Wespac has for years resisted releasing information, fighting public records requests, lawsuits and even congressional inquiries.
In American Samoa, some locals say the Wespac fisheries fund projects have been a waste of money. They have more hope for a marina expansion currently in the works.
A federal fisheries oversight council has stymied inquiries by congressmen, journalists and others over the past few years.
U.S. Rep. Ed Case used the first hearing on proposed reforms of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to ask where NOAA’s oversight has been in the alleged mismanagement of an obscure fisheries fund.
A bill being heard Tuesday to update the Magnuson-Stevens Act would take away Wespac’s control of the money and add new layers of oversight.
Federal investigators questioned one out of every $6 the regional fishery council spent over the past decade and documented inappropriate procurement practices.
The move by the inspector general comes after a Civil Beat investigation and request from four congressmen.
A lack of adequate response from NOAA and Wespac have only raised more questions about how the money is managed.
Federal fishery managers recommended significantly increasing the amount of ahi that the fleet can catch.
Fishery council members have repeatedly shown that they cannot be trusted to govern themselves.
Articles overlooked “the many successes” the council has had in balancing the complexities of environmental stewardship and commercial use.