In just one year, attacks have doubled on government observers contracted to collect catch and bycatch information from commercial fishing fleets.

Observers are the only independent source of data we have for tracking catches, monitoring quotas and recording harmful activity. They’re contracted under NOAA, an agency within the Department of Commerce that conducts environmental research.

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But the agency has ceased collecting data on reports of harassment or interference, supposedly because it lacks resources to investigate these matters.

Without observers, we truly have no way of knowing whether laws implemented to protect sea life and habitat are followed. So we’ve got observers in place to protect marine life, but who’s protecting the observers?

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