NOAA Fisheries has recalibrated its method for determining the requisite sea days of observer coverage for lobster boats, resulting in decreased coverage for Massachusetts-based lobstermen and increased coverage for those based in Maine in the final quarter of this fishing season.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, responding to criticisms from Bay State lobstermen, re-allotted the number of sea-days after expanding the pool of vessels eligible for observer coverage to include all federally permitted lobster boats rather than just those holding limited-use, multi-species permits that require the filing of vessel trip reports (VTRs).

The result is that for the final quarter of the 2015 fishing season (Jan. 1 to March 31), Massachusetts lobstermen will have six sea-days of mandated observer coverage, down from the previously scheduled 18. Maine lobstermen, however, will see their mandated sea-days of observer coverage rise to 33 from the originally scheduled 14 in the same period.

The modified methodology also means that New Hampshire and Rhode Island lobstermen will have one day of mandated observer coverage respectively in the final quarter of the 2015, down from the previously scheduled five for New Hampshire and four for Rhode Island.

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