The nation's oceans chief says the federal government will cover what fishermen feared could be crushing costs to pay for observers who monitor their catch.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration head Jane Lubchenco announced Wednesday that the observers would be funded through the 2012 fishing year, as part of a limited preliminary response to Sen. John Kerry's comprehensive reform agenda for the New England fisheries.
The observers are needed to monitor the catch under a new fishing system that uses strict limits on how much of each species a fisherman can catch or toss overboard. If fishermen exceed the limit on one species, fishing stops on all species.
The government paid the multimillion-dollar costs during the first two years under the new system, beginning in 2010.
Fishermen were supposed to pay the cost this year, but fishermen and legislators argued that would put more fishermen in the struggling industry out business.
For more coverage of this story, look to tomorrow's print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.