ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The 11th Coast Guard District, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife conducted joint boardings Sept. 26 – Oct. 1, 2013, to coincide with the closure of California’s commercial salmon season. OLE personnel accompanied Coast Guard teams in conducting the offshore boardings of commercial and charter fishing vessels in the area. California Department of Fish and Wildlife's (CDFW) primary involvement throughout the multi-agency operation took place aboard patrol boats Steelhead and Marlin and through onshore enforcement efforts. A number of CDFW officers assisted from air, ground and sea. “This is an excellent example of utilizing cooperative working relationships, State and Federal partnerships and common interests to protect California's natural resources,” said CDFW Assistant Chief Bob Farrell.
“This joint operation underscores the importance of sustaining the salmon population for commercial and recreational fishermen as well as future generations,” said Martina Sagapolu, acting Special Agent in Charge of the Southwest Division. “Ensuring the fishing community complies with federal regulations will help maximize the productivity of this critical fishery.” OLE protects marine wildlife and habitat by enforcing domestic laws and international treaty requirements designed to ensure these global resources are available for future generations. Those special agents and enforcement officers ensure compliance with the nation’s marine resource laws and take enforcement action when these laws are violated. “The goals of the Coast Guard, NOAA, and the California Dept. of Fish and Game are to protect the lives of boaters, preserve fish stocks for future generations and protect the environment,” said Capt. Greg Stump, commander of Coast Guard Sector San Francisco. “Joint safety and fisheries enforcement patrols are an effective and efficient way to provide the public and boaters the protection and services they deserve. I'm proud of our crews, and I appreciate the understanding and cooperation of the many law abiding men and women who make up the bulk of our recreational and commercial fishing fleets.” “From an environmental standpoint, we’re seeing a definite recovery of salmon and salmon stock in the California area,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cody Dunagan, a living marine resources officer with the Coast Guard’s 11th District in Alameda, Calif. “We have to be cognizant of adherence to the regulations in order to avoid depleting stocks again now that commercial salmon is a viable industry and recreational fishing is a viable sport. We want to make sure that the public is aware of the regulations, and that enforcement efforts are mirroring fishing efforts, so that we don’t deplete the stocks again. That’s really what we’re trying to do.”