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A good catch: Paying for fishing regulations

August 15. 2018 10:11PM

New Hampshire’s commercial fishermen are getting some help from the federal government.

Uncle Sam is not going to bill them for the cost of regulating them.

Part of the federal government’s effort to manage the North Atlantic fishery is to place at-sea monitors on fishing boats to both check on the health of the fishery and to ensure compliance with federal regulations.

This costs up to $700 per day, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had started forcing fishing vessels to cover the cost. That cost is prohibitive for small fishing boats, and one of the many ways in which well-meaning regulations inherently favor big business. High compliance costs hit smaller companies harder and have helped speed consolidation of New England’s fishing fleet.

Under the omnibus spending bill signed earlier this year, NOAA will cover the full cost of at-sea monitoring for the 2018 season, and reimburse fishermen for 75 percent of their 2017 costs.

Gov. Chris Sununu spoke with President Trump about the burden on local fishermen last fall. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen pushed to include the funding in the omnibus.

The North Atlantic fishery needs to be protected, but we can do so without running small fishing boats out of business.

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