The Pacific Fishery Management Council has made tremendous progress toward EM implementation since the National EM Workshop, particularly at its June 2014 meeting. The Council approved four Exempted Fishing Permits (EFPs) to implement EM on certain vessels in the midwater whiting, bottom trawl, and fixed-gear groundfish sectors. These EFPs will test the relative costs and benefits of different options for some monitoring program components, such as maximized vs. optimized retention, the video audit rate, and cooperative enforcement. Going forward, the EFP applicants will continue to work with NMFS on refining their applications and developing terms and conditions for their exemption from the 100% observer coverage requirement.
The Pacific Council also received the final 2013 Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) report on their 2013 EM pre-implementation study. That report can be found here. More information on PSMFC’s electronic monitoring related work is available here.
The Council also gave guidance on the range of alternatives for regulations to implement EM in this fishery, and is scheduled to take final action on these in September. Council staff will be working with the Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Policy and Technical Advisory Committees (the GEMPAC and GEMTAC) to provide analysis on the range of alternatives. For more information on Pacific Council activities please see visit the Council website EM page.