There seems to be some obvious and serious ethical and legal implications relative to the planning, control, and implementation of the Headboat Pilot EFP Program.
Here is a cut and paste of the Waiver of Data Confidentiality associated with the Headboat Pilot EFP Program;
Waiver of Data Confidentiality
"Pursuant to section 402(b)(1)(F) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1881a(b)(1)(F), this waiver serves as my written authorization for the disclosure of confidential Southeast Headboat Survey 2011 landings data used by NOAA Fisheries Service to determine the portions of the catch limits for gag grouper and red snapper reserved for use by the Gulf Headboat Cooperative under Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) Number 13-SERO-01. Additionally, this waiver serves as written authorization for the disclosure of my EFP landings data and intra-cooperative transfers provided to NOAA Fisheries Service during January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2015. Confidential 2011 landings, EFP landings, and intra-cooperative transfers described above shall only be disclosed to the Gulf Headboat Cooperative manager, all vessel owners operating under the EFP, Dr. Joshua Abbott (Arizona State University), Mr. Daniel Willard (Environmental Defense Fund), and legal counsel to any of the foregoing.
WHY IS EDF (AND THEIR ATTORNEYS) INCLUDED IN THIS AGREEMENT? ARE THEY PART OF THE GOVERNMENT? WHY AREN'T OTHER STAKEHOLDERS, SUCH AS RFA, CCA, OR FRA GIVEN THIS SAME EXCLUSIVE ACCESS? HIGHLY, HIGHLY UNETHICAL AND IMPROPER.
There was an investigation into what happened with the Sector Separation Workshop back in the fall of 2010 that was supposedly being put on by the Gulf Council but was found out to be designed, orchestrated, and controlled by The Environmental defense Fund. EDF's Whitney Tome attempted to subvert Florida's sunshine laws by trying to prevent people (somewhat successfully) from recording/videoing the dog and pony show. The OIG investigation concluded that the head of the Gulf Council Dr. Bortone had not "intentionally" broken any laws, but there were certainly serious ethical lapses in his judgement of allowing EDF to control what was SUPPOSED
to be, and presented as, a Gulf Council function. Bortone was ordered to take remedial ethics training, but he apparently decided to resign instead, from what I understand. The result of the investigation was supposed to have corrected these ethical issues, but apparently they are alive and well in the NMFS St. Pete offices.
Not only are they doing the exact same thing by giving EDF preferential treatment while simultaneously excluding other stakeholder organizations such as RFA, CCA, and FRA, they are in the midst of an ongoing lawsuit brought forth by this same EDF to force implementation of EDF's Plan.
Disgusting - why will not someone step up and fight this? Where are our Congressmen and state leaders on this?
This is a copy of the codes of conduct that federal employees must follow and was the basis for the complaint filed against Bortone relative to his involvement with the Sector Separation Workshop Scam - specifically item "h";
Part I-Principles of Ethical Conduct
Section 101. Principles of Ethical Conduct. To ensure that every citizen can have complete confidence in the integrity of the Federal Government, each Federal employee shall respect and adhere to the fundamental principles of ethical service as implemented in regulations promulgated under sections 201 and 301 of this order:
a.Public service is a public trust, requiring employees to place loyalty to the Constitution, the laws, and ethical principles above private gain.
b.Employees shall not hold financial interests that conflict with the conscientious performance of duty.
c.Employees shall not engage in financial transactions using nonpublic Government information or allow the improper use of such information to further any private interest.
d.An employee shall not, except pursuant to such reasonable exceptions as are provided by regulation, solicit or accept any gift or other item of monetary value from any person or entity seeking official action from, doing business with, or conducting activities regulated by the employee's agency, or whose interests may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the employee's duties.
e.Employees shall put forth honest effort in the performance of their duties.
f.Employees shall make no unauthorized commitments or promises of any kind purporting to bind the Government.
g.Employees shall not use public office for private gain.
h.Employees shall act impartially and not give preferential treatment to any private organization or individual.
i.Employees shall protect and conserve Federal property and shall not use it for other than authorized activities.
j.Employees shall not engage in outside employment or activities, including seeking or negotiating for employment, that conflict with official Government duties and responsibilities.
k.Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities.
l.Employees shall satisfy in good faith their obligations as citizens, including all just financial obligations, especially those such as Federal, State, or local taxes that are imposed by law.
m.Employees shall adhere to all laws and regulations that provide equal opportunity for all Americans regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.
n.Employees shall endeavor to avoid any actions creating the appearance that they are violating the law or the ethical standards promulgated pursuant to this order.
The Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch (pdf, 85 pages) are available on the Office of Government Ethics (OGE) web site.
IT LOOKS AS THOUGH THERE IS THE NEED FOR ANOTHER INVESTIGATION BY THE OIG (OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL) AND HOPEFULLY BY CONGRESS' GAO (GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE). THE NMFS AND NOAA FISHERIES, FOR ALL OF THEIR BELLOWING AND BELLYACHING ABOUT "ACCOUNTABILITY" RELATIVE TO OUR FISHERIES, THEY THEMSELVES ARE IN DIRE NEED OF ACCOUNTABILITY FOR THEIR OWN UNETHICAL AND PROBABLY ILLEGAL ACTIONS.
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH OF THESE CLOWNS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS CHARADE BEING PERPETRATED UPON ALL OF US.
Here is the link to file your complaint against this corruption and mismanagement that is putting our fisheries future at risk - they already know who the players are, as they have already addressed these very same issues relative the Sector Separation Workshop in Tampa back in November of 2010 - it's just that certain members of the NMFS and Gulf Council refuse to adhere to the findings of the investigation already performed, and they need to be held accountable for their unethical and probably illegal actions;