U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., took to the Senate floor Friday to decry what he termed “a broken agency within our federal government.”
Brown discussed a 2011 U.S. Inspector General report that found the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had used money collected from fines paid by fishermen to purchase a more than $300,000 luxury boat.
“It would be bad enough if they had purchased this boat with taxpayer dollars. But they didn’t. They paid for it with money that should belong to our struggling fishermen,” Brown said during his floor speech. “They paid for it out of the fines that fishermen pay into the pot when they mistakenly catch the wrong kind of fish. Those dollars are supposed to stay in fishing communities to help the fishermen.”
Currently, the fines collected for violations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act go into NOAA’s Asset Forfeiture Fund. The Magnuson-Stevens Act is the primary law governing marine fisheries management in federal waters.
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This story first ran in the Springfield Republican on February 17, 2012.