Weekly Highlights - July 30, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- A Special Agent met with a new processing plant manager. The previous plant manager was recently promoted and, since taking over, the new plant manager has worked to improve the issues left by his predecessor. A summary settlement was planned to be issued if there were new complaints after March. Since no new complaints have been received, and since the new manager has been working with NOAA Fisheries to ensure compliance, the case was closed through compliance assistance and outreach.
A Special Agent made arrangements to meet with fleet managers and vessel representatives for processing plants. The purpose of these meetings is to provide an overview of what types of violations OLE is seeing in the management program the company fishes under, as well as compliance concerns on the specific vessels owned by each company. Observer related violations are also a topic of discussion; specifically regarding sexual harassment/assault and rape, intimidation, interference/sample biasing, and a hostile work environment. The meetings will also explore how to improve communications and how to resolve issues when they occur. Anecdotally, previous meetings with other companies have been successful in reducing some violations.
- A Supervisory Enforcement Officer (Lieutenant) and Enforcement Officer conducted patrols in Ocean City, MD, and Chincoteague, VA, focused on HMS fishing activity. Vessels boarded were provided HMS compliance guides. One vessel boarded was in violation of permit regulation and a second vessel had failed to report its Bluefin tuna catch at an MD catch station upon landing, both were given compliance assistance. An HMS shark tournament failed to comply with registration requirements and the tournament operator was given compliance assistance. HMS outreach and compliance guides were provided to the tournament operator for participants.
- An Enforcement Officer issued a $500 summary settlement offer to a tuna fishing vessel, for failure to report the landing and sale of a commercial size bluefin tuna. The Officer had previously boarded the vessel upon landing the tuna for sale and informed the owner/operator three times during the boarding of the 24-hour reporting requirement.
Pacific Islands Division
- An Enforcement Officer conducted patrols at the Ka’he Power Plant outfall where Hawaiian Monk Seals feed. OLE continues to receive reports about the seals stealing the anglers’ hooked fish, anglers feeding the seals, and anglers throwing their baited hook towards them. These ongoing patrols appear to have deterred the anglers’ interactions with the seals. OLE Officers continue to perform outreach and compliance assistance to the anglers along with providing them with “Fishing Around Seals” and other informational stickers.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted a land patrol on the east shores of the Island of Oahu, Hawaii. The Officer monitored a recently weaned Hawaiian Monk Seal Pup. The officer spoke to several tourists visiting the area and explained the ESA to them regarding the seal. No violations were observed.
- Enforcement Officers conducted outreach during a fishing tournament in Florida. No violations were noted.
- Enforcement Officers provided TED compliance assistance and outreach to a vessel owner/operator who called in to verify regulations.
- A Special Agent contacted a local dealer who had questions regarding permits. Compliance assistance was provided.
West Coast Division
- An Enforcement Officer and WDFW Officer conducted a joint patrol to enforce Southern Resident Killer Whale regulations in the San Juan Islands. Throughout the patrol, the two officers intercepted multiple vessels moving at high rates of speed where whales were present to prevent a violation from occurring. Upon contact with the vessels, the officers informed the operators of the location of the whales and regulations regarding killer whales.
- An Enforcement Officer patrolled shoreline areas in the Winchester Bay, Oregon, area focusing on recreational anglers targeting salmon. The bay has a large number of frequently caught wild Coho salmon that require a careful release. No violations were noted.
- An Enforcement Officer patrolled beach areas in a heavily populated tourist area to conduct a Marine Mammal patrol. These areas have a high concentration of marine mammals and interactions with people are common. No violations were noted.