Weekly Highlights - October 15, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- A Supervisory Enforcement Officer traveled to Dutch Harbor to conduct pre-season meetings with processors on the upcoming Bristol Bay Red King Crab fishery. There is concern that vessel operators might discard dead loss crab at dock prior to being weighed. Officers will deploy to Dutch Harbor once deliveries commence and remain until the fishery closes.
- A Special Agent and Enforcement Officer conducted a 62-mile patrol. Three fishing vessels were boarded. Three state violations were forwarded to the Alaska Wildlife Troopers.
- The Investigative Support Team implemented a new Topsail program that sends automated emails to vessel owners notifying them when OLE stops receiving their vessel's required VMS positions. The goal is to improve reporting compliance while reducing the number of staff-hours involved with calling owners and operators.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted an operation to enforce Bluefin tuna regulations. Portions of the operation were conducted within the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
- A Speical Agent contacted the operator of a small stern trawler regarding an observer interference complaint. The observer reported that the operator prohibited him from videotaping two dead sea turtles that were returned to the sea. Closed with compliance assistance.
- A Special Agent coordinated efforts with Myrtle Beach Police Department and SCDNR officers and biologists in response to a dead sea turtle which was found on a South Carolina beach. The turtle's shell had been crushed and it was found within sight of a hopper dredge. The Agent queried PRD's reporting and verified that there were no documented incidental takes by the dredging company. Two dredge company officials also confirmed this. The necropsy report concluded that it died from a propeller strike.
- By request of NOAA General Counsel a Special Agent, with the assistance of a Lieutenant with the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, served a Notice of Permit Sanctions and took possession of the federal permits.
Pacific Islands Division
- A Supervisory Enforcement Officer accompanied JEA partners from the America Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources (DMWR) on a surface patrol covering the Fagatele National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) aboard DMWR's Safe boat in American Samoa. The patrol was a two-fold mission; a sanctuary patrol and a Humpback Whale survey patrol. No violations were observed within the Sanctuary. The whale survey was a success as DMWR personnel were able to identify and collect DNA samples from the Antarctic Humpback Whale pod that comes to the Samoan Island region to breed.
- An Enforcement Officer participated in the release of a Green Sea Turtle that was reported by a citizen to JEA partners from the Guam Department of Agriculture and Conservation. The turtle was previously found with signs of possible poaching injuries along the Ga'an Point, Agat, Guam and was turned over to Guam's Marine Biologist and the Underwater World Co. for treatment. After 10 months of treatment and rehabilitation, the turtle subsequently made a full recovery, was tagged, and released back into the waters of Guam this week.
West Coast Division
- Three Enforcement Officers participated in a Multi-Agency Strike Force Operation (MASFO) at the Port of Seattle. No federal violations and several state violations were found in the 101 containers they searched.
- Cooperative Enforcement Program (CEP) Performance Reviews were completed on Oregon State Police (OSP) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFS) Police programs. The reviews included a joint WDFW/OSP patrol on the Columbia River enforcing provisions of the Endangered Species Act.