ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is meeting in Anchorage. It plans to decide this week how to restructure its observer program, in which biologists ride along on commercial fishing boats collecting catch data.
The council is considering an idea to have commercial fishermen pay a fee that would be pooled to pay for the observers. The idea is to place observers where they are most needed.
Restructuring could mean some halibut fishing vessels will have to carry observers part of the time.
“I think one of the biggest details is the inclusion of the small-boat fleet, and how the fishery has not been included or have to pay for observers up till now,” said the council’s executive director, Chris Oliver.
The council heard public and expert testimony on how to best implement the new program. A decision is expected by Friday.
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