25 Mar 2008

Fishery email problem cancels Hawaii meeting outcome

2:09 pm on 25 March 2008

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council says it's miffed that an email oversight has made its latest vote to prohibit purse seine fishing in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands invalid.

The council is based in Hawaii and covers all the US Pacific island territories, and administers their Exclusive Economic Zones or EEZs.

The council voted to prohibit purse seine fishing in the exclusive economic zone of the CNMI, but the U.S. Federal Register says it didn't know about the meeting, so it needs to be held again.

The council's Paul Dalzell says they followed proper procedure to hold a meeting, and unfortunately it looks like they'll have to do it again.

"So now we're having a lot of back and forth about whether the decisions can be still legally valid or whether we have to just have another council meeting - probably held by teleconference, to confirm the voting record that we just took. We feel pretty miffed about it as we did all the right things, but someone else dropped the ball."

The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council's Paul Dalzell.