Glenn Chamberlain, Brian Rothschild
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Dartmouth, MA, U.S.A.
At some point the cost to fund at-sea monitor (ASM) coverage of the multispecies fishery in the Northeast region of the Unites States is expected to transfer from the federal government to the fishing industry. As a direct result of this impending change, the industry has expressed a desire to examine electronic monitoring (EM) as a possible alternative to traditional monitoring approaches. Several existing EM systems have been applied to a suite of fisheries in the U.S and other countries as part of either pilot studies or operational programs. Management of the multispecies fishery will likely require any supporting monitoring system to produce catch weights; essentially a system which is capable of catch estimation in addition to catch monitoring.
The CatchMeasure (CM) system was produced by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMass) in cooperation with SeaGIS Ltd., using funding provided by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. The CM system is designed to complement existing EM technology and address gaps within these EM systems. Specifically, CM makes use of commercially available photogrammetric software and off the shelf hardware to estimate catch volume and individual fish length. Digital images of the catch, which require relatively little storage space, are saved for later processing by a trained reviewer. A short proof of concept study was completed where the CM system was deployed on commercial fishing vessels and at a seafood processing facility for preliminary testing. Images were processed by UMass staff and students and derived weights were compared to observed catch weights by species at the haul and trip level. The CM system has the potential to increase the value of existing EM systems by functioning as a complementary catch estimation tool in combination with traditional EM catch monitoring functions.