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Brandon will probally move this or delete it since he only likes posts that are against waterman on the main board, but its interesting none the less, maybe he will keep it up for a while to teach people that not all waterman are being fairly accused..

The U.S. Commerce Secretary has ordered his agency to return almost $650,000 from 11 cases against commercial fishermen in the Northeast involving "excessive" fines and "selective enforcement" that were levied against them by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Law Enforcement.

In February, CBS News reported on complaints from Northeast fishermen that they had been subject to overly aggressive law enforcement. The Commerce Department appointed an independent judge to conduct a review of 30 cases against the fishermen.

"For too long, our fishermen have been the victims of intimidation and enormous penalties" said Senator John Kerry (D-MA) in response to the report, "Now unfair fines are being refunded and now the reality of what happened has been publicly exposed which may be just as important."
According to the report released today, the independent judge, Charles Swartwood, found fishing regulations to be "complex, complicated, constantly changing, and in some cases, contradictory."

In his report, Swartwood said he also found a "siege mentality throughout the fishing industry" where fishermen feel they are treated as "criminals".

Swartwood noted that fishermen are "paranoid" about violating a regulation because they could end up paying a "coerced amount" or run the risk of losing in the appeals process "which could force the fisherman out of business".

In a memo today Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said the cases where Swartwood found fault with NOAA showed "a lack of supervision, oversight and standards in the work of NOAA law enforcement."

Today Senator Kerry and other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation called for NOAA to take action against the staff who were responsible. However, Locke stopped short of calling for any disciplinary action against NOAA employees. Locke pointed to a series of regulatory reforms that have been made since the complaints first came to his attention.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31727_162-20063735-10391695.html#ixzz1MrEMmHK2
 

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Can you point out the part where these guys were not guilty? Swartwood's claim to fame is being an arbritrator. Swartwood said he found the regulations to complex, complicated, constantly changing and in some cases, contradictory. Can't that be said about many areas of law. Swartwood reviewed 30 cases and found fault with 11. He never said they were not guilty. After that the politicians who called for the reviewand hand picked the Judge took over. Do a little research on Gary Locke and it won't be hard to figure out he sided with the other politicians. I am not anti-comm, but you should have found a better case to support your point.
 

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I can say with high confidence, based on personal experience, that coercion is a tool regularly used by federal law enforcement to force settlements that the evidence does not support. The risk of going to trial is too great (or too expensive) for the targets, and too many agencies/prosecutors leverage this fact. I disagree with many of these tactics and will continue to fight against them. So, I do not have a hard time believing that this type of behavior occured in these instances.

That said, this corrective action is an unusual step (I think). This also does not change my perception that many types of commercial fishing conitnue to follow an unsustainable trajectory, have a poor record of adhering to even the simple, clear regulations, and are dominated by interests who are their own worst enemy.
 
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