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Experience with Cooperative Research in the United States Cooperative research is not a new idea or practice in fisheries manage- ment. State and federal cooperation, collaboration between universities and government, and information collection by fishermen all have long histo- ries. Cooperative research with fishermen as a priority activity and as a tool to increase constituent support for agency programs has received increased emphasis since the mid- to late 1990s. INTRODUCTION AND BRIEF HISTORY Cooperative research has a history that parallels that of fisheries research and has evolved along with the agencies and institutions of fisheries sci- ence. One of the first fish research vessels was the Grampus, a fishing schoo- ner converted in 1886 to the work of Spencer F. Baird and his fledgling research station at Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Although Baird and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries acquired a government vessel dedicated exclusively to fisheries research in 1882, the management agency in its early days relied on information provided by fishermen as well as that gathered by its own scientists. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Ad- ministration (NOAA) historian William Royce, Baird gathered nongovern- mental scientists and naturalists to join him in studying fish and fishing at the U.S. Marine and Biological Laboratory in the 1870s. While scientists pursued research in natural history and biology, the commission described the fisheries themselves. As fisheries science developed as a profession from 13

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14 COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE NATIONAL MAHNE FISHERIES SERVICE 1900 into the 1950s, the commission and its successor, the Bureau of Com- mercial Fisheries, continued to work with fishermen and their vessels from shrimp fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico to the sardine fleet off California to halibut schooners in Alaska. One of the early programs was a joint research effort between scientists at the Southeast Fisheries Science Center in Miami, Florida, and recre- ational and commercial fishermen who partnered in tagging sailfish, blue marlin, white marlin, swordfish, bluefin, and yellowDin tuna. From its in- ception in 1954 to the late 1990s, the program engaged more than 34,000 participants. In Alaska there is a long history of partnerships with industry, beginning with vessel charters as early as the 1950s, and expanding later to surveys and gear research. As fisheries stopped developing and expanding in the 1980s, and as managers imposed more stringent regulations, coop- erative projects on gear development, biological surveys, observer programs, and catch statistics continued with renewed importance. One example of an early effort at gear development was the turtle excluder device (TED). Requirements to include TEDs in southeast shrimp trawls for protection of sea turtles were imminent in the late 1980s. A TED developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) appeared to be effective in excluding sea turtles from trawls while retaining the majority of harvested shrimp. Sea Grant conducted extensive demonstrations of this gear with fishermen, only to be met with opposition. The gear proved to be too cumbersome. To solve this problem, Sea Grant conferred with industry leaders, seeking a more acceptable device from within the fishery. Various devices had been designed for the exclusion of jellyfish that sometimes clogged nets and made it impossible to pull trawls. Sea Grant worked with fishermen to modify these jellyfish excluders for application to deflection of sea turtles from trawls. Funding was appropriated through various Sea Grant programs to evaluate their efficiency. Using the University of Georgia's RV Georgia BulldLog, pair towed evaluations were conducted in an area with heavy concentrations of sea turtles. Environmental organizations, commercial fishermen, and government personnel participated in the investigations. A number of trial TEDs were shown to be highly effective in excluding turtles from trawls. Sea Grant then conducted extensive outreach to include numerous demonstrations of the prototype TEDs aboard commercial vessels during shrimp operations. This gear was ultimately accepted by industry, the environmental community, and NMFS and is still in use today. The lessons learned from the experience of that controversy were ap- plied in subsequent development of gear to exclude finflsh from shrimp

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EXPERIENCE WITH CO OPERA TIVERESEAR CHIN THE UNITED STATES 15 trawls. A more collaborative approach that engaged industry from the outset was somewhat successful, though still it took many years. In that case, collaboration among NMFS, the Southeast Fishery Development Founda- tion, fishermen, conservation representatives, Sea Grant, and state agencies resulted in several designs for bycatch reduction devices that have been tested and brought into development in shrimp fisheries in the Gulf and South Atlantic. Another early gear development program that fishermen initiated was the invention of the Medina panel to release dolphins from purse seine nets. Ideas for employing gear technology and fishing operations to reduce dolphin mortality were developed by the yellowDin tuna fleet in the eastern Pacific Ocean and eventually were integrated into management measures that govern the entire fishery. Large yellowDin tuna often associate with certain species of dolphins. Tuna purse seine fishermen take advantage of that association by locating dolphins visually and then inspecting the herds (primarily by helicopter) to see if a sufficiently abundant tuna school is swimming beneath them. The tuna and dolphins are herded and captured together in the net, but prior to retrieving the net and the tuna, the fisher- men attempt to release dolphins by the backdown procedure, in which the vessel puts its engines in reverse, causing submersion of the corkline at the end of the net due to water drag through the fine-meshed net there (the Medina panel). Crew members stand by in small boats near the net in case their assistance is needed. Most of the dolphins are released unharmed, although some do die during the fishing operation. The backdown proce- dure is an invention of tuna fishermen, born largely of their own interests in avoiding dolphin bycatch and public concern. The Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) is respon- sible for monitoring the incidental dolphin mortality, studying its causes, and providing training and support to fishermen to encourage adoption of fishing techniques that minimize incidental mortality. Dolphin mortality has been reduced by 97 percent since 1986 (from 133,000 in 1986 to less than 3,300 in 19951. A combination of major and minor technological developments, training in the use of the methodology, conscientious decision making by the fishermen, and regulatory pressure to improve per- formance have all contributed to the reduction in mortality. This process took many years, has been costly, and was not without some unintended impacts. The resulting restrictions on fishing operations resulted in some economic impacts but have not been severe enough to prevent continua- tion of a substantial purse seine fishery on tuna associated with dolphins.

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16 COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE However, the refusal of certain tuna companies to purchase tuna with the intentional setting of nets on tuna associated with dolphin herds has had the result that some purse seine vessels increase their setting of purse seine nets on tuna associated with floating objects (as an alternative). This has resulted in an increase in bycatch of a range of animals (Hall, 19981. The IATTC has contributed to the reduction of dolphin mortality by providing a dolphin safety gear program to the fleet, by conducting work- shops, and by providing general education to the fleet of the causes of incidental mortality. The fishermen have contributed to the success of the program through their ideas and experiments on safe fishing techniques and by their careful diligence during fishing operations. This is an excellent example of how cooperative effort has resulted in achieving a goal (reduc- tion of dolphin mortality) but led to other unintended consequences due to the changes in gear or fishing practice. There were few examples of recreational fishermen participating in cooperative research in the case studies presented to the committee. Recre- ational fishermen have been key participants in tagging studies. They have conducted the majority of tagging and retrieval studies for billfish. In the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic, the recreational and charter industries participated in research on snapper discards and helped establish artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and south Atlantic. In the remainder of this chapter a series of case studies are presented illustrating examples and aspects of cooperative research in the United States. These case studies represent only a small sampling of cooperative research projects conducted in the United States. The committee did not attempt to provide balance by region, type of research, or type of partici- pants involved. Examples and case studies selected were those that either were familiar to the committee members or were described by presenters to the committee and illustrated important points related to various phases of cooperative research projects along with important lessons learned. NEW ENGLAND AND MID-ATLANTIC SCALLOPS SURVEYS Atlantic sea scallops, once one of the highest-value species landed in northeast fisheries, have been overfished since the early 1990s. Intense regu- lation of the fishery since 1994, combined with large closed areas to protect groundfish, had reduced both the amount of time and the areas that were available to scalloping. As open areas became depleted, further limiting fishing opportunities, fishermen became curious about scallop populations

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EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE UNITED STATES 17 in the closed areas. Attempts by industry to get permits for experimental fishing and by scientists to conduct resource surveys coincided with the NMFS's interest in expanding its own survey capability in the region. The desire for more and better information brought the parties to the table to design a cooperative survey of closed areas. In 1994 the New England Fishery Management Council limited entry to the fishery, restricted effort through days at sea per vessel, reduced crew size, and increased the gear mesh size. At the same time, four areas on Georges Bank were closed to protect depleted groundfish stocks, eliminat- ing all fishing, including dredging for scallops. Despite the restrictions on effort, landings continued to decline. By 1996 a stock assessment on Georges Bank and in the Atlantic Bight indi- cated sea scallops were overfished in both areas and were at a low popula- tion level. Further restrictions cut allowable days at sea. As scallopers were moved out of areas on Georges Bank, pressure built on the remaining open areas and on mid-Atlantic populations. As a result, additional areas in the mid-Atlantic were closed to scallop fishing. Scientists and managers pre- dicted that in order to meet the requirements of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, days at sea would have to be cut even further well below what skip- pers said would cover the costs of a trip. Meanwhile, in the groundfish closure areas on Georges Bank, the scal- lop populations prospered. In the first 20 months of the groundfish clo- sures, sea scallop biomass within those areas tripled. These closed areas became the object of curiosity and scrutiny as scallopers had an increasingly difficult time finding productive beds. As other areas in the mid-Atlantic became depleted and the number of days at sea were cut shorter, fishermen wanted information on the condition and abundance of scallops in the closed areas. There were several attempts by fishermen to acquire experimental fish- ing permits that would allow entry into the closed areas, but the applica- tions were judged to have incomplete or inadequate detail and/or scientific methodology. None were approved. A subsequent Government Account- ing Office investigation of the permit process revealed confusion and lack of clarity in the expectations of the participants. Eventually, a formal pro- posal by the Center for Marine Science and Technology (CMAST) of the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth to conduct dredge surveys of scallops in Closed Area II was approved for the 1998 season. The industry's objective for the survey was straightforward. It wanted to know if there were sufficient scallops of a large enough size to warrant . .

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18 COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE opening up the groundfish closed areas to scalloping. The research objec- tives for the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) were more com- plex. While the NEFSC also wanted an estimate of abundance, using com- mercial vessels to tow the dredges required a means of accounting for the highly varied "footprint" of the bottom gear. Because every vessel and every tow differ, a way had to be figured out to correlate the data from one vessel with the others to provide consistent, reliable results. Furthermore, in order to extrapolate absolute abundance from estimates of relative abundance, an idea of the efficiency of the dredge tows was needed. NMFS also had to get some idea of how much bycatch of flounder and other groundfish occurred during scalloping. The CMAST application for an experimental fishing permit was ap- proved to allow ''fishing'' in the closed area by the research dredges. CMAST provided researchers, the industry provided vessels and dredges, and the NEFSC provided electronic equipment and the survey design. From the science center's point of view, the purpose of the project was to calibrate the guidance and action of the NMFS dredge and commercial dredges as a first step in testing the feasibility of using commercial vessels to do surveys. Participating fishermen were compensated by being allowed to retain and sell 10,000 pounds of scallops per vessel-trip. Fishermen also did not have to count the days working on the project against their days-at-sea allocation. The NEFSC supported the salary of a postdoc at CMAST, and a portion of the proceeds of the sale of the scallops also went to the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. A portion of pooled proceeds was used to cover expenses of the participating vessels and the cost of observers. The NEFSC worked with CMAST and the scallopers on the design of the survey and approaches for addressing potential problems, including developing criteria for selecting participating vessels. The effort to shape a design that would calibrate the industry vessels with each other, and in turn with the NOAA research vessel, required application of substantial tech- nology as well as the operational knowledge of the fishermen. The survey went forward in August and September 1998 using six vessels, each sampling 100 stations in a two-week period (one every three square nautical miles). In a series of layered experiments, each vessel per- formed about 300 tows of 10 minutes each. The first major experiment was to estimate the relative density of scallops in the closed areas and, by calcu- lating the average "footprint" of a tow, to extrapolate to the total area. The second major effort was to study the relative efficiency of the dredge by going back and forth over the same plot multiple times, keeping track of

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EXPERIENCE WITH COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE UNITED STATES 19 the take of scallops each time and of each pass in relation to the total. The project also looked at the scale and patchiness of scallop beds, the rate at which dragging filled the dredge, and tows designed to determine when the scallop dredge actually stopped fishing during haulback. Controversy arose during data analysis because there was no agreement at the outset on the timing of peer reviews and release of the data. Another difference of opinion among participants related to estimating scallop den- sity relative to tow efficiency and how a model would be used to adjust for repeated tows over the same area. The difference was an estimate of 40 percent efficiency from NEFSC and 16 percent from CMAST. Translated into the abundance estimate, the gap was between 30 million and 60 mil- lion scallops. The scientific and statistical committee of the fishery man- agement council and the stock assessment review committee for scallops reviewed the information and accepted the 40 percent efficiency estimate. Once the pilot was completed successfully and confirmed that the com- mercial dredge and the NOAA research survey dredge could be calibrated to show consistent results, the NEFSC moved into the second phase of the project. The objectives were to assess the number and size of scallops in the remaining two areas that had been closed since 1994 (Closed Area I and Nantucket Lightship). The other major objective of the second cooperative survey was to evaluate the amount of bycatch in the scallop dredges. A joint survey was conducted between August 6 and September 1, 1999, in Closed Area I, a triangle of water approximately 40 miles south- east of Cape Cod, and in the Nantucket Lightship area, a rectangle about 30 miles south of Nantucket. Two scallopers were chosen by lottery to participate in the biomass estimate portion of the survey, and two other fishing vessels were chosen by lottery to participate in the bycatch portion of the experiment. The industry also provided crews. Scallopers used their allocated days at sea and retained for sale 14,000 pounds of sea scallop meats from their 10-day trips, a value of about $80,000. Vessels only had to count days at sea actually used in the survey tows. As with the 1998 project, the NEFSC was responsible for the survey design, the industry provided platforms and crews, and the Virginia Insti- tute of Marine Studies provided researchers and other scientific assistance. Conclusions Results of this cooperative research not only showed an abundance of scallops of large size, but the intensity and scale of information it was able

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20 COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE r, - to generate about scallops, their habitat, and the other species associated with them in the closed areas allowed managers to devise bycatch reduction measures that enabled additional openings, resulting in landings of scallop meats worth approximately $36 million. This case study demonstrates how incentives can be built into the collection of information to create positive feedback for the industry and at the same time maintain scientific credibil- ity of the survey methodology and data analysis. THE WEST COAST MESH SIZE STUDY, ENSURING RIGOR AND EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN The West Coast Groundfish Mesh Size Study was conducted during the late 1980s through the early 1990s off the coasts of Oregon, Washing- ton, and California. A major impetus for the study was the finding that the predominant management tool being used to regulate the fishery (indi- .. . . . Tic . .. . ,, . . .,% , vlaual-specles trip quotas, or trip limits was causing slgm~lcant and ln- creasing discarding of otherwise marketable fish and that substantial dis- carding of below-market-sized fish was also occurring (Pikitch, 1986; Pikitch et al., 1988; Pikitch, 19911. The fishing industry advocated that mesh size research be conducted to evaluate whether new mesh size regula- tions could replace or diminish reliance on trip limits and reduce discard levels. This case study focuses on the development of an experimental de- sign for the field component of the research project conducted in 1988. At the project's inception, an advisory group was established and in- cluded members from industry, scientists and managers from state and fed- eral agencies, and scientists from academia. While a small research team spearheaded the project and managed and performed daily tasks, all major decisions were made via consensus of the advisory group, which met nu- merous times during the course of investigations. The diversity of interests represented in the advisory group shaped a research agenda designed to meet the highest scientific standards while minimizing costs and maximiz- ing the chance that the results of the study would actually be applied in the management of the fishery. Thus, from the outset, it was clear that the standards applicable to the West Coast Groundfish Mesh Size Study were broader than those applied to typical scientific research projects. A great deal of time and effort was employed to establish an experi- mental design that would meet all the criteria needed to meet overall project objectives. An early design constraint agreed to by all participants was that

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EXPERIENCE WITH CO OPERA TIVERESEAR CHIN THE UNITED STATES 21 all work would be conducted aboard commercial fishing vessels operating under commercial fishing conditions (i.e., using normal commercial gear deployed under customary conditions and fishing grounds and for usual durations). This design element was selected to ensure realism and, ulti- mately, the utility of the results for management purposes. Another advan- tage of the use of these vessels was reduction in cost. Not only did the survey provide data based on realistic conditions by using these vessels, it did so at a much lower cost than if a government research vessel had been chartered. All parties agreed on the need for scientific rigor. The methods used to evaluate experimental design options were subjected to several levels of peer 1 r 1 1 1 ~ review, 1nclu( sing 1ntormal reviews oy tne investigators peers in aca( Rena and NMFS, formal review by the Pacific Fishery Management Council's (PFMC) scientific advisory committees, and ultimately submission and publication in a refereed science journal (Bergh et al., 19901. Initially, with `~ 1 rid . convenience ant ~ rlshlng ettlclency as primary consl( aerations, a ( resign in which each vessel would fish with a single mesh size during a given trip was advocated by the fishing industry. Calculations performed by the scientific team members demonstrated that the number of trips needed to detect a significant difference of the magnitude expected was prohibitively high under the requested scenario. Thus, while this scenario passed scientific muster, it failed to meet other standards of feasibility and cost efficiency. An alternative, albeit less convenient design, was considered whereby each vessel would change mesh sizes every tow according to a predetermined randomized pattern. The number of trips needed under the alternative sce- nario was an order of magnitude less than that required by the original design. With the advantages of the alternative design far outweighing itS disadvantages, it was adopted via a consensus of the parties. Another key design element was the use of volunteer fishing vessels that were exempt from trip limits while engaged in cooperative research fishing trips. The trip-limit waiver was facilitated by the multistakeholder advisory committee and ensured that fishing trips would be scientifically productive (i.e., not terminated prematurely as a result of attainment of trip quotas) and also served as a powerful financial incentive for fishermen to cooperate. As noted above, the use of volunteer vessels, while demanding much more time and effort to coordinate on the part of the research team than using vessel charters or chartering a government research vessel, greatly reduced the costs of conducting the study. In addition, by involving a much

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22 COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE greater fraction of the fleet than would a single-vessel charter or govern- ment charter, this design element contributed to both the realism and ac- ceptance of the results by a broad segment of the industry. The detailed findings of the field studies are provided by Pikitch (1991, 1992) and Pikitch et al. (19901. The results demonstrated that an increase in mesh size would greatly reduce the catch (and hence the discard) of small unmarketable fish. For example, discards were approximately half as numerous for catches obtained using 114-mm (4.5-inch) mesh codends than for catches obtained using 76-mm (3.0-inch) mesh codends (Pikitch et al., 19901. Based largely on this work, the PFMC voted to increase minimum regulated mesh size for bottom trawls from 76 mm to 1 14 mm in 1991. Conclusions First, it is clear that a partnership among stakeholders, including scien- tists, industry, and regulators (in this case in the form of an advisory com- mittee) was essential to the success of the study. The partnership ensured the scientific integrity, practicality, and cost effectiveness of the experimental design and facilitated ready application of the results to alter management practices. The advisory committee also paved the way for obtaining the needed waiver of regulations and obtaining volunteer vessel participation. The focus on experimental design also proved to be essential. Results of the analyses performed led to adoption of an experimental protocol that made for efficient use of resources and allowed sufficient sampling effort to be deployed. The ready adoption of the results by managers to change regula- tions was not a "lucky coincidence" but rather a critical objective of the study from the outset which led to the adoption of several key design constraints. This case study also illustrates the "higher standard" to which coopera- tive research projects can be held relative to other scientific projects. In the case of the West Coast Groundfish Mesh Size Study, a scientifically valid experimental design was a necessary criterion for success, but that in itself was insufficient. From the outset, practicality, acceptability, cost effective- ness, and utility were key design criteria. In this example, faithful adher- ence to these criteria in development of the experimental design led not only to a successful research project but also to a rapid and successful man- agement outcome.

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EXPERIENCE WITH CO OPERA TIVERESEAR CHIN THE UNITED STATES 23 WEST COAST VOLUNTEER LOGBOOK PROGRAM One ofthe most important elements of any partnership is a clear under- standing of expectations among parties. The following case study illustrates that, while cooperation can produce benefits, it can also create significant problems, particularly if it is not adequately funded and suffers from conflicting expectations about the responsibilities and priorities among the parties. Although the West Coast groundfish trawl fishery adopted minimum mesh size regulations, the fishery continued to discard significant portions of the catch due to economic and regulatory constraints. In particular, high levels of regulatory discarding were occurring in the shelf slope trawl groundfishery due to trip limits and harvest quotas set by the PFMC. Decreasing stock estimates of the slope trawl DTS (dover sole, thornyheads, sablefish) fishery, combined with fleet overcapacity, were resulting in tight- ening trip limits. Managers assumed that rates of regulatory discarding would change and possibly increase as fishermen responded to these limits. Groundfish allocation issues were also contributing to increasing attention to the trawl fishery and its discard practices. Discard rates used by the PFMC in estimating optimum yields and trip limits were based on a study conducted by Pikitch et al. (1988) during the mid-1980s, before significant reductions in quotas and trip limits. Management believed it was critical to update discard estimates. The PFMC and NMFS's Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) began discussing management alternatives, including mandatory observer programs or full retention harvest regula- tions. In 1995 the Oregon Trawl Commission (OTC), which represents Oregon-based groundfish and shrimp trawlers, agreed to collaborate with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODF&W) to conduct a cooperative pilot program to update estimates of discard rates and test approaches for developing comprehensive at-sea data collection programs. The primary science and industry cooperators were ODF&W; OTC; Oregon; and to a lesser extent other West Coast shelf and slope trawl vessel owners, skippers, and crews who volunteered their time and effort. The initial project had three primary objectives: (1) develop approaches to efficiently organize and administer a comprehensive trawl groundfish data collection program; (2) scientifically estimate trawl fleet slope bycatch and discard rates for all federally managed species; and (3) improve onboard biological sampling. Associated with these goals were 19 subobjectives and 34 tasks (Saelens, 19951. An important project criterion was to obtain sci-

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24 COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE entifically valid data using methods that did not interfere with the normal course of fishermen and vessel operations and behavior. A key set of subobjectives was to obtain representative data of the entire fleet by placing observers on over 10 percent of the trawl fleet and enhanced logbooks on 20-40 percent of trawl vessels. A key expectation was that different data sources could be collectively used to improve scientific analysis of catch and discards. These data included: (1) enhanced logbooks maintained by op- erators of vessels; (2) fish ticket weights generated by processors and col- lected by shore-based ODF&W personnel; (3) catch and discards data and biological samples collected by observers; and (4) biological samples col- lected by industry. Project concepts were codeveloped by ODF&W and OTC. ODF&W developed a proposal that was submitted to OTC for approval. The OTC received permission by its constituents to levy an additional tax of 0.5% on exvessel groundfish revenues to pay for the program. ODF&W hired observers, developed the enhanced logbooks, and developed methods and protocols for collecting data and biological samples. ODF&W was also responsible for collecting and maintaining raw data and obtaining experi- mental fishing permits. The OTC was expected to help market the pro- gram and locate cooperating voluntary vessels, which received no direct compensation except caps and jackets for skippers and crew. It was ex- pected that federal scientists would analyze the data, given that ODF&W did not have adequate scientific staff. The first year of the project (Phase I) was expected to be a learning process in order to improve methods and protocols. It was expected that data and findings would be shared with industry, the public, and managers during the course of the study. Difficulties during Phase I exceeded managers' expectations. The first proposal by ODF&Wwas rejected by OTC because of perceived high costs. As a result, the project was rewritten as "bare bones," which retained most objectives but cut staffsupport. Managers received additional funding from ODF&W and the NWFSC, but the funds were used to expand the project to the shelf trawl fisheries and for increased participation from California and Washington. No additional funds were used to support administrative or analytical staff or to compensate participating vessels. Project managers and the OTC encountered problems enlisting the cooperation of an ad- equate number of vessels, and there was confusion regarding the respective responsibilities of OTC and ODF&W. This problem compounded efforts to maintain regularly scheduled trips and to fully employ scientific

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EXPERIENCE WITH CO OPERA TIVERESEAR CHIN THE UNITED STATES 25 observers. Turnover among observers was high, which resulted in increased . . . ac Ministrative costs. By 1996, stock problems were increasing among some shelf grouncl- fish species, which expanded focus on the shelf portion ofthe stucly. Project managers were being pressured to release preliminary clata. Managers, how- ever, were reluctant to provide clata, given the project's problems, limited number of observations, ancl lack of scientific review ancl analysis. ODF&W then received complaints that project managers were cleliber- ately withholding findings for political reasons. In response, project man- agers felt compelled to release summaries of the raw clata at public meetings that received significant press coverage. Rather than resolve scientific ques- tions, the release of clata that were not scientifically validated heightened management tensions. Although the project limped along for the next year ancl a half, there was little management support. The project never achieved its vessel coverage objectives. There was also no final report publishecl. A1- though some of the clata have been used by NWFSC scientists to update discard rates for selected species, collectively the project clata could not be used to scientifically determine trawl discard rates for all federally managed shelf ancl slope species. Some of the administrative en cl clata collection methods developed during the study were integrated into the federally funded grounclfish observer program instituted in 2001. Conclusions The clata enhancement project was designed to address a politically contentious clata ancl science problem. The OTC ancl ODF&W clemon- stratecl leadership in attempting to address this problem. The study did produce useful administrative methods ancl protocols, ancl generally posi- tive relationships were experienced between fishermen ancl observers. This helped smooth the transition into a newly instituted mandatory observer program (Bernstein ancl Iuclicello, 20001. However, the project did not achieve many of its objectives. The project's administrative problems height- enecl political tensions ancl created the impression, however false, that the project was designed to produce biased clata in favor of the trawl fishery. In retrospect, it is clear that the project was overly ambitious, unclerfunclecl, ancl suffered from conflicting expectations about responsibilities ancl . . . prlorltles.

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26 COOPERATIVE ~S~CHIN THE NATIONAL M~NEFISHEMES SERVICE REDUCING SEABIRD BYGATCH IN THE ALASKA LONGLINE FISHERIES The participation of environmental groups in cooperative research can serve to provide momentum for policy choices based on results and for promoting similar research in other regions. Following successful conclu- sion of a seabird bycatch study in Alaska, the Audubon Living Oceans Program helped initiate a similar project in Hawaii. The incidental mortality of seabirds in longline fisheries is a serious conservation issue worldwide. In Alaska the presence of an endangered species of seabird, the short-tailed Albatross (Diomed~ea all~atr?~s), heightens the importance of that issue. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) Biological Opinion, any mortality over six short-tailed Albatrosses within a two-year period (two in the halibut fishery and four in the rest of the groundfish fisheries) would trigger a Section 7 consultation mandated by the Endangered Species Act. The result could be an interrup- tion or even a closure of Alaska's $300 million longline industry. The Bio- logical Opinion requires that mitigation measures be used in these fisheries and that research be done to test the effectiveness of these measures. In 1996 the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) passed regulations mandating certain seabird deterrent techniques for longliners. Then, in 1999, Washington Sea Grant began a cooperative research project that resulted in recommendations to refine and improve these mitigation measures. The revised measures then became required conditions for longlining, as per new regulations subsequently passed by the NPFMC. This cooperative research project lasted two years (1999 and 2000) and involved two fleets: the catcher-processor fleet targeting Pacific cod and the catcher-vessel fleet fishing under individual fishing quotas (IFQs) for sablefish. Along with Washington Sea Grant, three other institutions collaborated on this project: the University of Washington, USFWS, and NMFS. Two fishing associations also collaborated: the IFQ vessels all were members of the Fishing Vessel Owners Association, and the Pacific cod vessels all were members of the North Pacific Longline Association. Work- ing fishermen collaborated in two ways: they identified possible deterrents at the beginning of the project and decided along with the program direc- tor which of those would be most suitable for testing, and they tested these deterrents on their vessels using experimentally rigorous tests while actively fishing under typical conditions. Observers trained and certified by the NMFS collected data aboard the participating vessels.

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EXPERIENCE WITH CO OPERA TIVERESEAR CHIN THE UNITED STATES 27 The use of commercial vessels in the seabird deterrent survey was in the tradition of the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) and its use of this kind of vessel for halibut stock surveys. Rather than incur the investment of its own vessel and its maintenance and operations, the IPHC has for many decades chartered working fishing vessels as a more cost- effective way of having an oceangoing platform from which to gather data in a standardized format. Conclusions The use of working fishing vessels accomplished two goals. Not only did it provide a realistic setting for the testing of bird deterrents, it also kept costs down. No money was spent on vessel charters. The incentive for fish- ermen to participate was to receive free observer time, something they nor- mally pay for. All the government had to pay for was the cost of each observer, a small fraction of a vessel charter, and a much smaller fraction of a government research vessel charter. In this regard, this research was simi- lar to the West Coast Groundfish Mesh Size Study. The initial seabird deterrent regulations passed in 1996 by the NPFMC derived from anecdotal information from fishermen and from seabird de- terrence regulations from other parts of the world. The results of the coop- erative research in 1999 and 2000 clearly identified the most effective tech- niques for deterrence and also showed that some of the former regulations were ineffective. The resultant regulations are both simpler and more spe- cific than the previous regulations. For a full report of this research, see Melvin et al. (20011. COOPERATIVE FINFISH RESOURCE ABUNDANCE SURVEY IN THE MID-ATLANTIC BIGHT Communication is important at all stages of cooperative projects, par- ticularly in creating clear expectations at the outset. A critical aspect is when and how results of cooperative projects are communicated. A successful project in the Mid-Atlantic Bight was put at risk by premature release of r 1ntormatlon. In a January 2001 meeting, Rutgers University suggested to NMFS that fishing vessels towing alongside research vessels in the finflsh resource abundance surveys might be able to provide supplemental data on diver- sity, age composition, and abundance of fish within the survey area. An

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28 COOPERATIVE RESEAR CHIN THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE ancillary benefit of the proposed cooperative research was that fishermen would have more confidence in the NMFS survey if they were involved in the research and were able to compare the catch data and observations on their vessels with those on the research vessel when towing "side by side." A survey protocol was developed by Rutgers University and the NEFSC. The first cooperative survey was conducted and resulted in the comple- tion of 37 side-by-side tows. A report was prepared by Rutgers University and released in August 2001 after the NEFSC completed its peer review. The report stated that side-by-side tows could be an important part of the survey in the future but that the observations of a single experiment must be repeated in multiple experiments before the results could be considered reliable. A second side-by-side survey was planned for the fall 2001, and as a result, 59 additional side-by-side tows were scheduled for September 2001. A report was submitted to NEFSC by Rutgers University in lanuary 2002. During 2001 a newspaper reporter interviewed fishermen and scien- tists participating in the cooperative survey prior to the official release of all data and conclusions and wrote a critical article. In 2002 attempts to ar- range for additional cooperative surveys (this time as augmentations to the NMFS survey) failed when fishermen were informed that the NMFS spring 2002 trawl survey had already commenced. Finally, in August 2002, repre- sentatives of the fishing industry, Rutgers University, and the NEFSC agreed to perform further cooperative survey efforts in 2003. Specifically, it was decided that side-by-side tows would not be as useful as survey aug- mentation. Conclusions The case study illustrates how the premature release of information to the media can erode trust and put cooperative research efforts at risk of failure. The basis of a cooperative research project is trust, and it must be earned by all participants in the project.