Why are fishermen guilty until proven innocent? A case against putting video cameras on every boat

As many of you may know, my husband filed a lawsuit against the National Marine Fisheries Service to stop them from requiring the fishermen to pay for the At-Sea monitors that the Fisheries Service requires ground fishermen to take on their boats. The cost is upwards of $700 a day, which is more than the small family owned fishing boats make here in New England. The Supreme Court decided not to hear their case which the lower courts had dismissed on a technicality because the suit was not filed within a 30 day time frame. Some people have suggested video monitoring as an alternative. I have addressed that in my comments below click here to read Ellen Goethels post 15:01

  • Until we achieve cooperative fisheries management in which scientists, managers, and fishermen work with mutual trust and respect, the dysfunctional rules, regulations, quotas, and penalties will continue.

    Some Gloucester groundfish boats believe that we could start such a project in the Western Gulf of Maine under an EFP that would allow full retention of whatever is there (and unlikely to survive if returned to the sea) so it can be assessed and documented at shore; all financial benefits for caught choke species (like cod) going to the project – not the boat; and fishermen being able to fish with commonly agreed gear and techniques without fear of being shut down because they caught species that aren’t supposed to exist in the GOM.

    Without the many disincentives to accurate reporting that exist in the current system, there should not be issues with the honesty of fleet reports; and without the threat of being shut down due to accidental species encounters, these boats would not object to electronic monitoring. Key, however, is management’s agreement to use fisher data – CPUE and species encountered while fishing – as a scientifically valid ingredients in the “best available science” used to determine stock levels and quotas.

    We welcome input from all interested parties on the viability of such a plan. Contact Gloucester Capt Sam Novello via [email protected] – and for more information look at our in-progress web site at http://www.gomora.org.