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NOAA Fisheries Announces Changes to the VMS Reimbursement Program

April 04, 2022

FB22-019; Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin; For More Information, contact: Southeast For-Hire Electronic Reporting Program, 1-833-707-1632,

Key Message:

  • NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) manages a grant that provides cost reimbursement for the initial purchase of a required Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) transceiver unit.  The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission in collaboration with OLE distributes the allocated reimbursement funds to eligible, confirmed vessel owners and operators.
  • This grant, and any reimbursements under it, have always been subject to available funding.  Reimbursements are not guaranteed.
  • Due to current budgets, the funding and spending of the reimbursement grant has been examined closely and the following adjustments and clarifications have been made to the VMS reimbursement grant:
    1. Reimbursement requests made under the Southeast For-Hire Integrated Electronic Reporting (SEFHIER) program have been placed first in the prioritization queue, effective through April 30, 2022.  All non-SEFHIER reimbursement requests will be placed on hold until May 1, 2022.  On May 1, 2022, requests will be processed in the order they were received, beginning with non-SEFHIER requests that were put on hold.
    2. The maximum reimbursable amount for the purchase of VMS units in programs that allow cellular VMS units (aka enhanced mobile transceiver units – cellular or EMTU-C) is reduced from $3,100 to $950.  The reduction is based on average costs for a cellular VMS.  This new maximum reimbursable amount applies to any unit purchased on or after March 24, 2022.  The SEFHIER program allows for the use of cellular VMS units and, therefore, the reimbursement for all VMS units for the SEFHIER program is reduced to $950.  The maximum reimbursable amount for programs that only use satellite VMS (aka EMTU) units is under review. 
    3. Some vessels received Thorium-Triton satellite VMS units at no cost while participating in the third phase of the Gulf of Mexico Electronic Reporting for For-Hire vessels pilot program through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)/CLS America.  The Thorium-Triton is an approved VMS unit for the SEFHIER program.  Therefore, vessels that received this unit through the pilot program will not be eligible for reimbursement by the government for another VMS unit for that vessel.
  • Additional information about these adjustments can be found in the Law Enforcement Policy Directives, 06-102: Vessel Monitoring Systems Funding Prioritization Process.


Additional Information:

  • The list of type-approved VMS units can be found on the SEFHIER program webpage: VMS Type Approved Units
  • Information about the reimbursement program can be found on the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission website.
  • The Power Down Exemption form (PDE) can be found on the program website, in the Information for Gulf of Mexico Permit Holders section, under Important Forms.
  • Answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the VMS requirement and all aspects of the SEFHEIR program are available on the program website.


Please call our customer service hotline with any questions (we are available to help from 8:00 AM-4:30 PM, ET) at 1-833-707-1632, or email us at


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Other contacts:

Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707

            Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on April 04, 2022