National Fisherman

Want to get onboard observers out of those small fishing boat bunks?

The more fishermen who volunteer their vessels to field test new electronic monitoring systems (EMS), the faster the program will replace that extra body onboard.

Starting this year and for the first time, fishery observers are required aboard Alaska's long line fleet of roughly 1,500 boats, most of which are well under 50 feet.

Observers have been aboard other types of Alaska fishing vessels for decades to collect data and monitor catches and bycatches; now scientists and managers want a better idea of what's coming up on those miles of hooks and lines, no matter what the vessel size.

Small boat fishermen are clamoring to displace the observers with cameras, which are proving to be a good set of eyes. EMS has been used on large Bering Sea boats for several years, and fishery managers have grappled with how to move cameras beyond compliance functions to culling reliable research data.

"We know we can use camera technologies, and we already have it regulated and operational," said Martin Loefflad, director of NOAA Fisheries' Monitoring and Analysis Division of the North Pacific Observer Program at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

Read the full story at Capital City Weekly>>

Inside the Industry

NMFS has awarded 16 grants totaling more than $2.5 million as part of its Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program.

The program supports the development of technological solutions and changes in fishing practices designed to minimize bycatch and aims to to find creative approaches and strategies for reducing bycatch, seabird interactions, and post-release mortality in federally managed fisheries.


Abe Williams, who was elected to the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association board last spring, has been selected as the new president as of September.

Williams fishes the F/V Crimson Fury, and is president of Nuna Resources, a nonprofit that supports sustainable resource development in rural Alaska, including fighting for an international solution to issues raised by the proposed Pebble Mine project.

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