NOAA news release, July 7, 2013                       

Electronic monitoring, sky view Credit:

Electronic monitoring, sky view

 Consider your smartphone, tablet, or computer for a moment. More than just the way to do business around the office, these emerging technologies are fast becoming the latest tools we use to gather fisheries data in the field. 

Advancements in electronic technologies bring with them the promise of better data, better decision-making, and better fishing. NOAA Fisheries is constantly striving to keep our science on the cutting edge. That is why we’ve recently launched an initiative to evaluate emerging technologies for use in fishery-dependent data collections with the goal of providing timely, accurate, and cost-effective information.

Back in April, NOAA Fisheries issued an Electronic Technology Policy Directive, supported by a series of white papers, to evaluate and encourage the use of the latest monitoring and reporting technologies. 

Today, our Office of Policy released a discussion draft of advice and best practices guidance to map out some of the issues and challenges associated with the adoption of such new technologies. This guidance will stimulate conversations taking place among our Regional Offices, Science Centers, Fishery Management Councils, Interstate Fishery Commissions and fishing communities to identify, evaluate, and implement electronic reporting and monitoring technology in their regional fisheries.

Successful integration of new data collection technologies requires collaboration among scientists, managers, and the fishing community. We’ve brought on board George Lapointe to guide this process. Some of you are familiar with George from his superior leadership as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Marine Resources, member of the New England Fishery Management Council, member of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), or as the Director of ASMFC’s Interstate Fisheries Management Program.

Over the coming weeks and months, George will be traveling the country to hear from a variety of voices. Innovative ideas from the community are already contributing to the discussion. We hope you will lend your valuable experience to this effort. Our regional offices, science centers, and Atlantic highly migratory species division will work through the Fishery Management Councils, Advisory Panel, and Interstate Commissions to engage the fishing community in a conversation about regional issues, needs, and potential solutions.

You can begin the discussion right now by taking a moment to share with us your input on the draft discussion guidance document at Our goal is to collaboratively develop final content that reflects the knowledge and experiences of the Councils and Regions. Responses will be accepted through September and included in a revised guidance document we expect to be released later this fall. 

We look forward to working with you on this latest effort to ensure quality data. Stay tuned for more updates on the initiative. 

In the meantime, you can contact George directly at with questions, thoughts or ideas. 


Laurel Bryant
Chief, External Affairs
NOAA Fisheries Communications