New Vessel Monitoring System Software for Woods Hole Group Equipped Vessels

November 18, 2019

The new software is required for trips after December 6, 2019.

The Thorium VMS unit installed on your vessel requires a software update to comply with recent regulatory changes and prepare for potential measures that must still be approved before going into effect.

The new VMS software will be released and available from your vendor (Woods Hole Group) on November 25, 2019. Please install and begin using the new software for trips after December 6, 2019. 

To obtain the new software, please call Woods Hole Group (WHG) at (240) 492-1944. The WHG Customer Support staff will walk you through the process of updating the software on your tablet. The process takes approximately 15 minutes. Before calling WHG, please fully charge your VMS tablet and connect your tablet to an internet Wi-Fi* connection.

*Note: To connect to Wi-Fi, open the ‘Thorium’ application, click on the ‘Internet’ icon near the top of the screen, and then select a Wi-Fi connection; enter the password as needed, and check (below the Wi-Fi name selected) to verify that it states “Connected”.   

Once you update the software on your tablet, reconnect the tablet to your Thorium VMS. Please confirm that your tablet has the new software loaded – on the Thorium main page, select “Forms”, then “NE Declarations”, and ensure that all ten declaration plans indicate version “v16”. Do the same by checking each of the NE “Forms” for version “v16”.

We recommend that you send a ‘Declare Out of Fishery – Transit’ declaration that alerts us that you have updated the new software. Please remember to send the appropriate activity declaration from your VMS prior to your next trip.

For any questions, please contact WHG at the above telephone number or via email at: support@woodsholegroup.com.

Quick Reference to VMS Software Declarations and Forms

Declaration

Report

Declare Out of Fishery 

Multispecies Catch

Herring

Multispecies Trip Start Hail

Mackerel

Multispecies Trip End Hail

Monkfish

Monkfish Trip Limit DAS Overage Adj.

Multispecies Common Pool

Scallop Daily Catch

Multispecies Sector

Scallop Prelanding Notification

Scallop - LAGC & Limited Access

Herring Daily Catch

Squid - Longfin & Illex

Herring Prelanding Notification

Surfclam & Ocean Quahog

Mackerel & Squid Daily Catch

Power Down

Mackerel Prelanding Notification

 

RSA & EFP Trip Start Hail

 

RSA & EFP Trip End Hail

 

 

 

Activity Declaration Macros – Summary of Changes

1. Multispecies and Monkfish

            a. Selection of the ‘Closed Area 1 Hook Gear Haddock SAP’ has been removed.

            b. A required question has been added that asks, “Will you fish under an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP)”. You must answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, you must also send the RSA/EFP Trip Start and End Hails in addition to any other VMS-required hails. 

2. Scallop

            a. For both general category (LAGC) and limited access, the special access area selections were updated.

           b. A required question has been added that asks, “Will you fish under a Scallop Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP)”. You must answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, you must also send the RSA/EFP Trip Start and End Hails in addition to the Scallop Pre-Landing Notification.

          c. A ‘Note’ was added following the required question, “Will Scallop Research Set-Aside (RSA) quota be harvested?” reminding you to also send the RSA/EFP Trip Start and End Hails in addition to the Scallop Pre-Landing Notification.  

Note: Please remember that the scallop declaration form has a top section when you are declaring a general category (LAGC) trip, and a bottom section when declaring a limited access trip. If you are declaring an LAGC trip, remember to scroll to the bottom of the form to answer the RSA and EFP questions.  

3.  Surfclam & Quahog

[Note: The Great South Channel HMA options in 3.a and 3.b are based on proposed measures that are subject to change. These options are not available until and unless implemented by a final rule. If the measures are changed or not implemented, a subsequent software update will remove these declaration options accordingly.]

          a. A trip selection was added for a “Mussel Trip in Great South Channel HMA”.

          b. For surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ trips only, a selection was added for the “Great South Channel HMA Exemption Areas”. Select this area or the “Georges Bank PSP Reopened Portion” only if you intend to fish one of these areas AND you have prior NMFS authorization.

          c. The scallop special access area selections were updated.

         d. A required question has been added that asks, “Will you fish under an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP)”. You must answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, you must also send the RSA/EFP Trip Start and End Hails in addition to any other VMS-required hails. 

Note: If you do not declare into a scallop access area, you may not land more than 40 lb of scallops. You may not land any scallops from an area after it has closed to LAGC IFQ vessels. Please remember to send the Scallop Pre-Landing Notification from sea for any trip in which you land scallops. 

4. Herring

A required question has been added that asks, “Will you fish under a Herring Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP)”. You must answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you answer ‘yes’ to this question, you must also send the RSA/EFP Trip Start and End Hails in addition to any other VMS-required hails. 

5. Declare Out of Fishery (DOF)

A selection (DOF-EFP) for fishing on an exempted Fishing permit (EFP) has been added. You must select your intended gear type.

Note: This declaration is intended only for trips targeting non-VMS species when fishing on an exempted fishing permit (EFP).

Reports – Summary of Changes

1. Multispecies Trip Start Hail

The ‘Closed Area’ sector exemption has been removed.

2. Scallop Pre-Landing Notification

The submission instructions were revised to add a requirement to submit this report “On all declared limited access and LAGC scallop trips”.

Reminder of VMS Requirements

1.  VMS Operator Instructions

These instructions are VMS vendor-specific and provide views and information about how and when to send your required declarations and reports. The instructions are available by contacting the VMS Team, and will soon be available on the VMS webpage.

2.  Contacting the VMS Team

If you have questions about this new VMS software or your VMS reporting requirements, please email or call us at (978) 281-9213, option 1. 

3.  Declaring Your VMS Trip

Please remember to declare your activity prior to leaving port from your VMS unit on every trip as required by 50 CFR 648.10. The trip start email that your VMS unit receives from us is not a confirmation of your trip declaration, but only provides the most-recent declaration received from your vessel. If you typically take the same type of trip, you may be able to use GARFO’s IVR feature that allows you to ‘Confirm the Use of a Previous VMS Code’ via a simple toll-free call. Please contact the VMS Team if you would like to learn more about this feature.