In March, the Council received an update on individual fishing quota fixed-gear and bottom trawl exempted fishing permit (EFP) activity.
The Council extended the expiration date of the electronic monitoring EFPs for the bottom trawl, non-whiting mid-water trawl, whiting mid-water trawl, and fixed gear catch share fisheries through 2018. The EFPs were to end when fleetwide regulations were put in place. This was expected for whiting midwater trawl fisheries and fixed gear fisheries in the spring of 2018.
In April, the Council modified their final preferred alternative for electronic monitoring for the fixed-gear fishery:
- Individual Vessel Monitoring Plan expiration was changed from 1 year to no expiration;
- Declaration of electronic monitoring use was changed from annual declaration to no limit on frequency – declaration stands until changed;
- Data Transfer Process removed shoreside monitor and retained only vessel operator and crew;
- Video and data processing was clarified that the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission should be eligible to be a 3rd-party video reviewer.
The Council also recommended the following changes based on Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Advisory Committee (GEMPAC) recommendations:
- Remove references to particular modes of communication (i.e., email).
- Discuss in the preamble of the proposed rule National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) standards for electronic monitoring providers to provide free litigation support to NMFS.
- Include a one-page electronic monitoring application process for existing electronic monitoring participants to reduce the paperwork burden for the industry.
- Include a general statement in the regulations that would require electronic monitoring providers to comply with state and Federal warranty statutes.
The Council recommended maintaining the proposed three-year record retention requirement but specified that it be reviewed before transitioning to third-party video reviewers, in order to reduce the time required for electronic monitoring providers to retain records.
Finally, the Council deemed the draft regulations as meeting the intent of the whiting final preferred alternative (see November 2015 Decision Summary for whiting electronic monitoring final preferred alternatives) and for the fixed gear fishery, with the expectation that NMFS would incorporate the final preferred alternatives and other Council recommendations. NMFS’s proposed rule for whiting and fixed gear fisheries was available on Oct 6, 2016.