Graduate Project


The tuna-porpoise problem : Management aspects of a fishery Public Deposited

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  • In my application to the Marine Resource Management program I stated that it was ray intention to forge a new career by combining my training and experience as a Naval officer with an education in marine science. As my education at Oregon State progressed through the first year and I began to consider internship alternatives, I defined my internship objectives with that goal in mind. As a result of my coursework, countless discussions on the nature of resource management, and much deliberation, it became clear to me that as a nascent manager of marine resources I would benefit most from an internship which required me to become as knowledgeable as possible with the use and the users of a specific marine resource. It was important to attempt to clarify and enlarge my appreciation and understanding of the problems and perspectives of those whose livelihood depends on utilizing the resources I am learning to manage. It was also my objective to accomplish this in a way that challenged my ability to adapt and to learn. From my internship experience in a specific area of marine resource use I hoped to distill a body of general principles which I could apply to my later work. As so often happens, opportunity finally knocked - but unexpectedly, and at the back door. I learned of an aviation company in Albany, Oregon, which trains ex-military pilots and places then in civilian positions. I completed the program and secured a position with Aerial Spotters, Incorporated, a firm which contracts with the tuna purse seine industry to provide onboard aerial fish spotting service. My job was to fly an observation helicopter for M/V Sea Treasure, a 1200 ton net capacity seiner homeported in San Diego. At last I was able to define my internship project. My initial objectives were to: 1. Become a competent shipboard helicopter pilot and fish spotter; 2. Participate in the livelihood of the commercial fisherman, and specifically to observe the relevant impacts of resource management actions, if any; 3. Learn the techniques of tuna purse seining, with particular reference to the tuna/porpoise interaction, and 4. Develop estimates of porpoise mortality associated with purse seining on a vessel unencumbered with a government observer, and to compare this information with government estimates. This report summarizes my internship experience and focuses on the problem of the mortality of porpoise taken incidentally in fishing for yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares. The following sections describe the tuna resource, problems associated with its management, and my experiences and observations within the context of the problem.
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