Weekly Highlights - September 10, 2018
Read about this week's enforcement actions from around the country.
- Two Enforcement Officers and an Assistant Special Agent in Charge responded to a Steller sea lion located near a hospital, high school, and airport, in Sitka, Alaska. The Officers discovered the animal in a wooded area near the road, approximately a quarter mile from the ocean. To ensure the safety of the public and sea lion, the officers taped off the area, notified local nearby businesses, and began consultation with PRD regarding how to get the animal back in the ocean. Two attempts to guide the animal back to the ocean were unsuccessful. The animal was too scared to cross the freeway and returned to the safety of the woods. The animal was ultimately sedated and transported back near the water. Once the sedation wore off, the sea lion returned to the ocean. This situation was uncharted territory for AKD and PRD. It was a great opportunity to educate the public on the MMPA, sea lions, and safety precautions around marine mammals.
- Three Enforcement Officers conducted an operation at the Tok border crossing with the Alaska Wildlife Troopers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The team contacted the occupants of 782 vehicles to detect and deter fisheries, marine mammal, and wildlife trafficking violations. Additionally, the officers gathered intelligence on the possible commercialization of sport-caught halibut.
- An Enforcement Officer responded to a beached Minke Whale at a MA based harbor. The EO contacted the stranding network, but concerned citizens pushed the whale back in the harbor before they could respond. The Officer provided compliance assistance to the individuals involved. The Officer, harbormaster, and PRD patrolled the area in an effort to get more information on the status of the whale.
- An Enforcement Officer issued a $500 summary settlement to a recreational vessel owner and operator for fishing for and possessing a yellowfin tuna without a valid HMS permit. The operator was previously issued a written warning for an HMS related offense.
- An Enforcement Officer provided a New Jersey commercial fishing vessel operator compliance assistance for failing to take an observer after being selected.
Pacific Islands Division
An Enforcement Officer and Supervisory Enforcement Officer conducted joint land-based MMPA patrols on the Island of Molokai throughout the week with State of Hawaii Conservation Officers (JEA partners). Checking frequented public beach accesses, more remote beaches and cave areas known to have Monk Seals. The Officers spoke with residents and tourists performing outreach and education regarding Hawaiian Monk Seals.
An Enforcement Officer conducted a joint boarding of a Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission permitted Hawaii based Longline fishing vessel with a State of Hawaii Conservation Officer (JEA partner). The State Officer identified an expired Hawaii Commercial Marine Fishing License for one of the fishermen and subsequently issued a warning for the infraction. During the same boarding, the OLE Enforcement Officer shared boarding techniques and MSA regulations with the State Officer.
An Enforcement Officer in American Samoa conducted a PSMA boarding of a Taiwanese flagged longline fishing vessel. Fishing logs, RFMO authorization paperwork, transshipment documents, and compliance with CMM’s were investigated. No violations were found.
- An Enforcement Officer attended a meeting with the USCG in Galveston to discuss future on-the-job training for the LMR boarding officers on area of responsibility familiarization, fish identification, and TED measuring. The USCG plans to utilize their LMR boarding officers to assist the Officer during land patrols, offloads of commercial fishing vessels, and dockside boardings of headboats and shrimp vessels.
- An Enforcement Officer conducted a follow-up TED examination in reference to a TED with a bent bar that was reported by an observer aboard a shrimp trawler. All of the vessels TEDs were found compliant and compliance assistance was provided regarding the use of a TED with a bent bar.
West Coast Division
- An Enforcement Officer investigated a JEA referral of a sick CA sea lion in Florence, OR. The animal was located on a high use recreational boat ramp. The officer blocked off one side of the ramp, called the local Marine Stranding Network, and assisted with the euthanasia of the sick animal.
- Two Enforcement Officers conducted five vessel patrols for the protection of Southern Resident Killer Whales in the San Juan Islands. The patrols focused on compliance assistance and deterrence of commercial and recreational whale watching violations. The officers contacted multiple vessels with one written warning issued.
- An Enforcement Officer participated in a joint agency operation in the Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary. The Officer worked alongside U.S. Coast Guard Boarding teams and National Park Service Officers. The patrol focused on boarding commercial and recreational fishing vessels targeting ground fish. The team boarded multiple vessels and inspected documents, permits and holds for prohibited catch. No federal violations were found.