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Fisherman and fishery monitor sort catch on trawler deck. Northeast fishery observer (left) sorts catch with Captain Doug (right) of F/V Kestrel out of Connecticut. Photo credit: NOAA Fisheries/NEFOP.

More on NEFSC and PTNS

February 9, 2018
Contact: Teri Frady

NOAA Upgrades Online Groundfish Trip Notification System

Before leaving on a trip to catch groundfish, Northeast groundfish vessels first notify NOAA about the trip so a fishery monitor or observer can be assigned to the trip if needed. A technical team has been working for more than a year to upgrade the online notification system so it is easier to use, mobile friendly, and can be adapted to new management requirements as they come along. These significant improvements will come online in late April, and NOAA Fisheries is doing some expanded outreach to get fishing businesses familiar with improvements ahead of the next fishing year, which begins May 1, 2018.

"We are thrilled to launch this upgrade," said Jon Hare, director of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center. "Fishermen have one of the toughest jobs in the world. We continue to look for ways to make fishery monitoring easier and more valuable to every business we work with. This is a big step in the right direction."

Known as PTNS, short for pre-trip notification system, it's a way to ensure fair and adequate monitoring across fleets. Vessels can notify NOAA Fisheries that they are planning a trip by email, phone, or through the online PTNS. Most users prefer the online system. Data collected by observers and monitors support a range of fishery management and science work, and are a major source of information on what kind, and how much, fish is caught but not landed.

In comparison to the current system, the redesigned PTNS can better handle revisions to monitoring requirements. Since PTNS debuted in 2010, for example, electronic monitoring has arrived, along with some exemptions and experimental fisheries. Improvements in the underlying database structure will allow these kinds of changes to be accommodated more easily. Although most of those improvements will not be obvious to the user, improvements in data entry and acessibility will be. Since 2010, the technical team has been compiling suggestions from users on improvements, and many of these have been incorporated into the redesign.

The NEFSC team that spearheaded the redesign will be in major ports and at the Maine Fishermens Forum to talk about and demonstrate the system and help people understand the changes. Check back for updates on meetings, contacts, and training materials.


  • PTNS Updates and Policies
    NEFSC PTNS Coordinators
  • Vessel coverage and observer program
    PTNS Coordinators or
    Katherine McArdle
  • Future coverage rates, fisheries policy
    Liz Sullivan
    Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office



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