And they did — largely at fishermen’s expense. It was hard to shake the feeling that NMFS was managing fisheries so that environmental groups wouldn’t sue the agency.
Still, Hogarth was visible. He visited fishing ports around the nation and talked with fishermen. He gave keynote speeches at Fish Expo trade shows on both coasts. And he was available to talk to the media about fisheries issues.
Today, NMFS’ role isn’t so clear. It’s hard to even know what to call the agency anymore — is it NMFS or NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Serivice or NOAA Fisheries?
NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco is the one quoted in the media these days, not NMFS director Eric Schwaab. Lubchenco and NOAA, not NMFS, appear to be driving the U.S. fisheries management train. Neither Lubchenco or Schwaab, for whatever reasons, have been highly visible in the fishing community.
If there’s a page they should take out of the Bill Hogarth playbook, that would be a good one to grab. Actually visitng with and talking to fishermen would be a good way of promoting communication and fostering greater transparency in NOAA/NMFS operations.