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Electronic Logbook for the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Permit
Providing data on Gulf shrimp fishing effort is critical to shrimp and finfish stock assessments, meeting endangered species monitoring requirements and informing marine spatial planning to support a vibrant Blue Economy.
What is the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery Electronic Logbook?
This electronic logbook (ELB) is a simple time-stamped unit that records and stores a fishing vessel's location at 10-minute time intervals using the global positioning system. From these time-stamped locations, vessel speed between points can be used to determine vessel activity—for example, stopping, towing (fishing), or traveling between towing points. These data are used to estimate the location and fishing effort for every fishing trip.
Why are electronic logbooks used?
The Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery is one of the nation's most economically valuable fisheries, and the most valuable fishery in the Gulf. Accurate estimates of fishing locations and time can be used to estimate effort for the shrimp fishery. These effort estimations are critical for the management of shrimp and finfish populations as well as for estimating endangered species bycatch in the Gulf of Mexico.
Before the development of electronic logbook technology, NOAA Fisheries port agents conducted fleet interviews to estimate shrimp fishing effort which was time consuming and did not provide precise spatial and temporal effort. The current electronic logbook project automates collection of effort data for the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery.
The data collected through the program are essential to:
Assessing status of shrimp populations
Providing fishing effort data
Providing estimates of juvenile red snapper mortality
Providing estimates of incidental sea turtle takes
Key fishing grounds can be identified to inform marine spatial planning for offshore wind energy, aquaculture, artificial reefs, or marine protected areas.
History of the electronic logbook in the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery
In 2004, LGL Ecological Research Associates, Inc., the shrimp industry, and NOAA Fisheries joined together to create a program that innovated a simple, but effective electronic logbook for the shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Mexico. Since 2007, selected commercial shrimp vessels have been required to participate in the electronic logbook program. Selected vessels were met at the dock to retrieve an SD card, which stored the data from the electronic logbook unit. In 2013, 3G cellular capabilities were integrated into the electronic logbook unit, which changed the name to cellular electronic logbook. With cellular integration, the data were automatically uploaded to a NOAA server when the vessel was within non-roaming cellular range. This made the process more efficient by reducing handling costs and making the information available to analysts more quickly. As of December 2020, the obsolete 3G cellular technology was phased out and the program returned to manual retrieval of the SD card. Since June 2021, NOAA Fisheries has been mailing program participants new SD cards to swap out with the one currently in their electronic logbook. The Gulf of Mexico Fisheries Management Council is currently considering alternatives for electronic reporting of location information that will replace the current ELB system, which no longer transmits data electronically.
Who is required to have an electronic logbook?
Current regulations require participation by Gulf Shrimp Fishery Permit holders who have been selected to participate in the program. The annual renewal or transfer of the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Permit is contingent upon compliance with this regulation for selected permits.
Current Electronic Logbook Program participant responsibilities
Twice a year (in January and June), NOAA Fisheries will mail a new SD card to swap out with the current SD card. Participants will get a prepaid, addressed envelope to send back the SD card, which must be returned to the NOAA Fisheries when requested. Renewal of the Gulf Shrimp Fishery Permit requires that reporting of electronic logbook data is current.
If selected, compliance with the Electronic Logbook Program is mandatory. The device must be powered on at all times the vessel is in operation. Failure to comply with this and other requirements of the program can result in non-renewal of the permit. There is also the potential for law enforcement action and civil penalties.
If the electronic logbook device is not working properly or if the antenna has been damaged and needs to be replaced, contact us.
NOAA Fisheries appreciates the cooperation and involvement of the shrimp industry in this electronic logbook program. Contact us with any additional questions or concerns.
Oceanic whitetip shark. Hawaiʻi longline fishermen use leaders to connect weighed branch lines and baited hooks. A new rule prohibits steel wire leaders in the Hawaiʻi deep-set longline fishery, starting May 31, 2022. The rule aims to increase the survival of hooked oceanic whitetip sharks caught as bycatch in the Pacific Islands region. Credit: Andy Mann