A lawsuit seeking basic government documents has been filed in Federal District Court against the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WESPAC), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) by the Conservation Council for Hawaii, KAHEA The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance (KAHEA), and the LOST FISH Coalition (collectively referred to as "plaintiffs").More here.
The lawsuit was filed to gain access to documents requested by the plaintiffs in a November 14, 2007, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted to WESPAC seeking basic budget, grant, and contract information. Tina Owens from the LOST FISH Coalition said, "In addition to shedding light on the long-hidden and most basic internal operations of this controversial federal entity, the documents may also shed light on how WESPAC funds may have been used in what appears to be various lobbying campaigns to influence state and federal legislative and executive branch decisions related to marine conservation in Western Pacific waters."
Miwa Tamanaha, KAHEA Executive Director noted, "Wise, sound, community-based management requires accountability and transparency. If there is nothing improper, then there should be nothing to hide. With the situation of our ocean resources so imperiled, it is ridiculous that citizen groups should have go to these lengths to get basic information about use of our public dollars."
Friday, January 23, 2009
Hawaii-based federal fishery council refuses to comply with FOIA
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council has refused to turn over requested files concerning its budget, grants and contracts. Citizen groups, concerned about overfishing and other conservation issues, have sued the WESPAC as well as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Department of Commerce for not flexing their oversight muscles to help the plaintiffs obtain the documents.