NOAA's Office of General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation has issued a $30,000 civil penalty to James Hahn, the owner and operator of the fishing vessel, Relax for violations of the Atlantic Tuna Convention Act.
The alleged violations occurred on October 3, 2005 when five Atlantic bluefin tuna were landed aboard the FV Relax, violating the charter headboat daily catch limit of one tuna. The Relax was operating off Long Island, N.Y., in the Hudson Canyon area. Upon return to the dock in Oakdale, N.Y., police with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation boarded the vessel and discovered the five tuna.
Hahn also failed to maintain four of the tuna with the tail and at least one pectoral fin intact to allow for proper measurement, as required by law.
The New York officers seized the fish and later donated them to the Long Island Cares food bank. NOAA Fisheries Service Office for Law Enforcement conducted a follow-up investigation.
"Joint federal-state enforcement partnerships put more eyes on the water, allowing us to closely monitor recreational and commercial fishing activities," said NOAA Special Agent James Cassin, Jr. "NOAA and our state enforcement partners take fishing violations seriously, and we'll continue our work to curtail the illegal harvesting of fish."
The owner/ operator has 30 days to request a hearing before an administrative law judge.
To report illegal fishing activities contact the NOAA Fisheries Service's Enforcement Hot Line at 800-853-1964.