Emergency Suspension of Observers Requested
by Laurie Schreiber
NEWPORT, R.I.—The groundfish fleet is unable to shoulder the cost of at-sea monitoring, and there’s already evidence that many boats will simply tie up come August.
“I think we’ll lose the entire small boat fleet on Aug. 1, when this cost comes down on the sectors,” New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC) member Ellen Goethel said at NEFMC’s June meeting.
As a result of that and similar comments, NEFMC asked the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to take emergency action to suspend the at-sea monitoring program that currently applies to vessels fishing in the groundfish sectors. The request was based on concerns about the economic viability of the groundfish fishery if the industry has to pay for a portion of the observer program.
NEFMC originally required the industry to pay for at-sea