Weekly Highlights - August 13, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- Several Enforcement Officers conducted a 7-day patrol from Homer to Seward and Cordova on board the P/V CAPE ELIZABETH. During this patrol, there were 29 at-sea boarding’s, five commercial processing plants inspected, and three community outreach events. The boarding’s resulted in five federal violations and two state violations. The patrol covered 950 nautical miles resulting in 56.32 underway hours.
After receiving numerous complaints concerning vessels getting to close to humpback whales, a Supervisory Enforcement Officer conducted a vessel patrol near Juneau. No violations were found.
- A Special Agent provided compliance assistance to a fisherman concerned about traveling to Canada to purchase herring for bait. The Agent coordinated with the U.S. Border Patrol concerning the U.S. vessel re-entry procedure.
- The Investigative Support Manager is working with the surfclam industry and National VMS Manager to develop a proposed solution that would provide adequate monitoring and enforcement of designated exemption areas for clam dredge vessels within the Great South Channel Habitat Management Area.
- A Special Agent completed an investigation of an observer refusal complaint. A vessel operator received a selection letter that required the vessel to carry an observer for six days. That operator carried the observer during a 5-day trip. A different operator was assigned to the vessel on the next trip and was not aware of the 6-day observer requirement. The observer program was notified of the closure due to lack of evidence and it was suggested that selection letters be submitted to the vessel owner in order to ensure they are enforceable.
Pacific Islands Division
- The PID Deputy Special Agent in Charge and a Special Agent attended the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) Environmental Law Symposium at University of Hawaii’s William Richardson School of Law where they met with jurisdictional partners from CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, and U.S. Virgin Islands. The symposium allowed the USCRTF and the attending island committees to hear Hawaii’s approach to strengthening their environmental laws and the enforcement of their coral reefs. The Hawaii delegation also put forward that they were willing to assist the other island committees in bolstering their environmental laws and enforcement initiatives of their own reefs. Panel discussions by the Territorial partners included enforcement challenges they all face, workforce shortages, lack of attorneys, and funding. The Territorial partners also shared how funding from OLE through the JEAs had helped with some of their monetary shortfalls.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted underway TED patrols with a USCG cutter and documented several violations. One shrimp vessel was found with a TED exceeding the maximum grid angle and with a 5-inch bar spacing. Another shrimp vessel was found with a TED failing to meet the minimum requirements of the leading edge. A third shrimp vessel was found with violations on all four TED’s consisting of the leading edge failing to meet the minimum requirements and the TED flap exceeded the maximum requirements. Summary Settlement offers will be issued to all three vessels owners/operator.
- Several sworn personnel conducted the inaugural patrol aboard one of the division’s new metal shark patrol vessels in federal waters off St. Petersburg, FL. Enforcement Officers boarded multiple vessels and documented seven violations which included failure to possess fin-fish intact, failure to possess turtle mitigation gear, possession of 20 red grouper in excess of the bag limit, and possession of 26 undersized red and scamp grouper.
- An Enforcement Officer received several calls from charter captains pertaining to the upcoming red snapper season. In response to the inquiries, the Officer provided regulations and outreach materials to the captains.
West Coast Division
- An Enforcement Officer conducted several boardings and offload inspections. No violations were noted.