BOSTON — The Coast Guard and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration issued a violation to a Gloucester, Mass.,-based fishing vessel for a significant fisheries infraction, Jan. 29.
The vessel was issued the violation for allegedly fishing for Northeast Multispecies in the United States Exclusive Economic Zone while utilizing a net liner, an illegal fishing gear configuration.
Coast Guard Cutter Grand Isle crews noted the violation while conducting a boarding more than 100 nautical miles east of Cape Ann, Mass. After issuing the violation, the Coast Guard escorted the vessel back to port in Gloucester and seized all catch aboard in collaboration with NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement and Office of General Counsel. The catch was sold at fair market value in Gloucester and the proceeds from that sale will be held in a suspense account pending final adjudication and forfeiture proceedings.
Coast Guard and NOAA law enforcement personnel continue to conduct joint operations targeting vessels fishing illegally throughout the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.
"This is the second violation we have issued for net liner usage this year to a vessel targeting Northeast Multispecies," said Capt. Peter DeCola, chief of law enforcement in the 1st Coast Guard District. "Intentional net liner usage and similar illegal gear configurations allow an individual vessel to gain an unfair competitive advantage over fishermen abiding by regulations. These regulations are designed to ensure sustainable fishing for all."
"Catch seizures are an excellent enforcement tool in serious cases like this," said DeCola. "They minimize the financial incentive for fisherman who intentionally violate the rules. They maintain a level playing field for the industry as a whole."
The Coast Guard routinely works with the NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement to enforce regulations aimed at ensuring the continued viability of the ocean's resources and the success of the legitimate fishing operations that depend on them. In the Northeast alone, the Coast Guard collaborates with NOAA to conduct more than 1,800 commerical fisheries boardings annually.