The following is a statement from Johanna Thomas, New England Regional Director of Environmental Defense Fund’s Oceans Program:
“NOAA’s announcement that it has found funding to cover at sea monitoring costs is good news for fishermen who otherwise would bear the costs. However, this is yet again only a temporary fix that does nothing to address the inadequacy of the monitoring program itself. By not addressing the need for higher monitoring levels, these short-term actions continue to undermine chances for fish stock recovery and therefore for fishermen to be successful.
NOAA now monitors only 14 percent of ground fish trips - not enough to determine who is playing by the rules and inadequate to provide any usable information to scientists or regulators.
The New England groundfish fishery is in crisis. Congressional leaders have provided funds that could be used to implement real comprehensive monitoring of the industry. NOAA must immediately create a viable, robust monitoring program if we are going to save this important and iconic New England industry and way of life.”
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