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What is EM?

The transition to sector management has placed increased monitoring and reporting requirements on individual vessels. At-sea monitoring uses onboard human observers to verify a vessel's catch, area fished, and discard rate. While the costs for this traditional approach have been fully funded since the creation of sectors in New England, the long-term plan is to transition these costs to the fishermen themselves. At an expected rate of up to $800 a day, these fees would place a significant burden on the already strained industry.

Electronic monitoring is an innovative and cost-effective alternative to at-sea monitoring. It replaces the on-board human observer with a suite of video cameras, computers, gear sensors, and GPS to record information about a vessel’s fishing activity. The video footage is reviewed onshore and can be used to collect data comparable to that collected by at-sea monitors. For example, managers can calculate catch and discard rates using species identification and fish length data captured by the video. 

For more on the Electronic Monitoring program at GMRI, contact Heather Cronin, Electronic Monitoring Project Manager: hcronin@gmri.org or (207) 228-1687