Weekly Highlights - May 7, 2018

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

Alaska Division

  • An Enforcement Officer issued a written warning to the operator of an individual fishing quota (IFQ) halibut/sablefish vessel for failing to have a copy of their IFQ permit onboard. Additionally, the operator failed to have a vessel monitoring plan onboard while participating in the electronic monitoring program.
  • Enforcement Officers attended the annual Charter Halibut Meeting in Homer, Alaska. Speakers included Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Alaska State Parks, and NOAA OLE. Approximately 25 people attended the meeting.
  • An Enforcement Officer issued a written warning to the operator of an IFQ vessel for failing to have a copy of the IFQ permit onboard. Additionally, the operator received a written warning for submitting inaccurate information pertaining to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game area fished on the IFQ Landing Report.

Northeast Division

  • An Enforcement Officer provided two New Jersey commercial scallop vessels compliance assistance for improper vessel trip report. This aligns with the NED Sustainable Fisheries priority - vessel and dealer reporting.
  • An Enforcement Officer boarded a commercial trawl vessel landing approximately 22,000 pounds of black sea bass in Delaware. Compliance assistance was provided for not including personal consumption fish on the vessel trip report. This aligns with the NED Sustainable Fisheries priority - vessel and dealer reporting.
  • An Enforcement Officer provided a gillnet vessel compliance assistance for possessing over 25 improperly marked buoys, several with weak links with improper breaking strength. This aligns with the strategic objectives of the NED Protected Resources priority - promoting compliance with the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan.
  • An Enforcement Officer responded to a hotline complaint for a deceased decomposing seal on private property, upon arrival to the scene he was unable to detect any violations.

Pacific Islands Division

  • An Enforcement Officer conducted a patrol in support of a Hawaiian monk seal and its one-week old pup that was born on the North Shore of Oahu. The area is in a secluded area only accessible via private land. The officer met with volunteers and monitored the mother and pup. The mother is known as “Honey Girl."
  • An Enforcement Officer continued land patrols near Kaena Point State Park on the North Shore of Oahu in support of another Hawaiian monk seal mother and pup. The pup barely two days old, was already attracting visitors, and was resting in an area frequented by beach goers and monk seal enthusiasts. The officer conducted outreach and education and met with volunteers who had roped off the area. The mother monk seal, known as “Luana”, was born on the same beach five years earlier.
  • Enforcement Officers conducted an at-sea patrol of Fagatele Bay and Aunu’u Island, a unit of American Samoa National Marine Sanctuary aboard the Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (JEA) safeboat. No violations were found. After the patrol, OLE personnel worked with the two JEA officers in preparation of MLETP training at FLETC set for next week. The Officers practiced vessel handling and docking maneuvers.

Southeast Division

  • An Enforcement Officer conducted a patrol of the Oculina Experimental Closed Area and surrounding areas aboard JEA partner FWC Offshore Patrol Vessel SEA HAWK prior to the opening of shallow water grouper season. Several vessels were checked with compliance assistance given to three vessels, two for possession of one undersize vermilion snapper and one for incomplete sea turtle mitigation gear. The two vermilion snapper were released back to the water alive and a sea turtle safe handling and release placard was given to the captain of the charter vessel.
  • An Enforcement Officer and  Special Agent provided compliance assistance to a company that conducted unpermitted firework shows in FKNMS waters.   
  • A Special Agent fielded a call from a Brazilian exporter involved in a Miami Lacey Act investigation. During the call, the Agent confirmed the exporter’s knowledge of Brazilian fishery laws and arranged to have the exporter supply copies of the foreign laws to the ASAC. The exporter was advised how their company could lawfully export the snapper species to the U.S. to avoid violating Florida possession laws.

West Coast Division

  • A joint investigation with the Oregon Department of State Lands (ODSL) received a ruling by an Oregon Department of State Lands Administrative Law Judge. Following a civil hearing, the two defendants were assessed civil penalties for $6,000 each and required corrective actions for violating state fill-removal laws; to wit, placing several hundred yards of fill material into a river without first obtaining the appropriate permits. The river is designated as Essential Salmonid Habitat and is home to a variety of fish species to include Chinook, Coho and Chum salmon, Steelhead, Pacific and Brook Lamprey and Coastal Cutthroat trout.