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Something fishy in proposed rule changes?

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A proposed rule change from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Fisheries Service would restrict the public's access to data about how ocean fish are managed and what impact that has on wildlife.

This rule change would restrict access to information from publicly-funded fisheries observer programs, which are funded to the tune of some $40 million each year. That information helps the public analyze how ocean fishing is being regulated by the federal government and what impacts the activity is having on the ocean ecosystem.

The proposal undermines public participation, the Pew Environment Group points out in a fact sheet on the topic. The rule changes would also set a poor precedent for integrity and transparency in federal policy.

The Pew Environment Group has sent out a call to action for those concerned about the proposed changes to ask NOAA to withdraw its proposal. The public comment period runs through Oct. 21.