NOAA Seeks Input on Enforcement Priorities

Follow-on from summit seeks solutions for achieving compliance, consistency, transparency

August 6, 2010

Fishermen, stakeholders, and the general public still have two weeks to comment on NOAA's enforcement priorities and the agency’s National Enforcement Summit held in Washington earlier this week, through the summit’s website.

Materials from the one day facilitated summit, including a fully captioned recording of the summit’s webcast are now online at the summit website -- http://noaaenforcementsummit2010.ecr.gov -- along with all agency and stakeholder presentations.

NOAA is seeking additional input from interested stakeholders and the public by providing an opportunity for them to respond to the same questions asked of summit participants, and requesting feedback on the effectiveness of the webcast and design of the summit. Comments will be open for the next two weeks, closing on August 20.

“We cannot meet our nation’s economic, social, and environmental needs without a strong, trusted, enforcement program,” Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator, told summit participants. “Effective enforcement – in addition to state-of-the-art science and innovative management programs – is essential to ensuring sustainable fisheries, healthy populations of marine mammals and endangered species, vibrant coastal communities and stable economies.”

More than 80 representatives of the commercial and recreational fishing industries, non-governmental organizations, state and federal enforcement agencies, and NOAA came together Tuesday, August 3 in Washington, D.C., to focus on how NOAA can better ensure effective marine resource management and conservation through consistent and transparent enforcement.

Dr. Lubchenco called for the summit as part of her response to the Jan. 21 Inspector General’s report on NOAA’s past enforcement policies and practices. The one-day event included presentations on achieving compliance; consistency, transparency and communications; and establishing a process to set enforcement priorities.

A summary of the summit and the comments received will be posted within the next month. NOAA will look toward incorporating and implementing some of the more universal recommendations made at the summit, as well as taking a hard look at the creative and fresh ideas that emerged.

NOAA retained a neutral third party, the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (Udall Institute), to facilitate the summit and compile the recommendations from participants into the aforementioned pending summary.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/usnoaagov.