Dockside Monitor

In May 2010 the Northeast Fisheries Management Council adopted Amendment 16 to the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan.  One of the requirements of the new plan was for Dockside Monitors to monitor the offload of all catch for vessels that were part of one of the new Groundfish Sectors.  For the 2010 – 2011 fishing year NMFS mandated that 50% of all trips that targeted groundfish be monitored by a Dockside Monitor when they land.  For the 2011 – 2012 fishing year the monitoring requirements were initially set at 100% coverage of vessels that did not have an At-Sea Monitor or Fisheries Observer onboard.  On July 18th the coverage level was revised to 50% coverage of trips without an At-Sea monitor or Observer onboard.  The requirement for dockside monitoring of offloads was suspended on September 18, 2011.

In May 2010 A.I.S. began providing Dockside Monitoring services for several of the New England Groundfish Sectors and continued to provide coverage to those Sectors until the program was suspended on September 18, 2011.  During that time frame, A.I.S. Dockside Monitors monitored offloads in various ports in New England as well as several roving offloads where the catch was offloaded in one location and transferred by truck to a final dealer location.

Dockside Monitors are responsible for collecting catch landing data at dealer locations throughout New England.  Dockside Monitors collect data on all of the catch that is offloaded for the trip, not just the groundfish species.  The data collected includes species identification, market category, size category, disposition (sold, personal use) and total weight.  Dockside Monitors must be flexible in their availability as offloads occur 7 days per week and at all times of the day and night.   Physical stamina is also important as Dockside Monitors are required to stand near the scales and record the actual weights for extended periods of time.  Offload durations can run from a few minutes for small offloads up to and beyond 6 hours for large groundfish offloads.  Generally there are no breaks during large offloads.  Offloads occur in all weather conditions and there may or may not be shelter from the weather available depending on the offload location.

All Dockside Monitors must attend a 4 day training course conducted by the NOAA Fisheries Service in order to become certified.  The training includes fish identification, data collection protocols, conflict resolution and safety tips for working in the fish houses.  All dockside monitors must pass a fish identification exam and the overall course with a score of at least 85%.