Written by Linc Bedrosian
Friday, 17 February 2012
You, gentle readers, may have plenty to say about the latest report from the U.S. Department of Commerce's inspector general, which asserts NOAA's multimillion dollar Asset Forfeiture Fund, the repository for fines collected for Magnuson-Stevens Act fisheries violations, remains largely unmonitored.
This, however, is a family friendly blog. Let's keep it clean, people.
Understandably, fishermen would like to let the expletives fly. One would think that the problems the inspector general uncovered in 2010 would be corrected by now. But the recent report says that potential for fund misuse and abuse still remains.
NOAA says it concurs with the new report's findings and recommendations, and will modify its corrective action plan accordingly to implement the recommendations. Unfortunately the inspector general's report does little to restore Northeast fishermen's already flagging faith in NOAA. Life under catch share management and a surprisingly dour recent cod stock assessment have the region's groundfishermen already on edge.
That's why you get comments like this one from Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.), who told the Gloucester (Mass.) Times, this week, "NOAA can't count fish and they can't count dollars."
One thing's for sure. If NOAA doesn't quickly implement greater controls on the Asset Forfeiture Funds, fishermen will continue to pressure their Congressional delegations to hold the agency's feet to the fire.
You can count on it.
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