Date: February 23, 1999
Dear Sea Scallop Permit Holder:
This letter serves as a reminder that all fishing vessels participating in the Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) program must comply with operating requirements specified at 50 C.F.R. § 648.9(c). VMS units required in the Atlantic sea scallop fishery must be fully operational at all times and must transmit a signal indicating a vessel's accurate position at least every hour, 24 hours a day throughout the year, unless the vessel is authorized in writing by the Regional Administrator to use the DAS call-in program or is exempted pursuant to 50 C.F.R. § 648.9(c)(2). Please note that the regulations at 50 C.F.R § 648.9(d) state that a vessel that fails to report on an hourly basis will incur a day-at-sea, or fraction thereof, unless a preponderance of evidence shows that the failure to transmit was due to an unavoidable malfunction or disruption of the transmission.
A failure to transmit a signal in accordance with the above-cited regulations may subject you to civil penalties, permit sanctions, and forfeiture of your catch or vessel. Additionally, failure to transmit a VMS signal at least hourly, while at sea or at port, shall result in your vessel incurring a DAS, or fraction thereof, for the duration of the non-reporting. To avoid incurring the DAS or portion thereof, you will be required to submit evidence showing the failure to transmit a signal was due to an unavoidable malfunction or disruption.
For further information on the VMS program and exemptions, call Linda Galvin, VMS Program Manager, at 978-281-9230.