For-hire fishing vessels in the South Atlantic with federal permits for certain fish will soon have comply with new requirements on how they report data to NOAA Fisheries.
Rick DeVictor of the National Marine Fisheries Service outlined details of the new regulation Thursday during the annual South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting on Jekyll Island.
The new regulations apply to for-hire boats with federal permits for Atlantic migratory pelagics — cobia, king mackerel and Spanish mackerel — Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, or South Atlantic snapper-grouper.
DeVictor said the reporting requirements apply “regardless of where you are fishing. So if you fish in state waters and you have a federal permit, you’re going to have to report.”
The new rule, published in late February, becomes official Sept. 1.
Vessel owners or operators will need to submit electronic fishing reports weekly by 11:59 p.m. local time, the Tuesday after the reporting week. For headboats, reports must be sent Sunday to Tuesday, with the deadline being 11:59 p.m. local time the Tuesday following the reporting week.
The regulatory changes are part of an overall effort to obtain more timely, accurate and useful data for fishery management, officials said.
Included in the required data are number of anglers, number of crew, method of fishing, hours fished and depth fished.
NOAA Fisheries will hold outreach sessions and hands-on training to get fishers accustomed to the new process beginning this summer.
More details can be found at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office website at fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/southeast-electronic-reporting-technologies or fisheries.noaa.gov/action/south- atlantic-modifications- charter-vessel-and-headboat-reporting-requirements.
Those interested in fishing at Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary might want to take advantage of free learning exchanges set for this afternoon and Saturday. There’s even a free descending device in it for them.
“While the Nature Conservancy is leading this effort, we really have a great team of partners working on this project,” said Julia Byrd, SAFMC citizen science program manager. “The goal of this project is three-fold — to increase awareness of Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary among recreational anglers, to encourage … best fishing practices in fishing for deepwater species, and also promote collaboration” between (those) fishing at or near Gray’s Reef.
The first learning exchange is set for 2 to 4 p.m. today at the Brunswick-Glynn County Library on Gloucester Street. The second is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the library.
A number of state and federal agencies are involved in the learning exchange effort.