Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology and Sea Day Schedule

The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires all fishery management plans (FMP) to “establish a standardized reporting methodology to assess the amount and type of bycatch occurring in the fishery.” In 2007, the New England and Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Councils, in coordination with NOAA Fisheries, developed a standardized bycatch reporting methodology (SBRM) for all FMPs in the Northeast Region through an overarching amendment to these FMPs, known as the SBRM Omnibus Amendment. After this amendment was implemented, a legal challenge was filed (Oceana v Locke) in Federal court. The U.S. District Court initially found in favor of the Government on all counts. However, that ruling was appealed by the plaintiffs, and the U.S. Court of Appeals issued an opinion that found fault with one element of the amendment—called the prioritization process- and ordered that the amendment be vacated and remanded to the agency for further proceedings. This meant that the amendment was no longer in effect, and would need to be revised and re-adopted by the Councils.

In response to the Court’s order, the Councils formed a new fishery management action team (FMAT) consisting of staff from the New England Fishery Management Council, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and NOAA Fisheries’ Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and Northeast Fisheries Science Center, to develop alternatives that would address the deficiencies identified by the Court. The FMAT developed new alternatives for the prioritization process, and incorporated some of the suggested improvements that were identified in a 2011 review of the SBRM process.

Following a review by its ad hoc Standard Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) Committee, the full New England Fishery Management Council approved the SBRM Amendment with the exception of several motions that addressed technical issues, at its April 2014 meeting. Prepared by staff at NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, the action was an effort to determine whether the methods and processes previously used to estimate fisheries discards needed to be modified and/or supplemented. Based on public comments from a range of stakeholders and the input of both the Mid-Atlantic and New England Councils, the new action will establish standards of precision for bycatch estimation for all Northeast Region fisheries, and serve to document the SBRM established for all fisheries managed through the two Councils.

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Sea-Day Schedule

Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology Information

From 2009-2011, the first SBRM Amendment required NMFS to generate two reports each year. The first report was an annual discard report based on observer information from the previous year. The second was an annual public consultation between NMFS and the Councils on how we would prioritize observer sea-day allocations for the upcoming year. After the SBRM Amendment was vacated by the Court in 2011, these reports were no longer required.

NMFS and the Councils worked together to revise the SBRM Amendment from 2012-2014. During that period, in order to keep the public and Councils informed, we continued to create annual reports, including observer sea-day allocations and discard estimations. These reports followed the recommendations from the 2011 SBRM 3-year Report. A revised SBRM Amendment was adopted by both Councils in 2014, and approved by NMFS in March 2015. A final rule is pending. Following the requirements in the revised SBRM Amendment, each year we will post a report of estimated discards for the previous year and a report of observer sea-day allocations for the coming year using the new formulaic prioritization process.

  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009

Observer Sea Day Allocation and SBRM Information

Annual Discard Reports

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(File Modified Jul. 24 2015)