Blue Crab Fishery Management

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Metadata

Chesapeake Bay Program Indicator Framework
Reporting Level Indicators
Indicator and Data Survey

A.  Category/Name/Source/Contact

(1) Category of Indicator
___ Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health
 __x_ Restoration and Protection Efforts
 ___ Watershed Health
 ___ Bay Health
 
(2) Name of Indicator:
Fisheries Management Effort Index (Blue Crab, Striped Bass, Oyster, Shad, Menhaden) 
(3) Data Set Description: 
Fisheries management plans, stock assessment reports and other reports and documentation used for development and implementation of single species, multi-species and ecosystem based fisheries management.
 For what purpose(s) were the data collected? (e.g., tracking, research, or long-term monitoring.)
Tracking progress of fisheries management towards the C2K goal of implementing ecosystem based fisheries management.
 Which parameters were measured directly? Which were obtained by calculation?
The approach is based on the evolution of fisheries management from single species management to the C2K goal of ecosystem based fisheries management. The approach recognizes the three major phases of fisheries management (single species management, single species management with multispecies considerations & ecosystem based fisheries management) and the steps (sub-categories) required within each of these phases -- development of a plan, recommendations and implementation. Each sub-category in the evolution of fisheries management is allotted a set number of points that are only awarded if that sub-category has been achieved – with a maximum of 100 points possible.
(4) Source(s) of Data: Full list of sources provided in document at the end of this survey.

 Is the complete data set accessible, including metadata, data-dictionaries and embedded definitions?  If yes, please indicate where complete dataset can be obtained. 
Methods, point allocation and data sources provided at the end of this document.

(5) Custodian of Source Data (and Indicator, if different): Nancy Butowski

(6) CBPO Contact: Shannon Simpson

B.  Communication Questions

(complete either part 1, 2, or 3)

1.  Restoration and Protection Efforts indicators only
(7a) How much has been completed since 1985 (or baseline year)?  How much has been completed since 2000? While significant effort went toward improving the management of Chesapeake Bay fisheries this year, very few of these efforts resulted in the implementation of ecosystem-based actions or the completion of new plans. Overall work to develop ecosystem-based fisheries management plans for blue crabs, oysters, striped bass, Atlantic menhaden and American shad is not fully captured using the current fisheries management effort index developed several years ago. As a result, the index has not changed from last year’s value of 51 percent.  The development and adoption of a new index for monitoring progress toward ecosystem-based fisheries management will be one of the first tasks for the new Chesapeake Bay Program’s Fisheries Goal Implementation Team during 2010. 
Progress toward fisheries management goals has not changed since last year and ranges from 38-63 percent for the five key Bay fisheries.
Refer to 9(a) regarding details for each fishery.
(8a) How much was done last year? While significant effort went toward improving the management of Chesapeake Bay fisheries this year, very few of these efforts resulted in the implementation of ecosystem-based actions or the completion of new plans. Overall work to develop ecosystem-based fisheries management plans for blue crabs, oysters, striped bass, Atlantic menhaden and American shad is not fully captured using the current fisheries management effort index developed several years ago. As a result, the index has not changed from last year’s value of 51 percent.  The development and adoption of a new index for monitoring progress toward ecosystem-based fisheries management will be one of the first tasks for the new Chesapeake Bay Program’s Fisheries Goal Implementation Team during 2010. 
Progress toward fisheries management goals has not changed since last year and ranges from 38-63 percent for the five key Bay fisheries.
 Refer to 9(a) regarding details for each fishery.
(9a) What is the current status in relation to a goal? While significant effort went toward improving the management of Chesapeake Bay fisheries this year, very few of these efforts resulted in the implementation of ecosystem-based actions or the completion of new plans. Overall work to develop ecosystem-based fisheries management plans for blue crabs, oysters, striped bass, Atlantic menhaden and American shad is not fully captured using the current fisheries management effort index developed several years ago. As a result, the index has not changed from last year’s value of 51 percent.  The development and adoption of a new index for monitoring progress toward ecosystem-based fisheries management will be one of the first tasks for the new Chesapeake Bay Program’s Fisheries Goal Implementation Team during 2010. 
Progress toward fisheries management goals has not changed since last year and ranges from 38-63 percent for the five key Bay fisheries.

Striped bass: 2009 Index score: 63.
Importance
The Chesapeake Bay is the primary spawning and nursery habitat for up to 90 percent of the Atlantic Coast’s striped bass population. The Bay’s fishery for striped bass collapsed during the 1970s and 1980s as the population of this species plummeted. But fishing moratoria and proper management led to a rebound, and the striped bass fishery was reopened in 1990.
• An annual cap on the commercial harvest of Atlantic menhaden, striped bass’ main prey, is in place. Fishery management currently involves monitoring, catch quotas and seasonal closings. Ecosystem-based fisheries management is especially important for striped bass because they are among the Bay’s top predators.

Learn more about striped bass management.

Status
Through the ecosystem-based fishery management process, biological briefs were prepared for striped bass and given to the quantitative ecosystem teams for the development of indicators and metrics for assessing progress..

Menhaden: 2009 Index score: 56. 
Importance
Atlantic menhaden have a unique role in the ecosystem as filter feeders and prey for top predators such as striped bass, which requires a multispecies management plan. Menhaden migrate into Chesapeake Bay and are part of a larger stock along the Atlantic Coast. The coastal population is healthy, but there are concerns about declining numbers of young menhaden in the Bay. In response, a five-year cap on commercial harvest was put in place in 2006. 
Learn more about Atlantic menhaden management.

Status
Through the ecosystem-based fishery management process, biological briefs were prepared for menhaden and given to the quantitative ecosystem teams for the development of indicators and metrics for assessing progress.

American Shad: 2009  Index score: 38.
Importance
Historic overfishing, water pollution and dams that prevented access to spawning areas led to a greatly diminished stock of American shad in the 1970s. Low stock levels prompted the two states to implement a fishing moratorium: Maryland in 1980 and Virginia in 1994.

In addition to the shad fishing moratorium, researchers and managers are currently stocking hatchery-raised fish, removing dams and installing fish passage on key Bay tributaries to restore spawning habitat.

Before the fishing moratorium could be lifted, catch limits and safe levels of harvest would need to be developed. Since shad spend much of their lives in coastal Atlantic waters, continued management by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is crucial.

Learn more about American shad management and restoration.

Status
Shad stocks in the Bay are at low but stable levels of abundance. Coastal shad stocks are at an all-time low level of abundance and do not appear to be recovering.  The ASMFC developed a benchmark rate for total mortality that would preserve 30 percent of the spawning stock. They also prepared an Atlantic Coast Diadromous Fish Habitat document (January 2009) that recommended the following: provide fish passage, improve water quality, decrease toxic contamination, restore and protect riverine habitat.

Blue Crab: 2009 Index score: 58 
Importance
Blue crabs make up the most valuable commercial fishery in the Bay. To both protect the fishery and restore the spawning stock, the harvest is regulated through a minimum catch size, gear restrictions and seasonal harvest limits. An annual winter dredge survey provides estimates of the percentage of the crab population that is removed by harvest each year. Additionally, because blue crabs play important roles as both predator and prey, scientists have studied their interactions with striped bass, their predators.

Learn more about blue crab management and restoration.

Status
 Maryland and Virginia were successful at reducing the harvest of female crabs during 2008 and continued commercial regulations to limit the harvest of mature female blue crabs during 2009.  Both states are conducting a “buy-back” program to reduce the number of commercial licenses and address the issue of latent effort. 
 Maryland regulations include seasonal closures and harvest limits, size limits for peeler crabs and hard crabs. The recreational fishery was prohibited from harvesting female crabs. 
 Virginia regulations include an extended closure of the sanctuary, elimination of the winter dredge fishery, size limits for peeler crabs and a gear reduction plan. 
Each state received $10 million from Federal disaster funds to be distributed over the next three years for watermen projects such as habitat restoration, fishery monitoring, industry diversification and aquaculture.

Oyster: 2009 Index score: 39
Importance
Managing the oyster fishery requires a multi-pronged approach.

 Sanctuaries are used to protect oysters from harvest and increase the population of spawning adult oysters. 
 Traditional fishery management measures continue to be implemented and include minimum size limits, bushel limits, gear restrictions, and seasonal and areal closings. 
 Restoration efforts focus on rebuilding reefs and planting oysters to maximize ecological benefits, facilitate population recovery and create positive outcomes for the commercial oyster fishery.

Learn more about oyster management and restoration.

Status
Sanctuary areas have been expanded throughout the Bay. There is a new focus on targeted restoration strategies. The jurisdictions are fostering a shift from commercial oyster production to aquaculture techniques starting with revamping leasing laws and regulations. Oyster habitat is continuing to be rehabilitated and shell reclamation programs are being implemented.
(10a) What is the key story told by this indicator?
These efforts focus on promoting a shift from a traditional management approach that looks solely at single species to one that recognizes interactions between multiple species and environmental stressors such as low dissolved oxygen levels (ecosystem-based).  Success is measured by milestones necessary to achieve that shift, not by an assessment of fishing stocks. 
While significant effort went toward improving the management of Chesapeake Bay fisheries this year, very few of these efforts resulted in the implementation of ecosystem-based actions or the completion of new plans. Overall work to develop ecosystem-based fisheries management plans for blue crabs, oysters, striped bass, Atlantic menhaden and American shad stands at 51 percent, just a minimal gain from 2007. The score was increased by new restrictions on harvesting blue crabs and advancements in oyster research and aquaculture.  Progress toward fisheries management goals ranges from 38-63 percent for the five key Bay fisheries. 
Refer to Additional Information (at the end of this document) regarding details for each fishery.
(11a) Why is it important to report this information?
The Chesapeake Bay fishing industry holds tremendous commercial, cultural and historic value. Managing the fisheries for blue crabs, oysters, striped bass, shad and menhaden is also critical in restoring and protecting the population of these species and their important place in the ecosystem.
To improve fisheries management, Bay Program partners are developing ecosystem-based plans. This type of comprehensive approach involves three components:
 Actions that address a single species. 
 A focus on multi-species interactions. 
 Consideration of the entire ecosystem. 
Improving water quality and restoring habitats are also part of this management approach.
Refer to Additional Information (at the end of this document) regarding details for each fishery.
(12a) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator? (Detail and diagnostic indicators can be spatially-specific, parameter-specific, temporally-specific information, etc.)
Refer to Additional Information (at the end of this document) regarding details for each fishery.
2.  Bay Health or Watershed Health indicators only
(7b) What is the long-term trend?  (since start of data collection)
(8b) What is the short-term trend? (3 to 5 year trend)
(9b) What is the current status in relation to a goal?
(10b) What is the key story told by this indicator?
(11b) Why is it important to report this information?
(12b) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator?
3.  Factors Impacting Bay and Watershed Health indicators only
(7c) What is the long-term trend?  (since start of data collection)
(8c) What is the short-term trend? (3 to 5 year trend)
(9c) What is the current status?
(10c) What is the key story told by this indicator?
(11c) Why is it important to report this information?
(12c) What detail and/or diagnostic indicators are related to this reporting level indicator?

C.  Temporal Considerations

(13) Data Collection Date(s): Annual report for single species management. Multi-species and ecosystem based management updated annually based on progress towards the specific goals.

(14) Planned Update Frequency (e.g. - annual, bi-annual):
 (a) Source Data: Annual
 (b) Indicator: Annual
(15) For annual reporting, month spatial data is available for reporting: Update based on CBP reporting needs. Index not suitable for spatial representation.

D.  Spatial Considerations

No spatial consideration in the development of this index.

(16) Type of Geography of Source Data (point, line polygon, other):

(17) Acceptable Level of Spatial Aggregation (e.g. - county, state, major basin, tributary basin, HUC):

(18) Are there geographic areas with missing data?  If so, where?

(19) The spatial extent of this indicator best described as:
(a) Chesapeake Bay (estuary)
(b) Chesapeake Bay Watershed
(c) Other (please describe): _______________________ 

Please submit any appropriate examples of how this information has been mapped or otherwise portrayed geographically in the past.

(20) Can appropriate diagnostic indicators be represented geographically?

E.  Data Analysis and Interpretation

(Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)
 
(21) Is the conceptual model used to transform these measurements into an indicator widely accepted as a scientifically sound representation of the phenomenon it indicates?  (i.e., how well do the data represent the phenomenon?).

This is a new method of documenting fisheries management effort. To our knowledge the approach has not been used in Chesapeake Bay or other systems before. The approach developed has been endorsed and reviewed by the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Living Resources and Analysis workgroup and the Living Resources Subcommittee, in addition to the Fisheries Steering Committee. Each of theses groups agreed that this is a valid approach to adopt if documented and communicated carefully. 

(22) What is the process by which the raw data is summarized for development and presentation of the indicator?

An excel spreadsheet that documents the various fisheries management stages, the maximum number of points allocated for achieving a stage, allocation of points, rationale for point allocation and some relevant references.
 
(23) Are any tools required to generate the indicator data (e.g. - Interpolator, watershed model)

No

(24) Are the computations widely accepted as a scientifically sound?

No – Due to the nature of this goal, it is not possible to develop a fully quantitative index that could be considered “scientifically sound”. Substantial effort has been taken to provide a quantitative framework (allocation of points) in which qualitative decisions are made (how many points) and have this approach reviewed and enhanced by the fisheries management community.

(25) Have appropriate statistical methods been used to generalize or portray data beyond the time or spatial locations where measurements were made (e.g., statistical survey inference, no generalization is possible)? 
na

(26) Are there established reference points, thresholds or ranges of values for this indicator that unambiguously reflect the desired state of the environment? (health/stressors only) na

F.  Data Quality

(Please provide appropriate references and location of documentation if hard to find.)
 
(27) Were the data collected according to an EPA-approved Quality Assurance Plan?  
If no, complete questions 28a – 28d:

(28a) Are the sampling design, monitoring plan and/or tracking system used to collect the data over time and space based on sound scientific principles?
na

(28b) What documentation clearly and completely describes the underlying sampling and analytical procedures used?

A more detailed document has been prepared – see end of this survey.
 
(28c) Are the sampling and analytical procedures widely accepted as scientifically and technically valid?

See question 24 above.

(28d) To what extent are the procedures for quality assurance and quality control of the data documented and accessible?

See question 28b above.

(29) Are the descriptions of the study or survey design clear, complete and sufficient to enable the study or survey to be reproduced?

See question 28b above.

(30) Were the sampling and analysis methods performed consistently throughout the data record?
na
(31) If datasets from two or more agencies are merged, are their sampling designs and methods comparable?
na
(32) Are uncertainty measurements or estimates available for the indicator and/or the underlying data set?
na
(33) (Do the uncertainty and variability impact the conclusions that can be inferred from the data and the utility of the indicator?
na
(34) Are there noteworthy limitations or gaps in the data record?  Please explain.

G.  Additional Information

(optional)

(35) Please provide any other information about this indicator you believe is necessary to aid communication and any prevent potential miss-representation.

Background

Indices that summarize the effort taken to restore Chesapeake Bay health are central to the restoration progress report that will be released early 2008. Indices for the three major restoration areas are required -- sediment and nutrient management; habitat restoration, and fisheries management. These indices need to accurately portray the effort taken to restore the Bay relative to established restoration goals. While specific restoration goals have been developed for habitat restoration effort (e.g. miles of stream miles to be opened as potential anadromous fish habitat) and nutrient management effort (e.g. BMP implementation) only very broad goals have been defined for the management of living resources in the Chesapeake 2000 agreement (C2K - see text box). As only broad goals have been defined, and the process of managing fisheries is multi-phased and complex, an approach that accounts for the various stages required to implement ecosystem based fisheries management has been developed. This document explains this approach and provides the proposed index values for the 5 fisheries chosen to represent fisheries management in the Bay -- blue crab, menhaden, shad, striped bass and oysters.

  

LIVING RESOURCE PROTECTION AND RESTORATION
Goal
Restore, enhance and protect the finfish, shellfish and other living resources, their habitats and ecological relationships to sustain all fisheries and provide for a balanced ecosystem.
Multi-species Management
• By 2004, assess the effects of different population levels of filter feeders such as menhaden, oysters and clams on Bay water quality and habitat.
• By 2005, develop ecosystem-based multi-species management plans for targeted species.
• By 2007, revise and implement existing fisheries management plans to incorporate ecological, social and economic considerations, multi-species fisheries management and ecosystem approaches.

Section of the Chesapeake 2000 agreement that discusses the goals for restoring and protecting living resources.

This is the first time that a semi-quantitative index of fisheries management effort has been developed and formally used in Chesapeake Bay. We recognize that there are multiple approaches to the challenge and that the approach adopted can and will be improved and refined in subsequent years. Index development has benefited from the comments and inputs from many fisheries management experts in the Chesapeake Bay region, largely through the Chesapeake Bay Program committee and workgroup infrastructure and the Fisheries Steering Committee. During this process the committees and workgroups have endorsed the approach despite the semi-quantitative nature, recognizing the benefits it provides if communicated correctly – i.e. making sure readers understand that this is a measure of management effort and NOT the success of the management in terms of fish population abundance or health.

Approach

The proposed approach is based on the evolution of fisheries management from single species management to the C2K goal of ecosystem based fisheries management. The approach recognizes the three major phases of fisheries management (single species management, single species management with multispecies considerations & ecosystem based fisheries management) and the steps (sub-categories) required within each of these phases -- development of a plan, recommendations and implementation. Each sub-category in the evolution of fisheries management is allotted a set number of points that are only awarded if that sub-category has been achieved – with a maximum of 100 points possible. The following section summarizes what categories were used and the associated allotment of points. In 2006, subcategories in the major Ecosystem Based Fisheries Management category were revised slightly in response to review recommendations. This revision included removing production of the Fisheries Ecosystem Plan (FEP) as a separate sub-category, recognizing that this is a stage with the development of an EBFMP sub-category. A new subcategory call Assessing Effectiveness of EBFMP and Undertake Appropriate Action was added to replace the (FEP) subcategory.

Index categories and available points

Major categories

The three major index categories proposed are:

(1) Single species fisheries management (SSFM);

(2) SSFM with multispecies management considerations;

(3) Ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM).

These categories have been used as they represent the three major steps towards the optimal approach of managing a fishery, and the C2K goals.

Forty five percent of the total available points are allocated towards the single species fisheries management category. The majority of points are awarded to this category because it is the principal approach for successful management of a fishery, has proven record of success (e.g. striped bass/blue crab), and it is the foundation of both multispecies and ecosystem based fisheries management.

A total of 20 points are awarded to SSFM with multispeceis management considerations. Fewer points are allocated to this category because planning, recommending and implementing management related to biological and technical interactions is a small and additional step relative to both SSFM and EBFM.

A total of 35 points are allocated to EBFM. Approximately one third of the points are allocated to this category in recognition that this is a significant step to take, but is reliant on implementing both SSFM and multispecies management.

Figure 1: Summary of the three main categories used in the fisheries management index, the maximum number of points possible within a category, and the rationale for the point allocation.

See fisheriesmanagementindex2009.doc

Sub categories

Each of the major categories is divided into 3-4 subcategories. In general, these subcategories account for the main processes within each category – developing a plan, making recommendations and implementing the recommendations. While points are allocated to the development of plans and recommendations, more points are allocated to the implementation of the plans. The following table summarizes the subcategories, points and the rationale behind the number of points allocated.

Figure 2: Summary of the proposed number of points for the subcategories, and the rationale as to why the numbers of points were awarded. Numbers in bold indicate that this category involves a level of implementation and is awarded more points accordingly.

See fisheriesmanagementindex2009.doc

Allocation of points

The following tables summarize the points awarded for each fishery. The rationale behind the number of points awarded and some relevant supporting documentation is also provided.

fisheriesmanagementindex2009.doc

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