Weekly Highlights - February 26, 2021
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
An EO investigated a NJ JEA referral and issued a $500 summary settlement to a commercial scallop fishing vessel for failing to complete a FVTR prior to entering port and landing scallops. The Operator was also issued compliance assistance for operating the vessel on an expired NMFS operator permit.
An SA provided compliance assistance to an individual related to importation of a SIMP species. The requestor wished to travel via private jet to Mexico where he planned to charter fish and return to the US with personal consumption quantities of Mahi caught during the charter trip. The SA researched personal use/recreationally caught Mahi importation against NOAA regulations and de-conflicted with CBP to ensure all applicable laws and regulations were provided to the requestor during a follow up call.
A Corpus Christi SA initiated an investigation into activity surrounding the stranding of a dead pygmy sperm whale on Padre Island National Seashore. A photo comparison and analysis is being conducted to determine the possible cause of post stranding mutilation of the lower jaw and other injuries to the carcass.
A Special Agent and Enforcement Officers spoke with the captain of a fishing vessel concerning VMS transmissions not being received. The captain stated a new unit was installed and the problem was found to be with the VMS registration. The vessel captain was given a statement form for retaining sablefish.
An investigation was concluded into the potential violation of the MMPA by an individual who posted an Instagram video of himself in close proximity to elephant seals at the San Simeon, CA State Beach. The subject stated he was unaware that what he had done was illegal and that as soon as he received the first message from the special agent he removed the video from his Instagram page. The SA explained the prohibitions of the MMPA, and told him that he should use his platform, as a social media influencer, to educate his followers about the importance of giving marine mammals their space. The subject, who has over 2.5 million followers on Instagram, said that he would. This investigation was concluded with compliance assistance.