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NOAA Fisheries Announces Dates and Locations for Installation of Electronic Monitoring Systems

December 23, 2014

The December 2, 2014 final rule for Amendment 7 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (Amendment 7) requires that an owner or operator of a commercial vessel permitted or required to be permitted in the Atlantic Tunas Longline category and that has pelagic longline gear on board that vessel have installed by the NMFS-approved contractor, operate, and maintain an electronic monitoring (EM) system on the vessel.  The requirement that such vessels must have an EM system installed and collect video data in order to fish will be in effect as of June 1, 2015, and therefore NMFS is scheduling dates and locations between January 1, 2015 and June 1, 2015, for installation of and training on the operation of EM equipment. 

NMFS has identified funds to pay for the equipment and its installation for all of the currently eligible vessels (the 135 vessels with Atlantic Tunas Longline permits that are eligible to receive Individual Bluefin Quota (IBQ) shares pursuant to Amendment 7) prior to June 1, 2015.  The vessels were identified in certified letters NMFS sent on December 4, 2014.  This will ease the regulated community’s burden associated with the new monitoring requirements.   Funding for future equipment and installations, and installations of EM on vessels other than the 135 initially identified vessels is uncertain, as is installation after June 1, 2015, even for eligible vessels. 

Vessel owners should make plans for their eligible vessel(s) to be in one of the ports specified in Table 1 during the relevant time period.  Vessel owners and/or operators should call the EM technicians at the NMFS-approved contractor, Saltwater Inc., at 1-800-770-3241, in order to schedule EM installation and training.

Prior to EM Installation:  Vessel owners and/or operators should also discuss necessary logistics with the EM technicians (time, precise location, etc.).  Prior to the scheduled date of installation, vessel operators must purchase a fitting for the pressure side of the line of the drum hydraulic system, as was specified in the final rule for Amendment 7.  The fitting may be either “T” or inline, with a female ¼ threaded “National Pipe Thread (NPT) port, to enable connection to the pressure transducer (a component of the EM system).  Before the scheduled date of installation, the NMFS-approved contractor may contact vessel operators in person or by phone to ask questions to help them  determine power supply, vessel configuration, and other considerations necessary to facilitate installation of the  EM system and  ensure the system’s compatibility with the vessel.

On the Date of EM Installation:  The vessel owner and/or operator should be present on the day of installation to facilitate equipment installation and provide access to the vessel and information to the EM technician about the power supply and other vessel infrastructure, and other information as needed

The dates and locations of the EM installations are listed below in Table 1.  These dates and locations were chosen based several factors to reduce the potential for the installation schedule to interfere with fishing trips and to minimize the distances vessel may have to travel.  In order to provide flexibility for the location of a limited number of installations, NMFS will announce an additional location in a future notice (“To Be Determined”).

Table 1. Dates and Locations of Electronic Monitoring Installations.

Date Range (2015)

Name of Port

January 16 through 25

Cape Canaveral, Florida
Panama City, Florida

February 14 through 23

Cape Canaveral, Florida
Dulac, Louisiana

March 16 through 25

Wanchese, North Carolina
Beaufort, North Carolina

April 14 through 23

Wanchese, North Carolina
Dulac, Louisiana

May 11 through 17, and 19 through 25

To Be Determined
Barnegat Light, New Jersey

 

Other installations: If a vessel owner and /or operator of an eligible vessel is not able to coordinate installation on one of the dates and locations listed in Table 1, the vessel operator should contact the EM technicians at Saltwater Inc. at 800-770-3241, in order to determine whether another mutually-agreed upon location and date before June 1, 2015, is feasible for installation and training.  NMFS cannot guarantee that an alternate date will be feasible, given the limited funding and time available to complete installation of, and training on the operation of the EM equipment.  Therefore, vessel owners and/or operators should make a concerted effort to make plans to adhere to the EM installation schedule in Table 1.

This notice is a courtesy to HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery.  For further information, contact Thomas Warren or Brad McHale at 978-281-9260,  Craig Cockrell at 301-427-8503, or Jennifer Cudney at 727-824-5399.  This information will also be posted on the HMS website at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/documents/fmp/am7/index.html.

 

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