Saturday, October 9, 2010

Council passes observer restructuring plan

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council yesterday voted 11-0 for an overhaul of the observer program.

This makes big changes in how observers are deployed. And it requires new classes of fishing boats including halibut longliners to sometimes carry observers, who log the makeup of the catch.

The overhaul also includes a new way to pay for observers — a fee amounting to 1.25 percent of the dockside or ex-vessel value of commercial catches.

As I understand it, the fee will apply uniformly to all fishing vessels covered under the restructured observer program. The council had considered a higher fee for some fleets and a lower fee for others.

Factory trawlers and other large vessels now required to carry one or more observers 100 percent of the time won't pay the fee. They will continue with the existing system, paying directly for observers as needed.

Remember, council decisions are recommendations. The final say belongs to the U.S. commerce secretary.

No comments: