Groundfish Dockside Monitoring Programs

Independent, third-party verification of landed catch is key to the continued sustainability of commercial groundfish fisheries.

As part of its groundfish dockside monitoring programs, Archipelago works with fisheries staff to establish data–management standards, while providing trained and government certified shore–based observers to assist with fisheries data collection, species identification, and the integration of new technologies. Since 1989, Archipelago has led the industry along Canada’s west coast in developing practical and effective solutions to increasingly complex fisheries and management regimes. Groundfish dockside monitoring programs (DMP) have become an essential tool in the management framework for these fisheries, providing a range of services:

  • Maintenance of data collection and management systems including vessel hail, catch, and sampling data
  • Monitoring of all catch offloaded from commercial vessels (including product types and grades by species)
  • Rigorous sampling for stock assessment and other scientific research
  • Compliance monitoring and reporting
  • Data reporting for management and industry usage

Sablefish (1990—present)

The sablefish dockside monitoring program is in support of the Individual Transferable Quota sablefish fishery under a tri-party agreement with the Canadian Sablefish Association and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Archipelago provides 100% coverage of sablefish landings in six coastal ports within BC throughout the year. In addition to core DMP requirements, Archipelago is responsible for the sablefish tag recovery program, including biological sampling of tagged fish.

Halibut (1990—present)

Established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and a majority of halibut license holders, the Halibut DMP is in support of an Individual Vessel Quota management system. Archipelago has been contracted by either DFO or the Pacific Halibut Management Authority (an industry group) to conduct the Halibut DMP. Archipelago provides over 6,000 observer hours to monitor the annual quota of 10 million pounds of halibut landed in 19 ports in British Columbia, Washington and Alaska. In addition to the standard DMP responsibilities, the company is also responsible for a tagging program, applying uniquely numbered tags to all commercially landed halibut for marketing and compliance monitoring purposes.

Groundfish trawl (1994—present)

In January 1994 Fisheries and Oceans Canada instituted a user-pay dockside monitoring program for the Canadian west coast groundfish trawl fishery. The trawl DMP supports the in-season Individual Vessel Quota Management the complex, multi-species fishery. Archipelago has been contracted to perform this work continuously since 1994. Although the original contracts were with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the current contract has been awarded through the industry-based Canadian Groundfish Research and Conservation Society. Archipelago monitors approximately 2,500 offload events each year.

Hook and line groundfish (1995—present)

In 1995, Fisheries and Oceans Canada instituted a user-pay dockside monitoring program for the west coast rockfish hook and line fishery. Archipelago has fulfilled this role since the first year, with the addition of Schedule II fisheries (lingcod and dogfish) in 1996. The hook and line fishery consists of approximately 320 licenses, representing more than 6,000 tonnes of groundfish landed each year.