Washington, DC – The Massachusetts Congressional Delegation applauded an announcement made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today that the agency will continue to cover groundfish observer and at-sea monitoring costs required by the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFM). Members of the delegation urged NOAA to cover the groundfish industry’s portion of these costs as Massachusetts’ fishermen and small businesses struggle to recover from a federal fishing disaster and significant catch share cuts. The announcement comes a month after the delegation helped secure an appropriation of $75 million for national fishing disasters, and a week after Senator Elizabeth Warren strongly advocated for NOAA to cover observer costs in a meeting with Acting NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan.
“This announcement is good news for Massachusetts’ hardworking fishermen,” said Senator Warren. “Our fishing families are already facing tough times, and they should not be forced to bear the additional burden of at-sea monitoring costs. I am pleased NOAA will continue to pay for monitoring next year, and I will keep working with my colleagues in the Massachusetts delegation to make sure our fishermen receive the support and assistance they need.”
“This funding means we can learn more about what’s happening in the ocean without imposing extra burdens on our struggling fishermen,” said Senator Markey. “At-sea monitoring is a critical component of ensuring healthy fish stocks and maximizing the fish that our fishermen can harvest. There is still much more to do. I will continue to work to obtain the highest possible funding for Massachusetts from the $75 million in fishery disaster assistance that can help Massachusetts fishermen and fishing-related businesses survive.”
“This is welcomed and positive news as now is certainly not the time for our fishermen to absorb the financial burden of paying for at-sea monitoring. I’m pleased that NOAA intends to cover these costs and I intend to stay on top of this and other issues important to the fishermen in Massachusetts and ensure NOAA follows through on this commitment,” said Congressman Tierney.
“I strongly approve of NOAA’s announcement today that they will continue to cover the cost of observer coverage and at-sea monitoring for groundfish vessels. This is one step toward providing much-needed relief to fishing communities who have expressed concern that they will be unable to meet these standards directly due to their cost,” said Congressman Keating. “I will continue to fight with my colleagues in the delegation to mitigate the burdens of observer and monitoring standards on the industry and to ensure that this commitment continues in future years.”
“I am pleased to hear that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced today that they will continue to fully cover the costs of groundfish observer and at-sea monitoring," said Congressman Lynch. "A strong, viable fishing industry is vital to the economic well-being of coastal communities in Massachusetts and the entire New England region. This announcement is an important one for Massachusetts fishermen who have long been in need of relief. I will continue to work with my colleagues in the Massachusetts delegation to ensure that our fishermen are provided with the funding and resources that they need.”
“Along the coast of our Commonwealth, fisheries have been and will continue to be a critical industry in the state’s economy,” said Congressman Kennedy. "As our fisheries rebuild and recover, NOAA’s decision to cover these costs will strengthen and sustain the communities that rely upon the groundfish industry as a major source of income and vitality.”