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June 28, 2016

Federal lawsuit over at-sea monitoring still a go

Fishermen opposing the cost-shift of at-sea monitoring say they are moving forward with a federal lawsuit despite the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concession that it will help pay for the cost of the monitors for New England fishermen.

The at-sea monitoring program analyzes the fishing area, as well as the catch and gear type, in order to monitor sector quotas. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, the research arm of NOAA Fisheries, is required to collect scientific, management, regulatory compliance and economic data for fisheries.

As reported in March, the cost of the monitors, which can be more than $700 a day, had been covered by the federal government until March, when fishermen were told that other obligations within the National Marine Fisheries Service prevent the government from footing the bill.

As Mainebiz reported on Monday, beginning July 1, groundfish fishermen covered by the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan will be reimbursed for their at-sea monitoring costs through an arrangement with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. The reimbursement will be available to fishermen who seek groundfish such as cod, haddock and flounder.

Fishermen behind the lawsuit told the Associated Press that the reimbursement still leaves fishermen on the hook for some of the costs, which will be harmful to the industry as a whole.

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Groundfish fishermen face cost of fishery monitors

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