Symposium Abstract: Development of an Electronic Logbook to Assess Shrimp-Trawl Catch, Effort, and Associated Environmental Data in Areas Fished off Florida and Texas
P. J. Rubec, A. Jackson, C. Ashbaugh, and S. Versaggi
An electronic logbook (ELB) system was developed and evaluated by Florida Marine Research Institute (FMRI) biologists in collaboration with a shrimp company and an electronics firm, both based in Tampa, Florida. The software compiles shrimp-trawl catch, and effort data entered onto a computer situated on the bridge, and environmental data transferred from a conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) data logger. A Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) was integrated with the ELB to capture geographic positions and transmit data to the shrimp-company headquarters and to FMRI. The system was evaluated on an FMRI research vessel and then on three shrimp vessels. Data obtained using the ELB system indicated that pink shrimp (Farfantepenaeus duorarum) caught off the west coast of Florida (March-June 2001) and brown shrimp (Farfantepenaeus aztecus) caught off the coast of Texas (July-September 2001) exhibited different preferences for environmental conditions. The highest mean catch rates (CPUEs) of pink shrimp occurred over sand and hard bottoms when the temperature was 20-24.9°C. Pink shrimp had no apparent preference for any particular salinity or depth range. The highest mean CPUEs of brown shrimp occurred over mud bottom, at temperatures of 25-29°C, and at salinities of 35-39.9 g/L. Brown shrimp did not exhibit a preference for any particular depth range. These results indicate that the ELB system has the potential to assist the fishery in locating areas where shrimp are abundant. Further development of the system would benefit both the shrimp fishery and fisheries management.