Written by Adrianne Madden
Friday, 24 June 2011
Is LeBron James advising NOAA on its public relations strategies these days?
A basketball superstar, James set his public image ablaze last year when he chose to announce on national television his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and "take his talents to South Beach." Nothing King James has done or said since joining the Miami Heat has wiped the bad taste out of basketball fans' mouths.
NOAA's public relations nightmare has been the fisheries enforcement scandal in the Northeast. The resulting uproar over overzealous and arrogant enforcement actions led to a Commerce Department Inspector General's office probe of enforcement practices in the region, followed by a review of specific cases and now Senate hearings examining NOAA practices.
The findings of Special Master Charles B. Swartwood III prompted the Commerce Department and NOAA to implement steps designed to prevent such abuses from re-occurring. It also led them to issue formal apologies for enforcement actions, and in some cases compensate fishermen for those abuses.
So you're NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco and you've promised to work hard to repair your agency's dysfunctional relationship with Northeast fishermen. What would your next step towards that goal be?
Would you email the attorney for Larry Ciulla of the Gloucester, Mass., Seafood Display Auction — one of the victims most unfairly targeted by enforcement personnel — that your agency is enforcing Commerce Secretary Gary Locke's decision to reinstate a 15-day closure of the auction as negotiated in a 2010 settlement of three interlocking cases against it?
Locke's decision is based on the Special Master's report and recommendations. Swartwood had written that he didn't have authority to revisit the penalty and have it erased.
And if you were going to notify Ciulla of your decision, would you do so just as he's waiting to testify at a Senate subcommittee hearing on how your agency is managing funds to protect the domestic fishing industry?
No, you probably wouldn't. But LeBron would. And NOAA did.
The Southeast Alaska Fishermen’s Alliance recently announced that the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation has awarded the organization a Hollings Grant to reduce whale entanglements in Alaska salmon fisheries by increasing the use of acoustic whale pingers to minimize entanglements in fishing gear.
Last week, Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski (R), Dan Sullivan (R) and Rep. Don Young (R) asked Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with Canadian leaders to make sure appropriate environmental safeguards are in place for mine development in Southeast Alaska.
The congressional delegation explained the importance of this issue to Alaskans and the need for assurances that the water quality in transboundary waters between Alaska and Canada will be maintained.Read more...