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 — January 17, 2017
- The Office of General Counsel issued a $1,000 NOVA to the owner of a vessel for fishing IFQ halibut in federal waters without a
Federal Fisheries Permit.
- A shoreside processor was issued an enforcement action report for biasing observer sampling procedures by sending observed
boats to tenders where the catch could not be sampled.
- An enforcement officer issued a $1,000 summary settlement offer to an IFQ fisherman for failing to log their trips into the Observer
Declare and Deploy System.
- An enforcement officer issued a written warning for failing to carefully release halibut.
- An EO opened an investigation into a trophy size Bluefin tuna landed in Boston after the trophy category had closed. The EO contacted the captain who admitted landing a 90” Bluefin tuna knowing the trophy fish category was closed. A $2,000 summary settlement will be issued for fishing, catching and retaining a Bluefin tuna without the appropriate, valid permit.
- EOs received a report of a whale entangled in a commercial gill net off the coast of Virginia Beach. The EOs coordinated efforts with the USCG, NMFS Protected Resource staff and the Virginia Stranding Network to respond to the scene. The whale disentangled itself and the nets were found to be in compliance with weak link regulations.
- An EO received two complaints of individuals fishing for or possessing striped bass in the EEZ from Delaware JEA partners. Summary settlements of $500 and $1,000 are pending.
- An EO prepared a $500 summary settlement for a federal dealer who failed to submit reports over a two year period.
Pacific Islands Division:
- A Special Agent completed an investigation involving the captain of a U.S. Hawaii based commercial longline vessel that had cut his mainline just outside the boundary lines surrounding the Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI) Longline Fishing Prohibited Area. This left the rest of his abandoned fishing line drifting inside the prohibited area. The captain admitted that he had to cut the mainline due to strong weather conditions regarding the safety of his crew and the NOAA observer onboard. A Written Warning was issued.
- A special agent issued a $1,275 summary settlement to the owner/operator of a non-permitted charter vessel out of New Smyrna Beach, FL. The boarding revealed that the vessel had four paying passengers, no federal fisheries permits, and bag limit violations. Further investigation by the agent shows that the vessel has been operating as a charter targeting regulated species in the EEZ for the past year.
- An enforcement officer completed an investigation into a commercial vessel fishing with bottom longline gear inside a longline restricted zone without a Gulf of Mexico longline endorsement. The subject was also found using cut up reef fish as bait. Case was referred to GCES.
- An enforcement officer issued a summary settlement totaling $800 for possession of red snapper during a closed season and undersize gag grouper. Case was referred from FWC.
West Coast Division:
- An investigation was initiated after an enforcement officer received reports of two dead sea lions on the Washington coast. One
of the sea lions had the snout removed. The other had been decapitated.
- An enforcement officer conducted a patrol in the Charleston, Oregon boat basin. A groundfish fishing vessel was boarded, all
permits and licenses were checked, and the offload of groundfish monitored. No discrepancies were noted.
- An enforcement officer conducted a patrol in Astoria and Warrenton, Oregon. Local fish processing plants were inspected as
they were preparing for the first deliveries of Dungeness crab following the 11-day strike off the West Coast. No discrepancies
- An enforcement officer received a report of a deceased gray whale that had beached itself on the Oregon coast. The Marine
Mammal Stranding Network was notified. At this time no necropsy is planned to determine cause of death.