Proposed Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Program

NMFS has issued a proposed rule that would make electronic monitoring (EM) an option for midwater trawl vessels in the Pacific whiting fishery and fixed gear vessels in the individual fishing quota (IFQ) fishery. The proposed regulations would establish standards and requirements for vessel owners and operators using EM, processors receiving catch from EM trips, and EM service providers.  Vessel operators would self-report discards using logbooks, which would be audited using the EM data, and used to debit discards of IFQ species from a vessel owner’s IFQ account or a cooperative’s allocation.  Video data would also be used to monitor compliance with the requirements of the Groundfish Trawl Program.

NMFS is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until October 6, 2016. See the proposed rule below for instructions on how to submit comments.  Accompanying analyses and draft application materials are also provided below for review and comment.