally.
9:20AM Educational Programming to Address the Needs of Stakeholders of New Jersey’s Fisheries
  Douglas Zemeckis
Stakeholders of New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fisheries face many challenges, including issues related to fisheries science and management, changing ecosystem dynamics, and competing uses of marine ecosystems and resources. Extension educational programming is available to address the needs of stakeholders by helping to enhance and manage natural resources, communicating science and best practices, and supporting economic growth. Fisheries management is informed by increasingly complex science and policy. Given the strong influence of these processes on New Jersey’s commercial and recreational fisheries, an extension course known as Introductory Fisheries Science for Stakeholders (IFISSH) is hosted annually by Rutgers Cooperative Extension to educate stakeholders on the science and management processes affecting their industries so that they are better prepared to make progress on and get involved with these issues. The IFISSH course focuses on fisheries biology, oceanography, stock assessment, and fisheries management, including ecosystem and socio-ecological considerations. Monthly seminars offer additional educational opportunities on topics such as ocean acidification, microplastics, and coastal resiliency. Frequently asked questions from these programs have inspired the development of fact sheets on topics related to fisheries science and management, best catch-and-release practices, climate change, and offshore wind energy development.
09:40AM Break
1:10PM What’s the Hook to Fisheries Education Efforts? Lessons Learned While Communicating Science to North Carolina Saltwater Anglers
  M. Scott Baker, Sara E. Mirabilio
North Carolina has a long tradition of saltwater angling — and it is a popular sport. In 2016, almost 2 million anglers fished in North Carolina. Of those, about 800,000 were North Carolina residents. In 2017, North Carolina Sea Grant conducted a statewide, stratified-random mail survey of the North Carolina resident coastal recreational fishing license holders to better understand their education needs and information delivery preferences. Among other topics, anglers expressed interest in keeping abreast of fisheries research and attending trainings to better understand the basic fisheries science principles and how they relate to management. To better serve the marine recreational fishing industry, in 2018 we started Hook, Line & Science, a blogsite offering a weekly post designed to provide anglers with short updates about scientific studies that might impact their angling. In early 2019 we held a 4-night, 8-total contact hour class for fishermen highlighting introductory fishery science principles using a mix of in-person / online instruction and local fisheries experts. Readership trends and exit evaluations, respectively, will be discussed as plans are underway to expand each initiative. We anticipate that our efforts will be of interest to a range of educators, resource managers and interest groups.
1:30PM Extension to Incorporate Local and Traditional Ecological Knowledge into Tidal Power Development Considerations
  Gayle Zydlewski, Gabriella Marafino, Christopher Bartlett
Local and traditional ecological knowledge are valuable sources of information, but can be difficult to present in a way that is useful for the science policy process. Proposed tidal power development in eastern Maine has spurred the need to integrate this local information and share with industry and regulatory stakeholders. In response, extension specialists and researchers are engaging recreational, commercial, and traditional fishers in collaborative meetings to gather their knowledge about these challenging ecosystems. Separate meetings were used to engage recreational and commercial fishers in Eastport, ME and traditional fishers from the Passamaquoddy tribe in two-way dialogue about their experiences. We will report on three meetings where a participatory mapping exercise was used to foster dialogue and document spatial and temporal changes directly on hard-copy charts. These charts will be converted to ArcGIS format and used to generate a more holistic understanding of the ecosystem. Meetings were also used to build relationships that engage fishermen in gathering direct fishing data for cooperative research projects. Follow-up meetings will be held to share how researchers and decision-makers are using this knowledge in tidal power development considerations.
1:50PM A Hook and Line Survey from Rhode Island to North Carolina to Determine Spatial Population Dynamics of Black Sea Bass
  Eleanor Bochenek, Jason Morson, Olaf Jensen, Thomas J. Miller, Joel Fodrie, Reed Brodnik
An independent hook-and-line survey targeting BSB from North Carolina to Rhode Island using charter vessels was conducted to understand spatial and temporal trends in catch. Up to seven reefs/day were fished by anglers with standardized gear. Anchoring and drifting were used at the reef sites except for North Carolina that only used drifting. Four anglers used identical rod and reel combos with a high/low bottom rig, surfclam as bait, and either 2/0 circle octopus or 2/0 J-hooks. Five drops were made by each angler at each reef site. Fishing time was standardized. Rods with circle hooks were left in the rod holder during a drop. Eighty sampling trips were conducted. 1,894 drops were taken consisting of 17,492 standardized hook trials. 27% of j-hooks and 24% of circle hooks caught BSB at similar rates and sizes. BSB were observed in the catch more often in Maryland and in New Jersey than in Rhode Island and North Carolina and more in the fall than spring or summer. A similar size distribution of BSB was caught on both circle and j-hooks, but varied by region. Sex ratio was skewed toward female fish at all but the largest sizes.
2:10PM An Interdisciplinary Approach for Disseminating Tackle Recommendations to Promote Sustainability of the Gulf of Maine Recreational Groundfish Fishery
  Connor Capizzano, John Mandelman, Emily Jones, Nicolle Fagan, Micah Dean, William Hoffman, Matthew H. Ayer, Christine Cassidy, Steven Scyphers, Douglas Zemeckis
Considerable effort has been devoted to reducing bycatch by modifying gear to increase species selectivity. Voluntary adoption of such initiatives, however, relies on fishing industry attitudes and preferences. In the Gulf of Maine recreational groundfish fishery, fishery managers have considered mandating gear (i.e., tackle) modifications to reduce bycatch impacts to the critically depleted Atlantic cod stock while allowing anglers to simultaneously access the robust haddock stock. Yet, no research has directly evaluated the efficacy of such tackle for reducing bycatch impacts nor the attitudes and preferences of anglers that would ultimately use them. In response, an interdisciplinary project between scientists and recreational industry members was conducted to generate 1) recommended tackle configurations to reduce bycatch and mortality in these species, and 2) most effective dissemination pathways for sharing recommendations. Broadly, a large-scale sampling effort of cod and haddock determined the influence of varying tackle on selectivity and mortality, whereupon a survey gauged the attitudes and communication preferences of the greater angling community. Results will assist in the strategic dissemination of detailed tackle recommendations to receptive anglers for adoption, which, in turn, will reduce bycatch impacts and support the long-term sustainability of this fishery.
2:30PM Engaging Stakeholders in Cooperative Research to Track Tarpon across the Northern Gulf of Mexico
  Marcus Drymon, Matthew Jargowsky, Amanda Jefferson, Andrea Kroetz, Crystal Hightower, Sean Powers
Atlantic tarpon (Megalops atlanticus) are enigmatic fish with deep cultural significance to residents of the northern Gulf of Mexico. Once abundant throughout the northern Gulf of Mexico, tarpon populations have declined substantially. Given the cultural relevance and historical abundance of this fish, we sought to investigate the movement and migration of tarpon using satellite telemetry. Tarpon were caught off the coast of Alabama using the expertise of multiple tarpon angling experts. Multiple vessels were involved in the tagging effort; specifically, a tagging vessel maintained contact with multiple fishing vessels. Once a tarpon was landed, scientists boarded the fishing vessel and applied a SPOT tag to the tarpon just below the first dorsal fin. In July 2018, 10 adult tarpon were fitted with SPOT tags and subsequently submitted position estimates. Fish ranged in size from 146-187cm. During the first month, nearly 2300 messages were transmitted, generating over 700 position estimates. Most tarpon moved west to the Chandeleur Islands before stopping at the mouth of the Mississippi River, although some individuals made off-shelf movements, perhaps for spawning. Our findings illustrate the utility of SPOT tags for determining movement and migration for tarpon, and demonstrate the value of engaging stakeholders in telemetry studies.
2:50PM Refreshment Break
3:20PM Your Fish Was How Big? Cooperative Research Begins with a Conversation.
  Angela Collins, Richard S. McBride, Luiz Barbieri
Cooperative research has become well established as an efficient and effective method of fisheries data collection. Fisheries stakeholders typically have an unparalleled, intimate knowledge of fisheries resources and are often able to provide critical skills and resources that are unavailable to most research faculty. Collaborations between scientists and user groups therefore have the potential to result in better data collection and more informed results than would be possible through a singular entity’s effort. The success of these relationships depends upon communication between scientists and stakeholders, and most research ideas begin with a simple conversation. Depending on the project, cooperation with fishers may range the full spectrum of involvement – from simple anecdotal input to full integration of stakeholders into research design and analysis. We will feature several examples of cooperative research related to West Florida’s reef fisheries that have been successful in providing data for assessment and management and will highlight the benefits, challenges and evolution of relationships with a variety of user groups.
3:40PM The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program: A Statewide Partnership Among Scientists, Managers, and Recreational and Professional Fishermen
  Joe Tyburczy, Richard Starr, Scott Hamilton, Dean Wendt, Lyall Bellquist, Jennifer Caselle, Steven Morgan, Timothy J. Mulligan, Benjamin Ruttenberg, Brice X. Semmens
The California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) is a collaborative effort among researchers from six California universities, the captains and crew of 27 commercial passenger fishing vessels (CPFVs), and more than 1,200 volunteer anglers, spanning the entire California coast. The CCFRP has worked closely with California Fish and Wildlife and National Marine Fisheries Service scientists since the program’s creation in 2006. In 12 years, we have conducted 462 sampling trips and caught and released more than 126,000 fish from 76 different species. The project has generated estimates of relative abundance, length frequency, and fish movement across 16 MPAs and associated reference areas. On the central coast, we have documented long-term trends in CPUE and fish biomass. This program is a cost-effective approach that allows robust monitoring of MPAs – provides data useful for adaptive management of not only MPAs, but the fisheries themselves. Further, CCFRP participants and metrics are more representative of the fishery than other fishery-independent monitoring methods. This program addresses the needs of industry and recreational fishing stakeholders by directly involving them in collecting this management-relevant data. According to both qualitative observations and surveys, participation in CCFRP results in more positive opinions of MPAs among anglers.
4:00PM The Evolution of Fisheries Research in California: From Short-Term Research to Long-Term Management
  Carolynn Culver, Carrie Pomeroy
Fisheries research typically involves some level of cooperation and/or collaboration between fishermen, scientists and/or managers. In California, the types of fisheries research projects that Sea Grant Extension Advisors and Specialists have developed have evolved over time from cooperative to collaborative research with direct, long-term integration into management. By 2008, efforts led to the design of an at-sea sampling program for a crab fishery through a collaborative process that included an implementation framework that addressed regulatory, administrative and infrastructure dimensions. The framework was then applied to the lobster fishery, resulting in the most comprehensive data set for the fishery, which in turn has been used to enhance management. The State recently has mandated collaborative data collection for those participating in a new experimental fishery. While it remains to be seen whether such applied collaborative research becomes a mainstay in California fisheries management, our findings indicate that carefully developed and implemented long-term collaborative data collection programs offer a sound and fruitful approach for obtaining and sharing information needed to improve fisheries management, moving fisheries research to a new level.
4:20PM Addressing the Human Dimensions of California Fisheries: A Collaborative Process to Build and Share Information
  Carrie Pomeroy, Carolynn Culver
California’s overarching fishery management policy, the Marine Management Life Act (MLMA, 1998), recognizes the social as well as the ecological dimensions as relevant to fishery management. However, critical gaps in information and understanding about dynamic and complex interactions within and between the natural and human environments for virtually all fisheries hinder managers’ ability to actively adapt and communities’ ability to plan for the future. To help address this problem, we led a collaborative fisheries research project that engaged fishery participants, scientists and managers. We used an iterative approach that integrated analyses of data from the California Fisheries Information System, the literature, and fishery participants’, managers’ and scientists’ knowledge to build information and understanding about the fishery’s human system in larger social-ecological context. The results of this work have been integrated into the draft fishery management plan for the fishery, have been used (along with other work) as a foundation for the recently completed document, ”Socioeconomic Guidance for Implementing the MLMA,” and have helped to increase awareness more broadly about how such collaborative efforts can be used to meet the varied needs of those engaged in the fishery.
4:40PM Have We Reached the Tipping Point? Assessing Louisiana’s Freshwater Commercial Fisheries.
  Lauren Bonatakis, Julie Lively
Louisiana’s freshwater commercial fisheries are an important yet overlooked contributor to the state’s economy. Anecdotally, the fisheries appear to be on the brink of economic collapse as fewer fishers are entering the field, fish processors are closing, and market prices remain stagnant. Because of this, the fisheries may lack the resources needed to perpetuate their sustainability for future generations. We developed a survey for freshwater commercial fishers to assess their fishing effort and success, as well as opinions and attitudes regarding ecological, regulatory, and anthropogenic factors that may impact the freshwater fisheries. We also analyzed historic landings data to visualize any trends that indicate the health of the fishery. Preliminary data suggest that the closing of fish processors has created a bottleneck effect for fishers who need to sell their catch. This could increase competition between fishers, flood the market, and cost the fishers time and money. Additionally, results suggest there is an overpopulation of Asian carp and alligators, which can hinder the number of landings brought in. This research will identify problems within Louisiana’s commercial freshwater fisheries to inform future workshops, educational material, and policy actions aimed to improve the livelihood of the fishers and success of the fisheries.
5:00PM Collaborative Research with Lake Ontario Charter Captains: King Salmon Movement and Behavior in Lake Ontario
  Jesse Lepak, James Watkins, Christopher Perle
King salmon support what is arguably the most important fishery in Lake Ontario. King salmon can exceed 30 pounds and the fishery draws anglers from around the world, generating tens of millions of dollars annually that support local businesses and communities. Because of their economic and ecological importance, understanding king salmon benefits numerous stakeholders. New York Sea Grant is supporting a project conducted by Cornell University researchers investigating king salmon activity in Lake Ontario using pop-up satellite archival tags. The tags record depth, temperature, light conditions, and acceleration every second to reconstruct individual movement and behavior. Characterizing king salmon movement and behavior is valuable information that can be used by scientists, biologists, and anglers to help understand how fish behave and why, to manage fisheries, and to find and catch king salmon more efficiently. In this presentation the collaborative interaction is described between researchers and Charter Captains assisting with the work. The success experienced and the challenges that were encountered will also be discussed. Despite limited results (low sample size), multiple positive interactions with anglers and other stakeholders have been made possible by using a multi-faceted extension approach.
5:20PM Angler Use of Lake Champlain Climate Buoy Data 2016-2018
  Mark Malchoff
An automated data buoy was deployed in the main lake segment of Lake Champlain from 2016 to 2018. The buoy collected air temperature, wind speed/direction, pressure, and water column temperature (every 2 meters from the surface to 50 meters). The instrument was deployed to demonstrate potential climate change research opportunities, and provide physical limnological and weather conditions. Near real-time data were made available to stakeholders via a website hosted at SUNY Plattsburgh. The web page provided raw and summarized tabular and graphical information to agency (i.e. NOAA/NWS), research, recreational and marine industry stakeholders. A subset of these stakeholders (e.g. downrigger equipped anglers) were queried about buoy data value and utility. The buoy data proved useful with 48% reporting they had accessed the site > 20 times per year. Ninety-three percent agreed/strongly agreed that the data facilitated angling trip planning prior to launch. About half of respondents indicated that the data produced minimal boat fuel savings, though 19% noted savings over $100/yr. Seventy-seven percent of respondents agreed/strongly agreed that the data indirectly or directly improved catch rates. Deployment of a second thermistor string buoy in the south lake in 2019 will further elucidate lake-wide thermocline variability and connections to salmon distribution.

Organizers: Douglas Zemeckis, M. Scott Baker, Carolynn Culver, Titus Seilheimer, Angela Collins

Location: Reno-Sparks CC Date: September 30, 2019 Time: 8:00 am - 5:40 pm