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Modelling temporal and spatial variability in tag reporting-rates for Newfoundland cod (Gadus morhua)

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Mark–recapture experiments can be used to estimate the exploitation rate of a fishery; however, the estimate is influenced by the tag reporting-rate by the fishers. We present two methods to estimate the reporting rates in high/low reward ($100 and $10 CAD respectively) long-term cod tagging experiments. We fit two binomial logistic mixed-effect models, one with temporal auto-correlation in the reporting-rate year-effects and one with independent year-effects. We estimate reporting-rates separately for recreational and commercial fishers, and test for spatial variation using fixed-effects for spatial regions. Due to the complexity of the fishery, our models account for factors such as recapture-fishery type, fish-size and time-at-liberty. Our results indicate that the recreational fishers reporting-rate was constant at 0.51 across all regions and years. The commercial fishery showed more spatial and temporal variation, with the reporting-rates estimates lying between 0.67 and 0.87 for the independent year-effect model, and between 0.57 and 0.84 for the random walk model. Furthermore, we assessed the model performance as well as the coverage probability of nominal 95 % confidence intervals using simulations. We found that the models performed adequately; however, the nominal 95 % confidence intervals tended to be too narrow.

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Correspondence to Christoph Konrad.

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Handling Editor: Bryan F. J. Manly.

The work of Konrad and Cadigan was supported by a Research and Development Corporation (RDC) of Newfoundland and Labrador Grant to N. Cadigan. We thank the technical staff of DFO Science NL Region for tagging and releasing cod, and numerous fish harvesters for providing recapture information.

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Konrad, C., Brattey, J. & Cadigan, N.G. Modelling temporal and spatial variability in tag reporting-rates for Newfoundland cod (Gadus morhua). Environ Ecol Stat 23, 387–403 (2016).

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