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NOAA Fisheries.

NOAA Fisheries will implement a new fisheries observer program for Alaska's commercial groundfish and halibut fisheries beginning Jan. 1.

Observers are trained biologists who collect detailed biological and operational information while aboard vessels and at shoreside plants during commercial fisheries. The information is then used by fisheries managers, scientists and policymakers in making decisions critical to sustainably managing Alaska's billion dollar fisheries industry.

Vessels and processors in the full observer coverage category--required to have at least one observer at all times--will retain the current funding and observer deployment system, and will continue to contract directly with observer provider companies and pay the full cost of their own observer coverage.

Vessels and processors in the partial observer coverage category--not required to have an observer at all times--will have a new funding and deployment system and will pay a fee for their observer coverage based on the ex-vessel value of their groundfish and halibut. NOAA Fisheries worked closely with the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, fishermen, processors, and other stakeholders to restructure the observer program. A robust public comment process was vital to helping shape the new program.
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Author:Gallion, Mari
Publication:Alaska Business Monthly
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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