PORTLAND, Maine — New England fishermen of important food species like cod and haddock say the looming cost of paying for at-sea monitors could put them out of business this year.
Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service said the money it had been using to pay for the monitors — trained workers who collect data on fishing trips — will be needed for other obligations. That means groundfishermen who catch fish like cod, haddock, and pollock in New England waters will likely have to start paying the cost around August.
The new expense is coming at a time when it could cripple the fishery, fishermen said. Paying for at-sea monitors can cost fishermen about $800 per trip, which can be nearly half the gross profit of a good haul, they said.
Fishermen said the new expense will compound the costs of necessities like crew, insurance, and fuel in a year that will already be bad for fishing. Among the challenges facing the industry is a quota cut of about 75 percent to Gulf of Maine cod that went into effect on May 1.
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