10/25/2012 - "A draft rule proposed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may limit public access to fisheries data collected by independent observers on fishing vessels. The agency cites protection of confidential personal and business information as the reason, but some scientists and advocates fear that such a rule will limit their ability to examine and evaluate fisheries data for research purposes.
'Our view is that they’ve gone way beyond what’s necessary to implement the confidentiality requirement,' said Lee Crockett, the director of the Pew Environment Group’s United States fisheries campaign. 'We think they should go back to the drawing board.'
Each year, NOAA spends around $40 million to finance data collection by independent observers aboard fishing vessels. They gather information on what species are caught, where they are caught and what kind of gear the vessels use. They also record information about unintentional bycatch like sea turtles, endangered sharks and bluefin tuna."
"The Pew Environment Group, along with 60 governmental, environmental and journalistic groups, have issued a joint letter urging NOAA Fisheries to reconsider the proposal. They argue that the new rule would run counter to the Obama administration’s transparency in government memorandum and NOAA’s scientific integrity policy."
Read the full article, Fisheries Rule Could Limit Scientific Access to Data, on The New York Times website.