Lessened Monitoring for New England Commercial Fishers

Published June 7, 2016

New England fishermen got some good news on May 1 when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced it would scale back the amount of on-board monitoring required of the commercial fishing fleet in the region.

NOAA announced it would cut monitoring from the 24 percent required in the 2015 fishing season to just 14 percent of all vessel trips for the 2016 season that began May 1.

“Fishermen appreciate the changes and the evolution of the at-sea monitoring program,” Jackie Odell, executive director of the Gloucester-based Northeast Seafood Coalition, told the Salem News. “We think what they’ve done is prudent and responsible.” 

While welcoming the change, the region’s commercial fishermen say more needs to be done. They argue there has been decades of mismanagement of the New England fishery, a problem that can’t be solved by pushing the cost of at-sea monitoring onto vessel owners. Even with a reduced monitoring schedule, the $700-plus daily cost of monitors is a burden many small operators may be unable to bear. 

 H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.