Fisheries commission grants transparency request
A multi-state fisheries management commission has granted the request of Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) to implement changes to improve transparency in their operating procedures, including to provide an Internet stream of the commission’s quarterly meetings.
In response to a letter sent July 27 by Jones, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission agreed this week to broadcast the Commission’s quarterly meetings live over the internet starting in February 2013, as well as a commitment to increase the use of roll-call votes during ASMFC deliberations.
“Government decision-making should be open and transparent,” Jones said in a statement. “ASMFC has conducted its business in a way that unfortunately falls short of that principle.”
The commission is composed of representatives from Maine to Florida, totaling 15 states, and coordinates management and conservation of fisheries along the Atlantic coastline.
According to the statement, when he requested the changes last month, Jones pointed out that while regulatory agencies across the country routinely broadcast their meetings over the Internet, the ASMFC currently does not.
“In this day and age it doesn’t make sense not to broadcast meetings over the Internet, or not to take roll call votes on important matters,” Jones said. “Fishermen regulated by the Commission, as well as the general public who pays the Commission’s bills, have a right to be able to keep easy tabs on what’s going on.”
He also noted while it is standard practice for public institutions ranging from local school boards to the U.S. Congress to release roll call votes, the Commission’s record on roll call voting left much to be desired.
“On behalf of the eastern North Carolina fishermen I am privileged to represent, I am pleased to see the AMFC adopt some of the common sense reforms that I proposed,” Jones said.
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