Weekly Highlights - January 22, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- A special agent was notified that a respondent paid a penalty for sexual harassment of an observer. The harassment occurred on a vessel in the Bering Sea. The case initially went to hearing where an ALJ ruled in favor of the respondent. The judgment was appealed by the government and a new penalty of $12,500 was issued.
- A special agent provided enforcement training to a group of new observers. In addition, refresher training was provided to a group of prior observers.
- An enforcement officer issued four separate Summary Settlements to four Canadian dealers who had v-notch lobsters in a shipment inspected at the Calais, Maine, Port of Entry. In total, the fines amounted to $6,200 for a collective 30 lobsters.
- An enforcement officer issued a $2,000 Summary Settlement to a New Jersey commercial fishing vessel owner and captain for knowingly fishing without an operational Vessel Monitoring System.
- An enforcement officer provided compliance assistance to a vessel for failure to report Bluefin fin tuna. The vessel reported issues with the iPhone reporting application not working properly.
- Enforcement officers and special agents conducted a Border Operation at the Calais, Maine, Port of Entry. NOAA-OLE worked in conjunction with Customs and Border Protection, Maine Marine Patrol, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, and U.S. Coast Guard assets to log approximately 270 hours and inspect 29 shipments during the course of the operation. NOAA-OLE issued seven Summary Settlements and one Notice of Violation and Assessment. The total Summary Settlement amount was $19,500. Eight additional violations were addressed through compliance assistance.
- Enforcement officers conducted compliance assistance for a U.S. purse seine vessel that was in need of a replacement VMS unit. After technicians installed the unit, the enforcement officers checked to ensure the location data was transmitting properly prior to the vessel’s next fishing trip. Thus, ensuring no violations of SPTT, WCPFC and/or U.S. fishing regulations.
Pacific Islands Division
- An enforcement officer reviewed and submitted 2 JEA case packages resulting in summary settlements totaling $550. The case packages consisted of an undersized scamp grouper and out of season gray triggerfish.
- Enforcement officers in American Samoa conducted a patrol of the Western side of Tutuila Island and Fagatele Bay, a unit of American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary. The officers reported the state of disrepair of the steps and signage leading to Fagatele Bay to Sanctuary staff. No violations were found.
- An enforcement officer conducted a red snapper patrol with FWC from Tarpon Springs South to Sarasota, FL. During the patrol, a federally permitted reef fish vessel operator was found in possession of reef fish that were not in whole condition. The case was referred to FWC.
- A special agent issued a $2,000 summary settlement to a Miami seafood importer that failed to meet the
CCLMR timeline requirements for pre-approval of a toothfish import to the United States. The container, which also contained swordfish, was placed on a temporarily investigative hold, while verification of the contents was confirmed. Such import of toothfish requires that a pre-approval application be sent in by the importer 10 days prior to the arrival of the product.
- An enforcement officer and lieutenant met with commercial fishermen in Charleston regarding a snowy grouper overage discovered during an offload the previous day. A $500 summary settlement offer was served to the operator and owner.
West Coast Division
- Enforcement officers and special agents conducted numerous dockside inspections. No violations were noted.
- A Supervisory Enforcement Officer met with the Washington State Police Communications Office to discuss development of radio dispatch service Memorandums of Agreement.