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NMFS has not issued a statement to the 100s of fisheries observers and fishery observer program employees regarding the details of which fisheries observer program-related employees are being furloughed. Fisheries observers are essential and, by law, fisheries monitoring programs are not to be altered by the furlough. Yet, because of a lack of NOAA leadership, each program seems to be up their own rules. Observers are being pulled from their vessels or being delayed in boarding their assigned vessels. The fisheries in some regions are not being monitored and if monitored, the data is not analyzed to monitor quotas. Quota monitors in the labs are furloughed. In the Southeast fisheries (pelagic longline, shrimp trawl, reeffish), the government shutdown coincides with a change of Observer Provider contractor, which is supposed to occur on October 20. Observers at sea are being pulled from their boats if those trips are expected to last past that date because the NMFS employee(s) who issues TRAVEL ORDERS is furloughed. Southeast fisheries are not being monitored because nobody is available to sign a travel order! Totally unacceptable. In Alaska, the Red King Crab fishery is delayed, causing 100s of thousands of dollars because the furloughed employees who administer the quotas are not available to process the quotas.. All fisheries observer program-related employees, including observers, data quality checkers (called debriefers), quota administrators, etc. need to be returned to work immediately.
5 months ago on Everything You Need to Know About How a Government Shutdown Will Affect the Ocean