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Noaa Takes Steps To Assure Fair And Effective Enforcement, Protect Resources
Underwatertimes.com News Service
March 23, 2010 18:55 EST

Dr. Jane Lubchenco, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco today outlined specific steps the agency has taken and will take to assure that NOAA has an effective and fair enforcement program to protect fisheries and other marine resources that sustain the jobs and economic vibrancy of America’s coastal communities, in response to a January review of the Commerce Department Inspector General.

The review of NOAA’s law enforcement program was requested by Dr. Lubchenco soon after she was named to head NOAA in 2009.

“We said in February we would take action, and that’s exactly what we’ve done," said Dr. Lubchenco. “The steps we’ve taken, along with those we’ll implement as we move forward, will go a long way toward protecting our nation’s marine resources through the enforcement of fair, well understood, and effective regulations.”

NOAA’s law enforcement program is made up of more than 200 agents and attorneys responsible for ensuring compliance with more than 35 statutes designed to conserve and protect our nation’s marine resources and their habitat. The program has jurisdiction over three million square miles of open ocean, more than 85,000 miles of U.S. coastline, the nation’s 13 national marine sanctuaries, and its marine national monuments. Fair and effective enforcement to protect fish stocks, marine mammals and the marine environment is essential to strong coastal communities with sustainable economies.

The report details several actions already taken by NOAA, including:

The report also outlines a number of specific actions that the agency intends to take, including:

“Under my leadership, I am confident these measures will produce a more effective enforcement system to protect our nation’s marine resources for all of us who rely on the many benefits of a healthy marine environment,” said Dr. Lubchenco. “I encourage commercial and recreational fishermen and others who rely on healthy marine resources to work with us to achieve this goal.”

Dr. Lubchenco’s report to the Inspector General is available online. The report’s appendices are available online.