PIFSC Sea Turtle Longline Research EA June 1, 2009
Localities and oceanographic conditions or regimes which favor the improved economic viability of fishing for target species
Avoidance strategies for relocating fishing operations away from localities and oceanographic conditions characterized by unacceptable levels of sea turtle bycatch
Collect biological data on target and nontarget species. Sample the target and nontarget catch
for biological measurements and characterization of life history (size, age, size and age frequency, growth, fecundity, reproductive and somatic condition, etc); population structure (genetics, micro-constituents, parasites, etc); and tropic relationships (stomach contents, isotopes, etc); and other biological or ecological aspects of the catch. This would include tagging and releasing sea turtles caught incidentally to longline fishing to observe the subsequent movement, behavior, habitat preferences, and post-release survival of the sea turtles.
Figure 7. Deep-set longline technique for reducing the bycatch of sea turtles (Source: http://www.smartgear.org/grand_prize2005.php)
Scale of the Proposed Action
The scale of the proposed action is bounded by the financial resources available for this work from year to year. For current experiments in foreign fisheries, contracted gear experiments (all contracts combined) are sufficiently funded to contract operations setting no more than 200,000 hooks per year, and generally substantially less. Funding could be provided directly by NOAA (for example, the Office of International Assistance) or be obtained from other entities and foreign governments. An individual deep-set longline deployment would typically include