Written by Adrianne Madden
October 14, 2011
NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco departed before the Oct. 3 Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing in Boston on New England's groundfish sector management system was over, angering fishermen and politicians alike. The news today that she left the hearing to promote the agency's fisheries management policies to a newspaper editorial board won't lessen that anger.
Lubchenco's lack of concise answers to the questions panel members posed at the recent Senate hearing that Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) organized irked the politicians, who have been frustrated in their dealings with the NOAA chief. Then Lubchenco left the hearing two-thirds of the way through, reportedly to keep an afternoon appointment in Washington.
Her departure angered fishermen and politicians, who say the catch shares management system is having a severe negative economic effect on New England's groundfish harvesters and coastal communities. They say Lubchenco needed to hear the testimony of all witnesses.
According to the Gloucester (Mass.) Times, when Lubchenco left the hearing, before heading back to Washington, she met with the Boston Globe's editorial board and reporters to talk about progress made and challenges remaining in rebuilding fish stocks and strengthening the health of coastal fishing communities.
Leaving a Senate hearing to promote your agency's policies to a newspaper is unacceptable. It's flabbergasting to see the lack of respect, maybe even contempt, Lubchenco has for Congress and for the fishing industry. Never mind Wall Street. Maybe fishermen should Occupy NOAA until the president finds the agency a new leader.
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