Frequent Questions: Electronic Vessel Trip Reporting
A series of questions and answers that will help make the transition to electronic Vessel Trip Reporting easier in the Greater Atlantic Region.
Beginning November 10, 2021, GARFO-permitted commercial fishing vessels will be required to have an electronic device onboard, start an electronic vessel trip report (eVTR) for each trip, and submit completed reports electronically within 48 hours of the end of a trip. If you have any questions concerning implementation of eVTR in the northeast you may contact your local port agent or our vessel reporting help desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or (978) 281-9188.
What is One Stop Reporting (OSR)?
GARFO is working with it’s partners at SEFSC, HMS, and the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) to develop One Stop Reporting (OSR) capabilities that will enable the submission of a single electronic report to satisfy duplicative reporting requirements of vessels holding permits in multiple Regions.
For more information see Page 5 of the MAFMC’s June 2021 meeting report.
Are exceptions being made for captains that cannot operate a phone or tablet?
No. We delayed the implementation of the eVTR requirement for a year after the rule was published to provide sufficient time for captains to acquire the technology needed to report electronically. We are also providing remote or in-person assistance and training to any captain that needs help.
Can I use my VMS tablet for this?
You should contact the vendor of your VMS system to inquire about this.
Do you no longer care about the size of scallops being recorded?
Only hail weights are needed for eVTR’s. We receive the size or market categories from the dealer(s) you sell your catch to and those are matched to your trip.
For more information see the Electronic Vessel Trip Report (eVTR) Reporting Instructions.
I still use a flip phone. Can I just get a tablet without a cell plan?
Yes. You will need Wi-Fi internet access to download the app and submit reports. Also, if you are offline while on a trip you should not log out of Fish Online.
I’d like to try the eTRIPS Mobile 2 app from ACCSP. Do I use the Fish Online username and password?
No. You need to contact the ACCSP 24/7 customer line at 800-984-0810, or the email@example.com email address. ACCSP staff will be able to set you up.
Is the permit for the vessel or the operator?
The permit is issued to a vessel and reporting is required by vessel.
What time is used for the trip start and end?
Local time, which in most cases this will be Eastern Time. Your device will likely set to this. The trip start is the local time a vessel leaves the dock to begin its trip. The trip end is the local time a vessel ends its trip by returning to dock.
Which software should I choose?
Much of the decision is personal preference. If you have GARFO permits only and are not currently reporting electronically, any of the following approved systems will work. For a complete list of software options please go to the Electronic Vessel Trip Reporting Software Options webpage.
If you are already enrolled in the FLDRS program with the Northeast Fishery Science Center, you should continue to use that system to submit your reports.
If you have permits from both GARFO and the Southeast Regional Office (for example, Snapper/Grouper or Dolphin/Wahoo permits) or an Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Division permit for Atlantic Tunas and HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling, ACCSP eTrips/mobile is currently the only application that allows you to submit reports to both regions with a single push of a button, and is therefore the recommended system.
Why isn’t there only a single system? Doesn’t having multiple systems confound the data collection?
Multiple applications offer flexibility and options for the commercial operators. Regardless of the application that you choose, when you submit the report, the exact same information is transmitted to GARFO. GARFO has implemented a rigorous approval process to ensure than each approved system submits the data in the exact same way.
Do I have to pay for the reporting app?
Not necessarily. There are many approved reporting applications available. Many are free while some developers may charge. See our Software Options web page for a full listing.
Vessel Reporting Issues
Can I submit more than one VTR in a day if I take more than one trip?
Yes, you can submit more than one eVTR in a day. However, trip departure and return times cannot overlap, that is, you cannot be fishing on two trips during the same time period.
Can I use ACCSP’s eTrips to make my IVR reports?
No. IVR reports can only be made using one of the Fish Online apps or the website. You can use eTrips or other apps for eVTR reporting and Fish Online for IVR.
Can I use Loran coordinates to report using any of the systems?
Loran coordinates are not accepted. Reporting systems use Latitude/Longitude.
Can you offload in multiple ports on multiple days?
Yes, you may break up the offload by port and date for the same trip; each offload allows you to select the day offloaded.
Is the eVTR number saved if the captain turns off the phone while sailing?
The apps are designed to work offline, so the information will be saved on your device as an open trip.
Why are there two prepopulated selections for the same gear?
There may be different details for a single gear code. Each entry in your Favorites likely has some differences in the gear configuration that you have used in the past.
Why does the species code repeat? For example: Cod,Cod?
This is a VMS declaration code.
How do vessels handle reporting RSA Scallop pounds in eVTR?
All RSA allocation is project-specific. The project lead (PL) is provided instructions and is responsible for ensuring proper reporting as a condition of the research permit. Vessel captains conducting RSA trips should get instructions from the PL on how to report.
What is the procedure for scallop vessels laying behind the line with product onboard that then need to start a new eVTR once the trip resumes?
Limited access scallop vessels on a open area DAS trip seeking safe harbor where they do not land or offload, but lay to behind the demarcation line should continue to use the original VTR upon continuance of the trip.
Can a vessel be linked to more than one person’s Fish Online account?
Yes. A vessel owner can entitle multiple Fish Online accounts to a vessel. However, vessel operators do not need this entitlement to submit an eVTR.
Can I change my email address within Fish Online?
Yes. If you need assistance please contact the Vessel Reporting Help Desk at (978) 281-9188.
Do I need an account to use the Fish Online app?
Yes. The account is also used to renew vessel and operator permits as well as obtain information about your vessel and reported fishing activity.
Does the vessel operator need a Fish Online account or just the company/owner?
Each captain needs to set-up their own Fish Online account to enable them to submit eVTRs through Fish Online. However, they do not need to be entitled to that vessel. They will not be able to access any other data about the vessel, or anyone else’s eVTRs, unless they are granted entitlement privileges by a vessel owner.
How can I change my password for my permits?
For assistance, you can call the appropriate helpline for the software you have.
- GARFO Fish Online: (978) 281-9188
- ACCSP eTrips/mobile: (800) 984-0810
How many vessels can one person link to their Fish Online account?
There is no limit.
I don’t see one of my boats when I look at my Fish Online account.
Your vessel(s) will need to be linked to your personal account. Call our Help Desk at (978) 281-9188 for assistance with this.
If a company operates multiple vessels, how does the office staff get the eVTR information from each captain/vessel?
Each eVTR application provides the ability for emailing reports that are submitted. Captains can email reports directly to the company’s office staff at the time that they submit their report to GARFO.
Is there any way for an operator to verify their report to ensure that someone else hasn't changed their report or there was an error in the computer system?
Each application is required to have a feature for storing and retrieving reports that are submitted to GARFO, with each report being electronically stamped with the date and time of submission. If a question is raised about VTR information held by GARFO, the operator can refer back to their trip report that is on their personal device. If an operator prefers to retain paper copies, reports can be emailed and printed for filing in alternative locations. Again, all reports will be stamped with the data and time of submission.
What if there are multiple operators for a vessel or a fleet?
The best option is for all vessel operators to set up their own accounts with GARFO and to use their own log-ins and their own devices. An alternative, non-preferred, option is to provide an operator (alternate captain) your device and log-in information for them to use while operating your vessel.
Once an eVTR is submitted, can it be edited and how long do you have to make edits?
Once submitted, you can edit an eVTR almost immediately through our Fish Online system. There is no expiration of your editing ability. We do track when and who changes any data.
What if I have two trips on the same date, will there be an error message?
No. You may have a sail date and time end and start on the same day as long as the time sailed of the second trip is after the time landed for the previous trip.
End of Trip/Dealer
As a federally permitted vessel, am I required to provide a dealer with my VTR serial number?
Yes, as a requirement of offloading your catch to a federally permitted dealer you must also provide that dealer with your vessel name, your federal permit number or your hull number, and the serial number from the VTR for the trip you are selling.
Can a permitted vessel sell his federally regulated catch to a nonpermitted dealer?
No. A federally permitted vessel must sell federally managed species to a federally permitted dealer. Any dealer of federally managed species must have a federal dealer permit. You must record each dealer’s four digit federal permit number next to the dealer name on the Vessel Trip Report.
Can a permitted vessel sell non-permitted species to a nonpermitted dealer?
Can I delete a submitted trip through the Fish Online eVTR app?
No, this can only be done online through FOL. Although you can delete an open trip that has not been submitted through the app.
Does home pack exist as an option under dealer?
Yes, enter 99998 Home Consumption for the dealer code. For a complete listing of non-dealer codes see the Electronic Vessel Trip Reporting (eVTR) Instructions.
Doesn’t this system result in multiple reports?
No. There is only one VTR per trip. An operator can later correct trip information but there will be only one valid eVTR for the trip.
How can I complete my eVTR before entering port (as is required by regulation) if I do not have Wi-Fi or cellular connection on the water?
Wi-Fi or cellular data connection is not needed to enter data and is only needed when submitting your report within 48 hours after returning to port. All approved applications must do the following:
- Allow data entry without an internet connection
- Store and retrieve reports
- Have a reporting function and a summary report that lists dates, times, confirmation numbers, etc., for reports that are submitted
How do I record fish that I keep to eat (for personal consumption)?
All applications allow you to split your catches to record various dispositions or sale to multiple dealers. ACCSP eTrips/mobile has a choice under Dispositions for Retained for Personal Use. Other applications may allow you to split your catch to sell to different dealers, and enter 99998 in the Dealer Code field to indicate personal use. Call the Help Line for the appropriate application if you need step-by-step guidance.
How is the eVTR reconciled with the Dealer reporting?
At the time of sale, vessel operators must provide the VTR number to the dealer, just as they currently do with paper reporting. GARFO will match the dealer and operator reports just as they do now and any major discrepancies will be referred to the Law Enforcement or Permits section of GARFO. Catch weights on VTRs will be estimates and dealer weights will be actual weights, just as they are now with the paper VTRs.
I fished in more than one chart area or used more than one gear on a trip and so used more than one VTR. What serial number do I provide to the dealer?
The serial number from the first VTR in the series used on a trip should be provided. A trip that has multiple chart areas and multiple gears would still only have one VTR number, as they would just create a new effort for each change in area or gear.
I operate an offshore clam vessel, what do I provide the dealer since I do not use the VTR?
Provide the dealer with the serial number of the Clam Report form. This is in the same location as the serial number on the VTR.
If I sell non-federally regulated species to a non-federally permitted dealer, do I still have to provide that dealer with my VTR serial number?
Now that there is no dealer copy of the paper eVTR, what do fishermen provide the dealer when they sell their catch?
Fishermen are only required to provide the eVTR trip number which replaces the traditional paper VTR number. The eVTR Trip number has 14 characters and is formatted based on vessel permit number, year, month, date, and hour in which the trip report was created. For a representation of the 14-character format, refer to the graphic below.
Fishermen should provide their dealer with the eVTR trip number that was automatically generated within their eVTR app when they are creating the trip report.
Once the eVTR is submitted to GARFO, can it also be emailed to my sector manager or accountant?
Yes, there is an option to download the trip as a PDF so you can save it to your device and email the file.
What happens when a boat comes in and doesn’t offload in 48 hours? How do I get the weight information from the dealer?
You are submitting hail weights (estimate of catch) and not dealer weights on eVTRs. You do not need to wait for the exact information from your dealer(s). The exact weights will be submitted by the dealer(s) you sell your catch to and matched to your trip.
What if a trip ends before fishing is started due to a breakdown, weather, etc.?
You can submit a No Effort trip. For more information, see the Electronic Vessel Trip Reporting (eVTR) Instructions.