Electronic Monitoring (EM) Program Regulations for Bottom Trawl and Non-Whiting Midwater Trawl Vessels
This final rule implements electronic monitoring (EM) program regulations for vessels using groundfish bottom trawl and non-whiting midwater trawl gear in the Pacific Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program. This action allows vessels using bottom trawl and non-whiting midwater trawl gear to use EM in place of human observers to meet requirements for 100 percent at-sea catch monitoring. The action is intended to increase operational flexibility and reduce monitoring costs for vessels in the groundfish trawl fishery. The rule also revises some existing regulations for EM vessels and EM service providers to clarify and streamline EM program requirements.
The regulations implemented under this final action will be effective no earlier than January 1, 2024, and only after NMFS issues a public notice at least 90 calendar days before it will begin accepting applications for EM authorizations for the first year of the program.