State lawmakers and Attorney General Martha Coakley pledged yesterday to continue putting pressure on the federal government to revise catch share limits imposed on the fishing industry, and give fishermen relief from the severe fines levied by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Coakley said yesterday morning that the regulations are “taking the ability of people to make a fair living away.’’ The attorney general said she is demanding more transparency from the agency.
Coakley recently filed a request with the Department of Commerce. the department that oversees NOAA, for documentation on how it investigates enforcement of regulations and disciplines those involved. She also said she wants the federal government to reimburse the legal fees of fishermen who were unfairly penalized, as well as provide restitution for lost business costs incurred due to “overzealous enforcement.’’
State officials doubt NOAA’s ability to fairly enforce the regulations, Coakley said. Accusations of targeted, unfair prosecutions of Massachusetts fishermen by NOAA have been raised for years, she said.
State Representative Christopher Markey, Democrat of Dartmouth and cochairman of the subcommittee, said it is not right that the agency acts as the investigator, the prosecutor, and the judge in these cases.