NOAA 99-SERO18
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Chris Smith
4/16/99

NOAA ISSUES CIVIL PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING TURTLE EXCLUDER
DEVICE REGULATIONS AND TAKING A SEA TURTLE

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has charged the
owner/operator of a Texas shrimp trawler with civil violations of turtle excluder device
regulations and for taking a sea turtle, announced Senior Enforcement Attorney Karen Antrim Raine of NOAA's Office of General Counsel, who is prosecuting the case.

Raine assessed a total civil penalty of $4,000 in a Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) against Than Viet Do for violations that occurred on his vessel, the Master Jimmy, on March 16 in an area off of San Jose Island, Texas. On that day, a National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Texas Parks and Wildlife team boarded the trawler and found the turtle excluder device deflector bars in one of the vessel's nets exceeded the maximum 4 inch spacing allowed. A Kemp's ridley sea turtle was found in that net and released alive. The 3,094 pounds of shrimp onboard the trawler were seized and sold for $6,122.55. NOAA has issued a Notice of Proposed Forfeiture for the proceeds from the seized shrimp.

"The respondent has until May 2, 1999, to either pay the penalty, seek to have the assessment modified, or request a hearing before an administrative law judge to deny or contest all or any part of the violations charged and the penalties assessed," said Raine. "Claimants to the proceeds from the seized catch have until April 19, 1999, to file a claim and bond or certified check, a motion to stay administrative forfeiture proceedings, or a petition for remission and mitigation of forfeiture."

"The National Marine Fisheries Service Enforcement Team and its partners from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U. S. Coast Guard will conduct boardings in Texas' near shore areas daily throughout the rest of the shrimping season," said Eugene F. Proulx, Special Agent-in-Charge of the fisheries service's Southeast Enforcement Division. "We appreciate the shrimpers' cooperation and we urge trawler owners and captains to maintain their fishing gear properly."

NOAA Fisheries urges citizens to report fishery violations during business hours (M-F 8:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. EST) to its Southeast Region Law Enforcement Division at (727) 570-5344, or after hours by calling its Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964.

This and other Southeast Regional news releases and fishery bulletins are available on the region's Internet home page: http://caldera.sero.nmfs.gov or NOAA's Internet home page, http://www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov/releases99.

NOAA Fisheries is an agency of the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency conducts scientific research and provides services and products to support fisheries management, fisheries development, trade and industry assistance, enforcement, and protected species and habitat conservation programs.