Poster by: Long, et al. GMRI, Ecotrust, The Nature Conservancy
Recent U.S. federal budget cuts and looming industry cost sharing mechanisms have developed a need to explore more cost effective and sustainable alternatives to at-sea monitoring in New England’s groundfish fishery. Electronic monitoring has proven to be a successful alternative in areas such as British Columbia’s groundfish fishery, and has gained attention across New England through recent developments from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the New England Fishery Management Council. Despite these efforts, further research is needed to operationalize catch-handling protocols for effective data analysis, along with affordable methods to successfully implement electronic monitoring in New England’s groundfish fishery.
The Gulf of Maine Research Institute, along with The Nature Conservancy, Maine Coast Community Sector and Ecotrust Canada, is conducting a two-year Electronic Monitoring Project that will develop and test an affordable, open-source electronic monitoring system on seven active groundfish vessels across both gillnet and trawl gear types. The data collected will meet federal technical specifications and be compared to data collected by the fishermen as well as that of at-sea-monitors. This work aims to validate self-reported data, build on existing federal initiatives and introduce an additional electronic monitoring provider to increase capacity and further it’s operationalization in preparation for regulatory approval.