Federally-permitted for-hire fishing vessels in the Mid Atlantic are required to submit Vessel Trip Reports (VTRs) documenting all fishing activity and catches. In August 2016 the Council approved an omnibus framework which would require the use of electronic vessel trip reports (eVTRs) by charter and party vessels holding permits for Council-managed species while on trips carrying passengers for hire. The eVTR Framework is intended to increase the timeliness, accuracy, and quality of fisheries data submitted to NMFS while also reducing the burden on the charter and party fishing fleets. On September 11, 2017 NMFS published a final rule implementing the measures included in the framework.
Beginning March 12, 2018, all charter and party vessels that hold a federal permit for species managed by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (listed below) will be required to submit eVTRs for all trips carrying passengers for hire. These eVTRs must be submitted through a NOAA-approved eVTR software application within 48 hours of reaching port following the end of a fishing trip. This action is not a change in reporting requirements; it is an administrative modification to the method and timing for submitting VTRs.
Additional information for vessel owners and operators is available in the permit holder bulletin on the NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region website.
Contact: Jason Didden, (302) 526-5254, firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently Asked Questions
Adapted from the permit holder bulletin
Q. When will this regulation take effect?
A. This action will take effect on March 12, 2018. All vessel must submit eVTRs in compliance with these regulations for any trips taken on or after this date. Implementation is being delayed to provide vessel owners and operators time to obtain the software application and necessary training to comply with this regulation.
Q. Do eVTRs need to be completed prior to entering port?
A. Yes. The requirement to complete VTRs before returning to port will not change with this action.
Q. How can I submit my eVTRs? Where can I find out about NOAA-approved eVTR software applications?
A. These reports can be submitted through handheld electronic devices (i.e. tablet) or through an online webportal on a personal computer. There are free and pay options for any submittal method that you choose. These choices are listed below:
- Free: (1) eTrips
- Pay: (1) eLog, (2) Olrac/Dynamic Data Logger, (3) FACTS
- Free: (1) eTrips, (2) FLDRS
- Pay: (1) eLog, (2) Olrac/Dynamic Data Logger, FACTS
The GARFO website includes details and about these NOAA-approved eVTR software applications and contacts/support for eVTR problems. They can be found here.
Q. What if I don’t have an electronic device onboard my vessel that enables me to submit an eVTR at sea?
A: You must submit your VTR electronically, but if you do not have a suitable device onboard your vessel, you may record the information on a paper VTR and transcribe it onto an eVTR when you are in port. You must submit the eVTR no more than 48 hrs after entering port at the conclusion of each trip.
Q. I don’t know how to do eVTRs. What can I do to get training I need to complete and submit eVTRs?
A. NMFS, the Council, and approved contractors will work with vessel operators to provide training sessions on eVTR use and requirements. In addition, approved contractors provide online and/or in-person training on the use of their eVTR systems. The GARFO eVTR webpage (address above) lists contact information for eVTR contractors who can provide information on training for the approved software packages.
Q. Why is NOAA Fisheries making these changes?
A. The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries are working to reduce the reporting burden on fishermen while improving data collection procedures in order to obtain data that is more timely, accurate, and useful. The time delays and inaccuracies associated with current data collection in the charter and party fishing fleets reduce our ability to use the data in making management decisions. This action is intended to improve this data collection and improve the utility of the data.
Listed in reverse chronological order