Congressman John Tierney released the following statement in response to the Secretary of Commerce's newly released review of the Swartwood II report. The full report is expected later today.
"This Swartwood II report from the Commerce Department is much too long overdue. While I am disappointed that it has been on the Secretary's desk for the last seven months, I expect that this report will be another important piece to understanding the full scope of NOAA's enforcement abuses and hopefully helping to right previous wrongs. It is evident that Special Master Swartwood and his two counsel invested considerable attention and expertise in reviewing the many individual cases and that service should be appreciated. Whether the findings and actions are believed fair and appropriate by members of the fishing community and the individuals whose cases were reviewed will no doubt depend on a much more detailed review of the whole report," Congressman Tierney said.
Following serious charges that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Office of Law Enforcement and Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation had engaged in inappropriate and abusive prosecutorial conduct against fishermen, this report is the culmination of Special Master Charles Swartwood's investigation into 63 specific cases. We continue to await the Inspector General's ongoing review of the administrative rule-making process, and will, of course, continue to monitor the effectiveness of NOAA's changes concerning the General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation and Office of Law Enforcement with the expectation that going forward the relationship between NOAA and the community can be much improved.