groundfish trawl Observer collecting length measurement of an Atlantic cod during a groundfish trawl trip. Credit: NE Observer Program, NEFSC / NOAA

Notification for Fishermen

Pre-Trip Notification System (PTNS)

The Pre‐Trip Notification System (PTNS) was designed by NMFS to provide a fast, simple, and effective way to ensure fair and adequate coverage of all vessels fishing for northeast groundfish. Please see the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program Vessel Selection Information sheet for more information.

An algorithm works to determine if each separate trip is selected for coverage.

Groundfish trips are selected based on the combination of their sector, area, and gear, in order to reach the targeted observer and at‐sea monitor coverage rates.

Click on the tabs below to get instructions specific to each type of trip.

The Pre-Trip Notification System (PTNS) is designed by NMFS to provide a fast, simple, and effective way to ensure fair and adequate coverage of all vessels fishing for northeast groundfish. Once a vessel enters trip information into PTNS, an algorithm works to determine if the vessel is selected for coverage for that particular trip. Within 24 hours of the vessel's sail date/time, it is notified of its coverage status via email. There are three different methods available for 48-hour pre-trip notification.

  1. Internet (preferred method) - This should be the primary means of trip notification and trip changes. The PTNS website is available at the following address http://fish.nefsc.noaa.gov/PTNS/. Vessels should log in using the same username (Permit Number) and password (PIN) as they use for Fish-On-Line.

  2. Email - This should be the secondary means of trip notification. The email address to submit trip notifications, trip changes, questions, or problems is nefsc.ptns@noaa.gov.

  3. Phone - This is the backup means for notification.  The number for notifications is 1-855-FISHES1 (1-855-347-4371).  At this number, the PTNS Coordinator is available from 8:00AM to 5:00PM on business days. After business hours and on weekends and holidays, calls will be fielded by an answering service operator who is qualified to enter notifications, to answer frequently asked questions, and to help troubleshoot common PTNS issues. In emergency situations, the operator will immediately contact a NMFS representative for assistance .

Please refer to the Pre-Trip Notification System Vessel Instructions for specific instructions. For additional information, please refer to the PTNS FAQs or the Vessel Selection Information sheet.

Call the automated Northeast Fisheries Scallop Observer Program call-in system for Limited Access and General Category trips (both Open Area or Access Area). Limited Access vessels should call-in for fishing trip notification 72 hours prior to the planned sail date and no more than 10 days prior to the sail date. General Category vessels should notify weekly by Thursday if you intend to make any trips from Sunday through Saturday of the following week.  To notify for a trip call the Scallop Observer Program number (508) 495-2100, press 1 to report a trip, and follow the telephone message prompts for trip information.

For more detailed instructions, please refer to the Industry-Funded Scallop Observer Program Call-In Guide or the Vessel Selection Information sheet. For more information on the scallop program please refer to the Industry-Funded Scallop Observer Program webpage.

If a vessel harvests, possesses, or lands herring in or from the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on any fishing trip, it is considered to be participating in the Federal herring fishery. Notification and reporting requirements are outlined below

  1. If a vessel has been issued a limited access herring permit (i.e., All Areas Limited Access Permit, Areas 2 and 3 Limited Access Permit, Incidental Catch Limited Access Permit) a vessel representative must activate the vessel monitoring system (VMS) unit and declare that the vessel is participating in the herring fishery by entering the code "HER" prior to leaving port. If a vessel representative declares the vessel out of the herring fishery (DOF) prior to leaving port to target a non-VMS required species, such as mackerel, that vessel may not harvest, possess, or land herring on that trip.

  2. Provide notice and contact information (e.g., contact name and phone number, vessel name, date, time, and port of departure) to the Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (774) 392-2735 at least 72 hours prior to beginning any trip.

For more detailed information regarding declaring into the herring fishery please refer to the January, 2010 Atlantic Herring Permit Holder Letter or the Vessel Selection Information sheet.

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(File Modified Jan. 22 2018)