Get Email Updates

Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Trip Reporting and VMS Positioning FAQ

Trip Reporting

Fishing vessels with a permit for surf clams and/or ocean quahogs issued by NOAA Fisheries' Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) must report every fishing trip in one of the two following ways. This includes trips within state waters and trips targeting other species.

Questions and Answers

Q: If I'm fishing in federal waters harvesting clams under an ITQ permit, which form do I use?

A: The clam logbook should be used to report these trips

Q: If I'm fishing under an ITQ permit, do I have to report any whelks, scallops or other species that I catch?

A: Yes, any other species that you catch should be reported on a VTR. This is in addition to reporting in the clam logbook.

Q: If I'm fishing in state waters and using state-issued tags, do I need to report to NOAA/GARFO?

A: Yes, these trips should be reported using the VTR form. States may also have additional reporting requirements, so check with your state marine fisheries agency.

Q: Do all species caught from state water trips need to be reported?

A: Yes, all species caught must be reported on the VTR form.

Q: If my boat is in another fishery, do I still have to report to NOAA/GARFO?

A: Yes, all fishing trips must be reported as required under a surfclam and ocean quahog permit.

Q: If I do not fish, do I still have to report?

A: No, as of the Omnibus Amendment in August 2015, vessels no longer need to send in negative fishing reports (i.e., “did not fish” reports) during weeks when vessels are inactive. However, this is when no trips were taken and does not include trips where nothing was caught.

Q: When are reports due to NOAA/GARFO?

A: Clam logbook reports for ITQ trips are due by the first Tuesday following the week the trip(s) occurred. If the vessel also holds a NE multispecies, Atlantic herring or any Atlantic mackerel, longfin squid, lllex squid, or butterfish permits, VTRs are due at the same time. All other VTRs are due within 15 days of the end of the month in which the trip(s) occurred.

Q: Do these requirements apply to the Maine mahogany quahog fishery?

A: Yes, like the ITQ fishery, you must report your catch of ocean quahogs on the clam logbook, and any other species on a VTR.

VMS Positioning

All surfclam and/or ocean quahog ITQ vessels (SF-1 and OQ-6 permits) must have a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) that is transmitting positions at all times unless on an approved power down exemption. This applies to Maine Mahogany Quahog vessels (OQ-7) as well.

Questions and Answers

Q: If my vessel is fishing in a non-ITQ fishery, such as inside state waters, does my VMS unit need to be turned on?

A: Yes, it must be on and transmitting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of fishing activity.

Q: How do I obtain a power down exemption?

A: You may obtain a power down exemption form by contacting our Office of Law Enforcement's VMS team at 978-281-9213 or online, here.
You may also contact your local NOAA/GARFO port agent office for assistance. For a list of our port agent field offices, click here.

Q: Where can I find information describing these requirements?

A: For more information on VMS, visit our website, here.

For more information on the Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery Management Plan, visit the species page or eCFR.

You may also contact Doug Potts, Sustainable Fisheries Division, at 978-281-9341 or email him at