Search Results for: NSW, fishery reform

Catch Shares – Fishing Family Devastated by NSW Government Fishery Reforms

nsw-catch-share-reformsTears come to Donna Cook’s eyes as she describes the sale of her and her husband’s family fishing business; forced, they say, by the impact of the NSW Government’s fishing reforms. After five generations spanning more than 100 years of working the Macleay, the Cook family sold their Stuarts Point fishing business earlier this year to an investor. “We’ve always been a successful fishing family, we’ve bought a home and raised five kids,” Donna told the Argus. “But we lost 60 per cent of our income from the reforms. “We just couldn’t go on.”  The State Government reasons that the reform will ensure economic viability and environmental sustainability for the sector. But Donna said the changes have crippled fishers from around the State, with many forced to sell out to wealthy investors and large scale fishing operations. Catch Shares! Read the story here 09:42

‘Nothing good in this reform’ – Controversial fishing reforms in NSW – More debt, less certainty

A long-awaited report has found the New South Wales Government’s sweeping fishing industry reforms, which were supposed to solve major structural problems, have plunged fishermen into debt and business insecurity. The number of commercial fishermen dropped from a high of 3,500 in the 1980s to 1,100 prior to the reforms, and 300 have left since. In 2016, the NSW Government tried to address the overallocation of fishing licences during the 1990s and early 2000s, to prevent overfishing, and restore the sector to profit. The Business Adjustment Package (BAP) was designed to     help inactive or older fishermen retire their licences. >click to read< 12:54

A page with a lot of posts on the NSW Government Fishery Reforms, such as Catch Shares New South Wales Style – Half the Small Boat Fishermen will disappear, June 14, 2016 >click to read<

Washington discusses tangle-net chinook fishery

Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday deliberated — but took no vote — on whether a commercial tangle-net spring chinook salmon fishery would be acceptable this year in the lower Columbia River. Washington and Oregon have slightly different polices for managing the Columbia River, the result of the Columbia River reforms process that began in 2013 and go into full implementation this year. Jim Unsworth, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Curt Melcher, director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, have been delegated authority to negotiate the differences, but the talks are not concluded. click here to read the story 15:42

Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to discuss Columbia River reforms on Friday

The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet by teleconference at 8:30 a.m. Friday to discuss the Columbia River salmon reforms. The public may listen to the discussion at the Department of Fish and Wildlife office, 2108 Grand Blvd. Earlier this year, the Washington and Oregon commissions adopted slightly different policies regarding the overhaul of sport and commercial fishing regulations for the lower Columbia. The biggest difference is the allocation of fall chinook salmon in 2017 and 2018, plus Washington’s intention to eliminate the use of gillnets beginning in 2019. Commission members on Friday will discuss and clarify the guidance they are giving Jim Unsworth, department director, in his negotiations with Oregon. Link 11:50

Washington to negotiate on Columbia River salmon reforms

With time running short to adopt 2017 fishing seasons, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday delegated authority to director Jim Unsworth to negotiate the differences with Oregon regarding the controversial Columbia River salmon reforms. The Washington commission also intends to write a letter to its Oregon counterparts proposing a face-to-face meeting and to ask about Oregon’s commitment to shifting commercial fishing in the fall in the lower Columbia away from gillnets to gear allowing release of wild fish.,, In January, Washington modified its policy to allow for two more years of gillnetting between Woodland and Beacon Rock. Also in January, Oregon’s commission adopted rules much more friendly to commercial fishing. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown then scolded her commission and told it to adopt rules closer to those adopted by Washington. Read the article here 11:20

Baird government commercial “catch share” fishing reform will see Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative lose members

The head of the Newcastle Fisherman’s Cooperative says he doesn’t know how many members will leave as a result of the Baird government’s commercial fishing reforms. Robert Gauta has told a NSW parliamentary inquiry that the reforms had led to “uncertainty” over how many of its members “will stay and how many will go”. Set to come into play from the middle of 2017, the government’s reforms to the $90 million commercial fishing industry link fishing rights with catch levels. The government argues the reform will make the industry sustainable, but the introduction of minimum shareholdings will also mean commercial fishers may need to increase their holdings to maintain the same catch level. “The cooperative makes money when the fishers catch fish; it is that simple … fewer fisherman would mean fewer fish.” Read the story here 09:58

Catch Shares: NSW fishermen allege “share barons” used insider trading to aggregate licences

Donald Mowbray, a former bank manager who is chairman of the Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative, said in his submission to the inquiry that he had grave concerns about “share barons” who he described as “individuals who are part of the industry’s decision makers who hold considerable conflicts of interest.” He said the Government’s own share register showed a number of people with direct links to the reforms and to the department had accumulated huge numbers of shares. He claimed important commercial information was “withheld” from others outside the advisory groups. He said he raised his concerns with the minister and the department years ago, but said the trades were dismissed as “speculation” and not “insider trading”. Fishermen are worried about the emergence of big corporate players and fear it could result in the demise of their fourth and fifth generation family businesses and many of the cooperatives that rely on them. The Government, with some support from industry (the share barons), maintains that aggregation and corporatisation in the sector is an important step to economic viability and better environmental management. Read the story here, and listen to this audio report here 09:20

Fishermen panic buy shares at inflated prices as government confirms reform agenda

Fishermen in New South Wales are reported to be panic buying shares at massively increased prices to ensure they can continue working next year. That is despite a state government trading scheme starting in early 2017 designed to ensure an orderly transition to a share-based fishery, backed by $16 million in compensation to ease the cost to fishermen. Ticia Limon from Narooma on the state’s south coast said share prices in the Line West fishery had risen more than 300 per cent in the last few months. She bought them to ensure she and her husband could meet new minimum share holding requirements set by the government to continue fishing. NSW Minister for Primary Industry, Niall Blair, has ruled out stopping the reform process in the commercial fishing industry. Key fishing groups including the Professional Fishermen’s Association, the Wild Caught Fishers Coalition and most of the cooperatives have opposed the reforms. Read the story here 08:59

Commercial fishermen fear for future under NSW Government industry (catch share) reforms

Allan Reed left school at The Entrance at the age of 16, he has overcome many snags in a 37-year career as a commercial fisherman on the Central Coast. But now the 53-year-old and his 79-year-old father, Allan Sr, along with dozens of other commercial fishers in the region, face the “soul-destroying” prospect of it all coming to an abrupt end. Mr Reed and his father will have to pay $370,000 to keep their prawning, mud-crab and meshing business operating in local waters under the State Government’s reforms to the $90 million industry. “We’ll have to buy all these extra shares to keep operating just as we are now. How does that make sense?” In a week when an upper house inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW is hearing submissions from various stakeholders, Mr Reed said the industry overhaul was “all about benefiting a handful of people and driving out the rest of us”. NSW Wild Caught Fishers Coalition president Dane Van Der Neut estimates half of the 100 commercial fishers on the Coast, from Tuggerah Lake to the Hawkesbury, will be “squeezed out” when the reforms kick in from July next year. Read the story here 15:34

Catch Shares: NSW fishermen face difficult decisions as deadline looms for reform package

8078946-3x2-940x627Friday is a big day for New South Wales fishermen. Those that want to leave the industry and take advantage of a government buyback have to decide by that date. Those that want to keep fishing are anxiously waiting to find out if they can buy-up the other’s shares and they are wondering what it will cost them. Peter Ragno fishes out of Wallace Lake near Tuncurry on the Mid North Coast. His family have been fishermen since 1891, catching prawns and mud crabs, mullet, brim and whiting among other species. The government has reduced the quote linked to his shares so just to maintain his business he will need to buy licences worth close to a quarter of a million dollars, money he cannot afford to borrow. Read the rest here 11:54

The NSW Musical Chair Catch Share game – Clarence River fishers have rejected it unanimously

f06496c07730c1f1674eee328577202bClarence River fishers have rejected the latest State Government attempt to restructure their industry. After mulling over Department of Primary Industry restructure information packages sent out a few weeks ago, a meeting including 50 fishers voted unanimously to reject the proposals. The vote occurred at an information/update meeting on the NSW Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program (BAP) for Clarence River and Region 2 Commercial Fishermen on Tuesday at the Harwood Hall. The fishermen, Clarence River Fishermen’s Cooperative directors and management, the Professional Fishermen’s Association and the Wild Caught Fishers Association met to put the contents of the DPI information packages under the microscope. Read the story here 16:55 Watch this video.

Commercial fishermen create new peak body to fight fisheries reform in New South Wales

nsw fisheries reforms“It’s a group of fisherman, associations, pretty much anyone that draws their income out of the fishing industry. For a long time, there has been a need for the industry to have a voice,”  Paul Sullivan said. “All the commercial fishermen, their backs are up against the wall. “We could lose our jobs, we could lose our houses. The pressure that we’ve had over the last 12 months is insane. “We were 4,000 fishermen strong. “We’re down to 1,100 now and this latest reform that the government wants to put through, they want to take another 500 out of the industry, which will just be devastating to the industry and infrastructure around the industry.” Read the rest here 07:30

The Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization road show hit Boston on Monday – hears pleas for fishing reforms

gdt icon“If folks in Washington are really looking for a path to help rebuild and sustain the fishery, they got the answers to that today,” said Massachusetts Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester. “The one message that came through loud and clear for everyone is the science is inadequate, and the decisions based on that science, by extension, are questionable.” [email protected]  07:20

Catch Shares – ‘I have no fingernails’: Paul’s distress as livelihood slips away

Those are the words of Illawarra commercial fisherman Paul Heron – spoken amid a heartfelt plea against planned NSW government changes that will likely see him without a job. Those reforms – part of the government’s Commercial Fisheries Business Adjustment Program, announced last year – include the introduction of minimum shareholding from July 2017.  That means fishers must hold a certain number of shares to be endorsed to fish. “It is basically going to make a small fisher like me, with a young family and a mortgage – I am two years into my mortgage – we are basically going to lose our house,” he told the inquiry. Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair told the hearing he had listened to fishers up and down the NSW coast. “The change is difficult, the change is hard, but it is necessary to have an industry going into the future,” Mr Blair said. A man in a suit. Video, read the rest here, including Paul Heron’s submission to the Senate inquiry into commercial fishing in NSW. 14:42

New South Wales catch shares – Talk of revolt as fishers drown in bureaucracy

b88311122z1_20160907160353_000g2la8ld03-0-qmsd3bys9qq5rkeoum2_fct1641x1219x359x68_ct620x465NORTH Coast fishers say imported muck will be the only seafood on the menu once statewide commercial fishing reforms reduce the state’s already pathetic domestic fish intake. Wild Caught Fishers Coalition released a statement saying less than 1000 active fishers remain in New South Wales, with that number threatening to take a sharp dive. Already 85% of seafood eaten in NSW is imported. With the NSW Government holding a “preview” share trading (catch shares) period after failing to tell fishers how to buy back their jobs and what it would cost, the industry is starting to talk of mutiny. “Mentally the majority of commercial fishers and their families are now demoralised,” the WCFC statement said. “Now they are asked to participate in a mock auction as government tries to learn how fishers will vie to regain their present stolen history. “Academics teaching fisheries economics indicate this would create a revolt in other countries.” Read the story here 22:18

Nathan Cullen wants changes to the fisheries system in the North West of Canada

61840princerupertNathanCullenParliamentaryphotoThe fisheries system in the North West of Canada needs an overhaul. That was the message from the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP, Nathan Cullen, last week when he spoke with media. An incident between a few fishermen and Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) officers on Aug. 2 has increased tensions in the area, and Canfisco Oceanview plant saw an increased presence of officers. Frustration is mounting over the changing regulations and restrictive fishing methods, and allowing certain user groups to fish down the coast, a DFO spokesperson stated two weeks ago.,,  His answer is to sit down with DFO and the fisheries minister and reform the fishery. Some of the changes he’d like to see already exist on the East Coast. One example he gave was the owner-operator policy in the Atlantic, where commercial fishing licences are held by an individual or the licence holders’s company. Read the story here 20:26

The NOAA Oversight Project – Fisherman’s FOIA’s Squeeze NOAA

NOAA OVERSIGHT PROJECT

Introduction

From Dutch Harbor to the Old Harbor Float in Petersburg, from Gloucester and all the way round to Corpus Christi, wherever Americans untied their boats to fish in the decades since the Magnuson Act passed, fishermen had to take on science, politics, and NOAA.

Some of you spent your shore time up to your knees in fish politics dividing the stock or arguing with managers about areas or days at sea.

Because you engaged in politics, new generations of kids setting and hauling gear can still catch fish. Sort of–

Like me, some of you believe that passing down the fishing tradition between generations is a bedrock of American independence and that after 2009 NOAA threatened it.

In 2008 a push for Catch Shares, which began in Alaska’s[1] halibut fishery in the early 1990s and expanded 20 years latter to 20 percent of all US caught fish, threatened to spread to all ports.

[1] In Alaska back in 1971, when I started to  learn how to troll and gillnet salmon, hook halibut and black cod, fish stocks were on their way to rock bottom even as the number of boats kept growing. One summer, we were down to fishing 12 hours a week. In 1975, the entire 400 mile long South Eastsalmon season shut down a month early. In 1976, the State limited entry of the number of boats who could fish salmon. In the late 1980s, a Federal program to give each fisherman a share of the halibut quota for the year began to take shape enriching captains at the expense of many crew members.

In early 2009, when the Senate approved Under Secretary Jane Lubchenco (and her right hand woman, Monica Medina, wife of Biden and Gore political operative, Ron Klain), Catch Shares were going to take off like a rocket.

James Balsiger, the acting head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, was going to be replaced by fisherman/ Senate staffer Arne Fuglvog who favored catch shares or scientist Brian Rothschild who did not.

But for Richard Gaines’ corruption busting headlines in the Gloucester Times and fishermen who turned in Fuglvog for illegal fishing, Catch shares would have applied to all fish stocks.

I hope you’ll learn a lot about one facet of how NOAA’s plans got busted. It springs from dozens of FOIAs I made since 2010. When I got stonewalled on getting 13,000 pages related to the Fuglvog investigation, I started a lawsuit in 2015 year that has forced NOAA to cough up out about 7000 pages so far.

Without the guidance and insight of some fishermen, lawyers, a scientist, and policy makers, and others it would have been pretty hard to pull all the pieces together.

For me, the story begins in 2010.

Out of the blue, a candidate for the US Senate in Alaska, who had won his party’s nomination, pulled me out of retirement in California by a phone call. “Help me fight corruption,” he said, “ I want you to be my regional manager.” I asked him if he had the right guy.

A decorated Army Officer and a Yale Law School alum, he was not going to let the old guard continue the corruption that had rocked Alaska.

Because of my ten years on the beach in California, I was out of touch, but he insisted. I took a deep breath and accepted. I never regretted the choice or doubted the character of the man.

I caught a plane up to Juneau where for several days we met with party members and agency heads and then I flew down to a conference in Petersburg to prepare the ground for his arrival. There, old fishing friends updated me on what had been going on in the fleet during my decade ashore.

They told me that Senator Murkowski’s fisheries aide, Arne Fuglvog, should not remain in that position, because he was a fish crook who had been pushing catch shares in 2008-9 before he suddenly withdrew his name to be head of the NMFS.

I was shocked. So were a lot of people in town. I knew and admired this guy’s dad. They claimed Arne had been fishing illegally for a long time for halibut and black cod under the Catch Share program or IFQs. NOAA should have investigated the crimes. But there was nothing public about it.

This was a campaign issue which could not be raised without facts. Details were few and I couldn’t locate crew members. In Juneau the candidate and I had met, at the Ted Stevens NOAA Lab/Monument, with high ranking NOAA officials who never uttered a peep about the investigation (or catch shares). It puzzled me then that NOAA would fly a guy fly up from Seattle to meet with an Alaskan politician, a guy who might scrutinize the money pipeline to NOAA.

Lacking hard evidence of a NOAA investigation, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to NOAA on my own behalf on October 21st.

Just before Christmas, and more than six weeks after the 2010 November election, the mailman delivered NOAA’s Response. This first FOIA resulted in tantalizing clues and dead ends.

NOAA’s Response stonewalled by claiming that they could “neither confirm nor deny” an open investigation, a tactic the government first used to block inquires about Howard Hughes’ Glomar Explorer searching for a sunken Russian Nuclear Submarine.

Five years later, FOIA documents showed the investigation was almost or should have been closed before Christmas 2009, because NOAA knew many months before Christmas that Fuglvog was cooperating (“admitting guilt”) after a Grand Jury convened and his log books and vessel computer seized.

What the Christmas time 2010 NOAA response did prove were fishing violations in 2005. In May of 2005, Fuglvog was a Board Member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

He exceeded his bi-catch by 100%. He also exceeded his black cod quota. NOAA blanked out the amount of pounds and the fines. (NOAA also withheld nine pages, and redacted dozens more– the good stuff).

I don’t know if Fuglvog revealed these 2005 fisheries violation on his 2006 job application to Senator Lisa Murkowski. The potential fine was $25,000 on one count. Certainly there was a long history of illegal fishing that he should have disclosed. I have yet to find out.

More important than NOAA’s stonewall on the Fuglvog investigation was a blackout in the press. In October 2010, I informed at least three large mainstream news outlets about the Fuglvog rumors. No stories ran. After I got the FOIA Response, I sent evidence to at least one national news outlet. No outlet mentioned the 2005 violations, even though they had documented proof and even though the election for Senator was still contested in the courts.

Disinterest in Fuglvog seemed surreal. I got calls from reporters in Paris and New York wanting to talk to my candidate. Gail Collins even crossed the Hudson to fly into Petersburg to interview and poke fun at my candidate and me. Yet when poop on Fuglvog surfaced, the media closed their collective eyes.

Winter turned to summer.

Then on August 1, 2011, Fuglvog announced a plea deal, agreeing to go to jail and pay about $150,000, copping to only one instance of illegal fishing. The media was all over it. O my gosh when and what did NOAA know. But they had had their heads in the sand refusing to report on evidence.

A few days before Fuglvog appeared in Federal Court, NOAA emailed me that “Records prior to 2005 were destroyed in 2009.” That was not completely true, as I discovered years latter when NOAA released documents referring to more illegal fishing prior to 2005.

There were few times, I have from a reliable source, when he did not fish illegally.

NOAA’s stonewalling and the media black out whetted my curiosity. What corrupt or illegal means did the government use to keep you in the dark about Fuglvog and the push for Catch Shares? Who within NOAA ran the game? How did they manage the controversy?

The picture I’ve assembled so far from the dozens of FOIAs and lawsuit is not yet a complete one. But enough salacious details are now available to give you a peek into the inside story about the Fuglvog scandal.

This is the first in what I hope will be a series of pieces revealing what the heck went wrong inside NOAA under Jane Lubchenco and who outside the agency supported her and Fuglvog.

Alan Stein

————————-

This is the start of a new probe into mysteries arising out of the 2010 Alaska Senate Campaign which, but for the Fuglvog Scandal –an investigation stalled, buried, and botched by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)—most likely would have ousted Senator Lisa Murkowski.

Arne Fuglvog one year into his job as Fisheries Assistant to Senator Lisa Murkowski. She never fired him even though he admitted to officials in 2009 that he had habitually broke fisheries law. He resigned his job with Murkowski in August, 2011, after striking a plea deal more than two years after a grand jury considered his case in 2009 and three months after she claimed to have first learned of his plea. Picture Credit: Juneau Empire

Arne Fuglvog one year into his job as Fisheries Assistant to Senator Lisa Murkowski. She never fired him even though he admitted to officials in 2009 that he had habitually broke fisheries law. He resigned his job with Murkowski in August, 2011, after striking a plea deal more than two years after a grand jury considered his case in 2009 and three months after she claimed to have first learned of his plea. Picture Credit: Juneau Empire

 

Keep in Mind These Questions

 

  • Why did the press –which swarmed into Alaska from Los Angeles, New York, and Europe looking for any nit to pick– ignore a tawdry story about Senator Murkowski’s fisheries aide, Arne  Fuglvog, that would have changed the outcome of the 2010 election?

 • In 2010, why did the media miss digging into widespread rumors about a story that would have made headlines showing why Fuglvog in July, 2009 withdrew his quest to be the   top administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) after pursuing the spot for only three and a half months? (Documents I obtained under the Freedom of Information Act after filing suit against NOAA show, for the first time, that contrary to Fuglvog’s reasons for withdrawing from the race (he claimed the process was taking too long)— he withdrew his quest for the leadership slot in the NMFS immediately after he learned NOAA obtained evidence that could have convicted him on federal offenses; namely, someone turned in his fishing log books showing he had lied repeatedly on official documents submitted to NOAA.)

  • Who or what organizations pushed Fuglvog to seek the top NMFS job and how would they benefit if he took the helm?
  • Did NOAA botch or cover up 2007 complaints made about Fuglvog’s illegal commercial fishing?
    • In 2011, why, after he publicly admitted to crimes, did NOAA officials stonewall on what and when they knew about his crimes.
    • In 2009 or afterwards, did NOAA exchange information with the White House, Senator Murkowski, or any other member of Congress and if not, why not? If NOAA exchanged information, did the White House, Senator Murkowski, or Congress take appropriate action to expose Fuglvog in 2009 or 2010? If not, why not?

 

The NOAA Oversight Project will uncover and make public all the issues surrounding the Fuglvog Scandal, Catch Shares, and other national fisheries issues.

Six years after NOAA was forced to pursue Fuglvog, after over a dozen FOIAs to NOAA (many still outstanding) and a law suite filed to compel production, I can start to answer some of these questions.

Before discussing some of the information I’ve obtained under FOIAs from NOAA, I want you to remember that the back story involves the mainstream media asleep at the wheel (or beholden to editors acting as gate keepers who have no appetite to dog a story that could jeopardize a sitting Alaska Senate seat).

This story arises in a federal agency in disarray, subjected to strong manipulation by US Senators and their lackeys within the agency, and so committed to promoting its Catch Shares Program (reducing fleet size as a way to manage fish catches and enrich the big boys) that its golden boy, Fuglvog, escaped outing for federal fisheries crimes he had committed for over half a decade, before and after he was appointed by Frank Murkowski, to sit (as a Board Member of a regional fisheries management council . Starting in 2006 when he became the Senate’s foremost fisheries aide to Lisa Murkoswi, Frank’s daughter, Fuglvog sold the program to policy makers and fishermen around the country.

 

[Updates

 

September 11th, 2015, I posted a small but revealing part of the story—emails recently obtained from NOAA which show how NOAA reacted on August 4th, 2011, a few days after the US Attorney filed charges against Fuglvog.

September 18th, I added the names of Fuglvog’s supporters who sent letters to NOAA urging his appointment to the top job at the NMFS including the dates in 2009 when they did so.   These details that I am revealing have remained hidden in NOAA’s files, some for six years.

September 18th, 2015: NOAA released three FOIA Requests I made near the start of the year. These documents were released about six weeks after I filed a lawsuit to get them and other FOIAs are still outstanding].

December 21st, 20015, NOAA released 19 pages concerning Monica Medina. One email shows Monica Medina had a private email account in April 2009 which Fuglvog used to communicate with her about a strategy for getting support for his run for the head of NMFS. Conducting public business on private email accounts we have learned in the cases of Hillary Clinton, Ashton Carter, and other officials is forbidden under federal law. Perhaps I am not getting more communications of Medina because most of them were on her private account and these were not archived by NOAA?

 

December 21st, 2015 NOAA placed in the US mail 2641 pages of the investigative file on Fuglvog, the second installment since I filed the lawsuit. A month earlier, they released about the same number of pages. More releases are scheduled. Without the lawsuit, I’m guessing it would be Christmas 2020 before I would have gotten this information.

The Rise and Fall of Fuglvog

Background and Connections

In 2009, a clamor for Fuglvog to be prosecuted arose when those who knew of his crimes learned he was a candidate to be the head of the NMFS. Complaints to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) began in May, 2009, but as well, and significantly, were also made in 2007 when NOAA botched and buried investigations into the 2007 complaints.

The 2009 complaints occurred around the same time that his supporters in the fishing industry and Congress were inundating Jane Lubchenco, the new head of NOAA, with letters of recommendation to make him chief of the NMFS.

Thanks to an April, 2009 email, we now know Fuglvog was seeking a private meeting with Medina who was to coach him, apparently, on whom to solicit letters of support from the industry and Congress. Since Fuglvog wrote to her private email account on AOL, I’m not sure whether NOAA has Medina’s replies to Fuglvog’s repeated requests for help. FOIA allows the person who created the document to decide if it should be archived by NOAA and if it is deleted on a private account, no one is the wiser.

This exchange takes on added significance when we remember that the anti Catch Share choice was a scientist whom the records so far show was not being coached for support by Medina. It adds weight to claims I have heard that Fuglvog was Lubchenco’s choice and Rothschild’s short interview was just window dressing to appease the East Coast horde backing him.

Further evidence of stonewalling is the failure of NOAA to give me Medina’s scheduling calendar showing whom she met and when she met them. Perhaps that too resides on private account or server. In response for Medina’s calendar, NOAA provided Jane Lubcheco’s (without attachments). We shall see.

Obviously, Fuglvog who is not a scientist, was her first choice over the well regarded marine scientist, Professor Brian Rothschild. Many of my sources believe that the EDF, which promoted Lubchenco’s career, was a main force behind the push to make Fuglvog the administrator of our nation’s fish research and resources.

In 2009, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement itself was in hot water, thanks to East Coast pressure. Its Director, Dale Jones, would be caught by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) ordering case files destroyed while OIG investigated. NOAA has yet to reveal whether Jones destroyed Fuglvog related criminal files. NOAA could neither confirm nor deny aspects of this. I have learned an Inspector General computer in the Denver Office charged with investigating the Fuglvog affair crashed which may have contained relevant information. Obfuscation can take many forms.

Alaska’s OLE office, it appears, had totally botched 2007 crew complaints against Fuglvog and some would say it covered them up. In late April, 2009

some crew again contacted OLE. Sensing more inaction from OLE , the complainants then contacted the FBI and the Inspector General.

By June, 2009, amazingly, OLE agents in Alaska were zealously conducting interviews concerning Fuglvog. Funny what happens when you go to the FBI. It wasn’t long before a fish log was seized and then the boat’s computer showing GPS positions. NOAA notified Fuglvog, FOIA information reveals, of its investigation on June 24th. Once the evidence was seized, he knew his goose was cooked.

But Fuglvog had discovered the investigation weeks earlier, indicating someone in NOAA may have warned him. NOAA has not yet responded to FOIAs that may clarify this all important issue. I have evidence that will also clarify, but want to see how it fits with NOAA’s ability to answer my request.

After 2009, over two years passed until Fuglvog’s prosecution became public August 1, 2011 and another half year elapsed before he went to jail. Meanwhile, he continued to work on fisheries issues while on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s staff, no news of his crimes leaked in 2010 to affect the tough reelection fight for the Alaska Senate seat, and NOAA escaped scrutiny for not prosecuting him for years after the 2007 complaints were made.

Fuglvog’s Rise to Power

Fuglvog did not get where he was because he was a ladies man or a nice guy—though he was both:

  • Fuglvog was room mates with Alaska fisherman Bobby Thorstenson Jr. who supposedly inherited a lot of Icicle Seafood stock from his father, the founder of Icicle Seafoods.
  • Fuglvog’s dad held one of the largest blocks of stock in Icicle Seafoods.

Fuglvog got appointed by Lisa Murkowski’s father, the Governor of Alaska, to the North Pacific Management Council (NPFMC) which

  • allocates some of Alaska’s billion dollar a year stocks of fish that are not salmon or herring.
  • One of his votes on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council was key to benefiting Icicle and a couple of other mega players in Alaska fisheries.
  • Subsequently Icicle, which had been on the block for a long time, sold for about 80 million dollars, according to one of my sources.
  • We’ll never know how much his votes raised the value of the company. He never disclosed to NOAA, nor was he required to disclose, his father’s interest in the company.
  • His policy for promoting Catch Shares was in line with organizations funded by Sam Walton (the Wall Mart Sam) or Pew Trusts, such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Eco Trust, and Sea Web.
  • In 2008, EDF funded a seminar for members of the many regional Fishery Management Councils under NOAA by giving several hundred thousand dollars through Stanford University to the Woods Foundation. The latter two refuse to answer questions about the money which paid for Fishery Council Members to attend. A NOAA memo raised the question of whether bribery was involved. (I will examine this issue later).
  • At the California event, Fuglvog, by then Murkowski’s fisheries aide, conducted a day long explanation of Catch Shares that was the best attended of all the items on the agenda. Having passed his audition in California with flying colors, Fuglvog got a green light for his next career move—to take over NMFS.
  • Lubchenco long favored The Aldo Leopold Leadership Project, while she was a long time EDF trustee, and it received $2.1 million in funding from the Packard Foundation of Palo Alto.

 

After being confirmed by the Senate, in March, 2009, Lubchenco had to replace the acting leader of NMFS, a Phd scientist named Balsiger who was also Fuglvog’s friend. In April, Fuglvog applied for the job. She favored Fuglvog – who had no scientific background in fish management – over an East Coast fisheries scientist of national stature, Dr Brian Rothschild, according to an inside source.

In May, 2009,Fuglvog was on the brink of claiming the the NMFS prize position. Support peaked in late May just as unfriendly forces were about to dash all his dreams, for as the Bard says, “false hope lingers in extremity.”

 NOAA Stonewalled and Stalled

2007 Cover Up

2009 Political Cover

In 2007, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) investigated and then dropped, some sources say covered up, several complaints about Fuglvog’s long standing illegal activities, but in 2009 when OLE again stalled a new investigation, the FBI, Inspector General, Congressmen, and finally the White House were contacted. Finally a vigorous investigation began in earnest.

Some political motives for stalling the investigation and stone-walling the release of information about his guilt for two years are obvious, others are obscure. Fuglvog was picked for the NMFS directorship for his skill in advocating for Catch Shares ⎯ an objective he shared with Jane Lubchenco ⎯ and also because it is believed, under Senator Murkowski, he was a player in clearing the way for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic.

Was NOAA’s stalling and lethargy in pursuing him politically motivated? A partial answer emerges by reviewing the sequence of political support he received during the spring of 2009.

  • Fuglvog became a candidate for the NMFS directorship on April 9th, 2009 (weeks after the Senate confirmed Jane Lubchenco to be head of NOAA on March 19th). But no sooner did Fuglvog throw his hat in the ring than a former crewman complained to NOAA on April 27 about Fuglvog’s misdeeds as a fishing captain.
  • April 9th, letters of recommendation began pouring in from the EDF Senators, including Murkowski and Murray, and fishing companies

 

  • May 6th David Benton of the Marine Conservation Alliance wrote a letter recommending Fuglvog addressed to Lubchenco (from # 80022772 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )
  • May 8th Gregg Block, Wild Salmon Center, supported Fuglvog in his letter to Lubchenco (#80022849 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )
  • May 8th, Ben Landry, Omega Protein, wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog (#80022954 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )
  • May 8th, Glen Brooks, Gulf Fisherman’s Association wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog . (#80022957 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )
  • May 11th, Keith Criddle, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog ( # 80023002Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )
  • May 11th, Shirley Marquardt, City of Unakleet, Alaska, wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog. ( # 80023003 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
  • May 18th, CONGRESSIONAL Recommendations came from
    • Representative Mike Thompson,
    • President Bob Dickinson,
    • Representatives Robert Wittman,
    • Brian Baird,
    • Chairman Don Young,
    • Representative Frank LoBiondo,
    • Co-Chair Representative Sam Farr,
      • Representative Walter Jones,
      • Representative Jay Inslee,
      • Representative David Wu (NOAA Congressional Correspondence Log #80023162, FOIA released September 18th, 2009
      • May 18th,another letter of recommendation for Fuglvog arrived at NOAA signed by
        • Senator Mel Martinez,
        • Senator (Texas) Kay Bailey Hutchison,
        • Chairman Mark Begich,
        • Chair Senator Mary Landrieu,
        • Senator Bill Nelson. ((NOAA Congressional Correspondence Log # 80023163) FOIA released September 18th, 2009
      • May 19th, Margaret Williams, World Wildlife Fund, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. ( #80023088 , Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
      • May 19th Ed Backus, EcoTrust,wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. ( 80023092 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )
      • May 19th, Mark Vinsel and Joe Childers, United Fisherman of Alaska, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. ( 80023090 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
      • May, 19th TJ Tate, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. (#80023080, Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )
      • May 19th, Jack Stern Esq., and David Wilmon Ocean Champions wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. ( 80023081, Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • May 19th Kathy Hanson, Southeast Alaska Fisherman’s Association, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog . ( 80023082, Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • May 19th, Don Giles, Icicle Seafoods,wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog . ( #80023084 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • May 19th, Dorthy Childers, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog . ( #80023085 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • May 22nd, Dan Castle Southeast Seiners Association,wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog . (#80022948 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • June 2nd, Chris Zimmer, Rivers without Borders, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog . (#80023303 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • June 3d, Julianne Curry, Petersburg Vessel Owners Association, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. (80023328 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • June 16th, Representative Dave Reichert, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. ( #80023519 80023328 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)
        • July 9th, maybe the only one in Alaska’s fishing industry who did not now then know Fuglvog was being investigated, Alvin Birch, Alaska Whitefish Trawlers Association, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. (#80023086 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

        Powerful forces at this point were backing Fuglvog for a variety of reasons, not least of which was his ability to sell national fish council members on the Catch Share concept of fish management—kinda like fencing in the range in the 1890s out West— demonstrated the year before at a retreat near Stanford University that was bankrolled by EDF money passed through Stanford. Lubchenco, had been an EDF Board Member for  ten years and a trustee https://www.edf.org/news/environmental-defense-fund-honored-board-vice-chair-reportedly-picked-noaa-administrator

      • https://www.edf.org/people/board-of-trusteesShe has recently won EDF’s prestigious prize for her work on Catch Shares, while heading NOAA. https://www.edf.org/media/dr-jane-lubchenco-wins-tyler-prize-environmental-achievement ).
        • On May 22nd, Lubchenco announced federal funding of almost $19 million to implement Catch Shares in New England. More importantly, she announced a National Catch Shares Task Force, comprised of many of NOAA’s top brass who, a year and half later, would be controlling information to the press, Congress, and presumably the White House about Fuglvog’s criminal behavior.

         

        • With his “friends” and, we believe, former wife, being interviewed in Alaska by OLE in June and July 2009 and a Grand Jury convened on July 21st.

         

        • Fuglvog withdrew his name for consideration to be head of the NMFS on the last day of July, the day after he discovered someone had confiscated his vessel fish log. He knew his goose was cooked. So did NOAA.
        • Months later, in December 2009, during his first interview with NOAA, Fuglvog admitted it was “common” practice to make misrepresentations in his log book.
        • Between the July 2009 Grand Jury, when much evidence against Fuglvog was aired, and August, 2011 the public did not know of Fuglog’s guilt— though there were rumors aplenty in Alaska.

        Meanwhile, Fuglvog, though his dream took flight, was scot free for two more years to advocate for Catch Shares, while still an aide to a powerful US Senator. Until of course

        The Fish Hits the Fan

        2011

The following is but a sample of what you can expect to read about the Fuglvog Scandal and how it was integral to the Catch Share push from NOAA. To throw the cold light of truth onto this story, I posted emails from high level managers in NOAA after the Fuglvog story broke which I obtained from NOAA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after I had to file suit to get them. (NOAA had 20 days to comply, it took them about eight months to produce. Some of my requests for information have languished for years).
On August 4th, 2011, Politico’s August 2nd headline read:,

Former Murkowski Aide Arne Fuglvog Admits To Breaking Fishing Laws

Senator Murkowksi being asked about Arne Fuglvog 2011.

Senator Murkowksi being asked about Arne Fuglvog 2011.

Politico failed to ask the obvious question. What did NOAA know and when did they know it? Instead, Politico’s story downgraded the crime, calling it a misdemeanor, even though Fuglvog had agreed to pay $150,000 and go to jail for ten months. At a subsequent hearing, more facts became public. Fuglvog had broken the law multiple times but was being charged with only one instance. Because he was caught red handed, he copped a plea in exchanged for shorter jail time and a smaller fine and agreed to testify

against others. Others had been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and required forfeiture of million dollar boats.

Politico made no mention of OLE’s Chief who ordered case files shredded, as revealed in a 2010 report by the Office of Inspector General. I have an outstanding FOIA to investigate if Fuglvog’s files were shredded. I was informed that after the Inspector General investigated OLE for this outrageous conduct, the computer containing information relevant to my FOIA request crashed. Sound familiar?

Still, NOAA was getting phone calls from reporters who were curious to know why a misdemeanor deserved a 150 grand fine and they caused NOAA’s upper management to scramble.

It is not yet clear if this apparent born again concern by upper management as reflected in the following emails was a ruse to conceal prior knowledge of the investigations or only decision making on what to release to the press. It is clear DC was controlling the flow of information carefully. Nor is it yet clear which members of the upper management team had knowledge prior to August 4th. I have yet to get a full Response including all of Lubchenco’s emails. I do have a document and sources have confirmed that in June of 2009 she was made aware about allegations against Fuglvog. In a FOIA release, NOAA omitted the red herring email to Lubchenco that I have. It is inconceivable that others on the email list of August 4th were ignorant of Fuglvog’s prior acts.

Here’s the sequence of events that followed the filing of charges against Fuglvog:

  • On August 1st, 2011, the US Attorney in Anchorage filed charges against Fuglvog and entered his plea deal into the record.

August 2nd, Senator Murkowski issued a news release announcing his guilt and his resignation from her staff. It was the talk of Washington and fishing communities which were shocked, simply shocked–except those who knew all along.

August 4th, back at NOAA headquarters where all the facts were becoming known or well known, frenzied exchanges occurred between alarmed

  • officials, keeping Lubchenco out of the loop, which utterly belies the “misdemeanor” story-line Politico was pushing.
  • August 5th, Murkowski announced though her Press Secretary, that she knew in late June of the plea deal. She knew he faced some violation, she claimed, back in December, 2010 ⎯ right after her reelection. (We are researching to discover if the delay in Fuglvog’s firing qualified him for a pension from the Senate.)

 

The cast of Lubchenco’s top NOAA management team on August 4th, engaged in media containment included the following:

 

  • Monica Medina, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration She led the Catch Share Task Force that Lubchenco announced in May and appointed in June 2009. Her husband, Ron Klaine, was the Ebola Czar, who led the recount effort in Florida for Al Gore. He’s closely connected to the White House through Joe Biden.

       •  Lois J. Schiffer, NOAA General Counsel

       •   Margaret Spring, Chief of Staff, who is now with the Monterey Bay Aquarium near Palo Alto.

        •   John Oliver Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, NOAA’s Fisheries Service. He is also the Executive Director of the NPFMC He was a member of the Catch Share Task Force. He found the Office of Law Enforcement’s Dale Jones was blameless in 2006 even though an Inspector Generals Report four years latter found the head of OLE shredded case files for four hours while under investigation by the IG. NOAA has not yet turned over documents showing if Jones shred Fuglvog’s case file  http://www.savingseafood.org/news/enforcement/nmfs-dep-admn-john-oliver-and-ex-admn-hogarth-knew-of-ole-complaints-four-years-ago/

  • John Gray, Director of Legislative Affairs

 

  • Samuel Rauch, Fisheries Acting Assistant Administrator, now head, was the author of a 2010 policy paper distributed to all the national fisheries councils called, “NOAAs Catch Share Policy under Development (2010)calling for 15 fisheries limited by 2011 and 31 in coming years. http://www.fisherycouncils.org/SSCpapers/Catchshares abstract.pdf He administered national fisheries management councils and Fuglvog had sat on the NPFMC. He is a key player in catch shares within the agency. He was a member of the Catch Share Task Force

 

 

  • Alan Risenhoover, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, was the author of a 2010 policy paper distributed to all the national fisheries councils called, “NOAA’s Catch Share Policy under Development(2010), calling for 15 fisheries to be limited by 2011 and 31 more in coming years. http://www.fisherycouncils.org/SSCpapers/Catchshares abstract.pdf He administered national fisheries management councils and Fuglvog had sat on the NPFMC. He is a key player in catch shares within the agency. He was a member of the Catch Share Task Force

 

  • Justin Kenney Director, NOAA Office of Communications & External Affairs. He was an ex officio member of the Catch Share Task Force
  • Amanda Hallberg Office of Legislative Affairs and former Congressional Staffer

 

On August 4th, 2011 between noon and 4:30, a string of emails went out between the individuals on the above list under the subject head:

CONFIDENTIAL FUGLVOG CASE.

The flow initially— from the limited records I obtained so far— went to John Oliver, a much over looked play maker, to Monica Medina, Lubchenco’s right hand gal whose husband was a key Biden and Gore player.

It is not clear if the first email was sent by Risenhoover prior to 12:08, since the content of that message was not provided to me and the sender is deleted, but the 12:08 email appears to have been sent to John Oliver who managed the day to day of NOAA. Oliver appears to have gotten “info” from Risenhoover. Note that the account Oliver is sending to Medina is blanked out. Was it to her private or NOAA account? Oliver’s NOAA account is provided

email 1

 

Twenty minutes after Oliver got the “info,” Medina forwarded “very sensitive” materials to the following:

  • Schiffer, the General Council
  • Samuel Rauch, Fisheries Acting Assistant Administrator
  • Justin Kenney, Director of NOAA’s Office of Communications & External Affairs.
  • Amanda Hallberg, Office of Legislative Affairs and former Congressional Staffer
  • Justin Kenney, Director of NOAA’s Office of Communications & External Affairs

See the 2:23PM email below:

email 2

By about an hour and a half later, it became clear the information sent was “confidential,” because Rausch told the legislative affairs officer Halberg and the others it was so:

email3

What was the confidential information? Why would someone in fisheries be the one to determine political and legal information was confidential? Note everyone was now using Medina’s NOAA account.

NOAA’s FOIA Response did not include any of the “info” alluded to, several years after Fuglvog got of jail. NOAA may or may not provide it in the coming weeks. So who is NOAA protecting in 2015 by so far withholding this “info” and will a judge order them to release it? The facts suggest NOAA is stonewalling to protect itself from the prying eyes of the pesky public.

Did the “info” include the results of the criminal investigation or did the Management Team already know about that? Did the details inform them when and to what extent the agency knew Fuglvog was committing crimes say back to 2002? Did the “info” include facts showing Murkowski knew about Fuglvog long before she said she did? Did the White House know and do nothing? Was the 2009 email to Lubcheco about Fuglvog part of the “info” packet? Did other people in Congress know? All inferences can be drawn from a stonewalling agency.

While that exchange about “info” obtained about Fuglvog from John Oliver or the NPFMC was taking place, another exchange was occurring about him between Lubchenco’s Chief of Staff and Lois Schiffer, the General Counsel. But the instruction goes far beyond the letters of recommendation for Fuglvog from US Senators et. al. that are on file. The following emails reflect the team’s “info” was everything NOAA knew about Fuglvog.

The Counsel General of NOAA herself, Schiffer, recommended stonewalling about what NOAA knew.

Ms. Schiffer’s instruction to the publicity officer, Kinney, and the Chief of Staff, Spring, is most disturbing. Schiffer wrote that when talking to the press:

 

I WOULDN’T ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT WE KNEW OR DIDN’T KNOW [ABOUT FUGLVOG’S ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES]”.

(Email Schiffer to Spring et al 3:36PM EST):

email 4

After five years of effort using FOIA and the courts, NOAA has still not revealed all of what it knew or didn’t know and when it knew it. For if it did know Fuglvog was cheating between 2007 (when complaints were made to OLE) and 2011 when news broke of the prosecution, it was going to look like NOAA had held back information that could have changed the course of the 2010 election for Senator in Alaska as well as added weight to the criticism Congress was making that OLE needed major reforms. Why would Lubchneco welcome that kind of news? Why would the White House be happy that its new appointee was in deep muck soon after Senate confirmation?

 

Burying a National Story

If NOAA had informed the public about the investigations it conducted on Fuglvog up through 2009—as I had requested before the 2010 vote—-instead of waiting until January of the next year), the outcome for Alaska’s US Senate Race almost certainly would have been different that year.

For between July, 2009 and November, 2010, NOAA was sitting on enough evidence to throw the book at this aide to Senator Murkowski, including evidence presented to the 2009 Grand Jury and his own 2009 admission, for which he would later serve time in federal jail.

This is but a sampling of what you can expect to read about the inside story about Fuglvog Scandal and how it was integral to the catch share push from NOAA, a story essentially and potentially affecting tens of thousands of lives in fishing communities around the country ⎯ and the 2010 Senatorial campaign in Alaska.

It is a complicated story, one that any one of the national outlets could have explored had their budgets not been slashed, their reporters demoralized, and their editors cowered, as Sharyl Attkisson has recently shown in Stone Walled (2014).

Instead, except for a few right wing web sites, and one thorough story by Libby Casey ion Alaska Public Radio, the story got buried. A few reporters had their FOIAs delayed or incompletely answered and then they were on to hotter topics. After all, Mitch McConnell’s gal won the Senate Race.

Unless the lame stream press latches on to this story, I hope to unwind more of this story as NOAA, excruciatingl slow, produces more information requested under the FOIAs and the Federal Court System. Stay tuned.

This material is copyrighted @ 2015 by Alan Stein. None of it may be reproduced in any form, in or on any platform or publication without permission which can be obtained by contacting this web site.

P.S. Up date 12/27/15 NOAA has still not released all of the 13,000 pages of the investigative files I requested years ago and to which I am entitled to under the FOIA. Five months after the lawsuit was filed in 2015, I now have about 5,000 pages. The quest for documents continues.

 

 

 

 

 

NOAA Oversight Project –

From Dutch Harbor to the Old Habor Float in Petersburg, from Gloucester and all the way round to Corpus Christi, wherever Americans untied their boats to fish in the decades since the Magnuson Act passed, fishemen had to take on science, politics, and NOAA. Some of you spent your shore time up to your knees in fish politics dividing the stock or arguing with managers about areas or days at sea. Because you engaged in politics, new generations of kids setting and hauling gear can still catch fish.

Sort of– Like me, some of you believe that passing down the fishing tradition between generations is a bedrock of American independence and that after 2009 NOAA threatened it. In 2008 a push for Catch Shares, which began in Alaska’s1 halibut fishery in the early 1990s and expanded 20 years latter to 20 percent of all US caught fish, threatened to spread to all ports. In early 2009, when the Senate approved Under Secretary Jane Lubchecno (and her right hand woman, Monica Medina, wife of Biden and Gore political operative, Ron Klain), Catch Shares were going to take off like a rocket.

In Alaska back in 1971, when I started to learn how to troll and gillnet salmon, hook halibut and black cod, fish stocks were on their way to rock bottom even as the number of boats kept growing. One summer, we were down to fishing 12 hours a week. In 1975, the entire 400 mile long Southeast salmon season shut down a month early. In 1976, the State limited entry of the number of boats who could fish salmon. In the late 1980s, a Federal program to give each fisherman a share of the halibut quota for the year began to take shape enriching captains at the expense of many crew members.

James Balsiger, the acting head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, was going to be replaced by fisherman/ Senate staffer Arne Fuglvog who favored catch shares or scientist Brian Rothschild who did not. But for Richard Gaines’ corruption busting headlines in the Gloucester Times and fishermen who turned in Fuglvog for illegal fishing, Catch shares would have applied to all fish stocks.

I hope you’ll learn a lot about one facet of how NOAA’s plans got busted. It springs from dozens of FOIAs I made since 2010. When I got stonewalled on getting 13,000 pages related to the Fuglvog investigation, I started a lawsuit in 2015 year that has forced NOAA to cough up out about 7000 pages so far. Without the guidance and insight of some fishermen, lawyers, a scientist, and policy makers, and others it would have been pretty hard to pull all the pieces together.

For me, the story begins in 2010.

Out of the blue, a candidate for the US Senate in Alaska, who had won his party’s nomination, pulled me out of retirement in California by a phone call. “Help me fight corruption,” he said, “ I want you to be my regional manager.” I asked him if he had the right guy. A decorated Army Officer and a Yale Law School alum, he was not going to let the old guard continue the corruption that had rocked Alaska. Because of my ten years on the beach in California, I was out of touch, but he insisted. I took a deep breath and accepted. I never regretted the choice or doubted the character of the man.

I caught a plane up to Juneau where for several days we met with party members and agency heads and then I flew down to a conference in Petersburg to prepare the ground for his arrival. There, old fishing friends updated me on what had been going on in the fleet during my decade ashore.

They told me that Senator Murkowski’s fisheries aide, Arne Fuglvog, should not remain in that position, because he was a fish crook who had been pushing catch shares in 2008-9 before he suddenly withdrew his name to be head of the NMFS.

I was shocked. So were a lot of people in town. I knew and admired this guy’s dad. They claimed Arne had been fishing illegally for a long time for halibut and black cod under the Catch Share program or IFQs. NOAA should have investigated the crimes. But there was nothing public about it.

This was a campaign issue which could not be raised without facts. Details were few and I couldn’t locate crew members. In Juneau the candidate and I had met, at the Ted Stevens NOAA Lab/Monument, with high ranking NOAA officials who never uttered a peep about the investigation (or catch shares). It puzzled me then that NOAA would fly a guy fly up from Seattle to meet with an Alaskan politician, a guy who might scrutinize the money pipeline to NOAA.

Lacking hard evidence of a NOAA investigation, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to NOAA on my own behalf on October 21st. Just before Christmas, and more than six weeks after the 2010 November election, the mailman delivered NOAA’s Response. This first FOIA resulted in tantalizing clues and dead ends.

 NOAA’s Response stonewalled by claiming that they could “neither confirm nor deny” an open investigation, a tactic the government first used to block inquires about Howard Huges’ Glomar Explorer searching for a sunken Russian Nuclear Submarine.

Five years later, FOIAed documents showed the investigation was almost or should have been closed before Christmas 2009, because NOAA knew many months before Christmas that Fuglvog was cooperating (“admitting guilt”) after a Grand Jury convened and his log books and vessel computer seized.

What the Christmas time 2010 NOAA response did prove were fishing violations in 2005. In May of 2005, Fuglvog was a Board Member of the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council.

He exceeded his bi-catch by 100%. He also exceeded his black cod quota. NOAA blanked out the amount of pounds and the fines. (NOAA also withheld nine pages, and redacted dozens more– the good stuff).

I don’t know if Fuglvog revealed these 2005 fisheries violation on his 2006 job application to Senator Lisa Murkowski. The potential fine was $25,000 on one count. Certainly there was a long history of illegal fishing that he should have disclosed. I have yet to find out.

More important than NOAA’s stonewall on the Fuglvog investigation was a blackout in the press. In October 2010, I informed at least three large mainstream news outlets about the Fuglvog rumors. No stories ran. After I got the FOIA Response, I sent evidence to at least one national news outlet.

No outlet mentioned the 2005 violations, even though they had documented proof and even though the election for Senator was still contested in the courts.

Disinterest in Fuglvog seemed surreal. I got calls from reporters in Paris and New York wanting to talk to my candidate. Gail Collins even crossed the Hudson to fly into Petersburg to interview and poke fun at my candidate and me. Yet when poop on Fuglvog surfaced, the media closed their collective eyes.

Winter turned to summer.

Then on August 1, 2011, Fuglvog announced a plea deal, agreeing to go to jail and pay about $150,000, copping to only one instance of illegal fishing. The media was all over it. O my gosh when and what did NOAA know. But they had had their heads in the sand refusing to report on evidence.

A few days before Fuglvog appeared in Federal Court, NOAA emailed me that “Records prior to 2005 were destroyed in 2009.” That was not completely true, as I discovered years latter when NOAA released documents referring to more illegal fishing prior to 2005.

There were few times, I have from a reliable source, when he did not fish illegally.

NOAA’s stonewalling and the media black out whetted my curiosity. What corrupt or illegal means did the government use to keep you in the dark about Fuglvog and the push for Catch Shares? Who within NOAA ran the game? How did they manage the controversy?

The picture I’ve assembled so far from the dozens of FOIAs and lawsuit is not yet a complete one. But enough salacious details are now available to give you a peek into the inside story about the Fuglvog scandal.

 This is the first in what I hope will be a series of pieces revealing what the heck went wrong inside NOAA under Jane Lubchenco and who outside the agency supported her and Fuglv.
                                                                                                                                               NOAA OVERSIGHT PROJECT
This  is the start of a new probe into mysteries arising out of the 2010 Alaska Senate Campaign which, but for the Fuglvog Scandal –an investigation stalled, buried, and botched by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA)—most likely would have ousted Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Arne Fuglvog one year into his job as Fisheries Assistant to Senator Lisa Murkowski. She never fired him even though he admitted to officials in 2009 that he had habitually broke fisheries  law. He resigned his job with Murkowski in August, 2011,  after striking a plea deal more than two years after a grand jury considered his case in 2009 and three months after she claimed to have first learned of his plea.

Picture Credit: Juneau Empire 2007
• Why did the press –which swarmed into Alaska from Los Angeles, New York, and Europe looking for any nit to pick– ignore a tawdry story about Senator Murkowski’s fisheries aide, Arne Fuglvog, that would have changed the outcome of the 2010 election.
• In 2010, why did the media miss digging into widespread rumors  about a story that would have made headlines showing why  Fuglvog in July, 2009  withdrew his quest to be the top administrator of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) after pursuing the spot for only three and a half  months?  (Documents I obtained under the Freedom of Information Act after filing suit against NOAA show, for the first time, that contrary to Fuglvog’s reasons for withdrawing from the race (he claimed the process was taking too long)— he withdrew his quest for the leadership slot in the NMFS immediately after he learned NOAA obtained evidence that could have convicted him on federal offenses; namely, someone turned in his fishing log books showing he had lied repeatedly on official documents submitted to NOAA.)

Who or what organizations  pushed Fuglvog to seek the top NMFS job and how would they benefit if he took the helm?

Did NOAA botch or cover up  2007 complaints made about Fuglvog’s illegal commercial  fishing?

In 2011, why, after he publicly admitted to crimes,  did NOAA officials  stonewall on what and when they knew about his crimes.

In 2009  or afterwards, did NOAA exchange information with the White House, Senator Murkowski, or any other member of Congress and if not, why not? If NOAA exchanged information, did the White House, Senator Murkowski, or Congress take appropriate action to expose Fuglvog in 2009 or 2010? If not, why not?

The NOAA Oversight Project has and will uncover and  make public all the issues surrounding the Fuglvog Scandal, Catch Shares, and other national fisheries issues.

Six  years after NOAA was forced to pursue Fuglvog, after over a dozen FOIAs to NOAA (many still outstanding) and a law suite filed to compel production, I can start to answer some of these questions. You can come to this link on Tongass Low Down to find newly released information from NOAA or information a court orders NOAA to produce.

Before discussing the information I’ve obtained under FOIA from NOAA after long periods of time have passed, I want you to remember that the larger story involves the mainstream media was asleep at the wheel (or beholden to editors acting as gate keepers who have no appetite to dog a story that could jeopardize a sitting Alaska Senate seat).

This story arises in a federal agency in  disarray, subjected to  strong manipulation by US Senators and their lackeys within the agency, and so committed to promoting its Catch Shares Program (reducing fleet size as a way to manage fish catches and enrich the big boys) that its golden boy, Fuglvog, escaped prosecution for federal fisheries crimes he had committed for almost a decade. In the meantime, sold the program to policy makers and fishermen around the country.

On September 11th, 2015, I  posted a small but revealing part of the story— emails recently obtained from NOAA which show what NOAA did on August 4th, 2011, a few days after the US Attorney filed charges against Fuglvog.

Today on September 18th I am  adding the names of  Fuglvog’s supporters who sent  letters to the agency urging his appointment to the top job at the NMFS including the dates in 2009 when they did so.   These details that I am revealing have remained hidden in NOAA’s files, some for six years.
[Update September 18th, 2015. Today, NOAA released three FOIA Requests  I made near the start of the year. Documents were released about six weeks after I filed a lawsuit to get them and other FOIAs are still outstanding].

Background and Connections

In 2009, a clamor for Fuglvog to be prosecuted arose from among those who knew of his crimes and did not want him to be the head of the NMFS. Complaints to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) began in May, 2009, but as well, and significantly, were also made  in 2007 when NOAA botched and buried investigations into the 2007 complaints. The 2009 complaints occurred around the same time that his supporters in the fishing industry and Congress were inundating  Jane Lubchenco, the new head of NOAA, with letters of recommendation to make him chief of the NMFS.

It is likely, Fuglvog who had no scientific background, was her first choice over a well regarded marine scientist, Professor Brian Rothschild. Many of my sources believe that the EDF which promoted Lubchenco’s career was a main force behind the push to make Fuglvog the administrator of our nation’s fishery research and resources.

In 2009, OLE itself was in hot water. Its Director, Dale Jones, would be caught by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) ordering  case files destroyed  while OIG investigated OLE. OLE, it appears, had totally botched the 2007 complaints against Fuglvog and some would say it covered them up. Two years latter n 2009 and sensing more inaction from OLE, the complainants contacted the FBI and the Inspector General.
By June, 2009 OLE agents in Alaska were conducting interviews concerning Fuglvog.

But over two years passed after 2009 before Fuglvog’s  prosecution became public and another half year elapsed before he went to jail. Meanwhile, he continued to work on fisheries issues while on Senator Lisa Murkowski’s staff, no news of his crimes leaked in 2010 to affect the tough reelection fight for the Alaska Senate seat, and NOAA escaped scrutiny for not prosecuting him for  years after the 2007 complaints were made.

Fuglvog did not get where he was because he was a ladies man or a nice guy— though he was both:
• Fuglvog was room mates with Alaska fisherman Bobby Thorstenson Jr. who supposedly inherited a lot of Icicle Seafood stock from his father, the founder of Icicle Seafoods.
• Fuglvog’s dad  held one of the largest blocks of stock in Icicle Seafoods.
• Fuglvog got appointed by Lisa Murkowski’s father, the Governor of Alaska,  to the North Pacific Management Council (NPFMC) which allocates  some of Alaska’s billion dollar a year stocks of  fish that are not salmon or herring.
• One of his votes on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council was key to benefiting Icicle and a couple of other mega players in Alaska fisheries.
• Subsequently Icicle, which had been on the block for a long time, sold for about 80 million dollars, according to one of my sources.
• We’ll never know how much his votes raised the value of the company. He never disclosed to NOAA, nor was he required to disclose, his father’s interest in the company.
• His policy for promoting Catch Shares was in line with organizations funded by Sam Walton (the Wall Mart Sam) or Pew Trusts, such as the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), Eco Trust, and Sea • In 2008, EDF funded a seminar for members of the many regional Fishery Management Councils under NOAA by giving several hundred thousand dollars through Stanford University to the Woods Foundation. The latter two refuse to answer questions about the money which paid for Fishery Council Members to attend. A NOAA memo raised the question of whether bribery was involved. (I will examine this issue later).
• At the California event, Fuglvog, by then  Murkowski’s fisheries aide, conducted a day long explanation of Catch Shares that was the best attended of all the items on the agenda. Having passed his audition in California with flying colors, Fuglvog got a green light for his next career move—to take over NMFS.
• Lubchenco long favored The Aldo Leopold Leadership Project, while she was a long time EDF trustee, and it received $2.1 million in funding from the Packard Foundation of Palo Alto.
• After being confirmed by the Senate, in March, 2009, Lubchenco had to select a new leader for the NMFS. In April, Fuglvog applied for the job. She favored Fuglvog – who had no scientific background in fish management –  over an East Coast fisheries scientist of national stature, Dr Brian Rothschild, according to an inside source.

In May, 2009,Fuglvog  was on the brink of claiming the the NMFS prize position. Support peaked in late May just as  unfriendly forces were about to dash all his dreams, for as the Bard says, “false hope lingers in extremity.”

NOAA Stonewalled and Stalled 2007 Cover Up 2009 Political Cover

In 2007, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) investigated and then dropped, some sources say covered up, several complaints about Fuglvog’s long standing illegal activities, but in 2009 when OLE again stalled a new investigation, the FBI, Inspector General, Congressmen, and finally the White House were contacted. Finally a vigorous investigation began in earnest.

Some political motives for stalling the investigation and stone-walling the release of information about his guilt for two years are obvious, others are obscure. Fuglvog was picked for the NMFS directorship for his skill in advocating for Catch Shares ⎯ an objective he shared with Jane Lubchenco ⎯ and also because, under Senator Murkowski,  he was a player in clearing the way for Shell Oil to drill in the Arctic.

Was NOAA’s stalling and lethargy in pursuing him politically motivated? A partial answer emerges by reviewing the sequence of political support he received during the spring of 2009.

• Fuglvog became a candidate for the NMFS directorship on April 9th, 2009 (weeks after the Senate confirmed Jane Lubchenco to be head of NOAA on March 19th). But no sooner did Fuglvog throw his hat in the ring than a former crewman complained to NOAA on April 27  about Fuglvog’s misdeeds as a fishing captain.

• April 9th,  letters of recommendation began pouring in from the EDF Senators, including Murkowski and Murray, and fishing companies

• May 6th David Benton of the Marine Conservation Alliance wrote a letter recommending Fuglvog addressed to Lubchenco (from # 80022772 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )

• May 8th Gregg Block, Wild Salmon Center, supported Fuglvog in his letter to Lubchenco (#80022849 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )

• May 8th, Ben Landry, Omega Protein, wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog  (#80022954 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )

• May 8th, Glen Brooks, Gulf Fisherman’s Association  wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog . (#80022957 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )

• May 11th,  Keith Criddle, University of Alaska, Fairbanks, wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog ( # 80023002Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )

• May 11th, Shirley Marquardt, City of Unakleet, Alaska, wrote Lubchenco to support Fuglvog. ( # 80023003 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• May 18th,  CONGRESSIONAL Recommendations came from

▪ Representative Mike Thompson,

▪ President Bob Dickinson,

▪ Representatives Robert Wittman,

▪ Brian Baird,

▪ Chairman Don Young,

▪ Representative Frank LoBiondo,

▪ Co-Chair Representative Sam Farr,

▪ Representative Walter Jones,

▪ Representative Jay Inslee,

▪ Representative David Wu

(NOAA Congressional Correspondence Log #80023162, FOIA released September 18th, 2009

• May 18th,another letter of recommendation for Fuglvog arrived at NOAA signed by

▪ Senator Mel Martinez,

▪ Senator (Texas) Kay Bailey Hutchison,

▪ Chairman Mark Begich,

▪ Chair Senator Mary Landrieu,

▪ Senator Bill Nelson. (NOAA Congressional Correspondence Log # 80023163) FOIA released September 18th, 2009

• May 19th, Margaret Williams, World Wildlife Fund, wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog. ( #80023088 , Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• May 19th Ed Backus, EcoTrust,wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog. ( 80023092 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 ) Page 7

• May 19th, Mark Vinsel and Joe Childers, United Fisherman of Alaska, wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog. ( 80023090 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• May, 19th TJ Tate, Gulf of Mexico Reef Fish Shareholders’ Alliance, wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog.  (#80023080, Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015 )

• May 19th, Jack Stern Esq., and David Wilmon Ocean Champions  wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog. ( 80023081, Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• May 19th Kathy Hanson, Southeast Alaska Fisherman’s Association, wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog . ( 80023082, Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• May 19th, Don Giles, Icicle Seafoods,wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog . ( #80023084 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• May 19th, Dorthy Childers, Alaska Marine Conservation Council, wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog . ( #80023085 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• May 22nd, Dan Castle Southeast Seiners Association,wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog .  (#80022948 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• June 2nd, Chris Zimmer, Rivers without Borders, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog . (#80023303 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• June 3d, Julianne Curry, Petersburg Vessel Owners Association, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog.  (80023328 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• June 16th, Representative Dave Reichert, wrote Lubchenco to recommend Fuglvog. ( #80023519 80023328 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• July 9th, maybe the only one in Alaska’s fishing industry who did not now then know Fuglvog was being investigated, Alvin Birch, Alaska

Whitefish Trawlers Association, wrote Lubchenco to recommend  Fuglvog.  (#80023086 Lubchenco Correspondence Log FOIA release September 18th, 2015)

• Powerful forces at this point were backing Fuglvog for a variety of reasons, not least of which was  his  ability to sell national fish council members on the Catch Share concept of fish management— kinda like fencing in the range in the 1890s out West— demonstrated the year before at a retreat near Stanford University that was paid for with EDF money. Lubchenco, had been an EDF Board Member for ten years and a trustee https://www.edf.org/ news/environmental-defense-fund-honored-board-vice-chairreportedly-picked-noaa-administrator  https://www.edf.org/people/board-of-trustees

She has recently won EDF’s prestigious prize for her work on Catch Shares, while heading NOAA. https://www.edf.org/media/dr-janelubchenco-wins-tyler-prize-environmental-achievement ).

• On May 22nd, Lubchenco announced federal funding of almost $19 million to implement Catch Shares in New England. More importantly, she announced a National Catch Shares Task Force, comprised of many of NOAA’s top brass who, a year and half later, would be controlling information to the  press, Congress, and presumably the White House about Fuglvog’s criminal behavior.

• With his “friends” and, we believe, former wife, being interviewed in Alaska by OLE in June and July 2009 and a Grand Jury convened on July 21st.

• Fuglvog withdrew his name for consideration to be head of the NMFS on the last day of July, the day after he discovered someone had confiscated his vessel fish log. He knew his goose was cooked. So did NOAA.

• Months later, in December  2009, during his first interview with NOAA, Fuglvog admitted it was “common” practice to make misrepresentations in his log book.

• Between the July 2009 Grand Jury, when much evidence against Fuglvog was aired, and August, 2011 the public did not know of Fuglog’s guilt— though there were rumors aplenty in Alaska. Meanwhile, Fuglvog, though his dream took flight,  was scot free for two more years to advocate for Catch Shares, while still an aide to a powerful US Senator. Until of course…

The Fish Hits the Fan 2011

The following is but a sample of what you can expect to read about the Fuglvog Scandal and how it was integral to the Catch Share push from NOAA. To throw the cold light of truth onto this story, I  posted emails from high level managers in NOAA after the Fuglvog story broke which I obtained from NOAA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after I had to file suit to get them.  (NOAA had 20 days to comply, it took them about eight months to produce. Some of my requests for information have languished for years).

On August 4th, 2011, Politico’s August 2nd headline read:,  Former Murkowski Aide Arne Fuglvog Admits To Breaking Fishing Laws

The following is but a sample of what you can expect to read about the Fuglvog Scandal and how it was integral to the Catch Share push from NOAA. To throw the cold light of truth onto this story, I  posted emails from high level managers in NOAA after the Fuglvog story broke which I obtained from NOAA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) after I had to file suit to get them.  (NOAA had 20 days to comply, it took them about eight months to produce. Some of my requests for information have languished for years).

On August 4th, 2011, Politico’s August 2nd headline read:,

Former Murkowski Aide Arne Fuglvog Admits To Breaking Fishing Laws !

Politico failed to ask the obvious question. What did NOAA know and when did they know it? Instead, Politico’s story downgraded the crime, calling it a misdemeanor, even though Fuglvog had agreed to pay $150,000 and go to jail for ten months. At a subsequent hearing, more facts became public. Fuglvog had broken the law multiple times but was being charged with only one instance. Because he was caught red handed, he copped a plea in exchanged for shorter jail time and a smaller fine and agreed to testify against others. Others had been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and required forfeiture of million dollar boats.
Politico made no mention of OLE’s Chief who ordered case files shredded, as revealed in a 2010 report by the Office of Inspector General. I have an outstanding FOIA to investigate if Fuglvog’s files were shredded. I was informed that after the Inspector General investigated OLE for this outrageous conduct, the computer containing information relevant to my FOIA request crashed. Sound familiar?
Still, NOAA was getting phone calls from reporters who were curious to know why a misdemeanor deserved a 150 grand fine and they caused NOAA’s upper management to scramble.
It is not yet clear if this apparent born again concern by upper management as reflected in the following emails was a ruse to conceal prior knowledge of the investigations or only decision making on what to release to the press. It is clear DC was controlling the flow of information carefully. Nor is it yet clear which members of the upper management team had  knowledge prior to August 4th. I have yet to get a full Response including all Lubchenco’s emails. I do have a document and sources have confirmed that in June of 2009 she was made aware about  allegations against Fuglvog. It is inconceivable that others on the email list of August 4th were ignorant of Fuglvog’s prior acts.

Here’s the  sequence of events that followed the filing of charges against Fuglvog:

• On August 1st, 2011, the US Attorney in Anchorage filed charges against Fuglvog and entered his plea deal into the record.

• August 2nd, Senator Murkowski issued a news release announcing his guilt and his resignation from her staff. It was the talk of Washington and fishing communities which were shocked, simply shocked–except those who knew all along.

• August 4th, back at NOAA headquarters where all the facts were becoming known ( some facts were not already known by Lubchenco), frenzied exchanges that occurred between alarmed officials, keeping Lubchenco out of the loop,, belie the “misdemeanor” story-line Politico was pushing.

Politico failed to ask the obvious question. What did NOAA know and when did they know it? Instead, Politico’s story downgraded the crime, calling it a misdemeanor, even though Fuglvog had agreed to pay $150,000 and go to jail for ten months. At a subsequent hearing, more facts became public. Fuglvog had broken the law multiple times but was being charged with only one instance.

Because he was caught red handed, he copped a plea in exchanged for shorter jail time and a smaller fine and agreed to testify against others. Others had been fined hundreds of thousands of dollars and required forfeiture of million dollar boats.

Politico made no mention of OLE’s Chief who ordered case files shredded, as revealed in a 2010 report by the Office of Inspector General. I have an outstanding FOIA to investigate if Fuglvog’s files were shredded. I was informed that after the Inspector General investigated OLE for this outrageous conduct, the computer containing information relevant to my FOIA request crashed. Sound familiar?

Still, NOAA was getting phone calls from reporters who were curious to know why a misdemeanor deserved a 150 grand fine and they caused NOAA’s upper management to scramble.

It is not yet clear if this apparent born again concern by upper management as reflected in the following emails was a ruse to conceal prior knowledge of the investigations or only decision making on what to release to the press. It is clear DC was controlling the flow of information carefully. Nor is it yet clear which members of the upper management team had  knowledge prior to August 4th. I have yet to get a full Response including all Lubchenco’s emails. I do have a document and sources have confirmed that in June of 2009 she was made aware about  allegations against Fuglvog. It is inconceivable that others on the email list of August 4th were ignorant of Fuglvog’s prior acts.

Here’s the  sequence of events that followed the filing of charges against Fuglvog:

• On August 1st, 2011, the US Attorney in Anchorage filed charges against Fuglvog and entered his plea deal into the record.

• August 2nd, Senator Murkowski issued a news release announcing his guilt and his resignation from her staff. It was the talk of Washington and fishing communities which were shocked, simply shocked–except those who knew all along.

• August 4th, back at NOAA headquarters where all the facts were becoming known ( some facts were not already known by Lubchenco), frenzied exchanges that occurred between alarmed officials, keeping Lubchenco out of the loop,, belie the “misdemeanor” story-line Politico was pushing.

• August 5th, Murkowski announced though her Press Secretary, that she knew in late June of the plea deal. She knew he faced some violation, she claimed, back in December, 2010 ⎯ right after  her reelection. (We are researching to discover if the delay in Fuglvog’s firing qualified him for a pension from the Senate.)

The cast of Lubchenco’s top NOAA management team on August 4th, engaged in media containment included the following:

• Monica Medina, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for Oceans and Atmosphere of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration She led the Catch Share Task Force that Lubchenco announced in May and appointed in June 2009.   Her husband, Ron Klaine, was the Ebola Czar, who led the recount effort in Florida for Al Gore. He’s closely connected to the White House through Joe Biden.

• Lois J. Schiffer, NOAA General Counsel

• Margaret Spring, Chief of Staff, who is now with the Monterey Bay Aquarium near Palo Alto.

• John Oliver Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, NOAA’s Fisheries Service. He is also the Executive Director of the NPFMC He was a member of the Catch Share Task Force. He found the Office of Law Enforcement’s Dale Jones was blameless in 2006 even though an Inspector Generals Report four years latter found the head of OLE shredded case files for four hours while under investigation by the IG. NOAA has not yet turned over documents showing if Jones shred Fuglvog’s case files http://www.savingseafood.org/news/enforcement/nmfs-dep-admn-john-oliver-and-ex-admnhogarth-knew-of-ole-complaints-four-years-ago/

• John Gray, Director of Legislative Affairs

• Samuel Rauch, Fisheries Acting Assistant Administrator, now head. was the author of a 2010 policy paper distributed to all the      national fisheries councils called, “NOAA’s Catch Share Policy under Development” (2010)calling for 15 fisheries limited by 2011 and 31 in coming years. http://www.fisherycouncils.org/SSCpapers/ Catchshares abstract.pdf He administered national fisheries management councils and Fuglvog had sat on the NPFMC. He is a key player in catch shares within the agency. He was a member of the Catch Share Task Force

• Alan Risenhoover, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, was the author of a 2010 policy paper distributed to all the national fisheries councils called, “NOAA’s Catch Share Policy under Development” (2010), calling for 15 fisheries to be limited by 2011 and 31 more in coming years. http:// www.fisherycouncils.org/SSCpapers/Catchshares abstract.pdf He administered national fisheries management councils and Fuglvog had sat on the NPFMC. He is a key player in catch shares within the agency. He was a member of the Catch Share Task Force

• Justin Kenney Director, NOAA Office of Communications & External Affairs. He was an ex officio member of the Catch Share Task Force • Amanda Hallberg Office of Legislative Affairs and former Congressional Staffer

On August 4th, 2011 between noon and 4:30, a string of emails went out between the individuals on the above list under the subject head: CONFIDENTIAL FUGLVOG CASE.
The flow initially— from the limited records I obtained so far— went to John Oliver, a much over looked play maker, to Monica Medina, Lubchenco’s right hand gal whose husband was a key Biden and Gore player.
It is not clear if the first email was sent by Risenhoover prior to 12:08, since the content of that message was not provided to me and the sender is deleted, but the 12:08 email appears to have been sent to John Oliver who managed the day to day of NOAA. Oliver appears to have gotten “info” from Risenhoover.

Twenty minutes after Oliver got the “info,” Medina forwarded “very sensitive” materials to the following: • Schiffer, the General Council • Samuel Rauch, Fisheries Acting Assistant Administrator • Justin Kenney, Director of NOAA’s Office of Communications & External Affairs. • Amanda Hallberg, Office of Legislative Affairs and former Congressional Staffer • Justin Kenney, Director of NOAA’s Office of Communications & External Affairs
See the 2:23PM email below:

By about an hour and a half later, it became clear the information sent was “confidential,” because Rausch told the legislative affairs officer Halberg and the others it was so:

What was the confidential information? Why would someone in fisheries be the one to determine political and legal information was confidential?
NOAA’s FOIA Response did not include any of the “info” alluded to, several years after Fuglvog got of jail. NOAA may or may not provide it in the coming weeks. So who is NOAA protecting in 2015 by so far withholding this “info” and will a judge order them to release it? The facts suggest NOAA is stonewalling to protect itself from the prying eyes of the pesky public.

Did the “info” include the results of the criminal investigation or did the Management Team already know about that? Did the details inform them when and to what extent the agency knew Fuglvog was committing crimes say back to 2002? Did the “info” include facts showing Murkowski knew about Fuglvog long before she said she did? Did the White House know and do nothing? Was the 2009 email to Lubcheco about Fuglvog part of the “info” packet? Did other people in Congress know? All inferences can be drawn from a stonewalling agency.

While that exchange about “info” obtained about Fuglvog from John Oliver or the NPFMC was taking place, another exchange was occurring about him between Lubchenco’s Chief of Staff and Lois Schiffer, the General Counsel.

But the instruction goes far beyond the letters of recommendation for Fuglvog from US Senators et. al. that are on file. The following emails reflect the team’s “info” was everything  NOAA knew about Fuglvog.

The Counsel General of NOAA herself, Schiffer,  recommended stonewalling about what NOAA knew.

Ms. Schiffer’s instruction to the publicity officer, Kinney, and the Chief of Staff, Spring,  is most disturbing. Schiffer wrote that when talking to the press:

“I  WOULDN’T ANSWER QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT WE KNEW OR DIDN’T KNOW [ABOUT FUGLVOG’S ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES]”.
(Email Schiffer to Spring et al 3:36PM EST):

After five years of effort using FOIA and the courts, NOAA has still not revealed all of what it knew or didn’t know and when it knew it. For if it did know Fuglvog was cheating between 2007 (when complaints were made to OLE) and 2011 when news broke of the prosecution, it was going to look like NOAA had held back information that could have changed the course of the 2010 election for

Senator in Alaska as well as added weight to the criticism Congress was making that OLE needed major reforms. Why would Lubchneco welcome that kind of news? Why would the White House be happy that its new appointee was in deep muck soon after Senate confirmation.

Burying a National Story

If NOAA had informed the public about the investigations it conducted on Fuglvog up through 2009—as I had requested before the 2010 vote—instead of dealing until  until January of the next year), the outcome for Alaska’s US Senate Race almost certainly would have been different that year.

For between July, 2009 and November, 2010, NOAA was sitting on enough evidence to throw the book at this aide to Senator Murkowski, including evidence presented to the 2009 Grand Jury and his own 2009 admission, for which he would later serve time in federal jail.

This is but a sampling of what you can expect to read about the Fuglvog Scandal and how it was integral to the catch share push from NOAA, a story essentially and potentially affecting tens of thousands of lives in fishing communities around the country ⎯ and the 2010 Senatorial campaign in Alaska.

It is a complicated story, one that any one of the national outlets could have explored had their budgets not been slashed, their reporters demoralised, and their editors cowered, as Sharyl Attkisson has recently shown in Stone Walled (2014).

Instead, except for a few right wing web sites, and one thorough story by Libby Casey in Alaska,  the story got buried. A few reporters had their FOIAs delayed or incompletely answered and then they were on to hotter topics. After all, Mitch McConnell’s gal won the Senate Race.
Page 18

Absent a vigilant press, I hope to unwind more of this story if NOAA produces more information requested under the FOIA and the Federal Court System. Stay tuned.
This material is copyrighted @ 2015 by Alan Stein. None of it may be reproduced in any form, in or on any platform or publication without permission which can be obtained by contacting this web site.

P.S. NOAA has still not released over 13,000 pages of the investigative files I requested years ago and to which I am entitled to under the FOIA. NOAA has turned over some interviews of witnesses, a few of which will be published for the first time on these pages.

 

Seafood Harvesters of America “National Outreach Days,” in Washington D.C.

Florida Fishermen Urge Congress to Protect America’s Fisheries, Consumer Access and Thousands of American Jobs

Washington, DC — Members of the Seafood Harvesters of America will be in our Nation’s capital next week as part of the organization’s “National Outreach Days,” urging Congress to uphold the landmark Magnuson Stevens Act (MSA) and protect fishing jobs from Massachusetts to Texas and from California to Alaska. Read the rest here

On April 28th the Seafood Harvesters of America will converge on our elected representatives to stay the course on a broken Magnuson Stevens Act. The Seafood Harvesters of America are aligned with the likes of the Pew Charitable Trust, EDF, and the Nature Conservancy.

So. As this group makes the rounds to derail the changes in MSA that are needed for many fisheries in many coastal community’s, the other side of the issue, and the need for change, begins below.

When Doc Hastings held hearings to discuss reauthorizing MSA, the environmental groups referred to it as the “Empty Oceans Act.” Doc Hastings and Don Young have done a good job of listening to some of the fishing communities that are being dismantled by incompetent and agenda-driven management.

Recently, Alaska Rep Don Young introduced House Resolution 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, in this article, My Turn: Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization moves forward.

In an effort to ensure a proper balance between the biological needs of our fish stocks and the economic needs of our fishermen and coastal communities, I have introduced legislation with a number of regional cosponsors to reauthorize and strengthen the MSA. House Resolution 1335, the Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act, provides a number of modest but necessary reforms, including efforts to: provide fisheries managers with increased flexibility and transparency; allow for improved data collection through the use of electronic monitoring; increase accountability for our federal agencies; and create predictability and certainty for coastal communities that depend on stable fishing. Read the article here

The Congressman’s article was rebutted by Stosh Anderson,  a fisherman from Kodiak and former North Pacific Fishery Management Council member, who thinks MSA is only applicable to Alaska fishery management! He wrote an opinion piece in the Alaska Dispatch titled Don Young seeks to unwind ‘Alaska Model’ for fisheries in Magnuson-Stevens Act  Read the article here  Don Young answered back. Don Young: Stosh Anderson misrepresents Magnuson-Stevens reauthorization Read the article here

Dick Grachek commented at Fisherynation.com on Andersons article, and lays out what HR 1335, “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act”, does for the nation’s fishing communities.

“Under Young’s bill, annual catch limits, set to keep fish stocks healthy for the long run, would no longer be necessary for managers. Reasonable timelines put in place to replenish depleted fisheries could also be loosened or open-ended, delaying economic and recreational opportunities that come from healthy stocks.” (Stosh Anderson)

“Reasonable timelines”? How about arbitrary and baseless?

Even Jane Lubchenco, NOAA Fisheries Director admitted in a congressional hearing that there was no scientific basis for the rigid rebuilding timelines in the 2006 Reauthorization of Magnuson Act. Jane Lubchenco was one of the authors of the infamous “Oceans of Abundance” http://www.edf.org/sites/defau… (this was an eco-political leaflet and primer sponsored by and filled with NGO lobbyist talking points aimed at the signers of the 2006 reauthorization)

And “flexibility” and “transparency” as stated in the House Proposals does not mean the elimination or undermining the necessity of “catch limits based on science”.

East Coast fishing communities have been devastated by the legislated rigidity in the timelines for rebuilding historically varying fish populations, coupled with the imposition of catch shares in 2010 (in violation of the existing MSA Reauthorization Act 2006, MSA 303A (D) NEW ENGLAND AND GULF REFERENDUM and National Standard 5). This House Bill remedies some of those inequities.

The proposals for flexibility, transparency, predictability, fishermen representation, and taking into account the environmental and socio-economic aspects of fishery management in this current reauthorization bill before Congress are long overdue. And actually most of these current reauthorization proposals are simply reinforcing and making more specific several existing—but mostly ignored by management—MSA Standards relating to “setting catch limits based on science” and insuring that it’s the “best available science” through utilizing cooperative surveys and assessments from “other sources” (National Standard 2). Current proposals also reinforce the National Standards 1, 4, and 8, which account for the survival of the fishing communities. http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa20…

The current House Bill proposals clearly do not reverse or “gut” any of the basic fish replenishing tenets of the Magnuson Stevens Act.

From the House Natural Resources Committee website: http://naturalresources.house….

“The draft proposal, while maintaining the key themes of the Act, would make the following improvements: – Provide flexibility for fishery managers when rebuilding depleted fisheries – Provide flexibility for fishery managers when setting annual catch levels – Provide more transparency for fishermen and others in both science and management – Provide more predictability and stability for fishermen and fishery-dependent communities – Allow fishery managers to take the economic impact of their decisions into account when setting harvest levels and developing rebuilding plans – Allow fishery managers to take environmental conditions into account when establishing harvest levels and developing rebuilding plans – Allow fishermen in regions where catch share programs have been controversial to have a say in whether a new catch share program will be implemented and to be provided better information when considering such a program – Provide a schedule for obtaining better fishery dependent and fishery independent data especially for data poor fisheries and provide greater protection for confidential information submitted to regulatory agencies – Authorize appropriations for an additional five fiscal years at current funding level”

Visit http://naturalresources.house…. to learn more. Or https://www.govtrack.us/congre…

Jessica Hathaway Editor in Chief of National Fisherman: A Five Year Failure.

Catch share programs have been heralded in all corners of the country, first by NGOs and second by some of the fleet owners, fishermen and processors to whom they have brought success.

The counterbalance to those claims of success are of course the thousands of voices of fishermen and many more thousands of supporting small businesses put out of work as a result of catch share programs. But even worse, at least one catch share program was implemented with such haste that it may actually be damaging the ecosystem it was prescribed to save.Enter: New England groundfish. In a press release yesterday, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance Community Organizer Brett Tolley stated, “In the five years since the catch share policy was implemented in New England, fishing rights have dramatically consolidated, community based fishermen have less access to fishing quota, and pressure on inshore fishing areas has increased.” 

Flexibility in Magnuson is the only way to give some New England and Southern fisheries a whisper of hope. The fishermen in these regions need legislation to push their councils to take a holistic look at fishing communities and ecosystems. How can we refuse to offer a helping hand to fellow fishermen?  Read the rest here

MSA doesn’t only affect fishermen, it affects the supporting industry infrastructure, and consolidation of the nations fishing fleet means closures of those businesses.

Industry Infrastructure – Allied fishing businesses critical to seafood industry survival

When consumers enjoy a seafood dinner caught by local boats, it isn’t just the fisherman they need to thank for the pleasure.

Dozens of family-owned allied area businesses play a vital role in the local fishing industry, supplying a wide variety of goods and services that keep fishing afloat, ranging from gear and fuel to food, fresh water and ice.

Retired fisherman James Kendall, owner of New Bedford Seafood Consulting, underscores the importance of these allied businesses to all sectors of the commercial seafood industry. Often family-owned, these operations, he notes, have been forced to become “very adaptive” to meet the changing and frequently diminishing needs of the fishing industry brought about by the reduction in fishing trips allowed by the federal government.

“The fishing industry is not only the boats of the fishermen,” she (Angela Sanfilippo) said, noting that the infrastructure on land, which includes the wharves where fishing boats dock, ship chandleries that sell supplies, repair facilities, seafood auction houses, and the truck drivers who transport fresh fish to market all play a key role in maintaining the area’s commercial fishing industry. Read the rest here

If you read this article between 4/28/2015, and 4/30/2015, the Seafood Harvesters of America, (click here) a special interest group, will be lobbying our representatives that you may have voted for, in Washington D.C. to maintain the current, broken Magnuson Stevens Act.

They are not there to fix it.

 

NOAA Fisheries Names Doug Lipton Senior Research Economist – Nice! Another Enviro-Capitalist—just what we need.

February 2, 2013

Read the full story on the NOAA website   Since NOAA pretty much finished off most New England fishing based on disgracefully shoddy science at the Portsmouth council meeting last week, it appears that people are waking up and wondering what’s behind all of this obvious hostility towards the fishing industry.  How could our own government be so hell-bent on eliminating traditional coastal family fishing operations that have supplied millions of pounds of the cleanest food on the planet for over 400 years?

Why do we seem to be up against not only the Commerce Dept. (which is really about international trade), but apparently the Dept. of Interior (Minerals Management Service: Wind, Oil/Gas and Metals) and the Energy Dept., as well (you didn’t think the Way-Too-Bigelow was really built for fish surveys did you? Try deep ocean exploration for rare-earth metals and other minerals like oil and gas).

Why is this happening?  Who are the Enviro-Capitalists? How did they come to power? (And if you don’t think they’re in power, listen to the directives from Conservation Law Foundation and Environmental Defense Fund representatives at the Portsmouth meeting’s public comments regarding Habitat Closed Areas.)

THE WHY

Let’s face it, there are trillions of dollars right off of our shores.  Some of it is swimming around, feeding and spawning; but most of the potential profit is either in energy buried way beneath the sea floor; or some of the money is “Blowin’ in The Wind”; and some might be from harnessing the motion of the ocean from the “Cradle Endlessly Rocking” (wave energy capture).

Regardless of our poetic connections to the sea, big business wants our oceans. They want the oil, gas, and other minerals, the wind and wave energy; some might even want the fish…but only on an industrial scale, please.

Such a business strategy is laid out nicely in the below linked presentation by the World Bank Fisheries Team Leader at a 2009 conference.  It makes the case for an economic justification of fisheries governance reform.

Microsoft PowerPoint – Kelleher Sunken Billions for WWF1.pps

Economic justification (or Profit Motive) is exactly the moving force behind the catch shares scheme and the fishing eliminating posture of the regulators.  (You didn’t think CLF’s and Pew’s lawyers were really worried about the health of our fish did you?)

But here’s their challenge: how does big business and their “partner” government agencies such as NOAA and their ENGO corporate fronts, such as Environmental Defense Fund and Conservation Law Foundation, Pew, Oceana, etc., get rid of a centuries old small boat fishing tradition and secure the right to take over the continental shelf without looking like all-consuming BLOBS?

They need a strategy to deal with all these pesky “little people” who are littering the beach and fishing from their scows along the coast—squatters and itinerants, part timers, addicts and alcoholics all, according to EDF’s David Festa, Vice Pres. of Finance (in his pitch selling catch shares to Milken Institute investors).

THE HOW: BY SAVING THE OCEANS

If you want to own something first declare it a disaster, then save it, and then drastically alter it—make it your own creation.   Name a villain.  Strike a pose.  Save the day.  Claim the spoils.  Get rich quick.

The first step was an ecological disaster had to be created or at least simulated in order to open the door for “sweeping management regime change” and the imposition of drastic measures to save the fish resource—a “day of reckoning”, so to speak.

NOAA and her partner Ecological Non-Government Organizations claimed the fish and the ocean habitat were in dire straits (after twenty years of austerity “rebuilding”).

“Well, at the global scale, probably the one thing currently having the most impact is overfishing and destructive fishing gear,” said Jane Lubchenco, former vice chair of EDF and now former head of NOAA, as she compressed into a sound bite her stance on facing the ocean’s problems.

     Lubchenco’s statement listing fishing as the primary ocean stressor, while omitting any mention of oil drilling, took place only months before the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.  Through the expansive and very well funded (remember the oil profits are over $40 billion per year) ENGO public relations campaigns during the last few decades, small boat fishermen have been made out to be the villains; while certain oil and financial industry driven environmental organizations, are set up as the heroes …“saving our seas”.  They have accomplished a complete role reversal.

Corporate backed NGO’s have, at this point, successfully diverted public attention from the all too real and crucial ecological threats to our oceans, namely, increasing ocean water temperature and acidity, polluted estuaries, disappearing wetlands, and oil and gas drilling and transportation catastrophes.

They’ve commandeered the public’s well-intentioned concern (and donations) and their sincere alarm for the environment and have managed to turn it against local fishermen, effectively painting the coastal small boat fishing industry as a cause célèbre, the perpetrators of the degradation of the oceans.

But who then will save our oceans?

Enter: THE ENVIRO-CAPITALISTS

With a hefty public relations spin, corporate money and influence will operate under the cover of free-market environmentalism saving the oceans (while they rob you blind), or Enviro-Capitalists: Doing Good While Doing Well the title of the “path-breaking” book (just ask him) by Senior Associate Donald Leal and co-author Terry Anderson president of PERC “The Center for Free-Market Environmentalism” www.perc.org.  This site is worth looking into as an indication of the level of “thinking” that goes on in this kind of enviro-“Think-Tank”.  It’s nothing new; it’s only NOAA/EDF/Wall Street, et al, on their commoditize everything campaign.  It’s the “free market environmentalism movement” or the Enviro Capitalists: Doing Good While Doing Well.

That title itself tells the story.  The mechanism behind this econo-scam is the private ownership of the shares of a natural resource.  Catch shares fisheries management, for example, is an extension of this faulty de-regulated free-market theory of economists such as those in the Milton Friedman school of privatization-is-the-answer, which in this case goes by the name of Free Market Environmentalism.  This is the approach of ownership equals responsibility, or render a commodity profitable enough and somehow the good nature of the owners and the “intelligence” of market capitalization will automatically stabilize and sustain that resource or industry.  The economic incentive will be a force that improves the resource and the environment.  For a natural resource such as a fishery this thinking is based on the following principles:

       – Private property rights encourage stewardship of resources

       – Market incentives spur individuals to improve environmental quality

       – Government controls and subsidies often degrade the environment

       – Polluters should be liable for the harm they cause to others

This idea is a farce.  If you believe this con, I’ve got a gorgeous Gulf of Mexico I’d like to sell ya’ (in as is condition).  Market capital dynamics are based on very short term profit, very very short term these days, with computer generated trading, millions of trades can be made instantaneously, and some $3.2 Trillion of world market capital changes hands every trading day.  This is not exactly the environment where the long term stability of a resource would be considered.  One only has to look at our esteemed multi-national corporations’ environmental record so far in order to understand why the phrase “Free Market Environmentalism” is a contradiction of terms.

The PERC “institute” was started years ago, a front for usurping publicly held natural resources for private capital fun and profit. Information can be found at www.perc.org , Property and Environment Research Center, a “think tank” located in Bozeman, Montana, which proclaims itself as having …“championed the successful approach [ITQ’s] to eliminating overfishing (see www.ifqsforfisheries.org).”

On the bio page of Terry L. Anderson www.perc.org, Exec Dir of PERC, an economist, see his publications including one of my favorites: Saving wild tigers could mean eating them (move over Monty Python). In this piece of ecological brilliance he proposes that we should farm and eat tigers in order to assure their existence since they are one of the more endangered species (I wonder how much you’d have to pay the wranglers on such a ranch).  He also thinks everyone should have an oil well and natural gas fracking in their back yard …literally.  It’s only patriotic …the least we can do, and “…the only way to get off foreign oil”.  And don’t miss his Should Water be Privatized? Yes —a must read.  This is the kind of “thinking” that is influencing our national policy on resources, including our fish?

Read Donald R. Leal’s, PERC’s Dir of Research (an MS in Statistics which more than qualifies him to write treatises on the fisheries) Fencing the Fishery: A Primer on Ending the Race for Fish, this is a cute little PERC booklet (from 2002) and a glossary of almost all the bogus ITQ talking points.  Donald works “…in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Foundation and Reason Foundation” —surprise, surprise.
These are your environmental capitalists.

SAME OL’ SAME OL’

Therefore, I am not encouraged when I read from NOAA’s announcement flyer that the new Senior Research Economist, “Dr. Lipton, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Maryland”, and “…he has been instrumental in developing innovative policies that use economic incentives to drive environmental improvements”.
Read the full story on the NOAA website

From Dr. Lipton’s statement, “I am excited and honored to be appointed NOAA’s first Senior Research Economist” and reading further from the NOAA announcement “…who also noted that economics and social science research are fundamental to maintaining a vital economy and a healthy ecosystem.” (Underlines are mine)

“Supporting the well-being of our coastal communities is one of this agency’s priority missions”,
Dr. Richard Merrick said, NOAA Fisheries Chief Science Advisor, when introducing his new research economist.  Really?  Supporting the well-being of our coastal communities?

“More generally, I will build on our already outstanding economic and social science research program, and to ensure that research results are used to inform our policies”, said Lipton.  “…our already outstanding economic and social research program”?
This after NOAA just put hundreds of New England fishing families out of business and out of their homes?

We have an Enviro-Capitalist at the helm of NOAA Fisheries Socio-Economic Research?  Looks like more of the same Catch Shares and Aquaculture Plan—“to end overfishing”.

Unlike Doctor Lipton, I do not feel so “excited and honored” about his appointment.

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One important element of RFM is “catch shares”

I’ve identified a webpage at the “Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation” that is evidence of how the NGO’s used the UN and their own puppets at NOAA/NMFS, to push through their catch shares scam.

See how they explain a couple of tools that were designed for this initiative: Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) and Reforming Fisheries Management (RFM). They also mention that they funded the first Step by Step Guide to MSP, published by UNESCO in 2009. I’ve found a copy if this guide, and I hope to be reporting further on it in the near future.  The Moore Foundation partnered with the David & Lucile Packard Foundation on this UN guide.

Catch shares are an “important” part of this MSP strategy. Here is the Moore/Packard/UN checklist for reasons that you might be interested in MSP:

Checklist for defining the usefulness of this guide to MSP