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Status of Industry Cost Reimbursement for Atlantic Herring Industry-Funded Monitoring

September 07, 2023

This bulletin summarizes the reimbursement of industry costs associated with the herring industry-funded monitoring (IFM) program by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) for IFM years 2021 and 2022 (April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2023).

In February 2020, NOAA Fisheries published a final rule implementing the New England IFM Omnibus Amendment. This amendment identified the administrative costs associated with running an IFM program that NOAA Fisheries is responsible for paying, and provided that the fishing industry would be responsible for paying any other costs associated with complying with IFM coverage requirements.

On July 1, 2021, NOAA Fisheries began operating a new IFM program in the Atlantic herring fishery. This program was suspended on April 1, 2023, due to a lack of federal funding to cover NOAA Fisheries’ costs associated with implementing the program. During its April 2023 meeting, one New England Fishery Management Council member requested that NOAA Fisheries provide the Council with an estimate of how much money would have been needed to cover the agency’s administrative costs associated with implementing the herring IFM program. NOAA Fisheries provided a response to this question during the June 2023 Council meeting, including generally noting that the agency also reimbursed industry costs. A member of the public asked how much of the agency’s funds were used to reimburse industry’s costs while the program was operational in 2021-2022. We did not have the information on-hand to share with the public at that time, so this bulletin provides a response to that question.

During the program’s operation, NOAA Fisheries secured temporary, annual funding to reimburse industry costs associated with herring IFM. Reimbursements were accomplished through a contract with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Industry members submitted cost invoices to the Commission to request reimbursement.

Using these funds, NOAA Fisheries was able to reimburse 100 percent of the industry’s at-sea monitoring costs, all of which occurred in the 2022 program year. For vessels that opted to participate in the electronic monitoring (EM) and portside sampling exempted fishing permit in lieu of at-sea monitoring coverage during IFM years 2021-2022, NOAA Fisheries was also able to use these funds to reimburse 100 percent of the industry’s costs associated with portside sampling (e.g., upgrading portside sampling station infrastructure to comply with safety requirements, sampling costs associated with portside sampling, training for IFM service providers). These aggregated reimbursed industry costs are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Summary of Industry Costs Reimbursed during IFM Years 2021-2022.

IFM Year



Amount of Industry Costs Reimbursed



Percentage of Industry Costs Reimbursed



NOAA Fisheries secured additional temporary, annual funding to pay for the industry’s costs associated with EM (e.g., initial system installation, equipment maintenance, video review). These payments were made directly to the service provider via a contract with NOAA Fisheries. Because industry did not incur any of these costs, they did not need to be reimbursed.

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.