Monitoring to reduce bycatch within BC salmon fisheries
British Columbia’s salmon fisheries were the first to participate in the Canadian Department of Fisheries selective fishing initiatives. The Selective Fisheries Program was introduced as an industry-led initiative to reduce bycatch and promote selective fishing.
In 2001, a pilot study was funded through the Selective Fisheries Program to examine the feasibility of using electronic monitoring (EM) systems to monitor catch-handling procedures aboard salmon seine vessels.
Archipelago equipped a seine vessel system with an EM system for 62 days, monitoring 19 days of fishing operations for a total of 217 fishing sets. Results from this study demonstrated that electronic monitoring was an effective tool for monitoring key fishery issues in the salmon seine fishery.
The monitoring system provided the same or better data quality as an at-sea observer for monitoring of time and location of fishing, ensuring that all catch was brailed aboard, and procedures used for handling catch and bycatch.
The monitoring system could be used to roughly estimate catch (by brail net counts), and enumerate bycatch. It could also confirm the use of the revival tanks, although it would be limited in assessing fish condition and duration in the tank.