Descriptions of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico reef fish bottom longline and vertical line fisheries based on observer data.
Abstract: In July 2006, a mandatory observer program was implemented to characterize the commercial reef fish fishery operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The primary gear types assessed included bottom longline and vertical line (bandit and handline). A total of 73,205 fish (183 taxa) were observed in the longline fishery. Most (66%) were red grouper, Epinephelus morio, and yellowedge grouper, E. flavolimbatus. In the vertical line fishery, 89,015 fish (178 taxa) were observed of which most (60%) were red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, and vermilion snapper, Rhomboplites aurorubens. Based on surface observations of discarded under-sized target and unwanted species, the majority of fish were released alive; minimum assumed mortality was 23% for the vertical line and 24% for the bottom longline fishery. Of the individuals released alive in the longline fishery, 42% had visual signs of barotrauma stress (air bladder expansion/ and or eyes protruding). In the vertical line fishery, 35% of the fish were released in a stressed state. Red grouper and red snapper size composition by depth and gear type were determined. Catch-per-unit-effort for dominant species in both fisheries, illustrated spatial differences in distribution between the eastern and western Gulf. Hot Spot Analyses for red grouper and red snapper identified areas with significant clustering of high or low CPUE values.
Subject: Fishes (Analysis)
Longlining (Fisheries) (Analysis)
Authors: Scott-Denton, Elizabeth
Cryer, Pat F.
Gocke, Judith P.
Harrelson, Mike R.
Kinsella, Donna L.
Pulver, Jeff R.
Smith, Rebecca C.
Williams, Jo Anne
Pub Date: 03/22/2011
Publication: Name: Marine Fisheries Review Publisher: Superintendent of Documents Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Agricultural industry; Business Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 U.S. Department of Commerce ISSN: 0090-1830
Issue: Date: Spring, 2011 Source Volume: 73 Source Issue: 2
Product: Product Code: 0910000 Fishing NAICS Code: 11411 Fishing
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Gulf of Mexico Geographic Code: 0GULF Gulf of Mexico
Accession Number: 272740310
Full Text: Introduction

Amendment 22 to the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council's (GMFMC) Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan (GMFMC (1)) dictates mandatory observer coverage. In July 2006, in collaboration with the commercial fishing industry and the GMFMC, the National Marine Fisheries Service's (NMFS) Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) implemented a mandatory observer program to characterize the commercial reef fishery operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (Gulf).

This fishery consists of approximately 890 Federally permitted vessels (SERO (2)). Primary gears used include bottom longline, vertical line (bandit or handline), and more recently, modified buoy gear. Although many reef fish species are retained, the predominant target species are groupers, Epinephelus spp., and snappers, Lutjanus spp.

Longliners off the coast of Florida generally target red grouper, Epinephelus morio, in shallow waters, and in deeper waters yellowedge grouper, E. flavolimbatus; tilefish (Malacanthidae), and sharks (Carcharhinidae). Vertical line vessel operators target shallow-water grouper (e.g. red grouper), red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus, and may also seek yellowedge grouper and vermilion snapper, Rhomboplites aurorubens. From historical effort data, most commercial fishing effort for red snapper occurs in the western Gulf of Mexico (SEDAR (3)).

In November 1984, the Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan (GMFMC (4)) was implemented to rebuild declining reef fish stocks. Since that time, Federal regulations have restricted size and landings of several reef fish species. Weight quotas regulate commercial landings for grouper, with 7.57 million lbs for shallow-water grouper and 1.02 million lbs for deepwater grouper (SERO (2)). The current total allowable catch (TAC) for red snapper is 6.3 million lbs, divided between the commercial (51%) and recreational (49%) fishing sectors. An individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for the commercial red snapper fishery was implemented in 2007 and for the grouper and tilefish fisheries in 2010.

Certain areas for reef fish are closed or restricted based on gear type (GMFMC (5)). Federal waters are closed in the Tortugas North and Tortugas South Ecological Reserves in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and the Madison and Swanson and Steamboat Lumps Marine Reserves off the west central Florida coast. Longline and other buoy gear are prohibited inside the 50-fm contour west and the 20-fm contour east of Cape San Blas, Fla.

In May 2009, an emergency rule to protect sea turtles (Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae) went into effect prohibiting the use of bottom longline gear east of Cape San Blas, Fla., shoreward of the 50-fm contour. Modification through subsequent regulations (GMFMC (5)) prohibited bottom longline gear east of Cape San Blas, Fla., shoreward of the 35-fm contour from June through August, restricted the number of hooks onboard to 1,000, of which only 750 could be rigged for fishing, and reduced the number of vessels through an endorsement system based on documentation of an average annual landing of at least 40,000 lbs during 1999 through 2007.

The effectiveness of quota systems, size limits, and area closures as management tools has been debated (Coleman et al., 2000; Nieland et al., 2007; Stephen and Harris, 2010). Once a vessel's red snapper quota is reached, for example, the vessel simply targets other reef fish, making red snapper a bycatch species. Currently, the minimum legal size for red snapper is 13 in total length (TL). The minimum size limit for red grouper was reduced from 20 in TL to 18 in TL, effective 18 May 2009 (GMFMC (5)).

The mortality rates of both undersized target species and nontargeted species caught on the various gear types remains a pressing concern. Findings from mark-release mortality studies (Gitschlag and Renaud, 1994; Schirripa and Legault (6); Burns et al. (7)) indicate variable rates of mortality based on depth and method of capture.

In December 1993, SEFSC's Galveston Laboratory implemented a voluntary observer program to characterize the fish trap, bottom longline, and bandit reel fisheries in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico (Scott-Denton and Harper (8); Scott-Denton (9)). Observer coverage of the commercial reef fish fishery operating primarily off the west coast of Florida and, to a lesser extent, off Louisiana, was conducted from 1993 through 1995. Data from 576 sets aboard fish trap vessels, 317 sets from bottom longline, and 580 sets from bandit reel vessels were analyzed. Findings from this study revealed a low proportion (<5% of total number caught) of fish discarded dead (immediate mortality) based on surface observations. However, due to the number of fish released in stressed state (air bladder expansion and/or eyes protruding), total predicted red snapper discards of 25% to 30% were used to estimate the number of discarded fish at age that died and thus contributed to fishing mortality (Goodyear (10)).

The continuing goal of the current observer program is to provide quantitative biological, vessel, and gear-selectivity information relative to the directed reef fish fishery. The specific objectives are to: 1) provide general fishery bycatch characterization for finfish species taken by this fishery, 2) estimate managed finfish discard and release mortality levels, and 3) estimate protected species bycatch levels. The specific objectives of this report are to: 1) summarize trip, vessel, environmental, and gear characteristics, 2) quantify fish and protected species composition and disposition based on surface observations, 3) examine size composition of target species, and 4) estimate catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) trends and spatial distribution for dominant species.

Methods

Protocol sampling modification, randomized vessel selection, and observer deployment through mandatory efforts began in 2006 for the commercial reef fish fishery. NMFS observers were placed on reef fish vessels operating throughout the Gulf of Mexico based on randomized selection stratified by season, gear, and region. Proportional sampling effort, based on coastal logbook data, among seasons and gears in the eastern and western Gulf of Mexico was recommended by SEFSC stock assessment scientists in 2006 and used thereafter for vessel selection stratification purposes using annual updated effort data. Thus, proportional sampling was used to direct coverage levels (based on sea days, the National metric for percent observer coverage levels) toward region and gear strata with higher levels of fishing effort, while continuing to sample strata with lower fishing effort.

In 2008, for the longline fishery, seven trips were not selected through the mandatory process. Instead the trips were based on voluntary cooperation as part of a pilot project to assess the effectiveness of electronic monitoring equipment. Observers placed on these vessels were equipped with closed-circuit video cameras and associated electronics. Results of this study are reported by Pria et al. (2008).

In February 2009, increased coverage was directed toward the bottom longline fishery in the eastern Gulf to monitor for sea turtle interactions. In response to the bottom longline closure inside the 50-fm contour in the eastern Gulf in 2009, some traditional longline vessels used modified buoy gear. This gear type was deployed during three trips inside 50 fm in December 2009 with observers onboard.

Shrimp statistical zones (Patella, 1975) were used to delineate area designations (Fig. 1). Conventionally, statistical areas 1-9 represent areas off the west coast of Florida, 10-12 delineate Alabama/Mississippi, 13-17 depict Louisiana, and 18-21 denote Texas. For the reef fish fishery, statistical areas 1-8 represent the eastern Gulf and areas 9-21 the western Gulf. Seasonal categories were: January through March, April through June, July through September, and October through December. The three primary gear types assessed included bottom longline, bandit reel, and handline. The latter two were combined to represent the vertical line fishery.

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Among the several provisions promulgated under Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA) [section] 303(b)(8) is the mandate for Federal permit holders to have a current Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Examination decal prior to the selection period for mandatory observer coverage. The safety decal requirement, in combination with other factors, led to low vessel compliance, especially in the first 2 years of the study. A dedicated effort by NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) has substantially increased compliance (>95%). Additionally, a minimum sea day requirement by gear type was established to prevent early trip termination due to observer effect. Reef fish permit holders are required to carry an observer for a minimum of 7 days during a selection period when using longline gear, 3 days for bandit gear, and 2 days for handline.

Once deployed, vessel length, hull construction material, gross tonnage, engine horsepower, and crew size were obtained for each vessel. For each set (the location of gear placement at a defined time), the type, number, and construction material of the fishing gear were recorded. Latitude, longitude, depth, and environmental parameters including sea state and bottom type were recorded at the start of each set. The total time the gear remained in the water (soak or fishing time) was calculated.

Fishery data were obtained from each set. If a set could not be sampled due to time constraints or weather conditions, a minimum of location, depth, and fishing time were recorded. The condition of fish when brought onboard was categorized into one of the following: 1) live--normal appearance, 2) live--stomach/air bladder protruding, 3) live--eyes protruding, 4) live--combination of 2 and 3, 5) dead on arrival, or 9) not determined. (11) Categories 2 through 4 were combined to represent a stressed condition.

Fate of fish after release was recorded as alive if it swam down or as discarded dead if it swam erratically, floated, or sank, or if undetermined. Nontarget and undersized target species were processed first by recording length, weight, condition when brought onboard, and fate after release to provide an estimate of immediate mortality (number discarded dead divided by the number of total discards).

If venting occurred, air bladders of live discarded fish were punctured in the same manner as demonstrated by the captain and crew if requested. Retained species were processed by recording length, weight, condition when brought onboard, and if kept or retained for bait. Sightings or captures of sea turtles were recorded in accordance with SEFSC protocol (NMFS, 2008). Data pertaining to sea turtle interactions were reported to SEFSC for annual sea turtle mortality estimates.

On some (19%) vertical line sets, due primarily to time constraints and the magnitude of the catch, not all reels were sampled for the set. The species total number was extrapolated proportionally based on subsampled reels for that set. Negative sets, or sets where no fish were caught, were included in CPUE calculations. No extrapolation procedures were required for longline and modified buoy sets (i.e. all hooks sampled).

Overall catch rates are presented collectively for all years, areas, seasons, and depths. Due to data confidentiality rules, a minimum of three vessels were required for spatial and temporal stratification purposes, and analysis of modified buoy gear data was restricted.

Effort was calculated using methods described by McCarthy and CassCalay. (12) The number of hooks set at each location was multiplied by soak time to derive hook-hours. Catch rates were calculated in number of fish per hook-hour. For the vertical line fishery, total soak time was used for one set location using the sum of all hooks per reel. Therefore, effort may be overestimated due to the repeated deployment (e.g. drops) of multiple gear configurations (e.g. hooks) on the same reel at one set location. Moreover, average haul in time was not documented for all sets, therefore not used in the effort calculation. For sets when the average haul in time was recorded, the average value was less than one minute.

Ratio estimation was used for analyses of species-specific catch rates. As described by Snedecor and Cochran (1967) and Watson et al. (1999), the ratio estimation (1) below was used as the sample estimate of the mean.

R = [summation]Y/[summation X] (1)

where: R = ratio estimate,

Y = extrapolated number for species of a particular disposition code for selected strata, and

X = hook-hours for selected strata.

The estimated standard error of the estimate is given in equation 2:

s(R) = 1/[bar.x][square root of [summation][(Y - RX).sup.2]/n(n - 1) (2)

where: [bar.x] = mean of hook-hours for selected strata, and

n = number of sets occurring in selected strata.

A density surface of CPUE, based on number of fish kept per 1,000 hook-hours for dominant species by fishery, was created using Fishery Analyst. (13,14) This is an ArcGIS extension developed to graphically present temporal and spatial trends in fishery statistics (Riolo, 2006). A search radius of 25 km was used to ensure the search parameter encompassed the maximum length of a fishing set. A cell size of 5 km produced the desired resolution.

Density of catch and effort values for each 5 km cell were calculated by summing those values contained within the 25 km search radius and dividing the value by the area of the circle as defined by the search radius. A summary CPUE value for all years combined was calculated for each cell by calculating CPUE values for individual years and dividing by the number of years for which fishing activity occurred in that cell.

To identify patterns in CPUE for the most frequently captured species in each fishery, a local spatial statistic, the Getis-Ord Gi* (Gi*), was calculated using the Hot Spot Analysis tool in ArcGIS (15), to locate clusters of features with similarly high or low values. The Gi* statistic was also calculated for all discarded and kept species in order to assess if geographical areas of particularly high levels of bycatch occurred.

The Hot Spot Analysis tool evaluates each feature within the context of neighboring features. If the value of the feature is high, and the values for all of its neighboring features are also high, it is a part of a hot spot. Conversely, if a feature is surrounded by similarly low values, it is identified as a cold spot. The Gi* statistic is a Z-score test statistic. For statistically significant positive Z-scores, the larger the Z-score is, the more intense the clustering of high values. The Z-score can produce misleading results when used with local statistics because the test assumes independence between features. Since the GIS runs the test to calculate a Z-score for each feature, the test will end up using many of the same neighbors for adjacent features (Mitchell, 2005). For this reason, the statistical tests associated with local measures of spatial autocorrelation for data exploration were used, rather than as confirmatory statistical testing (Nelson and Boots, 2008).

To standardize bycatch (discard) estimates as prescribed in "Evaluating Bycatch" (NMFS, 2004), the coefficient of variation (CV) was used as a measure of precision for bycatch estimates. CV estimates were calculated by dividing the estimated standard error by the estimate of the mean CPUE (number per hook-hour) for Federally managed discarded species. Less than 0.3% of the total fish processed had an undetermined fate code and were assumed to be discarded in an unknown condition.

Length data are given for the dominant target species. Fish measurements were recorded in metric units for age and growth assessment. To be consistent with the current regulatory mandates relative to size limits, metric measurements were converted to U.S. system equivalents. Fork to total length conversions for red grouper were based on metric regression (Lombardi-Carlson et al. (16)). Red snapper total lengths were derived from fork length measurements using equation 3 (SEDAR, 2005):

TL (in) = 0.1729 + FL (in) * 1.059. (3)

After converting, length values were placed into 1 in intervals. Any lengths ranging from 19.000 to 19.999, for example, were categorized as 19 in. Hence, some degree of error is assumed. Only length measurements were considered. Weight data were not recorded for all specimens, therefore were not included in the analysis.

Results

Fishing Characteristics

From July 2006 through December 2009, data from 9,468 sets collected during 308 trips (1,919 sea days) aboard 205 reef fish vessels were analyzed. Number of trips, sets, sea days, and percent coverage levels are given by year and project (Table 1).

Trip, vessel, set, and gear characteristics varied by gear type (Tables 2, 3). Trip length averaged 11.7 days for longline and 4.8 days for vertical line. Vessel length ranged from 23 to 70 ft, with longline vessels typically at the larger end of the range. The majority ([greater than or equal to] 85%) of vessels were fiberglass construction.

For longline, the distance of mainline set at a location averaged 5.6 nmi. Mean gangion length was 5.8 ft. On average, 991 circle hooks were set at a location. Most hooks (43%) were 13 aught in size and ranged from 12 to 15 aught. In the vertical line sector, the number of reels used at a set averaged 3.3. The majority (51%) of reels were electric. The number of hooks deployed during a set averaged 26 hooks, with circle hooks deployed most often. The majority (43%) of hooks were smaller hooks (8 aught) as compared to longline.

Fishing and environmental conditions differed by gear type (Tables 2, 3). Average fishing depth for longline sets was 51.5 fm. Fishing depths were shallower (27.3 fm) for vertical line. Average soak time was 5.1 h for longline and 0.7 h for vertical line. Most sets ([greater than or equal to] 47%) occurred over rock bottom in seas <2 ft during daylight hours for both gear types.

Bottom Longline Allocation of Sampling Effort

Data from 68 trips aboard 48 bottom longline vessels from August 2006 through November 2009 were analyzed. The capture of 73,205 fish (Table 4) occurred during 1,503 sets deploying traditional longline gear (Fig. 1). For longline, 1,431 sets had associated effort data (7,232 h; 1,395,320 hooks). Approximately 90% of fishing effort, based on hook-hours, occurred in the eastern Gulf. The greatest concentration of effort (hook-hours) occurred in statistical areas 3 through 5 (Fig. 2), with most (35%) in area 4. By season, 20% of the sets occurred from January through March; 52% April through June; 16% July through September; and 12% October through December for all years combined.

Species Composition

Of the 73,205 fish (183 taxa) caught on longline gear, 46% of the individuals were kept, 35% were released alive, 12% were discarded dead, 4% were discarded with an unknown condition, and 3% were retained for bait (Tables 5 and 6). By number, red grouper dominated the catch composition at 56%. Yellowedge grouper comprised 10% of the catch, followed by blueline tilefish, Caulolatilus microps, at 5%; red snapper, tilefish, Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps, and Atlantic sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae, each at 3%. All other species combined constituted 20% of the catch.

By category, red grouper, yellowedge grouper, tilefish, and blueline tilefish comprised the majority (82%) of the 33,335 individuals kept by longliners. Four species (red grouper, Atlantic sharpnose shark, smooth dogfish, Mustelus canis; and red snapper) accounted for 83% of the released alive category. Of the 25,471 individuals released alive, 42% exhibited visual signs of stress, while 46% exhibited a normal appearance. Of the 2,414 individuals used for bait, the species caught and used most often for bait were king snake eel, Ophichthus rex (29%), and palespotted eel, Ophichthus puncticeps (11%). Red grouper, blueline tilefish, Atlantic sharpnose shark, and red snapper comprised the majority (81%) of 9,037 individuals in the discarded dead category. Approximate minimum assumed mortality was: red grouper (20%), blueline tilefish (76%), Atlantic sharpnose shark (34%), and red snapper (27%). The fate of 2,948 individuals was undetermined. Of these, approximately 77% were red grouper.

Red Grouper Disposition and Size Composition

All 40,992 red grouper caught using longline were in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, with the exception of two individuals recorded in the western Gulf. Based on visual observations, the majority (43%) of the fish were released alive, 40% were kept, 12% were discarded dead, and 6% were of unknown condition. (17) One red grouper was used for bait.

A total of 36,764 red grouper were measured and ranged from 4 to 37 in TL with the mode of 4,440 individuals at 18 in TL (Fig. 3). Of these, 32% of the fish caught were <18 in TL, the legal minimum size, with 69% released alive, 19% discarded dead, 11% discarded in an unknown condition, and 0.3% kept. Of the 68% of red grouper [greater than or equal to]18 in TL, 62% were kept, 26% were released alive, 8% were discarded dead, and 3% discarded in an unknown condition.

Depths of red grouper captures ranged from 19.3 to 120.5 fm. Most (67%) red grouper were caught between 20-25 fm, followed by 26-30 fm (21%), 31-35 fm (5%), and 36-40 fm (4%). Catch was [less than or equal to] 1% for the remaining zones (Fig. 4).

CPUE and Discard CV

Mean CPUE for all species and dispositions combined was 0.0095 fish per hook-hour ([+ or -] 0.0002 SE; Table 5). The catch rate estimate for red grouper was 0.0021 fish kept per hook-hour ([+ or -] 0.0001 SE). Spatial CPUE density (numbers of fish kept per 1,000 hook-hour) for dominant species for all years combined is depicted (Fig. 5-9). Red grouper were caught and retained primarily in statistical areas 2 through 8, with highest density CPUE observed in statistical area 5.

A similar pattern was detected for blueline tilefish with highest density CPUE in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Yellowedge grouper, tilefish, and scamp, Mycteroperca phenax, were distributed throughout the Gulf with high CPUE observed in deeper waters of the western Gulf. Clusters of significantly high CPUE for red grouper were located in statistical areas 3 through 8 (Fig. 10). For all kept species, clusters of significantly high CPUE were detected in statistical areas 5, 14, 15, and 16 (Fig. 11). Highest discard CPUE was evident in statistical areas 3 through 6 (Fig. 12).

CV estimates (Table 7) for discarded red grouper, red snapper, greater amberjack, Seroila dumerili; and gag, Mycteroperca microlepis, were low ([less than or equal to]0.1). Several other species of grouper; jacks, king mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla; and cobia, Rachycentron canadum, had values [less than or equal to] 0.5.

Vertical Line Allocation of Sampling Effort

Data from 237 trips were collected aboard 157 vertical line vessels from July 2006 through December 2009, with a total of 89,015 fish processed (Tables 3 and 4). Locations for 7,384 vertical line sets are depicted (Fig. 13). Effort data (5,266 h; 190,202 hooks) were available for 7,285 sets. Approximately 37% of the sampled reels had no catch reported during a set. The majority (75%) of sets were in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. However, the highest concentrated effort (74%), based on hook-hours, occurred in the western Gulf of Mexico (Fig. 14). By season, 23% of the effort occurred from January through March; 21% April through June; 33% July through September; and 22% October through December for all years combined.

Species Composition

Of the 89,015 fish (178 taxa) sampled, 71% of the individuals were kept, 19% were released alive, 6% were discarded dead, 1% were discarded in an unknown condition, and 4% were retained for bait (Tables 5 and 8). By number, red snapper ranked highest in catch composition at 31%. Vermilion snapper comprised 29% of the catch, followed by red grouper (16%), red porgy, Pagrus pagrus (7%); gag (3%), and the remaining species combined (14%).

Vermilion snapper, red snapper, red grouper, and red porgy comprised 86% of the 63,351 individuals in the kept category. Three species (red snapper, red grouper, and vermilion snapper) accounted for 80% of the released alive category. Of the 16,872 individuals released alive, 35% exhibited visual signs of stress, while 61% exhibited a normal appearance.

Of the 2,805 individuals used for bait, the species caught and used most often were chub mackerel, Scomber japonicus (29%); pinfish, Lagodon rhomboides (20%); and tomtate, Haemulon aurolineatum (16%). Red snapper, vermilion snapper, and red grouper comprised 87% of 5,185 individuals in the discarded dead category. Minimum assumed mortality for these species was approximately: red snapper (28%), vermilion snapper (41%), and red grouper (11%). The fate of 802 individuals was not determined.

Red Snapper Disposition and Size Composition

A total of 27,669 red snapper were sampled on vertical line gear. Statistical areas of capture ranged from 3 to 21, with no reported takes in statistical area 12. Approximately 77% of the red snapper were captured in the western Gulf of Mexico, with the remaining 23% captured in the eastern Gulf. The majority (65%) of the fish were kept. Based on visual observations, 24% were released alive, 10% were discarded dead, and 1% discarded in an unknown condition.

A total of 25,650 red snapper were measured and ranged from 6 to 41 in TL, with the mode of 4,102 individuals at 15 in TL (Fig. 15). Of these, 92% were [greater than or equal to] 13 in TL, the legal minimum size. Approximately 8% were <13 in TL, with 31% of the individuals discarded dead.

Depths of red snapper capture ranged from 3.3 to 305 fm. Most (29%) red snapper were caught in waters less than 20 fm, followed by 20-25 fm (26%), and 31-35 and 26-30 fm (13% each; Fig. 16). The remaining depth zones comprised 19%. No depth values were recorded for 762 red snapper.

CPUE and Discard CV

Mean CPUE for all species and dispositions was 0.9369 fish per hook-hour ([+ or -] 0.0311 SE; Table 5). Red snapper mean catch rate was 0.2214 fish kept per hook-hour ([+ or -] 0.0150 SE). Spatial CPUE density (numbers of fish kept per 1,000 hook-hours) for dominant species caught using vertical line gear is depicted in Figures 17 through 21. Red snapper were caught and retained throughout the Gulf, with highest density CPUE observed in statistical area 11. Similarly, vermilion snapper occurred in both Gulf regions with a spatial density similar to red snapper. Red grouper were concentrated in the eastern Gulf, with the highest CPUE density observed in statistical areas 3, 4, and 8. High density CPUE for red porgy was found primarily in the eastern Gulf, with the exception of statistical area 16. Gag were caught and retained primarily off Florida, predominantly in statistical areas 5-8.

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Cluster locations of statistically significant high CPUE for retained red snapper were most pronounced in statistical areas 8 through 14, 16, and 17 (Fig. 22). For all retained species, clusters of significantly high CPUE were detected primarily in the western Gulf (Fig. 23). Conversely, highest discard CPUE values were observed in the eastern Gulf in statistical areas 5 through 7 (Fig. 24).

Based on number discarded, CV estimates for Federally managed species caught on vertical line gear (Table 9) were low for red grouper, red snapper, vermilion snapper, gag, and greater amberjack ([less than or equal to] 0.1). Several other species of grouper, jacks, gray triggerfish, Balistes capriscus; king mackerel, and red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus, had values less than or equal to 0.5. Higher CV estimates for other species of importance, including several species of snapper and grouper, were detected.

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Interactions with Protected Species in the Reef Fish Fishery

Twenty sea turtles were captured on observed trips utilizing longline gear from 2006 to 2009; three occurred during the electronic monitoring pilot project. One sea turtle was captured on vertical line gear (bandit) during the same time period. Sea turtle mortality and projected take estimates by gear type were reported by SEFSC. (18)

Discussion

To gain a greater understanding of catch rates, bycatch composition, and discard mortality associated with commercial fishing operations in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery, a mandatory observer program was established in 2006 based on a proportional randomized sampling design stratified by season, gear, and region. Historically, these data, critical for population assessments, have not been available due to lack of time series and limited geographic ranges for affected species.

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Data from this observer program revealed relatively high species richness from the two primary gears (longline n = 183 taxa; and vertical line n = 178 taxa). While diversity was high, red grouper and yellowedge grouper (in longline), and red snapper and vermillion snapper (in vertical line), comprised more than 60% by number of the species caught. These findings are similar to those described by Stephen and Harris (2010) of the snapper-grouper vertical line fishery off South Carolina. Their data revealed high overall diversity; however, a small number of species (17) accounted for 90% of catch.

Hale et al. (2010), through a mandatory bottom longline observer program, examined species composition and disposition of fish captured from longline sets targeting reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico and found, in order of abundance, that red grouper, blueline tilefish, tilefish, and yellowedge grouper comprised 76% of catch. In our current study, these four species accounted for 73% of the catch captured on longline gear. Moreover, disposition of these species was similar between the two programs for red and yellowedge grouper. Blueline tilefish and tilefish discard proportion rates were more variable, and most likely related to the 15 May 2009 tilefish quota closure.

In our current study, 46% of the individuals, predominately red and yellowedge grouper, were kept in longline. In vertical line, a larger percentage (71%) was kept and comprised primarily of vermilion and red snapper. While species-specific minimum size limits differ by region, Rudershausen et al. (2007), Stephen and Harris (2010), and Scott-Denton (9) reported low discard proportions for the vertical line trips; however, low discard proportions may still adversely affect long-lived stocks.

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Discard mortality rates are highly variable and influenced by a number of factors, including species-specific life history characteristics (Coleman et al., 2000; Patterson et al., 2002; Nieland et al., 2007), season (Render and Wilson, 1994) depth, and method of capture and release (Gitschlag and Renaud, 1994; Collins et al., 1999, Dorf, 2003; Rummer, 2007; Burns et al.7). Using the Marine Recreational Fishery Statistic Survey data from 1981-99 and findings from 53 release mortality studies, Bartholomew and Bohnsack (2005) found significant mortality factors related to hook location, bait removal, hook type, capture depth, water temperature, and handling time.

Through a tagging study conducted off the coast of Alabama, Patterson et al. (2002) indirectly estimated discard mortality of 13.5% for red snapper and <1% for gray triggerfish, based on surface release observations and recapture rates of fish caught with recreational gear. Red snapper (<18 in TL) comprised 93% of the released fish from a Texas headboat survey, of these 60.6% were released alive, 22.8% swam erratically, 15.2% floated, and 1.4% were discarded dead (Dorf, 2003). Diamond and Campbell (2009) examined red snapper caught on hook and line at three petroleum production platforms off south Texas and found immediate mortality at 17%; however, through the use of an injury status condition index, delayed mortality was estimated to be 64%.

Variable minimum assumed mortality rates and discard proportions may also be attributed to regulatory changes in minimum size limits and through implementation of IFQ requirements for several species, notably, red snapper, red grouper, and tilefish. Minimum assumed mortality (all discarded species combined) in this study was 24% in longline and 23% in vertical line. By species, immediate mortality for red grouper was 20% in longline and 11% in vertical line, with minimum assumed mortality for red snapper of 27% and 28%, in longline and in vertical line, respectively.

Stephen and Harris (2010) reported immediate mortality range of 33-100% for vertical line trips targeting vermilion snapper off South Carolina, with >90% mortality observed for gray triggerfish, greater amberjack, scamp, and red snapper. Nieland et al. (2007), using four release condition categories, similar but more detailed than that of this study, assessed the fate of red snapper regulatory discards aboard commercial vertical line vessels operating primarily off Louisiana and found 69% of discarded red snapper were either dying or dead when released.

Rudershausen et al. (2007) examined discard composition in the commercial snapper-grouper fishery in North Carolina and found low (<10%) immediate release morality for vermilion snapper, gag, and red grouper; moderate (14%) mortality for red porgy; and high (23%) immediate mortality for scamp.

In our study, red snapper ranged from 6-41 in TL with a mode of 15 in TL. Nieland et al. (2007), using specimens collected from commercial red snapper landings, described a similar unimodal distribution with the mode at 400 mm (15.7 in) TL, noting that 98% were less than 600 mm (23.6 in) TL. Red grouper length frequency data from NMFS bottom longline surveys in the Gulf of Mexico from 2000 through 2005 depicted a distribution range of approximately 10-34 in TL with a mode 18 in TL (Ingram et al. (19)); a similar range and mode as observed in this study.

Estimated CPUE for all species combined in the longline fishery was 0.0095 fish per hook-hour. Highest density CPUE (numbers of fish kept per 1,000 hook-hours) occurred in the eastern Gulf for red grouper and blueline tilefish, a similar distribution as reported by Ingram et al.19 In deeper waters of the western Gulf, yellowedge grouper, tilefish, and scamp had high CPUE density values. For vertical line, the catch rate for all species was higher (0.0311 fish per hook-hour) than observed in longline. Highest CPUE for red snapper occurred in the western Gulf, consistent with SEDAR. (3) Density CPUE values were higher and more dispersed in vertical line for other dominant species (vermilion snapper, red grouper, red porgy, and gag).

As prescribed by NMFS' National Bycatch Strategy addressing fishery bycatch on a national level, precision goals for bycatch estimates are defined in terms of CV estimates (NMFS, 2004). The precision of single species bycatch estimates is needed for population assessments; however, the reef fish fishery has bycatch from several stocks. In our study, CV estimates were low (0.1) for undersize target species, notably red grouper and red snapper. CV estimates for other species of commercial, recreational, and ecological importance, including several species of grouper and snapper, were relatively high and in some instances equal to 1.0.

In terms of areas of high bycatch, management measures to reduce bycatch should consider targets that include changes in fishing behaviors relative to avoidance of high bycatch areas, modifications of gear to reduce bycatch, and cooperative efforts to close areas with high bycatch. As illustrated by Hot/Cold Spot Analysis (15), areas of highly significant rates of discards were identified. In longline, discard CPUE density was significantly higher in statistical areas 3 through 6. For vertical line, discard catch rates were significantly higher and concentrated off Florida in statistical areas 5 through 7.

Prior to a mandatory observer program, self-reporting through logbook and discard supplementary data submission were used to estimate sea turtle take projections in the reef fish fishery and formed the basis of biological opinions pursuant to formal consultation under Section 7 of the ESA (NMFS (20)). Observers documented twenty sea turtle interactions, notably in the bottom longline component, during the study period (SEFSC (18)), resulting in important implications for management. In October 2009, a new biological opinion on the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery was completed with regulatory measures designed to minimize the impacts of future takes and monitor levels of incidental take (Fed. Regist. (21)).

Observer programs remain the most reliable means for monitoring fishery characteristics by not only providing insight on protected species interactions, but also for assessing quota and size restrictions, IFQ programs, CPUE, discard levels, gear effectiveness, and a wide array of other variables of interest to fishery managers, the fishing industry, academia, and the public.

Acknowledgments

We commend the outstanding efforts given by the fishery observers involved in this research effort and the commercial fishing industry. We sincerely thank Tim Baumer for the data entry system and summarization of data files.

Literature Cited

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Collins, M. R., J. C. McGovern, G. R. Sedberry, H. S. Meister, and R. Pardieck. 1999. Swim bladder deflation in black sea bass and vermilion snapper: potential for increasing postrelease survival. N. Am. J. Fish. Manage. 19:828-832.

Diamond, S. L., and M. D. Campbell. 2009. Linking "sink or swim" indicators to delayed mortality in red snapper by using a condition index. Mar. Coast. Fish.: Dynamics Manage. Ecosystem Sci. 1:107-120.

Dorf, B. A. 2003. Red snapper discards in Texas waters--A fishery dependent onboard study of recreational headboat discards and landings. In D. R. Stanley and A. Scarborough-Bull (Editors), Fisheries, reefs, and offshore development, p. 155-166, Am. Fish. Soc. Symp. 36, Bethesda, Md.

Gitschlag, G. R., and M. L. Renaud. 1994. Field experiments on survival rates of released red snapper. N. Am. J. Fish. Manage. 14:131-136.

Hale, L. F., S. J. B. Gulak, and J. K. Carlson. 2010. Characterization of the shark bottom longline fishery: 2009. U.S. Dep. Commer. NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-596, 18 p.

Mitchell, A. 2005. The ESRI guide to GIS Analysis. Vol. 2, Spatial measurements and statistics. ESRI Press, Redlands, Calif., 3 p.

NMFS. 2004. Evaluating bycatch: a national approach to standardized bycatch monitoring program. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-66, 108 p.

--. 2008. Sea turtle research techniques manual. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-SEFSC-579, 92 p. [updated 1/2009].

Nelson, T. A., and B. Boots. 2008. Detecting spatially explicit hot spots in landscape-scale ecology. Ecography 31(5):556-566.

Nieland, D. L., A. J. Fisher, M. S. Baker, Jr., and C. A. Wilson III. 2007. Red snapper in the northern Gulf of Mexico: age and size composition of the commercial harvest and mortality of regulatory discards. In W. F. Patterson III, J. H. Cowan, Jr., G. R. Fitzhugh, and D. L. Nieland (Editors), Red snapper ecology and fisheries in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, p. 301-310. Am. Fish. Soc. Symp. 60, Bethesda, Md.

Patella, F. 1975. Water surface area within statistical subareas used in reporting Gulf Coast Shrimp Data. Mar. Fish. Rev. 37(12):22-24.

Patterson, W. F., G. W. Ingram, R. L. Shipp, and J. H. Cowan. 2002. Indirect estimation of red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus) and gray triggerfish (Balistes capriscus) release mortality, Gulf Caribb. Fish. Inst. Proc. 53rd Annual Session, Fort Pierce, Fla., p. 526-536.

Pria, M. J., H. McElderry, M. Dyas, and P. Wesley. 2008. Using electronic monitoring to estimate reef fish catch on bottom longline vessels in the Gulf of Mexico: A pilot study. Archipelago Mar. Res. Ltd., 525 Head St., Victoria, B.C. Can., 42 p.

Render, J. H., and C. A. Wilson. 1994. Hook-and-line mortality of caught and released red snapper around oil and gas platform structural habitat. Bull. Mar. Sci. 55(2-3):1106-1111.

Riolo, F. 2006. A geographic information system for fisheries management in American Samoa. Environ. Modeling Software, 21:1025-1041.

Rummer, J. L. 2007. Factors affecting catch and release (CAR) morality in fish: Insight into CAR mortality in red snapper and the influence of catastrophic decompression. In W. F. Patterson, III, J. H. Cowan, Jr., G. R. Fitzhugh, and D. L. Nieland (Editors), Red snapper ecology and fisheries in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, p. 123-144. Am. Fish. Soc. Symp. 60, Bethesda, Md.

Rudershausen, P. J., J. A. Buckel, and E. H. Williams. 2007. Discard composition and release fate in the snapper and grouper commercial hook-and-line fishery in North Carolina, USA. Fish. Manage. Ecol. 14:103-113.

Snedecor, G. W., and W. G. Cochran. 1967. Statistical methods, 6th ed. Iowa State Univ. Press, Ames, 593 p.

Stephen, J. A., and P. J. Harris. 2010. Commercial catch composition with discard and immediate release mortality proportions off the southeastern coast of the United States. Fish. Res. 103:18-24.

Watson, J., D. Foster, A. Shah, E. Scott-Denton, S. Nichols, and J. Nance. 1999. The development of bycatch reduction technology in the southeastern United States shrimp fishery. Mar. Technol. Soc. J. 33(2):51-56.

The authors are with the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, 4700 Avenue U, Galveston, TX 77551 (corresponding author: elizabeth.scott-denton@noaa.gov)

(1) GMFMC. 2005. Amendment 22 to the Reef Fish Management Plan. Gulf Mex. Fish. Manage. Counc., Tampa, Fla. (available at http://www.gulfcouncil.org).

(2) SERO. 2010. Fishery permits and fishery quotas. Southeast Reg. Off., Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., NOAA, St. Petersburg, Fla. (available at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov).

(3) SEDAR. 2005. Stock assessment report of SEDAR 7 Gulf of Mexico red snapper. Southeast Data Assessment and Review, South Atl. Fish. Manage. Counc., Charleston, SC (available at www.sefsc.noaa.gov/sedar/).

(4) GMFMC. 1984. Reef Fish Management Plan. Gulf Mex. Fish. Manage. Counc., Tampa, Fla. (available at http://www.gulfcouncil.org).

(5) GMFMC. 2010. Commercial fishing regulations for Gulf of Mexico Federal waters. Gulf Mex. Fish. Manage. Counc., Tampa, Fla. (available at http://www.gulfcouncil.org).

(6) Schirripa, M. J., and C. M. Legault. 1999. Status of red snapper in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico: updated through 1998. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA, Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., Panama City Lab. Sustainable Fish. Div. Contrib. SFD-99/00-75.

(7) Burns, K. M., N. F. Parnell, and R. R. Wilson, Jr. 2004. Partitioning release mortality in the undersized bycatch: Comparison of depth vs. hooking effects. MARFIN Grant No. NA97FF0349, 36 p., on file at Southeast Reg. Off., Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., NOAA, St. Petersburg, Fla.

(8) Scott-Denton, E., and D. Harper. 1995. Characterization of the reef fish fishery of the eastern Gulf of Mexico. SEFSC Rep. to Gulf Fish. Manage. Counc. July 17, 1995, Key West, Fla., 45 p.

(9) Scott-Denton, E. 1996. Characterization of the reef fish fishery of the eastern U.S. Gulf of Mexico. MARFIN Grant No. 95MFIH07. Suppl. Rep. to MARFIN Grant No. 94MARFIN17, on file at Southeast Reg. Off., Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., NOAA, St. Petersburg, Fla.

(10) Goodyear, C. P. 1995. Red snapper in U.S. waters of the Gulf of Mexico. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., Southeast Fish. Sci. Cent., Miami Lab. Rep. Contrib. MIA 95/96-05, 171 p.

(11) Category 9 is the default for a condition that is unknown or not recorded.

(12) McCarthy, K. J., and S. Cass-Calay. 2006. Standardized catch rates for red grouper from the United States Gulf of Mexico handline, longline, and trap fisheries, 1990-2005. SEDAR 12-DW-16. Southeast Data Assessment and Review, South Atl. Fish. Manage. Counc., Charleston, SC (available at www.sefsc.noaa.gov/sedar/).

(13) Fishery Analyst, Mappamondo GIS, Via Rubens 3, 43100 Parma(PR)--Italy.

(14) Mention of trade names or commercial firms does not imply endorsement by the National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA.

(15) ArcGIS 9.3 Computer Software. 380 New York Street, Redlands, Calif. 92373.

(16) Lombardi-Carlson, L. A., G. R. Fitzhugh, and J. J. Mikulas. 2002. Red grouper (Epinephelus morio) age-length structure and description of growth from the eastern Gulf of Mexico: 1992-2001. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA. Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., Southeast Fish. Sci. Cent., Contrib. Ser. 2002-06, 42 p.

(17) Percentages may not equal 100% due to rounding.

(18) SEFSC. 2009. Estimated takes of sea turtles in the bottom longline portion of the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery July 2006 through December 2008 based on observer data. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA, NMFS Southeast Fish. Sci. Cent. Contrib. PRD-08/09-07, March 2009, 23 p. [Updated 4/2009, Erratum; updated 6/2009].

(19) Ingram, W., M. Grace, L. Lombardi-Carlson, and T. Henwood. 2006. Catch rates, distribution and size/age composition of red grouper, Epinephelus morio, collected during NOAA Fisheries Bottom Longline Surveys from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. SEDAR-12-DW-05. Southeast Data Assessment and Review, South Atl. Fish. Manage. Counc., Charleston, SC (available at www.sefsc.noaa.gov/sedar/).

(20) NMFS. 2005. Endangered Species Act--Section 7 consultation on the continued authorization of reef fish fishing under the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery Management Plan and Proposed Amendment 23. Biol. Opinion, 15 Feb., 115 p. Southeast Reg. Off., Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv., NOAA, St. Petersburg, Fla. (available at http://sero.nmfs.gov/pr/pdf/Final_RFFMP23.pdf).

(21) Fed. Regist. 2009. Area closure and associated gear restrictions applicable to the bottom longline component of the Gulf of Mexico reef fish fishery. 74 FR 53890.

////////
Table 1.--Reef fish trips, sets, and sea days by
year and project from July 2006 to December 2009.

Trips by Year and Project

                                   Electronic  Buoy
Year   Bandit  Handline  Longline  Monitoring  Gear  Total

2006     30       8         12                        50
2007     72       25        11                        108
2008     34       19        5          7              65
2009     28       21        33                  3     85
Total   164       73        61         7        3     308

Sets by Year and Project

                                   Electronic  Buoy
Year   Bandit  Handline  Longline  Monitoring  Gear  Total

2006   1,078      62       201                       1,341
2007   2,424     505       194                       3,123
2008   1,353     298       110        245            2,006
2009   1,361     310       753                 574   2,998
Total  6,216    1,175     1,258       245      574   9,468

Sea Days by Year and Project

                                   Electronic
Year   Bandit  Handline  Longline  Monitoring

2006    184       12       113
2007    396       69       120
2008    219       38        45        108
2009    162       36       397
Total   961      155       675        108

        Buoy             Industry   Percent
Year    Gear    Total    Sea Days   Coverage

2006               309    21,379      1.4
2007               585    38,200      1.5
2008               410    37,348      1.1
2009     20        615    36,818      1.6
Total    20      1,919   133,745      1.4

Table 2.--Trip, vessel, set, gear, and environmental
characteristics observed in the longline fishery from
August 2006 to November 2009.

                                          Longline

Trip               Vessel                    Set

783 Sea Days       Length:                   Soak time:
68 trips aboard      Avg: 48.3 ft              Avg: 5.1 h
48 vessels 1,503     Range: 35 to 69 ft        ([+ or -] 2.9 s.d.)
sets                 ([+ or -] 8.4 s.d.).      Range: 0.9 to 32.2 h

Trip Length:       Hull Construction:        Mainline:
  Avg: 11.7 days     Fiberglass: 85%           Avg length: 5.6 nmi
  ([+ or -] 3.8      Steel: 10%                ([+ or -] 2.0 s.d.)
  s.d.)              Fiberglass/wood: 4%       Range: 0.9 to 12.0
  Range: 4 to                                  nmi
  20 days

Crew size:         Engine Horsepower:
  1 to 3             Avg: 277.1 hp
  individuals        ([+ or -] 205.3 s.d.)
  (excluding         Range: 76 to 1400 hp
  captain)

                                            Longline

Trip               Gear                        Environmental

783 Sea Days       Mainline material:          Water Depth:
68 trips aboard      Cable (92%)                 Avg: 51.5 fathoms
48 vessels 1,503     Monofilament (7%)           ([+ or -] 37.8 s.d.)
sets               Test:                         Eastern: 44.5
                     Avg: 1,472.8 lbs            Western: 51.5
                     ([+ or -] 784 s.d.)         Range: 19.3 to 212.0
                     Range: 310 to 4,000 lbs

Trip Length:       Gangion:                    Sea State:
  Avg: 11.7 days     Monofilament (99.9%)        0 to 2 foot seas: 46%
  ([+ or -] 3.8      * Nylon (0.1%)              3 to 5 foot seas: 35%
  s.d.)              Avg length: 5.8 ft          6 to 8 foot seas: 17%
  Range: 4 to        ([+ or -] 2.1 s.d)          8+ foot seas: 2%
  20 days            Range: 2.5 to 11.0 ft

Crew size:         Hooks:                      Bottom type:
  1 to 3             Avg: 991.1 hooks            Rock: 47%
  individuals        ([+ or -] 426.4 s.d.)       Unknown: 14%
  (excluding         Range: 150 to 2,500         Shell: 16%
  captain)           hooks                       Coral: 10%
                     Type: Circle hooks          Mud: 8%
                     (100%), offset (63.4%),     Sand: 2%
                     straight (36.6%) Shaft      Boulder, clay,
                     length avg 2.1 in           and grass: 1% each
                   Distance between hooks:
                     Avg: 22.5 ft ([+ or -]
                     13.0 s.d.) Range: 7.0
                     to 75.0 ft
                     Size: 13 aught (43%)
                     Range: 12 to 15 aught
                     Brand: Mustad[R]: 82%
                     Eagle Claw[R]: 18%

Table 3.--Trip, vessel, set, gear, and environmental
characteristics observed in the vertical line fishery
from July 2006 to December 2009.

                   Vertical Line

Trip               Vessel                Set

1,116 Sea Days     Length:               Soak time:
237 trips aboard     Avg: 39.2 ft          Avg: 0.7 hrs
157 vessels          Range: 23 to 70       ([+ or -] 1.1 s.d.)
7,391 sets           ft ([+ or -] 9.6      Range: 0.02 to 15.3 h
                     s.d.)               Haul in time:
                                           Recorded: 68%
                                           Avg: 0.8 min
                                           ([+ or -] 0.6 s.d.)
                                           Range: <0.1 to 5.9 min

Trip Length:       Hull Construction:    Number of reels/set:
  Avg: 4.8 days      Fiberglass: 89%       Avg: 3.3
  ([+ or -] 3.6      Wood: 5%              ([+ or -] 1.4 s.d.)
  s.d.)              Steel: 4%             Range: 1 to 14
  Range: 1 to        Fiberglass/
  17 days            wood: 1%
                     Unknown: 1%

Crew size:         Engine Horsepower:    Hooks:
  0 to 4             Avg: 326.9 hp         Avg: 26.1 hooks
  individuals        ([+ or -] 195.6       ([+ or -] 44.8 s.d.)
  (excluding         s.d.)                 Range: 1 to 330 hooks
  captain)           Range: 40 to 1200     Type: Circle hooks
                     hp                    (83.3%), J-hooks
                                           (12.7%), double J-hooks
                                           (3.1%), other (0.8%)
                                           Size: 8 aught (43%),
                                           9 aught (20%)
                                           Range: 1 to 18 aught
                                           Brand: Mustad[R] (44%),
                                           Eagle Claw[R] (0.4%)

                   Vertical Line

Trip               Gear                       Environmental

1,116 Sea Days     Reel type:                 Water Depth:
237 trips aboard     Electric: 51.4%            Avg: 27.3 fathoms
157 vessels          Hydraulic: 21.7%           ([+ or -] 15.8 s.d.)
7,391 sets           Hand: 27.0%                Range: 0.7 to 305.0

                   Rod mount:
                     Fixed: 73.1%
                     Portable: 26.7%

Trip Length:       Mainline material:         Sea State:
  Avg: 4.8 days      Monofilament (76.8%),      0 to 2 foot seas: 59%
  ([+ or -] 3.6      Cable (13.7%), Mono/       3 to 5 foot seas: 31%
  s.d.)              nylon/poly (3.2%),         6 to 8 foot seas: 8%
  Range: 1 to        Other (6.3%)               8+ foot seas: 2%
  17 days          Test:
                     Avg: 258.3 lbs
                     ([+ or -] 233.6 s.d.)
                     Range: 12 to 1,400 lbs

Crew size:         Subline material:          Bottom type:
  0 to 4             Monofilament: 97.8%        Rock: 67%
  individuals      Test:                        Unknown: 16%
  (excluding         Avg: 127.2 lbs             Shell: 2%
  captain)           ([+ or -] 58.5 s.d.)       Coral: 4%
                     Range: 10 to 800 lbs       Mud: 5%
                                                Sand: 5%
                                                Wreck: 1%

                   Hooks/Reel:                Fishing State:
                     Avg: 7.4 hooks             On anchor: 68%
                     ([+ or -] 10.8 s.d.)       Drifting: 24%
                     Range: 1 to 45 hooks       Trolling: 2%
                                                Unknown: 6%

Table 4.--Number of fish observed using longline (n=1,503 sets)
and vertical line (n=7,391 sets) gear in the Gulf of Mexico
from July 2006 to December 2009.

Common name                       Scientific name

Red grouper                Epinephelus morio
Red snapper                Lutjanus campechanus
Vermilion snapper          Rhomboplites aurorubens
Yellowedge grouper         Epinephelus flavolimbatus
Red porgy                  Pagrus pagrus
Blueline tilefish          Caulolatilus microps
Gag                        Mycteroperca microlepis
Tilefish                   Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps
Atlantic sharpnose shark   Rhizoprionodon terraenovae
Scamp                      Mycteroperca phenax

King snake eel             Ophichthus rex
Smooth dogfish             Mustelus canis
Sharks grouped             General sharks
Snowy grouper              Epinephelus niveatus
Gray snapper               Lutjanus griseus
King mackerel              Scomberomorus cavalla
Greater amberjack          Seriola dumerili
Blacknose shark            Carcharhinus acronotus
Gray triggerfish           Balistes capriscus
Chub mackerel              Scomber japonicus

Yellowtail snapper         Ocyurus chrysurus
Pinfish                    Lagodon rhomboides
Blue runner                Caranx crysos
Speckled hind              Epinephelus drummondhayi
Lane snapper               Lutjanus synagris
Tomtate                    Haemulon aurolineatum
Almaco jack                Seriola rivoliana
Knobbed porgy              Calamus nodosus
Spotted hake               Urophycis regia
Palespotted eel            Ophichthus puncticeps

Jolthead porgy             Calamus bajonado
Mutton snapper             Lutjanus analis
Sharksucker                Echeneis naucrates
Banded rudderfish          Seriola zonata
White grunt                Haemulon plumieri
Little tunny               Euthynnus alletteratus
Lesser amberjack           Seriola fasciata
Southern hake              Urophycis floridana
Spinycheek scorpionfish    Neomerinthe hemingwayi
Great barracuda            Sphyraena barracuda

Nurse shark                Ginglymostoma cirratum
Sand perch                 Diplectrum formosum
Gulf hake                  Urophycis cirrata
Silky shark                Carcharhinus falciformis
Lemon shark                Negaprion brevirostris
Bearded brotula            Brotula barbata
Dolphin                    Coryphaena hippurus
Blackedge moray            Gymnothorax nigromarginatus
Blacktail moray            Gymnothorax kolpos
Moray (genus)              Gymnothorax sp.

Warsaw grouper             Epinephelus nigritus
Jack (genus)               Seriola sp.
Blacktip shark             Carcharhinus limbatus
Black sea bass             Centropristis striata
Remora                     Remora remora
Florida pompano            Trachinotus carolinus
Tiger shark                Galeocerdo cuvier
Spotted moray              Gymnothorax moringa
Creole-fish                Paranthias furcifer
Purplemouth moray          Gymnothorax vicinus

Black grouper              Mycteroperca bonaci
Cobia                      Rachycentron canadum
Sand seatrout              Cynoscion arenarius
Leopard toadfish           Opsanus pardus
Dogfish (genus)            Squalus
Bank sea bass              Centropristis ocyurus
Bluefish                   Pomatomus saltatrix
Scalloped hammerhead       Sphyrna lewini
Cubera snapper             Lutjanus cyanopterus
Dogfish                    Mustelus sp.

Whitebone porgy            Calamus leucosteus
Inshore lizardfish         Synodus foetens
Crevalle jack              Caranx hippos
Queen snapper              Etelis oculatus
Red drum                   Sciaenops ocellatus
Grunt (genus)              Haemulon
Spanish mackerel           Scomberomorus maculatus
Sandbar shark              Carcharhinus plumbeus
Offshore lizardfish        Synodus poeyi
Bar jack                   Caranx ruber

Blackfin tuna              Thunnus atlanticus
Blackbelly rosefish        Helicolenus dactylopterus
Cuban dogfish              Squalus cubensis
Clearnose skate            Raja eglanteria
Wenchman                   Pristipomoides aquilonaris
Smalltail shark            Carcharhinus porosus
Sheepshead                 Archosargus probatocephalus
Snakefish                  Trachinocephalus myops
Bull shark                 Carcharhinus leucas
Silver seatrout            Cynoscion nothus

Lizardfish (family)        Synodontidae
Gulper shark               Centrophorus granulosus
Sharpnose sevengill shark  Heptranchias perlo
Spinner shark              Carcharhinus brevipinna
Sand diver                 Synodus intermedius
Bigeye                     Priacanthus arenatus
Seatrout (genus)           Cynoscion sp.
Littlehead porgy           Calamus proridens
Gulf toadfish              Opsanus beta
Great hammerhead           Sphyrna mokarran

Chain dogfish              Scyliorhinus retifer
Short bigeye               Pristigenys alta
Ocean triggerfish          Canthidermis sufflamen
Squirrelfish               Holocentrus adscensionis
Cubbyu                     Pareques umbrosus
Sand tilefish              Malacanthus plumieri
Night shark                Carcharhinus signatus
Yellowmouth grouper        Mycteroperca interstitialis
Triggerfish (family)       Balistidae
Rock hind                  Epinephelus adscensionis

Goliath grouper            Epinephelus itajara
Wahoo                      Acanthocybium solandri
Reticulate moray           Muraena retifera
Blackbar drum              Equetus iwamotoi
Round scad                 Decapterus punctatus
Hake (genus)               Urophycis sp.
Jack (family)              Carangidae
Graysby                    Cephalopholis cruentata
Tattler                    Serranus phoebe
Squirrelfishes (family)    Holocentridae

Rainbow runner             Elagatis bipinnulata
Black margate              Anisotremus surinamensis
Bigeye scad                Selar crumenophthalmus
Bluntnose sixgill shark    Hexanchus griseus
Red hind                   Epinephelus guttatus
Grouper (genus)            Mycteroperca
Scorpionfish               Scorpaena sp.
Rock sea bass              Centropristis philadelphica
Horse-eye jack             Caranx latus
Toadfish (genus)           Opsanus sp.

Silk snapper               Lutjanus vivanus
Longtail bass              Hemanthias leptus
Dusky shark                Carcharhinus obscurus
Bigeye sixgill shark       Hexanchus nakamurai
Atlantic croaker           Micropogonias undulatus
Smooth puffer              Lagocephalus laevigatus
Largescale lizardfish      Saurida brasiliensis
Atlantic spadefish         Chaetodipterus faber
Hardhead catfish           Arius felis
Grunt (family)             Haemulidae

Goldface tilefish          Caulolatilus chrysops
Southern stingray          Dasyatis americana
Cusk-eel (family)          Ophidiidae
Barracuda (genus)          Sphyraena sp.
Atlantic cutlassfish       Trichiurus lepturus
Spiny dogfish              Squalus acanthias
Shortfin mako              Isurus oxyrinchus
Margate                    Haemulon album
Grass porgy                Calamus arctifrons
Atlantic bonito            Sarda sarda

Swordfish                  Xiphias gladius
Sailors choice             Haemulon parra
Honeycomb moray            Gymnothorax saxicola
Hammerhead (genus) shark   Sphyrna sp.
Green moray                Gymnothorax funebris
Florida smoothhound        Mustelus norrisi
Finetooth shark            Carcharhinus isodon
Thresher shark             Alopias vulpinas
Atlantic stingray          Dasyatis sabina
Starfish (family)          Astropectinidae

Spider (genus) crab        Libinia sp.
Southern flounder          Paralichthys lethostigma
Snake eel (family)         Ophichthidae
Sea bass (family)          Serranidae
Sailfish                   Istiophorus platypterus
Queen triggerfish          Balistes vetula
Puffer (family)            Tetraodontidae
Porgy (genus)              Calamus
Pigfish                    Orthopristis chrysoptera
Black snapper              Apsilus dentatus

Anchor tilefish            Caulolatilus intermedius
Spottail pinfish           Diplodus holbrooki
Spanish flag               Gonioplectrus hispanus
Shoal flounder             Syacium gunteri
Saucereye porgy            Calamus calamus
Octopus (genus)            Octopus sp.
Guaguanche                 Sphyraena guachancho
Conger eel (family)        Congridae
Conger eel                 Conger oceanicus
Bonnethead                 Sphyrna tiburo

Black jack                 Caranx lugubris
Black drum                 Pogonias cromis
Bermuda chub               Kyphosus sectatrix
Yellowfln grouper          Mycteroperca venenosa
Yellow conger              Hildebrandia flava
Spotfin hogfish            Bodianus pulchellus
Southern puffer            Sphoeroides nephelus
Smooth butterfly ray       Gymnura micrura
Pufferfish (genus)         Sphoeroides sp.
Porgie (family)            Sparidae

Oyster toadfish            Opsanus tau
Mackerel (family)          Scombridae
Lefteye flounder (family)  Bothidae
Fish (superclass)          Pisces
Dusky flounder             Syacium papillosum
Drum (family)              Sciaenidae
Cero                       Scomberomorus regalis
Broad flounder             Paralichthys squamilentus
Atlantic angel shark       Squatina dumeril
Yellow jack                Caranx bartholomaei

Whitespotted soapfish      Rypticus maculatus
Threadtail conger          Uroconger syringinus
Stingray (genus)           Dasyatis sp.
Stingray (family)          Dasyatidae
Spotted snake eel          Ophichthus ophis
Spanish sardine            Sardinella aurita
Spanish hogfish            Bodianus rufus
Skipjack tuna              Katsuwonus pelamis
Skate (genus)              Raja
Shrimp eel                 Ophichthus gomesi

Sand tiger                 Carcharias taurus
Saddled grenadier          Caelorinchus caelorhincus
Roughtongue bass           Holanthias martinicensis
Rosette skate              Raja garmani
Porkfish                   Anisotremus virginicus
Offshore hake              Merluccius albidus
Octopus (order)            Octopoda
Ocellated frogfish         Antennarius ocellatus
Marbled grouper            Epinephelus inermis
Mantis (genus) shrimp      Squilla sp.

Lookdown                   Selene vomer
Longspine squirrelfish     Holocentrus rufus
Jack (genus)               Caranx
Gulf hagfish               Eptatretus springeri
Gulf flounder              Paralichthys albigutta
Gafftopsail catfish        Bagre marinus
Dog snapper                Lutjanus jocu
Decapod (order)            Decapoda
Big roughy                 Gephyroberyx darwinii
Cusk-eel (genus)           Lepophidium

Cownose ray                Rhinoptera bonasus
Cottonwick                 Haemulon melanurum
Cottonmouth jack           Uraspis secunda
Cardinal soldierfish       Plectrypops retrospinus
Butterfly ray              Gymnura sp.
Bluntnose stingray         Dasyatis say
Blackline tilefish         Caulolatilus cyanops
Bigeye tuna                Thunnus obesus
Barrelfish                 Hyperoglyphe perciformis
Bank cusk-eel              Ophidion holbrooki
Atlantic moonfish          Selene setapinnis

Total

                                     Vertical
Common name                Longline    line     Total

Red grouper                 40,992    13,855    54,847
Red snapper                  2,456    27,669    30,125
Vermilion snapper              139    26,045    26,184
Yellowedge grouper           6,983       104     7,087
Red porgy                      568     6,120     6,688
Blueline tilefish            3,591        23     3,614
Gag                            723     2,624     3,347
Tilefish                     2,199        45     2,244
Atlantic sharpnose shark     2,142        83     2,225
Scamp                          993     1,002     1,995

King snake eel               1,573        12     1,585
Smooth dogfish               1,284        35     1,319
Sharks grouped               1,025        96     1,121
Snowy grouper                  949       168     1,117
Gray snapper                   110       822       932
King mackerel                   16       886       902
Greater amberjack              270       613       883
Blacknose shark                816        32       848
Gray triggerfish                29       808       837
Chub mackerel                    0       818       818

Yellowtail snapper              11       770       781
Pinfish                          1       598       599
Blue runner                      7       525       532
Speckled hind                  492        31       523
Lane snapper                    93       416       509
Tomtate                          1       494       495
Almaco jack                     39       453       492
Knobbed porgy                   12       396       408
Spotted hake                   377         3       380
Palespotted eel                288         0       288

Jolthead porgy                 132       154       286
Mutton snapper                 265        20       285
Sharksucker                    213        64       277
Banded rudderfish               12       255       267
White grunt                      4       259       263
Little tunny                   127       128       255
Lesser amberjack                20       219       239
Southern hake                  230         0       230
Spinycheek scorpionfish        208         3       211
Great barracuda                153        45       198

Nurse shark                    163        34       197
Sand perch                      38       130       168
Gulf hake                      168         0       168
Silky shark                     95        71       166
Lemon shark                    157         8       165
Bearded brotula                148        13       161
Dolphin                         91        67       158
Blackedge moray                141         8       149
Blacktail moray                144         3       147
Moray (genus)                  133         8       141

Warsaw grouper                  80        54       134
Jack (genus)                   114        18       132
Blacktip shark                  87        40       127
Black sea bass                   0       127       127
Remora                          37        80       117
Florida pompano                  2       114       116
Tiger shark                    107         6       113
Spotted moray                   83        29       112
Creole-fish                      0       107       107
Purplemouth moray               97         9       106

Black grouper                   67        34       101
Cobia                           72        28       100
Sand seatrout                   24        74        98
Leopard toadfish                79        13        92
Dogfish (genus)                 92         0        92
Bank sea bass                   20        61        81
Bluefish                         2        78        80
Scalloped hammerhead            76         2        78
Cubera snapper                  76         2        78
Dogfish                         72         5        77

Whitebone porgy                  6        67        73
Inshore lizardfish              66         4        70
Crevalle jack                    9        59        68
Queen snapper                   16        50        66
Red drum                        22        43        65
Grunt (genus)                    0        63        63
Spanish mackerel                 0        62        62
Sandbar shark                   59         2        61
Offshore lizardfish             41        18        59
Bar jack                         2        57        59

Blackfin tuna                   49         9        58
Blackbelly rosefish             42        10        52
Cuban dogfish                   49         1        50
Clearnose skate                 50         0        50
Wenchman                        23        25        48
Smalltail shark                 48         0        48
Sheepshead                       0        46        46
Snakefish                       44         0        44
Bull shark                      43         0        43
Silver seatrout                 20        18        38

Lizardfish (family)             31         5        36
Gulper shark                    35         0        35
Sharpnose sevengill shark       33         0        33
Spinner shark                   28         2        30
Sand diver                      27         2        29
Bigeye                           0        29        29
Seatrout (genus)                 0        26        26
Littlehead porgy                 1        24        25
Gulf toadfish                   21         4        25
Great hammerhead                24         0        24

Chain dogfish                   24         0        24
Short bigeye                     3        20        23
Ocean triggerfish                0        23        23
Squirrelfish                     3        19        22
Cubbyu                           0        22        22
Sand tilefish                    3        17        20
Night shark                     20         0        20
Yellowmouth grouper              9        10        19
Triggerfish (family)             0        19        19
Rock hind                        1        18        19

Goliath grouper                  7        12        19
Wahoo                           10         8        18
Reticulate moray                18         0        18
Blackbar drum                    0        18        18
Round scad                       0        17        17
Hake (genus)                    16         1        17
Jack (family)                    4        12        16
Graysby                          0        15        15
Tattler                          0        14        14
Squirrelfishes (family)          3        11        14

Rainbow runner                   6         8        14
Black margate                   14         0        14
Bigeye scad                      0        14        14
Bluntnose sixgill shark         13         0        13
Red hind                         2        11        13
Grouper (genus)                 13         2        15
Scorpionfish                     9         3        12
Rock sea bass                    8         4        12
Horse-eye jack                   0        12        12
Toadfish (genus)                11         0        11

Silk snapper                     7         4        11
Longtail bass                    1        10        11
Dusky shark                     11         0        11
Bigeye sixgill shark            11         0        11
Atlantic croaker                 0        11        11
Smooth puffer                   10         0        10
Largescale lizardfish            9         0         9
Atlantic spadefish               0         9         9
Hardhead catfish                 0         8         8
Grunt (family)                   8         0         8

Goldface tilefish                1         7         8
Southern stingray                6         1         7
Cusk-eel (family)                5         2         7
Barracuda (genus)                6         1         7
Atlantic cutlassfish             2         5         7
Spiny dogfish                    6         0         6
Shortfin mako                    6         0         6
Margate                          5         1         6
Grass porgy                      1         5         6
Atlantic bonito                  2         4         6

Swordfish                        5         0         5
Sailors choice                   0         5         5
Honeycomb moray                  4         1         5
Hammerhead (genus) shark         3         2         5
Green moray                      4         1         5
Florida smoothhound              5         0         5
Finetooth shark                  5         0         5
Thresher shark                   1         4         5
Atlantic stingray                5         0         5
Starfish (family)                4         0         4

Spider (genus) crab              4         0         4
Southern flounder                4         0         4
Snake eel (family)               4         0         4
Sea bass (family)                1         3         4
Sailfish                         3         1         4
Queen triggerfish                3         1         4
Puffer (family)                  4         0         4
Porgy (genus)                    3         1         4
Pigfish                          0         4         4
Black snapper                    0         4         4

Anchor tilefish                  2         2         4
Spottail pinfish                 0         3         3
Spanish flag                     0         3         3
Shoal flounder                   3         0         3
Saucereye porgy                  2         1         3
Octopus (genus)                  0         3         3
Guaguanche                       0         3         3
Conger eel (family)              1         2         3
Conger eel                       2         1         3
Bonnethead                       3         0         3

Black jack                       0         3         3
Black drum                       0         3         3
Bermuda chub                     0         3         3
Yellowfln grouper                0         2         2
Yellow conger                    2         0         2
Spotfin hogfish                  0         2         2
Southern puffer                  1         1         2
Smooth butterfly ray             2         0         2
Pufferfish (genus)               2         0         2
Porgie (family)                  0         2         2

Oyster toadfish                  2         0         2
Mackerel (family)                0         2         2
Lefteye flounder (family)        2         0         2
Fish (superclass)                2         6         8
Dusky flounder                   2         0         2
Drum (family)                    0         2         2
Cero                             0         2         2
Broad flounder                   2         0         2
Atlantic angel shark             2         0         2
Yellow jack                      0         1         1

Whitespotted soapfish            0         1         1
Threadtail conger                0         1         1
Stingray (genus)                 1         0         1
Stingray (family)                1         0         1
Spotted snake eel                1         0         1
Spanish sardine                  0         1         1
Spanish hogfish                  0         1         1
Skipjack tuna                    0         1         1
Skate (genus)                    1         0         1
Shrimp eel                       1         0         1

Sand tiger                       1         0         1
Saddled grenadier                1         0         1
Roughtongue bass                 0         1         1
Rosette skate                    1         0         1
Porkfish                         0         1         1
Offshore hake                    1         0         1
Octopus (order)                  1         0         1
Ocellated frogfish               0         1         1
Marbled grouper                  0         1         1
Mantis (genus) shrimp            1         0         1

Lookdown                         0         1         1
Longspine squirrelfish           0         1         1
Jack (genus)                     1         0         1
Gulf hagfish                     1         0         1
Gulf flounder                    0         1         1
Gafftopsail catfish              0         1         1
Dog snapper                      0         1         1
Decapod (order)                  0         1         1
Big roughy                       0         1         1
Cusk-eel (genus)                 1         0         1

Cownose ray                      1         0         1
Cottonwick                       1         0         1
Cottonmouth jack                 0         1         1
Cardinal soldierfish             0         1         1
Butterfly ray                    1         0         1
Bluntnose stingray               1         0         1
Blackline tilefish               0         1         1
Bigeye tuna                      1         0         1
Barrelfish                       1         0         1
Bank cusk-eel                    0         1         1
Atlantic moonfish                0         1         1

Total                       73,205    89,015   162,220

Table 5.--Species composition and disposition by gear
type observed from July 2006 to December 2009.

            Longline                        Vertical line

    73,205 fish of 183 taxa            89,015 fish of 178 taxa

Kept: 46%                          Kept: 71%
  Red grouper: 49%                   Vermilion snapper: 37%
  Yellowedge grouper: 21%            Red snapper: 28%
  Tilefish: 6%                       Red grouper: 12%
  Blueline tilefish: 5%              Red porgy: 9%
Released alive: 35%                Released alive: 19%
  (42% stressed: air bladder         (35% stressed: air bladder
    expansion and/or eyes              expansion and/or eyes
    protruding; 46% normal;            protruding; 61% normal;
    12% not recorded)                  4% not recorded)
  Red grouper: 69%                   Red snapper: 39%
  Atlantic sharpnose shark,          Red grouper: 34%
    Smooth dogfish, Red              Vermilion snapper: 7%
    snapper: 5% each
Discarded dead: 12%                Discarded dead: 6%
  Red grouper: 54%                   Red snapper: 53%
  Blueline tilefish: 15%             Vermilion snapper: 21%
  Atlantic sharpnose shark: 8%       Red grouper: 13%
  Red snapper: 5%
Unknown: 4%                        Unknown: 1%
  Red grouper: 77%                   Vermilion snapper: 45%
  Atlantic sharpnose shark,          Red snapper: 43%
    Gulf hake, Grouped sharks:       Red grouper: 5%
    3% each
Kept for bait: 3%                  Kept for bait: 4%
  King snake eel: 29%                Chub mackerel: 29%
  Palespotted eel: 11%               Pinfish: 20%
  Little tunny: 5%                   Tomtate: 16%
Mean CPUE (fish/hook hour):        Mean CPUE (fish/hook hour):
  All: 0.0095 ([+ or -] 0.0002)      All: 0.9369 ([+ or -] 0.0311)
  Kept: 0.0043 ([+ or -] 0.0001)     Kept: 0.6500 ([+ or -] 0.0221)
  Red grouper: 0.0021 ([+ or -]      Red snapper: 0.2214 ([+ or -]
    0.0001)                            0.0150)
Sea turtle captures: 19            Sea turtle captures: 1

Table 6.--Number, condition (when brought onboard), and fate of
fish species with n > 25 caught using longline gear in the Gulf
of Mexico from August 2006 to November 2009.

Fate upon release                                  Kept

Condition upon capture                             Live

Common name                Total    Total   Normal   Stressed    Dead

Red grouper               40,992   16,413    4,186     10,402      259
Yellowedge grouper         6,983    6,932      251      5,759      918
Blueline tilefish          3,591    1,767      551      1,179       37
Red snapper                2,456      784      501        269        3
Tilefish                   2,199    2,130      996      1,036       93
Atlantic sharpnose shark   2,142       20       12          1        7
King snake eel             1,573        2        2
Smooth dogfish             1,284        1        1
Sharks grouped             1,025        1        1
Scamp                        993      955      453        439       14
Snowy grouper                949      941      114        771       55
Blacknose shark              816        6        6
Gag                          723      673      234        417
Red porgy                    568      507      363        119        2
Speckled hind                492      453       99        324       28
Spotted hake                 377        7                   3        4
Palespotted eel              288
Greater amberjack            270      124      112          1        7
Mutton snapper               265      264      216         47        1
Southern hake                230        7        2          5
Sharksucker                  213        1        1
Spinycheek scorpionfish      208      202       62        114       25
Gulf hake                    168
Nurse shark                  163
Lemon shark                  157
Great barracuda              153       11       11
Bearded brotula              148      128       81         35       12
Blacktail moray              144
Blackedge moray              141        1        1
Vermilion snapper            139       84       18         33        4
Moray (genus)                133
Jolthead porgy               132      127      115          3        1
Little tunny                 127        1                            1
Jack (genus)                 114
Gray snapper                 110      105       25         49        1
Tiger shark                  107
Purplemouth moray             97
Silky shark                   95
Lane snapper                  93       75       18         49        3
Dogfish (genus)               92
Dolphin                       91       89       22                  67
Blacktip shark                87        7        4                   3
Spotted moray                 83
Warsaw grouper                80       78        6         71        1
Leopard toadfish              79
Cubera snapper                76       76       75          1
Scalloped hammerhead          76        1        1
Dogfish                       72
Cobia                         72       38       34          1
Black grouper                 67       65       31         15
Inshore lizardfish            66
Sandbar shark                 59
Clearnose skate               50
Cuban dogfish                 49
Blackfin tuna                 49       38       17                  21
Smalltail shark               48
Snakefish                     44
Bull shark                    43
Blackbelly rosefish           42       12       11          1
Offshore lizardfish           41
Almaco jack                   39       19       19
Sand perch                    38
Remora                        37
Gulper shark                  35
Sevengill shark               33
Lizardfish (family)           31
Gray triggerfish              29       26       16          8
Spinner shark                 28        2        2
Sand diver                    27
Total (all species)       73,205   33,335    8,778     21,183    1,583

Fate upon release               Released alive

Condition upon capture                    Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed

Red grouper               17,475    5,078      9,543
Yellowedge grouper             5                   4
Blueline tilefish            417      152        264
Red snapper                1,161      376        702
Tilefish                       9        8          1
Atlantic sharpnose shark   1,280    1,264          4
King snake eel               714      711          1
Smooth dogfish             1,176    1,173          2
Sharks grouped               710      701
Scamp                         22       10          5
Snowy grouper
Blacknose shark              576      572
Gag                           41       14         22
Red porgy                     16       13          3
Speckled hind                 17        5          9
Spotted hake                   2                   2
Palespotted eel                9        7
Greater amberjack             99       97
Mutton snapper                 1        1
Southern hake                  5        3          2
Sharksucker                  148      128
Spinycheek scorpionfish
Gulf hake                     13        4          8
Nurse shark                  142      127
Lemon shark                  153      153
Great barracuda               15       14
Bearded brotula                1                   1
Blacktail moray               11       11
Blackedge moray               37       37
Vermilion snapper             32       22          1
Moray (genus)                  9        9
Jolthead porgy
Little tunny
Jack (genus)                  71       69          1
Gray snapper                   3
Tiger shark                   97       94
Purplemouth moray              4        4
Silky shark                   58       57
Lane snapper                   7        3          2
Dogfish (genus)               52       52
Dolphin
Blacktip shark                55       54
Spotted moray                 19       19
Warsaw grouper
Leopard toadfish              35       20         14
Cubera snapper
Scalloped hammerhead          56       54
Dogfish                       69       68          1
Cobia                         29       28
Black grouper                  2                   1
Inshore lizardfish            20        3
Sandbar shark                 57       54
Clearnose skate                9        7
Cuban dogfish                 36       36
Blackfin tuna                  2        2
Smalltail shark               48       48
Snakefish                      8        2
Bull shark                    42       42
Blackbelly rosefish           12        9          3
Offshore lizardfish            7        7
Almaco jack                    3        3
Sand perch                    12        5          1
Remora                        34       34
Gulper shark                  30       30
Sevengill shark               25       25
Lizardfish (family)            5        5
Gray triggerfish               3        1
Spinner shark                 15       15
Sand diver
Total (all species)       25,471   11,744     10,628

Fate upon release         Kept for bait

Condition upon capture                    Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed    Dead

Red grouper                    1                            1
Yellowedge grouper             6        1          5
Blueline tilefish             67       43         14       10
Red snapper                    1                            1
Tilefish                       4                   3        1
Atlantic sharpnose shark      50       35          1       14
King snake eel               692      672          4        5
Smooth dogfish                52       52
Sharks grouped                13       13
Scamp
Snowy grouper                  2        1          1
Blacknose shark               15        9                   6
Gag
Red porgy                     29       24          2        1
Speckled hind
Spotted hake                  68        2         60        6
Palespotted eel              271      261                   1
Greater amberjack             14       14
Mutton snapper
Southern hake                 50        6         37        6
Sharksucker                   47       47
Spinycheek scorpionfish
Gulf hake                      2                   2
Nurse shark
Lemon shark
Great barracuda              107       79                  13
Bearded brotula                2        1          1
Blacktail moray               89       85                   4
Blackedge moray               81       66                  15
Vermilion snapper             11        6                   4
Moray (genus)                100       78                  21
Jolthead porgy                 1        1
Little tunny                 113       14                  93
Jack (genus)
Gray snapper
Tiger shark                    1        1
Purplemouth moray             64       47                  17
Silky shark                    2        1                   1
Lane snapper                   1
Dogfish (genus)
Dolphin                        1
Blacktip shark                 7        5                   2
Spotted moray                 54       27                  23
Warsaw grouper
Leopard toadfish              34       18         16
Cubera snapper
Scalloped hammerhead           1                            1
Dogfish
Cobia
Black grouper
Inshore lizardfish            40       32          1        4
Sandbar shark
Clearnose skate               41       39                   2
Cuban dogfish                  8        8
Blackfin tuna                  6                            6
Smalltail shark
Snakefish                     33       21          1       11
Bull shark
Blackbelly rosefish
Offshore lizardfish           26       11          1       13
Almaco jack                   11       11
Sand perch                    24       18          2        2
Remora                         3        2
Gulper shark
Sevengill shark
Lizardfish (family)           23       12                  11
Gray triggerfish
Spinner shark
Sand diver                    25       22                   3
Total (all species)        2,414    1,849        178      320

Fate upon release                     Discarded dead

Condition upon capture                    Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed    Dead

Red grouper                4,843    1,010      2,811      760
Yellowedge grouper            15                   4       11
Blueline tilefish          1,331      212        782      332
Red snapper                  450      132        208       92
Tilefish                      32        6         10       16
Atlantic sharpnose shark     699      280          2      379
King snake eel               150      110         11        8
Smooth dogfish                44       31                  10
Sharks grouped               275      141                 129
Scamp                         13        3          6        4
Snowy grouper                  6        1          2        2
Blacknose shark              162       92                  58
Gag                            7        1          4        2
Red porgy                     10        3          4        3
Speckled hind                 22                  17        4
Spotted hake                 262                 163       99
Palespotted eel                6        4                   1
Greater amberjack             22       13          1        8
Mutton snapper
Southern hake                135        4        116       15
Sharksucker                    5        4
Spinycheek scorpionfish        5        1          3        1
Gulf hake                     65                  56        9
Nurse shark                    1
Lemon shark                    4        1                   3
Great barracuda               14        7                   7
Bearded brotula               16        1         15
Blacktail moray               44       42                   2
Blackedge moray               16       10                   5
Vermilion snapper             11        2          3        4
Moray (genus)                 18        5                   9
Jolthead porgy                 4                            4
Little tunny                  13        2                  10
Jack (genus)                   5                            5
Gray snapper
Tiger shark                    4        1                   1
Purplemouth moray             29       15                  12
Silky shark                   34        9                  24
Lane snapper                   5        1          2        2
Dogfish (genus)               38       38
Dolphin                        1                            1
Blacktip shark                17        1                  15
Spotted moray                 10        3                   7
Warsaw grouper                 1        1
Leopard toadfish               8        5          3
Cubera snapper
Scalloped hammerhead          13                           13
Dogfish                        1        1
Cobia                          2        2
Black grouper
Inshore lizardfish             5        1                   1
Sandbar shark                  2                            2
Clearnose skate
Cuban dogfish                  5                            5
Blackfin tuna                  2        1                   1
Smalltail shark
Snakefish                      3        1
Bull shark                     1                            1
Blackbelly rosefish           18        2         16
Offshore lizardfish            8        3                   3
Almaco jack
Sand perch                     1                            1
Remora
Gulper shark                   5        5
Sevengill shark                8                            8
Lizardfish (family)            2                            2
Gray triggerfish
Spinner shark                  9        8                   1
Sand diver                     2                            2
Total (all species)        9,037    2,235      4,258    2,149

Fate upon release                  Unknown

Condition upon capture                   Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed

Red grouper                2,260       98        890
Yellowedge grouper            25        4         12
Blueline tilefish              9        3          5
Red snapper                   60       16         35
Tilefish                      24        3         21
Atlantic sharpnose shark      93       79
King snake eel                15        6
Smooth dogfish                11        8          1
Sharks grouped                26       10
Scamp                          3        1
Snowy grouper
Blacknose shark               57       54
Gag                            2        1
Red porgy                      6        6
Speckled hind
Spotted hake                  38        5         32
Palespotted eel                2        1
Greater amberjack             11        8
Mutton snapper
Southern hake                 33        2         31
Sharksucker                   12        1
Spinycheek scorpionfish        1                   1
Gulf hake                     88        4         84
Nurse shark                   20       11
Lemon shark
Great barracuda                6        5
Bearded brotula                1        1
Blacktail moray
Blackedge moray                6        3
Vermilion snapper              1
Moray (genus)                  6        1
Jolthead porgy
Little tunny
Jack (genus)                  38       38
Gray snapper                   2
Tiger shark                    5        2
Purplemouth moray
Silky shark                    1        1
Lane snapper                   5
Dogfish (genus)                2        2
Dolphin
Blacktip shark                 1        1
Spotted moray
Warsaw grouper                 1                   1
Leopard toadfish               2        1          1
Cubera snapper
Scalloped hammerhead           5        2
Dogfish                        2        2
Cobia                          3        3
Black grouper
Inshore lizardfish             1
Sandbar shark
Clearnose skate
Cuban dogfish
Blackfin tuna                  1
Smalltail shark
Snakefish
Bull shark
Blackbelly rosefish
Offshore lizardfish
Almaco jack                    6        6
Sand perch                     1
Remora
Gulper shark
Sevengill shark
Lizardfish (family)            1
Gray triggerfish
Spinner shark                  2
Sand diver
Total (all species)        2,948      407      1,132

Table 7.--Coefficient of variation (CV) for Federally managed
discarded species caught aboard longline vessels in the Gulf of
Mexico from August 2006 to November 2009.

Common name                 Scientific name             n       CV

Red grouper          Epinephelus morio               24,081    <0.1
Red snapper          Lutjanus campechanus             1,657     0.1
Blueline tilefish    Caulolatilus microps             1,824     0.1
Greater amberjack    Seriola dumerili                   133     0.1
Gag                  Mycteroperca microlepis             48     0.1
Vermilion snapper    Rhomboplites aurorubens             43     0.2
Tilefish             Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps       67     0.2
Cobia                Rachycentron canadum                27     0.2
Speckled hind        Epinephelus drummondhayi            39     0.2
Yellowedge grouper   Epinephelus flavolimbatus           50     0.2
Lesser amberjack     Seriola fasciata                    19     0.3
Lane snapper         Lutjanus synagris                   18     0.3
Wenchman             Pristipomoides aquilonaris          17     0.3
Snowy grouper        Epinephelus niveatus                 8     0.4
Scamp                Mycteroperca phenax                 37     0.4
King mackerel        Scomberomorus cavalla                6     0.4
Gray snapper         Lutjanus griseus                     5     0.5
Banded rudderfish    Seriola zonata                      10     0.5
Red drum             Sciaenops ocellatus                 16     0.6
Red hind             Epinephelus guttatus                 2     0.7
Warsaw grouper       Epinephelus nigritus                 2     0.7
Gray triggerfish     Balistes capriscus                   2     0.7
Black grouper        Mycteroperca bonaci                  2     0.7
Yellowtail snapper   Ocyurus chrysurus                    3     0.7
Mutton snapper       Lutjanus analis                      1     1.0
Rock hind            Epinephelus adscensionis             1     1.0

Table 8.--Number, condition (when brought onboard), and fate of
fish species with n > 25 caught using vertical line gear in the
Gulf of Mexico from July 2006 to December 2009.

Fate upon release                                  Kept

Condition upon capture                             Live

Common name                Total    Total   Normal   Stressed     Dead

Red snapper               27,669   17,992   11,368      5,771       38
Vermilion snapper         26,045   23,240   21,994        920        5
Red grouper               13,855    7,445    1,920      5,143
Red porgy                  6,120    5,971    5,022        196
Gag                        2,624    1,565      874        673
Scamp                      1,002      898      638        222        1
King mackerel                886      868      861                   5
Gray snapper                 822      775      497        183
Chub mackerel                818
Gray triggerfish             808      751      523        164
Yellowtail snapper           770      722      720          2
Greater amberjack            613      171      148
Pinfish                      598        8        8
Blue runner                  525      129      129
Tomtate                      494        2        2
Almaco jack                  453      285      280
Lane snapper                 416      388      141        242
Knobbed porgy                396      377      293          1
White grunt                  259      118      108         10
Banded rudderfish            255       55       54          1
Lesser amberjack             219      139      121
Snowy grouper                168      150       18        132
Jolthead porgy               154      136      133          3
Sand perch                   130
Little tunny                 128        6        6
Black seabass                127       67       61          6
Florida pompano              114      112      112
Creole-Fish                  107       93       55         37
Yellowedge grouper           104       88        1         86
Sharks grouped                96
Atlantic sharpnose shark      83        2        2
Remora                        80        1        1
Bluefish                      78       25       25
Sand seatrout                 74       30       11         17        2
Silky shark                   71        2        2
Whitebone porgy               67       61       21                   1
Dolphin                       67       45       45
Sharksucker                   64        2        1
Grunt (genus)                 63
Spanish mackerel              62       44       44
Bank seabass                  61
Crevalle jack                 59
Bar jack                      57       44       37
Warsaw grouper                54       33        3         29
Queen snapper                 50       48       31         17
Sheepshead                    46       46       39          7
Tilefish                      45       44       13         31
Great barracuda               45
Red drum                      43
Blacktip shark                40
Smooth dogfish                35        2        2
Nurse shark                   34
Black grouper                 34       32       15         11
Blacknose shark               32
Speckled hind                 31       17        4         12
Spotted moray                 29
Bigeye                        29       26       26
Cobia                         28       13       12                   1
Seatrout (genus)              26        7        1          1
Wenchman                      25        4        1          3
Total (all species)       89,015   63,351   46,602     13,988       55

Fate upon release                    Released alive

Condition upon capture                    Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed     Dead

Red snapper                6,590    4,824      1,673
Vermilion snapper          1,235    1,095        108
Red grouper                5,678    1,567      3,722
Red porgy                     40       38          1
Gag                        1,045      738        296
Scamp                         67       60          7
King mackerel                 11       11
Gray snapper                  44       44
Chub mackerel                  2        2
Gray triggerfish              51       41         10
Yellowtail snapper            37       37
Greater amberjack            403      382          1
Pinfish                       13       13
Blue runner                  282      274
Tomtate                       16       16
Almaco jack                  105      103
Lane snapper                   9        3          6
Knobbed porgy                  6        6
White grunt                   58       58
Banded rudderfish             87       87
Lesser amberjack              62       62
Snowy grouper                  5                   5
Jolthead porgy                10       10
Sand perch                     6        5          1
Little tunny                  20       18
Black seabass                 54       45          9
Florida pompano                2        2
Creole-Fish                    1        1
Yellowedge grouper
Sharks grouped                82       75
Atlantic sharpnose shark      73       67
Remora                        61       58
Bluefish                       6        6
Sand seatrout                  5        4          1
Silky shark                   68       67
Whitebone porgy                1        1
Dolphin                        3        3
Sharksucker                   58       54
Grunt (genus)                  2        2
Spanish mackerel              13       13
Bank seabass                  22       10         12
Crevalle jack                 56       56
Bar jack                       8        7
Warsaw grouper                12        2         10
Queen snapper                  1                   1
Sheepshead
Tilefish
Great barracuda               23       21
Red drum                      37       17         19
Blacktip shark                32       30
Smooth dogfish                28       16
Nurse shark                   31       28
Black grouper                  2        1          1
Blacknose shark               27       27
Speckled hind                  8        3          5
Spotted moray                 19       19
Bigeye                         2        2
Cobia                         14       14
Seatrout (genus)               8        8
Wenchman                       2        1          1
Total (all species)       16,872   10,350      5,914        0

Fate upon release                     Kept for bait

Condition upon capture                    Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed     Dead

Red snapper                    8        1          6
Vermilion snapper            105       64          8        2
Red grouper                    2        2
Red porgy                     81       77          1
Gag
Scamp
King mackerel                  2        1
Gray snapper
Chub mackerel                815      205                   1
Gray triggerfish
Yellowtail snapper             5        5
Greater amberjack             14       14
Pinfish                      570      103          2
Blue runner                   78       78
Tomtate                      457      279          1
Almaco jack                   52       52
Lane snapper                   3        2                   1
Knobbed porgy                 13       13
White grunt                   50       47          3
Banded rudderfish             65       59          1
Lesser amberjack               9        9
Snowy grouper
Jolthead porgy                 4        3          1
Sand perch                   123       49         28
Little tunny                  93       86                   5
Black seabass                  2        1          1
Florida pompano
Creole-Fish                    9        7          1        1
Yellowedge grouper
Sharks grouped                 2        2
Atlantic sharpnose shark       2        2
Remora
Bluefish                      32       32
Sand seatrout                  6        5          1
Silky shark
Whitebone porgy                1        1
Dolphin                       19       19
Sharksucker                    1        1
Grunt (genus)                 60       60
Spanish mackerel               3        3
Bank seabass                  26       10          2
Crevalle jack                  2        2
Bar jack                       4        4
Warsaw grouper
Queen snapper
Sheepshead
Tilefish
Great barracuda                4        4
Red drum                       1        1
Blacktip shark
Smooth dogfish
Nurse shark
Black grouper
Blacknose shark
Speckled hind
Spotted moray                  6        5
Bigeye
Cobia
Seatrout (genus)               2        2
Wenchman
Total (all species)        2,805    1,363         61       12

Fate upon release                    Discarded dead

Condition upon capture                    Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed     Dead

Red snapper                2,737    1,367      1,308       16
Vermilion snapper          1,105    1,037         42       21
Red grouper                  692      145        537        5
Red porgy                     22       13          8        1
Gag                           12        3          8        1
Scamp                         33       18         15
King mackerel                  5        1                   4
Gray snapper                   3        3
Chub mackerel                  1
Gray triggerfish               5        4          1
Yellowtail snapper             6        5                   1
Greater amberjack             23       22
Pinfish                        7        6                   1
Blue runner                   33       30                   1
Tomtate                       19       19
Almaco jack                   11       10                   1
Lane snapper                  16       12          3        1
Knobbed porgy
White grunt                   25       25
Banded rudderfish             34       34
Lesser amberjack               9        9
Snowy grouper                 13        3         10
Jolthead porgy                 3        3
Sand perch
Little tunny                   8        7                   1
Black seabass                  3        2          1
Florida pompano
Creole-Fish                    3        2          1
Yellowedge grouper            15                  15
Sharks grouped                10       10
Atlantic sharpnose shark       6        6
Remora                        18       18
Bluefish                      14       14
Sand seatrout                 31       18         13
Silky shark                    1        1
Whitebone porgy                3        2
Dolphin
Sharksucker                    3        3
Grunt (genus)                  1        1
Spanish mackerel               2                            2
Bank seabass                  13        4          9
Crevalle jack                  1        1
Bar jack
Warsaw grouper                 8                   8
Queen snapper
Sheepshead
Tilefish                       1                   1
Great barracuda               18       17          1
Red drum                       5        1          4
Blacktip shark                 6        6
Smooth dogfish                 5        4
Nurse shark                    2        2
Black grouper
Blacknose shark                5        4                   1
Speckled hind                  6        2          4
Spotted moray                  4        4
Bigeye                         1        1
Cobia                          1        1
Seatrout (genus)               9        9
Wenchman                      19        5         14
Total (all species)        5,185    2,972      2,086       63

Fate upon release                       Unknown

Condition upon capture                    Live

Common name                Total   Normal   Stressed     Dead

Red snapper                  342      104         64
Vermilion snapper            360      189          1
Red grouper                   38        2         25
Red porgy                      6        1          1
Gag                            2                   1
Scamp                          4                   2
King mackerel
Gray snapper
Chub mackerel
Gray triggerfish               1        1
Yellowtail snapper
Greater amberjack              2        2
Pinfish
Blue runner                    3        2
Tomtate
Almaco jack
Lane snapper
Knobbed porgy
White grunt                    8        8
Banded rudderfish             14       14
Lesser amberjack
Snowy grouper
Jolthead porgy                 1
Sand perch                     1
Little tunny                   1        1
Black seabass                  1                   1
Florida pompano
Creole-Fish                    1                   1
Yellowedge grouper             1                   1
Sharks grouped                 2
Atlantic sharpnose shark
Remora
Bluefish                       1        1
Sand seatrout                  2        2
Silky shark
Whitebone porgy                1        1
Dolphin
Sharksucker
Grunt (genus)
Spanish mackerel
Bank seabass
Crevalle jack
Bar jack                       1        1
Warsaw grouper                 1                   1
Queen snapper                  1
Sheepshead
Tilefish
Great barracuda
Red drum
Blacktip shark                 2        1
Smooth dogfish
Nurse shark                    1
Black grouper
Blacknose shark
Speckled hind
Spotted moray
Bigeye
Cobia
Seatrout (genus)
Wenchman
Total (all species)          802      333         98        0

Table 9.--Coefficient of variation (CV) for Federally-managed
discarded species caught aboard vertical line vessels in the
Gulf of Mexico from July 2006 to December 2009.

Common name                  Scientific name             n        CV

Red grouper           Epinephelus morio                6,597    <0.1
Red snapper           Lutjanus campechanus            19,227    <0.1
Vermilion snapper     Rhomboplites aurorubens          5,754    <0.1
Gag                   Mycteroperca microlepis          1,096    <0.1
Greater amberjack     Seriola dumerili                   621    <0.1
Lesser amberjack      Seriola fasciata                   136     0.2
Gray triggerfish      Balistes capriscus                 124     0.3
Warsaw grouper        Epinephelus nigritus                32     0.3
Snowy grouper         Epinephelus niveatus                32     0.3
King mackerel         Scomberomorus cavalla               20     0.3
Banded rudderfish     Seriola zonata                     363     0.3
Scamp                 Mycteroperca phenax                189     0.3
Cobia                 Rachycentron canadum                24     0.3
Goliath grouper       Epinephelus itajara                 12     0.4
Speckled hind         Epinephelus drummondhayi            24     0.4
Yellowedge grouper    Epinephelus flavolimbatus           28     0.4
Red drum              Sciaenops ocellatus                114     0.4
Lane snapper          Lutjanus synagris                   79     0.4
Wenchman              Pristipomoides aquilonaris          52     0.4
Blueline tilefish     Caulolatilus microps                 8     0.5
Red hind              Epinephelus guttatus                11     0.5
Rock hind             Epinephelus adscensionis             4     0.5
Yellowtail snapper    Ocyurus chrysurus                   48     0.6
Gray snapper          Lutjanus griseus                    49     0.6
Spanish mackerel      Scomberomorus maculatus             18     0.7
Black grouper         Mycteroperca bonaci                  2     0.7
Queen snapper         Etelis oculatus                      3     0.7
Silk snapper          Lutjanus vivanus                     3     1.0
Tilefish              Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps        1     1.0
Mutton snapper        Lutjanus analis                      1     1.0
Yellowmouth grouper   Mycteroperca interstitialis          1     1.0
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