Weekly Highlights - August 14, 2017
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- A special agent flew on a Coast Guard C-130 patrol in the Bering Sea. A vessel was found not transmitting VMS. After contact with the vessel, the VMS transmissions resumed.
- An enforcement officer boarded a recreational fishing vessel and found mutilated halibut. The halibut was seized and a summary settlement was issued to the owner/operator of the vessel for the violation.
- An enforcement officer investigated a report of a female trespassing on a Northern fur seal rookery in the Pribilof Islands. The woman was photographed disturbing 5-10 fur
seals, even though the area was marked with multiple signs notifying the public of the closed area. The enforcement officer was able to identify the subject, contact her, and issue a summary settlement as well as a written warning for
trespassing and harassment. This was her first offense.
- An enforcement officer completed a 14-day joint patrol with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers onboard the P/V Enforcer. 1,251 nautical miles were patrolled contacting 404 individuals during 140 vessel boardings. Additionally, 112 individual pieces of gear were inspected. These actions resulted in the issuance of 29 citations and 40 warnings/compliance assistance for both state and federal violations. Common violations encountered were over the limit of halibut, possession of sport-caught halibut with commercial fish, failure to log sport fish as required, and possession of undersized king salmon. Additionally, during the patrol, the P/V Enforcer rescued two occupants of a sport fishing vessel stranded by gale force winds on Eastern Prince of Wales Island.
- An EO conducted a boat patrol with an NJ JEA officer and Two EOs conducted patrols in Ocean City, MD and provided compliance assistance to dozens of fishermen participating in the White Marlin Open. EOs answered questions about regulations and distributed HMS outreach material.
- An EO and Maryland JEA partners patrolled offshore of the Delmarva Peninsula. The patrol was focused on scallop and HMS fishing.
- An EO provided compliance assistance to an HMS dealer for late reporting. The dealer has had previous reporting issues, which resulted in an overage of the BFT quota. The dealer is now submitting their reports on time.
Pacific Islands Division
- An Enforcement Officer and Special Agent in American Samoa conducted a port state measures boarding of a New Zealand flagged purse seine vessel. Fishing logs, authorizations, and gear were examined. The vessel is the only purse seine vessel for New Zealand currently operating in the WCPFC region. The offload of 869 metric tons of Skipjack Tuna was monitored.
- An Enforcement Officer boarded a Hawaii Longline Fishing Vessel at Pier 38 in Honolulu, Hawaii. During the boarding, the officer inspected the vessel permits, logbooks, fishing gear, turtle mitigation gear, and fish hold. The officer found faded vessel buoys and markings. Compliance assistance was done for the violations and no other action was taken.
- While on patrol, an Enforcement Officer noticed two Hawaii Longline Fishing Vessels with faded buoys at Pier 17 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The officer conducted compliance assistance to both of the longline fishing vessels. No other action was taken.
- A special agent issued the following:
- $1,000 joint and several summary settlement for possession of two yellowfin tuna without a valid HMS angling permit and Written Warning for failure to maintain fish intact (dolphin fillets from the Bahamas)
- $750 joint and several summary settlement for possession of one prohibited red snapper and failure to maintain fish intact (eight red snapper fillets)
- $650 summary settlement issued for possession of three prohibited red snapper
- $500 joint and several summary settlement for operating a charter without a valid South Atlantic charter/headboat permit for snapper-grouper.
- A special agent assisted a NOAA Fisheries gear specialist from the Beaufort lab regarding the Oculina Bank marine protected area. The NMFS gear specialist was contacted by a rock shrimper captain who planned to fish off of Cape Canaveral and needed coordinates for the marine protected area. The agent provided the coordinates and applicable regulations for the area.
- An enforcement officer responded to a complaint from HMS about a tournament director that failed to register multiple HMS tournaments in Key Largo and Islamorada. Registration forms and outreach materials were provided and future tournaments will be registered according to HMS regulations.
- An enforcement officer provided turtle excluder device training to 33 recruits at the Florida Fish and Wildlife basic academy in Havana, FL.
West Coast Division
- A joint investigation with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife of the owner/operator of a Seattle fish buyer/wholesaler was prosecuted in King County Superior Court. OLE Agents assisted WDFW SIU Detectives with search warrants and interviews of the subject for numerous violations of state laws as well as some violations of federal laws. It was ultimately decided the case was a better state case and was prosecuted by the state. The subject went to a jury trial and was found guilty of three of the four counts on which he was indicted. Sentencing is set for October 13, 2017.