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Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery; Fishing Year 2017 Observer Set-Aside Compensation Rates

Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
April 11, 2017

Effective Date: March 1, 2017

The Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and the Northeast Fisheries Science Center staff have worked together to calculate the initial observer set-aside compensation rate for fishing year 2017.  These compensation rates are expected to provide sufficient compensation to offset the observer fee, while also providing sufficient observer coverage based on anticipated coverage levels needed for the start of fishing year 2017.  We will retroactively apply the new observer compensation rates to any days fished with an observer on board as of March 1, 2017. 

The fishing year 2017 initial compensation rates for Limited Access (LA) vessels are:

  • 12 per DAS fished (the vessel is charged 0.88 DAS for each DAS fished with an observer onboard); and
  • 200 lb per day or part of a day for access area trips in additional to the vessel’s possession limit for the trip when carrying an observer.

The fishing year 2017 initial compensation rate for Limited Access General Category (LAGC) individual fishing quota (IFQ) vessels is:

  • 200 lb per trip (open and access areas) in addition to the daily possession limit when carrying an observer.

We calculated all observer compensation rates assuming a daily rate of $700 for the observer, and used an average scallop price of $11.74 per pound for open area trips and $12.14 per pound for access area and LAGC trips.  We estimate the compensation rates provide the following average buffer over the daily cost of the observer:

  • $2,400 per LA DAS fished; and
  • $1,725 per access area day for LA vessels and per trip for LAGC IFQ vessels assuming trips last a single day.

These excess funds are intended to account for variations in the fishery, such as lower scallop price and landings per day fished (also called landings per unit effort), without creating financial incentive to extend an observed trip.

For details on how we have calculated these compensation rates in the past, and our expectation of how it will impact compensation and observer coverage rates, please go to:

PLEASE NOTE:  These are initial rates and we may consider changing the compensation rate as we gather fishery information throughout the 2017 fishing year, such as scallop price, length of trips, scallop landings per day fished, and overall rate of observer set-aside usage.  If we adjust the initial observer compensation rates mid-year, we will send another permit holder letter announcing the new rates. 

If you have any questions about a DAS Credit request, or the observer compensation rates, please contact the Sustainable Fisheries Division at (978) 281-9315
For small entity compliance guides, this bulletin complies with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996.  This notice is authorized by the Regional Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Greater Atlantic Region.