GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Top Stories

November 8, 2010

Kirk backs New Bedford's push for fed fishing probe

The mayor of the nation's highest dollar-volume seaport has asked for an independent federal investigation of all parties involved with the implementation of fishing regulations, laws and rule-making processes of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, its fisheries service and the New England Fisheries Management Council.

And Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk said Monday night that she, too, supports New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang's call.

In a letter to federal Commerce Department Inspector General Todd Zinser, Lang stated that a "lack of fair play and transparency coupled with use of stale science in the development of fisheries management has caused profound and adverse socio-economic impacts that are crippling fishing communities."

"It is paramount that rules and regulations that impact the livelihood of fishing communities be implemented in an open and transparent manner," Lang wrote. "Such is not the case today and fishing communities are collapsing as a consequence."

The mayor noted that, since the release of the "scathing" January 2010 report by IG Zinser's office on the NOAA General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation and Office of Law Enforcement, it has been discovered that — among other concerns — the Office of General Counsel paid administrative law judges out of Asset Forfeiture Funds, which are drawn from the fines assessed and paid by fishermen, and that fishermen were intimidated into settlements.

The mayor also pointed out that, in defending the General Counsel's Office from the findings of the IG's September 2010 report, "union attorneys revealed that GCEL received "questionable" bonuses in the amount of $44,000 prior to the conclusion of cases.

At least some of those bonuses were paid to Gloucester-based NOAA prosecutor Charles Juliand for pressing and winning heavy fines against fishermen.

The union representing Juliand has told the Times it views the bonus and other kudos granted Juliand as a clear sign he was only carrying out the instructions of higher NOAA officials.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Top Stories

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
AP Video
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: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando