NEW BEDFORD — After controversially being introduced into the fishing industry in 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that the full cost of at-sea monitors will be covered for the 2018 fishing year.

NOAA Fisheries made the announcement Tuesday, saying that any groundfish sector vessels that are assigned an at-sea monitor will be eligible for full reimbursement.

The at-sea monitoring program was first implemented in 2015 to ensure vessels were adhering to their quota limits.

NOAA Fisheries is able to cover the entire cost for at-sea monitoring and data processing for the 2018 fishing year due to a $10.3 million increase for groundfish at-sea monitoring approved by Congress. The funds will also be used to support at-sea monitoring training and equipment, to process samples, to continue development of electronic monitoring technologies that may reduce the cost of or improve at-sea monitoring in the future, and to cover agency costs for administering the program.

NOAA Fisheries will also reimburse the industry for an additional 25% of their at-sea monitoring costs for Fishing Year 2017, bringing the total reimbursement for that year to approximately 85%.

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