National Fisherman


The restructured observer program, and plans for 2014, will be up for discussion at the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in October, including the electronic monitoring component of the program.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, or NMFS, has been working on a pilot project to see how electronic monitoring, or EM, could be used as part of the observer program.

That’s something many in the industry hoped would be part of the program all along.

Jeff Stephan, director of the United Fishermen’s Marketing Association, wrote in an email that his organization “strongly supported the concept of NMFS expeditiously moving forward on all EM fronts.”

The group had hoped NMFS would test and implement the technology widely and productively, across a range of fishing fleets, Stephan wrote.

This year the agency had difficulty getting vessels to participate in the pilot project.

In June, the council agreed to send a letter asking vessel owners to participate after the agency said that it was having trouble getting the cameras on boats.

Now NMFS is asking the council to discuss ways to incentivize participation. NMFS sent the council a letter Sept. 13 asking it to consider placing pilot program participants in the “no coverage” category so they wouldn’t have to take a human observer.

That’s something members of the industry said would help encourage participation at the June meeting. Arranging to take a camera can add time in port for a fishing vessel, and make getting out on the water a little more difficult, fishermen said. The waiver from human coverage could make it easier.

Read the full story at the Alaska Journal>>

Inside the Industry

NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.

The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.

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The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:

The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.

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