The lobstermen’s greatest concern is safety; safety for their crew, the observer-spy, and for themselves, along with the liability issues and lawsuits that will fall squarely on their shoulders when the accidental injury or drowning invariably occurs. The financial burden will be huge because of the adjusted insurance rates and the fact that the boats will now be forced to carry expensive safety equipment; combined costs in the tens of thousands of dollars. The observer-spies carry sleeping bags, pillows, personal coolers, measuring boards, baskets, and buckets. When asked about her experience on a lobster boat, NOAA representative Sara Weeks admitted that she had never been on a lobster boat. On a small boat, where there is barely enough room for a second crew member, the panelists did not seem to comprehend the dangerous situation they are forcing upon the lobstermen.
The president of the Massachusetts Lobsterman’s Association, Arthur Sawyer, pointed out that although over fifteen years of data has been collected by the state of Massachusetts, this information was not sought by NOAA. The company contracted by NOAA to carry out the gestapo-like spy program is called MRAG Americas. Andrew Rosenberg owns MRAG. He was also the former Deputy Director of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (or the fox evaluating the chicken coop, see below).
Reportedly, MRAG is paid approximately $800.00 – $900.00 for every spy. The spy is paid roughly $125.00 to $150.00. MRAG pockets the rest (this program is huge and there are thousands upon thousands of these observer-spies). Now that there are few to no ground fishing boats on which to position the spies, MRAG and NOAA have suddenly targeted the Massachusetts lobstermen. Afterall, they have to keep the gravy train collecting our tax payer dollars to spy on our fellow citizens.
“Sea days” are the number of days the lobstermen will be forced to allow an observer-spy on their boat. This information, although available to the NOAA representatives, was conveniently and purposefully withheld from the lobstermen at the time of the meeting.