NOAA Rule Would Restrict Access to Fisheries Data
"Every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) spends about $40 million to put independent observers on fishing vessels, where they collect data on what's caught in U.S. waters. The information is crucial for evaluating how well fishery management plans are working. Now NOAA wants to limit public access to these data in order to protect confidential business information....
In a comment to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Rebecca Lewison of San Diego State University in California noted that 'NMFS' mandate is to protect resources held in trust for the public. Public access to fisheries data allows for independent assessments that fisheries management decisions are consistent with this mandate. Preventing non-government scientists access to observer data or only providing grossly aggregated data will undermine public trust in NMFS. It will also limit the application of best-available science to US fisheries management.'
NMFS Director Samuel Rauch declined an interview request through a spokesperson."