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A hidden Markov model approach for determining vessel activity from vessel monitoring system data

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Many fisheries worldwide have adopted vessel monitoring systems (VMS) for compliance purposes. An added benefit of these systems is that they collect a large amount of data on vessel locations at very fine spatial and temporal scales. This data can provide a wealth of information for stock assessment, research, and management. However, since most VMS implementations record vessel location at set time intervals with no regard to vessel activity, some methodology is required to determine which data records correspond to fishing activity. This paper describes a probabilistic approach, based on hidden Markov models (HMMs), to determine vessel activity. A HMM provides a natural framework for the problem and, by definition, models the intrinsic temporal correlation of the data. The paper describes the general approach that was developed and presents an example of this approach applied to the Queensland trawl fishery off the coast of eastern Australia. Finally, a simulation experiment is presented that compares the misallocation rates of the HMM approach with other approaches.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI), Agri-Science Queensland, Sustainable Fisheries, Northern Fisheries Centre, P.O. Box 5396 Cairns, 4870, Australia.

Publication date: 2011-07-08

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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