Supplement to : Application of electronic vessel trip reporting by the New England fishing industry

Steve Eayrs, Gulf of Maine Research Institute

ABSTRACT

In recent years GMRI and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) have provided training and equipment to fishermen in New England to enable their adoption and use of electronic vessel trip reports (eVTRs). These replace those prepared on paper by fishermen, a timely and costly process that is also prone to greater data inaccuracies. To date, we have provided over 30 fishermen across a range of sector and common pool vessels in the northeast groundfish fleet with equipment, software, training, and support, to test the application of eVTRs.

This proposal seeks to continue the application of eVTRs by the fishing fleet. Review of our efforts to-date indicates that eVTR is a plausible method of reporting vessel activity; however without funding to continue this initiative we have been constrained in our ability to increase the number of fishermen reporting electronically. This includes extending this opportunity to charter and party boat captains that have already indicated interest in this option, as well several lobster fishermen (those with a federal groundfish permit).

We propose to continue to provide support for existing eVTR users, including provision of software upgrades, hardware replacement, and ongoing support and training. It also includes increasing the number of users by approximately 10 individuals. Without project funding it is highly likely that individuals, particularly in response to hardware failures, or they find software upgrades too challenging or time consuming, will simply revert to paper VTRs. Moreover, the likelihood they will return to eVTRs at a later date is slim given fears of inconsistent funding and technical support. We also propose to embark on a significant promotion campaign to promote the use and application of eVTRS and encourage additional users to consider electronic reporting. We will complete this work over the period August 1, 2016 to July 31, 2018.