Weekly Highlights - May 14, 2021
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
An SA received a PSMA inspection report of a foreign flagged vessel from Trinidad and Tobago. The inspection was conducted at the request of NOAA following a sighting of the vessel by the SA and USCG personnel in international waters. The report identified several potential contraventions of ICCAT conservation measures, as well as contraventions of Trinidad regulations. However, no direct nexus to the U.S. was identified. The report has been referred to Taiwan to take appropriate action as the flag State of the vessel and the NMFS ICCAT delegation is continuing to monitor the situation and will address the matter as a compliance issue at ICCAT.
An EO assisted an HSI Task Force with the apprehension and arrest of an operator of a commercial scallop vessel at the Wanchese Fish Dock. The operator had an outstanding federal warrant for tax evasion. The individual was taken into custody shortly after the vessel tied up at the dock by two IRS Agents without incident. Two other individuals were detained by CBP for further investigation on residency status.
Two Sunrise SAs and a Miami EO worked with CBP’s Trade Enforcement Team from the Miami Seaport and conducted an inspection at a local importer. The dealer had just applied for a relocation permit with CBP as their warehouse is a certified bonded facility and designated Foreign Trade Zone.
A Panama City EO conducted a TED patrol with FWC aboard the OPV VIGILANCE in St Andrews Bay. The EO and FWC officers boarded four shrimp trawlers. Officers documented a TED bar spacing violation on one vessel, which the crew fixed on site. Officers documented another vessel trawling at night without the required green over white navigation lights. FWC issued a state warning.
An Enforcement Officer issued the owner of a fishing vessel a written warning for transiting inside a Steller sea lion no transit zone.
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement presence was requested by the staff of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, while underway on the NOAA MBNMS Research Vessel Fulmar. This was in response to several recent reports of oily discharges occurring in close proximity to fishing vessels currently engaged in the market squid fishery. Additionally, while underway, several whale watching vessels were also observed to ensure compliance. No violations were detected.
- A Pacific Islands Division Special Agent completed an investigation involving a Vanuatu-flagged purse seine vessel conducting fishing activities on an NOAA Weather Buoy in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. In response to PID’s official request to conduct an investigation into this matter, the Vanuatu Fisheries Department fined the vessel owner VUV 5,000,000 ($46,000 USD).