Project Profiles

Saltwater EM systems are deployed in a range of fisheries around the globe. We work with government agencies, fishermen, and non-profits on projects ranging from 100+ vessels to single system installations.

Monitoring Bluefin Tuna Catch in the Atlantic Pelagic Longline Fishery

Since 2014, we have provided EM systems and technical support to over 100 vessels fishing in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean pelagic longline fishery under a contract with NOAA-Fisheries. This was the first mandatory fleet-wide EM program managed in the U.S. and aims to rebuild bluefin tuna stocks. Vessels are required to collect EM data on all fishing trips – and cannot fish without a fully functional EM system; we are responsible for providing all hardware and technical support. The quality of our service on this contract has twice been rated “Exceptional” by NOAA-Fisheries.

Services Provided

SWIM system & Technical Support

Gear Type

Longline

Location

Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean

Building an EM Program for Alaska’s Pot Cod Fleet

Since 2012, we have collaborated with volunteer fishermen led by the North Pacific Fishermen’s Association (NPFA) and fishery managers to design and realize an EM program for Alaska’s pot cod fleet. Together with NPFA we tested different catch handling practices, camera types and positioning – all to collect the high quality data needed for catch accounting. We worked with NOAA to define key data elements and review protocols to ensure that EM data fit with existing data streams. We integrated observers into our review team, who conducted all of the data review and provided timely feedback memos to vessel operators. We also built a database and “data pipeline” so that data could be easily uploaded by fishery managers. As a result of this work, as of 2018 fishermen in the pot cod sector can choose between carrying an EM system or an onboard observer to collect the data required to manage the fishery.

Services Provided

SWIM System, EM Program Design & Implementation

Gear Type

Pot

Location

North Pacific

Partnering with Scientists in the Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Fishery

We are proud to partner with Mote Marine Laboratory on multiple EM projects in the Gulf of Mexico. Since 2015, we have provided EM systems, technical support, data review software, and training to facilitate Mote’s work in the multi-species reef fishery. With over 800 participating vessels and an observer program covering only about 1% of trips, there is significant incentive in the Gulf of Mexico to use EM to obtain better data. Our collaboration with Mote has given us the opportunity to work with a team of dedicated scientists, volunteers and industry members to help build a regional EM service center in the Gulf.  Learn More

Services Provided

SWIM System, O2Review Software, Training & Technical Support

Gear Type

Research, Multiple Vessel Types

Location

Gulf of Mexico

Gaining Council Approval for EM in New England’s Herring Fishery

The New England herring fishery is under extreme pressure due to overfishing and climate change and the fleet has experienced dramatic cuts to their quota. Under this scenario, finding cost effective monitoring solutions is especially critical to sustainable management. In 2016, NOAA-Fisheries contracted Saltwater to test whether EM could be used for compliance monitoring, and whether it would be more cost effective in this fishery than at-sea observers. All active vessels in the fleet voluntarily participated in the pilot project, and Saltwater provided all of the EM systems, technical support and data services. The project was a success, and based on the findings, the New England Fisheries Management Council approved EM in March 2018 as a monitoring option for the fleet. Learn More

Services Provided

SWIM System, Technical Support and Data Services

Gear Type

Mid-Water Trawl

Location

North Atlantic

Testing EM on For-Hire Vessels in New England

Estimating the impact of recreational fishing is a major undertaking but is important for sustainably managing many fisheries where recreational take is significant. During the summer of 2019, Saltwater partnered with The Nature Conservancy to test EM on recreational for-hire boats fishing in New England. Our team provided customized EM systems and tailored review software to This was the first project in the U.S. to use EM in a recreational fleet, and initial data has shown EM to be a highly effective means of collecting accurate catch information on for-hire vessels. Learn More

Services Provided

SWIM System, Custom Solutions

Gear Type

Recreational For-hire

Location

North Atlantic

Trialing a Mini-EM System in the Puerto Rican Small Boat Fishery

Saltwater was invited by the Ocean Foundation and Conservación ConCiencia, a Puerto Rican NGO, to deploy EM systems in their small boat commercial fishery. Saltwater designed and developed the solar powered SWIM-Nano system to collect digital imagery and GPS data for catch monitoring, bycatch monitoring, catch handling, protected species interactions and assessing EM’s use in monitoring for compliance with gear regulations. The SWIM-Nano is contained in a waterproof housing and can be installed and removed with ease on fishing vessels before and after each trip. The data is reviewed using O2Review software and tailored review protocols and templates, resulting in summary reports that meet program requirements. Learn More

Services Provided

SWIM-Nano, O2Review

Gear Type

Small Boat

Location

Caribbean

Creating an EM Program for the Western Gulf of Alaska Trawl Fleet

The trawlers that fish for pollock and Pacific cod in the Western Gulf of Alaska (WGOA) are some of the smallest trawlers (most are under 60’ in length) fishing in Alaska.  The Peninsula Fishermen Coalition asked Saltwater to help design and execute an EM program for compliance monitoring of their pollock trawl fleet in 2017. Data regarding salmon discards have been a significant policy issue in this fishery for years, but onboard observer coverage is expensive and quite limited. We worked closely with industry, the Aleutians East Borough, and NMFS to design retention guidelines, data protocols, and an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) that allows vessels to use EM instead of observers. Trained Saltwater reviewers are looking at the EM data and the initial project has shown that quality data can be provided at less expense than onboard observers.

Services Provided

SWIM-Standard & SWIM-Mobile Systems, EM Program Design & Implementation, Review Services

Gear Type

Trawl

Location

North Pacific

Developing Machine Learning Tools with the West Coast Groundfish Fleet

In 2019, Saltwater and Chordata were contracted by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to develop a computer vision (CV) algorithm using data collected onboard a volunteer groundfish trawl vessel fishing from Warrenton, Oregon. This is part EDF’s Smart Boat Initiative, which will hopefully contribute to finding efficiencies in EM data review. Our SWIM system collected quality data of fishing activity during a single season. With a limited timeframe and a small amount of data, we developed a preliminary algorithm that we plan to further develop with additional data. Learn More

Services Provided

SWIM System, Machine Learning, Software Development

Gear Type

Trawl

Location

North Pacific

Providing EM Systems & Services in Chile

Chile’s National Fisheries and Aquaculture Service, Sernapesca, approved regulations in 2015 that set the parameters for a national EM program. Saltwater is working with two local Chilean partner agencies, Aquasolar Ingenieros and M&T Consultores, to provide EM systems and support services under this program. We designed a customized SWIM system to meet the specific requirements of Sernapesca’s program that is certified for sale to Chilean fishermen. We have also trained local technicians to provide installation and on-going technical support.

Services Provided

SWIM System, O2Review Software, Training & Technical Support

Gear Type

Multiple, Multiple Vessel Types

Location

South Pacific

Pioneering EM in the Southern Ocean

The Antarctic Toothfish fishery is governed by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). This fishery strives to be one of the most sustainably managed in the world, and licensed vessels are tasked with providing scientific data to ensure the ongoing health of the fishery. Talley’s Group Ltd, a New Zealand seafood company, proactively contracted Saltwater in 2017 to trial a custom EM system in Bellingshausen Sea. The EM system successfully collected data under extreme weather on a trip lasting over 3 months – and continues to be fully functional after 3 years at sea. This was the first time that comprehensive EM data had been collected and analyzed in this fishery, and preliminary results were very favorably received by Members of CCAMLR. Since then, we have been contracted to install our SWIM EM system on multiple vessels from other nations operating in this fishery. 

Services Provided

SWIM Systems & Support

Gear Type

Longline

Location

Southern Ocean

Supporting Sustainability in the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery

There is limited information about the impact and sustainability of the Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery because of extremely low levels of observer coverage (~1-2%). Since 2013, we have worked with the NOAA-Fisheries South East regional office and volunteer fishermen in the shrimp fleet to demonstrate the possibilities that EM can offer. Early pilot projects focused on documenting protected species interactions, while our current work is looking at ways to better monitor incidental bycatch. We are optimistic that, working in partnership with NOAA and the fleet, improved data collected by EM will contribute to the sustainability of this fishery.

Services Provided

Custom Solutions, EM Program Design and Implementation, O2Review

Gear Type

Trawl

Location

Gulf of Mexico

Launch Your EM Project

“Saltwater staff have been easy to reach, knowledgeable, and happy to troubleshoot any issue that has come up over the years. They thrive in situations that require creative problem solving and have certainly applied that here in the North Pacific.”

– Malcolm Milne, President, North Pacific Fisheries Association (NPFA), Homer, Alaska