Thursday, January 21, 2010

Snowe Blasts NOAA for Law Enforcement Miss Management

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, today blasted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the egregious mismanagement by the Office of Law Enforcement for the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). According to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Commerce Inspector General, there are systemic nationwide issues adversely affecting NOAA’s ability to regulate the fishing industry. In addition, the report found that these same issues have “contributed significantly to a…dysfunctional relationship between NOAA and the fishing industry – particularly in the northeast.”

“I am appalled at the stunning breadth and depth of the Inspector General’s findings of gross mismanagement within all levels of NOAA’s law enforcement community,” said Senator Snowe. “That the Agency would allow its agents to continue running roughshod over hardworking fishermen, employing a law enforcement force consisting of 90 percent criminal investigators when the vast majority of its cases are civil in nature is by all accounts a travesty.”

“At her confirmation hearing before the Commerce Committee, Dr. Lubchenco pledged to help ‘rebuild the climate of trust’ between the National Marine Fisheries Service and our fishing communities. I understand she is directing her agency to take steps to rectify these deep flaws in its enforcement practice. I pledge to do all in my power, including pursuing legislative action, to ensure that our fishermen are treated fairly while necessary regulatory enforcement practices are carried out.”

NOAA OIG_1_21_10

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