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Observer Requirements for At-Sea Processors

April 25, 2007

New England Fishery Management Council

(Handed out at May 3rd Pelagics meeting)

Date: April 25, 2007
To: Pelagics Oversight Committee
From: John Pappalardo
Subject: Observer Requirements for At-Sea Processors

At the February 2007 Council meeting there was a discussion of how fish transferred to at-sea gerring processors such as the ‘American Freedom’ might be monitored to determine bycatch levels. Of particular concern to Council members was the potential for bycatch of haddock should the catch of Georges Bank herring increase.

As a result of this concern, the staff was asked to provide background information on observer requirements for at-sea processors in other U.S. fisheries. I think the most appropriate forum to initially discuss the issue in light of the background information is at a Pelagics Committee meeting. To that end, the staff has included the discussion of the issue on the agenda of the May, 3 2007 committee meeting and is prepared to present the background information to help us understand how at-sea processors are monitored in other regions.

In light of the Council’s concern, I hope that the committee will carefully consider the needs to have accurate information about landings and discards of both target and non-target species as the Council continues to make progress in managing all species. Although, I expect that many of the details of an adequate monitoring program might differ substantially from those in other regions and that it would take some time to develop a program appropriate to our region, I hope that the Pelagics Committee will give the Council guidance on whether to move forward in developing such a program.

Additional information

For information on the presentation given by NEFMC staff and discussion at the Committee meeting, contact Chris Weiner at:

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