Photo By Stephen Rappaport

Governor visits Fishermen’s Forum; NMFS to pay for at-sea observers

Photo By Stephen Rappaport

Visiting the 38th Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport Friday morning, Governor Paul LePage and Department of Marine Resources Commissioner Patrick Keliher listen intently as Julie Keene explains her concerns about the Maine rockweed harvest.

ROCKPORT — Governor Paul LePage told lobstermen at the Maine Fishermen’s Forum in Rockport Friday morning that he wanted to work with them “to help make your industry more prosperous” and that “you are the ones that make the governor’s office strong.”

LePage made his remarks during a brief visit with Department of Marine Resources (DMR) Commissioner Patrick Keliher to the annual meeting of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association.

Shortly after LePage spoke, William Karp, science and research director for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service, announced to delighted fishermen that NOAA would continue to pay the cost of at-sea monitoring of the groundfish fleet for at least the next two years.

Just last month, the industry learned that, beginning May 1, it would be expected to pay half the cost of carrying on-board monitors who inspect the fish hauled aboard boats that fish for groundfish at the same time that landings quotas for cod had been reduced by as much as 77 percent.

Karp said NOAA would continue to bear the cost of live monitoring even if the number of boats fishing did not decrease as the agency anticipated.

For more maritime news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.