In 2010 to answer accusations of suspected corruption within NOAA and abuse of NOAA's Asset Forfeiture Fund (AFF), Inspector General Todd Zinser investigated and presented a report which largely supported these beliefs.
One of the investigations spurred by the IG's report was further investigation of NOAA's Asset Forfieture Fund (AFF). The AFF is a fund supported by fines from fishermen. The money within that fund is supposed to contribute back to the fisheries in the form of research and conservation for the future of the profession. There were suggestions that the money in the fund was being improperly used (see Senator Scott Browns youtube video for details) so a deeper investigation was conducted. Below is a brief summary from Senator Brown (accessed via savingseafood.org. 2/21/2012).
On February 8, 2012, two years after his inital report, Mr. Zinser and his staff updated Dr. Lubchenco on the progress. While some positive changes have occurred, the AFF account still lacks basic accounting and monitoring standards met by most other private sector entities to run a successful and transparent business.
Apparently, Dr. Lubchenco does not care what Congress and the IG have shown. Or about the lives of hard-working people her agenda driven policies have destroyed. Not a single person associated with the above mentioned reports has been fired or even prosecuted! In fact, most offenders where either transfered to other positions or even given promotions on an international level!
And so just like Senator Brown, I and the many communites effected by this plight continue to ask, "Just what does it take to get fired from NOAA?"
Fire NOAA's Jane Lubchenco, PhD
Dear Mr. President,
As you are well aware Americans are struggling to; keep their jobs, pay the bills, maybe even buy a house. Employment rates continue to be bleak. I truly beleive you are dilignetly working to improve the state of our economy and restore American pride. You made that clear during the State of the Union 2012. You also made it clear that there are regulations so outdated and wrong they should be removed. One such case is below.
"There’s no question that some regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly.... We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill -- ...Now, I’m confident a farmer can contain a milk spill without a federal agency looking over his shoulder." President Obama, State of the Union, January 2012.
I wish you had the confidence that our fishermen can count fish properly, without a federal agent on their back!
That being said, there are thousands of coastal fishing communites that continue to be pushed to the brink of extinction under your watch. Over zeolous interpretation of the Magnusen-Stevens Act (MSA) and poorly designed and executed studies by NOAA have decimated the small family fishing boat. It grows more obvious that the original intent of the 1976 Magnusun-Stevens Act which was to, "aide in the development of the domestic fishing industry by phasing out foreign fishing" has been lost on deaf ears.
I implore you to turn a critical eye on the "research" and policies being implemented under Dr. Lubchenco. The ocean policies are not only putting commercial fishermen out of work, they are affecting recreational fishermen. Our children can't even go down to the rocks or dock to cast a line without a permit!
Despite the hardwork and sacrifices of the US fishermen, they continue to be punished. Not only does our own govenment help put them out of business, it stands by as international fishermen reap the benefits!
Below is a link highlighting the "Matanza", Italian for slaughter. Once tuna leave the North Atlantic and travel to the Medditeranian, all the sacrifices of our fishermen are lost. Ex: US fishermen are limited to 2 tuna, over 73 inches in length per day with a total allowable catch (TAC). Below is a clip from National Geographic, 2007, pay attention to the small size and high number of tuna in this video that are killed without regard of size.
You work so hard to help people get jobs. I can't help but ask, why are you standing by as Dr. Lubchenco arrogantly turns her nose up at Congress, taxpayers and the so called "stakeholders"? She has allowed the most disgusting and unethical behavior to go unpunished as long as her agendas get pushed through. Her behavior has permeated NOAA and change needs to start with her at the top.
Not only do the commercial and recreational boats suffer, all the businesses that have been developed to support these industries no longer have a purpose or the income to remain open. Please remember that the original intent of the MSA included first and foremost, the protection of the fishermen.
Despite that popular media and the green groups portray fishermen as rapists of the sea, the fishermen of today have a vested interest in conserving the stocks and are not the savages some would like to believe they are. After all; no fish then no work!
NOAA needs a leader that thoughtfully listens, relies on non-biased literature and studies and is open to input from REAL fishermen.It is almost to late, but I'm hoping that with swift action and common sense from you and your constituents they have a fighting chance to preserve this noble way of life.
Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.
Kristin A. Wood