Weekly Highlights - June 11, 2018

Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.

Alaska Division

  • A $2,000 summary settlement was issued by an Enforcement Officer to a processing plant manager for failing to allow observers access to weight scale printouts.
  • An Enforcement Officer issued a $500 summary settlement to an IFQ halibut fisherman for failure to maintain records as required. The operator was additionally issued two written warnings for unlawful handling of halibut and not possessing an approved logbook.
  • An Enforcement Officer conducted an overnight vessel patrol with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers (AWT). During the patrol, 15 vessels were boarded and 56 individual anglers were contacted. This resulted in four citations being issued, two written warnings, and 10 instances of compliance assistance (Federal)/ verbal warnings (State). Violations observed were retention of halibut of an illegal size (charter), failure to complete logbook as required, late logbook submission, failure to possess an approved logbook (IFQ), and failure to release halibut using an approved method.  

Northeast Division

  • An Enforcement Officer provided compliance assistance to a Maryland vessel operator who fished on two scallop trips with a non-functioning VMS unit. The operator realized the problem and corrected it prior to OLE contacting him. This aligns with the NED Sustainable Fisheries priority - vessel reporting.
  • An Enforcement Officer closed an investigation of a recreational vessel operating within close proximity to North Atlantic Right Whales off the coast of Massachusetts. The subject provided documentation that showed they were having engine trouble and he stated the whales followed him back to the harbor. The Officer provided compliance assistance on whale avoidance measures.
  • Two Enforcement Officers conducted seven container checks at the Port of Norfolk, Virginia, in furtherance of the May 2018 SIMP operation.

Pacific Islands Division

  • GCES issued a NOVA for $17,095.00 to the owner and operator of a U.S. longline vessel for one count of illegally removing and harvesting fish within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM). A signed Settlement Agreement in the amount of $15,845.00 will be paid by the respondents. The violation was detected by PID-VMS staff who spotted the longline vessel engaged in illegal fishing activities within the Monument’s boundaries.
  • A Special Agent working with JEA partner State of Hawaii’s Department of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) in Kauai, received notice from the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the County of Kauai that charges were filed against a native Hawaiian on a misdemeanor violation for the take of an endangered sea turtle. 

Southeast Division

  • An Enforcement Officer provided compliance assistance, issued two written warnings, and issued two summary settlements totaling $2,550.00 for multiple cases referred from a JEA partner.
  • An Enforcement Officer provided compliance assistance was provided for a recreational boat possessing an undersized dolphin as well as a commercial shrimper for not having his federal permit on board.
  • A special agent met with TPWD, a Federal and State fisheries outreach meeting in Port O’Conner to answer questions from the recreational and charter boat fishing community. Topics covered included red snapper
    season, HMS requirements, and the CMP fishery.
  • A Special Agent met with VMS Techs and GCES attorneys regarding observer coverage compliance issues
    including pre-enforcement outreach letters, VMS monitoring, and upcoming conferences.   

West Coast Division

  • Enforcement Officers conducted offload and dock-side inspections. No violations were noted.