Strategic Framework for Fishery Monitoring and Catch Reporting in the Pacific Fisheries

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Appendix 2

Risk Assessment to Determine the Required Level of Fisheries Monitoring    

1.0 Introduction

The Strategic Framework for Fisheries Monitoring and Catch Reporting in Pacific Fisheries outlines an approach to strengthen fishery monitoring and catch reporting in all fisheries.  The goal for fisheries monitoring and catch reporting as set out in the Framework document is:

To have accurate, timely and accessible fisheries data, such that there is sufficient information and public confidence for all Pacific fisheries to be managed effectively and sustainably and to meet reporting obligations and objectives.  

Monitoring and reporting programs currently vary considerably both within and between harvest sectors and specific fisheries.  A key component of the framework includes the development and application of standardized criteria to assess and assign monitoring levels to all Pacific fisheries.  The purpose of developing standardized criteria is to establish a common understanding of catch monitoring requirements across all fisheries. 

The purpose of this document is to provide a risk assessment method to be used as a decision making tool to determine the required level of monitoring as outlined in the Framework. Fisheries have impacts on marine species, habitats and ecosystems that go beyond impacts on target species.  There are many different ways to assess risk.  This approach examines the risk the fishery activity presents to an ecosystem component(s) and outlines a process for assessing the ecological effects of fishing (on species - retained, released, species of concern, and communities, habitats) and the requirements of the accompanying management regime. 

The assessment applies to all commercial, recreational and Aboriginal fishing activities licenced and/or managed pursuant to the Fisheries Act, Fishery General Regulations, Pacific Fishery Regulations and the Coastal Fisheries Protection Act, including any such fishing activity licence and/or managed by the Government of Canada outside Canada’s Exclusive Economic Zone.  It is based on approaches taken in the Ecological Risk Analysis Framework for Coldwater Corals and Sponge Dominated Communities (DFO 2013).  It is also based on similar risk analysis frameworks and approaches produced by Hobday et al. (2011) and Holt et al. (in prep).  Changes may be made to the risk assessment when further information and experience indicates that significant improvements to the framework are necessary.

Completion of the risk assessment on a given fishery will be led by DFO Resource Managers, C&P and Science staff.  DFO will also collaborate, when possible, with stakeholders while conducting the assessment.  Results of a risk assessment and accompanying monitoring strategies will then be incorporated into IFMPs.     

2.0 Criteria  

The monitoring criteria incorporate an evaluation of the ecological effects of fishing and the requirements of the accompanying management regime.  Table 1 describes the types of ecosystem components and management requirements/regimes that need to be considered when assessing the impacts of fishing.  At level one, three main ecosystem components are identified: species, community and habitat.  If an impact is identified at level one, more focussed criteria can be used to help determine where the effect lies.  A hierarchical approach then defines the significance of each ecosystem component (see Table 1).  The risk assessment may focus on a a single or it may involve several components and more detailed effects.  It is important to note that species and community components can include species, stocks or conservation units (CUs).  Table 1 helps identify specific effects a fishery has on the ecosystem.  This is then used as the basis for the risk assessment description in Section 4.

Table 1. Examples of risks to ecosystem components and resource management requirements and/or regimes
  Component Examples
Ecosystem Risks Species impacts (species, stocks or CUs) (includes all retained, released/discarded species)
  • Potential for overharvest above identified levels or limits   
  • Stock vulnerability and susceptibility     
    • llife history characteristics 
    • degree fishery negatively impacts stock   
  • Risk of injury or death of released/discarded animals 
  • Behaviour changes resulting from disruptions from fishing activities (includes noise)   
    • displacement and/or interruption to breeding, migration etc.  
  • Status    
    • SARA listed species and/or stocks of concerns  
    • Wild Salmon Policy
    • Precautionary Approach Framework
  Community impacts
  • Specific interactions with and impacts on species including alterations to assemblages of species      
    • forage species DFO (2008)
    • predator/prey species   
    • SARA listed and/or stocks of concern
  Habitat impacts (benthic or pelagic)
  • Direct changes to structure, composition or destruction as result of fishing activity
    • impact on identified sensitive areas
    • overlap with marine protected areas, national marine conservation areas, marine parks or other protected areas
  • Indirect changes to habitat feature/function due to indirect impacts of fishing activity
    • Sedimentation, prey dispersement or removal
Resource Management Requirements/Regimes Ensuring sufficient information is available to make critical resource management decisions:
  • Quota vs derby management information requirements  
  • Timeliness of catch information - during or post season     
  • International/treaty information requirements
  • information to manage availability of fish for FSC fisheries
  Enforcement and compliance targets
  • Determination of enforcement priorities between resource management and enforcement
  • Determination of information to set compliance targets and monitoring strategies