ELB Funding FY24

The limited FY 2024 Appropriations bills passed by Congress this weekend include $850,000 for NMFS to develop and implement an Electronic Logbook (ELB) program in conjunction with the U.S. shrimp industry. For the second year in a row, the Southern Shrimp Alliance requested the funding and language that expresses concern about the termination of the 3G cellular transmission service used by NMFS to collect shrimping effort data. ELB funding has been a priority for SSA because the U.S. shrimp industry will lose its authorization to operate without precise and reliable shrimp fishing data.

The data from ELBs are used to:

  • demonstrate the industry’s compliance with Endangered Species Act mandates, such as protections for Green Sea Turtles, Rice’s Whales, Smalltooth Sawfish, Giant Manta Rays, and Critical Habitats;  
  • verify compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act, including the Red Snapper and Shrimp Stock Assessment; and,
  • preserve access to valuable fishing grounds during the creation of coral habitat protections, national marine sanctuary boundaries, offshore aquaculture development, and offshore energy siting.

“Making science-based decisions about marine resources requires good data,” explains John Williams, executive director of the Southern Shrimp Alliance. “This appropriation will help NMFS and the shrimp industry develop and implement modern, cost-efficient Electronic Logbooks to record and report scientific shrimp fishing effort data.”

The Southern Shrimp Alliance thanks Senators Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Britt (R-AL), Kennedy (R-LA) and Rubio (R-FL) and House Members Graves (R-LA) and Letlow (R-LA) for their tireless support of the domestic shrimp industry and securing this important funding and language.

The report language states (S. Rpt. 118-62):

Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishing Effort.—The Committee remains concerned that shrimp fishing effort data collection and analysis in the Gulf of Mexico shrimp fishery will be interrupted by the termination of 3G cellular transmission service used by NMFS in its Electronic Logbook [ELB] program. The Committee recognizes that this scientific data is essential to the annual evaluation of the fishery’s effects on sea turtle and red snapper conservation mandates.

Within the funding provided in Fisheries Data Collections, Surveys, and Assessments, the Committee provides $850,000 for NMFS, in consultation with the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and shrimp industry stakeholders, to continue the development and implementation of a newly approved ELB that archives vessel position and automatically transmits scientific shrimp fishing effort data via cellular service to NMFS. The Committee awaits receipt of the report outlining progress made to develop and implement the new ELB program requested in the joint explanatory statement accompanying Public Law 117–103.

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