DLNR and NOAA OLE NEWS RELEASE: Longline fishing vessel catch seized for expired federal permits

Posted on Mar 11, 2016 in Latest News

HONOLULU – The catch of the 71 ft. longline fishing vessel Lady Ann Margret was seized early Monday morning March 7 at Pier 38 in Honolulu harbor, in a joint enforcement action conducted by NOAA Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), aided by Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE).  OLE and DOCARE have a long-standing joint enforcement agreement in which DOCARE assists OLE on fisheries, and federal Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act enforcement, in exchange for funding.

Several days ago, while on patrol, a Coast Guard cutter had boarded the Honolulu-based vessel out at sea while it was actively fishing with longline set gear. However, the vessel did not have a current high seas fishing permit or a WCPFC area endorsement that are required under federal law. These documents had expired since July 2015. A NOAA OLE officer was aboard the Coast Guard vessel. (For more see http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2796714/ )

The fishing vessel later arrived in Honolulu to offload its catch at United Fishing Agency’s Pier 38. Officials observed the 3,598 lb. catch, consisting mainly of ahi and other pelagic fish, being offloaded, weighed and sold.  NOAA OLE seized the catch which was subsequently sold for $14,265.

DOCARE officers also checked the captain and crews of 5 longline fishing vessels at Pier 38 for valid commercial fishing licenses. Seven individuals from different vessels who were offloading catch were found in violation of state law because they did not possess a valid commercial marine license (CML) which is required of every captain and crew member on a fishing boat. They were each issued a citation for a petty misdemeanor offense and will have to appear in Honolulu district court.  They may not fish commercially until they renew their license which costs $50. They may also be subject to a monetary fine of $250 per person for a first offense for fishing without a license.

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Media Contact:

Deborah Ward

DLNR Communications specialist

Phone: (808) 587-0320