Electronic Monitoring Project

Fishing is a 200 billion-dollar industry in the United States, providing 1.7 million jobs. The Gulf of Mexico Reef Fishery is a multi-species fishery that is managed using single-species and multi-species Annual Catch Limits. This commercial fishery includes 42 species and 800 vessels. Currently, the observer program only covers 1% of randomly assigned vessels. Electronic monitoring is being assessed in multiple fisheries on its viability to supplement the observer program.

The Mote Electronic Monitoring Project is working to develop electronic monitoring in the Gulf of Mexico fishery and evaluate its suitability to capture critical at-sea fishery data within the horizontal and vertical longline fleets. The researchers are specifically monitoring the fishing effort, location, total catch per event and trip, as well as species that are kept and discarded, or are bycatch. Working closely with fishermen who have volunteered to be a part of the program, they install 3 to 4 cameras on the fishing vessel to video record the fish and bycatch that are being brought aboard which are then reviewed. 

This project is supported by the Environmental Defense Fund.

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