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Wednesday
Jan262011

Obama Reels In Salmon Regulation as Inefficient

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Atop President Obama's list of targets for a proposed overhaul of federal bureaucracy is the trio of agencies that has a hand in regulating the country's salmon catch.

"The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in freshwater, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked," Obama said of his "favorite example" of government inefficiency during Tuesday's State of the Union address.

The president said he was developing a plan to "merge, consolidate and reorganize" the government to make America more competitive. He did not specify how the oversight of salmon fisheries might be streamlined.

Regulatory and wildlife experts said Wednesday that while the current arrangement might seem complicated or messy, the system serves a vital purpose and works just fine. Changing it, they said, wouldn't necessarily save money, and could cost taxpayers, at least in the short term.

As for fishermen themselves, they say government oversight by multiple agencies at different steps in the production line hasn't posed a problem -- and a change on paper wouldn't have a substantive effect on business.

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