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Industry Funded Scallop Observer Program Call-in Requirements

Reminder to all vessel owners and captains of the call-in requirements and regulations concerning the Industry Funded Scallop Observer Program.

It is a requirement that all Limited Access and Limited Access General Category Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) permitted scallop vessels fishing in federal waters call the automated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) phone system at 508-495-2100 to declare their intent to fish, prior to the start of their trip(s). Upon calling in, all vessels will receive a confirmation number that must be retained. If selected for coverage, vessels must provide this confirmation number to the observer service provider companies so a record of contact can be logged for us. Within 24 hours of calling the IVR, vessels will receive an automated email on their Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) units indicating observer selection or waiver status. If desired, this email can also be sent to additional email addresses which should be provided to the NMFS Scallop Vessel Call-In Coordinator (VCIC). If you do not receive a confirmation message on your VMS within 24 hours please call the VCIC at 508-560-3550.

Information for General Category IFQ Vessels

General Category vessels are required to call the IVR on a weekly basis to declare their intent to fish during the upcoming calendar week (Sunday to Saturday). Please note that only one call is required to declare your intent to fish any day(s) during that calendar week. We require that all vessels notifying under a General Category IFQ permit do so through the call-in system at least 72 hours prior to the start of the calendar week. Vessels must call the IVR by Thursday in order to notify us of their intent to fish during the upcoming calendar week, beginning the following Sunday. Calls received after the calendar week has started will not be “back-dated”. If you are unsure of your plans for the upcoming week, you should call the IVR if there is a chance you will fish, in order to fulfill vessel notification requirements.

If selected for observer coverage, the owner, operator, or vessel manager must contact the observer service providers with at least 48 hours of notice to arrange for observer deployment. You may call the provider companies in any order you prefer, however, in order to be considered compliant all provider companies must be contacted prior to a selected LAGC vessel sailing without an observer. As required by regulations, the providers maintain records of all calls from vessels requesting observer services, and we will confirm that attempts to obtain observer coverage have been made for each vessel selected. If you fish without an observer and have not contacted all three provider companies, this will be considered a failure to notify and will be reported to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement. You will also be considered non-compliant if you fish without fulfilling the notification requirements as VMS trip records and IVR calls are frequently checked.

Information for Limited Access Vessels

Limited Access vessels are required to notify at least 72 hours prior to, but no more than 10 days before their intended sail date. Please note that vessel notifications for sail dates less than 72 hours out can NOT be entered. If requiring a fishing area change for an existing confirmation number, or if the trip is being delayed more than 48 hours past the initial sail date due to weather, mechanical issues, etc., please refrain from calling a new trip in through the IVR and instead, call us at 508-560-3550.

If selected for observer coverage, the owner, operator, or vessel manager must contact the observer service providers with at least 48 hours of notice to arrange for observer deployment. You may call the provider companies in any order you prefer, however, in order to be considered compliant all provider companies must be contacted prior to the vessel sailing without an observer. As required by regulations, the providers maintain records of all calls requesting observer services, and the VCIC will confirm that attempts to obtain observer coverage have been made for each vessel selected. If no observers are available through any of the providers, Limited Access vessels must contact the VCIC to request a formal waiver prior to departing. The VCIC will verify that all three providers have been contacted before issuing any waivers. If you fish without an observer and have not contacted all three provider companies this will be considered a refusal and will be reported to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement. You will also be considered non-compliant if you fish without fulfilling the notification requirements as VMS trip records and IVR calls are frequently checked.

Current Industry Funded Scallop Observer Providers:

  1. A.I.S. Inc. (774) 200-1688
  2. East West Technical Services Inc. (860) 910-4957
  3. Fathom Research LLC. (508) 990-0997

Questions? 

Jessica Blaylock, Industry Funded Scallop Lead, (508) 274-7393

Richard Chidsey, Scallop Vessel Call-In Coordinator, (508) 560-3550

Tyler Staples, Industry Funded Scallop Assistant, (508) 560-3550

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on April 30, 2021

Observer Program