Finding ways to get cost effective monitoring on the water and fishermen's data to scientists
In 2013, MCFA along with The Nature Conservancy, the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and Ecotrust Canada embarked on a three-year pilot project to further the development of electronic monitoring (EM) in the New England groundfish fishery. The overarching goal of the project was to determine if EM technology could be used to collect information on catch and discards that is comparable to existing monitoring and reporting programs in a cost-effective manner.
Project partners recognize that high levels of accountability provided through an effective catch and discard monitoring system are critical to the success of the New England groundfish sector management system. However, we also realize that many fishermen cannot afford the current monitoring costs given the significant reductions in their annual revenues caused by low catch limits on several species. A key driver for this project was our strong interest in achieving higher levels of accountability through a robust monitoring program while also minimizing fishermen’s costs.
Building on the success of this project, in 2016, NMFS’ approved an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) that authorizes fishermen in groundfish sectors from Maine, Mass, NH, and RI to utilize EM systems in lieu of human monitors.