|NOAA Office of General Counsel|
Keep up to date with the latest enforcement decisions and orders (2010 through 2015).
On a weekly basis, we'll post highlights of our enforcement actions below and examples of high-interest violation notices. This does not include all weekly actions taken by our Officer or Special Agents.
Weekly Highlights — October 24, 2016
- A special agent received a report that pollock trawlers falsely reported areas fished. The agent found that three vessels reported incorrect statistical areas on fish tickets. The errors found to be unintentional and the fish tickets were corrected.
- A special agent received a report from the US Coast Guard that a vessel was not transmitting their VMS. The special agent found the unit was operable, but the VMS bill had not been paid. The vessel accountant is in the progress of updating their account.
- A special agent met with the Canadian Border Patrol Port Director in South East Alaska to discuss current and future fishery and border enforcement operations in the area. Additionally, there was discussion about the NOAA OLE providing educational presentations to new border patrol officers to familiarize them with the jurisdiction of OLE and to stimulate collaboration between
- A special agent and a State Wildlife Trooper boarded two Canadian vessels in Alaska waters during a patrol near the US – Canada Border. The two vessels had clams and halibut on board that were potentially taken from US waters. None of the eight persons on either vessel had Alaska fishing licenses and a few of the individuals were observed going on shore. Both Canadian Border Patrol and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were notified and the Canadian citizens were informed that future violations may result in an enforcement action. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans indicated that one of the subjects is currently scheduled to appear in a Canadian Court for fishing closed waters. The contact information was forwarded to Department of Fisheries and Oceans for further investigation.
- An EO received a case referral from our Maryland JEA partners that documented an individual fished for HMS tuna, without a valid HMS permit. The subject has since obtained his HMS permit. Compliance assistance was provided.
- An EO investigated a potential scallop overage initiated by the VMS team. The investigation showed a dealer mistakenly reported scallops when summer flounder were actually landed. The amount of flounder was over the limit per New Jersey regulations. The case was closed and forwarded to New Jersey JEA partners for follow-up.
- An EO issued a $250 summary settlement to an individual for importing a piece of whale ivory. The ivory was found during a joint inspection with CBP and USFWS of a cruise ship disembarking at the Black Falcon Terminal in Boston, MA.
- An EO issued a $500 summary settlement to the owner/operator of a HMS General Category permitted boat in Scituate, MA for possession of an undersized bluefin tuna. The violation was identified by MEP Officers during a focused patrol on Stellwagen Bank NMS.
Pacific Islands Division:
- A PID Special Agent completed an investigation after an anonymous complaint was received regarding an individual who posted a photograph of themselves involved in the “take” of a Green Sea Turtle in the water onto their Instagram social media account. The investigation subsequently identified the individual, located him and upon being interviewed they admitted holding the turtle for a few seconds in order for the kids to get a closer look at. A Written Warning was issued.
- Special agents in Galveston, TX and Corpus Christi, TX assisted in the medical evacuation of an observer from a fishing vessel in the Gulf of Mexico while the observer was in performance of their duty. The agents were contacted by the USCG Air Station after receiving a mayday call for help from the vessel BLACKJACK IV. According to the USCG, the observer was injured, possibly experiencing seizure like symptoms, and they were in the process of coordinating an airlift from the vessel. The agents assisted the USCG by notifying both the observer program and the observer contractor to obtain relevant medical information and emergency contact information to pass to the USCG. The agents stayed involved until the observer was safely transported to the hospital via ambulance. At last report, the observer was in stable condition with no serious injuries or complications.
- A special agent submitted a case package for review seeking a NOVA regarding a federally permitted commercial fishing vessel that deployed/fished longline gear in the Spring Gulf of Mexico closed area and also failed to take an observer after being selected. The violations occurred on two separate fishing trips.
- Two enforcement officers conducted a joint Turtle Excluder Device (TED) patrol with FWCC Offshore Patrol Vessel GUARDIAN out of Carrabelle, FL. The team boarded 6 shrimp vessels and checked all TEDS, finding one vessel to be in violation of 5 state laws while trawling inside state waters. FWCC initiated the seizure of 4 shrimp trawls for the state violations and the 2 enforcement officers assisted. The nets that were seized also had 2 TED violations that were addressed prior to the state seizure.
West Coast Division:
- Two protected resource patrols were conducted from the Umpqua River to Charleston, Oregon with dockside enforcement focused on the protection of ESA listed salmon. More than twenty vessels were contacted and investigated. One violation was identified and a summary settlement offer was issued to an angler for retaining a wild coho salmon.