Written by Melissa Wood
Tuesday, 20 May 2014
When I interviewed Dorothy Lowman, fisheries advisor and chair of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, she told me she was a workshop skeptic. That was surprising considering she had organized the first national electronic monitoring workshop in Seattle in January.
But I knew what she meant. I’ve been in plenty of meetings where people talk a good talk, but nothing happens after.
I don't think that will happen with electronic monitoring. The national workshop was timely. Fishermen on all coasts are working toward electronic monitoring. That makes sense because around the country an increasing number of fisheries are under quota management systems that require greater catch accountability.
With so much going on and so many interested parties, Lowman organized the workshop to bring people together from different fisheries and councils. Dan Falvey, a workshop participant who is working on electronic monitoring in the Alaska longline industry, told me there have been over 40 EM pilot programs around the country. It makes sense for those people to talk to each other.
For National Fisherman it’s an issue that’s important to get in the magazine, especially considering that people on all coasts are working toward implementation so that they can better track their catch and make it easier for fishermen to do it.
The skepticism comes in with what happens next. When I talked to people for a story about electronic monitoring for National Fisherman’s June issue, they were far from done. Several told me their own councils were holding EM workshops.
In addition, the workshop generated a great online resource for those continuing to work on its implementation. At www.eminformation.com, you can find a workshop summary and takeaways, videos and papers of presentations from the workshop as well as pilot program studies and contacts within the EM world.
The website is intended to continue to be used as an information sharing resource for fishermen and others interested in electronic monitoring. I expect the number of people interested will only get bigger.
The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.
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