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To Protect and Serve: NOAA Enforcement Gives Back to Military Families

June 24, 2024

NOAA Law Enforcement officers spent a day on the water teaching veterans, active duty members, and their families about safe and legal fishing practices.

NOAA Enforcement Officers and children holding a crevalle jack NOAA Enforcement Officers and children with a crevalle jack, NOAA Fisheries

For federal employees, opportunities to give back to the community are a welcome addition to a normal day's work. Two officers from NOAA’s Law Enforcement got to do just that at a recent fishing clinic held in Galveston, Texas. The National Park Trust partnered with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, NOAA Fisheries, and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries to hold a fishing clinic. It provided military service members and their families access to a day of recreational fishing out of Galveston Bay.

Many of our enforcement officers are veterans themselves, and this was a great way to interact with fellow military families. More than 50 active duty members, veterans, and family members started their day off at a local marina. Some traveled from as far as Fort Bliss (El Paso) and Fort Sam Houston (San Antonio). Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary staff taught them about the sanctuary, its marine life, and how they can do their part in protecting our natural resources. Upon shoving off on the local charter, the group heard a safety briefing and precautions to adhere to local fishing regulations. Our officers worked with Texas Parks and Wildlife to secure individual fishing license exemptions for all participants, which are needed in some states when going on a charter trip. 

Our officers talked about the importance of conserving marine resources by catching fish when they are in season and adhering to size and bag limits. They helped kids and their family members bait hooks while providing tips on how to safely and legally catch fish. Enforcement Officer Zach Salinas, one of the officers fishing and a Navy veteran himself, stressed the need to be up to speed on current fishing regulations and how they can change depending on your location. He showed kids his gear, handed out challenge coins, and provided hiring tips to veterans asking about employment with NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement. “Having an opportunity to interact with the public, let alone military families, is an enjoyable aspect of my job,” said Salinas. “We want people to have a fun day on the water and also to do so legally.” 

Our officers took the time to provide tips on how best to take fish off the gear safely, release other bycatch, and use a dehooking device. One of the highlights of the day was when a young fisherman hooked a crevalle jack. When the trip ended, all participants received fishing gear. They also left with a better understanding of how to have a fun and responsible day of fishing. 

Last updated by Office of Law Enforcement on July 01, 2024