Electronic monitoring

Action status

  • Implemented
  • Undergoing NMFS Review
  • Approved by Council
  • Under development by the Council

Finding cost efficiencies and flexibility for monitoring the trawl rationalization program is a Council priority. In this regard, using at-sea electronic monitoring (EM) to reduce observer costs has been a major focus. In addition, the potential use of EM in lieu of an observer can create a flexible option for vessel operations. 

In 2014, 2016, and 2017 the Council recommended regulatory action to allow the use of electronic monitoring on all vessels participating in the trawl catch share program. The Council also recommended that exempted fishing permits (EFPs) for electronic monitoring be used to test the Council’s draft EM Program to inform further development of the electronic monitoring policies. Learn more about the decisions for the development of the electronic monitoring program here.

A final rule to implement the EM Program on the West Coast was issued on June 28, 2019. However, the effective date for the regulations is set for January 1, 2021. These regulations would apply to midwater trawl whiting fishery and the fixed gear catch shares fishery, only. At this time, the Council is considering some modifications to the regulations before they are effective (see April 2020 Decision Document). 

In addition, NMFS intends to publish a proposed rule in 2020 for the bottom trawl and non-whiting midwater trawl fishery to ensure that all catch share fisheries can use EM by January 1, 2021.