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Feds To Reverse Course, Allow Fishermen To Appeal Penalties

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(AP Photo/Lynn Dombek)

(AP Photo/Lynn Dombek)

BOSTON (AP) — The U.S. commerce secretary has reversed course and will allow more fisherman accused of violations to have their cases reviewed for fairness by a special investigator.

According to people familiar with the decision who weren’t authorized to speak ahead of the official announcement, Gary Locke has also agreed to let the investigator freeze pending penalties against fishermen.

Locke had denied both requests in January. He recently met with Sen. John Kerry, who last week requested the concessions that Locke is granting.

A report last year on the U.S. fishery law enforcement office found mismanagement, and Locke appointed a retired judge to review several possibly unfair penalties.

Fishermen then asked for more time to make additional complaints, saying they were initially hesitant to do so in a
system they considered biased.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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