USA Today writer fired after highlighting bycatch, eco-damage by Alaska trawlers

"The most solid and verifiable thing is that the pelagic trawlers' impacts on the ocean floor story was delayed for about 5 weeks." He complained. He was fired.

by | May 30, 2024

Filed Under Bycatch | Congress | Management | NPFMC | Trawl

Files whistleblower complaint after 5 week delay on “impacts on the ocean floor story” and abrupt firing

Juneau-based USA Today writer Lucas Wright was terminated yesterday “without explanation, and nothing indicated I lacked in performance. It’s fishy,” he wrote in a message to Alaskafish.news.

USA Today is owned by Gannett, which owns 217 dailies and 175 weekly newspapers throughout the US.

Wright wrote several articles in May that revealed unflattering findings about trawl impacts to fishery resources and the ocean ecosystems in the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska.

On May 16, 2024: Alaska lawmakers don’t include tribal seats on Seafood Task Force after intense debate

On May 20, 2024: Alaska’s declining crab population due to trawlers catches attention of lawmaker

On May 23, 2024: Alaska Congresswoman introduces bills to protect fish, ocean ecology from trawlers

On May 29, 2024: Alaska trawler bill garners industry reaction, most Alaskans support banning them: poll

In an update today, Lucas Wright told Alaskafish.news: “I’m in the middle of a whistleblower complaint. I don’t know how much I can prove. I’m just doing it on principal, but the most solid and verifiable thing is that the pelagic trawlers’ impacts on the ocean floor story was delayed for about five weeks. I was complaining about that three days before I was fired with no stated reason. I feel it is a journalist’s duty to protect the news process and free speech.”

Alaska Fish News has reached out to USA Today asking about Lucas Wright’s termination.

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About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.

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