The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued its 2014 annual report for the North Pacific fishery observer program.
The report is loaded with interested reading, not the least of which is on pages 87-88.
The agency notes a "significant trend" involving catcher-processor vessels and observer reports of harassment, intimidation and other issues.
Multiple investigations have been initiated, NMFS says. The report continues:
These investigations include allegations of physical sample bias including removing halibut from observer samples, or physically preventing a halibut from entering an observer's sample during collection. Additional allegations include hostile work environment due to industry behavior and remarks to the observer in an attempt to influence how
they sample the catch to reduce the number of halibut in their sampling.
The report further says officials issued two "outreach letters" to the Amendment 80 trawl fleet and the freezer longline fleet.
These letters identified trends involving intimidation, harassment, hostile work environment, sample bias and attempted coercion regarding halibut bycatch sampling methods as well as catch weighing and record keeping and reporting requirements.
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