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New direction for NOAA observer program


Photo courtesy of NOAA

A fishermen hauling a skate over the rail, as seen by the camera of an electronic monitoring system. Skates are bycatch species in the halibut fishery.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is attempting to set a new course concerning the means of monitoring halibut and groundfish fisheries. The electronic monitoring (EM) cooperative research project is expanding options for commercial fishing vessels beyond bringing a human observer on board.

"It is a significant hill to climb," says Chris Rilling, who oversees the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Fisheries Observer Program, which is part of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

EM is accomplished with camera systems closely resembling small security cam...

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