Fisheries Management: Alleged Misconduct of Members and Staff of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In recent years, several Hawaii-based conservation advocacy organizations and others have raised a variety of concerns about the conduct of members and staff of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Western Pacific Council) related to lobbying and conflicts of interest, among other things. The Western Pacific Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The council is responsible for developing management plans for fisheries in federal waters off Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. May 20, 2009.

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In recent years, several Hawaii-based conservation advocacy organizations and others have raised a variety of concerns about the conduct of members and staff of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Western Pacific Council) related to lobbying and conflicts of interest, among other things. The Western Pacific Council is one of eight regional fishery management councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The council is responsible for developing management plans for fisheries in federal waters off Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and other U.S. Pacific islands. The council has 13 voting members--including 5 designated state and federal fishery managers and 8 members of the public with expertise in commercial and recreational fishing and marine conservation who are appointed by the Secretary of Commerce. The council employs an executive director with a staff of 13 to assist in the performance of its functions. An attorney from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency within the Department of Commerce, advises the council on regulatory and procedural matters and attends all council meetings. The Western Pacific Council currently finances all of its operations with grants from the Department of Commerce. As a federal grant recipient, the council is subject to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requirements, such as OMB Circular A-122. Among other things, these requirements prohibit the use of federal funds to engage in certain lobbying activities at both the federal and state level. However, they do not prohibit the council from using federal funds to provide technical and factual presentations to federal and state legislators when asked to do so. Public council members are exempt from federal criminal conflict of interest law regarding participation in matters affecting their financial interests when they make decisions on council matters as long as they are in compliance with the financial disclosure and recusal requirements set out in the Magnuson-Stevens Act and its implementing regulations. Council members may not vote on matters that would have a "significant and predictable effect" on the financial interests they are required to disclose, but they may participate in deliberations on such matters if they recuse themselves and identify the interest that would be affected. These requirements help fulfill one of the purposes of the act, which is to encourage the participation of a wide range of stakeholders--including those with commercial fishing interests--in developing fishery management plans."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • May 20, 2009

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Fisheries Management: Alleged Misconduct of Members and Staff of the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council, text, May 20, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc297807/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.