FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Gordon Helm
|NOAA News Releases 2002
NOAA Home Page
NOAA Public Affairs
The National Marine Fisheries Service's Office for Law Enforcement is providing $900,000 to the State of Washington's Department of Fish and Wildlife in a joint enforcement agreement to increase enforcement of fisheries regulations at-sea, dock-side and on land over the next three years. NOAA Fisheries is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U. S. Department of Commerce.
During that time the WDFW will conduct nearly 13,000 hours of marine patrols, fishing vessel monitoring and water-borne inspections of catches and fishing gear. The WFWD will also conduct additional patrols to protect salmon listed under the Endangered Species Act, and purchase a boat to patrol the North Puget Sound as part of the joint enforcement agreement.
"These agreements help us to better meet our regulatory responsibilities," said Bill Hogarth, director of NOAA Fisheries." "Regulations have little impact if they can not be enforced. Any increase in enforcement will improve the health of our fisheries populations, and these new partnerships take us in the right direction."
By providing funds to state agencies, NOAA greatly broadens the reach of its fisheries enforcement capabilities and builds cooperative understandings at all government levels.
"The joint agreement with Washington Fish and Wildlife as an extremely important partnership tool that helps our special agents and enforcement officers fulfill their mission," said OLE Deputy Chief Mark Spurrier. "Adding the state's staff and resources expands our ability to patrol and investigate and magnifies our enforcement presence in the area."
OLE has developed and implemented JEAs with 23 coastal states and territories. Although various enforcement agreements have existed in previous years, last year Congress appropriated the funding necessary to support and expand OLE's partnerships through a cooperative enforcement program. In all, the 23 coastal states and territories will receive more than $14.6 million.
"NOAA Fisheries Enforcement and the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife have maintained an excellent working relationship through the years. The JEA solidifies this relationship and brings us to a new level of partnership that benefits us both," added Tom Shuler, special agent-in-charge for the OLE's Northwest Division.
NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation's living marine resources through scientific research, management, enforcement, and the conservation of marine mammals and other protected marine species and their habitat.
Learn more about NOAA Fisheries at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov.