Pingree says fishermen shouldn't have to pay for mandatory monitoring as costs rise and fishing quotas are reduced
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree said today that federal fisheries officials have indicated that they intend to pay the cost of at-sea monitoring beginning May 1. Pingree wrote a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) last month asking that the federal government pay for the costs. The entire Maine Delegation as well as Representatives and Senators from throughout New England signed the letter.
"It's not a firm commitment from NOAA but this is a good step in the right direction. I'm going to keep urging them to follow through and pay for these expenses," Pingree said. "With costs of things like fuel continuing to go up and the quotas fishermen are getting going down, it's just becoming harder and harder to make ends meet and the last thing they need is to have to pay the costs of federal monitoring," Pingree said.
NOAA officials told Pingree today that they think they will beable to cover at-sea monitoring costs during the upcoming fishing season, but did leave open the possibility of not paying for all the expenses because of uncertainties relating to the mandatory budget cuts associated with the sequester. They also made the announcement publicly at the Maine Fishermen's Forum in Rockport.