Call for Volunteers to participate in a pilot project for the SE AK Salmon Troll Fishery!

We’re looking for 10 trollers to participate in a pilot project for an Electronic Logbook for the troll fishery to help provide valuable data to fishery  management, research and the fleet.

The paper version of this program ran between 1976-1991 and ATA with the help of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is piloting an electronic version to test this coming season. 

In a time of changing climate and ocean conditions, ATA wishes to help provide the relevant and timely data necessary for good science and good fisheries management. Stakeholder participation is an important aspect of fisheries management and this project will directly involve the troll fleet in providing important information to a variety of agencies. Our initial goal is to establish a successful pilot program involving ten fishermen this 2023 troll season, with future implementation at a larger scale in the following seasons.  Data will be entered daily onto a portable device by participating fishermen. This data will be organized and made available to participating agencies such as ATANMFSAlaska Sea GrantADFGUSGSSitka Sound Science CenterAlaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS), Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS), Real Time Data, Ocean Data Network, and Aquaculture.

Data collection includes:

Location- bottom depth – fishing depth – water temperature – hours fished – catch data by species – optional non salmon interactions – optional stomach content data collection – general comments and observations.

If you are interested in participating please contact Lauren Howard(Mitchell)  (907)-738-7796 or Jim Moore (907) 723-9060

Read more!

Fishermen-led projects increase understanding of Southeast Alaska ecosystem – Alaska Sea Grant Publication

Commercial fishing vessels can serve as research vessels for cost-effective data collection | National Fisherman

Frequently Asked Questions about the Troll Elogbook program

Why are we doing this?

  • The troll fleet is Alaska’s 2nd largest fleet. The potential for collaborative data collection is vast and this program aims to bridge fishermen, management and research agencies in tracking ecosystem patterns and changes in real time.

 How do trollers benefit?

  • Besides the obvious long-term outcome of improved salmon fishery management, this project will also help create a more complete picture of rapidly changing ocean conditions in the under-studied waters of Southeast Alaska.
  • A good troller is a natural scientist. Fishermen are always seeking the answers to a better catch through observation, experimentation- educated intuition. And like scientists, we build our working knowledge of our fishery not only on our own experience, but also on the discoveries of others.  Participants in the project will have a detailed personal record of fishing activity that can be easily accessed at any time. We also plan to publish a general overview of the season anonymously sharing the data collected.
  •  The collaborative nature of this project may be the most significant and positive outcome. An excellent paper on this subject states it this way, “Overall, the benefits from collaborative fisheries research are common across regions and projects. Engaging fishing fleets to monitor ocean conditions not only improves communication and builds trust among stakeholders, but also expands data availability and scientific understanding and advances the management of living marine resources for the benefit of coastal communities, working waterfronts, and seafood consumers” (Gawarkiewicz and Mercer, 2019)

Who has access to which data? 

  • Overall program guidance will be provided by an inter-agency steering committee expanded to include representatives from ATA, NMFS, Alaska Sea Grant, ADFG, USGS, Sitka Sound Science Center, AOOS, IOOS, RTD, ODN, and Aquaculture. Each agency has identified data collection needs that are attempting to be addressed through the logbook data. The raw data will be collected by Ocean Data Network and organized using  F.A.I.R. data principles(
  • Individual participants will maintain access to their own data for personal use. All compiled data, made available to the public will be anonymous to maintain the integrity of each individual fisherman and his business.

Will it be used against us? 

  • No, it is not the intention for this information to work against the fleet, rather for the fleet to cooperatively inform management and research in real time with more accurate information. This program aims to collect data relevant to both in season management, active fishermen and research/scientific agencies. Once expanded to a broader scale there is potential to post real time data relevant to all fishermen on existing portals within the scientific and research community. 
  •  Trust is key in collaborative fisheries research and has been identified as important in a range of studies. “Building an understanding and appreciation for both the rigors of science and the experience of industry may be the foundation that has fueled trust between science and fishermen.” 

Who initiated this program? 

  • The Elogbook program is the revival of a paper logbook program that was originally conducted from 1976-1991. This program helped in season management during the troll season. The data from those years now provides a baseline to which we can compare the new generation of data collected to notice real time changes or patterns in the fishery and ecosystem. The Alaska Trollers Association with the leadership of long time troller Jim Moore, and Sunny Rice from Sea Grant,  initiated the revival of the logbook. Grant funding has been awarded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to carry out this project. There is a high level of interest from participating research and management agencies to see this program grow and a lot of optimism to secure more funding to expand it into a larger scale in the coming seasons. Fishermen led research is becoming the new trend in both the scientific and fishery management communities. With more fishermen in the driver seat, this type of real time data collection can prove much more valuable than annual surveys or other antiquated data collection methods that so many of our management systems currently rely on.

Is there compensation?

  • At this time the pilot project does not include direct compensation to the participants. Participants will be able to keep the Ipad used for the data collection. We are working on an optional stomach content data collection component of the study for Chinook salmon stomach contents. This spin off project should have separate compensation available but is pending at this time. There is widespread interest in more fishermen-led research and agencies are finding ways to work collaboratively and provide compensation for their data collection needs. Once this program is established there is potential for compensation as well as other spin off research and data collection opportunities. 

How will this data be used? 

ATA and ADF&G will use the near real-time data collected for in-season management of salmon fisheries. In addition, the following organizations have expressed interest in using portions of collected data:

  • US Geological Survey and NOAA Fisheries – stomach content information for forage fish studies
    • NOAA Fisheries – juvenile sablefish encounter data and other information for fisheries stock assessment and other management purposes
    • University of Alaska researchers and Alaska Ocean Observing System (AOOS) – physical parameter data to inform oceanographic studies, and assimilate into ocean models of Southeast Alaskan waters (temperature, turbidity, ect.)
    • Sitka Sound Science Center and AOOS – all real time data for ongoing ocean research projects
    • Aquaculture associations – information on catch distribution of hatchery and wild salmon.

Representatives of these organizations have agreed to participate on an Interagency Steering Committee to determine data collection products and ensure the methods meet their desired scientific needs. 

Will other people see where I’m fishing?

  • No. All data made available to the public will be anonymous. Raw data will be compiled by Ocean Data Network and made into a usable format for the participating agencies based on their needs.  It is important to remember that the major benefits of collaborative research are enhanced communication, increased research capacity, trust building, relationship building, and economic value for all involved parties, especially the fishermen..

If any of this information has caused your inner scientist to stir, please consider participating in the 10-boat pilot project. We are assembling that team now!