Weekly Highlights - August 6, 2018

Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.

Alaska Division

  •  An Enforcement Officer boarded a luxury yacht to ensure compliance with the North Pacific Halibut Act. The vessel is used to transport and house fishermen at remote sites. An offload of sport-caught halibut was inspected and no violations noted.
  • A Lieutenant and an Enforcement Officer traveled to Haines to staff the OLE booth at the Southeast Alaska State fair. They answered questions about federal fisheries, MMPA and ESA regulations, as well as NOAA OLE‘s mission.

  • An Enforcement Officer conducted a dockside boarding of a vessel engaged in subsistence halibut fishing. A Subsistence Halibut Angler Registration Certificate (SHARC) was verified and information regarding subsistence fishing was discussed. Proper measuring techniques were discussed and a large halibut on board was measured with the fisherman present.

Northeast Division

  • A Special Agent received a NOAA Enforcement Hotline complaint concerning a video online which showed a commercial fisherman having a live great white shark on the deck of his boat followed by the fisherman releasing the shark alive back to the water. Two Agents viewed the video which was on the local news and both determined this was a lawful release.
  • An Enforcement Officer conducted patrol focused on lobster vessels. Two vessels were issued compliance assistance on VTR requirements.
  • An Enforcement Officer attended a Massachusetts based emergency vehicle event. Tours of a NOAA patrol vehicle were given and an Officer provided outreach on safe marine mammal viewing and confiscated items.

Pacific Islands Division

  • An Enforcement Officer in American Samoa conducted a PSMA boarding of a Taiwanese flagged longline fishing vessel. Fishing logs, RFMO authorization paperwork, transshipment documents, and compliance with WCPFC CMM’s were investigated. No violations were found during the investigation.
  • An Enforcement Officer in American Samoa conducted a boarding of a U.S. Flagged Purse Seine fishing vessel that was conducting an offload at the Am Samoa tuna processer. Fishing logs, FAD locations, RFMO authorization paperwork, gear, EEZ authorization permits, and compliance with CMM’s were investigated. No violations were found during the time of this boarding.

Southeast Division

  • In conjunction with a NOAA gear specialist and TPW Officers, an OLE Special Agent provided compliance assistance to seven reef fish headboats. Education on proper sea turtle mitigation gear was provided along with discussions on general regulations.
  • A Special Agent worked with a commercial fisherman who is targeting unregulated species to ensure he is in compliance with any applicable federal regulations.
  • An Enforcement Officer monitored an IFQ offload of a commercial fishing vessel in Stock Island, FL and observed subjects loading the fish inside a freezer truck without accurately weighing the product. The Officer provided compliance assistance to the owner, captain, and buyer of the proper process of transporting the product along with the rules and regulations of the IFQ program. 

West Coast Division

  • An Enforcement Officer received a complaint from the USCG regarding their detention of several individuals observed harassing a whale in the San Diego Bay. The Enforcement Officer investigated the complaint and discovered one of the subjects intentionally made contact with the whale. The enforcement officer issued a summary settlement for the violation.
  • An Enforcement Officer received a complaint from NOAA OLE VMS Technicians that a fishing vessel out of the Long Beach harbor was not transmitting a VMS signal. Evidence suggested the vessel was used to fish for groundfish and they had knowledge the VMS system was not transmitting. The investigation also revealed the fishing vessel owner/operator continued fishing with an improper VMS code declaration after instructions to correct it. The enforcement officer issued two summary settlements for the violations.
  • An Enforcement Officer conducted eight boardings associated with the Area 2A commercial halibut derby in Winchester Bay and Charleston, OR. The boardings focused on proper documentation and IPHC permit class, ensuring all fish were minimum length requirements, overages and VMS requirements associated with other groundfish species onboard. No violations were noted.