At the core of the North Pacific monitoring system is a comprehensive, industry-funded, on-board observer program, coupled with requirements for total weight measurement of most fish harvested. Used in conjunction with reporting and weighing requirements, the information collected by observers provides the foundation for in-season management and for tracking species-specific catch and bycatch amounts.
Staff contact is Diana Evans: 907-271-2815, email@example.com.
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. The program places all vessels and processors in the groundfish and halibut fisheries off Alaska into one of two observer coverage categories: (1) a full coverage category, where vessels must have at least one observer onboard 100% of the time, and (2) a partial coverage category. In the partial coverage category, NMFS determines when and where to deploy observers 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. Further information on the current observer program is also available on the NMFS website’s observer page.
The Council also supports the use of electronic monitoring (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. Under the current timeline, implementation of this action is planned for January 2018. The Council has authorized cooperative research and EM pre-implementation for longline vessels since 2015, and in 2017 has adopted a pre-implementation plan that applies to both longline and pot vessels.
The Council has appointed an Observer Advisory Committee (OAC) and a Fixed Gear Electronic Monitoring Workgroup (EMWG), to provide the Council with stakeholder advice on the observer program and electronic monitoring.
Newsletter Articles (starting in December 2016)
Next OAC meeting: September 19-20, 2017, 9am-5pm. AFSC, FMA Observer Training room downstairs (RM 1055), Building 4, Sand Point Way, Seattle, WA. Meeting materials:
- AGENDA updated 9/13 with time certain for discussion of Statement of Work
- Draft 2018 Observer Annual Deployment Plan
- Scoping paper on observer issues related to vessels delivering to tenders, 8/17
- Report from subgroup on options for increasing sample rates, 9/15/17
- Draft Statements of Work for Observer contract, EM contract
- Current draft of observer analytical task status
The Council created an OAC subgroup to meet in the summer of 2017, in order to address the Council’s April 2017 request to evaluate options to address low sampling rates in the partial coverage sector. The subgroup met by teleconference twice over the summer, to discuss progress on the workplan for the subgroup’s summer work. The subgroup produced a discussion paper for the OAC, which should be posted under the OAC meeting materials by 9/15/17.
Electronic Monitoring Workgroup – Fixed Gear
Next EMWG meeting: September 18, 2017, 9am-5 pm. AFSC, FMA Observer Training room downstairs (RM 1055) in Building 4, Sand Point Way, Seattle, WA. Meeting materials:
- AGENDA minor update 9/13
- Agenda item 1: Trip selection update, Budget update
- Agenda 2a: EM final rule, EM equipment specifications
- Agenda item 2c: Draft 2018 Observer Annual Deployment Plan (ADP)
- see Appendix D on page 52 for letter to fleet requiring all vessels to opt in by November 1st
- Agenda item 2d: 2018 VMP template, effort logbooks: pot, longline
- Agenda item 3: See Appendix B on page 20 of Draft 2018 Observer ADP
- Agenda item 4: Draft Statement of Work for EM contract
- Agenda item 5: background NMFS presentation from May 2017
- Agenda item 6: EM innovation presentation 9/18/17
2017 Pre-Implementation Plan documents:
Documents and Council Motions
- Council letter to NMFS re observer funding (6/17)
- Lead Level 2 Observer analysis Public Review draft (5/17), Council final MOTION (6/17)
- 2016 Observer Annual Report (5/17); Council MOTION (6/17); presentations – overview, deployment chapter, enforcement chapter
- OAC Report (5/17), Observer analytical status table incorporating OAC recommendations (5/17)
- Meeting docs: Presentation on 2016 observer sampling analysis presentation; Status of observer analytical tasks; Staff recommendation on changes to the observer disembark location analysis; Observer Insurance briefing; Observer retention survey briefing, fact sheet; Observer safety review briefing, fact sheet; Discussion on low sampling rates (Falvey draft, reorganized thoughts); Public comment (C.Hughes letter, Oceana letter)
- Council motion on evaluating options to address low sampling rates in partial coverage (4/17)
- Lead Level 2 Observer Initial Review (3/17); presentation of analysis; Council motion (4/17)
- Final 2017 Annual Deployment Plan (12/16)
- Lead Level 2 Observer Discussion Paper (9/16); Council motion (10/16)
- Draft 2017 Annual Deployment Plan, 9/12/16; presentation; Council motion (10/16)
- OAC Report (9/16)
- Council letter to NMFS re observer funding (7/16); NMFS response letter (9/16)
- 2015 Observer Annual Report (5/16), presentations – Rilling, Faunce (5/16). Council motion (6/16)
- OAC Report (5/16).
- Public Review Draft for Amendment to allow BSAI trawl CVs to select full observer coverage, Council motion (2/16)
- Final 2016 Observer Annual Deployment Plan (12/15)
- 2016 Observer Annual Deployment Plan: Draft (9/15), NMFS presentation, Council motion (10/15), OAC report (9/15)
- OAC report (9/15) on other analytical projects, documents: Observer insurance regulatory amendment update; Lead level 2 NMFS update, industry next steps, Council motion (10/15); Observer analytical projects priority update; OLE Violation trends
- BSAI trawl CVs full coverage initial review draft RIR/IRFA (9/15), Council motion (10/15), OAC report (9/15)
- GOA trawl 100% observer coverage discussion paper, OAC report (9/15) (Council took no further action, 10/15)
- 2014 Observer Program Annual Report (5/15), Council presentations (Rilling, Faunce), Council Motion (6/15)
- Supplemental EA for the observer program (5/15)
- Observer analytical projects priority and status (6/15)
- Observer insurance: Council letter to NMFS (7/14), NMFS response (5/15)
- Small CPs regulatory amendment analysis, supplemental information; Council motion (6/15)
- BS trawl CVs regulatory amendment: discussion paper, OAC comments (5/15), Council motion (6/15)
- OAC Report (5/14)
- Final 2015 Observer Annual Deployment Plan (12/14)
- 2015 Observer Annual Deployment Plan: Draft (9/14); NMFS presentation (10/14); Council motion (10/14); OAC report (9/14)
- Observer analytical project tasking (10/14)
- FLL LL2 observer letter to NMFS, NMFS response, Council motion (10/14)
- 2013 Observer Program Annual Report (5/14), Council Motion (6/14), OAC Report (5/14)
- Observers for Tendering Vessels Regulatory Amendment; Council Motion (6/14), OAC Report (5/14)
- FLL LL2 observer letter to NMFS (5/14); Council Motion (6/14), OAC Report (5/14)
- 2013 Observer Program Annual Report Outline, Council motion, OAC Report (2/14)
- Observer Regulatory Amendments Discussion Paper, Council motion (2/14)
- National EM Workshop, January 2014: Proceedings, website: www.eminformation.com
- 2014 Observer Annual Deployment Plan: Draft (9/13), NMFS ADP letter (9/13), Council motion (10/13), OAC Report (9/13)
- NMFS letter providing information on catch estimates and observer coverage in 2013 (9/13)
- Preliminary 2013 Observer Program Annual Performance Review, Council motion, OAC Report (6/13)
- 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)
- 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