Weekly Highlights - March 5, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- Alaska fish tickets. The fish tickets documented fishing for state-managed rockfish in Federal waters while not having a valid Federal Fisheries Permit. Compliance assistance was provided.
- An enforcement officer received notification from General Counsel - Enforcement Section that a $9,750 Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) was issued to a sportfish guide for violations stemming from the unlawful use of a charter halibut permit. This investigation also led to the issuance of a $500 summary settlement offer to another sportfish guide within the business for failure to record angler information and failure to ensure the angler signed the Alaska Department of Fish and Game saltwater logbook.
- An enforcement officer investigated a YouTube video involving an out of state family subsistence halibut fishing in Myers Chuck. Written warnings were issued.
- An Enforcement Officer and NOAA Port Agent attended a fishing vessel trip report workshop for the charter and party fishing industry. Approximately 20 owners/captains attended the meeting. The officer also used the workshop to discuss regulations involving Highly Migratory Species and reporting requirements. This aligns with Enforcement Priority six in the Northeast Division's Strategic Objectives.
- An Enforcement Officer provided compliance assistance to a New Jersey fishing vessel captain for failing to take an observer after being selected.
- A Special Agent reviewed four U.S. Coast Guard submitted cases and issued written warnings for fishing for Atlantic striped bass in federal waters.
Pacific Islands Division
An Enforcement Officer conducted outreach, education, and liaison at the Koloko-Honokohau National Historic Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Officer met with interpretive U.S. Park Rangers to discuss the activities of beachgoers in the park and their interactions with Green Sea Turtles. The Officer gave the rangers some NOAA literature to share with park users and to supplement the Rangers other public outreach materials.
An Enforcement Officer completed a week of Protected Species land patrols on the Island of Hawaii (The Big Island), which included surveillance of vessels within the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. During the patrol, the Officer responded to OLE Hotline calls, followed up on complaints, conducted outreach and education with commercial tour companies, and members of the public, concerning federal regulations for interacting with Spinner Dolphins, Humpback Whales, Sea Turtles, and Hawaiian Monk Seals. The Officer also patrolled areas along the Kona Coast to include Kealakekua Bay, Honaunau Bay, Keauhou Bay, Honokohau Harbor, Koloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, Mahaiula Bay, Puako, Hapuna Beach, and Kawaihai.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted an MMPA patrol. Two blue crab vessels were boarded and provided with compliance guides concerning the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan's blue crab gear requirements.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted a joint offshore patrol. One commercial shrimp trawler was observed, but due to weather conditions, a boarding was not attempted. The crew decided to come back inshore and switch the focus to MMPA. Several kayakers where contacted and informed of the regulations pertaining to MMPA.
- Two Enforcement Officers and a Special Agent conducted a joint offshore patrol in the St. Augustine area with the St. John’s County Sheriff’s Office. Several vessels were boarded with compliance assistance given to one snapper/grouper headboat for failure to have the sea turtle safe release placard. Placards will be provided to the headboat company’s fleet.
West Coast Division
- An Enforcement Officer received information regarding a whale-watch boat out of Fort Bragg, California, possibly harassing a gray whale. The investigation showed that while the whale was rubbing itself against the boat, passengers reached out and petted it. The officer provided compliance assistance to the operator by informing him of MMPA regulations regarding Level B harassment.
- An Enforcement Officer and Special Agent conducted an outreach meeting with the group Orca Conservancy regarding Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW). Topics discussed were SRKW enforcement in Puget Sound, requirements for photographs needed for an SRKW investigation and other possible methods of documenting SRKW violations.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted a patrol of the San Diego commercial docks. The officer inspected the gear and permits of one fishing vessel preparing to get underway to fish for tuna.