In April 2019 the Council scheduled electronic monitoring (EM) items for the June, September, and November 2019 Council meetings and recommended the Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Policy Advisory Committee (GEMPAC) meet as necessary to review National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) procedural directives and program guidance documents.
In September the Council recommended that NMFS consider changes to the EM Program Guidelines and the draft Data Storage Procedural document that had been identified by the GEMAC. The Council agreed to ask Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) to identify a way forward that would allow PSMFC to continue providing EM review services for the industry in 2021.
In November the Council reviewed, but did not finalize, their recommendations on the revised EM Program Guidelines and the Draft EM Manual. The Council agreed to tell NMFS that they wanted to delay implementation of the EM regulations until 2022, and would consider extending the EM exempted fishing permit at the March 2020 meeting. The Council asked for more information on the appropriate level of video review for vessel steam time (nonfishing activity).
The Council noted that an analysis was needed to understand the effect of applying vessel-specific halibut discard mortality estimates to non-reviewed trips as noted by the GEMPAC/TAC. Finally, the Council expressed concern about the cost effectiveness of the program and said it would like the industry to continue to work with NMFS and PSMFC to find a way for industry to fund part of the EM program.