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Limited Access Northeast Multispecies Vessels - Changes to Vessel Monitoring System Catch Reporting Requirements for Groundfish Vessels

Sustainable  Fisheries Division
(978) 281 –9315
October 12, 2017

Unless otherwise required below, limited access Northeast multispecies (groundfish) vessels declared into a single broad stock area (BSA) no longer need to submit a vessel monitoring system (VMS) trip-level catch report on the return to port prior to crossing the demarcation line.  We are implementing this change to remove reporting redundancies and streamline requirements. 

Vessels on a groundfish trip (sector or common pool) must still submit daily or trip-level VMS catch reports if the vessel has declared into: 1) Multiple BSAs; 2) the Eastern US/Canada area; or 3) sector exemption(s) or option(s) with catch reporting requirements.  See the flowchart on the reverse side for more information. 

All other VMS reporting requirements still apply, including the requirement to send:

  • An activity Declaration prior to leaving port on every trip;
  • A Trip Start Hail prior to leaving port if declaring a sector exemption or option; and
  • A Trip End Hail at least 6 hours prior to arrival or, if fishing ends less than 6 hours before arrival, immediately after the last tow or hauling of gear.

If you have questions about VMS reporting requirements, please refer to NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region’s VMS webpage or contact the Northeast VMS Team at (978) 281-9213.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is this changing?

Limited access groundfish vessels fishing in a single BSA currently submit a VMS catch report containing only the VTR number and operator number.  Because these vessels are also submitting the VTR number and operator number in the trip-end hail, the VMS reporting requirement for single BSA trips is redundant and unnecessary.

When does this apply?

This change ONLY applies to vessels that have declared their intent to fish in a single BSA.  This change does NOT apply to vessels declared into multiple BSAs or the Eastern US/Canada area, or fishing under sector exemption(s)/option(s) with catch reporting requirements; these vessels are still required to submit VMS catch reports as required by regulation.

Where can I find more information?

Additional information can be found by visiting the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region VMS website at or by contacting the Northeast VMS Team at (978) 281-9213.

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.