The for-hire pilot using the FACTSTM electronic reporting system has been designed as a comprehensive and verifiable real-time reporting program. During the 2020 season, 300 charter vessels operating in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay waters were listed as being part of the pilot. Between May 1 and December 31, 2020 a total of 13,510 trips were reported by captains using the system. Trip information submitted by program participants shows that striped bass represented 50% of the total count of species Kept during the season. The next most commonly reported species were: spot (30%), white perch (15%), and bluefish (2%).
To help assess the overall success of the pilot’s first year, two feedback surveys were distributed to program participants. These voluntary surveys gave captains the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience using the system. The Mid-Pilot Survey was sent in September and the End of Season Survey was sent in December. The results of both surveys were reviewed by the E-Reporting Team and the core group of volunteer captains. While the overall results of the survey were positive (preferred to paper reports, good customer service and helpful business tool), requests to simplify the End Hail process were also heard. The development team is working on new ways to streamline the hailing process and improve the user experience. To provide additional information about program requirements, and how to avoid common reporting mistakes, a new Myths Busted flyer is available and will be distributed to all Charter Pilot participants.
Part of the success of the program depends on the required harvest verification done by Roving Monitors and Onboard Observers. The challenges presented by COVID-19 restrictions initially delayed the sampling activities of the monitors. However, by early summer both groups of harvest verifiers were active in the field. While the Roving Monitors were able to meet many of the program participants at the dock, there continued to be a need to ensure that the Estimated Landing Time and Location being reported in participant End Hails were accurate. In addition, while vessel capacity was sometimes a factor, it was frequently difficult to schedule an Onboard Observer to conduct the required real-time verification of trip activity. The development team will continue working with industry, to help find ways to improve the ability of the Onboard Observers to book trips with program captains.
Updates about the progress of the program will continue to be provided during the term of the pilot. If you have feedback and or suggestions for the FACTS program, please contact the E-Reporting Team: FisheriesEReporting.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missing harvest reports? Get a harvest report checkup and submit any missing reports prior to joining the program. You can print blank copies of all the required harvest reports online. Please contact the commercial harvest reporting group at FisheriesHarvestReport.email@example.com or 410-260-8301 for assistance.
Have a TFL or other finfish license? If you are interested in joining the FACTS
program for your Blue Crab and/or Finfish reporting, contact us today to get
started. You’ll be able to report all your harvest activity online and use the
program’s special flexibilities. There are several options for learning how to
report electronically and we can help you find the way that works best for you.
580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis MD 21401
Call toll-free in *Maryland* at 1-877-620-8DNR (8367)
Out of State: 410-260-8DNR (8367)