EM and Observer Vendor Show January 30th in Portsmouth, NH
The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) are evaluating the utility of Electronic Monitoring (EM) for catch monitoring on mid-water trawl vessels in the Atlantic herring and mackerel mid-water trawl fisheries. The New England and Mid-Atlantic Councils have been interested in increasing monitoring in the herring and mackerel fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is working with the Councils to develop Industry-Funded Monitoring (IFM) through an Amendment in all New England and Mid-Atlantic fisheries (see Status_IFM_Amendment below). A particular interest in this Amendment is increasing monitoring for the Atlantic herring and mackerel mid-water trawl fisheries due to concerns about bycatch of groundfish (mainly haddock) and river herring and shad, as well as accurate accounting of Atlantic herring catch. While the Councils are considering options for at-sea observer and monitor programs, these types of programs are expensive and may not be the most cost-effective way to increase monitoring in fisheries that retain and land the majority of their catch, like the Atlantic herring and mackerel mid-water trawl fisheries.
For these reasons, there is strong stakeholder support, including the commercial fishing industry and environmental advocates, to establish an efficient and cost effective EM and Portside Sampling (PS) program for the mid-water trawl fisheries. As a result the NMFS sponsored a 16-month EM project in this fleet to facilitate development and implementation of the IFM Omnibus Amendment by testing and refining an EM program for the Atlantic herring and mackerel mid-water trawl fisheries (see EM_Herring_Outreach below). The GARFO and NEFSC contracted services with Saltwater Inc. to provide and install EM units on up to 12 commercial fishing vessels in the Northeast. Work from this project will help inform the implementation of the Industry-Funded Monitoring (IFM) Omnibus Amendment and the development of future EM programs if adopted through the IFM Amendment.
The Councils will be using project findings to evaluate EM as a suitable monitoring tool for the mid-water trawl herring and mackerel fisheries. Although the Mid-Atlantic council is not voting on this Amendment at this stage, their website has the most information related to the action – please reference here: http://www.mafmc.org/actions/
In an effort to introduce the mid-water trawl fleet to EM service providers we are organizing a vendor show in which all vendors (EM, at-sea monitors, and portside monitors) will be available for questions and discussions with the industry at the January 30th – February 1st NEFMC meeting in Portsmouth, NH.
Please contact Nichole Rossi for more information at: Nichole.Rossi@noaa.gov. Informational materials referenced in text are linked below.