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Industry-Funded Monitoring Ominbus Amendment, Public Hearings and Comment Period

Contact:
Daniel  Luers
(978) 282-8457
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 20, 2016

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is announcing public hearings and a public comment period for the Industry-Funded Monitoring Omnibus Amendment. The Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils are developing an omnibus amendment to allow for industry-funded monitoring.  This amendment includes omnibus alternatives that would modify all the fishery management plans managed by the Mid-Atlantic and New England Fishery Management Councils to allow for prioritized, standardized, and streamlined development of future industry-funded monitoring programs. Additionally, this amendment includes alternatives for new industry-funded monitoring programs for the Atlantic Herring Fishery Management Plan and the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan.

Public comments will be accepted from September 23, 2016 through November 7, 2016.  You may submit written comments by any of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.  Go to www.regulations.gov, search docket number NOAA-NMFS-2016-0125, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments;
  • Mail:  John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.  Mark the outside of the envelope "Comments on IFM Omnibus Amendment."   
  • Comments may also be provided verbally at any of the five public hearings.

Public hearings will be held at the following locations and times:

  • Tuesday, October 4, 2016, 6-8pm, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930, telephone: (978) 281-9300;
  • Monday, October 17, 2016, 5-7pm, Internet webinar, connection information to be available at (http://mafmc.adobeconnect.com/ifm-hearing/);
  • Thursday, October 20, 2016, 6-8pm, Double Tree by Hilton Hotels, 363 Maine Mall Road, Portland, ME 04106, telephone: (207) 775-6161;
  • Thursday, October 27, 2016, 5-7pm, Congress Hall, 200 Congress Place, Cape May, NJ 08204, telephone: (888) 944-1816;
  • Tuesday, November 1, 2016, 6-8pm, Corless Auditorium, Watkins Building University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography, 218 Ferry Road, Narragansett, RI 02874.

Why are the Councils establishing industry-funded monitoring programs?

The New England and Mid-Atlantic Councils are interested in increasing monitoring and/or other types of data collection in some fishery management plans to assess the amount and type of catch, to more accurately monitor annual catch limits, and/or provide other information for management.  The amount of available Federal funding to support additional monitoring is limited, so both Councils are considering requiring industry to pay their costs for monitoring.  Therefore, this amendment considers measures that would allow industry-funded monitoring coverage in New England and Mid-Atlantic fishery management plans. 

Would this amendment replace the current monitoring program?

No, the measures proposed in this amendment would be in addition to the current monitoring program determined by Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology or SBRM, which is currently funded by NMFS.  The amendment includes several alternatives for industry funding, which you can review at the link provided below.

If additional monitoring was selected under this amendment, would the fishing industry cover all monitoring costs?

No. This amendment would specify how additional monitoring costs would be allocated to NMFS and industry.  Additional monitoring may be limited by the amount of Federal funding available.

How can I learn more about this amendment?

Further information on the Industry-Funded Monitoring Amendment can be obtained by visiting the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council website or contacting Daniel Luers (Daniel.luers@noaa.gov, 978-282-8457) at the NOAA Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office.

These public hearings are accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to Dr. Fiona Hogan (NEFMC) at fhogan@nefmc.org, (978) 465-0492 (x121), or Jason Didden (MAFMC) at jdidden@mafmc.org, (302) 526-5254, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date.