GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

March 4, 2013

NOAA to 'try' to cover monitor costs

BOSTON — Federal fishery managers have told beleaguered New England fishermen that they’ll try to cover the millions it costs to hire required at-sea catch monitors for the coming fishing year.

But they also warned they couldn’t guarantee the funds, in large part because of automatic “sequestration” spending cuts that kicked in Friday, along with the lack of a federal budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

With Gloucester and other New England groundfishermen already facing cuts of up to 77 percent in Gulf of Maine cod for the 2013 fishing year, which begins May 1, NOAA’s Gloucester-based Northeast regional administrator, John Bullard, added at a January meeting of the New England Fishery Management Council that fishermen would also be expected to pick up a share of the cost of NOAA’s monitors since the agency had not budgeted to cover the full cost, as it had done for the previous three years under the catch share management system.

Monitors — provided by outside contracting firms under contract to NOAA, including one headed by former NOAA regional administrator Andrew Rosenberg — earn roughly $300 a day while placed on fishing vessels to track what they haul in and what they discard to try to ensure accuracy in a management system that relies on strict quotas for each species.

Many fishermen have said that, with their radical declines in catch, it will be impossible to pay the expense, estimated at about $6.7 million for the fleet.

In a letter to lawmakers last week, fishermen asked them to push the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to find a way to cover the costs. And in a visit to Gloucester two weeks ago, first-year U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, fielding a variety of concerns and pleas from fishermen for help, said she would work toward ensuring NOAA continues to pick up the monitoring cost as well.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow