NOAA Fisheries partnered with the New England Fishery Management Council to host a National Electronic Monitoring (EM) Workshop in November 2019 and partnered with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission to host a National EM Workshop in February 2020. Both workshops provided a platform for different regions and fisheries to present updates on their program successes and challenges, and for all participants to discuss the development and implementation of EM programs. Please visit the links below to read the final report and watch video recordings from the workshops.
Fisheries in the U.S. and around the world are increasingly utilizing EM to improve the timeliness, quality, cost effectiveness, and accessibility of fishery-dependent data collection by incorporating cameras, gear sensors, and electronic reporting (ER) into commercial fishing operations. Realizing the growing interests, NOAA Fisheries sponsored two national EM workshops in 2014 and 2016 to raise awareness of EM programs and emerging technologies, provide a platform for collaboration, and provide guidance on developing EM policy and best-practices. Since that time, more than a dozen projects and regional programs have been implemented on approximately 500 commercial fishing vessels. While EM technology has advanced, challenges remain as these programs expand and mature. Given the interest and success of the previous two workshops, and to encourage greater local participation, NOAA Fisheries hosted a workshop on each coast. Approximately 300 fishery managers, scientists, fishermen, technology service providers, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders attended the workshops.
The 2019 and 2020 National EM Workshops engaged and educated new participants and fostered an environment for collaboration across different fisheries and stakeholders regarding the opportunities and challenges associated with EM. Fishermen had a platform to share their perspectives and to hear what is working in other fisheries and what needs improvement. The workshops offered best practices from different regional EM programs and included presentations and panel discussions that addressed national EM challenges such as:
- Technology development and integration to support fishermen
- Expanding applications and uses of data from EM programs
- How fishermen and other stakeholders can get involved in EM program and policy development
- Reducing costs while increasing fishermen and stakeholder benefits
- Using EM to increase data collection and support science-based decisions
In addition to presentations and panel discussions on the topics listed above, each workshop hosted an evening vendor exposition for vendors to share EM tools, applications, and experiences with workshop participants. EM users were able to express their experiences and needs with vendors. This vendor expo introduced managers and fishermen to currently available EM tools and provided an opportunity for conversations between vendors and stakeholders about practical aspects of EM implementation costs and benefits with the aim to move the industry towards more beneficial technologies.
If you have further questions, please contact Brett Alger, NOAA Fisheries Electronic Technologies Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, (301) 427-8217.