BPA Fish and Wildlife FY 1997 Proposal

Section 1. Administrative
Section 2. Narrative
Section 3. Budget

see CBFWA and BPA funding recommendations

Section 1. Administrative

Title of project
Removal of Lost Fishing Nets

BPA project number   5509700

Business name of agency, institution or organization requesting funding
Yakama Indian Nation

Sponsor type   WA-Tribe

Proposal contact person or principal investigator

 NameLynn Hatcher
 Mailing addressP.O. Box 151
Toppenish, WA 98948

BPA technical contact   , EWN

Biological opinion ID   

NWPPC Program number   10.4A.1

Short description
Locate and remove submerged gillnets lost during commercial fisheries that continue to capture and kill sturgeon and other species.

Project start year   1996    End year   

Start of operation and/or maintenance   1998

Project development phase   Implementation

Section 2. Narrative

Related projects
BPA Project No. 8650, White Sturgeon Research. The proposed project would assess and reduce the undocumented mortality from lost or untended gillnets to sturgeon populations in Zone 6

Project history

Biological results achieved

Annual reports and technical papers

Management implications

Specific measureable objectives
Evidence from sturgeon research fishing in Zone 6 recent years suggests that lost commercial gillnets referred to as “divers” that are fished on or near the bottom may continue to entangle and kill sturgeon over a broad size range. The objective of this project is to locate and remove all gillnets that are reported as lost or snagged on the bottom during commercial fisheries in Zone 6. In addition, nets lost in prior years will be located and removed as opportunity presents. The degree of impact to salmonids and sturgeon will be assessed in terms of the numbers of each species entangled in recovered nets.

Testable hypothesis
The working hypothesis for this project asserts that losses of sturgeon in lost diver gillnets represents a significant, undocumented source of mortality that may bias models of the population dynamics of sturgeon populations above Bonneville Dam.

Underlying assumptions or critical constraints
Submerged gillnets can be located by acoustic device and snagged with grappling hooks. Critical constraints are imposed by the probability of encountering a submerged net in a random search pattern. Cooperation of fishers who have lost nets will be critical to success in recovering them.

This project will be confined to Zone 6 (Bonneville to McNary dams) of the mainstem Columbia River. Tribal fishers will be informed of the existence of this program and asked to contact the tribal fisheries program when they have lost or snagged a diver gillnet or a otherwise unable to retrieve it. In cooperation with the fisher, staff will deploy a tribal boat equipped with an acoustic device and hydraulic reel to locate, grapple, and lift the net. The incidence of entangled and dead fish will be documented for each species by location and length of time, where known, that the net was lost.

Brief schedule of activities
This project would be implemented on an as-needed basis. Outfitting a boat with necessary equipment would require several weeks prior to the commencement of commercial fishing in fall, 1996.

Biological need
The magnitude of incidental mortality associated with lost diver gillnets is unknown, but some evidence suggests that it may be significant for sturgeon in particular. Cumulative impacts to long-lived, naturally-reproducing sturgeon that are captive within the mainstem dam reservoirs may affect the recruitment of fish to reproductive size, which normally takes up to 20 years. Sturgeon productivity in the reservoirs has been severely reduced as a result of loss of anadromy and access to the ocean. Captive populations are subject to higher fishing mortality rates over their lifetimes because refuge in the ocean has been removed. Lost fishing nets represent an additional, undocumented, source of mortality to which sturgeon remain vulnerable throughout their long lives.

Critical uncertainties
The production dynamics of sturgeon populations trapped within mainstem dam reservoirs may be sensitive to relatively small increases in mortality associated with prolonged exposure to accumulating numbers of lost diver gillnets.

Summary of expected outcome
First-year outcomes would describe the magnitude of the problem as a percentage of total net-days in the fishery, and the incidence of dead and dying fish by species, location, and time. The first-year cost is expected to be in the range of $50,000 for minor equipment purchases and staff, with costs subsiding in subsequent years if the program is determined to be cost-effective.

Dependencies/opportunities for cooperation
This project would integrate with the ongoing to enhance sturgeon abundance and productivity in Zone 6 being conducted under the multi-agency White Sturgeon Research Project, BPA No. 8650.


Monitoring activity
First-year monitoring activities will record the number of reports of lost nets, time spent in recovery efforts, successful recoveries, and the incidence of fish by species in each recovered net. The cost-effectiveness of the project will be evaluated on the bases of cost per net recovered and approximate cost per killed fish.

Section 3. Budget

Data shown are the total of expense and capital obligations by fiscal year. Obligations for any given year may not equal actual expenditures or accruals within the year, due to carryover, pre-funding, capitalization and difference between operating year and BPA fiscal year.

Historic costsFY 1996 budget data*Current and future funding needs
(none) New project - no FY96 data available 1997: 33,600
1998: 11,200
1999: 11,200
2000: 11,200
2001: 11,200

* For most projects, Authorized is the amount recommended by CBFWA and the Council. Planned is amount currently allocated. Contracted is the amount obligated to date of printout.

Funding recommendations

CBFWA funding review group   Mainstem

Recommendation    Tier 1 - fund

Recommended funding level   $33,600