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 — April 17, 2017
- An enforcement officer boarded four commercial fishing vessels to address several observer complaints and a VMS complaint. The enforcement officer gave compliance assistance to the operators about experimental fishing permits, sample biasing, VMS procedure, and prohibited species mishandling.
- An enforcement officer received a report of a vessel transiting out of Alaskan waters with IFQ sablefish and non-IFQ groundfish on board without completing the vessel check-in/check- out report. The case was forwarded to an enforcement officer in the vessel’s homeport, and a written warning was issued.
- The annual charter halibut audit continued; investigations were conducted for violations including annual over limits, operators allowing over limits, failing to record the angler license number, fishing on a closed day, and failing to sign logbooks. Enforcement actions included one instance of compliance assistance, two written warnings, and five summary settlements totaling $2,225.
- An SA issued a $250 summary settlement for fishing for black sea bass during a closed season in the EEZ.
- An SA issued a $500 summary settlement for possessing two egg-bearing lobsters in the EEZ.
- An EO conducted patrols in Newport News and Seaford, Virginia that were focused on scallop vessels returning from the Elephant Trunk “flex” area. Compliance assistance was provided to one fisherman for an inaccurate FVTR.
- An EO provided compliance assistance to a Massachusetts vessel captain for possessing sub-legal black sea bass outside the recreation season.
Pacific Islands Division:
- A special agent and enforcement officer conducted a boarding of the FFV Yusei Maru no 5 under Port State Measures Agreement. No violations were found.
- Two enforcement officers conducted a MMPA patrol within the Hawaii Humpback Whale Sanctuary. Areas of patrols covered from Ma’alaea Harbor to Kihei, La Perouse Bay, Molokini, Lahaina and Lanai. Officers also conducted educational outreach with recreational boaters and whale tour companies regarding regulations for viewing humpback whales. No violations were observed.
- Enforcement officers conducted a covert MMPA surveillance after receiving information from two Tybee Island Police Officers that dolphin tour boats were feeding bottlenose dolphins in the Savannah River and Calibogue Sound between Savannah, GA and Hilton Head, SC. No violations were observed.
- Enforcement officers conducted an outreach TED event in Darien, GA. Courtesy TED examinations were offered to several shrimp boat captains preparing for the opening of the shrimp season in state waters. During the examinations one vessel was found to have TEDs in violation. The captain agreed to repair the nets prior to fishing and stated that he would call officers for a second examination when he finished repairs.
- A special agent created and provided training to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries academy class. The agent discussed topics which included an overview of the NOAA OLE, laws enforced by OLE, the JEA program, and case documentation.
West Coast Division:
- An enforcement officer initiated an investigation in response to a hotline call reporting harassment of a gray whale off Dana Point, CA. A whale watching tour vessel was reported to be operating too close to a transiting gray whale and interfering with its movement. OLE provided compliance assistance and California Whale Watching Guidelines to the tour company.
- An EO met with the staff of Monterey Bay/Greater Farallones NMS to address the recent sinking of a crane barge in the San Francisco Bay. The USCG and CDFW OSPERS team responded immediately and divers were able to plug leaking diesel fuel and hydraulic fluids. A minimal amount of diesel fuel was found to be released but was deemed inconsequential because of evaporation. Recovery is ongoing but no other threats to the environment are likely.