News Releases 2004
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NOAA’s General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation issued a $35,000 Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) on Feb. 10, to the owner and operator of the fishing vessel Captain Cecil for refusing to allow an observer onboard the boat. Darrel L. Hargett and Captain Cecil, Inc., of N.C., were also issued 45-day operator and vessel permit sanctions for the offense.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries), an agency of the Commerce Department’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), requires federally permitted vessels in specified fisheries allow observers to board their boat upon request. In this instance, the Captain Cecil, home ported in N.C., was fishing for summer flounder off Virginia.
“Fortunately, this is an infrequent occurrence,” said Attorney Mitch MacDonald, NOAA general counsel for enforcement and litigation - northeast division. “Vessel operators usually comply when asked.”
The permit sanctions accompanying the NOVA restrict the vessel and the operator from fishing for federally regulated species for the 45-day duration.
“Observers serve a critical role in fisheries management,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Gino Moro. “We treat all refusals as a serious infraction subject to enforcement action.”
The violation, which occurred on April 2, 2003 in Hampton, Va., was investigated by NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement.
NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public. For more information about NOAA Fisheries visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov.
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