Monitoring fisheries electronically

Successful fishery management is dependent upon the collection of data from fishing activities. A robust fishery monitoring program provides data on catch, effort and bycatch to fishery stakeholders, which in turn, supports and improves stock assessments and ensures catch limits are both optimized and sustainable in the long-term.   While monitoring is a necessary component of accurate catch accounting, the costs associated with fisheries monitoring can be a barrier to implementing more comprehensive monitoring programs.

EDF is working to support the establishment of cost-effective and robust monitoring programs that use an appropriate blend of electronic monitoring, on-board observers, logbooks and dockside coverage. The documents and references listed below are intended to provide fishermen, managers, enforcement representatives, and other stakeholders with information on how fisheries in various regions (and countries) have, or are currently working to integrate electronic reporting and electronic monitoring tools into their data collection programs.

National EM Workshop

In January 2014, EDF helped to convene a National Electronic Monitoring Workshop that brought together stakeholders from around the country to discuss implementation of electronic monitoring in U.S. fisheries.

Fishery monitoring roadmap

During the fall of 2011, Environmental Defense Fund convened a “Charrette”, bringing together a group of fishery experts in a series of workshops to discuss new and creative ways to support the sustainable management of U.S. fisheries.  A subgroup, focused specifically on fisheries monitoring, developed the Fishery Monitoring Roadmap as a tool to help fishery managers and other stakeholders better understand the differences between monitoring tools, match monitoring tools with clearly identified management and monitoring goals, and ultimately allow for the optimization of fishery monitoring programs. The Roadmap is especially helpful for fisheries that are considering incorporating Electronic Monitoring or Electronic Reporting tools into their monitoring program.

PDF Download the Fisheries Monitoring Roadmap Adobe Reader [PDF] 4mb

A guide to evaluate, design and implement an effective fishery monitoring program that incorporates electronic monitoring and electronic reporting tools.

Please send any questions or comments regarding the Roadmap to Sarah O’Brien

No overfishing - guaranteed

It can be hard to know where the fish on your plate really came from, or if it was caught in a sustainable way. Even in fisheries with good management in place, it’s hard to know if everyone is playing by the rules. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the West Coast’s new groundfish “catch share” program.

Read more on how fisheries monitoring can prevent overfishing »

Relevant upcoming and past meetings

National and int’l

National and international meetings


Gulf of Mexico

South Atlantic


  • Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Meetings
    December 9-11, 2014, Baltimore, MD
    October 7-9, 2014, Philadelphia, PA
    August 12-14, 2014, Washington, DC
    June 10-12, 2014, Freehold, NJ
    April 8-10, 2014, Montauk, NY
    February 11-13, 2014, New Bern, NC

New England


North Pacific

Electronic monitoring resources

Please send any questions or comments regarding the Roadmap to Sarah McTee