[Editor's Note: The recommendations of fisheries scientists play a critical role in determining fishing regulations. But unlike regulatory meetings of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, which are transcribed, the meetings of the scientific committees are undocumented -- accessible only by attendance. At the Public Trust Project, we make an effort to transcribe, as faithfully as possible, the meetings that we attend to give the public an opportunity to witness the deliberations of scientists charged with estimating populations of marine species like Atlantic menhaden. Below is a transcription of the Menhaden Technical Committee's meeting on September 19th in Hanover, Maryland.]
1. Welcome and Introductions
Jeff Brust: Welcome, let’s introduce who is in the room.
Attendance: Alexei Sharov (Maryland), Matt Cieri (Maine), Micah Dean (Massachusetts), Jeff Brust (New Jersey), Amy Schueller (NOAA), Jeff Kipp (ASMFC), Jenny Nesglage (ASMFC), Jason McNamee (Rhode Island), Mike Waine (ASMFC)
Public in attendance: Ron Lukens (Omega Protein), Melissa Paine (ASMFC), Alison Fairbrother (Public Trust Project)
Teleconferenced in: Trish Murphy (North Carolina), Behzad Mahmoudi (Florida), Joe Smith (NOAA), Joey Ballenger (South Carolina), Derek Orner (NOAA Chesapeake Bay), Rob Latour (Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences), Jordan Brown (Saving Seafood)
Jeff Brust: Erik Williams has stepped down as chair of the stock assessment subcommittee. When my chairmanship ends in March, I will be off the committee. We’re trying to schedule a meeting in December to start working on the next assessment. It would be good to have an assessment chair at that meeting. Something to think about.
2. Discuss the target number of 10 fish samples (age and length) for bait fishery.
Mike Waine: Just a quick update on where we stand with everything. Last Friday we released draft amendment 2 for public comment. I want to update you on the changes that occurred. The projection analysis that this Technical Committee came up with in January was included in the draft amendment 2 to be used to establish the TAC [Total allowable catch]. But because of all the uncertainty in the SA, this committee deemed them unusable, and the board ended up taking those projections out of the document as a method to set the TAC. Because we don’t have a ton of time, our first agenda item is a placeholder that we’ve put in amendment 2 because the board is considering making biological sampling mandatory. As most of you should know, it’s done voluntarily right now, but the board was considering making it a mandatory process.
What this section in the amendment deals with is what do we want the biological sampling to look like for the bait fishery. This table here shows the number of ten fish samples taken from the reduction fishery from landings in Reedville over last 5 years. This next table, (table 2) was the target number of 10-fish samples established in 1994. I forget exactly what the name of that committee was at that point, and Joe Smith might be able to provide more detail, but they did an evaluation in 1994 and came up with a target number for bait landings harvest.
We put this in the amendment, and this table three is the number of 10 fish samples over the last 5 years, similar to the reduction fishery. This is not a mandatory sampling as of right now; it’s what was voluntary and collected over the last 5 years. The fishery has changed since 1994. We put in this option in the amendment that the TC would review and recommend a number of 10-fish samples to be collected by state. Essentially, that’s where we are right now. We did a little bit of homework on this, tried to go back to 1994, and see exactly how they came up with this information from table 2. What we concluded was that they based the total number of 10-fish samples to match up with the number of ten fish samples that the reduction fishery was collecting. So back in 94 that appears to have been around 142, and now you can see that they are a little bit out of sync. It’s the starting point. I think Joe Smith had put together a spreadsheet to get us started here. That was a lead in. I hadn’t really had a chance to look at your spreadsheet, but it looks like you suggested a target number of 10 fish samples.
Joe Smith: I took those numbers of 10-fish samples from reduction fishery and averaged them over 5 years. I went back to that email we got from Doug [Vaughn]. He was the one who engineered that table back in 1994, he looked at sampling intensity, how many 10-fish samples based on x number of metric tons. It comes out to something like one 10-fish sample for every 550 metric tons of fish offloaded for reduction. I just went and did some simple division in recent landings in the bait fishery and came up with a target. If you look at the average bait landings in the last few years, a target would be 88 ten-fish samples in the bait fishery. We seem to have exceeded that in recent years.
Jeff Brust: Can you explain the 88 that you got versus the 118 in the other table?
Joe Smith: Landings were much higher in the 80s – two big factories in Reedville and one in Beaufort. Maybe sampling intensity was different.
Rob Latour: Main thing is number of samples per unit of time. What’s the per unit of time? I’m thinking about the size or age structure of migration patterns. In spring, Virginia boats might be harvesting larger older boys because of the onset of the migration.
Joe Smith: It’s kind of a catch as catch can. Our sampling in Reedville starts getting fish in May from the bait snappers in Virginia. I think Jeff’s people are the same way going to Cape May. Our sampler in Reedville is Brad, but he mainly gets those in spring before the reduction fishery gets started. He doesn’t have a lot of time to get pound nets in mid summer. The PRFC stuff, their numbers…we’ve petitioned AC and Ellen Cosby to get us some samples. When available, when they’ve got time. Brad, my sampler, processes the fish when he gets them. The same with New Jersey and Jay’s folks in Rhode Island. I think we get good coverage with purse seine. It’s really with the pound nets where we would have to talk about getting the whole length of the season.
Jeff Brust: Do folks think 88 is enough?
Mike Waine: From Joe’s calculation it seems like its more a proportion of landings, but you could do it the way he calculates it, which is if landings fluctuate, you would be collecting data proportional to those landings. That’s how it’s done in the weakfish FMP. As landings expand and contrast, the biological sampling that goes along with it changes as well.
Amy Schueller: I have two concerns. Bait fishery landings seem to be going up, so I don’t want to set a target that’s at a lower level. 88 looks like it’s below the number that’s being collected. I don’t want to settle a number that’s low, and then eventually less and less samples are taken because independent states are meeting their target.
Matt Cieri: a lot of it is distribution of the fishery. In 2008, there were 16 from Maine; that reflects the fishery moving in the year class. If you set it at a static number, that won’t be reflective of what states are getting along the coast. If we really do want to get better coverage, a lot of time it’s where it’s shipped to. In many cases, as lobster bait for the bait fishery, in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. Often times we have difficulty with traceability. Sometimes we have to cajole the driver and buy them a cup of coffee, to tell us where they came from. A lot of times it’s from Virginia or New Jersey.
Jeff Brust: Already we are over sampling the suggested target, so I don’t think sampling is a problem.
Alexei Sharov: I’m not sure that we are oversampling. The sample size that’s required depends on your age structure. Here the basic approach is to provide proportionally similar intensity to the reduction fishery. The Reduction fishery currently operates in Mid Atlantic area, Chesapeake Bay and New Jersey, which has, to a degree, a limited age structure. While the northern states when they catch the bait, they harvest a wider range of ages. Therefore, in my mind, you need a larger sample size. I haven’t seen any analysis of the ten-fish sampling event, where they list the age structure or not. At least I’d like see someone else or us doing the analysis. A ten-fish sample, in my mind, is not set in stone. It might be too much, or too little.
Amy Schueller: I’m not sure just making sure we have the same number proportionally that we get from the reduction fishery is the right way to look at this.
Jeff Brust: Can anyone put something together?
Jason McNamee: I could do something like that, but I would need more specificity as to what the analysis covariates are. Is age what we’re getting at, is that the important variable? We collect length and weight information as well. Another consideration is, we ran into this last year, our sampling was lousy. We sent Joe a bunch of samples, he called and said, you sent a lot of scales but we couldn’t read them. How many readable scales you get out of a sample is a consideration.
Jeff Brust: Okay, can you look at the sample sizes, and break it off at 10, 15, 20, see what the power of the synthesis is.
Micah Dean: It comes down to individual states responsible for contributing some number of samples, are we going to break that down proportionally?
Jeff Brust: You could do analysis by state, or you could do the analysis and then break it down by state. We would want to weight the samples to the states that are getting the larger harvest.
Alexei Sharov: In an ideal world you should have a very large sample, the entire population size and age distribution. Since we don’t have this, we would have to pick a year in the past when the sampling was covering most of the fishing years in the largest sample sizes. And the variances you would get given different sample sizes.
Jason McNamee: 2008 was a good one. We got lots of sample sizes up and down the coast.
Amy Schueller: You could take a couple years and compare.
Jason McNamee: I will need the data from Joe.
Joe Smith: I can send the raw data to Jason. As a background document, I think it was Alex Chester here that took a look at samples from the purse seine and confirmed that a ten-fish sample gave a good cross section of the last purse seine set. The variance was greater between sets than within sets. Back between ‘55 to about 1971, we did take 20 fish samples, but again, the statisticians discovered that the variance was greater between sets than within. We went for smaller 10-fish samples, and sampling a greater number of vessels. I can get Jay that Chester paper.
Rob Latour: That paper basically says we’re cluster sampling. To me the variables that matter are time and space. You need reflective samples of the temporal pattern and the spatial pattern, within a state. Which would argue for lower numbers of per samples but more samples.
Alexei Sharov: Should we come up with an estimate of the number of samples that are being completed for 1,000 pounds landed, or estimate of how much is landed on average on a daily basis and estimate the frequency required for sampling?
Mike Waine: This committee is looking to explore sampling that is specific to a certain time frame as well. That’s not part of our other FMPs. For example in weakfish, it’s a set number of odelous per pounds landed, but it doesn’t specify a time frame. I’m not saying that this committee couldn’t, but if that’s a road that this committee wants to go down, that’s the kind of information the board will need to make that decision.
Matt Cieri: Do you block catch at age by season?
Joe Smith: Usually by area. We look at Chesapeake Bay, Mid Atlantic, North Atlantic.
Matt Cieri: For example a ton of menhaden landed in Chesapeake Bay, would have the overall age over the entire year applied to it, as a proportion. That only works if you scale your samples by your effort. If they are disjointed in any way, if you get more samples earlier in the year than later the year, you’ll get a different view of catch at age matrix per area.
Joe Smith: For reduction area, there is full time permitted person there at Reedville, and there’s coverage from me til they quit in December, and I think Jeff’s people get a good coverage of New Jersey. That’s probably 88 percent of the bait.
Matt Cieri: If you got them all earlier in the season you are applying an age length key too…
Joe Smith: the unit is “plant weeks.” Samples from a given week, and the total landings for a given week.
Matt Cieri: For some northern states this won’t be a concern. Menhaden spending time in northern waters, it’s very punctuated.
If we start breaking bait into northern and southern locations by two different fleets. I chafe at the idea of making states collect samples for a certain time. We need to develop what we do with those states and then base our sampling around that.
Alexei Sharov: How many boat loads in terms of percent are being sampled throughout the year? There’s a number of sets in a boatload, but when it comes back, your sampler takes a sample from the top. If we have 1000 boats unloaded for the season, what percentage are being sampled?
Joe Smith: About a quarter of the unloadings.
Rob Latour: With bait being spread all over the place, it’s hard to collect things in a temporal way. Variance is greater between sets than within them. It’s an issue of how pragmatic it is to collect within a temporal or spatial design.
Jeff Brust: Is that something that you could look at in terms of when and where the landings are coming from?
Rob Latour: is that information tabulated. Certainly when would be, but where?
Jeff Brust: I know the NJ guys don’t go far outside of NJ to get their stuff. The VA guys come all the way up to NJ.
Joe Smith: Up to Cape May and Point pleasant. I’ve seen some of the CDFRs. Lunds is filling out CDFRs for us this year, and they have gone 35 miles offshore. VA snapper stays close to the Bay. When Arc bait is fishing in RI, they are pretty much in Narragansett Bay.
Jeff Brust: we are looking at having Jay [McNamee] do the analysis. Next question, is when do we need this by?
Matt Cieri: You really should base sampling protocol around your catch at age matrix. Unless you want to do something really really general. But if you start looking at north and south reduction or bait, you start having to break stuff up. Your catch at age matrix, and your time and area cells should dictate your sampling regime.
Jeff Brust: It would be nice to have those before the next sampling season starts.
Matt Cieri: In herring, our time area cells are quarters and much much larger management areas, so that makes sure we have that kind of coverage. That also gives us the flexibility, you can always collapse things. You can’t often expand them. First figure out what you want your catch at age matrix to be, and then design sampling protocol one level belong that.
Jeff Brust: Do we need Jay to do this analysis soon, or should we wait until we know how we going to break up the fleets?
Alexei Sharov: Catch at age will look different depending on how you sample. We need to have unbiased sampling of total harvest.
Matt Cieri: Sincee you can’t go back in time, you are going to be stuck with whatever you’ve got right now. One of the suggestions would be to redesign whatever you are doing for catch at age matrix, drill one level down, and set it as a research recommendation for the next five years. You are never going to be able to go back to samples you didn’t take in the 1980s.
Jeff Brust: Why would you make it a research recommendation and then leave it for five years?
Matt Cieri: You won’t be able to use it for another five years anyway.
Mike Waine: Why?
Matt Cieri: the bulk of your catch at age matrix is going to be based on what you already have in place.
Mike Waine: But the sampling…there’s a disconnect meaning that the samples you’ve collected can’t feed into the same…?
Matt Cieri: You can go back and do everything by quarter, if you have the month that it was collected in. Whatever it is your catch at age matrix is going to be your least common denominator.
Amy Schueller: Can we move forward with the power analysis, look at variance, make our best recommendations now for the current document, and then as we’re going through the benchmark and looking at catch at age matrixes, could we put it into the document?
Mike Waine: We put a placeholder for this in draft amendment 2. For delivery by December. This document goes out to public comment, and then the board finalizes it in December. Any recommendation for the TC would be useful. If it’s included in this amendment, it becomes part of compliance. So states will be responsible to adhere to anything the board selects as a final option. Any changes would most likely go into an addendum. We often don’t get a lot of public comment on these sorts of sampling options.
Matt Cieri: I’m not sure we’re going to get the number of samples for this document. The fishery is ever-changing. You get a good year class that comes up the coast and then you’ll get more samples.
Alexei Sharov: There’s a common sense approach that we should recommend. All federal science centers have target samples sizes per unit of weight. Applying this to menhaden, if we could take the reduction fishery as a standard, if we are satisfied with the frequency of sampling, then we should say based on this table, that a certain number of samples should be taken as a minimum.
Matt Cieri: For every 500 tons of fish landed you must have one sample per gear type, as a minimum. Something like that.
Alexei Sharov: That’s amazing: 10 fish per 550 metric tons.
Matt Cieri: That’s what herring does.
Alexei Sharov: And the bat fishery is catching 44,000 metric tons, So it’s 45 x 20, that’s 900 fish, all along the Atlantic fish.
Jeff Brust: That’s about what Joe came up with, 88 10 fish samples.
Maybe do it based on x number per landings. We’ll go through the benchmark and re-jigger the structure of the fishery.
Matt Cieri: You could wind up with different fleets, three fleets, pound net bait and reduction for each of three areas separated by two seasons.
Mike Waine: Jay, just follow up with me and we can discuss.
3. Discuss the effects of selectivity on any harvest restrictions to the bait and reduction fishery
-Is it advantageous to take more reductions from the bait or reduction fishery because of the differences in selectivity patterns?
Jeff Brust: The board keeps pressing us to do this. The question is how to take the cuts, do they want to cut both sectors, reduction and bait evenly, or do they want to reduce the reduction fishery greater than the bait fishery, or vice versa. Their question to us is will preserving one sector of the population over another provide a better result in terms of improving spawning stock biomass. Should we have more small fish in the water, or more big fish in the water? What gives us a better bang for the buck? Is there anything we can do to give us some sort of answer?
The model based estimates of SSB and subsequent estimates of recruitment where you place years on the data points and look at capacity for recruitment on different stock sizes?
Rob Latour: Under overfishing, we were realizing equally high recruitments, as opposed to conditions where the stock would have been in better shape. It’s hard to say about productivity.
Alexei Sharov: Rob you are probably looking at a more complex option where you are essentially looking at having feedback, whether it’s causing an increase in recruitment.
Rob Latour: As a first cut, it might be informative to look at regimes of recruitment as opposed to regimes of SSB.
Alexei Sharov: In principle, we are looking whether cutting this one or the second one more than the alternative will give us more of an SSB. In other words, through which scenario will there be more survivors. That’s the way I see the question posed.
Matt Cieri: When you get a new model…
Alexei Sharov: No, you don’t need a new model. You take your population, whatever age structure you chose, and run it forward.
Genny Neslage: Didn’t the whole committee have heartburn over how stock is structured in the model? Wouldn’t the structure of the model then affect the SSB?
Alexei Sharov: It’s a question of relative abundance. As long as you have age length key specified…
Amy Schueller: I don’t know how they expect us to answer this question. We’ve already stated how we feel about selectivity in the current model. Right now, we use what we have as selectivities, maybe I’m recalling different, but bait and reduction selectivities are similar and flat topped. One of the big discussions is what should the selectivities look like? To me, when I read this question, what does the board really want here. Do they want some numbers based on the update that we said wasn’t … I don’t know what to say to this question at all.
Matt Cieri: From a managers point of view, they are trying to figure out how to allocate a coastwide number. Is it better to have them come out of small individuals or large individuals? A lot of stakeholders get wrapped around the axle. When we do this, we do an MSY approach based on the selectivity that we currently have. If we have problems with the model’s diagnostics, that have some root in the selectivity, like a retrospective pattern, which might be dramatically affected by selectivity, I’m not sure we can answer this question. I do think we could comment qualitatively on this particular issue – there are tradeoffs, just like a yield per recruit. I don’t think they are looking for real projections.
Behzad Mahmoudi: I think maybe what they are looking for is spawn recruit analysis, based on these two differences.
Alexei Sharov: That’s what I was saying when I said you are looking at this in terms of proportions. But you still have to use the selectivities. What Amy is saying these selectivites are likely to be compromised – we don’t know that they are true. We don’t know that we can provide them in advance. Maybe she’s right, I’m having second thoughts.
Jeff Brust: I’m fine providing that answer to the board. But Matt, do you think we could do this qualitatively?
Matt Cieri: If you take them when they’re small, this is the question when it comes to recreational fishing – why is my bag limit where it is when it spawns? A metric ton of fish taken as juvenile, a proportion of that would have died anyways as a result of natural mortality. On the flip side, you are taking fewer fish when they are bigger, but those fish more than likely will feed into your SSB spawners. Taking a metric tons of smaller fish — everyone thinks that is worse. Maybe that’s the type of discussion we need to have.
Alexei Sharov: What’s the point of that discussion if you can’t do estimates?
Matt Cieri: Managers will assume a metric ton of juveniles is worse because there are more fish per pound. Without the recognition that some fish would have died anyway due to natural mortality.
Alexei Sharov: You have to calculate the survivability.
Matt Cieri: It’s probably not really any difference.
Alexei Sharov: Is there advantage or not in choosing one or the other? You will have more spawning stock if you take less of the smaller fish or less of the older fish?
Matt: We don’t know. They automatically assume.
Alexei Sharov: They don’t know, they are asking for our advice. That’s exactly the question.
Behzad Mahmoudi: That can be calculated based on simple spreadsheet based on spawning recruitment.
Matt Cieri: If you have selectivity nailed.
Genny: Neslage What if we give it to them. In the past, I’m vaguely remembering, we have played around with…I’m remembering sitting in Beaufort and Eric was saying that the bait fishery was dome shaped and the data was fitting better as logistic. Can we give them both answers. Give them two fisheries as logistic, flat topped, and one in which reduction is dome shaped and bait is flat topped.
Amy Schueller: My understanding is that the reduction fishery was flat and the bait was domed in the past. Then there was some age composition done and it looked very similar and they both went flat topped. But I can see Jenny’s point about here it is when you are domed versus flat topped.
Matt Cieri: But they are going to ask which is more plausible.
Jason McNamee: The idea would be to do an extreme dome?
Jeff Brust: Yes, that’s one end, is that they are both flat topped, the other one is an extreme dome.
Amy Schueller: Single coastwide population without any spatial topics addressed. That’s the best we can do at this time.
Genny Neslage: This would be something to give the board, even with all the caveats.
Jeff Brust: They’ve asked us a couple of times. I’m okay giving them a “we can’t do it right now,” but I would feel better giving them something.
Matt Cieri: It’s somewhere between here and here: the arrowhead selectivity and the knife edge selectivity.
Genny Neslage: But how different will it be. How big a mistake would they be making if they choose one over the other?
Jeff Brust: If both lean towards one or the other, then we’re good.
Alexei Sharov: Forget about selectivities. Don’t use them. Just take your age structure as an estimate of your bait harvest, and the age structure the reduction fishery harvests, and compare your savings. Compare what you would have by reducing. How much would we get from 100 metric tons of this one than that one. And do this by several years. That doesn’t require your assumption of selectivity. If we were to say to them, save 100 tons out of this, what would have survived until next year? The beauty of it is that it hasn’t nothing to do with the assessment. You are using your rational observations.
Jeff Brust: You lost me. Can you explain again.
Alexei Sharov: Take the year 2010, we have the total tonnage of bait harvest and reduction harvest. For each sectors, you have age structure as well. So you can convert bait harvest into the catch at age if you want to, and reduction into catch at age. You can say for 100 metric tons, that would be equivalent to thousands of fish, according to observed age structure. On a coastwide basis, that is what you have taken from the coastwide population. Then if you wanted to, you have an ability to not harvest 100 tons of this or 100 tons of that, that woud be equivalent to this number of fish distributed in this way by age. Take that and apply constant natural mortality, and you see how many fish you have.
Matt Cieri: That actually works.
Alexei Sharov: If you do this for several years, you can see natural variability in age structure. One of them will save more than the other. The percentage difference, some are variable.
Matt Cieri: Then you could leave it in numbers of fish at age.
Alexei Sharov: You could look at total increase in biomass or total increase in SSB.
Jeff: Does this sound viable to others?
All are nodding.
Jeff Brust: Who will do the analysis?
Matt Cieri: Alexei! He came up with the good idea.
Alexei: I can do it.
Matt Cieri: That does get around the whole selectivity problem. I’m really interested to see the result.
Alexei: After I do the calculations, I’ll send it to the Technical Committee for quality control. I’ll have it by November.
3. Elect a Stock Assessment Subcommittee chair
Amy Schueller: I was going to volunteer myself. As the lead analyst I am putting together agendas for those meetings anyway, and then passing it off to the chair. I don’t think it will be that much more work. I’m do a lot of the talking anyway at the meetings anyway. I’ll put my name in the hat.
Jeff Brust: Given that you’ll be doing Gulf menhaden next year, and you’re going to start Atlantic menhaden also…is that too much? Is Erik cool with this?
Amy Schuller: Erik and I had a discussion about this before we came. He’s cool with it. I get a lot of calls about it, anyway.
Jenny: AFC spoke earlier this week about alternative stock assessment subcommittees. Is there anyone else could pick this up from Amy for analysis if she could not be available in the next year? Not the modeling, but the data analysis. Here’s a list of people. We’re thinking outside the box…
Matt Cieri:. …Because the box is pretty small.
Micah Dean: My concern with my name is that I’m going to be the TC chair in March.
Alexei Sharov: We have to look at this in light of the development that Amy has committed. So she will be at the very least at the meetings, that makes a big difference. When this discussion went on, a possible difference in my thinking is that historically everyone looks at this as if there is one person pulling the whole assessment. It should be a collective effort. Ideally there should be 2-3 individuals able to run the model.
Amy Schueller: They need this lead analyst type position for the coming calendar year. Assuming menhaden gets put on CEDAR schedule is magic marker, I would be available for 2014. But for me, as I’m looking at the scope of what needs to be done. That first year would be less about tinkering with the model than the data. It’s the data piece to me that needs the focus first because the data dictates the capabilities that we’ll have within the structure.
Matt Cieri: The data doesn’t have a retrospective pattern. The model creates a retrospective pattern. It’s not in the code.
Rob Latour?: There’s more to it than that. Matt. There’s in congruency between that and what the signals are with the data.
Matt Cieri: I think a lot of people outside the room think it’s the models problem. It can be, but it can also be based on the data.
Amy Schueller: There’s no guarantee that what happens in the next few years will fix anything, but I think the years could give the group a better understanding. Having a good look at the data is one of the biggest tasks.
Matt Cieri: I feel more confident than that after going through numerous problems with herring. We had a horrible retrospective problem, but then resolved it.
Amy Schueller: What do you mean by resolve?
Alexei Sharov: Cutting things.
Matt Cieri: It beats breaking an index that doesn’t have a door change. Is it any more right when you fix it? That’s the hang up. If you fix retrospective pattern, does it mean that your model is more precise than before?
Alexei Sharov: Are you trying to decide whether Amy could be named as the lead analyst?
Amy Schueller: We need people to work in parallel, but not necessarily just to be tinkering with the BAM code.
Alexei Sharov: The work to plan the assessment is the task of the SAS subcommittee when it meets.
Genny Neslage: We are going to kick this can down the road again??!
Alexei Sharov: it’s my understanding that Amy is going to be the lead assessment person anyway.
Jeff: But the board asked for names. Here’s the list:
Genny Neslage: This whole group needs to get really engaged. We need to break up the work and not rely on one person. But when it comes down to it, when we have a model, statistical catch at age, there are only a handful of people on the Atlantic coast that can handle it. Making it spatially oriented and making changes to the code, we need someone who can sit down with the code and redo it. If they pull Amy out of this, certain people really want her on grouper or whatever, we need to identify someone to sit down with that code and make some major changes. Not all of us can do that.
Micah Dean: We don’t need to identify a single person right now.
Genny Neslage: For instance, I can’t do it while I’m doing the lobster assessment. If it’s me, you either get a lobster assessment or you get a menhaden assessment. It’s unrealistic to ask someone to be the lead coder on two assessments for a single year. We can break up the work but there needs to be a lead coder. Ideally we would see people volunteering.
Alexei Sharov: In 2014, Amy believes she is going to be available. The whole 2013 could be spent on data. If she is not available, we’ll get somebody.
Genny Neslage: All those people on that list are heavily involved on a different assessment. ASC is recommending a schedule change, because they don’t think it can all get one in one year.
[They agree to give the list of names to the ASC.]
Mike Waine: One other thing in here I wanted to draw your attention to is the language about requiring that all states with stationary gears collect catch and effort data. The intent of that from the PDTs perspective is to enhance the adult index that is currently based only off the PRFC CPUE survey data. Depending on how the board acts on this, there might be more information to be used to calculate.
Jeff Brust: Does the board need any feedback from us on to what requirements to include?
Mike: The way the PRFC currently collects the data is the model for which other states would collect data. They would collect it to the extent that the PRFC does. So if there are issues with the way the PRFC does it, that would be the input the board would be looking for. Otherwise they would just collect data similarly to how that index works.
Jeff Brust: Any discussion on that?
Alexei Sharov: it’s a more viable option than the aerial survey along the coast. It’s not realistic to think that would happen.
Mike Waine: that wasn’t in lieu of an aerial survey, just trying to enhance.
Matt Cieri: Some states don’t have effort reporting on their fixed gear. I think it’s a really good idea.
Mike Waine: PDT had some input from the Beaufort lab on this, we are not taking full credit at all.
Rob Latour: I wanted to remind folks that Tom Daniello (sp?) is working on the design of the aerial survey and to have a meeting with the TC to discuss the design. That sort of thing. Originally we were hoping for this fall but that was before everything went doozy with the assessment. Maybe it should be on the agenda in the coming months?
Mike Waine: We were supposed to meet in October, but the agenda items that were supposed to be covered then will not be covered in February. The finalizing of the amendment will be in December. Rob, that’s pertinent because it gives you an idea of the timeframe for when you would be on the agenda, which would be in February.
Rob Latour: I think that works well with him and me. I just wanted to keep it on our radar because there’s a lot of things happening between now and then.
Jeff Brust: One of the things we decided on our last conference call is that we wanted to have a meeting or workshop before the end of this year. I’m wondering if that might be a good time to bring this guy in to start talking about the survey. It might not be relevant to this assessment process but it might work in terms of timing. Everyone okay with a Conference call sometime mid to late November to go over the results of those two analyses that we’re working on, so the board can get the meeting materials for that meeting in December. That will be our next round of talks. Are folks on board with having this meeting sometime in December to start the next round of the assessment?
Meeting adjourned at 1 pm.