June 24, 2019 3:30 a.m.
Congressman Peter DeFazio is applauding a decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service to allow ground vessels in the Pacific Northwest to monitor their catch restrictions electronically instead of using expensive on-board human observers.
DeFazio said he has been pushing for years to get rid of “onerous restrictions on our coastal fishing industry”. He said lifting what he called “an outdated rule” will finally level the playing field between Pacific Northwest and Alaska fisherman and many of the nation’s other fishers, who are “not subject to the same archaic rules”.
A release from DeFazio said currently catcher vessels in the Pacific whiting fishery and fixed gear vessels in the in the shore-based Individual Fishing Quota program are required to use on-board, human monitors to ensure they are meeting the requirements of the Trawl Rationalization program. The release said the human observers come at a significant cost to fishing businesses, as they are forced to pay for the monitoring out-of-pocket. DeFazio said fisherman on the east coast are not subject to the same requirements and have an unfair financial advantage over the northwest’s fishing industry.
The release said the updated regulations are set to take effect in 2021, with NFMS accepting applications from vessel owners in June of 2020.