Grantees at Civil Beat in Hawaii obtained thousands of pages of records and emails showing that officials at the federal panel overseeing fishing in the Pacific Ocean have worked to protect commercial fishing interests instead of protecting the environment. A seven-part special project by deputy editor Nathan Eagle looks at the political activism of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (Wespac), a federal panel that sets fisheries policies governing 1.5 million square miles of the Western Pacific Ocean. In addition to thousands of pages of records, the team analyzed 10 years of expenses to track how the agency has spent millions of dollars in public money. What emerges is a picture of an agency and its leader who have worked to make sure the commercial fishing industry can keep operating at the highest level possible, even as stocks struggle and some species are in danger of extinction.
Series Uncovers Federal Fishing Panel Pushing Commercial Interests Ahead of Environmental Protection and Other Interests – The Fund for Investigative Journalism