|NOAA NMFS 01-10-AKR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mark Oswell
Settlement Reached in Harbor Shooting Case
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service officials announce that earlier this month, Gunner Noreen of Juneau, Alaska, entered into a settlement agreement with NOAA Fisheries Office of the General Counsel in Juneau to resolve an unlawful "take" of a harbor seal.
As defined in the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a "take" is a legal term which means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill. Noreen, operator of a gill netting vessel, admitted to shooting and killing a harbor seal, and agreed to pay a $5,000 penalty and forfeit the .270-caliber rifle used in the incident. A portion of the $5,000 penalty will be suspended for five years provided that Noreen has no further violations of the MMPA.
The incident occurred during a gill net fishing trip on July 15, 1999, in the vicinity of Taku Inlet, near Juneau. The violation was reported to NOAA Fisheries, Alaskan Enforcement Division by a crew member of Noreen's vessel. The witness information was key to the successful prosecution of this MMPA violation, and NOAA has requested a reward for the witness involved in this case.
"Successful prosecutions of marine mammals harassment cases often depend on eye- witness evidence," said Steve Niemi, NOAA Fisheries, Office for Law Enforcement special agent. "The agency hopes others will follow the commendable actions of this witness and report any unlawful harassment of marine mammals to NOAA through its hotline."
To report any incident, call the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement hotline at 1-800-853-1964.