“Producing High Resolution Spatial Estimates of Fishing Effort in the Northeast using a VMS-based Statistical Model.”
David Records, Chad Demarest (NEFSC SSB)
To accurately assess the biological and economic impacts of closures and other marine spatial planning initiatives, it is important to have a thorough understanding of where fishing is occurring. It would be ideal to have estimates with higher resolution than is afforded by current fishery-dependent data. Vessel trip reports (VTRs) do provide a set of coordinates, but these treat fishing activity as stationary when most often it is not. This paper develops a statistical model using vessel monitoring system (VMS), VTR, and observer data to predict the fishery-specific probability that a particular VMS poll is fishing versus not fishing. The output of the model is then used to map spatial effort on a fine scale in the Northeast Region of the United States. Further work may allow for imputation of species-specific commercial catch and discards at the VMS poll level.