At the core of the North Pacific fisheries management system is a comprehensive, industry-funded data collection and monitoring program that uses onboard observers and electronic monitoring (EM). Staff contact is Kate Haapala: Kate.Haapala@noaa.gov
In conjunction with reporting and weighing requirements, information collected by observers and EM systems provides the foundation for in-season management of Federal fisheries off Alaska, including tracking catch and bycatch. In January 2013, a restructured Observer Program was implemented. All sectors of the groundfish fishery, including previously uncovered sectors such as vessels less than 60 feet length overall (LOA) and the commercial halibut sector, are now included in the Observer Program. All vessels and processors in the groundfish and halibut fisheries off Alaska fall into one of two observer coverage categories: (1) full coverage, where vessels must have at least one observer onboard 100% of the time, and (2) partial coverage. In the partial coverage category, NMFS determines when and where to deploy observers or EM according to management and conservation needs, and based on a scientifically defensible deployment plan. Funds are provided through an industry fee equal to 1.25% of the retained value of groundfish and halibut in fisheries subject to partial coverage. More information on the current observer program is also available on the NMFS website’s observer page.
More recently, the Council has developed the use of EM as a tool within the Observer Program. In December 2016, the Council took action to implement EM as a monitoring tool in the partial coverage category for fixed gear groundfish and halibut. The Council authorized cooperative research and EM pre-implementation for longline vessels in 2015, adopted a pre-implementation plan that applied to longline and pot vessels in 2017, and fully implemented EM in January 2018 on 142 fixed gear vessels in the partial coverage category of the North Pacific Observer Program.
The Council has appointed a Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee (FMAC) and a trawl Electronic Monitoring Committee (EMC), to provide the Council with stakeholder advice on the observer program and electronic monitoring.
FMAC: The next meeting of the FMAC is scheduled for May 18-19, in Seattle, WA.
Trawl EM Committee: The next meeting of the Trawl EM Committee is scheduled for May 20, in Seattle, WA.
Formerly known as the ‘Observer Advisory Committee’
Partial Coverage Fishery Monitoring Advisory Committee (PCFMAC)
The PCFMAC last met January 28, in Seattle, WA
The Council created the PCFMAC in October 2019 to evaluate options to address cost efficiencies and low sampling rates in the partial coverage sector.
Trawl Electronic Monitoring Committee
Formerly known as the ‘Electronic Monitoring Workgroup’
Recent Newsletter Articles
- Observer Fee Analysis (10/11/2019)
- Observer Program Draft 2020 Annual Deployment Plan (10/11/2019)
- Trawl Electronic Monitoring (10/11/2019)
- Observer Program Annual Report (6/13/2019)
- Observer Fee Analysis (4/12/2019)
- Observer Annual Deployment Plan (12/14/2018)
- Observer Coverage on Vessels Delivering to Tenders (12/14/2018)
- Trawl Electronic Monitoring Research Plan (12/14/2018)
- Observer Program Annual Deployment Plan (10/12/2018)
- Observer Issues: 2017 Annual Report (6/15/2018)
Documents and Council Motions
Electronic Monitoring (EM)
- Council motion on Trawl EM Committee Report and 2019 Cooperative Research Plan
- EM Committee meeting: November 19-20, 2018, Seattle, WA. Report
- EM Committee meeting: August 23-24, 2018, Seattle, WA. Report
- Meeting materials: Agenda; Presentation about Seabirds; EMC Cooperative Research pre-meeting reading assignment; Electronic Technologies Implementation Plan Interim Update Document; Chute camera work in the Bering Sea and GOA; Review of the Cooperative Research Approach and EM Implementation Steps; Chute camera presentation; Kodiak salmon research presentation; Whiting presentation; Bering Rose update
- Council motion on Electronic Monitoring Workgroup Report (6/18)
- Council letter to NMFS regarding the draft EM Cost Allocation Procedural Directive document
- EM Workgroup meeting: May 15, 2018, Seattle, WA. Fixed Gear Report and Trawl Report (5/18);
- Meeting materials: Agenda; AMR EM Cost Analysis Memo; Observer Program Annual Report (Appendix B); NMFS Seabird Handling flyer; Presentation, The Chute Camera; Presentation, Monitoring Salmon Bycatch; EM Poster at AMSS 2018, C. Rose et al.; Summary of the whiting EM program; The original whiting EFP application; A copy of the F/V Lisa Melinda’s EFP; A copy of the F/V Lisa Melinda’s Vessel Monitoring Plan; Presentation, Electronic Monitoring in Alaska: Lessons Learned
- Presentation on EM prioritization; Council motion on EM priorities (2/18)
- Final 2018 Observer Annual Deployment Plan (includes EM deployment)
- 2018 VMP template
- 2018 longline and pot effort logbook forms
- Draft Statement of Work for EM contract; Council comment letter (10/17)
- EM Workgroup meeting: September 18, 2017, Seattle, WA. Minutes.
- 2018 VMP template, effort logbooks: pot, longline
- EM final rule (8/17), EM equipment specifications
- Council motion (4/17) on 2018 EM deployment and comments on the EM Integration proposed rule
- EM outreach meeting in Kodiak, March 30, 2017 (flyer).
- EM Workgroup meeting: March 28-29, 2017, Kodiak, AK. Minutes, including EMWG recommendation on 2018 EM deployment
- Final 2017 EM Pre-implementation Plan, 2017 VMP template, 2017 Longline and Pot effort logbook forms
- Presentation to Council on EM analysis. Council motion adopting EM for catch estimation (12/16)
- EM Integration analysis – Public Review Draft, November 2016.
- EM Workgroup meeting: November 28-29, 2016. Teleconference and SeaTac, WA. Minutes. Revised 2017 Pre-implementation Plan.
- EM Integration analysis – Initial Review Draft, 9/13/16; presentation; Council motion (10/16)
- Draft 2017 EM Pre-Implementation Plan – EMWG Recommendation to Council, 9/13/16
- EM Workgroup meeting: August 25, 2016. Teleconference. Agenda; Discussion draft of 2017 Pre-implementation plan in track changes; Subgroup notes: Deployment, Seabird, EM Hardware.
- EM Workgroup meeting: July 26-28, 2016. Anchorage, AK.
- Meeting materials: Agenda; Update on 2016 – PSMFC 2016 data tables – July update, longer June version, Budget update, AMR field report; EM analysis – SSC comments from June 2016, analytical outline, EM development process/Howard version/Falvey revised, EM implementation overview, catch estimation outline for analysis, paper on EM impact on human observer pool, EM violation detection document, draft EM hardware requirements, biological sample data, total catch data, <40 foot fleet profiles/port rankings, cost framework and RIR document, idea for logbook audit alternative; 2017 pre-implementation – 2017 funding outlook, draft 2017 pre-implementation plan; NW/NE presentation
- EM update at June Council meeting: SSC report (6/16), Enforcement Committee minutes (6/16).
- Final PSMFC 2015 report
- Final Opt-in letter for participation in 2017 EM program – sent to fleet on May 27, 2016
- EM Workgroup meeting: May 11, 2016. HIGHLIGHTS AND ACTION POINTS. Teleconference and in-person in Seattle, WA.
- Meeting materials: Agenda; NMFS 2016 Pre-Implementation Program Update; 2017 Funding Outlook, revised regional implementation plan table; Industry draft of 2017 pre-implementation, Draft 2017 EM Selection Pool Opt-in Letter; Enforcement considerations; adjustments to implementation timeline for EM analysis, and implementation process-mechanisms; Catch estimation options; performance metrics draft; Presentation on stereo camera work (and background paper on camera measurement accuracy).
- Council motions on EM analysis and 2017 pre-implementation (2/16)
- Update to EMWG on follow-up discussions from January meeting (2/16)
- Final 2016 EM Pre-implementation Plan (1/16)
- EM Workgroup meeting: January 11-12, 2016. Anchorage, AK. MEETING REPORT TO COUNCIL (on EM analysis and 2017 pre-implementation).
- Meeting materials: AGENDA; 2016 VMP cover letter, vessel scorecard, and draft effort logbook; 2016 EM video review protocols; Stereo camera presentation; Industry proposal for 2017 pre-implementation; draft EM alternatives for the analysis; EM Program Components; status of EM analytical projects; OLE enforcement considerations; Pot catch composition. Background: NOAA’s New England Cost Comparison study, and independent review of study; Enforcement precepts from December 2015 Council meeting – presentation, document.
- EM Workgroup meeting: November 2-3, 2015, Anchorage. Meeting materials: Agenda; 2015 ALFA EM exit survey; Vessel scorecard proposal, VMP draft cover sheet, example; EM integration analysis: Timing of analytical studies, Current draft of alternatives and purpose and need, Integrating EM into the Observer Program, Components of an EM Program; NMFS cost analysis simulations for 2016 EM program; Pot fishery demographics.
- NMFS confirmation letter to 2016 opt-in vessels
- Council motion (10/15) approving EMWG recommendation for 2016 EM Pre-implementation Plan, and Newsletter (pg 3); SSC minutes (10/15), and NMFS cost analyses as presented to the SSC
- EM Workgroup Meeting: September 8, 2015, teleconference. MINUTES, Recommendation for 2016 EM Pre-implementation Plan. Meeting materials: AGENDA, letter exchange on pot cod research plans: SWI, NMFS.
- Tweit presentation on NPFMC Electronic monitoring at Aug 2015 AFS EM Symposium
- EM Workgroup Meeting: July 30-31, 2015, Anchorage, AK. MINUTES, Working Draft pre-implementation plan coming out of meeting. Meeting materials: Agenda, PSMFC report on 2015 research, Feedback from ALFA exit surveys; 2016 opt-in pool, Demographic characteristics on max EM pool; Deployment options, Cost simulations, Vessel activity 2-4-4-2; Vessel monitoring plans; EFP option for rockfish retention, ADFG Commissioner’s Permit information; e-logbooks; Roadmap for using EM data in catch accounting; Draft budget; Pot cod Phase I Report, Presentation, Phase II Scope of work; Recap of EM analysis timeline, alternatives, and purpose and need; NFWF open source software proposals – Saltwater, SeaState.
- Wallace presentation on EM at May 2015 Lowell Wakefield
- NMFS letter to fleet to opt-in to the 2016 EM Pool
- EM Workgroup meeting: April 27, 2015. Minutes, Working Draft 2016 EM Program Plan, EM project tasking list, 2015 video review protocol. In-meeting materials: Agenda. Final PSMFC 2014 EM Fieldwork Report, PSMFC video review questions, Draft EM 2016 deployment strawman, initial NMFS comments on time-sensitive elements, Budget update from NMFS.
- SSC/Council review of Cooperative Research Plan (2/15): SSC minutes, Presentations: Operational Testing Fieldwork (McElderry), R&D Fieldwork (Wallace)
- SSC EM workshop: February 2, 2015. Agenda, Presentations – British Columbia (Stanley), Pacific Coast (Wiedoff), Northeast (Hooper), Previous EM studies (Wallace), AK Strategic and Implementation Plans (Mondragon and Rilling), Alaska Fixed Gear Demographic Overview
- Final Cooperative Research Plan for 2015 (1/15)
- Final Alaska Electronic Technologies Regional Implementation Plan (1/15)
- Meeting notes from Data Review Protocol subgroup (1/15)
- EM Workgroup meeting: January 12-13, 2015. Minutes, Agenda. In-meeting materials: PSMFC report on 2014 EM activities (1/7/15 draft), WORKING DRAFTS (EM Cooperative Research Plan and Operational Testing Plan), Seabird Monitoring Subgroup Notes from December 2014 subgroup discussion
- EM Workgroup meeting: November 19-20, 2014, and teleconference December 1, 2015. Minutes & projects table (11/14). Council discussion (12/14). In-meeting materials: Agenda, NPFA/Saltwater presentation on pot cod work (corrected), Recap of purpose and need, alternatives, and decision points, Graphic of integrated fieldwork-Council process-ADP, AMR Discusion Draft Monitoring Alternatives, Appendix, Draft cost framework, Draft outline for methods to get weight paper, Seabird handling presentation, reference list, Draft Operational Testing Plan for 2015, NPRB Stereo research proposal, Draft 2015 budget plan, PSMFC draft 2015 budget info, NMFS selection letter for vessels participating in Operational field testing, Draft Alaska Regional Electronic Technologies Implementation Plan
- Report on EM fieldwork in 2014 (10/14)
- EM Workgroup meeting: September 23-24, 2014 – Minutes & Project table (9/14); Council motion (10/14). In-meeting materials: 2014 fieldwork updates (Saltwater, PSMFC); Context/goals worksheet, types of EM tools; field research tracks (revised track 1 synthesis and Archipelago memo, Appendix C to tracks 2/3 for pot vessels; Track 4 logbook plan). In-meeting draft discussion documents: Standard configuration strawman/ fieldwork comparison, Logbook audit strawman/ fieldwork comparison. Background: Pacific Council draft EM analysis for trawl groundfish catch share program.
- EM Workgroup meeting: August 13, 2014 teleconference – Minutes (8/14); in-meeting materials: Track 1 study design, Tracks 2/3 study design, data protocol meeting summary/spreadsheet (corrected); PSMFC video data review summary
- EM Workgroup meeting: May 15-16, 2014 – Minutes & Research Plan (5/14), Council Motion (6/14)
- NMFS letter seeking volunteers for 2015 EM research (5/14)
- FInal EM Strategic Plan (4/14)
- Council motions appointing the EM Workgroup (4/14): Purpose & Objective, May agenda
- AFSC letter on Catch Reporting Standards for IFQ fisheries (2/14)
- Adhoc Industry EM meetings: Workshop (2/14); Teleconferences (3/5/14; 3/26/14)
- EM Cooperative Research Summary, Council Motion on creating an EM Workgroup (2/14)
- National EM Workshop, January 2014 – proceedings, website
- NMFS letter regarding the 2014 EM pilot project (9/13), OAC Report September 2013
- Strategic Plan for EM/ER in the North Pacific; Council motion, OAC report (6/13)
- NMFS Policy on Electronic Technologies (5/13)
- Draft EM Strategic Plan Outline, Presentation; Council motion, OAC report (4/13)
2012 and earlier
- OAC report (9/12), presentations: NMFS 2013 EM pilot project, Industry EM project report
- NMFS letters on development of EM 3/21/12, 5/31/12; Council comment on proposed rule 5/14/12
- OAC Reports: September 2011, March 2011
- NMFS discussion paper on EM in Alaska (1/11)
- EM Workshop Proceedings (7/08)
- Electronic Monitoring of Halibut Discards in GOA Rockfish Fishery report (5/08)
- NMFS Video Monitoring Discussion Paper (6/06)
Development of restructured program, 2008-2012
- NMFS’ proposed regulations for implementing the program 4/18/12; Council comment on proposed rule 5/14/12
- Proposed Regulations and Proposed Rule for Observer Program (Am86-76) (10/11); OAC Report September 2011; Council Motion (10/11)
- OAC Report, March 2011
- Council letter – Observer Funding Request (11/10)
- Public review draft analysis for observer restructuring, (10/10); OAC Report September 2010; Final Council motion on restructuring (10/10)
- Letter to NOAA requesting federal observer program funds 6/30/10
- Initial review Observer Restructuring EA (5/10); OAC Report May 2010; Council motion (6/10)
- Implementation plan for Observer Program Restructuring (9/09); OAC Report September 2009; Council motion (10/09) OAC Report January 2010
- Observer Restructuring Implementation Plan Outline (6/09)
- Observer program restructuring discussion paper (12/08), NMFS letter on recommendations (12/08); Council motion (12/08)
- BSAI and GOA Percent Observed Catch, 2004-2007 (5/08)
- OAC report March 2008