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Welcome to Enforcement Month!
The overarching goal of NOAA’s enforcement program is to protect marine wildlife and habitat and help safeguard the health of seafood consumers and the livelihoods of coastal communities. This is done through the enforcement of more than 30 domestic laws and international treaties designed to ensure these global resources are available for future generations.
The enforcement program is made up of two separate, yet equally important groups tasked with carrying out this mission – the Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC). These two offices have come together to kick off enforcement month.
The OLE/OGC enforcement team tackles everything from routine infractions such as gear, reporting, and permit violations to more complex issues involving illegal fishing, seafood mislabeling, and smuggling of marine resources. OGC and OLE have worked together to develop penalties and permit sanctions to deter individual violators and the regulated community from committing violations.
When violations do occur OLE is on the ground conducting investigations and, when appropriate, refers cases to OGC for prosecution. Attorneys, enforcement officers and special agents work closely together throughout the case proceedings to deliberate on evidence, identify proper courses of action, and coordinate legal proceedings.
We’re excited to share our stories and provide a clear picture of how OLE and OGC work in harmony to uphold the law. We encourage you to check out the Office of Law Enforcement’s webpage for the latest developments on the enforcement program throughout the year.
You can also help the enforcement team by reporting violations to the national tip line at 1-800-853-1964.
Bruce Buckson Lois Schiffer
Director, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement NOAA General Counsel