Group claims fishery meeting decisions void

The Western and Central Pacific Network, a Honolulu-based group which monitors the efficiency in ocean resource management, claims decisions made during two days of the four-day Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council meetings are null and void because the public was not given proper notice about the meetings.

The Wespac meetings were held in Honolulu June 16 to June 19.

According to the Federal Register, no notice was given for last Tuesday’s meeting and two agendas were listed for the March 18 meeting.

One of the affected decisions made by the Wespac council related to bottomfishing in Hawai‘i.

“It gives us no pleasure to again call this error to Wespac’s attention because this will require all interested parties to once again attend or monitor yet another meeting on yet another day during yet another month while our fish stocks move ever closer to total collapse,” Scott Foster, communications director for the network, said in a press release.

On Wednesday, the council voted to extend the closure of the 2008 Main Hawaiian Islands bottomfishery from Sept. 1 to Nov. 15.

“I don’t know how this is going to affect the bottomfishing decision,” Tina Owens of the Lost Fish Coalition said.

In March, Wespac failed to provide public notice for their meetings held in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The decisions made there had to be reheard and voted upon during a makeup meeting in Honolulu in April.

“Wespac will have to do what they did after they botched the public notice of the last Wespac meeting and schedule a re-do,” Foster said.

The Western and Central Pacific Network is a coalition of organizations such as The Ocean Conservancy and the Hawai‘i Boating and Fishing Association, who originally banded together to support the creation of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands Monument. The network has now morphed into an organization that monitors regulations in ocean resource management.

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