Weekly Highlights - June 18, 2018

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

Alaska Division

  • Several Enforcement Officers, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers, and the U.S. Coast Guard conducted a pulse operation in Valdez, Alaska. During the operation, seven charter vessels, and six recreational vessels were boarded. In addition, two processing plant inspections were conducted, six industry outreach contacts were completed, and one IFQ offload was monitored. One written warning was issued for skin removal from fillets, two operators were given compliance assistance for not writing their halibut retention on the back of their licenses, and a summary settlement for an IFQ overage was issued.
  • An Enforcement Officer responded to a request for assistance from Alaska Wildlife Troopers to transport an FAA and NTSB investigative team to a float plane crash site near Sitka, Alaska. The Officer guided the team to the crash site, provided bear protection and assisted in locating the personal items of the victims of the crash. One bear was observed near the crash site.
  • An Enforcement Officer completed a 3 day patrol in Yakutat, Alaska. Four commercial IFQ vessels and two charter halibut vessels were boarded, with one violation being noted for failure to have a legible copy of an IFQ permit. The Officer also met with the Yakutat Police Department to discuss current and future joint operations. 

Northeast Division

  • A Special Agent closed an investigation of an observer refusal. The observer reported that she had a very good working relationship with the operator of the vessel, and that she believed miscommunication was the cause of the violation.
  • An Enforcement Officer responded to a report of a stranded Pygmy Sperm whale on a Massachusetts beach and coordinated a response with the Seacoast Science Center. Initial necropsy results found no human interaction.
  • An Enforcement Officer received a complaint of a bottlenose dolphin mortality from the Virginia Stranding Network. The carcass was entangled in non-identified gear. 

Pacific Islands Division

  • The Division Assistant Special Agent in Charge and and a Special Agent participated in an outreach event for World Oceans Day 2018, at the Disney Aulani Beach Resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii. The event coincided with global World Oceans Day Celebrations. The public was educated on the missions of NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement as well as regulations enforced by the Pacific Islands Division. Families enjoyed the various informational booths and creative Hawaiian Monk Seal games that PIRO and OLE staff put on for the children.
  • Special Agent traveled to the Island of Kauai where he and DOCARE Officers (JEA partner) conducted an area reconnaissance patrol of the north shore where there is a large population of Green Sea Turtles. This part of the Island has long been a problem where turtles are continually harassed because the beaches there are so secluded and no lifeguards are present. Further joint enforcement operations with DOCARE and OLE will take place in the near future to address this suspected ESA problem. 

Southeast Division

  • An Enforcement Officer received a complaint and a photograph of a subject reaching out of his recreational vessel to touch a dolphin near Hilton Head Island. The EO identified and interviewed the subject, explained MMPA regulations and sent compliance guides to the subject.
  • An Enforcement Officer along with agents from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol conducted examinations of a container, which contained 26,000 lbs. of yellowfin tuna. Agents learned the proper method of taking fish samples for laboratory identification. No violations discovered.
  • An Enforcement Officer conducted dockside boardings of four charter vessels in Venice, LA and provided compliance to those vessels, which failed to possess all the required sea turtle mitigation gear.

West Coast Division

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