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Sep 21, 2016 12:04 PM

Hampton fisherman fighting against forced at-sea monitors in court


HAMPTON — A fisherman is appealing a federal judge’s decision to allow the government to continue forcing fishermen to pay for at-sea monitors.

Hampton fisherman, David Goethel, filed the appeal Sept. 6 and was joined by the Northeast Fishery Sector 13, which represents fishermen from Massachusetts to North Carolina.

They are asking the court to overturn U.S. District Court Judge Joseph LaPlante’s July 29 decision that said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association was within its constitutional rights to force Northeast ground fishermen to pay for the monitors, according to seacoastonline.

Goethel and the fishery sector filed their original lawsuit last December, claiming it was unconstitutional for NOAA to require the industry to fund the monitors, which join fishermen on a percentage of fishing trips each year and cost approximately $700 per each of those days.

LaPlante’s ruling denied the fishermen on several grounds. He wrote in his decision that the case was filed too late due to the statute of limitations.

In the month of June, Goethel said he grossed $50,000 but had to pay $30,000 to lease fish and approximately $700 for each of the six days at-sea observers joined him.

After fuel was paid for, he said his crew members made about $400 each for the month, himself making about $650 for the month.

When regulations were less stringent, he said he would have brought in about $12,000 for himself in a month where he grossed $50,000 and paid his crew about $8,000.

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