Maine is known for its dramatic coastline and working waterfronts, including the largest fishery in the country. New England Marine Monitoring partners with fishermen up and down the coast to improve fisheries-dependent data collection. Technology makes this process cheaper than traditional methods. Human monitors usually cost between $500-$900 per observed sea day, compared to our target rates of between $192-$409 per day, depending on the fishery. Beyond helping these vessels meet federal guidelines at a lower cost, we also provide useful data back to the industry.
Driving mandated monitoring costs down is critically important for fleets along Maine's coast, but equally important is the increased accountability and data collection that result from electronic monitoring (EM) systems. Some species of fish landed in Maine have long been overfished; improved data is needed to better manage these fisheries. New England Marine Monitoring is providing a desperately needed, cheaper monitoring solution in the short term and high quality, unbiased fisheries data sets to help plan for the long-term economic and ecological resilience of our region’s fisheries.
Our cooperative research with fishermen, NOAA, NGOs, research institutes, and universities have attracted global attention and is often a reference for other regions looking to create positive change in their working coastal communities.
Our company works closely with the Maine fishing industry by physically working on their boats and collaborating on systems design with vessel owners. The relationship within the community does not stop there. We are also working on initiatives to use the video and metadata from the system to enhance the marketing of Maine seafood. We have a dramatic coast worked by incredibly resilient communities; we are thrilled that our imagery and data can help to tell their story to those who aren’t lucky enough to witness it every day. New England Marine Monitoring is honored to help these hard-working communities who have supported the Maine coast for generations. Our technology turns these stories into verifiable datasets that will help Maine fisheries operate sustainably for generations to come. New England Marine Monitoring’s increased dedication to AI solutions will help deliver electronic monitoring as an affordable tool for Mainers and, ultimately, help preserve working waterfronts.
Around the globe, regulatory drivers are the main reason for the EM boom. New England has had very low regulatory pressure towards EM thus far, but the shift is on its way. The New England Fisheries Management Council is undergoing Amendment 23 to the Groundfish Fisheries Management Plan. This amendment is focused on assessing current fishery monitoring systems and proposing alternatives moving forward. New England Marine Monitoring management is following this process closely, and a decision on the alternatives is likely to be made in 2020, with implementation scheduled for 2021.
It is almost certain that increased fisheries monitoring will be an outcome, and one likely alternative includes monitoring levels increasing from 20% to 100% of fishing trips. This is an important shift for fishermen who are responsible for paying much of the monitoring costs. With EM as a less expensive option, many fishermen will decide to use technology over traditional human observers. This is also an important shift for New England Marine Monitoring as we look to provide services to as many vessels as possible. New England Marine Monitoring is aiming to have our AI solutions in place by the time these regulatory pressures are realized in 2021, to allow for unbeatable pricing and to ensure market capture. This amendment has also laid the groundwork for EM to be an officially approved monitoring type for several fisheries. These pending regulations will drastically change the incentives for fishermen to use EM and should drastically increase the EM market in New England.
To comply with federal regulations, fishermen in the Gulf of Maine are monitored by fisheries observers — people who ride along with fishermen to collect …
Our Fisheries Technical Assistance Program (FTAP) provides a range of technical, convening and innovation services to New England’s commercial fishing industry to promote the long-term …