Seafood Dealer Reporting – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Federally permitted seafood dealers that purchase federally managed species must report those purchases to GARFO.
Can a permitted vessel operator sell federally regulated catch to a non-permitted dealer?
No. A federally permitted vessel must sell federally managed species that they are permitted for to a federally permitted dealer regardless of where the catch was harvested (that is, in state or federal waters).
Can a permitted vessel sell non-federally managed species to a non-federally permitted dealer?
If a vessel sells non-federally managed species to a non-federally permitted dealer, do they still have to provide that dealer with their eVTR serial number?
What are my reporting requirements?
The basic rule is that all seafood dealers permitted by NOAA Fisheries Service Greater Atlantic Region must report all purchases and receipt of fish or shellfish electronically. There are exceptions for certain inshore species.
What species do I have to report?
If you have a permit that requires mandatory reporting, you must report all species purchased, including Bluefin Tuna. This includes purchases from vessels and harvesters that do not have a NOAA Fisheries permit and species not managed by NOAA Fisheries.
I mostly purchase species harvested inshore or managed by my state marine agency or not managed at all, do I have to report those purchases?
Your NOAA Fisheries permit from the Greater Atlantic Region requires that you report the receipt or purchase of all species, including Bluefin Tuna. You do not need to report the “inshore exempted species” as defined in CFR 648.2
What is the difference between the purchase of fish and the receipt of fish for commercial purposes, other than solely for transportation on land?
Purchase of fish involves the transfer of funds and receipt is for a commercial purpose involving the material handling of fish to add value to the product. Both types of transactions must be reported.
I only offload fish from a vessel for shipment to another dealer for sale. Am I required to report these landings?
If you are only offloading and not adding value, you do not have to report. Otherwise, if you are the first person to receive fish for commercial purposes, you are presumed to be a dealer for federal reporting purposes.
I only have a NOAA Fisheries lobster dealer permit. Do I have to report my purchases?
Yes. Effective January 1, 2010, federally permitted lobster only dealers must report all purchases and receipt of fish or shellfish electronically (on a weekly basis), the same as other federal dealers.
Can I report some species purchased to NOAA Fisheries and others to the state?
In-shore species can be reported to the state. Otherwise, species purchased or received must be reported under NOAA Fisheries rules. State agencies will also have access to these data. We continually work with states to help ensure that SAFIS will meet all dealer reporting requirements and reduce reporting burden.
I'm a surfclam dealer and in the past only had to report clams. Do I have to report all purchases?
Yes. The rules for clam dealers are consistent with those for all other federally permitted dealers; however, you must use the system designed for ITQ Surf Clams and Ocean Quahogs and use SAFIS for all other species. This includes the purchase of inshore clams from federally or non-federally permitted vessels, and any bycatch of other species (with the exception of the “inshore exempted species” defined in CFR 648.2).
What should I do if a vessel does not provide me with the trip identifier (eVTR number)?
Tell the vessel operator/owner that you cannot purchase or receive the fish.
If I do not want to report electronically, can I drop my federal permit?
You may drop your permit at any time by requesting this in writing from the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Permits Office. However, you must maintain a permit to purchase federally managed species from federally permitted vessels.
If I drop my federal permit can I get it back?
A new permit may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region Permits Office by completing and submitting an application.
If my federal dealer permit lapses, will I be dropped from SAFIS?
No. Once you are in SAFIS, your account will be maintained regardless of your permit status.
How do I report electronically?
There are several methods. These include: 1) A web-based interface (SAFIS). 2) File transfer of data from your current computer system (accounting software or Trip Ticket). 3) File transfer from an approved state partner reporting system.
I'm already using SAFIS through a state initiative. Will I keep my same user name and password?
Yes. You can use the same username and password provided that your dealer permit is under the same participant ID.
Will I receive instructions and training material?
Yes, you should have received information on how to get started with electronic reporting when you received your permit in the mail. If you have not, contact your local field office and they will provide copies.
I have a computer system that already captures trip level information. Can I use this system to meet my reporting requirements for electronic reporting?
Yes, as long as all of the required data elements are available in the system and a standard file can be output. SAFIS has the capability to accept files from a dealer's own computer system. There are some HMS reporting elements that cannot be uploaded and must be manually entered through SAFIS.
Will this reporting meet my state reporting requirements?
This system is being coordinated with many Greater Atlantic states. It is the intention that the system will fulfill all reporting of landings with the exception of the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Program. However, you should continue to submit your state reports in the prior format unless/until you have received notification from your state that the electronic reports are acceptable.
Who has access to my data?
Your individual reports can only be viewed by authorized federal and state employees and the authorized contract personnel who work with our data systems. Aggregate data (such as “total pounds of haddock landed in Massachusetts”) can be viewed by the public, but dealer-level data are not available on any public sites.
Can I use SAFIS in my local library?
Yes. SAFIS is a true web-based system and can be accessed anywhere you have a high speed internet connection.
I have a Macintosh computer. Will SAFIS work on this?
SAFIS does work on the Apple Macintosh but is not supported and may not display information as it will on a PC. On a Mac we recommend using the Google Chrome browser for SAFIS. Safari is not recommended. Testing is only done on PCs.
My computer is running Windows95. Will SAFIS work on this?
SAFIS may not work on machines running Windows95 or Windows ME and is not recommended on older computers for security purposes.
Do I need to logon to SAFIS in order to use file upload?
Yes. There is a button on the SAFIS homepage that initiates the file upload procedure.
Can I add a species or size category that is not on the SAFIS list?
No. Contact the DER Help Desk at (978) 281-9212 and they will get this added for you.
If a vessel or fisherman is not on the SAFIS list, how do we add these?
Contact the DER Help Desk at (978) 281-9212 and they will be able to add them for you.
Can I leave the fisherman's name blank?
NOAA Fisheries does not require dealers to report the fisherman's name. However, many states do. Since this system is intended to meet all reporting requirements, a state may require that the fisherman’s name be entered before they will accept a report. If your state does not, then you may use the "unknown" entry.
What happens if I lose my connection or the system goes down while I am entering a report?
The system will keep any records that have been saved. If a report has not been saved, it will be lost and will have to be reentered. If a report has been saved before you have completed all information for that report, you should retrieve that report when you log back on to SAFIS and complete it.
I have two locations where I buy fish. These are under the same NOAA Fisheries permit number. Do I have to have two accounts?
No. Simply report each purchase under your dealer number. The port landed field will identify where the fish were landed. However, your state marine agency may require that two state permit numbers be reported.
If I buy fish from a vessel's trip that lands in two different ports, how do I report?
You need to make two individual reports – one for each port landed.
I cannot find all of the names of the fish I purchase in the SAFIS list.
For several species we have only the standard common name in the system. If you have a question about the correct common name for a particular species, contact your local field office. We will enter additional common names as we become aware of them. If the species itself is not on the list, it can be added.
Down the road, can I review data that I put in years ago?
Yes, all data will be archived and can be retrieved at any time.
How Can I Get Further Assistance?
For more resources, refer to the following web page Seafood Dealer Reporting in the Greater Atlantic Region.