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Public Comment Wanted on Changes to the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery

Lucy Towers
24 October 2013, at 1:00am

US - NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposal that would establish funding responsibilities for the electronic logbook (ELB) program for the shrimp fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

The proposal would require Gulf shrimp vessel permit holders to pay for the costs of installing and maintaining the ELB units and the cost of data transmission through a wireless provider.

NOAA Fisheries would pay for software development, data storage, effort estimation analysis, and archival activities.

The preliminary cost estimate for vessel owners is $60/month for data transmission; however, vessel owners could qualify for group discounts. One-time installation is estimated to cost approximately $200.

Currently, NOAA Fisheries funds the deployment of ELB units on approximately 500 Gulf shrimp vessels through an outside contractor. The current contract will expire at the end of 2013 and the program will lapse without funding.

In addition, units using more modern and efficient technology are now available that would not require NOAA Fisheries to retain a contractor. To continue the program, regardless of the equipment used, industry would need to share in the cost of the program.

If outside funding becomes available, the current program could be continued for multiple years to allow a smoother transition to the new units, and cost sharing may not be needed.

NOAA Fisheries is also soliciting wireless providers that meet the minimum requirements contained in the proposal. If this plan is implemented, NOAA Fisheries will distribute a list of qualified wireless providers to the vessel permit holders in the Gulf shrimp fishery that are selected to participate in the program.

NOAA Fisheries must receive comments on this proposal no later than November 6, 2013.

You may obtain electronic copies of the proposal and background material from the NOAA Fisheries here.