Weekly Highlights - March 26, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- An Enforcement Officer and Alaska Wildlife Trooper (AWT) conducted a boarding and completed an investigation of violations reported by observer statements concerning a vessel in Adak, AK. Three crewmembers were found not to have the required licenses and were cited by AWT. No federal violations were found.
- Special Agents and Enforcement Officers concluded a two-week Observer Pulse Operation in Dutch Harbor. Multiple vessels were boarded to resolve a wide variety of complaints received from observers. Preliminary numbers indicate that out of 315 individual complaints involving approximately 95 separate targets (vessels and processors), 195 complaints were either closed or the investigation was furthered. The OLE teams partnered with the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Alaska Department
of Fish and Game, Alaska Wildlife Troopers and the Unalaska Police Department to successfully accomplish the mission.
- The Investigative Support Team provided a report to the New England Fishery Management Council summarizing scallop catch and pre-land reporting compliance for each fishing year from 2010-2017.
Pacific Islands Division
A Special Agent responded to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (Honolulu, Hawaii) in response to a passenger arriving from Fiji with a cetacean vertebra. The passenger claimed to have found the vertebra washed up on a beach in Fiji and subsequently retained it as a souvenir. The vertebra appeared to have been bleached prior to arrival. The passenger voluntarily abandoned the vertebra and was allowed to continue onward to his home in Canada.
A Supervisory Enforcement Officer, while off duty, observed a large mass of fishing net washed ashore at Black Sand Beach in Waianapanapa State Park on the Island of Maui. The marine debris was reported to DOCARE.
A Supervisory Enforcement Officer and Assistant Special Agent in Charge conducted an ESA land patrol to Hookipa State Park. They spoke with a sea turtle volunteer and monitored for any interactions between the tourists and the turtles. Large numbers of sea turtles congregate on the beach here throughout the year. No violations were observed.
- An Enforcement Officer spoke with crabbers at a dealer as they delivered crabs. Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan (ALWTRP) regulations were discussed and compliance guides were provided.
- An Enforcement Officer met with a charter fishing captain in St. Augustine, FL to discuss turtle mitigation gear and provided sea turtle and sawfish safe release placards for the companies’ vessels.
- An Enforcement Officer discussed ALWTRP gear requirements with blue crab fisherman dockside, one of which admitted that some of his gear may not be in compliance. The fisherman promptly removed those 5 pots to make corrections.
- A Special Agent assisted OLE HQ and Southeast Division management in responding to an inquiry from the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Committee, specifically regarding OLE’s enforcement of ship speed restrictions.
West Coast Division
- An Enforcement Officer conducted a groundfish patrol of commercial fish processors and commercial docks. No violations were noted.