#FishermensLivesMatter: Until this pandemic is over, say no to fishery observer’s being placed on fishing vessels

By Jim Lovgren

On July 1st the Trump administration’s agency, NOAA will require that fishing vessels resume taking fishery observers on their fishing trips. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic these activities have been suspended for almost three months due to the danger of spreading the deadly disease among the
fishing industry and their families. Fishery observers are required by National Marine Fishery Service regulations to observe commercial fishing operations in almost all of our countries fisheries based on various criteria that include likelihood of interaction with marine mammals or other protected species, amount of bycatch in each fishery, adherence to regulations, and anything else they can justify to support this huge taxpayer money gobbling con game they have created.

As the Covid 19 pandemic resurfaces throughout our country the genius’s at NOAA believe that they should put a bunch of strangers on board fishing vessels to observe what they are catching. Don’t worry, they have put stringent protocols in place to assure your safety. They will test the observers a
couple times a week and take their temperature, [hopefully anally], try to make sure the observers stay in the same port and on the same vessels, and various other safety precautions to assure that they don’t kill us. NMFS has a long history of trying to kill the fishing industry, so why should we believe their safety precautions will work now? Just this week both the Mid Atlantic and New England Fishery Management councils wrote letters to NOAA expressing their grave concerns about the resumption of the observer program in light of the resurgence of the pandemic throughout the country.

In New Jersey Governor Murphy just announced that the planned reopening of indoor dining at restaurants on July 1 st will not happen, other states are taking more stringent precautions in regard to public safety and the close aggregation of people in confined spaces, yet tone deaf NOAA insists that the observer program must resume, to hell with the people that they may very well kill. This is about as careless an act of utter thoughtlessness as Governor’s Cuomo and Murphy forcing assisted living facilities to take in infected patients no matter if they were capable of handling them or not. The genocide that caused is still being documented. Is NOAA willing to have the blood of fishermen and their families on their hands? Is the observer program so indispensable that they are willing to risk the lives and health of both fishermen and the observers? For what? We have had observers on our boats for decades sorting through the same catch trip after trip, year after year, in a predicable cycle of ordinary fishing operations and catch rates. Their data amounts to nothing more than mental masturbation for the micromanagers to claim the sky is falling, so that they can then say they need more money. Because that’s all the observer program is, a money making machine for a few influential individuals who saw the opportunity to create an unneeded bureaucracy to police the fishing industry and enrich themselves. If the government really cared about the U.S. fishing industry they would not have allowed the wholesale total destruction of our fish stocks by the Soviet Union in the 60’s and 70’s, but that’s a whole different

So on July 1st,  if our caring politicians haven’t reigned in these out of control maniacs by continuing the present suspension of observer operations, I urge all fishermen to simply say NO. You will not endanger your life, or your crew, or your families for this reckless charade of unnecessary scientific intrusion. If our Politicians won’t step up then we as an industry need to take this to a Federal court and seek an injunction to stop it. Until this pandemic is over, and Americans can go about their lives in a safe and normal manner then there should bethere should be no observer’s placed on fishing vessels observer’s placed on fishing vessels on the east coast.