Guide to Port-to-Port Transit Declarations for the Northeast Multispecies (groundfish) and Monkfish Fisheries
This summary provides a broad overview of transit restrictions and requirements for vessels fishing in the groundfish and monkfish fisheries. For more information on transit declarations or other general inquiries related to Vessel Monitoring Systems, please call the Office of Law Enforcement, Gloucester, Massachusetts Field Team at (978) 281-9213. If you have questions regarding fisheries rules and regulations, please call the Sustainable Fisheries Division at (978) 281-9315.
There are two types of Vessel Monitoring System declarations to use when vessels are out of the fishery in order to transit from port-to-port. These are “Transit without Product” (DOF-TST) and “Transit with Product” (DOF-TSP).
Transit Without Product (DOF-TST)
DOF-TST can be declared by any vessel, if the vessel has no fish product on board and will not be conducting fishing activity. DOF-TST trips might include activities such as transiting from port to port, retrieving lost gear, and conducting equipment testing/shakedown.
You do not have to complete a Vessel Trip Report for a DOF-TST trip.
Transit With Product (DOF-TSP)
DOF-TSP can be used by any vessel, if the vessel
- Is moving from port-to-port;
- Will not conduct any fishing activity while transiting; and
- Has no Days-at-Sea regulated fish or fish product on board.
In fisheries with Days-at-Sea and possession limit restrictions, participating vessels are allocated and charged Days-at-Sea. Species are Days-at-Sea regulated if:
- They have a landing or possession limit based on the number of Days-at-Sea that have been charged to the vessel; and
- The vessel is charged a day-at-sea to land that species.
For example, a groundfish vessel participating in the common pool fishery when the Georges Bank cod limit is 250 lb per Day-at-Sea, up to 500 lb per trip of Georges Bank cod, may NOT declare out of fishery and transit with any Georges Bank cod on board. It must be on a declared groundfish Day-at-Sea to possess Georges Bank cod, so it is ineligible to transit with product on board while declared out of fishery.
Fish or fish product is not Days-at-Sea regulated if retaining the fish does not require the vessel to be charged with Days-at-Sea. For example, a groundfish vessel participating in the Sectors program is exempt from the Days-at-Sea requirements of the common pool fishery. This vessel may participate in the groundfish fishery without being charged days-at-sea and without possession and trip limits on groundfish stocks. In this case, Georges Bank cod is not a Days-at-Sea regulated fish and the vessel may possess Georges Bank cod on a transit while declared out of fishery.
Some species, like skate, have an incidental limit and a higher Day-at-Sea limit. If a vessel possesses an amount of skate above the incidental limit, then it must be charged a Day-at-Sea to retain it, and the skate would be considered Day-at-Sea regulated. If a vessel has on board the incidental limit or less, it is not considered Day-at-Sea regulated, and the vessel may transit while declared out of fishery.
If you have questions about whether fish that you are targeting are Day-at-Sea regulated, please call the Sustainable Fisheries Division at (978) 281-9315.
You must complete a separate, no-effort Vessel Trip Report for a DOF-TSP trip. On each Vessel Trip Report, include the correct offloading port name, for each species (field 23).
Also, no vessel may declare into a fishery via a Vessel Monitoring System with more than one Days-at-Sea worth of Days-at-Sea regulated groundfish on board.
To determine if you meet the conditions to declare DOF-TSP or DOF-TST on your next trip, follow the decision trees below.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I send a DOF-TSP or DOF-TST declaration, if I qualify?
Vessel Monitoring System declarations, including DOF-TSP or DOF-TST, should be sent prior to leaving port.
I’m operating a sector vessel, and used a groundfish Days-at-Sea to harvest monkfish. I’ve offloaded all of my monkfish at port, but not my groundfish. Can I declare DOF-TSP to transit to a different port to offload my groundfish catch?
Yes. Monkfish over the incidental limit is subject to a Days-at-Sea restriction, but once you’ve offloaded, you no longer are in possession of monkfish. Assuming you have no other species onboard that are subject to Days-at-Sea restrictions, you may declare DOF-TSP
I’m operating a common pool groundfish vessel, and used a groundfish Days-at-Sea as normal in my fishery. Along with my groundfish, I caught close to my A Days-at-Sea limit of skate wings and returned to port. If I offload my groundfish, but would like to take my skate wings to a different port for offload, can I declare DOF-TSP?
No. Although you are no longer in possession of groundfish, you have an amount of skate wings that is greater than is allowed under the incidental limit. In order to possess skate over the incidental limit, you must be sailing on a Days-at-Sea. In other words, sailing under DOF-TSP with more than the incidental limit of skate would be a violation of the possession limit for that species.
I went fishing, came back into port, and partially offloaded some product. Afterwards, I transited with the remainder of my product, completed my no-effort VTR for that trip, and offloaded the remainder of my product with a federal dealer at the second port. Which trip’s VTR number goes on the dealer slip for the fish landed at the second port?
Dealer slips should use the VTR number from the portion of this trip during which the fish were caught.
Where do I find more information on my Vessel Monitoring System requirements?
If you have questions about observer requirements on your trips, please call the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program at (508) 495-2266