This proposed rule would revise regulations to delay implementation of the Electronic Monitoring (EM) Program for the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program. The proposed rule would delay implementation of the EM program by one year, from January 1, 2021, to January 1, 2022. NMFS is proposing this change to provide additional time for industry and prospective EM service providers to prepare for implementation, as it is expected to increase participation and reduce monitoring costs for the fishery when the program is implemented in 2022.
On June 28, 2019, NOAA Fisheries published a Final Rule to implement an EM program in the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program (84 FR 31146) beginning in January 2021. At its April and June 2020 meetings, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) recommended that NOAA Fisheries delay implementation of the EM program to January 2022. The Council made this recommendation in order to provide more time for industry and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) to develop a mechanism for industry to fund PSMFC to review EM video data in a way that would avoid any conflict of interest.