At the February 2019 meeting, the Council received a short discussion paper on the regulatory process required to allow crab harvesters to switch over to electronic logbooks (elogbooks). NMFS requires daily fishing logbooks (logbooks) for vessels 60 ft length overall or greater that participate in the Crab Rationalization Program fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI). The logbooks that the crab vessel operators fill out are paper, as opposed to the eLogbooks used by the catcher processors participating in the hook-and-line Pacific cod fishery, American Fisheries Act (AFA) pollock, or Amendment 80 fisheries.
The Pacific Northwest Crab Industry Advisory Committee (PNCIAC) had requested the Council and NMFS develop and authorize eLogbooks for the BSAI king, Tanner and snow crab fisheries. While much of this work was incomplete due to the government shutdown, a short discussion paper described the reasons for this request, the authority for logbooks, the use of the logbook data in the BSAI crab fisheries, and a preliminary discussion on the costs and benefits of developing and implementing this eLogbook system.
After a presentation, testimony and discussion, the Council directed staff to conduct a cost analysis examining the costs for Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to develop and implement BSAI crab eLogbooks, to replace the paper logbooks currently used in the Crab Rationalization Program. This additional information is intended to help the crab industry understand if a more efficient logbook system would be worth the costs of the development, implementation, and support.
Staff contact is Sarah Marrinan.