NMFS News Release





Northeast Regional Office
One Blackburn Drive
Gloucester, MA 01930




REIMBURSEMENT OF FUNDS

Date: November 10, 1999

Dear Permit Holder:

This letter is to explain the mechanism established by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to fund observer coverage for the Georges Bank Sea Scallop Exemption Program (Exemption Program) and to inform vessels that were selected to take an observer while participating in the Exemption Program of the procedure for reimbursement of monies remaining in the observer fund as well as reimbursement of any applicable liability insurance costs that may have been obtained.

OBSERVER COVERAGE FUNDING:

Of the total allowable catch (TAC) of scallops allowed to be harvested in the exemption program (9,384,812 lb), 1 percent was set aside specifically to fund observer coverage in this fishery. In addition to utilizing observers hired through the current contract with Professional and Technical Services, Inc. (PTSI), several additional individuals were trained and hired to participate in the Exemption Program as non-PTSI observers. To fund both the PTSI and non-PTSI observers from the 1 percent set-aside the following procedure was established for vessels required to take an observer on board when fishing in the Exemption Program:

1) Vessels would be allowed to land an additional 200 pounds of scallop meats (over the 10,000 pound possession limit) for each day the vessel is away from port for six or more hours. At $5.00 per pound, this amounts to approximately $1,000 per day.

2) Of the $1,000 per day, $425 would pay for the cost of the observer coverage. For PTSI observers, $389 of the $425 would cover the cost of observer salary and insurance with the remaining $31 covering observer travel expenses. The cost for non-PTSI observers was estimated using the same calculations. The remaining money, $675, would go to the vessel owner to compensate the vessel and its crew for any inconvenience.

3) Upon returning to port, the vessel would deposit the $425 with the National Fish & Wildlife Federation (NFWF), the distributer of funds for the Exemption Program, as instructed in a previous permit holder letter sent out.

VESSEL INSURANCE REIMBURSEMENT:

Vessels that obtained a liability insurance rider for an Exemption Program trip on which a non-PTSI observer was on board their vessel are eligible to seek reimbursement for insurance costs. Requests for reimbursement of insurance costs must be received by NFWF by December 15, 1999. Vessel owners will be required to provide a receipt or other documentation to verify insurance coverage and the policy date for each trip. For reimbursement, please mail a copy of your receipt(s) or other documentation, along with a note containing the following information: "Sea Scallop Observer Fund 99-295 Request for Vessel Insurance Reimbursement," vessel name, permit number, owner or operator name, return address, time and date of departure and time and date of return for each trip, to:

National Fish & Wildlife Foundation

Attn: Gris Batchelder, Suite 900

1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20036

OBSERVER FUND REIMBURSEMENT:

Because the cost of non-PTSI observers turns out to be less than calculated, NMFS anticipates that monies will be left remaining in the observer fund after all observers have been paid and after reimbursement of any liability insurance requests received. Therefore, vessels that carried an observer on board during an Exemption Program trip and paid money into the NFWF observer fund, will receive a proportion of the remaining observer fund money based on the amount of money they contributed. NFWF will distribute this money accordingly starting after December 15, 1999, when the insurance reimbursement monies are settled.

If you have any questions, please call the Fisheries Information Line at (978) 281-9278.

This notice is authorized by the Administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Region.



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