National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

lincIn Mixed Catch, NF Senior Editor Linc Bedrosian spotlights a wide range of commercial fishing-related news items from coast to coast.

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council in October tackled a thorny subject — funding observer coverage.

According to the Homer (Alaska) News, the council finalized changes http://homernews.com/stories/110310/seawatch_cet.shtml to the observer program for groundfish boats at the October meeting. Among the changes: NMFS will contract directly with observer companies to provide part-time observers for sectors previously not covered such as the halibut longline fleet and groundfish boats under 60 feet.

And as a way of funding the observer coverage, the council will assess a 1.25 percent fee on ex-vessel value of landings in fisheries that must participate in the program.

Paying for observer coverage is a vexing problem in fisheries management. Ideally, if regulators mandate something like observer coverage, they should pay for it.

But the reality is Washington politicians happily call for measures like the observer program to monitor the catch and bycatch but are less enthusiastic about giving NMFS a bigger budget to fund it.

Others say it's just as well. They believe the industry is better off paying for observer coverage itself. Hey, you want something done right, you do it yourself, right?

Unfortunately, observer coverage isn't cheap. And it's another added expense that doesn't make it any easier for fishermen to stay afloat financially.

Maybe there's a middle ground where fishermen and NMFS share the program cost in some fashion. Let's hope so, because the observer program isn't going away, nor is the funding question.

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 11/06/14

In this episode:

NOAA report touts 2013 landings, value increases
Panama fines GM salmon company Aquabounty
Gulf council passes Reef Fish Amendment 40
Maine elver quota cut by 2,000 pounds
Offshore mussel farm would be East Coast’s first

 

Inside the Industry

EAST SAND ISLAND, Oregon—Alexa Piggott is crawling through a dark, dusty, narrow tunnel on this 62-acre island at the mouth of the Columbia River. On the ground above her head sit thousands of seabirds. Piggott, a crew leader with Bird Research Northwest, is headed for an observation blind from which she'll be able to count them.
 
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NOAA and its fellow Natural Resource Damage Assessment trustees in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have announced the signing of a formal Record of Decision to implement a gulf restoration plan. The 44 projects, totaling an estimated $627 million, will restore barrier islands, shorelines, dunes, underwater grasses and oyster beds.

Read more...

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