All six West Coast senators sign letter of support for West Coast trawlers and observer cost-relief

November 4, 2011

U.S. Senators from Washington, Oregon and California joined together in sending a letter to the Secretary of Commerce (the agency that contains NMFS and NOAA) urging that West Coast fishermen's share of observer costs not exceed 20% in 2012, and that NOAA dedicate $3.9 million in FY12 to cover the remainder of observer costs.

The senators went on to expand the scope of their comments beyond immediate cost-relief in 2012, suggesting a greater focus on onboard electronic monitoring, which has potential to reduce overall costs of ensuring catch accountability on the West Coast.

"For many small scale fishermen, the significant cost burden of observer coverage is enough to price them out of the industry. Therefore, we would also like to take the opportunity to encourage NOAA to set a strong mandate to create and implement new and more cost effective approaches to monitoring this fishery."

The full text of the letter along with the signatures is available in the PDF below for download.