By Joshua Goodman
Associated Press 

Cameras could replace federally required observers on fishing vessels

 

February 8, 2023

AP Photo/David Goldman

Mark Hager, left, positions a camera with the help of Anthony Lucia, right, as captain Al Cottone watches the feed on a monitor from his boat, the Sabrina Maria, in Gloucester, Massachusetts, last spring. Hager's Maine-based start-up, New England Maritime Monitoring, is one of a bevy of companies seeking to help commercial fishing vessels comply with new federal mandates aimed at protecting dwindling fish stocks.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - For years, Mark Hager's job as an observer aboard New England fishing boats made him a marked man, seen as a meddling cop on the ocean, counting and scrutinizing every cod, haddock and flounder to enforce rules and help set crucial quotas.

On one particularly perilous voyage, he spent 12 days at sea and no crew member uttered even a single word to him.

Now Hager is working to replace such federally mandated observers with high-definition cameras affixed to fishing boat masts. From the safety of his office, Hager uses a laptop to watch hours of footage of crew members...



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