Tag Archives: At-Sea Monitoring

New Hampshire fleet dwindles as at-sea monitoring decision heads to Supreme Court

A New Hampshire fisherman leading the fight against a decision by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association to shift the cost of at-sea monitoring to industry has appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. David Goethel of Hampton, New Hampshire, said he filed the appeal in early July. He is challenging the decision of a federal district court and the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled in NOAA’s favor, according to the Associated Press. Goethal, who filed his original suit in December 2015, has been joined in his appeal by the Northeast Fishery Sector 13, which represents fishermen from Massachusetts to North Carolina. His legal support is being provided pro bono by the Cause for Action Institute.,, In Goethel’s appeal to the Supreme Court, he argues that NOAA’s requirement of at-sea monitors represents an illegal, warrantless search of private property, and that forcing the industry to pay for its own monitoring represents a violation of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause. click here to read the story 10:51

NOAA Fisheries Announces Reimbursement Rate of 60 Percent for 2017 At-Sea Monitoring Costs in Groundfish Fishery

Effective at-sea monitoring (ASM) programs are essential to the success and sustainability of Greater Atlantic Region fisheries. Groundfish vessels in the Greater Atlantic Region that participate in the sector program are required to carry a fisheries observer or an at-sea monitor for a portion of their trips. Fisheries observers are provided and typically paid for by the Federal government in the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) program and at-sea monitors are partially paid for by industry in the at-sea monitoring program. In 2016, industry began paying their portion of at-sea monitoring costs and NOAA Fisheries was able to reimburse 85 percent of industry’s expenses for July 2016-April 2017. Read the press release here 13:01

Fishermen shot down in fishing monitor dispute.

A federal appeals court has found in favor of the U.S. government in a challenge brought by a New England fishermen’s group over the cost of at-sea monitoring. The monitors are workers who collect data that help the government craft fishing regulations. The government shifted the cost of paying for monitors to fishermen last year. A group led by New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel sued the government over the rule change. Read the rest here 20:47

Fishermen oppose camera mandate – could potentially infringe on their Fourth Amendment rights

A proposed mandate from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could require fishermen to purchase a camera monitoring system to ensure that they are adhering to regulations — a requirement that local fishermen and First Selectman Rob Simmons see as a violation of their rights. Based on a study done by the NOAA Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, electronic monitoring would potentially cost the fishermen around $500 per day per boat and require them to pay $60,000 for startup costs and annual maintenance of the equipment. While it’s less costly on a daily basis than the $700 per day cost of having a person doing at-sea monitoring on board a vessel, critics say the startup costs alone have the potential to put local fishermen out of business. Aside from the costs of the proposed mandate, many see it as a violation of privacy. click here to continue reading the story 08:07

GARFO: At-Sea Monitoring 2017 Coverage Levels for Groundfish Sector Fishery

NOAA Fisheries announces that for fishing year 2017 the total target at-sea monitoring coverage level is 16 percent of all groundfish sector trips.  This target coverage level is a 2 percentage point increase from the 2016 coverage level (14 percent). As the target coverage level is set based on an average of at-sea monitoring data from the past 3 full groundfish fishing years, this level is set based on data from the 2013-2015 fishing years. Federally funded observer coverage provided by the Northeast Fishery Observer Program to meet the Standardized Bycatch Reporting Methodology (SBRM) requirements will partially satisfy the 16 percent coverage requirement. Sectors will therefore actually pay for at-sea monitoring coverage on less than 16 percent of their groundfish trips, but the total will depend on the SBRM coverage rates, which are not yet out. Read the press release here, For more information, please read the Summary of Analysis Conducted to Determine At-Sea Monitoring Requirements for Multispecies Sectors FY2017  13:59

Longtime Gloucester Fisherman Sam Parisi discusses regulatory issues he wants you to know about

manatthewheelMy name is Sam Parisi I am a proud third generation Fisherman from Gloucester, Massachusetts. My involvement in the fishing industry spans well over fifty years, and sadly, I have never seen our fleet, our shore side infrastructure in Gloucester, and New England in the alarming position it is at this moment. This is the result of unacceptable mismanagement of our fishery at the hands of the NOAA/NMFS bureaucracy, which is expanding. Another troubling issue is the at-sea monitoring program. The S-K funds, and S. 3087 “American Fisheries Advisory Committee Act”, introduced by Senator Dan Sullivan, R-AK, is also discussed. Read the rest here 15:39

This timely NOAA announcement just showed up! New “pre-proposal” process provides more guidance for Saltonstall-Kennedy grant applicants Click here 15:59

NOAA to reimburse fishermen 85 percent for 2016 at-sea monitoring costs

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will reimburse New England fishermen for 85 percent of the cost of at-sea monitors in 2016, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office announced Wednesday. NOAA is expected to launch a program July 1 through the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission where fishermen will be reimbursed for costs they pay this year to the at-sea monitors. Fishermen have said the costs, which began this year, are too much for them to pay and could sink their already weakened industry. NOAA is paying for the reimbursement program through extra funds left over from the 2015 fiscal year and does not intend to cover costs for at-sea monitors in 2017. Read the rest here 21:44

New England fishermen get a break on monitoring costs

obs_logo_lgCommercial groundfishermen had their projected cost for at-sea monitoring cut in half this year, but fishermen say it is still unfair they’re forced to pay for policing of their own work. NOAA lightened the fishermen’s burden because data shows the federal agency can obtain adequate information on fish populations with less monitoring coverage than initially determined. Fishermen have said it is unconstitutional for NOAA to force them to pay for their own policing. Hampton fisherman David Goethel said NOAA’s reduction in coverage is not enough to satisfy fishermen. “It’s obviously an improvement,” Goethel said, “But it still doesn’t alleviate the big problem, which is we shouldn’t be paying at all.” Read the rest here 08:15

Monitor costs shift to fishermen Tuesday, fall out from Carlos Seafood, and EDF opportunists.

manatthewheelCape Ann lawmakers Bruce Tarr and Ann-Margaret Ferrante walked a thin line last week when they sat down and penned a letter to state Attorney General Maura Healey on the issue of at-sea monitoring. While the fishermen’s lawsuit has drawn the most attention, there is another that could prove equally as troubling to NOAA and the fishing industry: maritime environmental group Oceana’s lawsuit challenging NOAA Fisheries’ bycatch rule. The issue of monitoring burst back into the public arena on Friday, when federal agents — including those from NOAA Law Enforcement and the Internal Revenue Service — raided the operations of Carlos Seafood,,, The arrests prompted a quick response from environmental groups seeking expanded monitor coverage for the groundfish fishery. Read the rest here 07:22

NOAA At-sea monitoring suspended (for now) – To start again March 1, when boats must pay costs

bullard karpNOAA Fisheries exhausted its budgeted money for at-sea monitoring of Northeast fishing sector groundfish boats on Feb. 16 and has suspended all required monitoring until the fishing industry assumes monitoring costs on March 1.  The details of the suspension, which has not been publicly announced by NOAA, were contained in a Feb. 19 declaration filed by NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard in the federal lawsuit New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel of Hampton filed against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of Commerce and officials within those federal agencies. “On or about Feb. 16, the (Northeast Fisheries) Science Center became aware for the first time that recent updates did not include information for all completed trips … and that committed government funds to pay for ASMs had been exhausted,” Bullard wrote in his declaration. Read the rest here 08:06

SouthCoast sector managers detail fishing costs

AR-160129405.jpg&MaxW=650Managers of area fishery sectors on Friday said many local groundfish boats could face daily charges of $125 or less-frequent charges of about $500, to pay for government-mandated monitoring of their catches. Sector 9 manager Stephanie Rafael-DeMello and Sector 13 manager John Haran both said they negotiated with East West Technical Services, which has an office in Narragansett, R.I., for catch-monitoring services for which fishermen expect to begin paying around March 1. Rafael-DeMello said the negotiated price was “just under $500 a day,” per boat. But because regulators randomly select boats for monitoring, she said, Sector 9 will spread the cost evenly, charging boats a flat rate of $125 per sea day in order to foot the overall costs of monitoring, which will apply only to about 20 percent of trips. Read the article here 08:49

Moulton unites region to reform at-sea monitoring

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. Read the article here 12:12

Update: Federal Funding for At-Sea Monitoring Likely to Extend into 2016

nmfs_logoWe are pleased to announce an update on the status of federal funding for at-sea monitors in the New England Groundfish fishery. We have been informed that industry has facilitated an initial agreement among the three at-sea monitoring contract providers that may allow the remaining contract funds remaining to cover at-sea monitors after December 31 across the fleet, until those funds are expended, through sub-contracting arrangements. Read the notice here Why can they do this? Because they have ELIMINATED half the fleet over the past five years. 17:01

New Hampshire’s U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta calls for NOAA to stop at-sea monitoring or pay for it

U.S. Rep. Frank Guinta’s bill would exempt fishermen from having to “comply with the independent, third-party monitoring program” required by the NOAA unless the federal fisheries regulator “fully funds the program with funds appropriated from the administration.” Guinta also questioned why the at-sea monitoring is so expensive and why NOAA contracts the services out to third-party operators rather than performing the tasks with its own staff. “It’s just too cozy,” Guinta said Wednesday. “It’s blatantly unfair to the fishermen and appears to be an excessive amount being charged to taxpayers.” Read the rest here 08:30

State leaders express concern about NOAAs “oppressive” observer funding decision

The Baker-Polito administration sent an letter to federal partners Monday expressing “serious concern” about the requirement, and urging their support in covering the costs of the At-Sea-Monitoring (ASM) program for the Northeast fishery, according to a news release from the governor’s office.  The letter encourages NOAA Fisheries to prove the cost-effectiveness of the “burdensome” monitoring program and support federal funds to pay for the monitoring. It follows a request from the New England Fisheries Management Council to suspend ASM and evaluate the program’s effectiveness, according to the release. Read the rest here 08:30

NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard Sticks to his guns over at-sea monitoring battle

Bullard’s letter on Tuesday to NEFMC Executive Director Tom Nies followed the same rejective tone as his letter about two weeks ago that rejected the council request — also made at its June meeting — for NOAA to use its administrative authority to suspend all groundfish at-sea monitoring for the remainder of the 2015 season. “While we do have authority to make administrative adjustments to the ASM program in-season, none of the options would be consistent with the current regulatory requirements and statistical standards, and as a result, we cannot take administrative action to modify the at-sea monitoring coverage for 2015,”  Read the rest here 07:55

Emergency action needed on at-sea monitoring – Jackie Odell, Northeast Seafood Coalition

966382_576848379002335_599159690_oNOAA Fisheries announced last week that funding for the at-sea monitoring program for groundfish fishermen operating under sectors will now extend through Oct. 31. This announcement was made less than a week after NOAA Fisheries denied the New England Fishery Management Council’s request to initiate an emergency action to suspend the program temporarily until a full evaluation, including a cost-benefit analysis, of the program is conducted. Read the rest here 15:51

New England: Catch accountability should take place at the dock

g0002580000000000000bea0810c3a6cac2be28188b42d824fdbd10e7d9NOAA’s denial of the New England Fishery Management Council’s June request to suspend at-sea monitoring has satisfied environmental groups, but it serves as the latest example of their inappropriate and misguided influence in management of the Northeast fisheries. The Management Council had asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration for emergency relief, as the cost of at-sea monitoring shifted from the government to the fishermen, a $700-$800 cost per trip. Fishermen and regulators alike anticipate that it will make a more trips unprofitable. Read the rest here 12:39

At Sea Monitoring – “Catch accountability for the groundfish industry is not optional,” NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard

130307_GT_ABO_BULLARD_1NOAA has denied the request by the New England Fishery Management Council in June to use emergency measures to immediately suspend at-sea monitoring for vessels in the Northeast multispecies groundfish fishery. In a letter dated July 30, NOAA Regional Administrator John K. Bullard said the council’s request did not meet any of the criteria for emergency action. The council’s request to suspend at-sea monitoring was viewed as long shot from the moment it was passed,,, Read the rest here 09:27

New England Fishery Management Council asks NOAA to suspend monitoring

observer sean sullivanThe commercial fishing industry won two big battles at the bruising New England Fishery Management Council meetings this week, the first on habitat and the final on the council’s vote to seek emergency measures to suspend the bulk of at-sea monitoring of groundfish boats for the remainder of the 2015 fishing season.“The science center doesn’t have the money and the industry doesn’t have the money. But that doesn’t mean we can just get rid of monitoring. We need the monitoring for accountability and suspending it is just not good policy.” John Bullard Read the rest here 09:25

At-Sea Monitoring Costs Too Expensive

The letter asked NOAA to fully fund the at-sea monitoring program, and even suggested a system of virtual monitoring. Read more