September 27, 2013 - Special Agent Ron Messa received an ‘Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award’ from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Florida for his work in a criminal investigation that uncovered more than 1,850,000 pounds of Asian shrimp, with a retail value exceeding $12,000,000, that was imported into the U.S. and relabeled to more marketable countries through a conspiracy involving four companies and their respective owners.
September 9, 2013 - The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued an emergency rule on September 4, 2013, requiring California's thresher shark and swordfish drift gillnet fishery to shut down if a single endangered sperm whale is seriously injured or dies from entanglement. In order to monitor the fishery during the emergency time period, the rule stipulates that all drift gillnet fishing vessels carry a NMFS-trained observer onboard to monitor bycatch, submit a pre-trip notification, and install vessel monitoring devices. The rule is effective September 4, 2013 through January 31, 2014.
July 9, 2013 - NOAA Fisheries announced the publication of a final rule on enhanced document requirements to support use of the dolphin-safe label on tuna products. Please see visit the Tuna Tracking & Verification Program for more information. The effective date of the rule is July 13, 2013.
January 24, 2013 - Public comments on the Draft Division Enforcement Priorities for 2013 are due March 18, 2013. NOAA has committed to establishing its national enforcement priorities every two years and its division (regional) enforcement priorities each year to meet our mission and guide our planning. Setting division priorities supports sustainable fisheries and protected resources by helping us focus our resources and strategically use our state and federal partnerships to provide the most benefit for marine resources and the American people.
January 23, 2013 - NOAA special agents Troy Audyatis and Christopher McCarron of Office of Law Enforcement’s Northeast Division received recognition in January from Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno for a multi-year investigation into illegal importing and trafficking of narwhal tusks and sperm whale teeth. The Department of Justice certificates of commendation note Audyatis’s and McCarron’s “outstanding performance and invaluable assistance” in support of DOJ’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.
The successful prosecution of David Place, Andrei Mikhalyov and Charles Manghis resulted in the defendants being sentenced to a collective total of 43 months incarceration, a $50,000 fine and the forfeiture of a number of ivory carvings.
Sperm whales and narwhals are protected under the Endangered Species Act. These successful prosecutions sent a deterrent message that wildlife smuggling is a serious crime.
December 12, 2012 - The North Pacific Fishery Management Council has presented its highest honor—the Bob Mace Distinguished Service Award—to Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kenneth Hansen of NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement’s Alaska Division.
November 16, 2012 - NOAA Enforcement Officer Bob Yerena received the NOAA Administrator’s Award for building exemplary agency partnerships and public support for effective enforcement and protection of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.