U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton has expanded efforts to reform at-sea monitoring for groundfishing vessels, corralling a regional and bipartisan group of federal legislators to urge NOAA to accept changes already approved by the New England Fisheries Management Council and supported by NOAA Regional Administrator John Bullard.

Moulton and 16 other members of Congress — totaling 12 Democrats, four Republicans and one Independent from five New England states — wrote to NOAA Administrator Kathleen D. Sullivan expressing support for the council motions approved in December and again voicing their opposition to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s plans to transfer at-sea monitoring (ASM) costs to permit holders sometime early this year.

Those costs are estimated at about $710 per day per vessel with monitor coverage.

“We have requested that your agency utilize authority provided by Congress through the Fiscal Year 2015 Appropriations process to cover such expenses in fishing year 2015 and continue to strongly support the deferment of ASM costs to the industry until these program reforms are fully implemented,” the legislators wrote to Sullivan.

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