Starting in 2013, processors and registered buyers are required to pay an ex-vessel value-based fee to NMFS to support the funding and deployment of observers on vessels and in plants in the new “partial observer coverage category.” More information about the observer fees is available here. In 2021 fees were raised from 1.25% to 1.65%.
The observer fee is 1.65% of the ex-vessel value of the groundfish and halibut subject to the fee. Ex-vessel value is based on standard ex-vessel prices from prior years. Standard prices are published annually in December for the upcoming year and can be found on the NMFS website. The intent of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and NMFS is for owners and operators of catcher vessels delivering to processors to split the fee liability 50/50 with the processor, such that each operation pays 0.625 percent of the total ex-vessel value of the landing. The owner of a shoreside processor or Registered Buyer permit holders will be responsible for collecting the fee, including the vessel’s portion of the fee, at the time of landing and remitting the full fee amount to NMFS. NMFS will hold the processor liable for payment of the entire fee.
The links in blue text below provide information to processors about when observer fees apply, how to view the observer fee at the time of landing, and how to pay observer fees.
How to Pay Observer Fees Using the eFISH Portal