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NOAA Fisheries Announces At-Sea Monitoring 2017 Coverage Levels for Groundfish Sector Fishery

March 15, 2017

NOAA Fisheries announces that for fishing year 2017 the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 16 percent of all groundfish sector trips. 

This target coverage level is a 2 percentage point increase from the 2016 coverage level (14 percent). As the target coverage level is set based on an average of at-sea monitoring data from the past 3 full groundfish fishing years, this level is set based on data from the 2013-2015 fishing years.

Federally funded observer coverage provided by the Northeast Fishery Observer Program to meet the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) requirements will partially satisfy the 16 percent coverage requirement. Sectors will therefore actually pay for at-sea monitoring coverage on less than 16 percent of their groundfish trips, but the total will depend on the SBRM coverage rates, which are not yet out.

We expect to be able to reimburse sectors for some portion of their ASM costs. We do not yet have the information we need to determine the reimbursement rate. We were able to reimburse 85 percent of at-sea monitoring costs in 2016, but expect the 2017 reimbursement rate to be lower.

Certain sector groundfish trips, those using gillnets with 10-inch or greater mesh in Southern New England and Inshore Georges Bank, are also excluded from the ASM requirement due to their low catch of groundfish species. This further reduces the portion of sector trips subject to industry-funded monitoring and better focuses monitoring resources.

For more information, please read the Summary of Analysis Conducted to Determine At-Sea Monitoring Requirements for Multispecies Sectors FY2017 available on our website.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel at 978-281-9175 or