Partnerships Prove Successful in Meeting National Priorities
During my time as Director of the Office of Law Enforcement, I have been impressed with the collaborative and cohesive nature between our office and the various agencies, councils, non-governmental environmental organizations, and other organizations that help us protect marine resources for future generations.
I’m reminded of a saying by Henry Ford that exemplifies the importance of a collaborative approach in addressing a common goal, "Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." This rings true for OLE as we have found success through these partnerships in addressing NOA A Fisheries’ priorities.
One of our most effective partnerships has been with coastal states and territories as part of our Cooperative Enforcement Program (CEP). These agencies have similar management, enforcement, and conservation missions which allow us to coordinate activities maximizing our strategic planning for compliance and enforcement initiatives.
The purpose of the program aims to increase living marine resource conservation, endangered species protection, and critical habitat enforcement while strengthening state and territorial enforcement resources through two avenues:
- Cooperative Enforcement Agreements, which authorize state and U.S. territorial marine conservation law enforcement officers to enforce federal laws and regulations.
- Joint Enforcement Agreements, which include a formal operations plan that transfers funds to state and U.S. territorial law enforcement agencies to perform law enforcement services in support of federal regulations.
Collaboration between our office and state partners is critical in advancing our mission, providing the support to effectively enforce the myriad laws that fall under our office’s purview, and meet the overarching goal of increased compliance.
To continue the effectiveness of the CEP program, we recently held a meeting in Seattle, Washington, with OLE staff and our partners where we collaborated with partner agency staff on relevant issues facing the program. Discussions focused on the program’s fiscal health; the CEP working group's role in the program; and the expansion of regional illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) enforcement efforts in regards to port inspections, capacity building, and technical assistance.
I look forward to the continued success of the CEP program and continued interaction with our state and territory partners. And I would like to extend a big ‘thank you’ to all of the agencies and groups that we partner with. It’s this continued collaboration that ensures we all meet the high level of excellence expected across the board.
Director, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement
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