Joint Operation Seizes Shrimp in the Gulf

Monday, September 15, 2003
The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security concluded a four-day joint law enforcement offshore marine operation with U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA officers and equipment Thursday, September 11, 2003. ICE air and marine enforcement personnel and equipment were also utilized. The four-day twenty-four hour operation focused on targeting commercial fishing vessels. Targeted vessels were boarded by officers for the purpose of detecting violation(s) of laws enforced by the federal agencies. The Galveston County Sheriff’s Office enforced violations of state and local laws. U.S. Coast Guard officers aboard the USCS cutter Heron and ICE special agents boarded the fishing vessel Christian G located about 52 miles southeast of Freeport, TX late Tuesday night, September 9, 2003. All four of the turtle excluder devices (TEDs) required by federal law had been sewn shut and the crew had failed to properly employ By-catch Reduction Devices. The fishing vessel is home-ported at Palacious, TX. The 41,733 pound load of shrimp aboard the vessel was seized by NOAA after the Christian G was escorted to the port of Galveston, TX. “This is a very serious charge,” said NOAA Fisheries Special Agent Richard Cook, “because these fishermen were blatantly violating the Endangered Species Act and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.” The seized load of brown shrimp and rock shrimp was sold at auction for $78,399. It was determined that the captain of the fishing vessel had an outstanding warrant and was turned over to Galveston County Sheriff’s deputies.

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