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Potential Groundfish Sector Monitoring Providers: Update to Approval Process

December 09, 2022

Sector at-sea monitoring and electronic monitoring provider applications due January 9, 2023

We are making an important change to our approval process for at-sea monitoring (ASM) and electronic monitoring (EM) service providers. This year, and in the future, only new ASM and EM companies that are not currently approved to be a service provider, will be required to apply to provide ASM and/or EM services to groundfish sectors. ASM and EM companies that were approved for fishing year 2022 are no longer required to submit a full application in order to maintain their status and they will remain as approved ASM and/or EM providers as long as they continue to meet all service provider performance standards and submit updated information annually.  Currently approved service providers will still need to submit an updated proof of insurance, an updated Emergency Action Plan, and notify us of changes to staffing or operations as described in 50 CFR 648.11(h)(3) and (5) by January 9, 2023, to maintain their approval status. 

Application Requirements

New service providers that would like to provide either ASM or EM services to groundfish sectors, must submit a full application by January 9, 2023. New service provider applicants should specify in their cover letter whether they are interested in providing ASM services, EM services, or both. Service providers interested in providing both ASM and EM services should develop separate ASM and EM plans to meet the application requirements and service provider performance standards. Service providers seeking new approval should submit an application that includes a cover letter and the information and statements identified in the final regulations for Amendment 23 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan. We plan to publish our decisions on service provider approvals in the Federal Register prior to the start of the 2023 fishing year so that sectors and providers may negotiate ASM and/or EM contracts prior to the start of the 2023 fishing year. We will offer another opportunity for new service providers to apply for approval to provide ASM and/or EM services prior to fishing year 2024.  

We have created a document containing the applicable Amendment 23 regulations to guide you in preparing your application. The regulations at § 648.11(h)(3) describe the contents of the service provider application; § 648.11(h)(5) contains the responsibilities of monitoring service providers; § 648.11(i) contains the observer, monitor, and video reviewer certification requirements; and § 648.11(l) describes Northeast multispecies observer coverage. Your application should specify and address each regulation in § 648.11(h)(3) and (5) to help ensure it is complete.

The new procedures do not change our authority to decertify a service provider in accordance with the regulations at § 648.11(h)(7). A monitoring service provider that fails to meet the requirements, conditions, and responsibilities will be notified in writing that it is subject to removal from the list of approved monitoring service providers. Decertification of a service provider will be based on an evaluation of the service providers ability to meet the third-party monitoring provider standards in § 648.11(h)(5) and (6).

Dockside Monitoring Information

At this time, we are not soliciting applications to provide dockside monitoring (DSM) services related to the Maximized Retention EM program. We intend to continue to fund and manage the DSM program for the remainder of the 2022 and 2023 fishing years. In future fishing years, we intend to solicit applications to be an approved DSM provider when the DSM program transitions to industry-funding.  For more information on DSM for maximized retention EM, please contact Samantha Tolken at Samantha.Tolken@noaa.gov.

How do I apply?

Please use Kiteworks, a secure file-sharing service, to submit a full application to be considered as a new provider, or to submit updated information to maintaining approval, by January 9, 2023, to Samantha Tolken at Samantha.Tolken@noaa.gov and Kyle Molton at Kyle.Molton@noaa.govIf you have any questions regarding the application process, maintaining approved service provider status, or need help creating a Kiteworks account, please contact Samantha Tolken for assistance via e-mail, or (978) 675-2176.