New England - Enforcement Agents Uncover Illegal Landings of Sea Scallops
NOAA has issued a $105,000 civil penalty and a Notice of Permit Sanction to a Maine-based fishing vessel for exceeding the 400 lbs Atlantic sea scallop limit, failure to have valid vessel logbook on board, failure to possess valid operator permit, sale of Atlantic sea scallops to a non-permitted dealer and false statement. The fishing vessel was initially boarded dockside by Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management officers on Feb 10, 2005. During the boarding, the officers discovered 1,252 pounds of sea scallops, 852 pounds over the legal limit.
This initial boarding led to an audit by NOAA Fisheries Service's Office for Law Enforcement special agents. In the course of the investigation, the agents seized all business records from the vessel and the Cape Cod-based dealership, which disclosed additional illegal landings. The dealer gave multiple false statements in attempts to conceal the overages and hinder the Federal investigation. NOAA has issued a $75,000 Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) and a 90-day suspension of dealer permit to this seafood company for purchasing Atlantic sea scallops from a fishing vessel without a dealer permit; false statement and false oral statements to an authorized officer. The dealership has 30 days from the time of receipt of the NOVA & the Notice of Permit Sanction to request a hearing before a Federal Administrative Law Judge.
For more information, contact [email protected]
. To report any illegal fishing activities, please call the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hot Line at (800) 853-1964.