Electronic Monitoring for Alaska Groundfish and Halibut/Sablefish Fisheries
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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 North Pacific Fishery Management Council, has developed two guiding documents regarding Electronic Monitoring and Electronic Reporting (EM/ER):

  • EM/ER Strategic Plan: developed by NMFS and adopted by the Council to guide development and implementation of electronic monitoring tools in the North Pacific.
  • EM/ER Implementation Plan: developed by NMFS to comply with the NMFS issued Policy Directive 30-133, the implementation plan provides information about the specific EM/ER initiatives that are currently being undertaken in Alaska.

NMFS is working with the Council's EM Workgroup toward the goal of integrating EM tools into the Observer Program for the fixed gear small-boat groundfish and halibut fisheries. The intent is to develop EM to collect data to be used in catch estimation for this fleet. More information about the EM Workgroup and the EM Cooperative Research Plan is available on the Council's website at: http://www.npfmc.org/observer-program/

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 and are interested in participating in the EM Cooperative Research, contact:

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

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

Jennifer Mondragon
Catch Accounting & Data Quality Branch, Sustainable Fisheries
PO Box 21668
Juneau, AK 99802
PH: (907) 586-7010
Email: Jennifer.Mondragon@noaa.gov

Jennifer Watson
CMP/CMCP Program Coordinator, Sustainable Fisheries
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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