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.
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...
Louisiana’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which governs commercial and recreational fishing in the state, got a new boss in January. Charlie Melancon, a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and state legislator, was appointed to the job by the state’s new governor, John Bel Edwards.
Although much of his non-political work in the past has centered on the state’s sugar cane industry, Melancon said he is confident that other experience, including working closely with fishermen when in Congress, has prepared him well for this new challenge.Read more...