Meet the Analysis and Program Support Division: Providing Assistance to Fishermen

September 21, 2020

The Division provides permitting, reporting, and data services. Its staff supports more than 4,000 commercial fishing vessels, 9,000 operators, 1,000 seafood dealers, and 1,100 for-hire and recreational vessels along our coast from Maine to North Carolina

Fishing boats in Gloucester Harbor.jpg Fishing boats in Gloucester, Massachusetts

The Analysis and Program Support Division is made up of multiple branches, all willing to lend a hand to fishermen as needed! 

Need a Permit?

Our Permits and Limited Access Programs Branch assists all commercial and for-hire captains fishing for federally managed species. We help them obtain and renew the permits required to fish in compliance with federal regulations. Seafood dealers need permits to purchase seafood harvested from federally permitted vessels along our coast. Our permitting group also works with fishermen to obtain authorizations that enable specialized fishing, use of gillnets, and the operation of federally permitted vessels. In total, this group issues about 10,000 permits and authorizations annually.

Where Do Your Reports Go?

All federally permitted commercial and for-hire vessels report their catch through paper or electronic submission of fishing vessel trip reports for each trip they take. These reports are very important since they provide data that informs fishery science and management decisions. Our Data Processing & Quality Control Branch receives and processes approximately 100,000 vessel reports each year. In addition, seafood dealers electronically submit nearly 500,000 reports on their purchases from federally permitted vessels.

Informing Fishery Management

For the next step, our Monitoring & Analysis Branch examines catch and landings reports to evaluate and inform our fishery management programs. This group monitors fishing quotas, which is the amount of each fish species that a fisherman can sustainably harvest each year. They provide statistical analysis to project when and if in-season management actions are needed to ensure that the total allowable catch assigned to each species is not exceeded.  

To assist fishermen and other fishing industry members with regulatory changes and updates, staff from our Port Programs Branch are strategically stationed in ports throughout the region. Seven Port Agents from Maine to North Carolina provide information on a wide array of topics, answer questions, and provide technical support with certain programs. The other focus of this group is port sampling. Our Port Samplers collect commercial catch data to inform our stock assessment processes.

Meet Our Dedicated Staff Supporting Our Regional Fishermen

Bill Duffy, Port Agent in Southern Massachusetts

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Port Agent Bill Duffy at outreach booth.

Bill and six other Port Agents along the New England and Mid-Atlantic coast provide local assistance to fishermen and other industry members. A Port Agent for six years, Bill’s office is in New Bedford. He travels to Boston and other areas in southeastern Massachusetts to talk with commercial and recreational fishermen, seafood dealers and processors, and other partners. He provides updates on fishing rules, resolves technical issues, and answers any questions. Bill enjoys this personal interaction and the new things he learns from these conversations. 

Bill's local presence enables him to get to know fishermen and hear firsthand about any issues so they can be addressed in a timely way. Currently, Bill is helping fishermen report their catch using tablets and smartphones instead of on paper. 

In his spare time, Bill is an avid fisherman, beach-goer, and chef; he spends as much time as possible outdoors.

Vincie Burgess, Permitting Office

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GARFO Staff Vincie Burgess

The daughter of a commercial fisherman, Vincie has been working with us for 21 years and wears many hats. She is an expert in helping vessel owners and captains obtain and renew the permits they need to go commercial, for-hire, and recreational fishing in our region. 

When Vincie is not processing applications or helping customers, she’s checking on the status of application and supporting other staff. “I’m always impressed by the way Vincie can jump from one activity to the next, and she’s always willing to help a fisherman or someone in the office,” says one of her co-workers. Vincie is a go-to person who can process any permit application and answer many questions. If she doesn’t know the answer, you can be sure she will find the person who can. 

Vincie enjoys listening to fishermen stories and her favorite part of her job is being able to help them get out there and make a living. Outside of work, Vincie is an active member of both the Moose Club and Amvets Post 32 to support their civic works.

Jay Hermsen, Statistician

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APSD Staff Member Jay Hermsen

Jay analyzes data sets like the number of each species that is harvested over time to ensure that there are enough fish to continue to reproduce. His analyses are used to support our science and management decisions to ensure the sustainability of the managed fish stocks in our region.

We recently implemented new ways for fishermen to report their catch from their smartphones and tablets, Jay is helping fishermen transition from paper to electronic reporting. He spends a lot of time talking with fishermen about the best reporting method for each of them and demonstrating how to use it. 

Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his 11 and 9-year old sons' baseball teams, and chasing his very active 3-year old toddler. 

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on September 25, 2020