New England fishermen appealing decision forcing them to pay at-sea monitors

Published on
November 15, 2016

Commercial fishermen in New England have filed a notice of appeal following a decision by a judge forcing them to pay for at-sea monitors.

A federal district court judge ruled in July against fishermen who had sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), claiming that NOAA had violated their rights by forcing them to pay for government-trained monitors to observe their catch, according to the Boston Globe.

The fishermen in that case are now planning to bring it to the federal Court of Appeals, the Associated Press reported. They argue that the added cost of the monitors, who are paid up to USD 800 (EUR 720) for each day they are at sea, is onerous and may put some commercial operators out of business.

At-sea monitors ensure fishing rules are being followed and collect data to help inform fishing regulations. The government shifted the cost of paying for monitors to fishermen earlier this year.

Environmental groups have criticized the at-sea monitoring program, complaining it is not robust enough, as NOAA requires monitoring on just 14 percent of all trips taken by New England groundfishermen.

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