Weekly Highlights - September 13, 2019
Read about this week's enforcement efforts from around the country.
- Capt. Neill’s Seafood, Inc. of Columbia, North Carolina, pleaded guilty this week in federal court in New Bern, North Carolina, on charges that the company falsely labeled millions of dollars’ worth of foreign crab meat as “Product of USA."
- An Enforcement Officer boarded a recreational vessel upon returning from an HMS fishing trip, and found the operator and passenger had landed a commercial size category Bluefin tuna in improper form, and attempted to conceal the fish as well as gear used to catch it. The fish was voluntarily abandoned, and subsequently sold into commerce.
- The U.S. Coast Guard asked a Galveston Enforcement Officer for investigative assistance after their boat crew boarded two recreational vessels and documented red snapper violations. The officer issued a $1,050.00 summary settlement offer to the captain of one vessel for 11 out of season red snapper and a $1,000.00 summary settlement offer to the other captain for five out of season red snapper and using illegal “J” hooks.
- A Key West Enforcement Officer issued a $600.00 summary settlement offer to the captain of a recreational fishing vessel who was actively fishing inside Elbow Reef Sanctuary Preservation Area of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.
- An Enforcement Officer received a self-reported recordkeeping and reporting violation from a charter vessel Captain. Investigation revealed the Captain inadvertently logged two halibut under the ‘kept’ section for himself when he was logging his client’s halibut. Investigation revealed the Captain did not catch or retain halibut. The Captain provided both of his logbooks and no additional violations were discovered. The Captain was offered compliance assistance.
- An investigation into the sale of salmon harvested in violation of tribal law resulted in a sentencing this reporting period. A Yakama Nation Tribal member was sentenced in the Eastern District of Washington Federal Courthouse in Yakima, Washington. The individual had pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating the Lacey Act and one felony count of conspiracy. The man was sentenced to four years of probation, $4,720 restitution, and a $200 special assessment fee. The individuals had illegally taken and sold in violation of Yakama Tribal law a total of 27 sturgeon, 11 Chinook salmon, 200 lbs. of smelt, and five deer.
- A Special Agent added charges to an investigation involving a U.S. flagged purse seine fishing vessel that is alleged to have violated WCPFC Conservation Fishing Restrictions related to Silky Sharks. Further interviews of material witnesses revealed that the vessel caught over 200 sharks and took no action or reasonable steps for their safe release.