GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Fishing Industry Stories

February 19, 2013

Fed IG auditing NOAA policies

After issuing a series of investigative reports exposing excessive enforcement on the part of federal fisheries agents, the U.S. Commerce Department’s Office of Inspector General has now turned to auditing how NOAA carried out and implemented policies that have transformed fisheries into commodity markets — and are being blamed for job losses and consolidation throughout the industry.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, who has resigned effective at the end of February, was the moving force for the so-called catch share commodification in President Obama’s first term, having promoted it zealously while serving as a board officer with the Environmental Defense Fund.

“The objective of our review,” Andrew Katsaros, assistant inspector general for audits, said in a Feb. 11 memo to Lubchenco, “is to determine the adequacy of controls NOAA has in place to make decisions related to catch share allocations.”

Inspector General Todd Zinser said in a telephone interview Friday that the word “controls” as used is meant to cover the “adequacy of established procedures. “

“It’s a fairly broad objective that will allow the auditors to examine the catch share program as implemented by NOAA,” Zinser said.

A post-2008 election policy paper by Environmental Defense and signed off by Lubchenco — financed primarily by the Walton Family Foundation, rooted in Wal-Mart, promised that converting the wild resources to trade-able catching rights would ensure sustainability and restore profitability to the nation’s fisheries. And EDF vice president David Festa had also predicted that profits of 400 percent were to be had from timely investment in catch shares.

Yet, three years after the Northeast groundfishery was transformed into a catch share system, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in September declared the fishery, the nation’s oldest commercial industry and one long centered in Gloucester, to have collapsed into a socio-economic “disaster.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Fishing Industry Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA