Weekly Highlights - August 20, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- A Special Agent and Enforcement Officer completed a 5-day, 1,063-mile, vessel patrol in Southeast Alaska. During the trip, they followed-up on four investigations, completed 35 vessel boarding’s, initiated 17 new cases (state and federal), seized chunked halibut from two sport-fishing vessels, seized an illegal sized charter halibut, seized a subsistence halibut skate that had too many hooks, and seized a subsistence halibut that was being used for bait in a crab pot. In addition, one charter operator was found to be chartering without a permit and logbook, several operators had issues with charter logbooks, an IFQ vessel failed to mark all longline buoys and failed to complete the IPHC logbook, and one vessel was in possession of sport and subsistence halibut onboard the same vessel. Several state violations will be forwarded to the Alaska Wildlife Troopers.
An Enforcement Officer issued a $1,000 summary settlement to a guide for retaining a halibut and for failing to log a client’s fishing license number in their log book.
An Enforcement Officer issued a $4,325 summary settlement to a vessel operator for a halibut overage.
- As part of a focused compliance effort with GARFO, an investigative support team sent notices to several groundfish sector vessels with a reminder about hail reporting requirements.
- Two Enforcement Officers boarded a New Jersey charter fishing vessel and identified that the operator did not possess a NOAA Operator permit as required. The operator has been issued compliance assistance.
- An Enforcement Officer issued compliance assistance in an observer refusal incident where a vessel had an expired hydrostatic release.
Pacific Islands Division
- A Special Agent completed an investigation and subsequently closed the incident under compliance assistance after a video was posted on Facebook depicting a male juvenile touching and riding a Green Sea Turtle underwater while spearfishing off the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The person who posted the video recently moved to Hawaii and his younger brother/subject was out visiting from Texas. Compliance assistance was provided about ESA regulations and the video was immediately removed from the social media website.
- An Enforcement Officer completed investigations of violations detected during previous at-sea patrols out of Freeport, Texas with the United States Coast Guard. The EO issued a $275 summary settlement offer to a recreational angler for an undersized cobia, a $3,000 summary settlement offer to the captain of a charter vessel harvesting reef fish in federal waters without a federal Gulf of Mexico charter permit, and a $100 summary settlement to the captain of a shrimp boat for a TED violation.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted an at-sea TED patrol with a USCG cutter. A shrimp vessel was found to be in violation of TED regulations. The gear had flaps sewn down the sides exceeding the maximum distance allowed. The Officer issued a $200 summary settlement offer.
- An Enforcement Officer received a complaint that anglers aboard a federal charter vessel harvested ten red snapper after the season closure. The Officer interviewed the captain who took responsibility and provided a written statement. The Officer issued a $1,000 summary settlement offer.
West Coast Division
- An Enforcement Officer interviewed the operator of a commercial squid vessel who closed a purse seine net over the top of two sea lions. The operator later lowered the corks to release the sea lions while retrieving the net. During the interview, the operator stated he was unaware of the 48-hour reporting requirement for marine mammal take. The officer provided compliance assistance to the operator.
- Two Enforcement Officers conducted three patrols in the San Juan Islands, WA, in support of an operational plan to safeguard Southern Resident Killer Whales. The officers contacted recreational and commercial whale watching vessels prior to approaching the orcas to provide compliance assistance. No violations observed during the patrols.
- An Enforcement Officer monitored two offloads of commercial halibut boats. The Officer inspected the vessels to determine size limits of fish, logbooks properly completed, and the appropriate IPHC permit was on board the vessel. One vessel operator caught and retained halibut in excess of the established quota established for the size of their vessel. The other operator exceeded both halibut and rockfish quotas. The Officer issued summary settlements in the amounts of $294 and $858.