Washington Coast Dungeness Crab Fishery Pilot Project

The Monitoring Technologies team at Archipelago is excited to announce the start of our brand-new electronic monitoring (EM) project in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in their Coastal Dungeness crab fishery.

This pilot project will test a newly developed, low-cost EM system in combination with a tablet-based electronic logbook (E-Log) to determine its effectiveness as a tool to improve data quality and the timeliness of in-season management decisions, specifically related to the spatial distribution of crab gear to mitigate marine mammal interactions.

The monitoring solution being used for this project is Archipelago’s latest product, LIME (Lite Integrated Monitoring Equipment). LIME is a low-cost data collection platform that allows users to collect and access data from fisheries-related activities in near real-time. This product was designed with a minimal footprint to fit on a variety of vessels, which makes it ideal for smaller boats without the space for a full-scale EM system, or in fisheries where the frequency or intensity of fishing is cost prohibitive to full-scale EM (e.g., few fishing trips and/or low catch rates). Integrated into this product is the award-winning security product, BRNKL, developed by Barnacle Systems, allowing vessel operators access to safety and security information from their vessel, no matter where they are in the world.

The first phase of this project will serve as a proof-of-concept trial to validate whether this EM system can successfully collect EM data on-board crab fishing vessels based out of Westport, WA, and to develop the data flow and reporting protocols that will meet WDFW management needs.

As of March 2nd, 2021, the four LIME units installed on vessels as part of this project have collected approximately 416 hours of data during fishing trips with 99.5% data completeness during these trips with only 0.5% of data missing that was expected to be collected during this time. Our partners at WDFW have provided positive feedback stating that the near real-time access to collected EM data has already allowed them to resolve an issue with reported fishing locations from one of their vessels within only a few days, which would have normally taken months to resolve previously without LIME.

This project is funded in-part by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)’s 2020 Electronic Monitoring and Reporting Grant Program which aims to support new and existing projects to modernize data management in U.S. fisheries.