Commercial fishing vessels with federal permits for MAFMC and NEFMC-managed species are required to submit Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) documenting all fishing activity and catches. Electronic Vessel Trip Reports (eVTRs), which allow direct entry of data by the vessel operator using an electronic device, have been available as an option for all Northeast Region federally permitted fisheries since 2013. The MAFMC and NEFMC are considering requiring commercial vessels with federal permits for species managed by either council to submit their VTRs electronically. This action is intended to change the submission method and would not modify existing requirements regarding data types being collected. This action may also change the eVTR submission deadline depending on the alternative chosen. The goal of the action is to increase the timeliness and accuracy of fisheries data submitted to NMFS.
Currently, there are several approved applications that can be used to submit VTRs electronically, including free options. A list of all approved eVTR applications and contact information for each system can be found here: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/aps/evtr/electronic/index.html.
Karson Coutre, Fishery Management Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org, (302) 526-5259
Framework Meeting 1 occurred at the April 2019 Council meeting. After considering Advisory Panel and Fishery Management Action Team recommendations, the Council approved a range of alternatives, including a no action alternative, an alternative to require electronic submission of VTRs, and four alternatives that could change the VTR reporting deadline to 24 hours, 48 hours, 72 hours, or weekly. NMFS indicated that they would likely have an extended implementation deadline of up to a year after the final rule if the Council selects an alternative to require electronic reporting. The NEFMC received an update on this framework action including the MAFMC approved alternatives at their April Council meeting. This action would affect all vessels with federal commercial permits for species managed by the MAFMC; however, the Monkfish and Spiny Dogfish plans would only be affected if joint action is taken with the NEFMC. At their June meeting, the NEFMC initiated a joint eVTR action with the MAFMC and chose to expand the framework action to include all NEFMC-managed fisheries. The MAFMC and NEFMC are working together to develop action documents and outreach.