|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 here as well as occasional examples of high-interest violation notices.
Weekly Highlights — November 16, 2015
- A special agent contacted two fishermen with chunked halibut without skin on. The halibut had been processed in port and was being transported on the vessel with fishing gear onboard. Written warnings were issued to each subject.
- NED EO conducted dockside boardings. Two state licensed lobster vessels, which were bringing in their traps for the season, were investigated and neither vessel had a commercial fishing vessel safety examination. Additionally, neither of them had their 2015 MMAP Authorization certificates on board. The requirements for the safety exam and authorization certificate were explained; however, since both owner/operators were finished for the season, they were given until next season to be in compliance
- Six state licensed lobster vessels and two dealers were boarded, dockside. None of the six vessels were found to have their 2015 MMAP Authorization Certificate on board. Additionally, four of the vessels had not had a Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Exam, and one displayed an expired examination decal. The requirements for the safety exam and authorization certificate were explained.
Pacific Islands Division:
- A PID Special Agent conducted an investigation of illegal fishing and an illegal mooring placed in the Fagatele Bay unit of the National Marine Sanctuary of America Samoa. The alleged witness to illegal fishing has refused to come forward to be identified or provide information. The illegal mooring was removed by NOAA divers and an examination identified the line as coming from a purse seine or commercial (tug / container or other merchant) vessel, but the line lacked any tags or other identifiable markings. Investigation is closed due to lack of evidence.
- A PID Special Agent and American Samoa JEA officers conducted inspections of four Chinese and Cook Islands flagged foreign fishing vessels in American Samoa to ensure compliance with Western & Central Pacific Fishery Commission (WCPFC) requirements and to check on the legality of harvested fish imported into America Samoa. No violations were detected.
A Special Agent issued $600 summary settlement to a recreational angler for possession of prohibited red snapper and for fishing for snapper-grouper without non-stainless steel circle hooks north of 28N. The agent also issued a $275 summary settlement to a recreational angler for possession of prohibited red snapper.
- An enforcement officer received a complaint concerning a charter vessel operating without a federal permit. The enforcement officer passed the information to FWC officers in the area who located and boarded the vessel in federal waters. The vessel was determined to be on a charter with no charter reef fish permit and possessed one undersized Greater Amberjack onboard. A $3,275 summary settlement was issued to the owner/operator of the vessel.
West Coast Division:
- An investigation into a man who conspired with a UK freight forwarding company to smuggle wildlife products from the UK declared as “household goods” or “antiques” has been completed. The defendant entered into a plea agreement with DOJ for a single misdemeanor count of smuggling and a single misdemeanor count for violating the ESA. He received three years of probation, 120 hours of community service, a $63,000 fine, and forfeiture of all seized wildlife items.