Fact and Fiction: Trawling for Truth

Recipe

Articles and videos by nongovernmental organizations make statements about shrimp trawling in the internal waters of North Carolina to support their efforts to prohibit or significantly curtail this activity.
What is fact and what is fiction?

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Assertion #1:

“Trawls are recognized as highly destructive, nondiscriminatory killers”

Documented Facts :

In some cases, such as over reefs or other structured sea bottom, trawls and the doors that are used to spread the net can be harmful.1 Trawl effects depend on the design, intensity of use and location used.2 On soft, muddy bottom or sandy/muddy bottom like what is found in most of Pamlico Sound, shrimp trawls and their doors are not highly destructive. Shrimp trawl effects on the bottom found in most of Pamlico Sound have been described by scientists as similar to harsh winter storms with short-term impacts.3 Scientists have found that trawling disturbance can stimulate an increase in population numbers of bottom invertebrates. However, predators of those invertebrates were more common in areas not open to trawling.4

1 National Research Council. 2002. Effects of Trawling and Dredging on Seafloor Habitat. Committee on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing: Phase 1 Effects of Trawling on Seafloor Habitats. Ocean Studies Board. National Academy Press. Washington D.C. 136 p.
2 J.B. Jones. 1992. Environmental impacts of trawling on the seabed: A review. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 26:1, 59-67.
3 D. Corbett et al. 2004. Potential impacts of bottom trawling on water column productivity and sediment transport processes. NC SeaGrant, Raleigh, NC. No. 01-EP-04, 57 p.
4 R.A. Deehr. 2012. Measuring the ecosystem impacts of commercial shrimp trawling and other fishing gear in Core Sound, NC using ecological network analysis. PhD Dissertation. ECU. 410 p.

Assertion #2:

“Shrimp and anything else entering the opening of the net are captured”

Documented Facts:

Trawls are often designed to be selective for certain-sized fish/shellfish by modifying the mesh size (size of material in the tailbag or body), modifying the design (fish top-water or bottom), and speed of tow (slower speeds select for slower swimming creatures or smaller organisms).5 The most common organisms caught in shrimp trawls are shrimp, small fish, crabs, and jellyfish.6 Larger, adult fish and fast-swimming fish most often escape or avoid the shrimp trawl. Shrimp trawls in North Carolina are required to use finfish excluders to allow small fish to escape.7 As much as 70% of the juvenile finfish are excluded with these devices. Shrimp trawls are also required to use Turtle Excluder Devices (TED) to allow sea turtles to escape. TED’s can also exclude significant amounts of juvenile finfish.8

5 Watson, J.W. et al. 1984. Configurations and Relative Efficiencies of Shrimp Trawls Employed in Southeastern United States Waters. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 3. 12p.
6 DMF. 2006. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural
7 SH-3-12; Re: Shrimp Trawling N.C. Bycatch Reduction Device (BRD) Specifications. N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (May 24, 2012), available at http://portal.ncdenr.org/c/document_library/ get_file?uuid=79d27a57-6b-4664-b6ae2df70a3ca132&grouped=38337.
8 Harrington, D.L. and R.A. Vendetti. 1996. Shrimp Trawl Bycatch Reduction in the SE United States. p. 129-137. In: Solving Bycatch: Considerations for Today and Tomorrow. Sea Grant Publication AK-SG-96-03. 336 p. 

Assertion #3:

Documented Facts:

9 Deaton, A.S et al. 2010. North Carolina Coastal Habitat Protection Plan. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, 639 p.
10 South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. 1993. Fishery management plan for the shrimp fishery of the South Atlantic region including a final environmental impact statement and regulatory impact review. SAFMC, Charleston, SC, 184 pp. + appendices.
11 15A NCAC 03N .0104 (2014).
12 15A NCAC 03N .0105(2014).
13 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.
14 Ibid.
15 Ibid.
16 DMF. 2006. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 384 p.
17 Ibid.
18 15A NCAC 03J .0104(b)(1) (2014).
19 DMF. 2006. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 384 p.
20 Ibid.
21 15A NCAC 03L .0103 (g) (2014).
22 15A NCAC 03J .0104 (a) (2014).
23 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.

Assertion #4:

Documented Facts:

24 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.
25 Ibid.
26 Ibid.
27 Ibid.
28 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. 2015. Fishing Techniques-Shrimp Outrigger Trawling. www.fao.org/fi;website/FISiteMap.doj.
29 Watson, J.W. et al. 1984. Configurations and Relative Efficiencies of Shrimp Trawls Employed in Southeastern United States Waters. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 3. 12p.
30 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.

Assertion #5:

Documented Facts:

31 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.
32 Dr. Louis B. Daniel III. Minutes from North Carolina Marine Fisheries Commission meeting to review Petition For Rulemaking to Designate Internal Coastal Waters as Secondary Nursery Areas. New Bern, NC. August 29, 2013.
33 Coale, J. S. et al. 1994. Comparisons of shrimp catch and bycatch between a skimmer trawl and an otter trawl in the North Carolina inshore shrimp fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 14:751-768.
34 Diamond S.L. 2003. Estimation of bycatch in shrimp trawl fisheries: a comparison of estimation methods using field data and simulated data. Fishery Bulletin 101(Supplement 3), 484–500.
35 Roelofs, E. W. 1950. Observations of the capture of small fish by the shrimp trawls. Annual Report, Institute of Fisheries Research UNC, Morehead City, NC: 111-115.
36 Diamond-Tissue, S. L. 1999. Characterization and estimation of shrimp trawl bycatch in North Carolina waters. Doctorate dissertation, North Carolina State University, Department of Zoology, Raleigh, NC 27695. 54 p.
37 Johnson, G.A. 2006. Multispecies Interactions in a Fishery Ecosystem and Implications for Fisheries Management: The Impacts of the Estuarine Shrimp Trawl Fishery in North Carolina. Doctorate dissertation, UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC. 147 p.
38 Johnson, G. A. 2003. The role of trawl discards in sustaining blue crab populations. North Carolina Fisheries Resource Grant. FRG-99-EP-07.
39 Logothetis, E. and D McCuiston. 2006. An assessment of the bycatch generated in the inside commercial shrimp fishery in southeastern North Carolina, 2004 & 2005. North Carolina Sea Grant Fisheries Resource Grant Program, Project #05-EP-04. 87 pp.
40 Brown, K.B. 2010. Characterization of the inshore commercial shrimp trawl fishery in Pamlico Sound and its tributaries, North Carolina Completion report for NOAA award no. NA05NMF4741003 North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 28p. 41 Johnson, G. A. 2003. The role of trawl discards in sustaining blue crab populations. North Carolina Fisheries Resource Grant. FRG-99-EP-07.
42 Logothetis, E. and D McCuiston. 2006. An assessment of the bycatch generated in the inside commercial shrimp fishery in southeastern North Carolina, 2004 & 2005. North Carolina Sea Grant Fisheries Resource Grant Program, Project #05-EP-04. 87 pp.
43 Brown, K.B. 2014. Preliminary Report on Characterization of the inshore commercial shrimp trawl fishery in Pamlico Sound and its tributaries, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries.
44 Logothetis, E. and D McCuiston. 2006. An assessment of the bycatch generated in the inside commercial shrimp fishery in southeastern North Carolina, 2004 & 2005. North Carolina Sea Grant Fisheries Resource Grant Program, Project #05-EP-04. 87 pp.
45 Johnson, G. A. 2003. The role of trawl discards in sustaining blue crab populations. North Carolina Fisheries Resource Grant. FRG-99-EP-07.

Assertion #6:

Documented Facts:

46 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.
47 ASMFC. 2010. Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Stock Assessment Report No. 10‐1 (supplement), 236p.
48 ASMFC. 2004. Atlantic Croaker 2004 Stock Assessment Supplement. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 188p.
49 ASMFC. 2010. Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Stock Assessment Report No. 10‐1 (supplement), 236p.
50 NCDMF. 2014. Stock Status Report-Spot. http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/stock-status-reports.
51 NCDMF. 1998-2006. Stock Status Reports-Spot. http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/stock-status-reports.
52 NCDMF. 2007-14. Stock Status Reports-Spot. http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/stock-status-reports.
53 ASMFC . 2009. Weakfish 2009 Stock Assessment Report. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 396p.
54 NCDMF. 1998-2014. Stock Status Reports-Weakfish. http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/stock-status-reports.
55 ASMFC . 1992. Weakfish Fishery Management Plan-Amendment 1. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 69p.
56 ASMFC . 2009. Weakfish 2009 Stock Assessment Report. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 396p.
57 SAFMC. 2005. Fishery management plan for the shrimp fishery of the South Atlantic region including a final environmental impact statement and regulatory impact review. Amendment 6. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Charleston, SC. 305pp. + appendices.
58 Diamond-Tissue, S. L. 1999. Characterization and estimation of shrimp trawl bycatch in North Carolina waters. Doctorate dissertation, North Carolina State University, Department of Zoology, Raleigh, NC 27695. 54 p.
59 ASMFC. 2010. Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Stock Assessment Report No. 10‐1 (supplement), 236p.
60 ASMFC. 2011. Omnibus Amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plans For Spanish Mackerel, Spot, and Spotted Seatrout. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 161p.
61 Vaughan, D.S., R.J. Seagraves and K. West. 1991. An assessment of the status of the Atlantic weakfish stock, 1982-1988. Special Report No. 21. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 9p + tables and figures.
62 ASMFC . 2009. Weakfish 2009 Stock Assessment Report. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 396p.
63 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.
64 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.
65 ASMFC. 2011. Omnibus Amendment to the Interstate Fishery Management Plans for Spanish Mackerel, Spot, and Spotted Seatrout. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 161p.
66 ASMFC. 2010. Atlantic Croaker Stock Assessment Report for Peer Review. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, Stock Assessment Report No. 10‐1 (supplement), 236p.
67 ASMFC . 2009. Weakfish 2009 Stock Assessment Report. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. 396p.
68 Ibid.
69 Branstetter, S. 1997. Bycatch and its Reduction in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Shrimp Fisheries. Gulf and South Atlantic Fisheries Development Foundation, Inc. 27p +figures and tables.
70 Scott-Denton, E. et al. 2012. Characterization of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic penaeid and rock shrimp fisheries based on observer data. Marine Fisheries Review. 74(4) 1-26.
71 NCDMF. 1998-2014.Fishery Management Plans Under Review or Completed. http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/fmps-under-development.
72 ASMFC . 1985, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009. Weakfish Fishery Management Plan, four amendments, plus four addendums. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. http://www.asmfc.org/species/weakfish.
73 ASMFC . 1987, 2005, 2011, 2014. Atlantic Croaker Fishery Management Plan, one amendment, plus two addendums. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C. http://www.asmfc.org/species/croaker.
74 ASMFC. 1987, 2012, 2014. Spot Fishery Management Plan and Omnibus Amendments(2) to the Interstate Fishery Management Plans for Spanish Mackerel, Spot, and Spotted Seatrout. Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Washington, D.C.. http://www.asmfc.org/species/spot.
75 SAFMC. 1991, 1995, 1996, 2003, 2005. Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region plus six amendments. South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Charleston, SC.
http://safmc.net/resource-library/shrimp.

Assertion #7:

Documented Facts:

83 National Research Council. 2002. Effects of Trawling and Dredging on Seafloor Habitat. Committee on Ecosystem Effects of Fishing: Phase 1 Effects of Trawling on Seafloor Habitats. Ocean Studies Board. National Academy Press. Washington D.C. 136 p.
84 Watson, J.W. et al. 1984. Configurations and Relative Efficiencies of Shrimp Trawls Employed in Southeastern United States Waters. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 3. 12p.
85 Beardsley, A.J. 1973. Design and evaluation of a sampler for measuring the near-bottom vertical distribution of pink shrimp, Pandalus jordani. Fish. Bull. vol. 71. No. 1. p. 243-253.
86 Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. 2015. Fishing Techniques-Shrimp Outrigger Trawling. www.fao.org/fi;website/FISiteMap.doj.
87 Watson, J.W. et al. 1984. Configurations and Relative Efficiencies of Shrimp Trawls Employed in Southeastern United States Waters. NOAA Technical Report NMFS 3. 12p.
88 DMF. 2015. Draft Amendment 1. North Carolina Shrimp Fishery Management Plan. N.C. Dept of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Marine Fisheries, 514 p.
89 D. Corbett et al. 2004. Potential impacts of bottom trawling on water column productivity and sediment transport processes. NC SeaGrant, Raleigh, NC. No. 01-EP-04, 57 p.
90 R.A. Deehr. 2012. Measuring the ecosystem impacts of commercial shrimp trawling and other fishing gear in Core Sound, NC using ecological network analysis. PhD Dissertation. ECU. 410 p.
91 Ibid.
92 Ibid.
93 Van Dolah, R.F. et al. 1991. A Study of the Effects of Shrimp Trawling on Benthic Communities in Two South Carolina Sounds. Fisheries Research 12: 139-156.

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