For over a decade, Fishermen’s Alliance members have been piloting the use of cameras on their fishing vessels, instead of taking human at sea monitors. We currently partner with The Nature Conservancy, the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, and fishermen from Northeast Fishery Sectors V & XI, the GB Cod Fixed Gear Sector, the Maine Coast Community Sector, and the Sustainable Harvest Sector, as well as National Marine Fisheries Service staff from GARFO and NEFSC, to develop electronic monitoring in the region. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Nature Conservancy have provided funding that will allow up to 29 groundfish vessels to use EM in fishing year 2018.
EM documents groundfish discards and verifies fishermen’s logbook data. The project is refining protocols to allow EM to be widely used in the region, as well as developing expanded uses for EM data and providing important fishery statistics. Additionally, we are exploring how 100% EM coverage can provide business flexibility for fishing businesses, like access to closed areas.