South Atlantic For-Hire Electronic Reporting Amendment

South Atlantic For-Hire Electronic Reporting Amendment

Most Recent Council Actions: In December 2016, the Council approved the amendment for formal review by the Secretary of Commerce.

Background Information on the For-Hire Amendment

The Amendment proposes to implement the same reporting requirements for federally permitted charter vessels that currently exist for federally permitted headboats. Federally permitted charter vessels and headboats in the snapper grouper, dolphin wahoo, and coastal migratory pelagics (mackerel and cobia) fisheries along the Atlantic Coast would be affected. The Amendment is proposing mandatory electronic reporting for charter vessels, modifying the timing of headboat reporting by reducing the grace period allowed for submitting reports, and requiring charter vessels to report fishing location the same way headboats are currently required to report.

A federal permit is required for all for-hire vessels (charter and headboats) operating in the exclusive economic zone (federal waters, more than 3 miles offshore). Mandatory electronic reporting for charter vessels is expected improve the data available for management and stock assessments, improve the accuracy and timeliness of data collection, and allow fishery managers to better monitor landings and discards, and more accurately assess the impacts of regulations on the for-hire industry fishing in federal waters. Requiring electronic reporting by vessels could prevent data gaps and missed information. Reducing the grace period for headboat reporting would be expected to have a positive effect to fish stocks by providing data to the Southeast Fisheries Science Center more quickly, which can reduce the likelihood of exceeding the annual catch limits, thus reducing the likelihood of overfishing. It would also reduce the recall time period for those who wait until the deadline to report, which can improve data accuracy.

If you have a computer or access to a computer (for example in a library), the only cost would be your time to input the trip information; this time is estimated to be approximately ten minutes. The South Atlantic Council worked on a pilot project, in cooperation with charter and headboat vessel operators, to develop user-friendly software to make it easy and quick to enter the proposed trip reports and enable data entry from a mobile device.

What is proposed in the For-Hire Reporting Amendment?

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council) is proposing mandatory electronic reporting for charter vessels. The South Atlantic Council is also proposing modifying the timing of headboat reporting by reducing the grace period allowed for submitting reports.

Who would this affect?

The South Atlantic Council proposes to implement the same reporting requirements for federally permitted charter vessels that currently exist for federally permitted headboats. Federally permitted charter vessels and headboats in the snapper grouper, dolphin wahoo, and coastal migratory pelagics (mackerel and cobia) fisheries along the Atlantic Coast would be affected. A federal permit is required for all for-hire vessels (charter and headboats) operating in the exclusive economic zone (federal waters, more than 3 miles offshore).

Why is this needed?

Mandatory electronic reporting for charter vessels is expected improve the data available for management and stock assessments, improve the accuracy and timeliness of data collection, and allow fishery managers to better monitor landings and discards, and more accurately assess the impacts of regulations on the for-hire industry fishing in federal waters. Requiring electronic reporting by vessels could prevent data gaps and missed information

Reducing the grace period for headboat reporting would be expected to have a positive effect to fish stocks by providing data to the Southeast Fisheries Science Center more quickly, which can reduce the likelihood of exceeding the annual catch limits, thus reducing the likelihood of overfishing. It would also reduce the recall time period for those who wait until the deadline to report, which can improve data accuracy.

How many charter vessels are expected to be impacted and would there be a cost for electronic reporting?

There are currently 2,138 charter vessels in the South Atlantic with federal for-hire permits. There are also 76 headboats in the Southeast Region Headboat Survey, including 59 with some type of federal for-hire permit.

Cost: If you have a computer or access to a computer (for example in a library), the only cost would be your time to input the trip information; this time is estimated to be approximately ten minutes. The South Atlantic Council is working on a pilot project, in cooperation with charter and headboat vessel operators, to develop user-friendly software to make it easy and quick to enter the proposed trip reports, and enable data entry from a mobile device.

Proposed actions: The amendment contains actions/alternatives that would require weekly electronic reporting by charter vessels. The actions/alternatives are patterned after the recently implemented headboat electronic reporting requirements.

In September 2015, the amendment was revised to include ONLY South Atlantic charter vessels.

The Council also implemented a pilot project in cooperation with ACCSP to test the use of a tablet reporting system with 21 charter captains throughout the region.

Action 1: Modify Frequency and Mechanism of Data Reporting for Charter Vessels

  • Preferred Alternative 2. Require that federally permitted charter vessels, while operating as a charter vessel, submit fishing records to the SRD weekly, or at intervals shorter than a week if notified by the SRD, via electronic reporting (via NMFS approved hardware/and software). Weekly = Tuesday following each fishing week.
  • Preferred Sub-alternative 2a. Report all fish harvested/and discarded on all trips regardless of where the fish were caught.

Action 2: Modify Frequency and Mechanism of Data Reporting for Headboats

  • Preferred Alternative 2. Require that headboats, while operating as a headboat, submit fishing records to the SRD weekly, or at intervals shorter than a week if notified by the SRD, via electronic reporting (via NMFS approved hardware/and software). Weekly = Tuesday following each fishing week

Action 3: Modify Electronic Reporting Requirements to Require Vessel or Catch Location Reporting

  • Preferred Alternative 2. Require federally permitted charters vessels to report location fished electronically by manually entering latitude/and longitude in degrees and minutes or by clicking on an electronic chart.

GET INVOLVED –


SAFMC Process

  • Pre-Scoping:  March - June 2015
  • Scoping:  N/A
  • Public Hearing:  Jan/Feb 2016
  • Final Approval:  December 2016

NMFS Process

  • Secretarial Review:  
  • Rule Making:  April 2018
  • Implementation: