Key Takeaway: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has identified 2016 as an initial implementation year for EM for the small boat fixed gear fleet, focusing on putting cameras on those boats that have difficulty taking an observer. These are primarily pot and longline vessels.
Electronic Monitoring Workgroup Meeting Update
At its September 2014 meeting, the Electronic Monitoring Working Group (EMWG) addressed a broad range of substantive issues including:
- Updates on the 2014 Fieldwork and Video Review as well as the Regional Implementation Plan for Electronic Technologies being developed
- How to integrate EM into the Observer Program with a focus on the purpose and need, potential draft regulatory alternatives, and key policy and technical decision points.
- The 2015 Cooperative Research Plan
The Workgroup’s September minutes are available here — EM Workgroup September 2014 Minutes — and their next meeting is scheduled for November 19-20 in Seattle.
October Council Meeting Update
The following is a summary of EM-related developments at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council October meeting:
The Electronic Monitoring Workgroup (EMWG) reported on their progress in outlining a framework for the regulatory amendment package to integrate EM as part of the Observer Program, as well as continuing efforts to refine the 2015 Cooperative Research Plan to respond to the decision points and information needs of the framework.
The Council expressed support for the work of the EMWG, including using a subgroup approach to continue to develop the projects that constitute its Cooperative Research Plan. The Council has asked the EMWG to have a complete research plan ready for the Scientific and Statistical Committee to review in February, in preparation for the 2015 fieldwork season. The EMWG will report back to the Council on its progress in December.
The Council endorsed a target date of 2016 for taking the first steps towards operationalizing EM on small fixed gear vessels. The Council acknowledges that this is an ambitious goal, but intends to work towards having an EM alternative in 2016, at least for those vessels for which accommodating an observer onboard is problematic.