2021: EM Regulation Delay and EFP Extension

In September 2021 the Council recommended that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) delay implementation of the groundfish electronic monitoring (EM) program for all trip types for at least two years, thereby establishing a start date for the use of EM on fishing trips to be no earlier than January 1, 2024. In addition, the Council recommended extending the use of existing EM exempted fishing permits (EFPs) through 2023 to collect additional information that will lead to a more successful, stable, and economically viable EM regulation.  The delay was implemented by NMFS under an interim final rule. The purpose of delaying implementation and extending the EFPs is twofold: first, to develop and test alternative catch handling protocols that are both cost effective for industry and provide sufficient monitoring and scientific data for NMFS, and second, to provide NMFS and the Council time to continue developing a permanent EM program funding mechanism that will further encourage widespread use of EM on the West Coast.  The Council will continue to work with NMFS, Pacific States marine Fisheries Commission, NMFS Alaska Region and North Pacific Fishery Management Council to examine the issues and schedule future Council meeting actions over the next two years.