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Alaska fishermen will see changes to the mandatory observer program next year.
After years of requests, testing and prepping, the National Marine Fisheries Service is rolling out a more-complete electronic monitoring program for small boat fishermen who are directed to have partial observer coverage as part of the 2018 observer program.
Electronic Monitoring uses cameras and sensors to record and monitor fishing activities, and help ensure the accuracy of catch records. Normally, that work is done by human observers who are placed on fishing vessels.
But when the North Pacific Fishery Management Council moved to put observers on smaller fishing vessels (those 60 feet or shorter) several years ago, to get a better sense of what was happening on those boats, captains said it could be problematic to take an extra person on their boats.