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National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Electronic Monitoring for Alaska Groundfish and Halibut/Sablefish Fisheries

Electronic Monitoring (Video)

Beaufort Sea ice
Electronic monitoring gear.

A number of electronic monitoring technologies have been applied to fisheries monitoring. Video based technologies are of increasing interest, and are being used in several applications in the North Pacific and elsewhere. Within the North Pacific, video technology has been proposed as a potential way to supplement existing observer coverage; enhance the value of the data NMFS receives; and/or fill data gaps that have proven difficult to fill with human observers. Some video applications are in place, while others are being developed or are under consideration.

NMFS, working with the Council, has developed an Electronic Monitoring/Electronic Reporting (EM/ER) strategic plan that will guide development and implementation of electronic monitoring tools in the North Pacific.

In 2013 and 2014, NMFS is conducting an electronic monitoring pilot project in Alaska that provides EM equipment (video cameras) to vessels that volunteer. The EM pilot project evaluates the efficacy of video cameras to collect catch, discard, and fishing effort data in Alaska and is focused on vessels between 40-57.5 ft. in length that fish with hook and line gear.

Currently Implemented Electronic Monitoring Programs

Electronic Monitoring is currently being used as a compliance monitoring tool in several catch share programs in Alaska. Amendment 80 and the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program allow catcher processors to select a monitoring option, one of which includes the use of video, to ensure that the observer is able to determine that no sorting has occurred prior to the collection of a species composition sample. Chinook Salmon Bycatch Management measures for AFA catcher processors required the use of video to ensure that all salmon are sorted and stored according to the regulatory requirements. Finally, EM is used by the BSAI Freezer longline fleet to ensure that all Pacific cod and only Pacific cod pass over the motion compensated flow scale.

Research Results

NMFS and industry have conducted several case studies and pilot projects exploring the use of electronic monitoring in Alaska:

Workshops and Discussion Papers


Contact Information

If you are a vessel owner in the vessel selection pool and are interested in participating in the EM pilot project, contact:

Elizabeth Chilton
AFSC Observer Program
PH: 206-526-4197

For questions regarding the regulatory development of EM or general EM questions contact either:

Alan Kinsolving
NMFS At-Sea Scales Program Coordinator
2245 CO Bar Trail
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
PH: (928)-774-4362
FX: (928)-774-4362
Email: alan.kinsolving@noaa.gov

Jennifer Watson
CMP/CMCP Program Coordinator
PO Box 21668
Juneau, AK 99802
PH: (907)-586-7537 or (907)-586-7228
FX: (907)-586-7465
Email: jennifer.watson@noaa.gov

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