Pollock Catchers Association and TINRO launch observers training program for Pollock fisheries
Pollock Catchers Association (PCA) and Pacific Scientific Research Fisheries Centre (TINRO) have signed a contract to work out improvement actions for monitoring and observation program aimed at increasing scientific observer coverage of Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery.
The goal of the program is to develop a training course and update instructions regulating work and data collection procedure at sea, and complete first training course of a pilot group of observers for Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery.
“PCA is paying high attention to support of scientific researches and initiatives aimed at further developing of pollock fisheries sustainability in Russia. This work on upgrading a level of fishery coverage with scientific observers is being carried out due to the long-term improvement action plan developed by PCA in response to the MSC certification conditions”, - said Alexey Buglak, PCA Executive director.
Annually, in addition to Federal Fisheries Agency and Coast Guard enforcement inspectors, 14-15 scientific observers from Russian Far East fishery scientific institutes work at the pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk. Deployment of additional observers will allow to increase level of coverage and further accuracy of collected information which is required for stock assessment and forecasting, and also for more detailed studies of pollock fishery impact on the Sea of Okhotsk ecosystem regarding by-catch of non-target species, and sea birds and mammals.
“In the present-day situation, the information collected by the observers has become the one of the high importance. Stock modeling approach requires collection of variety of data for stock assessment and forecast at an annual base. Moreover, today scientific observation is the unique source of information allowing to make an effective and quick management decisions”, - stressed Igor Melnikov, TINRO deputy director.
To work over the program, TINRO has established a working group on further improvement of Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery monitoring and invited representatives from the Pollock Catchers Association and WWF Russia to join the working group.
“I hope that with the help of the working group we will be able to use both great experience of Russian scientists in collection and processing of data on the aquatic biological resources and environment condition, as well as international experience of the observer practice on board of fishery vessels. Well-defined education system and clear regulations of rights and duties are important. There is a successful international experience of video cameras use on board, scales for catch weighting. That is how high level of catch observing coverage, accuracy and efficiency of data collection, transmitting, and processing can be met. Our good experience of cooperation with fisheries and scientists show that this is a thing we can deal with”, - added Konstantin Zgurovsky, the head of WWF Russia Sustainable Fisheries Program.
It is planned that a pilot group of additional observers will be trained by the end of 2015, and will be able to start working at the Sea of Okhotsk pollock fishery in season A 2016.