The Daily Sitka Sentinel has reported on a new program that may result in technological advancements for boats in the Alaska area. New systems can be a strain on the unprepared, but this appears to be part of a gradual effort that that Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association (ALFA) has been championing for years.
According to the source, the researchers looking into the use of electronic monitoring systems will include boats that are 40 feet or more in length, and begin focusing on a select group of ten different boats from the Homer and Sitka areas.
Howard McElderry, co-founder of the research company that was behind the installation of the equipment, described how these cameras will be used to detect fish that the vessels encounter. He hopes that the information procured through this effort will lead to smarter decisions for fishermen.
"The system runs the entire time the vessel is at sea," he said. "But it's only recording when fishing activity is taking place."
While this can be useful for vessels that see a lot of activity in high-traffic areas, fishing boats might also want to put these kinds of devices onboard in order to help preserve endangered wildlife in sensitive regions.
The Washington Post recently reported on the efforts of one NOAA researcher who uses technology to try and protect and observe sea turtles. This involves teams of workers and survey equipment but also tracking devices and satellites.
Since fishing can play such a significant role in areas like Alaska, the vessels that travel in areas populated by wildlife need to have the right kind of boat insurance.