Today, Congresswoman Shea-Porter announced that NOAA intends to fully fund the cost of at-sea monitors for Northeast fishermen, barring any unforeseen budgetary consequences. The funding will come out of NOAA's existing 2013 budget, provided assumptions on reduced fishing activity are met.
NOAA's at-sea monitors travel with fishermen on multi-species fisheries trips. Due to budget constraints, they had considered having fishermen pay for the cost of these monitors. This would have been a huge burden for New Hampshire fishermen, who are already facing difficult cuts to their 2013 quotas.
"I am thankful that NOAA has made this decision to prevent burdening New Hampshire fishermen with the responsibility of paying for NOAA at-sea monitors during this difficult time," said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter.
The New Hampshire fishing fleet is comprised solely of small inshore boats, and relies almost exclusively on Gulf of Maine (GOM) Cod and Haddock. At last month's New England Fisheries Management Council Meeting, they announced a 77% reduction to GOM Cod and a 72% reduction to GOM Haddock. As a result of these conservation measures, studies have shown that New Hampshire fisherman could lose 91% of their income.