BOOTHBAY HARBOR — Commercial fishermen now have access to a free app that simplifies required harvest reporting for both state and federally licensed fishermen 
Developed by technology company Bluefin Data under a contract with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the app, called VESL, is the result of a required increase in the percentage of lobster harvesters who must submit reports. 
Currently only 10 percent of state licensed lobster harvesters in Maine must report their harvest. However, as part of an update to the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission fishery management plan for lobster, 100 percent of state licensed commercial lobstermen will have to report their harvest information, including location of fishing activity and pounds landed. 
The reporting requirement, which will be implemented in Maine in 2023, is intended to provide regulators and researchers with more detail about where fishing activity takes place. 
A request for proposals issued by the department required developers to not only produce an app that would work for lobstermen, but also for other state and federal fisheries that require harvester reports. 
VESL personalizes the interface, depending on the requirements of the fishery. For example, fields required will be customized based on the license, permits and gear type used. 
Data can be entered while at sea and uploaded when an internet connection is established. 
VESL is compatible with mobile devices and will work across multiple platforms including IOS and Android (tablet and phone). The app has also been approved by NOAA for use by federally permitted harvesters and is now available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. 
For information, contact Rob Watts at [email protected] or (207) 633-9412. 
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