WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King today welcomed an announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that it will fund an estimated 85 percent of the sea days needed for the At-Sea Monitoring (ASM) Program for the current fishing year. Beginning July 1, groundfish fishermen covered by the Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan will be reimbursed for their at-sea monitoring costs through an arrangement with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
“The At-Sea Monitoring Program is an important tool that helps us to responsibly manage Maine’s critical ocean resources,” Senators Collins and King said in a joint statement. “Maine’s hardworking fishermen shouldn’t bear an unfair financial burden in supporting the ASM program. We applaud NOAA for stepping up to help reimburse our fishermen, and will continue to fight for the Maine groundfish industry moving forward.”
The At-Sea Monitoring program analyzes the fishing area, as well as the catch and gear type, in order to monitor sector quotas. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center, the research arm of NOAA Fisheries, is required to collect scientific, management, regulatory compliance, and economic data for fisheries; monitors placed aboard fishing vessels provide important data, which compliments other information gathered on docks and on survey vessels, to make sure effort in the fishery is fair and sustainable.