In late May of 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service issued its formal approval of the Conservancy’s Exempted Fisheries Permit application which authorizes up to twenty groundfish boats from Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to use video monitoring technology in place of costly human monitors. Justification for obtaining this permit relied heavily on experience gained through our three-year pilot program and marks the first time that groundfish fishermen are authorized to use this promising new technology. The full report from this program is available here.
One of our partner fishermen, Randy Cushman from Port Clyde, has agreed to run the cameras on 100% of his fishing trips this season, rather than the 14% currently required by regulation. Randy will be sharing all of his catch, discard, and fishing effort and location information with us and we will incorporate that video-verifiable data into a written report and share it with fishery managers and scientists for consideration in future groundfish stock assessments.