The Alaska congressional delegation is asking federal regulators to partially delay the 2013 implementation of the expanded fishery observer program.
The request is entirely predictable and expected.
For many years, large trawlers and other fishing vessels operating off Alaska have carried observers — typically, young biologists — to record what is caught where.
The data they gather is critical for proper management of the fisheries.
Come the new year, the program is expanding. It means hundreds of smaller boats, such as longliners targeting halibut and sablefish, will have to carry an observer on at least some of their fishing trips.
Now that implementation is upon us, we're getting an outcry — and politicians jumping in as they often do when new federal regulations come down.
Organizations such as the Sitka-based Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association have raised a litany of reasons why the expanded observer program will unnecessarily burden the operators of smaller vessels.
A press release on U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's website lays out some of the gripes.
The bottom line seems to be that some fishermen simply don't want an extra body aboard.
It will be interesting to see if the National Marine Fisheries Service gives in to the congressional pressure and delays the program.
Deckboss really doesn't care either way.
But if observers are deployed as scheduled, he'll sure be interested to see an honest accounting of what really comes up on all those hooks.