Funding Dockside Monitoring for New England Groundfish Sectors in FY 2010

In Amendment 16 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan, the New England Fishery Management Council laid the framework for shifting from effort controls to output controls in the groundfish fishery by greatly broadening the scope of sector management. In addition to paving the way for 17 new groundfish sectors (for a total of 19), the amendment institutes new provisions for their operation.

Among those provisions is a requirement for close monitoring of fishing activity. Managing groundfish stocks with output controls requires accounting accurately for fish that count against a sector’s allocation – both landed and discarded fish. To that end, Amendment 16 stipulates that when sectors begin operating in May 2010, 50% of their landings will be monitored at the dock by a certified third-party. By 2012, sectors must also institute at-sea monitoring.

In an effort to smooth the transition to sector management and defray some of the initial costs that the industry will bear, GMRI requests funds to help approved groundfish sectors pay for dockside monitoring during fishing year 2010. An additional component to the grant request is to provide funds to assess the effectiveness and efficiency of dockside monitoring. If funding permits, GMRI seeks to offset costs for sectors developing at-sea monitoring in 2010 as well. GMRI will not provide monitoring services – it will be the sectors’ responsibility to establish an acceptable monitoring program and negotiate contracts with third-party vendors. A final component of the request is for direct funding to sectors to cover other start-up costs to ensure sectors are fully operational by May 2010.