Feb 17 2011

American Fishermen Caught in Net of Regulations

NOAA Fined One Fisherman $19,000 for Catching About 20 Extra Codfish

By Armen Keteyian

(CBSNews)

For 37 years the waters off the coast of Mass. were a way of life for fishermen Bill Lee. Then, without warning – it all changed.

“NOAA took a career that I enjoyed and put me out of business,” Lee said. “And laughed all the way to the bank.”

NOAA is short for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – the federal agency that oversees the $3.9 billion dollar fishing industry.

CBS News chief investigative correspondent Armen Keteyian reports in 2009 NOAA fined Lee $19,000 for catching about 20 extra codfish – nearly three years after he caught them. A fine, he says, that destroyed his one-man operation.

“They just took it away,” Lee said.

Now dozens of New England fishermen charge their livelihood is at risk. Sinking under the weight of 700 pages of confusing federal regulations.

Read the rest of the story here.

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