NOAA calls for more groundfish monitoring at sea

The Salem News –

NOAA Fisheries will increase its target level for at-sea monitoring to 16 percent of all groundfish trips in 2017 and expects industry reimbursements to continue, but at a lower level.

The target level for at-sea coverage, based on at-sea monitoring data from the 2013-15 fishing seasons, is a 2 percent increase over the 14 percent of all groundfish trips that included at-sea observers in 2016.

NOAA Fisheries, however, said it expects fishing sectors will pay for less than the full 16 percent because coverage from another federally-mandated monitoring program will mitigate the expense being passed to the fishing industry.

“Federally funded observer coverage provided by the Northeast Fishery Observer Program to meet the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology requirements will partially satisfy the 16 percent coverage requirement,” NOAA Fisheries said. “Sectors will therefore actually pay for at-sea monitoring coverage on less than 16 percent of their groundfish trips, but the total will depend on the SBRM coverage rates, which are not yet out.”

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