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2024 West Coast Region Electronic Monitoring Program: Updates and Reminders

November 30, 2023

Reminders and updates for the upcoming West Coast Region groundfish electronic monitoring (EM) program

This notice provides reminders and updates for the upcoming West Coast Region groundfish electronic monitoring (EM) program, which will begin on January 1, 2024.  The current EM exempted fishing permits (EFP) expire on December 31, 2023.  All vessel owners who choose to use EM in lieu of human observers to fulfill their at-sea monitoring requirements in 2024 must first be authorized under the new program.

EM Vessel Participants

Vessel owners must complete an annual online application for EM authorization.  There are two deadlines for applications: October 1, 2023, to receive EM authorization by January 1, 2024; and February 1, 2024, to receive EM authorization by May 1, 2024 (start of Pacific whiting season).  However, NMFS will continue to accept and process applications as soon as practicable during the inaugural application periods.

The vessel EM authorization application is a two-phase process:

  • Initial application. Vessel owners submit the online application form and tentative fishing plan.  The application portal is available here.
  • Final application.
    • Once the initial application is approved, vessel owners select their EM service provider.  NMFS certified EM service providers for 2024-2025 (available here). Vessel owners should reach out to providers before confirming their selection.  
    • The EM service provider completes the EM system certification form, and provides the form to the vessel owner to upload to the application.  
    • The vessel monitoring plan (VMP) is created and submitted to NMFS for approval.  VMP guidelines, templates, and other components are available on our website. Work with your EM service provider and NMFS to submit your VMP.

If your initial application is approved, an email notification will prompt you to move to the final application steps outlined above.  Once the final application is approved, you will receive your EM authorization.

EM Service Providers

Service providers will be notified via email when a vessel has selected them as their service provider.  Service providers are not required to submit to NMFS contracts or agreements between the provider and vessels contracting services. Service providers will complete the EM system certification form and will collaborate on the VMPs.

The EM website also includes the latest version of the EM Program manual (published November 2023).  This version incorporates updates from the upcoming EM regulatory package and provides clarification to EM service providers on data processing requirements. 

Certified EM service providers performing video review services with data delivery or technical questions may contact Neil Riley with the Northwest Fishery Science Center at (206) 861-2707 or Neil.Riley@noaa.gov.

EM Discard EFP Application

NMFS announced in the Federal Register the receipt of an EFP application that seeks exemption from certain EM retention requirements.  NMFS is requesting public comment on the application.  The public comment period closes on December 1, 2023.

EM Reimbursement Program

Appropriations received to support West Coast EM Video Review will be dispersed through a reimbursement program run through Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.  A 90% partial reimbursement will be provided initially for the review rates in the EM program manual and then full reimbursement will occur later in the year, as funds allow.  The rate used for 2024 will be $100 per haul fished.  Video review requested by vessels or needed beyond the rate levels identified in the manual, may be eligible for reimbursement if funds allow but are not guaranteed to be so.


Contact Justin Kavanaugh, EM Program Coordinator, at (206) 526-4140 or justin.kavanaugh@noaa.gov.

Last updated by West Coast Regional Office on November 30, 2023

Electronic Monitoring