New England Council Evaluating Groundfish Monitoring Program
The New England Fishery Management Council is currently evaluating the groundfish monitoring program and considering changes to improve the monitoring system. Any changes would be put in place through Amendment 23 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan.
With Amendment 23, the Council’s goal is to improve documentation of catch. The objectives are to:
- Determine total catch and effort of target or regulated species for each sector and the common pool; and,
- Achieve a coverage level sufficient to minimize the effects of potential monitoring bias to the extent possible while maintaining as much flexibility as possible to enhance fleet viability.
Amendment 23 Development Timeline
The Amendment 23 development timeline is provided below. This calendar may be changed and updated throughout the development process so check back for updates. You can also check the Council calendar for upcoming events related to Amendment 23 development.
|January 23, 2020||Groundfish Committee meeting to review Amendment 23 analyses and potentially select preferred alternatives.|
|January 29, 2020||New England Fishery Management Council reviews Amendment 23 and votes whether to submit Draft Environmental Impact Statement to NMFS for publication and public comment. The Council may identify preferred alternatives.|
|Spring 2020||Public Comment Period and Public Hearings on Draft Amendment 23 Environmental Impact Statement.|
|April 14-16, 2020||New England Fishery Management Council meeting, update and summary of public hearings if available.|
|Groundfish Committee meeting to review public comments and select final preferred alternatives for Amendment 23.|
|June 23-25, 2020||New England Fishery Management Council final vote on alternatives for Amendment 23 and whether to submit the Final Environmental Impact Statement to NMFS for publication and public comment.|
|Fall 2020||Public Comment Period on Final Amendment 23 Environmental Impact Statement and comment period on Amendment 23 proposed rule.|
|Winter 2021||Final decision on Amendment 23 and final rule published.|
Recent discussions about the development of Amendment 23 have revealed that industry members want more information about our current monitoring system. The groundfish monitoring program is a complex system, and changes to this program have important implications for the industry.
NOAA Fisheries has recently completed interviews and a survey of stakeholders to determine:
- What aspects of our current monitoring program, analyses, or processes industry members want more information on.
- How industry members would like us to communicate with them. Do they prefer workshops, websites, printed materials, question and answer sessions, or another method?
Stakeholder feedback was used to develop a list of action items to improve communication about the groundfish monitoring program and the development of Amendment 23.
|Recommended Action||Objective||Timeline||Progress and Resources|
|Develop a webpage dedicated to Amendment 23, that includes links to pertinent Council webpages, Amendment 23 updates, and schedules.||Simplify access to materials.||Ongoing||Complete. This webpage will be updated as needed.|
|Provide a monthly calendar of all meetings, events, and deadlines for comments 10-14 days prior to the start of a new month||Simplify information about participation opportunities and development process.||Ongoing||Complete. A timeline has been added to this webpage (please see above) and events will be updated as needed. To get email notifications about Amendment 23 events sign up on our webpage.|
|Provide updates and next steps to fishermen after each Council meeting and Groundfish PDT meeting.||Keep constituents up to date on progress with development.||Short Term||In progress.|
|Develop an Amendment 23 mailing list with a sign-up on the new Amendment 23 webpage.||Keep constituents up to date on progress with development. Simplify access to materials. Simplify information about participation opportunities and development process||Complete||Complete. Sign up for Amendment 23 specific email updates and text alerts.|
|Involve sectors in A23 planning efforts by forwarding council summaries and agendas.||Keep constituents up to date on progress with development. Simplify access to materials. Simplify information about participation opportunities and development process||Ongoing||In progress.|
|Ensure all communications provide ample time for feedback and clearly display the close date for comments.||Simplify information about participation opportunities and development process||Short Term||In progress.|
|Publicly profile or promote fishermen/crews/vessels who are participating in pilots or studies and solicit photographs that showcase EM equipment and real-life implementations.||Improved transparency and clarity about programs, data, and information.||Ongoing||
In progress. See profiles we have recently published on our website:
|Develop a transparent process to explain how coverage levels and trip limits are determined annually for the common pool and sectors.||Improved transparency and clarity about programs, data, and information.||Short Term||In progress.|
|Provide ample (30+ days) notice regarding coverage levels and trip limits before the season begins.||Improved transparency and clarity about programs, data, and information.||In Progress||This is part of the Amendment 23 timeline.|
|Provide information to fishermen on potential monitoring services including the type of monitoring (EM/ASM), names of monitoring companies, etc., to consider during the Amendment 23 development process.||Keep constituents up to date on progress with development.||Medium Term||When we announce EM standards for 2021 we will announce provider requirements and applications. We will broadcast approved provider information.|
|Provide a cost-benefit analysis of the options being considered in Amendment 23.||Improved transparency and clarity about programs, data, and information.||In Progress||A draft can be found in the latest Draft Environment Impact Satatement and the monitoring cost-efficiency study.|
|Consider developing a dashboard to track the implementation process of each of the final outreach actions.||Increase Agency accountability.||Ongoing||Complete. This table will be updated when the status of an action item has changed, or new resources are available.|
|Use flow charts and infographics to break down complex processes or concepts (coverage level methodology, the amendment process, stock assessment methodology, etc.)||Improved transparency and clarity about programs, data, and information.||Ongoing||In progress.|
How do I get involved?
Email List/Text Alerts
Sign up for email updates for information on upcoming meetings and opportunities for involvement. First, enter your email address. On the next page, you will be able to choose from several subscription topics. Scroll down to New England/Mid-Atlantic Updates and choose "Groundfish Amendment 23 Updates."
To sign up for text alerts, choose "SMS/Text Message" in the subscription type box, enter your phone number on the next page, and then choose "regional updates" under subscription topics. Scroll down and choose "Groundfish Amendment 23 Updates."
Please contact us with any questions.
Mark Grant, Amendment 23 Lead, Plan Development Team Member
Emily Keiley, Amendment 23 Support, Fishery Dependent Data for Stock Assessment Working Group
Claire Fitzgerald, Amendment 23 Support, Electronic Monitoring