Weekly Highlights - February 12, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- An enforcement officer conducted harbor checks and plant walkthroughs. The salmon sorting process was observed, handling and reporting methods were discussed with workers. Inspection observations were compared to what was reported the following day with no discrepancies noted.
- VMS technicians and a special agent contacted several boats that were experiencing VMS transmission problems. Several units resumed working prior to contact. Severe weather and icing are believed to have contributed to the problems. The non-transmissions were flagged by a database built by Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Assistance was provided as necessary.
- An enforcement officer conducted a dockside boarding of a New Jersey commercial fishing vessel and identified an overage of black sea bass. The vessel operator was provided compliance assistance for maintaining an inaccurate fishing vessel trip report. The incident was referred to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
- An enforcement officer worked with officers from the Delaware state partner to serve a $500 summary settlement on a charter boat operator for fishing for black sea bass in federal waters without the proper permit.
- Enforcement officers boarded a Spanish flagged purse seine vessel landing in American Samoa. No violations detected.
Pacific Islands Division
- An enforcement officer responded to a citizen request to identify a supposed deceased Hawaiian monk seal on the beach. The enforcement officer arrived on scene and found a badly decomposed carcass of an animal. The officer forwarded photos to a NOAA biologist, who forwarded the photo to several other marine mammal biologists. While waiting for an official opinion, the officer moved some of the sand and was able to identify the carcass as a pig.
Two enforcement officers completed the fourth week of Protected Species sea patrols within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary off the Islands of Maui, Lanai, and Kaho’olawe. While patrolling open waters in between Molokini and Maui, officers observed and retrieved two large masses of derelict fishing gear floating on the surface, mitigating the possibility of whale entanglement. While towing one of the derelict fishing gear masses to Ma’alaea Harbor, the crew encountered a fast-moving weather system that included thunder, lightning, heavy rain, hail, and water spouts. After about 30 minutes, the weather passed and the team made safe harbor.
Throughout the week, officers contacted multiple recreational boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders, and commercial tour boats regarding humpback whale approach regulations.
- An enforcement officer spoke with a hotline complainant reference a Facebook conversation about turtle meat and sea turtle eggs possibly being taken. After review of the conversation, it appeared to be about trying to find fresh water turtle meat and only a joke about sea turtle eggs. The officer will continue to monitor the post and speak with the person who mentions the sea turtle eggs.
- An enforcement officer conducted a patrol of commercial fishing docks. During the patrol, the offload of a commercial shrimp trawler and a snapper/grouper commercial boat were monitored. The officer provided compliance assistance to the snapper/grouper vessel for not having a sea turtle safe release placard posted. The officer provided new placards.
- An enforcement officer conducted a joint offshore patrol with Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation officers. During the patrol, a commercial shrimp trawler was observed fishing in state waters. A boarding revealed the vessel did not have any Florida state or federal permits. All four turtle excluder devices on the vessel were examined and in compliance. Several recreational snapper/grouper vessels were also checked, with compliance assistance given to one vessel for fishing for snapper/grouper north of the 28-degree Latitude line without using non-stainless steel circle hooks.
West Coast Division
- An enforcement officer responded to a report from a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police Sergeant who received information of a harbor seal suspected of being shot and disposed of in a weighted bag south of Seattle, Washington. The officer determined the “bullet holes” were the ear indentations and the animal had been placed in a bag by the Stranding Network to identify that it had received notification of the dead animal.