Free the Fishermen

Cause of Action Institute is representing David Goethel and a group of East Coast fishermen in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Commerce challenging the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s decision to force at-sea monitoring costs onto fishermen.

Federal regulations currently require that monitors accompany fishermen onboard their vessels while they are at sea. To date, NOAA has covered the costs of these monitors, but now is claiming that it has run out of funds. As a result, it has announced that it will be passing the costs on to the fishermen themselves, at an estimated price tag of $710 per day.

The groundfishing industry has already been suffering over the last decade, and this added cost is one that the fishermen simply cannot survive. The number of federally licensed groundfishing boats working in the Northeast has already plummeted over recent years, and by the NOAA’s own count, nearly 60 percent of the groundfishing industry will be rendered unprofitable if fishermen are forced to pay for the monitors.

Cause of Action’s lawsuit seeks to prevent these overbearing costs from being passed on to fishermen and to protect the groundfishing industry from collapse.