Ayotte lauds NOAA decision to reimburse fishermen
By Evan Lips | June 23, 2016, 14:20 EST
WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), currently engaged in a heated battle to retain her seat, on Thursday praised the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s announcement that the federal government will help pay for programs to place catch monitors aboard commercial groundfishing fishing fleets.
Ayotte had previously filed legislation aimed at terminating the at-sea monitoring program after the federal government in March began charging fisherman the cost of bringing monitors aboard during at least 20 percent of all trips. The monitors’ role is to be a third-party witness to fishing expeditions and to collect data that can help determine future fishing quotas.
The monitoring fee was costing fisherman between $600 and $700 per trip. NOAA’s recent decision means the federal government will now pay for an estimated 85 percent of trips, according to Ayotte’s office.
“While I have fought for and continue to strongly believe that NOAA should fully fund its at-sea monitoring program, I am pleased the administration will reimburse fishermen for a percentage of the costs incurred for the program,” Ayotte said in prepared remarks. “These unfair fees place an impossible burden on our small business fishermen and going forward, I will continue my efforts to support New Hampshire fishermen in their fight against these fees.”