Weekly Highlights - October 30, 2017
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- In 2016, an Administrative Law Judge ruled against NOAA in a case involving sexual harassment of an observer. The decision was appealed to the NOAA Administrator. This week, the case agent received notification that the appeal was successful, and a $12,500 penalty was issued to the subject.
- Enforcement officers boarded a vessel to address numerous incidents of prohibited species mishandling. A written warning and a $1,250 summary settlement were issued.
- An enforcement officer issued a $1,000 summary settlement to a vessel operator for failing to log a trip with the Observer Program.
- An enforcement officer conducted a patrol onboard USCGC John McCormick. The enforcement officer provided education to the crew regarding the MMPA and assisted with boarding vessels. One vessel was issued a written warning for approaching within 100 yards of a humpback whale and another vessel was found to have multiple logbook violations
- A special agent and EO interviewed a captain that allegedly used an undersized net to harvest fluke and black sea bass.
- An EO issued a New York vessel a $500 summary settlement for failure to properly mark lobster buoys in accordance with ALWTRP regulations. The fisherman was also issued a written warning for failing to remove lobster gear during a closure.
- Special Agents met with an investigator from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Enforcement and Investigation Services to discuss an on-going investigation centering on clams exported to the United States in violation of the Canadian law.
- An EO issued a $500 summary settlement for failure to report landings. Compliance assistance was provided for
- selling to a dealer with no federal permit and failure to update permit information.
- An EO followed a social media investigative lead and determined a New Jersey charter vessel had retained bluefin tuna and not reported them, as required. The captain is being issued a $500 summary settlement for failing to report BFT.
Pacific Islands Division
- A PID Special Agent and an Enforcement Officer provided outreach at the University of Hawaii (UH) – School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology Open House on the UH campus in Honolulu, HI. Exhibits included other NOAA line offices, NGOs, and federal and state officials. More than 4,500 students attended the event.
- An enforcement officer reviewed and processed a JEA case from FWC resulting in a proposed summary settlement totaling $450. The case package consisted of possession of out of season red snapper.
- An enforcement officer reviewed and processed a JEA submitted case resulting in a Summary Settlement of $375. The case consisted of undersized vermilion snapper and scamp grouper.
- An enforcement officer conducted a joint TED patrol on board a NOAA patrol vessel in Choctawhatchee Bay with Florida FWC. Five vessels were boarded and 4 state violations were cited by FWC.
- A special agent provided compliance assistance via letter to the owner/operator of a recreational vessel trolling in the closed area of the South Dry Tortugas Ecological Reserves a violation of sanctuary law. FWC officers on JEA patrol had boarded the vessel and determined that the vessel was actively fishing and had one black tuna onboard. The operator was also given copies of the FKNMS law and the agent’s telephone number for any additional questions.
West Coast Division
- Two Enforcement Officers conducted interviews for two cases involving reports of observer harassment and interference.
- Two Enforcement Officers conducted ESA patrols near Newport, OR, along heavily fished rivers where ESA-listed Coho are
present. They contacted over 50 recreational anglers. No violations were detected.