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Fishing power and standardized catch rates: implications of missing vessel-characteristic data from the Australian eastern king prawn (Melicertus plebejus) fishery

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Standardized time series of fishery catch rates require collations of fishing power data on vessel characteristics. Linear mixed models were used to quantify fishing power trends and study the effect of missing data encountered when relying on commercial logbooks. For this, Australian eastern king prawn (Melicertus plebejus) harvests were analysed with historical (from vessel surveys) and current (from commercial logbooks) vessel data. Between 1989 and 2010, fishing power increased up to 76%. To date, both forward-filling and, alternatively, omitting records with missing vessel information from commercial logbooks produce broadly similar fishing power increases and standardized catch rates, owing to the strong influence of years with complete vessel data (16 out of 23 years of data). However, if gaps in vessel information had not originated randomly and skippers from the most efficient vessels were the most diligent at filling in logbooks, considerable errors would be introduced. Also, the buffering effect of complete years would be short-lived as years with missing data accumulate. Given ongoing changes in fleet profile with high-catching vessels fishing proportionately more of the fleet’s effort, compliance with logbook completion, or alternatively ongoing vessel gear surveys, is required for generating accurate estimates of fishing power and standardized catch rates.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Maroochy Research Station, P.O. Box 5083 SCMC, Nambour, Queensland, 4560, Australia. 2: Agri-Science Queensland, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation, Ecosciences Precinct, G.P.O. Box 267, Brisbane, Queensland, 4001, Australia.

Publication date: May 26, 2012

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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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