Southeast For-Hire Integrated Electronic Reporting Program
VMS Reimbursement Program
The Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, in collaboration with the NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement, distributes reimbursement funds to eligible, confirmed vessel owners and operators to offset the cost of purchasing a VMS.
All charter, headboat, and dually-permitted vessels with federal Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish or Coastal Migratory Pelagic permits must comply with both Phase 1 and 2 requirements of the federal Southeast For-Hire Integrated Electronic Reporting Program (SEFHIER). Phase 1 requirements were implemented January 5, 2021. Phase 2 requirements were implemented March 1, 2022.
The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries developed SEFHIER, a Gulf-specific reporting program, to increase the amount and type of information collected from the for-hire fishery to help improve fisheries management and understanding of the reef fish and coastal pelagic fisheries.
Phase 1: January 5, 2021
Trip Declaration (Hail-Out)
You must report every trip prior to leaving the dock. If you are not taking a for-hire trip, this is the only required step. You can report your trip via VMS, mobile phone app, or website.
Trip Information: captain ID, vessel ID, start/end time, start/end date, start/end location, type of trip
Dock and landing locations must be approved by NOAA Fisheries. Any location approved for the Gulf commercial reef fish fishery will be accepted.
Contact NOAA Fisheries’ Southeast Regional Office at 727.824.5301 to request approval for a new site.
Vessel captains must submit their trip logbooks prior to offloading or within 30 minutes of landing if no harvest was taken. Submit logbooks via VMS, mobile phone app, or website. Staff members will periodically meet captains upon their return to the dock to verify their physical catches with the logbook.
- Target Information: gear used, minimum/maximum depths fished, primary depth fished, targeted species
- Effort and Landing Information: number of crew, number of anglers, hours fished, ALL species caught, number kept of each species, number released of each species
- NOAA is creating a list of species for reporting. The list will be broken down by individual species of federal and state interest with other species grouped for easier reporting.
- Economic Information: trip fee, approximate fuel used and price per gallon, number of passengers and crew
- NOAA is collecting economic information to estimate revenue, value, and economic impacts of the for-hire fishery. This information can be used for future quota allocation decisions and damage assessments following disasters.
- This information will only be available to the public in aggregate form and to the IRS with a court order.
Phase 2: March 1, 2022
Vessel owners or operators must install a NOAA Fisheries-approved vessel monitoring system (VMS) unit that includes a GPS device affixed to the vessel that, at a minimum, archives vessel position data once per hour and transmits data at the end of the trip to NOAA Fisheries.
Failure to Report
If a captain does not report a logbook, he/she will be prohibited from harvesting/possessing species covered under his/her reef fish or migratory pelagic permit until the report is submitted. If the problem persists, the captain will not be able to renew his/her permit until reports are submitted.
Even though permit holders will be participating in the new SEFHIER program, LDWF will still conduct LA Creel dockside and effort calls. Once LDWF has evaluated the SEFHIER program, LDWF may decide to rely on SEFHIER data from permit holders.
Notification and Training
NOAA Fisheries and the Gulf Council have created a series of videos to explain the program requirements and assist captains with getting started. Public webinars recorded in 2020 are also available. For more information and resources, visit NOAA Fisheries' website.