Grant will aid pre-implementation of EM

A grant received by the North Pacific Fisheries Association will build a data collection infrastructure in advance of implementation of electronic monitoring for Alaska’s pot cod fishery.

The $595,047 grant to NPFA from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is to be administered by Saltwater Inc., an Anchorage firm that deploys marine biologists as fishery observers in Alaska, Hawaii and West Coast observer programs, collecting data for government agencies, research entities and harvesters.

This is the third grant related to electronic monitoring efforts awarded to NPFA. The association received a NFWF grant for the 2012-2013 season to develop electronic monitoring systems on halibut boats of less than 60 feet.  A second grant from 2013 to 2015 was awarded to develop electronic monitoring systems for under 60 foot fixed gear cod boats.

This project focuses on implementation of a voluntary electronic monitoring program for the Alaska pot cod fishery, and is designed to implement electronic monitoring on a larger scale to support full implementation of electronic monitoring for that fishery in 2018 or 2019, said Abigail Turner-Franke, program coordinator for NPFA.

The project fits with the Alaska Region Electronic Technologies Implementation Plan’s priority focus on electronic monitoring for small, fixed gear vessels, she said.

Although the Sept. 20 deadline for National Marine Fisheries Service electronic monitoring selection pool registration has passed, NPFA may be able to accept more pot cod vessels on a case-by-case basis depending on funding and available space within the program, she said.  Smaller vessels that may have difficulties accommodating an observer onboard have priority, but otherwise acceptance is on a first come, first serve basis, she said.


The overall goal of the electronic monitoring and reporting grant program is to integrate electronic technologies into fisheries management to improve the quality, accuracy and timeliness of fisheries data.

In all NFWF awarded 10 grants for 2016 totaling more than $3.35 million, to be matched by nearly $3.23 million in additional support from grantees.