Weekly Highlights - January 29, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- An enforcement officer initiated an investigation involving a family illegally subsistence halibut fishing. State violations will be forwarded to local Alaska Wildlife Troopers.
- A special agent provided enforcement training to a group of new observers. In addition, refresher tAn enforcement officer issued a $1,000 summary settlement to the operator of a fishing vessel for transiting within three nautical miles of a Steller sea lion rookery.
- An enforcement officer conducted a 10-day patrol on board a State of Alaska patrol vessel. During the patrol, he helped serve two grand jury subpoenas, boarded six vessels, and inspected one processing plant. No Federal violations were found.
- John Bell was arraigned in the Eastern District of Massachusetts. Bell pleaded not guilty to one count of
conspiracy, seven counts of the Lacey Act and three counts of smuggling. Bell was released on a $20,000 bond at his arraignment appearance in Massachusetts. Bell is alleged to have smuggled whale teeth from Ukraine to the United States for resale from October 2004 to November 2007. On December 24, 2017, Bell was taken into custody by the US Marshall Service at JFK airport in New York after he was deported from Russia.
- A Massachusetts District Court Judge sentenced John Cafiero to a term of 36 months probation for his admitted role in the unlawful taking and subsequent at sea transfer of twenty Bluefin tuna. The Judge further ordered that Cafiero shall not be engaged with any commercial fishing activity for the first twelve months of probation. Cafiero is a long line vessel captain who previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy and Lacey Act charges.
- A special agent worked with CBP and the USFWS in the detection and detention of MMPA products being imported into the United States. Two imports of whale bone were detected and detained from passengers entering the U.S. at Boston’s Logan Airport, and another import of seal oil pills was detected and detained from a DHL shipment facility.
Pacific Islands Division
- An enforcement officer and special agent conducted protected species sea patrols within the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary off the Island of Maui. During these patrols, the EO and SA made contact with multiple recreational boaters, kayakers, paddle boarders, and commercial tour boats and briefed them on Humpback Whale approach regulations.
- Enforcement officers alongside the Guam Customs Marine Interdiction Task Force Unit (JEA partner) conducted a Port State Measures investigation of a foreign longline-fishing vessel and monitored fish offloading operations. No violations were noted.
- An enforcement officer conducted a joint patrol with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. No violations
were observed, and future joint patrols are being planned.
- An enforcement officer conducted a land patrol and observed the offload of a bottom longline
vessel. The vessel was given compliance assistance for not having a turtle safe release placard in the helm which the enforcement officer was able to provide. The vessel offloaded approximately 7,800 pounds of swordfish and tuna with no other violations were observed.
- An enforcement officer boarded a swordfish longline vessel and monitored its offload. Gear, fish, and permits were checked with no violations were observed.
West Coast Division
- An Enforcement Officer and an Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Sergeant responded to a report of an entangled/injured seal in a public area. Upon arrival to the location, an entangled Northern Fur Seal was located with line wrapped tightly around its neck and upper chest area. The tightness of the line cut through the flesh of the animal around the circumference of its neck. An Oregon coast marine mammal rescue organization requested efforts to capture the animal and deliver it to a marine mammal rehab
center. Arrangements to have a dog crate brought to the location resulted in the successful capture of the animal with no injury to it or the officers involved. The seal went to the appropriate rescue coordinator for transfer to the rehab center and treatment. Once it was safe to do so, the seal was returned to the ocean.
- Following the response to the above marine mammal stranding the Enforcement Officer, who was riding in a state partner vehicle, responded to a mutual aid call for service following a report of shots fired at a person in a nearby residence. The EO joined officers from state, county, and local offices in an enforcement plan to arrest the subject. The officers came upon the subject, suspected to have an AK-type weapon up a steep hill in a tactical position of advantage, and immediately took cover. A county deputy talked the subject down. The EO placed the subject in cuffs and turned over to the county deputy without incident. A use of force report has been filed.