Written by Jen Finn
Fisheries science and policy continue to evolve and appear to be moving in a direction that could benefit fishermen, but NOAA's efforts on the third leg of fisheries administration — enforcement — continue to be a cause for concern.
Enforcement changes were implemented after Inspector General Todd Zinser's report on whether different regions were being punished differently under NOAA, and on whether administration of the Asset Forfeiture Fund was appropriate, but the pace of the agency's attempt to make good on inappropriate enforcement is holding back greater progress.
The work of Special Master Charles B. Swartwood III to root out cases of improper enforcement came out of the inspector general's report. Payments were made after Swartwood's first report, and an appeals window was opened in March 2011 for those who needed it.
Swartwood wrote to the secretary last February — at the time, John Bryson — to tell him that there were 66 cases submitted by the special master to NOAA for responses. He wrote that his final report would be ready in less than two months, with all but five of the cases having already been returned to Swartwood.
See the full story in the New Bedford Standard-Times>>
NOAA recently published a proposed rule that would implement a traceability plan to help combat IUU fishing. The program would seek to trace the origins of imported seafood by setting up reporting and filing procedures for products entering the U.S.
The traceability program would collect data on harvest, landing, and chain of custody of fish and fish products that have been identified as particularly vulnerable to IUU fishing and fraud.Read more...
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...