National Fisherman

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: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

It is with great sadness that Furuno USA announced the passing of industry veteran and long-time Furuno employee, Ed Davis, on April 30.
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Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is required by state statute to appoint someone to the Board of Fisheries by today, Tuesday, May 19. However, his efforts to fill the seat have gone unfulfilled since he took office in January. The seven-member board serves as an in-state fishery management council for fisheries in state waters.

The resignation of Walker’s director of Boards and Commissions, Karen Gillis, fanned the flames of controversy late last week.

Read more...
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