Senator demands NOAA sell unauthorised assets
US senator Charles Schumer has called on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to immediately begin selling off unauthorised purchases it made with forfeiture money and return the proceeds to the fund and fishermen who committed no wrong doing or were excessively fined.
A bombshell report issued by the Commerce Department Inspector General's office revealed that over the course of the last four years, forfeiture funds, obtained through fines levied against fishermen and through selling seized property, were used against regulation to purchase vehicles, boats, and international travel for employees of the Northeast Region of the Marine Fisheries Agency.
The Inspector General's report stated that regional offices of the Marine Fisheries Agency were acting autonomously and fines for the Northeast Region were way out of line with those levied in other regions throughout the country.
The senator's New York office said in light of the report, the NOAA must immediately sell unauthorised boats, cars and other assets and use the proceeds to help fund Northeastern fishermen “who were excessively fined and whose fishing seasons were shorted”.Schumer said: “[The] NOAA already goes overboard and makes it hard for fishermen to make a livelihood; funds could be used to help them through hard times until fishing stocks are replenished.”
[Source: Saving Seafood]
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