Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 16 April 2010
An important point is being obscured in the furor over NOAA fisheries enforcement practices in the Northeast.
This week Congressmen learned more about allegations that in November, enforcement documents were improperly shredded while the Commerce Department inspector general's office was conducting its investigation of enforcement practices. Reportedly as much as 75 percent of the material in then enforcement chief Dale Jones's files were destroyed.
People are rightly outraged over the enforcement mess — a Gloucester (Mass.) Daily Times editorial http://www.gloucestertimes.com/opinion/x154921592/Call-NOAA-actions-what-they-truly-are-obstruction-of-justice even calls for obstruction of justice charges to be brought against Jones should it be found that the shredding allegations are true.
But it seems like the fishermen whose fines apparently were excessive in relation to the violations that were committed are getting lost in the shuffle.
What recourse is there for fishermen who were fined so heavily that they were driven out of the industry? Can they be reimbursed for any amounts they paid that were over the average nationwide for similar offenses?
It's an idea that bears consideration. Doing so could be an important step in restoring balance to the relationship between fishermen and the fisheries enforcement branch.
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
The following was released by the Maine Department of Marine Resources on Jan. 22:
The Maine Department of Marine Resources announced an emergency regulation that will support the continued rebuilding effort in Maine’s scallop fishery. The rule, effective January 23, 2016, will close the Muscle Ridge Area near South Thomaston and the Western Penobscot Bay Area.Read more...