Sandy Beach Area Marine Debris Removal Project – Research Plan

Project Goal: To remove derelict crab pots from a popular recreational and commercial fishing area in Juneau, Alaska

The Sandy Beach region on the west side of the Gastineau Channel (see map in Figure 1) is historically and currently a popular area for both recreational fishing for Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) and Tanner crab (Chionoecetes bairdi) and commercial fishing for Dungeness crab.  High levels of fishing effort for crab are observed at Sandy Beach relative to other areas due to its accessibility and productivity.  The area is adjacent to a major harbor with a launch ramp in the community of Douglas which leads to accessibility by a wide variety of recreational vessels both small and large under reasonable weather conditions regardless of season.  This area also has a reputation for reliable catches particularly of Dungeness crab which leads to targeting by both recreational and commercial vessels in season.  Anecdotally, the Douglas Indian Association (DIA), local fisheries management and enforcement, and active recreational users agree that lost fishing gear is common in this area.  The study region identified for this project ranges is a “shelf” that extends to approximately 25 m in depth and extends approximately 4 km southeast from the Douglas boat harbor. 

The project will be led by DIA, who will contract Natural Resources Consultants, Inc. (NRC) to coordinate field operations during this pilot project.  NRC will assist DIA in coordinating with local partners, selecting local contractors to perform the survey functions, and provide technical assistance to ensure the selected sonar and survey vessel are adequate (see Task 1 below).  Removal operations will be conducted by DIA in close partnership with Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G).  NRC will coordinate these operations with DIA and ADF&G and will provide technical assistance during part of the removal operation, with particular emphasis on standardizing data collection methods and ensuring the most appropriate and efficient removal techniques are applied. DIA will contract directly with the selected survey operator.  No other contracts are anticipated.  ADF&G will provide the vessel and vessel operator for the removal operations.  DIA will provide an onboard biologist