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…….

Why are fishermen guilty until proven innocent?

Some of you have asked me why they don’t do video monitoring on the fishing boats like they do in Alaska. I put to you this thought, have you ever read George Orwell’s, 1984? Where there is not a piece of your life that the government cannot see on a video camera?

The vessels have no bathroom. Most of the guys and gals sit on a bucket on the deck when they need to go. They sleep on their boat, they get dressed on their boat. The proposed cameras would cover every inch of their deck. Do you want a camera in your home with someone watching you every minute of every day?
Now to the very real biological reasons that video monitoring should not replace on board monitors:

1. At this time the technology cannot work with any vessel that catches large amounts of fish all at once. Each fish must be picked up placed on a measuring board and recorded including the discards. This would kill 100% of the discards 100% of the time. It would also take hours when you have more than a dozen or so fish making it useless to fishermen who are day boat vessels and need to return to port every day.

2. At this time the technology cannot distinguish between species of fish well enough in our multi-species groundfish fishery. They are being used on the west coast in single species fisheries with a few by catch species.

3. NOAA has determined that video monitoring requires another level of bureaucracy of people dedicated to watching the thousands of hours of video streaming in. They will need to hire a huge new workforce. The cost of which will be placed on the fishermen plus the cost of equipment. This will make the video monitoring more expensive than At-Sea Observers.
And again, I say to you, why are fishermen guilty until proven innocent? Why are they second class citizens?

Submitted by Ellen Goethel. Thank you, Ellen.