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Nova Scotia's bloodworm harvest: Assessment, regulation, and governance

Miller, Robert J., Smith, Stephen J.
Fisheries research 2012 v.113 no.1 pp. 84-93
air, blood, decision making, fisheries, governance, harvesters, sales, surveys, temperature, Nova Scotia
The Nova Scotia commercial blood worm harvest was first regulated in 2002; by 2008 regulations included limited entry, seasons, area closures, minimum legal size, and reporting of daily sales and fishing location. To aid in setting minimum legal size, size of maturity was measured in the two main harvest areas. Biologist-directed and harvester-directed methods for surveying worm densities and sizes on intertidal mud flats were found to be robust. With 16 samples tests of two survey means would detect differences of 0.5 standard deviations (type I error of 0.1). With 16 samples two means separated by 1.3 standard deviations would not be declared the same when they were actually different (type II error of 0.25). Depth of digging affected survey results; the time of air exposure of the mud, the temperature of the mud surface, and the choice of harvester-samplers did not. Mud flats should be managed individually because interchange of worms between flats is probably small. Decision rules of 0.6 and 0.8 legal sized worms/m² have been set for closing a beach and opening a closed beach, respectively. Progress in fishery governance was achieved using the above results and by involving harvesters and a citizens group in decision making.