Weekly Highlights, October 25, 2019
Read about this week's enforcement efforts from across the country.
- A Special Agent issued a $1,958.40 summary settlement to a Massachusetts based, scallop captain for exceeding the 18,000 pound closed area possession limit by 102 pounds. This was a Massachusetts Environmental Police referral.
- A Charleston Special Agent was informed by a NOAA GCES attorney that a NOVA was settled for $13,500 with the owner of a vessel for violating regulations enacted to protect critically-endangered North Atlantic right whales. The owner of the vessel admitted he was aware of the restrictions and thought they would not be enforced. The SA documented violations of speed restrictions on multiple occasions, with a cumulative distance of over 350 miles.
- A Houston Enforcement Officer and an SED Analyst conducted an IUU patrol at Bush Intl. Airport. Three shipments were examined for compliance. During an exam of a shipment from Nigeria, approximately 140lbs of dried shrimp were located. The shipment did not declare the shrimp nor have a shrimp importers / exporters declaration. The importer did not file the appropriate SIMP documentation and doesn’t have an International Fisheries Trade Permit.
A Houma Enforcement Officer and Fourchon Harbor Police conducted a dockside exam of a shrimp vessel. During the examination, the EO identified seven red snapper and three undersized sharks hidden in the vessels fish hold. The captain/owner will be issued a summary settlement for possession of red snapper during closed season, undersized shark, and failed to possess a LDWF recreational fishing license and an HMS recreational permit.
- GCES issued a NOVA for $2,500 to a vessel owner for operating a vessel with a trawl limited-entry permit, with gear onboard, inside a Groundfish Conservation Area.
- An Enforcement Officer, Special Agent and ASAC completed a protected resources patrol along with JEA partners with the CNMI Division of Fish and Wildlife covering several remote beaches around the Island of Saipan. These beaches are active nesting sites for ESA Green Sea Turtles. While patrolling the CNMI Forbidden Island Sanctuary, located on the southeastern shore of Saipan, between Lau Lau Bay and Tank beach; five individuals were observed illegally spearfishing within the Sanctuary. After several hours of surveillance, the five suspects returned to shore with multiple stringers of illegally speared fish and lobster. Many of the lobsters were egg-bearing and undersize. OLE assisted the DFW Officers with the seizure of the catch, dive equipment and two trucks utilized in the poaching activity. After interviews were completed, all five suspects admitted to illegally harvesting the marine species out of the prohibited no-take sanctuary.