NOAA shielding key legal document – “That information is attorney-client privileged!” Ciaran Clayton, NOAA’s director of communications

The legal document underpinning the decision of NOAA’s regional administrator against easing the 77 percent cod limit cuts seen as a death knell for the industry starting May 1 will not be shared with the public, the agency has advised the Times. According to NOAA officials, the office of NOAA General Counsel Lois Schiffer submitted a legal brief to Gloucester-based Northeast Regional Administrator John Bullard last month that gave the legal reasoning behind his decision against allowing the Northeast groundfishery, declared a disaster in September by the acting commerce secretary, to be allowed a second year of interim emergency relief from extreme cutbacks in Gulf of Maine cod. Read more