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Media Advisory
Northeast Fisheries Science Center
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Teri Frady
508 495-2378
March 1, 2013
166 Water Street
Woods Hole MA 02543

The following announcement was made today by Northeast Fisheries Science Center Director Bill Karp during a meeting with the commercial fishing industry and others at Maine Fishermen's Forum in Rockland, ME

NOAA Fisheries Announces Intentions on At Sea Monitoring

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Atlantic cod

We know the cost of at-sea monitoring remains a serious concern for the groundfish industry given the condition of stocks and commensurate low quotas for next fishing year. We recognize this will be an exceptionally difficult year for fishermen so we are working on a plan to cover as much of these costs as possible at NOAA. While this is our intent, we cannot definitively commit to this because of the high degree of uncertainty due to the potential effects of sequestration and the lack of a FY13 budget.

We are projecting that if effort goes down next year, NOAA will be able to fund at-sea monitoring in the groundfishery. If effort remains the same, NOAA will fund at-sea monitoring but can only do this by using funds currently slated for research to develop electronic monitoring in the Northeast. This funding choice may delay this important effort.

We understand that fishermen need to be able to plan for how much of the monitoring costs they are expected to pay next year. That is why we are communicating our intentions at this time despite the significant budget uncertainty the agency currently faces. Sequestration or other major changes which might be enacted in the FY13 budget could significantly reduce our ability to cover all of these monitoring costs.

This will not apply to certain exemptions requested by sectors that require 100 percent at-sea monitoring coverage. NOAA is working to ensure that there is a way for fishing operations to obtain and pay for required monitoring this coming fishing year, as well as in the future as monitoring costs are transitioned to the industry.

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

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