NOAA Settles Flow Scales Case with American Seafoods Company
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration agreed to settle three civil enforcement cases involving flow scales on board the American Seafoods Company’s fishing vessels.
The case says that personnel aboard the ASC’s catcher-processor vessels American Dynasty, Ocean Rover and Northern Eagle violated the Magnuson Steven Act and the American Fisheries Act by causing the flow scales to weigh inaccurately.
The public affairs officer for the NOAA Fisheries Alaska region Julie Speegle says there were three separate cases that were settled all at once. She says the issue was brought to the administration’s attention by observers on board the vessels.
“And the observers noted that there were discrepancies between the weights recorded by the flow scales and their own platform scales which are used in their sampling work and they reported that. So flow scales measure or weigh the catch aboard the catcher-processor vessels so that we have a good accurate measure of the amount of fish that’s being caught so that we know when the total arrival catch has been caught.”
The violations were investigated by NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and prosecuted by the Enforcement Section of NOAA’s Office of General Counsel. Speegle says ASC has agreed to pay a combined civil penalty of $1.75 million to settle all three cases.
“Well NOAA believes that the $1.75 million civil penalty does accomplish its enforcement goals which includes protecting fisheries, achieving compliance with regulatory requirements and making the most effective use of limited enforcement resources. So we are content with the agreement.”
Speegle says NOAA was informed, not Fish and Game, because the violations took place in federal waters which are administrated under NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement.