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Delegation Wants Equal Treatment for Alaska’s Fisheries
Lawmakers Seek Commitment for Transition Funds As Others Receive Ongoing Support


December 01, 2011
Thursday PM

(SitNews) - U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, U.S. Senator Mark Begich and Congressman Don Young, Alaska’s Congressional Delegation, sent a letter to Dr. Jane Lubchenco – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Administrator – making the case that Alaska’s waters should receive the funds necessary to improve operations, while similar endeavors are being funded on an ongoing basis in New England and on the West Coast.

“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.


Related News:

Fishery observers program "restructured" By LAINE WELCH - Coming soon to a small halibut boat near you: fishery observers. - More...
SitNews - Friday - November 18, 2011

Source of News: 

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich

Congressman Don Young


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