The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has in recent weeks been casting about for a pool of money to tap for its controversial onboard fishing vessel monitoring program. Efforts to make fishermen pay directly for the program — yet another unfunded federal mandate — have so far fallen short.

Not to be deterred, however, NOAA administrators have come up with an even more disturbing idea — take the money from the emergency funds the government set aside for fishermen.

On Friday, NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard said the $2.5 million needed to pay for at-sea monitoring for the rest of this fishing season could come from yet-to-be-delivered federal fishery disaster aid.

“The states sill have about $10 million in the ‘third bin,’” Bullard said. “(Monitoring) would be an eligible use of those funds.”

We’re sorry, Mr. Bullard. That money is already spoken for.

Read the full story at the Gloucester Daily Times>>

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Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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