CHATHAM – Federal fisheries regulators want fishermen to pay to have somebody watch what they catch and what they throw back.

And, while Gov. Charlie Baker told federal officials last week that they should foot the bill, local fishermen are hoping the state will reconsider and use its share of federal disaster money to pay for the observers required on commercial fishing trips.

The extra eyes on deck cost $710 daily, and fishermen say that hits smaller vessels especially hard.

“What small business can afford to be $710 in the hole before they even open their doors?” Chatham fisherman John Our said.

Expenses are already high for fuel, crews, bait and gear, fishermen say. Haddock, though plentiful, are too far offshore for them to catch, and their traditional species of choice, cod, have disappeared from local waters, mired at historically low population levels.

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