Our team attended the SouthEast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) meeting held in San Juan on January 26-29, 2009. Reports from the meeting are currently available online (http://www.sefsc.noaa.gov/sedar/). One of SEDAR’s main goals is to improve the scientific quality and reliability of fishery stock assessments and encourage the participation of important stakeholders in the assessment development. Briefly, SEDAR presently recommends research in the area of data collection of landing data. Based on the information from the report titled “Consolidated Caribbean SEDAR Research Recommendations”, research is needed to design an appropriate trip-ticket data collection to make the data suitable for proper analyses of fisheries biology and economics, which include the need to allocate catches and quotas. The report also underscores specific recommendations for landed species. In general terms, better data collection techniques (and analyses) are necessary to assess stocks through fishery independent sampling efforts, surveys with hook and line and/or traps, visual surveys, and mark and recapture techniques. On potential social and economic research needs, the SEDAR report suggests that a better knowledge of the recreational fisheries is required, specifically in terms of effort and target species. Particularly referring to the U.S. Virgin Islands, SEDAR recommends studying management and environmental events and factors affecting catches. A key concern mentioned was the data gathering process in the local fisheries. Other areas or research themes that fishers and managers identified as needed:
- The role and effectiveness of bans, closures and MPAs for species protection
- Different factors involved in the variability of catches and in recruitment
- The role of local markets in shaping the structure of catches and selectivity of species and sizes.
Although not directly related to research, there was a concern on the flow of information from the scientists and managers to the fishers. The future construction of a research agenda will depend on the effectiveness of the shared information and the ability to successfully explain these findings to laypersons using complex graphics based on computer models.
Contributed by M. Valdes-Pizzini