In 2020, NOAA Fisheries published a final rule implementing the New England Industry-Funded Monitoring (IFM) Omnibus Amendment. Among other measures, the Amendment established a new IFM program in the herring fishery when federal funding is available to cover NOAA Fisheries cost responsibilities above the costs for Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) coverage. Under the herring fishery IFM program, vessels issued a herring permit for Category A (All Areas) or Category B (Areas 2/3) must secure at-sea monitoring coverage from a NOAA Fisheries-approved service provider on declared herring trips that are selected for IFM coverage. The coverage target is 50 percent of declared herring trips, and is calculated by combining IFM and SBRM coverage. The costs associated with the IFM program are split into two categories: NOAA Fisheries administrative costs; and industry sampling costs. Declared herring trips began getting selected for IFM coverage on July 1, 2021.
When there is no Federal funding available to cover NOAA Fisheries cost responsibilities above SBRM coverage costs in a given year, then no IFM program operates during that year. NOAA Fisheries does not have a permanent source of federal funding to cover the agency’s administrative costs associated with the herring IFM program in 2023. Therefore, beginning on April 1, 2023, NOAA Fisheries will not administer the IFM program in the herring fishery and declared herring trips will not be selected for IFM coverage until federal funding becomes available to cover NOAA Fisheries’ cost responsibilities. If and when such federal funding becomes available, NOAA Fisheries will work with the New England Fishery Management Council to evaluate how and when to resume the program, and future decisions about the timing of the program will be announced before coverage resumes.
Herring vessels will still need to comply with the notification and reporting requirements for the fishery, and the need to carry a Northeast Fishery Observer Program (NEFOP) observer when selected for SBRM coverage, while the IFM program is suspended.
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