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NOAA Fisheries Announces At-Sea Monitoring 2018 Coverage Levels for Groundfish Sector Fishery

January 25, 2018

NOAA Fisheries announces that for fishing year 2018 the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 15 percent of all groundfish sector trips.

This target coverage level is a one percentage point decrease from the 2016 coverage level, which was 16 percent. As the target coverage level is set based on an average of at-sea monitoring data from the past three full groundfish fishing years, this level is set based on data from the 2014-2016 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 15 percent coverage requirement. Sectors will therefore actually pay for at-sea monitoring coverage on less than 15 percent of their groundfish trips; however, the total will depend on the SBRM coverage rates, which are not yet out.

We were able to reimburse 85 percent of at-sea monitoring costs in 2016, and 60 percent in 2017. We await the enactment of a final Fiscal Year 2018 appropriations bill to determine what funding may be available for the upcoming fishing season.

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 FY2018 available on our website.

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