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Electronic Monitoring Program
Electronic Monitoring Program

Objective: To test the viability of Electronic Monitoring (EM) as a source of data to document individual accountability of catch and bycatch in the North Pacific and Pacific coast fisheries.

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) launched the Electronic Monitoring (EM) program in 2012 in anticipation of the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) considering EM as a compliance monitoring tool in the Pacific Trawl Rationalization Program. In 2014, PSMFC expanded its EM program to work with the National Marine Fisheries Service - Electronic Monitoring Cooperative Research and Implementation Program in their work with the small boat fixed gear fleet.

The EM program has deployed EM systems on volunteer fishing vessels fishing bottom trawl, fixed, and midwater trawl gears off the coast of California, Oregon, Washington and Alaska. Each vessel has had one of two types of EM systems deployed in the fishery so far; 1. Archipelago Marine Research’s system or 2. Saltwater, Inc.’s system.

EM systems consist of closed-circuit cameras, drum rotation and hydraulic pressure sensors, a control box and monitor, and a GPS receiver. These collect video imagery and fishing activity information on a hard drive that is sent to PSMFC which currently stores, reviews and analyzes the EM data as it is retrieved from participating vessels.

Logbooks to collect skipper provided discard data have been developed. The data are entered into an Access database housed at PSMFC. These logbook data can be compared to catch and discard data gathered from video. Video data are also being compared to data gathered by the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program and Alaska dockside monitors.

In 2014, PSMFC started running studies to address the inherent difficulty of identifying species and estimating weight of discards from video imagery. Since Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) is currently allocated to IFQ species and species groupings, the weight of discarded fish is debited from vessel accounts at a species or grouping level. Therefore, the species and weight of discarded catch is crucial information for quota management on the west coast where selective discarding of IFQ species is allowed. For more information contact Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission at 503-595-3100 or email: EM_Support@PSMFC.org