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Rep. Peter DeFazio Applauds National Marine Fisheries Decision to Use Electronic Monitoring

Jun 21, 2019
Press Release
Decision will eliminate need for on-board human observers, ease onerous burdens on fishermen

Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR-04) today applauded the decision by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to allow groundfish vessels in the Pacific Northwest to monitor their catch restrictions electronically instead of using expensive on-board human observers.

“I’ve been pushing for years to get rid of these onerous restrictions on our coastal fishing industry,” said Rep Peter DeFazio. “Lifting this outdated rule will finally level the playing field between Pacific Northwest and Alaska fishermen and many of the nation’s other fishers, who are not subject to the same archaic rules.”

Currently, catcher vessels in the Pacific whiting fishery and fixed gear vessels in the shorebased Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) program are required to use on-board, human monitors to ensure they are meeting the requirements of the Trawl Rationalization Program. These human observers come at significant cost to fishing businesses, as they are forced to pay for the monitoring out-of-pocket. Fishermen on the East Coast are not subject to these same requirements and have an unfair financial advantage over the Northwest’s fishing industry.

The updated regulations are set to take effect in 2021, with NMFS accepting applications from vessel owners in June 2020.