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North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Fisheries Observer Program

Does the Observer Program affect the delicate balance human relationships?

I have a concern I feel has not been addressed regarding North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Fisheries Observer Program. I read all of the FAQ’s and didn’t see the one regarding how a wife would feel having a female observer aboard a boat with very small living quarters.

I would like to know how wives/girlfriends, husbands/boyfriends and also how male/female crew/operators feel about this issue.

When I asked about this, I was assured each observer has been well trained and that it was illegal to discriminate against gender. About half of the observers are female. I understand this can be considered a coup for women’s rights, but I stand firm in my opinion that this is an assault to the delicate commercial fishing family and very disrespectful to one half. We should be worrying about one thing: the safety of the crew.

The observer program is an unneeded and added stress, and I would like the rules changed so that if a significant other or a crew/operator is uncomfortable with the idea of a strange man or woman suddenly and without warning being thrust upon a boat for an extended trip, he or she has the right to request a male or female observer in advance, depending on their preference.

The military, any work environment including a commercial fishing boat and countless other situations where men and women work together in a professional manner are all voluntary situations.

The North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Fisheries Observer Program is an unfunded mandate, a government program thrust upon a family at a randomly picked moment with little opportunity to prepare mentally. Emotions can range from mildly irritated to very upset, depending on the unique relationship.

There are no separate quarters or bathroom facilities for a complete stranger to be sharing a long trip in such confined circumstances. Being assured nothing is going to happen is not comforting when there are giant warnings regarding the consequences of sexual harassment or harassment of any kind. Because the nature of this situation is forced and not related to free will, I would rather use prevention, and I believe if it helps a person’s peace of mind, they have the right to make this simple request.

Please feel free to go to the Contact page and let me know how you feel.

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