Electronic Monitoring Studied in Northeast Fisheries

Commercial Fishing, photo illustration/New England Boating.
Commercial Fishing, photo illustration/New England Boating.

NOAA Fisheries: With growing needs for timely and accurate data and information on commercial fisheries’ catch and discards, several groups in the Northeast are joining forces to explore how technology can be used better to help collect these data.

Many see electronic monitoring as a solution. Electronic monitoring uses onboard computers and video cameras to record catch and discards of fish species and to monitor compliance with regulations at sea.  It has been used successfully to support catch accounting in fisheries outside of the United States and in a more limited capacity to monitor compliance in U.S. fisheries in the North Pacific.

Pilot testing has been ongoing in the New England groundfish fishery for several years, but electronic monitoring has yet to be approved for broad use in day-to-day fishing operations. However, interest remains high among some stakeholders to see electronic monitoring adopted in not only the groundfish fishery, but also other regional fisheries including Atlantic herring and Atlantic sea scallops.

Government agencies, fishery management councils, conservation organizations, and the fishing industry came together for a national workshop in January 2014 in Seattle, Washington, to discuss taking electronic monitoring from pilot studies to operational programs in U.S. fisheries. The workshop identified ingredients for success and key considerations for implementing electronic monitoring in various regions across the country.

In May, as a follow-up to that meeting, The Nature Conservancy and NOAA Fisheries will host a New England electronic monitoring workshop. We will build on the momentum from the national workshop to identify clear goals for utilizing electronic monitoring to improve data collection and monitoring.

The New England Regional Workshop will be held on May 7-8 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  For more information and reserve your place Click Here.