Fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico, be they commercial, charter-for-hire or recreational, all agree on one fact: the growing need for more timely and accurate data for fishery management and science. Recognizing the need for more timely data collection, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has developed an implementation plan to expand the use of both electronic monitoring and electronic reporting.
According to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the need for electronic monitoring (EM)/electronic reporting (ER) has been made more urgent by clearly identified problems and management challenges, such as short fishing seasons. For example, data is often reported days after fishing takes place. There is also a need to validate reported catch with actual landed catch. These problems, and many more, are being addressed through a pilot study in the Gulf of Mexico this year.
“Improved data collection is something that fisherman and fishery managers in the Gulf have been working on for more than ten years,” said Michael Kelly, Director of Business Development at CLS America and a Board member of the Gulf Seafood Institute. “Now, after years of talking, of studies, and delays, progress is being made. New electronic data collection gear is being installed on a large percentage of charter vessels in the Gulf.”
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