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Action Plan for the Northern Abalone (Haliotis kamtschatkana) in Canada

Appendices

Appendix I: Recovery implementation group(s) or planner(s)

Abalone Recovery Team (2009/ 10) (ART)

Laurie Convey
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Chair)
Tatiana Lee
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Co-Chair 2009/10)
Joanne Lessard
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Louvi Nurse
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Raquel Roizman
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Barron Carswell
Province of British Columbia
Heather Holmes
Parks Canada Agency
Jas Sidhu
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Pauline Ridings
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Trevor Gray
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Denise Koshowski
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Sheila Thornton
Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Resource Personnel:

Carole Eros
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Patrick Mahaux
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Michelle Li
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Gabriele Kosmider
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Heather Stalberg
Fisheries and Oceans Canada


Abalone Recovery Implementation Group 2009/10 (AbRIG)

Anne Stewart
Bamfield Marine Sciences Centre, Public Education Program
Bart DeFreitas
Golder and Associates
Blair Stewart
Nisga'a Fisheries Program
Brian Wadhams
‘Namgis First Nation
Bruce Clapp
Underwater Harvesters Association
Bryan Jubinville
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) Conservation & Protection
Chris Pearce
DFO Science (Shellfish Aquaculture)
Chris Picard
Gitga'at Fisheries Program
Denise Koshowksi
DFO Conservation & Protection
Don Rothaus
Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
Ellis Clifton
Gitga'at Fisheries Program
Ernie Cooper
Wildlife Trade Monitoring Network (TRAFFIC)
Guy Whyte
Pacific Trident Fishing Co. Ltd.
Heather Holmes
Parks Canada Agency, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Joanne Lessard
DFO Science (Abalone)
Jody Bissett
World Wildlife Fund Canada
John Richards
Bamfield Huu-Ay-Aht Community Abalone Project
Josh Bouma
University of Washington
Julie Carpenter
Heiltsuk Abalone Stewardship Project
Ken Ridgway
Pacific Urchin Harvesters Association (alternate)
Kristi Straus
University of Washington
Laurie Convey
DFO Resource Management (Abalone & Species at Risk)
Louvi Nurse
DFO Treaties (Species at Risk Act [SARA] Aboriginal Coordinator)
Lynn Lee
Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewards & Simon Fraser University
Megan Matthews
Nisga'a Fisheries Program
Mike Featherstone
Pacific Urchin Harvesters Association
Mike Ridsdale
Metlakatla Fisheries Program
Ross Wilson
Heiltsuk Abalone Stewardship Project
Russ Jones
Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewards & Haida Fisheries Program
Sandie Hankewich
Kitasoo Abalone Stewardship Project
Sharon Jeffery
Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewards & Haida Fisheries Program
Tim Joys
Pacific Urchin Harvesters Association
Tomas Tomascik
Parks Canada Agency - Western Northern Service Centre
Trevor Gray
DFO Conservation & Protection, Prince Rupert
William Beynon
Metlakatla Fisheries Program
Sheila Thornton
DFO FAM (SARA Recovery Planner)

Appendix II: Evaluation of action-based performance measures

Summary of activities outlined in the tables below provides an evaluation of efforts that have been conducted since 2004 and relate to the approach-based performance measures outlined in the Recovery Strategy. Information in the table is based on input from ART and AbRIG members as well as information available in annual HSP and AFSAR reports (2005-2008).

Management
Performance MeasuresResultsEvaluation and Additional Comments
Was the coast-wide closure to Northern Abalone harvesting maintained and enforced?YesSee comments under ‘Protection’.
Was the coast-wide closure an effective measure contributing in halting the population decline?Yes and NoThe coast-wide closure limited mortality on Northern Abalone from legal fishing and the rate of decline in total abalone density has slowed since 1990. However, Lessard et al. (2007) found that illegal harvest is still ongoing and is a major source of mortality of Northern Abalone. Densities of mature abalone have declined 44% since 1990.

 

Protection
Performance MeasuresResultsEvaluation and Additional Comments
Was a proactive protective enforcement plan implemented?Yes

Annual compliance promotion work plans are prepared for all abalone-related activities based on C & P’s ‘three pillars’

Coastwide proactive protection measures included the following:

  • Preventative enforcement patrols and intelligence gathering
  • Community stewardship and conservation activities, including community-based CoastWatch programs
How many reports relating to abalone harvesting were provided to enforcement officers and the toll free enforcement line (Observe-Record-Report)?>135 calls received

Fishery officers have received over 135 calls pertaining to abalone from the public via the ORR line over the past decade. This also indicates that the secretive and covert nature of abalone harvesting keeps it out of the public sight. Those that partake in abalone harvesting are closely knit and highly secretive. Separate tips to the ORR led to the biggest poaching bust in B.C. in 2006.

Additionally, information from the public is often received during patrols and by visiting DFO detachments. Reports from the public are an important source of intelligence that have led to the arrest of abalone harvesters and those involved in illegal buying and selling Northern Abalone.

Abalone patrols by stewardship groups directly resulted in 2 reports (2005, 2008).

To what degree were these reports investigated and resulted in charges and convictions?Extensive

Fishery officers responded to over 90% of the reports received. All other complaints of abalone harvest were investigated by Fishery Officers to determine whether a violation had occurred.

Over twenty charges have been laid under various Acts of Parliament. Over twenty-five charges are pending. Alternative approaches including restorative justice-style sentencing applied to half of the charges.

How many hours were spent on enforcing abalone closures?ThousandsOver 8700 patrol hours have been dedicated to enforcing abalone closures since 2004.
What were the trends in enforcement hours and resulting charges and convictions over the period before and during implementation of the recovery strategy?Increasing

Prior to the closure of the fishery and the implementation of SARA and the recovery strategy, hours were tracked for species at risk as a whole. The number of occurrences increased during the implementation of the recovery strategy (98 occurrences from 2004 to present, compared to 35 in 1998- 2004). This is likely due to increased public awareness as a result of increased officer presence and education in communities.

Coast Watch programs, stewardship groups and patrols have been initiated (using species at risk funding) to assist in outreach regarding reporting of potential incidents, and over 190 on the water monitoring patrols have taken place (2005 to 2008). Fines as high as $35,000 have been ordered in addition to confiscation of vehicles and vessels. This is a rise over smaller fines imposed pre-SARA.

 

Outreach and Communication
Performance MeasuresResultsEvaluation and Additional Comments
Was a long-term communications strategy implemented?YesA communications strategy was developed and adopted (see Section 2.4.1)
How many and what kind of communication materials and/or actions were produced and/or undertaken?Yes

Many communications materials and actions have been undertaken, including the examples below:

  • 3 Abalone Websites:
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada Abalone home page (http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/commercial/shellfish-mollusques/abalone-ormeau/index-eng.htm);
    Oceanlink with Bamfield and Nisga’a Abalone projects (http://oceanlink.island.net/Conservation/abalone/BHCAP/BCHAP_index.html);
    Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewards (http://www.marinematters.org/programs/abalone.html)
  • 13 news releases regarding charges and convictions (http://www.pac.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/commercial/shellfish-mollusques/abalone-ormeau/nr-cp-eng.htm)
  • Promotion of ORR# and Coast Watch - DFO Stop Abalone Poaching brochure, Occurrence reporting forms (DFO and Haida Gwaii Abalone Stewards [HGAbS]), Boat decals (1-800 ORR) (developed by HGAbS, Kitasoo Abalone Stewardship Program (Kitasoo Fisheries Program) [KASP])
  • 3 School curricula developed by: HGAbS (Grades 4 & 7); BMSC (PDF 102 KB); and Nisga’a
  • Annual community TV channel announcements - developed by KASP
  • Annual Newsletters with updates on stewardship activities and promoting protection of abalone – HGAbS (10 newsletters 2004-2009), Heiltsuk Abalone Stewardship Project (Heiltsuk Fisheries Program) [HASP], Metlakatla and Abalone Recovery, an update on the recovery of abalone in British Columbia in 2003 and 2004
  • 33 media stories (listed in ‘Abalone Recovery’, an update on the recovery of abalone in British Columbia in 2003 and 2004)
  • From 2004-2009, HGAbS created and distributed abalone awareness materials: ~127 T-shirts, 120 toques, 4 banners, 400 keychains, 108 waterbottles, 100 boat decals, 1000 temporary tattoos, 10 000 glossy brochures, 4 newspaper articles, 10 minute video, stickers, posters and other materials
  • Public outreach at annual community events - HGAbS (2/ year)
  • Workshops - HGAbS (5 Coast Watch); BHCAP (1)
  • Presentations: public - HGAbS (annually in two communities), BHCAP (1); schools - KASP, Metlakatla, HGAbS
How many people, and where, did the communications activities reach?>27 000Results from HSP project reports submitted for 2006-2008 estimate that over 27 000 people were reached in course of awareness and education stewardship activities
Communications materials were developed and distributed to target audiences (e.g. Fishers, Restauranteurs, Public, and Schools)
What indications for increased awareness (e.g., did visits to the abalone web site increase, what level of participation at workshops?) and/or reductions in illegal harvest were a result of communications efforts?Positive

February 2006 poaching bust based on tip(s) from the public

From Jan 1st, 2009 to March 30, 2010, the DFO Pacific Region Abalone website has been visited 2282 times.

HGAbS – 1 Workshop and 4 public presentations had ~161 participants total; BHCAP – 2 workshops 55 participants total

Annual AbRIG meetings (hosted by DFO) are attended by representatives from member organizations

 

Research and Population Rebuilding
Performance MeasuresResultsEvaluation and Additional Comments
What significant new knowledge was gained through research that would directly contribute to the rebuilding of the Northern Abalone population?Positive, results being applied
  1. Recovery efforts confirmed that transplanted surf abalone increased individual growth rates
  2. Aggregated, transplanted surf abalone tend to remain at the new sites and spawn successfully.
How many population rebuilding initiatives were undertaken?~8
  1. Transplant of surf abalone to more favourable habitats in terms of exposure.
  2. Northern Abalone were aggregated to provide threshold numbers for successful spawning HGAbS aggregated 1600 individuals over 8 sites (in 2002)
  3. Outplanting of hatchery raised Northern Abalone derived from wild brood stock:
    >107 000 juveniles, >7.7 million larvae (2003 to 2009)
  4. D) From 2006-2008, 5 projects to create ‘residences’ to aggregate abalone were funded under the federal Habitat Stewardship Program for Protection of Species at Risk
Was there an observed increase in juvenile abundance and/or recruitment as a result of rebuilding experiments?Yes

There appears to be good representation up to the 10 mm size. There is a gap from 10 mm to ~40 mm where mortality appears to be high. Further investigation is needed to confirm mortality (vs. hiding or moving into areas not surveyed) and sources of mortality. A joint research effort is underway to address these issues.

Preliminary results from outplanting indicate that survival is low and predator removal does not improve success. Further results from outplanting are pending under a 2009-10 NSERC-funded project lead by Thompson Rivers University.

Does rebuilding appear to be a viable, or promising strategy to recover the wild abalone population?Yes – locallyAggregation efforts are promising. Further research will help to overcome high post-settlement mortality, possibly from trophic cascades as the result of the removal of a keystone predator from the community.
What reports (technical or primary publications) were prepared that provide results of surveys and biological studies?Primary publications, DFO Science ReportsSee Reference list for published reports and papers on Northern Abalone since 2004.
For example;
Hankewich, S., and J. Lessard. 2008
Hankewich et al. 2008
Jamieson et al. 2004.
Lessard, J. et al. 2007.
Lessard, J. and A. Campbell 2007

 

Population Monitoring
Performance MeasuresResultsEvaluation and Additional Comments
Was baseline abundance data established in each of the biogeographic zones?YesIndex sites were established on the West Coast of Vancouver Island in 2003, Queen Charlotte and Johnstone Straits in 2004, and Georgia Basin in 2009. Index site surveys in the North and Central Coasts and Haida Gwaii have continued every 5 years, the most recent surveys in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

Appendix III: Example Abalone traditional knowledge questions provided by Haida Fisheries Program

Below are some example TK research topics and questions that could be pursued in future abalone TK work. While specific questions may change depending on the First Nation community and their experience and knowledge of abalone, the questions listed below demonstrate the type of information that this research can access and document. If adequate information protection can be assured, some of this type of information may also be mapped.

Potential Traditional Knowledge Research Questions (Abalone Ecology)
Abalone EcologyPossible Research Questions
Habitat Description and Associations
  • Where do you tend to find abalone?
  • What does typical abalone habitat look like?
  • Does this differ in different areas?
  • Can you describe the characteristics of areas where you have seen abalone? (abalone size, density, location, environmental conditions, etc.)
  • Are there some areas that are more productive than others?
  • Are there any areas that appear to be only juvenile or small abalone? Especially large abalone? Or unique in some way?
  • What other species do you find associated with abalone? How have you seen these other species interacting with abalone?
  • What do you see feeding on abalone?
  • What is the relationship of abalone to kelp? How often do you find abalone in kelp patches? Are they small or large abalone? Are you seeing any changes in kelp patches? How do you think this affects abalone?
  • Is there anything that might make abalone leave an area?
Spawning/ Mating and Behaviours
  • Have you ever seen abalone spawning or mating? If so, can you tell us what you saw and describe the habitat?  What time of year did it happen?
  • Do you have any idea of what might trigger a spawn? Are there any specific conditions you think they need?
  • Do abalone seem to move seasonally? If so, during what times of the year? Where do they go? How far? What are they doing?
Trends in Abundance
  • How is abalone abundance today compared to when you were younger?
  • If you have seen a decline, can you describe how it happened? (e.g. When do you think it started? Was it sudden or gradual? Over what time span? Was it widespread? Or did it affect different areas differently or at different times?)
  • What do you think the causes of the decline are?
  • Did your parents or grandparents ever tell you anything about how abundant abalone used to be in the past? Or anything else about abalone that you remember?

 

Potential Traditional Knowledge Research Questions (Stewardship)
StewardshipPossible Research Questions
Abalone transplanting
  • What are traditional ways of looking after seafoods like abalone? Do you know of any rules about harvest or use?
  • Have you heard of people moving abalone to ‘seed’ them or try to get them to spread to other areas?
Management, monitoring and protection
  • Are there any particular areas that you think should be protected or monitored? Any areas that you would consider critical for their survival?
  • Have you witnessed any illegal harvest of abalone? Are there areas where this is more of a problem than others?
  • Do you have any ideas about what might most help the abalone to recover? What are some ways they could be protected from further decline?

Appendix IV: Impact assessment protocol for works and developments potentially affecting Abalone and their habitat

by
Joanne Lessard
Alan Campbell

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Stock Assessment Division, Science Branch, Pacific Biological Station,
Nanaimo, B.C., V9T 6N7

Table of content

1. Definitions

3rd Party Biologist: an established independent third party biological consultant company or an independent third party biologist accredited with a university or college degree in a related biological science that has preferably formed an independent company under his/her own name with experience working with DFO in accomplishing biological research including surveys. Other requirements are outlined in Appendix A.

Abalone Habitat: description of physical and biological features of habitats where abalone are found; includes all abalone habitats as well as critical (not defined for abalone). See Section 5.

Control Site: location outside of the area of influence and within 1000m of the potentially impacted site to minimize differences in current and temperature regimes

Critical Habitat: the habitat that is necessary for the survival or recovery of a listed wildlife species that is identified as the species’ critical habitat in the recovery strategy or in an action plan for the species (as defined under SARA)

Impact: unless other wise stated (e.g. impact on habitat) in this document, for the sake of brevity, impact refers to the direct or indirect impacts of works and developments on abalone abundance and distribution only.

Initial Survey: See Section 4.

Monitoring Program: the plot survey repeated at least once a year.

Plot Survey: See Section 8.

Precautionary Approach: Set of measures taken to implement the Precautionary principle. A set of agreed cost-effective measures and actions, including future courses of action, which ensures prudent foresight, reduces or avoids risk to the resource, the environment, and the people, to the extent possible, taking explicitly into account existing uncertainties and the potential consequences of being wrong. (Garcia S.M. (1996) The precautionary approach to fisheries and its implications for fishery research, technology and management: An updated review. FAO Fish. Tech. Paper, 350.2: 1-76)

Recruitment: for this document, juvenile abalone with a shell length <70 mm.

SARA: Species at Risk Act

Site: proposed site, unless otherwise stated (e.g. control site).

SL: Shell length, the maximum measurement of an abalone shell.

Transect Survey: See Section 6.

2. Background

The provisions of SARA that were implemented on June 1, 2004 include:

  • prohibitions on killing, harming, harassing, possessing, buying or selling an individual of a species listed as an extirpated species, an endangered species or a threatened species etc. (section 32).
  • prohibitions on damaging or destroying residences of individuals (section 33).
  • prohibitions on destroying the critical habitat of a listed endangered or threatened species or listed extirpated species (section 58).
  • provisions for effective enforcement measures and significant penalties where needed to serve as a deterrent.

These prohibitions will apply to aquatic species that are listed under SARA as extirpated, endangered or threatened. There is a provision in SARA (section 73) that allows the competent minister (DFO for listed aquatic species) to authorise a person to engage in an activity that affects a listed wildlife species, its critical habitat or residence. However, this provision also includes a series of strict criteria that must be met prior to doing so.

Currently there is ample habitat available in BC for the northern abalone population. In general, abalone populations have declined; however, there has been no known significant reduction in available habitat. Therefore, habitat loss is not a major concern in the recovery of northern abalone at this time in comparison with the identified threats. Although good abalone habitat is not believed to be limiting, there may be certain habitat where juvenile survival is better, or where the reproducing adults contribute to a larger portion of the total recruitment. Identification of this key habitat is being included as part of the abalone research and rebuilding plans.

The abalone recovery strategy identified several knowledge gaps (Abalone Recovery Team 2002). The recovery strategy identified the need to clarify the extent of threat of works and developments on, in and under the water to northern abalone populations and habitat. The recovery strategy also identified the need for monitoring and regulation of projects to prevent losses to important spawning aggregations and maintain ecosystems in which abalone can recover. Once ‘critical habitat’ for northern abalone is defined (e.g., abalone beds or important spawning aggregations), specific criteria to protect it under the Fisheries Act and Regulations (1993) and SARA (2003) may be better developed and applied. Until then, it is recommended that the best science available be used, and where science is lacking that a precautionary approach be adopted in considering and approving location(s) for works and developments on, in, and under the water.

Determining impacts on a site by site basis is impractical and will not provide meaningful data as other factors may affect abalone populations. However, when all sites with abalone are combined it may be possible to determine the impact(s) if a proper scientific method is followed. It is the intention of the monitoring program described in Section 8 to evaluate what these impacts are. Given DFO abalone stock assessment limited budget, no large scale studies are planned to determine the impacts of works and developments on, in or under the water on abalone populations. Therefore, the proponents will have to either pay for a DFO certified 3rd party biologist and/or give money to DFO to carry out the work, which will include field survey, analysis and reporting.

This impact assessment protocol applies to any proposed works and developments where abalone habitat is present and the area affected will be larger than 20 m2. The amount of abalone habitat necessary to trigger this protocol is arbitrary and is purposely small as the shape of the area impacted is important. For example, 20 m2 distributed as a 1m vertical swath to a depth of 10m with a moderate slope is not equal to 20m wide 1m horizontal swath parallel to shore at 3m depth because abalone prefer shallow depths and more abalone preferred habitat is impacted in the second scenario. If abalone are present in a small area (i.e. <20 m2) expected to be impacted, the individual abalone shall be relocated, under a SARA permit, to suitable abalone habitat nearby. The SARA permit will include the following conditions (some conditions may vary depending on the available abalone habitat nearby):

  1. The dive surveys of the area to be impacted must take place at night and search successive depth contours in a systematic and thorough manner.
  2. All abalone observed within the survey area must be removed from the substrate by hand only, with the assistance of a Pycnopodia helianthoides (sunflower sea star) if necessary; prying abalone from the substrate is not permitted;
  3. The shell length (to the nearest mm), depth located, substrate type and dominant algae species must be recorded for each abalone observed;
  4. The abalone must be relocated underwater to a location of cover in rocky subtidal habitat no deeper than 6m depth (chart datum) and a minimum of 50 metres away from the construction footprint; taking abalone from the water is not permitted;
  5. Plastic totes may be used to move the abalone underwater and abalone may be relocated in close proximity of another abalone to improve chance of spawning success;
  6. As a requirement to report information under this project, the authorized persons must submit a written record containing the following summary information:
    1. Dates in which relocation surveys took place;
    2. Number of abalone observed and relocated;
    3. Shell length, depth located, substrate type and dominant algae cover for each abalone observed;
    4. Overall perspective on the success or difficulties in conducting the work.

3. How to determine impact on Abalone

Except for surveyed sites, there is a general lack of data on abalone distribution and abundance throughout the BC coastline. Site specific information for proposed works and developments must be acquired before any decision can be made. In order to determine impacts of works and developments on abalone populations and make inference to their habitat, abalone will have to be present at some sites. Only abundance, and possibly distribution, data will be used to determine impacts in the short term (2-5 years) as other parameters of abalone population health are more difficult to measure (e.g. change in reproductive output, growth, disease incidence, etc.). Impacts may be determined by changes in density before and after the project is completed in conjunction with the continuous monitoring of control site(s) outside of the area of influence. For example, there may be a statistically significant changes (increases or decreases) in total abalone density within the site, but no change at the control site(s) or the total density does not change, but one of size category (juvenile, mature, etc.) becomes more dominant when compared with the control site(s). Observing changes in abalone spatial distribution will be more difficult unless some animals are uniquely identified (tagged), particularly if density decreases and few or no shells are recovered. Nevertheless, changes in depth distribution and aggregation will be possible under the proposed monitoring approach described in Section 8.

To obtain information necessary to make a decision on the site and evaluate impacts if approved, we recommend a four phased approach:

Phase 1: Initial Survey

The site is assessed to determine the extent of abalone habitat present using nearshore swims. The abalone habitat is then mapped.

Phase 2: Transect Survey

A quantitative survey is conducted to estimate abalone densities within the abalone habitat identified in Phase 1 as well as in an area outside the area of influence.

Phase 3: Monitoring program – Plot survey

If the site is accepted and abalone are present, an intensive survey is conducted at 1-3 plots within the impacted site as well as within a control site, outside the area of influence.

Phase 4: Feed Back

After 5 years, an analysis of abalone abundance and distribution data combining several sites of a given type of work or development should be completed to evaluate the impacts and determine if mitigation actions are required.


Each phase is described in detail in the sections below. We recommend that Phase 1 to 3, if not done by DFO staff, be completed by a certified 3rd party biologist (see Appendix A for requirements).

4. Phase 1: Initial survey

The objectives of this phase are to (1) establish the area of Abalone Habitat present at the site, and (2) delineate these habitats on a chart. Although all habitats are important, for the purpose of this document, only abalone habitat is described in Section 5.


Site definition

The site is defined by using landmarks and geographic coordinates. The ‘site width’ is the linear distance between the two furthest points.


Nearshore-swims

Two divers swim (a few metres apart from each other) in a zigzag pattern (generally parallel to shore) between depths of 0-10 m chart datum. Very good notes need to be taken throughout the swim so that the GPS coordinates can be related to what was observed underwater.  Habitat changes including changes in primary substrate (e.g., bedrock to boulders or sand), and algal community (e.g., from a Macrocystis to a Nereocystis kelp forest or understorey algae only), should be marked using one of two methods described below.

Method 1: Floats can be deployed at the edges of each change in habitat. The boat can then use a GPS to obtain the coordinates. Because the edges of habitats do not usually form a straight line, several floats need to be release to accurately map the habitats.

Method 2:  One person is put on shore at a location where most of the surface water of the site would be visible and records his/her position using a portable GPS. Two divers swim throughout the site during several dives carrying a metal float. At a change in habitat, one of the divers pulls on the float several times while the other diver records the time, depth and other habitat information. Upon seeing the float bob at the surface, the shore person measures the distance to the float using a laser range finder and the magnetic bearing of the float using a compass and records the time which will be matched with the time recorded underwater.


Desired results

The end product of this phase should be a digital map with depth contours and the important habitats delineated. Although all habitats should be outlined, for the purpose of this document, only abalone habitat is described here in detail (see next section).


Data management

The GPS shore positions are imported into ArcView 3.2 or another GIS software.

Method 1: The GPS positions from the boat are matched with the divers notes to digitize (create a polygon) abalone habitat.

Method 2: From the shore positions, the measured distances and bearings are plotted using an extension from Jenness Enterprises called “Distance & Azimuth tool”. Polygons delineating abalone habitat are created using the plotted positions.

The digital map, electronic file containing the GPS points and copies of the field notes must be sent to the Shellfish Data Unit, PBS, Nanaimo.


Decision rule for next step

If abalone habitat, as described in the next section, is present and the area of the abalone habitat is > 20 m2, then the next phase is necessary to assess the abalone density at the site as well as in surrounding areas.

5. Abalone habitat

Physical factors include:

  1. Primary Substrate: bedrock and/or boulders
  2. normal salinity (not low salinity as found close to river run off)
  3. Depth: ≤10m depth (datum)
  4. Good water exchange (tidal current or wave action present)
  5. Secondary Substrate: some cobble may be present and little or no gravel, sediment, sand, mud, or shell present.


Biological factors include:

  1. Presence of encrusting coralline algae (e.g. Lithothamnium)
  2. Presence of sea urchins Strongylocentrotus franciscanus and/or S. droebachiensis, Lithopoma (Astraea) gibberosa, sea stars.
  3. Presence of kelp in surrounding area (e.g., Nereocystis, Macrocystis, Pterygophora).
  4. Presence/absence of abalone

Physical and biological factors are listed in order of importance.

6. Phase 2: Transect survey

The objective of the transect survey is to get quantitative estimates of abalone density and distribution within the abalone habitat delineated in the initial survey (Phase 1). This is necessary to evaluate if the work or development proposal will be accepted based on the 0.1 abalone/m2 criteria (see “Decision Rules” this section). The method described in this section is identical to Lessard et al. (2002) with two exceptions: (1) the higher confidence interval is used for the density calculation, and (2) the population size is not calculated as it is unnecessary to evaluate the site. The 0.1 abalone/m2 threshold was originally based on the measurable short-term goal of the National Recovery Strategy (see “Background” section). Although, this threshold in the recovery strategy is for the size category ≥100 mm SL, the higher confidence interval of the mean is used here.

Transect survey(s) outside the area of influence is also necessary to assess possible control site(s). The transect survey at the control site(s) may be done after the transect survey at the proposed site is completed and the site is given approval to go ahead. However, to minimize seasonality effects, transect survey(s) at possible control sites should be conducted within a month, two at the most. For information on where the control site should be, see Section 7. Control Site.


Transect placement

Transect positions are marked on nautical charts before the survey begins. The positions are selected randomly using the ‘abalone habitat width’ defined as the linear distance between the two furthest points of the abalone habitat. Transects are perpendicular to the shoreline at these positions. If the abalone habitat is discontinuous, separated by large areas of unsuitable abalone habitat (e.g., area of sand), the process to select the transect positions is repeated for each area of abalone habitat. At least ten transects should be surveyed in each abalone habitat area. If the width of the abalone habitat is shorter than 300m, a lesser amount of transects may be considered.


Transect layout

The primary sampling unit is a transect, made up of a variable number of secondary units: quadrats. Each transect is one meter wide and variable in length, depending on the slope of the substrate. Prior to entering the water, a lead line, the transect, is laid perpendicular to the shore, from the boat. If this is not possible, because of thick kelp beds or other environmental factors, then the divers should sample along a compass bearing perpendicular to the shore. The compass bearing must be strictly followed to avoid possible bias in the density estimate(s). Transects begin at 10 m chart datum and extend all the way into the shore, or to the point where the surge makes it impossible for the divers to work effectively.


Underwater survey (Filling out the “Abalone Field Sheet - Transect” Appendix B)

The secondary sampling unit consists of a 1 m x 1 m square quadrat that is placed beside the transect, 1 m away to avoid the area potentially disturbed by the lead line placement. Divers flip the quadrat parallel to the transect line, from deep to shallow. One diver records the data while the other measure the abalone and flips the quadrat. In each quadrat, the recording diver writes down 1) the shell length (SL in mm) of each abalone, 2) the depth, 3) the time, 4) the substrate type, 5) the number of urchins, 6) the number and relative size of abalone predators (sunflower starfish, Dungeness and red rock crabs, octopus, etc.) and 7) the % cover and dominant species of algae. The % cover of all algae combined is recorded by category: 1) canopy (kelp taller than 2m), 2) understorey (algae between 15cm and 2m in height), 3) turf (erect algae less that 15cm in height) and 4) encrusting (carpet-like algae). The dominant algal species (1-2) are recorded for the first 3 categories only. Appendix D lists the substrate and algae species codes to be used. The measuring diver must exercise caution when measuring abalone to ensure that the longest shell length is measured and the abalone is returned right side up on the rocks outside and behind of the quadrat. In order to minimize habitat damage, algae are not to be removed. Boulders are not to be moved to search for cryptic abalone. Caution must be exercised to ensure that abalone in upcoming quadrats are not disturbed.

Where the transect length is greater than 20 m, only every second quadrat needs to be sampled completely. If transects are longer than 60 m, abalone and depth can be sampled every second quadrat, and substrate and algae cover can be sampled every fourth quadrat. The frequency of sampling must be written on the underwater sheet.


Analytical methods

Calculations are included here for information only. The analysis will be performed by DFO Stock Assessment.

For each site, the estimated mean density, symbol for mean density (number/m2), of abalone is calculated as:
math equation for calculated mean density

The standard error of the mean density, ses, is calculated as:
math equation for calculated standard error

  • where n is the number of transects,
    • ct is the number of abalone counted in transect t,
    • qt is the number of quadrats sampled in transect t,
    • Lt is the length of transect t,
    • symbol for mean transect length is the mean transect length,
    • T is the total possible number of transects that can be sampled in the surveyed area and is equal to the ‘abalone habitat width’.

This method accounts for the variable length of transects and for the variable proportion of quadrats surveyed along each transect.

To estimate the mean density (Equation 1) and standard error (Equation 2) for a specific size group (i) (i.e. ≥100 mm SL), the value ct is substituted with cti, the counts of size group i in transect t.

At each site, the higher 90% confidence intervals of the mean density (H90CI), for all sizes or for a particular size group (≥100 mm SL) of abalone, are calculated using bootstrapping (Davidson and Hinkley, 1997).


Data management

All the data must be entered using the “Transect Data Entry” form in the Access database provided by DFO Stock Assessment. The fields that need to be filled on the field sheets and in the database are described in Appendix E. The original field data sheets as well as the electronic version in Access must be sent the Shellfish Data Unit, PBS, Nanaimo.

At PBS, a S-Plus script exists to analyze the data using the data directly from the database.


Decision rule for next phase

If the H90CI for all sizes is ≥0.1 abalone/m2, the site is automatically rejected. If the H90CI for all sizes is <0.1 abalone/m2, the responsibility of the decision to go ahead with permitting rests with the Habitat Management Program. If the site is accepted and an authorization is issued in accordance with section 35 of the Fisheries Act, the next phase is initiated.

7. Control site

Proposed control site(s) should be outside of the area of influence and within 1000m of the impacted sites to minimize differences in current and temperature regimes. For aquaculture proposals, the area of influence is determined by DEPOMOD. The control site must be within abalone habitat as described in Section 5. In general, the control site should have the same relative exposure, current regime and habitat characteristics. For example, it would be unsuitable to have smooth bedrock substrate within the abalone portion of the impacted site and boulders at the control site. It may also be unsuitable to have the control ‘around the corner’ where exposure to wave action would be different.

8. Phase 3: Monitoring program – Plot survey

The objective of this phase is to survey abalone within a small geographic area in order to calculate reliable density estimates with minimal variation. A density estimate with high precision is essential to detect impacts on abalone abundance as abalone density estimates have inherently high variance due to their aggregating behaviour. It is not rare to have standard deviations equal to or larger than the mean density estimates. For example, if the mean density estimate from the transect survey is 0.05 abalone/m2 with a pooled standard deviation of 0.025 abalone/m2, 34 samples would be necessary to detect a change in abundance of at least 50% with 95% confidence 80% of the time (17 impacted sites and 17 control sites). To increase precision, more plots can be placed in both the impacted and control sites; this would add a strata (high/low density areas) to the sampling design. In addition, more random transects can be added within each depth strata. The number of samples (transects) and strata can be determined using the transect survey results.

The plot survey is based on a stratified random sampling design. The current plot survey design is based on past survey results and builds on the Parks Canada and Haida Fisheries Program survey designs.


Figure 1. Schematic view of the plot survey design

schematic diagram of the plot survey design (see long description below).

Numbers on the left side are depths in metres (datum).

Description of Figure 1

Figure 1 gives a schematic diagram of the plot survey design. A better design would involve using the quadrats as the primary sampling unit and have each quadrat randomly placed within the plot. Strata (e.g. deep/shallow and/or high/low density areas) could also be used. However, the underwater logistics of such a design are impractical. The sampling design described below is for the minimum number of strata and samples required: one plot at each of the impacted and control sites with 2 depth strata in each plot and 10 or 8 transects for the shallow or deep reference lines, respectively.


Reference line placement (in consultation with DFO stock assessment)

Two reference lines, 40m long each, are placed at 2.5m and at 7.5m below chart datum. The location of the reference lines are the middle of the 2 depth zones (0-5m and 6-10m) that are going to be sampled (the 2 strata in a stratified random sampling design). On each of the reference lines, several short perpendicular 1 m wide transects are surveyed, alternating on either side of the reference lines to minimize disturbance. The start location of each transect is chosen randomly prior to the start of the survey.

Choose 10 starting positions (out of 40 m) along the shallow reference line (2.5m) and 8 along the deep reference line (7.5m). Additionally, randomly choose the side of the transect where the first transect is placed and alternate thereafter (marked as “Start Down” or Start Up” on the field sheet).


Underwater survey (Filling out the “Abalone Field Sheet - Plot” Appendix C)

Each transect starts off the reference line at the randomly chosen location and the quadrat is flipped perpendicular to the reference line until the top, or bottom, of the depth zone is reached. No lead line is laid out for the random transects (a compass bearing can be taken, but this is not necessary as the transects are usually short, 4-8 quadrats long). One diver records the data while the other measures the abalone and flips the quadrat. In each quadrat, the recording diver writes down 1) the shell length (SL in mm) of each abalone, 2) the depth, 3) the time, 4) the substrate type, 5) the number of urchins, 6) the number and relative size of abalone predators (sunflower starfish, Dungeness and red rock crabs, octopus, etc.) and 7) the % cover and dominant species of algae. The % cover of all algae combined is recorded by category: 1) canopy (kelp taller than 2m), 2) understorey (algae between 5cm and 2m in height), 3) turf (erect algae less that 5cm in height) and 4) encrusting (carpet-like algae). The dominant algal species (1-2) are recorded for the first 3 categories only. The measuring diver must exercise caution when measuring abalone to ensure that the longest shell length is measured and the abalone is returned right side up on the rocks outside and behind of the quadrat. In order to minimize habitat damage, algae are not to be removed. Boulders are not to be moved to search for cryptic abalone. Caution must be exercised to ensure that abalone in upcoming quadrats are not disturbed. All quadrats are sampled completely. Once the transect is completed, the divers move to the random location and repeat the procedure until all locations have been completed within the depth strata.


Analytical methods

To calculate the mean and standard error within each strata a, the analysis is identical to the Transect Survey in Section 6.

For each site, the estimated mean density, ds (number/m2), of abalone is calculated as:

ds = (1/N)∑nada
(3)

The standard error of the site mean density, ses, is calculated as:

ses = (1/N)∑nasea
(4)

where N is the total number of transects in all strata

na is the number of transects in strata a

da is the estimated mean density in strata a

sea is the estimated standard error of the mean in strata a

The data will probably not be normally distributed and a nonparametric test such as the Wilcoxon paired-sample test should be used to look at differences between control and impacted sites.


Data management

All the data must be entered using the “Plot Data Entry” form in the Access database provided by DFO Stock Assessment. The fields that need to be filled on the field sheets and in the database are described in Appendix E. The original field data sheets as well as the electronic version in Access must be sent to the Shellfish Data Unit, PBS, Nanaimo.


Decision rule for next phase

Once the monitoring is initiated at more than one site, the next phase should be instigated after 2-5 years depending on the extent of the changes. For example, if densities decrease at all impacted sites, but not at the control sites, by >50% within 2 years, then Phase 4 should be initiated.

Phase 4: Feedback

In phase 4 all monitoring data for a given type of work or development are pooled to determine overall impacts of this given type of work or development on abalone populations. Due to natural variation in abalone density and the low initial densities at approved sites (<0.1 abalone/m2), a small change in abundance or distribution will be difficult to detect. Detecting changes less than 50% is therefore impractical because of the high variance and a much larger number of samples would be required.

Because of the possible implications of such an analysis, the results should be presented at PSARC.

References

Davidson, A.C., and Hinkley, D.V.. 1997. Bootstrap Methods and their Application. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. 578 p.

Lessard, J, Campbell, A, and Hajas, W. 2002. Survey protocol for the removal of allowable numbers of northern abalone, Haliotis kamtschatkana, for use as broodstock in aquaculture in British Columbia. CSAS 2002/126: 41 p.

Sloan, N.A., and Breen, P.A.. 1988. Northern abalone, Haliotis kamtschatkana, in British Columbia: fisheries and synopsis of life history information. Can. Spec. Public. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 103: 46 p.

Appendix A. Third party biologist requirements

The minimum requirements for biological expertise for an independent third party biologist to conduct abalone surveys are:

an established independent third party biological consultant company with experience working with DFO in accomplishing biological research including surveys; or

an independent third party biologist accredited with a university or college degree in a related biological science that has preferably formed an independent company under their own name and has experience working with DFO in accomplishing biological research including surveys.

And

meets a reference check for experience, competency, and demonstrated independent ‘arms length’ work experience;

And

has passed a training session with DFO-Stock Assessment Division on conducting abalone surveys, including data collection and reporting. Training will be given by DFO-Stock Assessment Division and may be expected to include dive surveying.

And

SCUBA dive certification, meeting WCB requirements

And

bonded (to ensure confidentiality)

And

knowledge of common algae, invertebrates and fish species.

And

has access to Microsoft Access database software

Appendix B. Field data sheet for the transect survey

See Appendix E for field descriptions.


Abalone Field Sheet - Transect
Page ____ of _____
Site Name:___________
File number:_____________
Date:_____________
Measurer: ___________
Recorder: ____________
Time in:_____________
Out:___________
LAT:_____________
LONG:_____________
Direction (bearing in °):_____________
Transect number:_____________
Quadrat Frequency:_____________

 

Abalone field sheet - Transect
Quad
#
Depth
ft.
TimeSubstrateAbalone Shell Length
(mm)
Urchin
Count
PredatorsCanopyUnderstoryTurfEn
%
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
Substrate codes:
1 bedrock smooth
2 bedrock crevices
3 boulders
4 cobble
5 gravel

6 pea gravel
7 sand
8 shell
9 mud

 

General Algae codes:
EN  encrusting (flat)
AC  articulated coralline
KK  kelp
B  other brown
R  red algae
G  green algae
F  foliose (leaf-like)
B  branched (tree-like)
H  filamentous (hair-like)
Grasses (GR)
PH  Phyllospadix
Specific algae codes:
AG  Agarum
AL  Alaria
CO  Costaria
CY  Cymathere
DE  Desmarestia
EG  Egregia
IR  Iridea
LA  Laminaria
MA  Macrosystis

NT  Nereocystis
PL  Pleurophycus
PO  Porphyra
PT  Pterygophora
SA  Sargassum
UL  Ulva

Appendix C. Field data sheet for the plot survey

note: Numbers/text in bold in the heading section of the field sheet are chosen randomly for each reference line for each period surveyed.

See Appendix E for field descriptions.

Abalone Field Sheet - Plot
Page ____ of _____
Site Name:___________
File number:_____________
Date:_____________
Measurer: ___________
Recorder: ____________
Time in:_____________
Out:___________
LAT:_____________
LONG:_____________
Direction (bearing in °):_____________
Reference Line:_____________(shallow or deep)
Plot number:_____________
Transect start locations:  2, 6, 13, 19, 21, 25, 31, 32, 34, 38
Start Down
Tide height (height@time):______________________________________________________

 

Abalone Field Sheet - Plot
Quad
#
Depth
ft.
TimeSubstrateAbalone Shell Length
(mm)
Urchin
Count
PredatorsCanopyUnderstoryTurfEn
%
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
Substrate codes:
1 bedrock smooth
2 bedrock crevices
3 boulders
4 cobble
5 gravel

6 pea gravel
7 sand
8 shell
9 mud

 

General Algae codes:
EN  encrusting (flat)
AC  articulated coralline
KK  kelp
B  other brown
R  red algae
G  green algae
F  foliose (leaf-like)
B  branched (tree-like)
H  filamentous (hair-like)
Grasses (GR)
PH  Phyllospadix
Specific algae codes:
AG  Agarum
AL  Alaria
CO  Costaria
CY  Cymathere
DE  Desmarestia
EG  Egregia
IR  Iridea
LA  Laminaria
MA  Macrosystis

NT  Nereocystis
PL  Pleurophycus
PO  Porphyra
PT  Pterygophora
SA  Sargassum
UL  Ulva

Appendix D. Dive codes

Table D1. Substrate codes
CodeSubstrateCodeSubstrateCodeSubstrate
1Bedrock - smooth2Bedrock - crevices3Boulders (rock bigger than a basketball)
4Cobble (basketball down to 3 inches)5Gravel (3 inches down to 3/4 inch)6Pea gravel (3/4 inch down to 1/8 inch)
7Sand8Shell9Mud

 

Table D2. Algae codes
CodeSpeciesCodeSpeciesCodeSpecies
AAAlaria nanaABAgarum cribosumACArticulated corallines
AFAgarum fimbriatumAGAgarum spALAlaria sp
AMAlaria marginataBBbrown branchedBFbrown foliose
BHbrown filamentousCACallophyllis spCFCodium fragile
CNConstantinea sp.COCostaria costataCRCryptopleura sp
CSCodium setchelliiCYCymathere triplicataDBDictyota binghamiae
DEDesmarestia spDFDesmarestia foliaceaDLDesmarestia ligulata
DUDesmarestia mundaDRdrift algaeDSDelesseria sp.
DVDesmarestia viridisEGEgregia menziesiiEIEisenia arborea
ENencrusting algaeETEnteromorpha spFUFucus gardneri
GAGreen AlgaeGBgreen branchedGEGelidium sp
GFgreen folioseGGeelgrass & surfgrassGHgreen filamentous
GIGigartina spGRGracilaria pacificaGSGastroclonium subarticulatum
HAHalosaccion glandiformeHEHedophyllum sessileIRIridea sp
KKKelpLALaminaria spLBLaminaria bongardiana
LELeathesia difformisLOLessoniopsis littoralisLRLaurentia spectabilis
LSLaminaria saccharinaLTLaminaria setchelliiMAMacrocystis integrifolia
MIMicrocladia spNONo Algae PresentNTNereocystis luetkeana
ODOdonthalia spPHPhyllospadix spPLPleurophycus gardneri
POPorphyra spPRPrionitis spPTPterygophora californica
PVPelvetiopsis sp.RBred branchedRFred foliose
RHred filamentousSASargassum muticumULUlva sp, Monostroma sp or Ulvaria sp
UNUnknownZOZostera sp  

Appendix E. Database field descriptions

Database Field Descriptions
Field NameDescription
Site NameThe name of the proposed tenure as stated on the application
File NumberFile number of the application *if available
DateYYMMDD
MeasurerThe name of the diver measuring and counting
RecorderThe name of the diver recording
Time InThe time (hh:mm) the diver leaves the surface *note: do not round to 5 mins.
Time OutThe time (hh:mm) the diver reaches the surface
LATLatitude of site in degrees and decimal minutes
LONGLongitude of site in degrees and decimal minutes
Direction (bearing in º)The bearing in which the transect is laid, in degrees
Reference Line(shallow or deep)
Plot NumberNumber assigned to the plot
Transect start locationsRandomly selected points along the transect to lay reference lines
StartThe direction from the main transect line to start the first quadrat, either shallow or deep
Tide height (height @time)Several tide height to add to maximum depth to reach for strata (e.g., 4.5ft@10:30, 5ft@11:00, etc)
Quad#The number of the quadrat being sampled
Depth (ft)The gauge depth, in feet, for the quadrat being sampled
TimeThe time (hh:mm) at which the diver was in that quadrat
Substrateup to three codes for the most prominent substrate types in that quadrat (see sheet for codes)
Abalone Shell length (mm)The measured shell length in mm of each abalone measured
Urchin CountThe number of urchins counted in that quadrat
Predators(count/size/species) eg. 2MPy = 2 medium Pycnopodia
Canopy% and species of the most dominant canopy species (kelp taller than 2m) (e.g., 50 MA = 50% Macrocystis)
Understory% and species of the most dominant understorey species (algae between 5cm and 2m in height)
Turf% and species of the most dominant turf species (erect algae less that 5cm in height)
En%% (only) of cover of encrusting (carpet-like algae)
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