Delegation Wants Equal Treatment for Alaska’s Fisheries
December 01, 2011
“You have made commitments to fund observers in other regions while they transition to catch share programs,” wrote the delegation. “We are concerned funding observers in these regions might jeopardize your ability to provide start up funds for the restructured North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program. Meanwhile, the burden imposed on fishermen in Alaska’s small boats and 60 –foot to 125-foot vessel fleets would be unwarranted.”
In 2010, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) expanded its Groundfish Observer Program to better manage the fisheries and provide more accurate baseline data to inform policy decisions like catch and bycatch estimates. While the direct costs of deploying added fishery observers will be funded by the industry in all subsequent years, $3.8 million in transition costs needed – similar to support given the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program and the Northeast Multispecies Sector Catch Share Program in the FY12 Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations bill.
Murkowski, Begich and Young said in their letter that $3.8 million in start up funding for the North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program is essential to transition to the improved program.
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