National Fisherman

Congressmen Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and John Tierney (D-Mass.) are stepping up their battle with NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco by calling for her to step down, citing what Frank calls her "hostility" towards the fishing industry.

Frank and Tierney say fishermen are being treated unfairly by NOAA/NMFS on a couple of fronts. For one, the protests of Northeast groundfishermen and state and federal politicians that catch share management is unnecessarily devastating their industry have failed to sway Lubchenco.

"For too long our local fishing community has dealt with unfair regulations, treatment, and practices from officials at NOAA," Tierney said in a press statement he and Frank issued Friday, July 9. "As issues continue to arise, we question whether Dr. Lubchenco and NOAA leadership have done enough to increase responsiveness to the public and Congress, hold agency representatives accountable, and take a critical look at unfair catch share regulations."

Then there's the report by the Department of Commerce's Inspector General that questioned NOAA fisheries enforcement practices. A subsequent forensic audit conducted by the accounting firm KPMG revealed abuses of the $96 million Asset Forfeiture Fund, an account built from fishing fines.

Frank's frustration in trying to work with Lubchenco has reached a boiling point, culminating in the call for her resignation.

"I have for sometime been disappointed in Dr. Lubchenco's stance towards the fisherman, which seems to approach hostility," Frank said in the press statement. "This latest report confirms that the agency has been badly run without clear initiatives from her to correct the egregious problems at NOAA, and that is why I have called for her removal."

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Frank and other state and federal politicians have been commendable in their efforts to support the fishing industry. The question is how will Lubchenco respond?

National Fisherman Live

National Fisherman Live: 3/10/15

In this episode, Online Editor Leslie Taylor talks with Mike McLouglin, vice president of Dunlop Industrial and Protective Footwear.

National Fisherman Live: 2/24/15

In this episode:

March date set for disaster aid dispersal
Oregon LNG project could disrupt fishing
NOAA tweaks gear marking requirement
N.C. launches first commercial/recreational dock
Spiny lobster traps limits not well received

Inside the Industry

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker is required by state statute to appoint someone to the Board of Fisheries by today, Tuesday, May 19. However, his efforts to fill the seat have gone unfulfilled since he took office in January. The seven-member board serves as an in-state fishery management council for fisheries in state waters.

The resignation of Walker’s director of Boards and Commissions, Karen Gillis, fanned the flames of controversy late last week.

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Keith Decker, president and COO of High Liner Foods, will take over for the outgoing CEO, Harry Demone, who will assume the role as chairman of the board of directors. The Lunenburg, Nova Scotia-based seafood supplier boasts sales in excess of $310 million (American) for the first quarter of the year.

Read more...
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