Electronic Logbook Pilot Program FAQ

Posted May 26, 2017

By Richard Fischer
LCBA Communications Manager

Many of our federally-permitted charter captains have been approached regarding instillation of an electronic logbook for a two-year Louisiana pilot program.

For many of you, this proposition presents many questions you’d like answered regarding the program and the logbook itself.

Below are answers to some of the questions we have heard from you in a FAQ format. If you have any additional questions that are not addressed below, please email LCBA Communications Manager Richard Fischer at richard@louisianasaltwater.com or CLS America, the company contracted to facilitate the installation and service of the logbooks, directly at support@clsamerica.com.

LCBA is neither advocating for or against you participating in this pilot program. We merely want you to have the facts so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your charter business.

Q: What is this logbook pilot program all about?

A: The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries secured a grant for 100 electronic logbooks to be installed on Louisiana federally-permitted charter-for-hire vessels. Captains who receive logbooks will also have to participate in a pilot program in the years 2017 and 2018. The pilot study will require captains to enter every fish they catch into the electronic logbook daily. It is free for our charter captains to receive the electronic logbook as part of this pilot program. LDWF has also pledged to cover the monthly service fee as well as early overage fees with grant money. At some point, though, LDWF may stop covering overage fees. We will let you know when and if this happens.

Q: Why would I want a logbook?

A: The Gulf Council voted in February to require the Gulf’s charter-for-hire fleet to track their catch daily with an electronic logbook (requirement likely beginning in 2019). Therefore, you’ll need to have a logbook anyway by the end of the decade. This program offers our federally-permitted captains an opportunity to get one for free. On the data side, electronic logbooks will help scientists get a more precise view of what’s actually being taken from the Gulf, which should, in theory, allow fisheries managers to keep seasons open longer.

Q: Do I have to participate in the pilot program?

A: It is your choice and your choice alone to participate in the pilot program or not. However, please be advised that if you miss out on this opportunity to receive a free logbook, you will be required to purchase one costing several thousand dollars likely prior to the 2019 fishing season in order to operate legally.

Q: What about Louisiana potentially getting state management of red snapper and possibly other species in the years 2019-21? Will I still need a logbook if this happens?

A: Yes, you will still need a logbook in order to build a personal historical catch on the same data system as the rest of the Gulf in case the fishery goes back to federal control after this pilot program. Also, because the fish allocation Louisiana receives would go through the Gulf Council process before Louisiana can then allocate it out through its management plan, if Louisiana logbooks show little harvest to the Gulf Council, Louisiana’s allocation of that species in future years will be lower.

Q: Will the logbook allow my favorite fishing spots to be tracked?

A: No, the unit uses minimum-archived GPS and not real-time GPS.

Q: I’m interested. How do I sign up for a logbook and the program?

A: Email CLS America at support@clsamerica.com, and they will coordinate instillation of your logbook with you.

Q: What happens when the pilot program ends?

A: You will get to keep the logbook free, however you will then be responsible for a monthly service fee to operate the logbook (again, Gulf-wide requirement likely beginning in 2019). This fee should be either $35 or $70 per month depending on which package you choose. CLS America pledged that these prices will not be higher in two years after they’ve already drawn you in as a customer.

Q: When is the deadline to sign up?

A: No deadline has been set at the moment. CLS America would prefer if captains signed up by June 1, but we expect this offer to extend further. We will let you know ASAP when and if a deadline is formed.

Q: What if I participate but decide to stop inputting data during the pilot program?

A: You will lose servicing to the unit, and you will need to make other arrangements to purchase another electronic logbook when it becomes mandatory Gulf-wide (again, likely 2019).

Q: What happens if the electronic logbook breaks or the handheld device gets ruined or falls overboard?

A: You will receive a one-year warranty on the electronic logbook and the handheld device, beginning on the date it is installed. After one year, you will be responsible for paying for replacement and service.

Q: How many fishing spots will I have to report?

A: General area reporting, same as La Creel. You will only have to report once when the trip is ending.

Q: I saw CLS America marketing the program to me as the La Creel Electronic Logbook Project. Is the program tied to La Creel?

A: Eventually maybe yes, but not yet. The electronic logbook data will not be included in the data La Creel draws from to assess fish harvests, however the data will be compared against La Creel to benchmark how precise each is against the other. If electronic logbooks are eventually deemed by LDWF to produce more precise data than La Creel, they could eventually be used to replace or supplement La Creel.


That’s it for the FAQ. Remember, you can email LCBA Communications Manager Richard Fischer at richard@louisianasaltwater.com if you have any additional questions or you may email CLS America directly at support@clsamerica.com.


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