The Council reviewed the Electronic Monitoring (EM) Workgroup report from their March 2017 meeting. In addition to discussing how the 2017 program is working, a workplan for giving public input on the statement of work for an EM contract, and planning for the transition of the current EM pre-implementation program to an integrated Observer Program, the Workgroup also reviewed the EM Integration action proposed rule and the scope of the 2018 EM deployment pool. The Council motion addressed two areas:
- The Council requests that the agency develop an EM program for 2018 that is generally similar to EM deployment in 2017, except that the Council supports expanding the size of the EM pool in 2018 to accommodate up to 120 longline vessels and up to 45 pot vessels, provided there is funding to support this pool size.
- The Council directed staff to submit comments to the agency on behalf of the Council on the EM Integration Proposed Rule, in line with the six areas highlighted by the consensus of the EM Workgroup.
The Council also heard in testimony that there is continued interested in applying EM to the trawl fisheries. The Council has previously issued a statement in support of pilot projects testing EM in the GOA trawl fisheries, in June 2016. The Council encourages proposals for testing EM in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, which will build largely on the ongoing use of EM for compliance monitoring of full retention in the west coast whiting fishery, to also consider how that work could apply to the use of EM in the GOA pollock fisheries, or even to bottom trawl fisheries in both areas.
Staff contact is Diana Evans.