For both Federal-Reporting & State-Reporting dealers:

  1. This program seems unfair and puts a big burden on small businesses like mine. Given the small amount that I buy each year, why do I have to do this? Modern fisheries management depends on accurate landings data, in fact there have been recent lawsuits over government’s failure to collect accurate data. Mandatory dealer reporting is an initiative which has been evolving as a concept over the last several years. Initially, mandatory reporting was required for quota-monitored species, and most federally permitted dealers were required to report via a dealer trip ticket. In May of 2004, most federally permitted dealers in the Northeast ( Maine to N Carolina ) were required to report their purchases daily and via electronic submission (Internet or file upload). Many of the Northeast states are now following suit and requiring “state-reporting” dealers to do the same. Massachusetts is one of those states, enacting rules in 2004 to make it a requirement of primary buyers of all marine species. The information collected by “federal-reporting” and “state-reporting” dealers is exactly the same, and the information all goes to the same database.  
  2. I’m a federally permitted dealer, but I currently don’t have to report my purchases because I only buy bluefin tuna. Do I have to report?Yes. Even though you do not have to report your bluefin tuna transactions under federal reporting requirements, you are considered a “state-reporting” dealer. NMFS only requires certain federally permitted dealers to report. Massachusetts requires that if you do not have to report under federal requirements, and you are a primary buyer, then you must report under state requirements. In essence, all primary buyers in Massachusetts must report, whether federally permitted or not. 
  3. Are federal fishing permits issued to people or vessels? What about state permits? Federal fishing permits are issued to vessels. State fishing permits are issued to individuals or corporations. Thus a federally permitted vessel landing in Massachusetts will have two permits, one federal permit issued to the vessel, and a state permit issued either to the individual/corporation which operates or is responsible for the vessel. (Both)
  4. What is the Permit ID Number? Why is it so important? The Permit ID number (which used to be called the DMF ID Number), uniquely identifies each MA commercial fishing permit. It is not to be confused with the old 4-digit permit number which was often the last four digits of the fisherman’s SSN , and was the number that was cut into lobstermen’s buoys. Because the old permit number was not unique between many permits, and because some fishermen had multiple permits with the same 4-digit permit number, DMF created the ID number to uniquely identify a permit. If a permit is renewed each year, the Permit ID number stays with that permit. If a fisherman needs to change permit types or fails to renew for a year, requiring the purchase of a new permit, then a new ID number is assigned to the new permit. Therefore, it is imperative that the dealer identify the ID number on the permit which is responsible for selling the catch. This is also a good way to check that a fisherman you are buying from not only has a valid 2008 commercial permit to sell what they are catching, but also has the proper species endorsements on their permit (e.g. fluke, striped bass etc.). (Both) 
  5. I buy from a fisherman who operates several vessels. Will his Permit ID number be the same for all his vessels? No. The Permit ID number is unique for each permit. If this fisherman has three vessels, he will need three separate permits, one for each vessel and the Permit ID will be different for each. Your purchase must uniquely identify the permit held by the fisherman by recording that permit’s permit ID number. (Both) 
  6. I’m not sure if the fisherman I buy from on a regular basis has a commercial fishing permit. How do I find out? Ask the fisherman to show you his valid commercial fishing permit. This will validate the permit’s Permit ID number as well. If you can’t see the commercial permit, there is also a fishermen lookup on our website. This list includes vessel name, Perimit ID number and permit type. (Both) 
  7. I am a fisherman who has a dealer’s permit. What am I responsible to report? How does the dealer I sell to on occasion know the transactions are a primary purchase? If you are a fisherman and have a dealer’s permit, and you are retailing your product to the public, you would have a retail dealer’s permit and could only retail your own catch, and would be considered the primary buyer of your own catch. However, if you sell some of your catch to another dealer, that dealer must have a dealer’s permit and is considered the primary buyer and would report those transactions. Therefore, if you are retailing your own product, then you would report only those transactions detailing the product you caught and retailed, not the product that is sold to another wholesale dealer. If you are buying from other fishermen you would need a wholesale permit and you would need to report these transactions as the primary buyer. (Both) 
  8. I buy bait products such as eels and herring. Do I have to report these purchases? Yes. All marine species purchased directly from commercial fishermen must be reported, including those used for bait purposes. This means that bait dealers fall in under the same requirements as any other primary buyer. It also means that all primary buyers must be sure they are purchasing a marine species from commercially permitted fishermen only. Dealers may not purchase from fishermen who do not possess a commercial permit. (Both) 
  9. I have a bait dealer’s permit and catch the bait I sell. Do I need to report this? Yes. You are considered the primary buyer of this product. (Both)
  10. Sometimes what I buy is picked up by a truck where it is landed and transported to my location to be processed. How am I going to collect all this information about each transaction at the dock? To make off-loading product more efficient dockside, the requirement to cull and weigh product at the dock has been removed as long as the product is properly labeled in totes for law enforcement to inspect. However, if the product is managed by quota, such as fluke, then it must be reported in pounds, and at some point either the truck operator or the processor must properly process the product so that it can be reported in this unit of measurement. (Both) 
  11. I am a dealer who operates a wholesale truck operation. Is the port of landing the location where the marine species is picked up or is it where it is dropped off? The port of landing is the location where the marine species is picked up from the fisherman. (Both) 
  12. I employ a truck or transport operation which just transports the marine species that it picks up dockside to my location. Are they considered the primary buyer or am I? Any truck operator which is transporting marine species from the dock, where it is picked up directly from a fisherman, to a location to be processed, must have a MA dealer’s permit. If the wholesale location processing the product uses its own trucks to transport the product, those trucks are permitted under that location. However, “transport-only” operations, sometimes referred to as “common carriers”, cannot transport product from the dock to another dealer without having their own dealer’s permit, and that transport operation must have a location in Massachusetts . (Both) 
  13. I am a primary buyer who operates a business outside ofMassachusetts . I understand that to be a primary buyer in Massachusetts, meaning that the product I am purchasing is directly from fishermen who are landing in Massachusetts, I must have a place of business in that state. Is this true? Yes. If you are a primary buyer of any marine species landed in Massachusetts , then you must have a place of business in Massachusetts . Product may not be transported to your out-of-state location, unless it has been accounted for by a primary buyer in Massachusetts first, whether through another office of your business or another dealer altogether. The reason for this is that Massachusetts law enforcement officials have no authority outside of Massachusetts . Thus to inspect any records, the place of business must be in state. Moreover, any truck that is transporting product from the dock to a dealer location within Massachusetts , must be directly employed by that dealer, and that dealer would be a primary buyer. If not, the truck must have its own dealers permit, and must be a primary buyer, and must have a place of business in MA. (Both) 
  14. Do I need to submit written transactions for the quota managed species at the end of the season? No. All Massachusetts quotas will be monitored from data entered in the ACCSP SAFIS database. (Both) 

For Federal-Reporting Only:

  1. I mostly buy product from large vessels which fish in federal waters. However, I do buy on occasion small amounts of shellfish from local fisherman. Do I have to report these transactions? Yes. You must report all transactions of any species whether the fisherman is federally permitted or not and whether the species purchased was caught in federal waters or not. (Federal) 
  2. As a Federal-Reporting dealer, do I need to report shellfish? Yes. Even though it is no longer a federal requirement for “federal-reporting” dealers to report certain species, it is a state requirement for all dealers, whether “federal-reporting” or not, to report all species purchased directly from fishermen, including shellfish. Note that when reporting shellfish you must enter the state designated harvest area if harvested from MA territorial waters. For shellfish harvested outside of MA territorial waters, the harvest area is “Offshore waters”. (Federal) 
  3. Finding the fisherman in the SAFIS system can be a very difficult, time-consuming and frustrating thing to do. Often the fisherman is not listed or he’s listed under a different name. Why is it so important to identify the fisherman with each transaction? First it is important that you as a dealer are buying from a commercially permitted fisherman in Massachusetts . If the vessel you are buying from has a federal permit, this does not necessarily mean the vessel or its owner has a MA commercial permit. If the vessel is landing in MA, the owner or captain must have a MA commercial permit, and any specific endorsements depending on the species it is landing. If you are buying from a fisherman that does not have a MA commercial permit, then you are buying illegally, and the fisherman is selling illegally. Secondly, when it comes to fishing history, it is important that fishermen are properly associated with their transactions to help both MA DMF and NMFS verify this information. Lastly, when it comes to managing a fishery, whether for quota, stock assessments or other issues, it is extremely helpful to be able to determine who and what gears are catching the resource. This is considered one of the biggest benefits of the dealer reporting program. If dealers are not identifying the fishermen they are buying from, a substantial benefit of the program is being lost. One of the problems with loading fishermen information into the SAFIS system, is that fishermen can have permits in several states. Building the software to allow all states and the federal government to load unique records for each individual, without duplication, has been much more complicated than originally anticipated. If matching the fisherman’s name is a problem, always remember that each MA DMF fishing permit has a unique Permit ID number, and that number (referred to as the state license number in SAFIS) is listed with the fisherman’s name in the SAFIS system. Note that permits which are in the name of a vessel or corporation may only show as a “comma” in the list of fishermen, because the SAFIS system has not been modified to accommodate both first and last names as well as corporate or vessel names. You can always choose the fisherman permit by ID number (license number in SAFIS). If you still cannot find the fisherman using the ID number, contact MA DMF at 978-282-0308 x117. (Federal) 
  4. I see that the same fisherman has multiple permits listed in the SAFIS system, even some with ID or license numbers that he no longer holds. It is confusing to have these multiple permits listed, why are the old ones kept in the list? We are working with ACCSP to modify the SAFIS system to discontinue listing the old permits in the fisherman list. However, this reinforces the idea that you need to identify the current Permit ID number on the MA permit for each year. This will insure that you have associated the transaction to the proper permit. In 2006, a number of fishermen upgraded the permit type from what they had in 2005. The upgraded permits issued for 2006 received a new Permit ID number, so it is imperative that you keep track of these numbers each year, as they may be subject to change. 
  5. I was told to report federal purchases on SAFIS and the purchases from state vessels or fishermen to MA DMF. Is this true? No. If you are a “federal-reporting” dealer, you should report all transactions using one electronic reporting system. Do not separate your transactions by agency and report them separately. If you are a “federal-reporting” dealer, you must report electronically. Moreover, given that you are a MA dealer, you must adhere to additional state requirements that are not required by NMFS. Regardless, you can and must continue to meet all those requirements by reporting via one electronic reporting system (SAFIS, file-upload or PC-based software). (Federal) 
  6. As a “federal-reporting” dealer, we have multiple locations in MA which are all primary buyer locations. Should we be reporting the transactions from these locations separately, and if so, how? Given that NMFS permits corporations not locations, it is possible for a dealer to have multiple locations which are all actively buying product and fall under one permit. Even though each of those locations has their own separate MA dealer permit, all transactions for that corporation should be entered under that federal permit. Thus “federal-reporting” dealers do not need to separate their transactions when buying at multiple locations. (Federal) 
  7. What happens if I don’t submit any reports? In 2007, if less than 80% of the weeks are not accounted for, then your MA permit renewal for 2008 will be held until all reports are entered. (Federal)


For State-Reporting Only:

  1. Will I have to report daily? No. You will have until 3 days after the end of a week or reporting period (24:00 Tuesday), to submit a week’s worth of information. A reporting period is from 00:01 Sunday to 24:00 of the following Saturday. Reports must either be (a) postmarked if sent by mail, (b) received if sent by fax, or (c) entered into SAFIS (if setup for electronic reporting) no later than 24:00 of the following Tuesday. The Division’s FAX number is: 800-532-FISH or 617-727-3337. (State) 
  2. Do I need to report even if I don’t purchase anything over the course of the week? Yes. You must report for each reporting period even if you did not purchase any marine species during that period. (State) 
  3. I’m a restaurant which buys fish directly from fishermen, but only during the summer months. Do I have to report all year long if I know I won’t be buying during certain months of the year? Yes. However, if you know that you won’t be buying anything for several months, you can submit negative reports in advance to cover that time period. (State) 
  4. I do not have a federal dealer permit. Can I buy from federally permitted vessels? No. Federally permitted fishermen must sell to federally permitted dealers only. (State) 
  5. I have a federal lobster (or tuna) dealer permit and I currently don’t have to report my purchases electronically under federal regulations. Do I have to report? Yes. Even though you have a federal lobster (or tuna) dealer permit, you are considered a “state-reporting” dealer. NMFS only requires certain federally permitted dealers to report. Massachusetts requires that if you do not have to report under federal requirements, and you are a primary buyer, then you must report under state requirements. In essence, all primary buyers in Massachusetts must report, whether federally permitted or not. (State) 
  6. I have a federal lobster dealer permit, and one of the lobstermen I buy from has a federal multi-species permit, but all I buy from him is lobster. Furthermore, the lobster I buy from him is caught in state waters. Do I still need to report the vessel trip report (VTR) number with his transactions? Yes. Even though you are considered a “state-reporting” dealer, and you are purchasing lobster from a fisherman who has a multi-species permit, regardless whether he is catching the lobster in state or federal waters, he must file a vessel trip report (VTR), and you are required to submit the VTR# with your transactions. (State) 
  7. I have a federal dealer permit to buy tuna and already report my purchases to NOAA Fisheries. Why do I need to report again to the state? Instead of exempting certain species from the report, DMF has mandated that all species are required. This way loopholes and confusion for reporting are minimized. However, DMF is aware that other reporting programs do exist, such as the large pelagic program within NOAA fisheries. Given that reporting programs such as these have been in existence for many years, certain provisions must be worked out between the two agencies, before one of the programs is dropped. DMF is working to eliminate duplicative reporting at all levels. (State) 
  8. I have a computer and Internet access. Can I report my purchases over the Internet? Yes. In fact DMF encourages electronic submission. If you’d like to do this immediately, contact MA DMF at 978-282-0308 x117 and we will work with you to get set up to do so. (State) 
  9. I don’t have a computer, will I be able to continue to report via paper in the future or will I have to eventually report electronically? Yes, we anticipate that a number of “state-reporting” dealers may not have the resources to report electronically. We are sensitive to the burden of this program, and we want to make all options for reporting open to dealers. (State)
  10. I noticed that your primary buyer report worksheet requires a signature and date for each reporting period. How do I sign for submissions made electronically if I begin to report this way? If and when you do begin submitting your purchases electronically you will be doing so under a specific account or process that essentially verifies your submission. This will suffice in lieu of a signed paper report. (State) 
  11. I’ve submitted transactions for a particular reporting period. I noticed that I made a mistake on one of the transactions. How do I change that? Re-submit that one transaction with the update indicating a correction. If it is a new transaction for the period which was previously not reported, indicate that it is a new transaction for a prior reporting period. (State)
  12. Why do I have to report price information? Price information is an important component of the transaction with fishermen, and will be used only to evaluate the economic side of each fishery. When all state and federal partners along the Atlantic Coast decided on which data attributes to include in the set reported by dealers, fish value was considered extremely important when making management decisions. All transactional data is kept strictly confidential, and only individuals who have signed a memorandum of understanding about the confidentiality of the data will have access to non-summarized data. (State) 
  13. I may not know the price until after the reporting period is over and I have already reported my transactions. Do I have to re-submit my transactions? Submit your transaction as an update of a previous transaction, indicating that it is a correction. (State)
  14. Do I need to report shellfish? Yes. It is a MA state requirement to report ALL marine species purchased from fishermen. All MA dealers who are primary buyers must report ALL purchases of marine species. When reporting shellfish you must enter the harvest area. (State) 
  15. I am a shellfish dealer who spends a lot of time fulfilling these reporting requirements as well as those to Public Health. Why do I need to report a lot of the same information to both agencies? DMF is aware of the duplicative reporting requirements and is working with Public Health to minimize and eliminate the duplicative nature of these reporting requirements where possible. (State) 
  16. I grow shellfish as part of an aquaculture grant permit. Do I need to report the product that is harvested under this grant, and if so, how do I fill out the worksheet? Yes. To differentiate between wild and cultured shellfish harvest on the worksheet, please indicate AQUACULTURE as the gear type for product that is cultured. (State) 
  17. My company is open during summer months only. Do I have to report for months the store is closed? Yes. Dealers are required to report for the whole year even if the business is closed. The reason for this is so DMF will know for sure there were no transactions during that time. If reports are not received DMF has no way of knowing if the dealer forgot to submit reports or there really were no transactions. The dealer must submit a negative report when the business is closed. Keep in mind, if it’s a negative report, you may enter consecutive weeks and months on one worksheet. (State) 
  18. What happens if I don’t submit any reports? In 2007, if less than 80% of weeks are not accounted for, then your MA permit renewal for 2008 will be held until all reports are received. (State)