Beginning in April 2020, vessels issued Category A or B Atlantic herring permits will be required to pay for at-sea monitoring coverage on trips we select for industry-funded monitoring coverage. Industry-funded monitoring coverage is in addition to observer coverage required by the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM). The industry-funded monitoring coverage target for the herring fishery is 50 percent of trips and will be calculated by combining SBRM coverage with industry-funded monitoring coverage. This additional coverage will help reduce uncertainty around catch estimates in the herring fishery, especially catch tracked against haddock and river herring/shad catch caps.
Some herring vessels will have the option of being issued an exempted fishing permit (EFP) to use electronic monitoring and portside sampling instead of at-sea monitoring coverage to satisfy industry-funded monitoring requirements in 2020. We are working with interested vessels to develop the terms and conditions of the EFP for 2020.
We are maintaining the requirement that midwater trawl vessels must carry an observer to fish in the Groundfish Closed Areas, but beginning in April 2020 vessel owners will have the option of purchasing observer coverage to access Groundfish Closed Areas.
We will be providing herring vessels with detailed instructions on how to comply with industry-funded monitoring requirements, including notification, coverage, and monitoring service provider requirements.