Enforcement blog


Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Coast Guard Gives Annual Report on West Coast Activities

U.S. Coast Guard crew, Golden Gate Division, train in massive waves off the coast of San Francisco in 2018.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s Thirteenth and Eleventh Districts gave their annual presentation to the Council  in June. Some highlights are provided below; see the full report.

In 2018, there were 877 fisheries boardings and 11 significant fisheries violations in West Coast waters. About a third of the boardings were on commercial fishing vessels, while the rest were on recreational and charter boats. Specific examples include a commercial fishing boat operating illegally in the Cape Perpetua Marine Protected Area, a crab boat deploying gear before the official start of the season, eight halibut aboard a vessel without a commercial fishing license, a tuna troller refusing to respond to the Coast Guard, a salmon troller retaining 18 salmon during a closed season, and an assault on a female crewmember while under the influence.

Many of the Coast Guard’s most effective efforts are the result of working collaboratively with partners from NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Treaty Tribes, and California, Oregon, and Washington state fisheries enforcement personnel. For example, in May, seven Coast Guard Patrol Boats along with NOAA Law Enforcement, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon State Police conducted an interagency operation focused on the salmon opener, boarding 92 commercial and recreational boats.

In addition to fisheries enforcement, the Coast Guard has an active Marine Protected Species protection program. In 2018, Districts 11 and 13 participated in 12 marine protected species response operations, including locating and helping to free entangled whales and responding to Marine Mammal Protection Act violations. The Coast Guard also participated in efforts to protect southern resident killer whales, review stranding protocols, and provide outreach to the public on interacting with Puget Sound killer whales.

One of the Coast Guard’s primary objectives in working with the Council is to identify ways to improve the safety of all fishing activity. In 2018, four lives were lost from West Coast commercial fishing vessels. This is lower than the average from the preceding ten-year period (6 lives lost per year).

In February 2018, a 48’ wood crab vessel with three people on board, fishing 8 nautical miles (nm) off Humboldt Bay, had two crewmen on deck fall overboard. One person was retrieved quickly and brought back onboard by the master. Despite exhaustive search efforts, the other person was not located and the search was suspended.

In May 2018, a crabber’s family reported his vessel overdue from a fishing trip off the southern Washington coast. The Coast Guard conducted multiple air, surface, and shore searches, eventually locating a sheen in the water inside Willapa Bay. While the Coast Guard continued to search for the crabber, the Pacific and Clark County Sheriff’s searched the Bay with divers and sonar, locating the submerged vessel. The search was suspended.

In September 2018, a 32’ fiberglass troller with two persons on board had one person fall overboard 3 nm off Bodega Bay. Despite an extensive search, the crewmember was not found.

In October 2018, a 40’ fiberglass troller in Dana Point was found with the master onboard deceased due to natural causes.

In addition to these losses of life, further examples of significant safety incidents on commercial fishing vessels are summarized below.

In addition to these four lives lost, there were four fires, 19 vessel floodings or sinkings, 11 medical incidents, 12 groundings, four collisions, and 60 incidents of loss of propulsion:

  • In April 2018, a 48’ steel crab vessel 5 nm off Trinidad had a fire in crew berthing due to an unknown cause that quickly spread to the pilothouse. All five crewmembers abandoned ship into the vessel’s life raft and were rescued with no injuries. Vessel was salvaged.
  • In February 2018, a 36’ wood troller began taking on water from loose planks 3 nm west of Mendocino. The vessel’s pumps were unable to keep up with flooding, and the two persons onboard abandoned ship to a Coast Guard motor lifeboat. The vessel sank.
  • In June 2018, a 28’ salmon troller suffered an engine casualty while passing outbound across the Coos Bay Bar and subsequently grounded on the North Spit. The owner was able to safely get off his boat, and the troller refloated at the next high tide.
  • In August 2018, a 56’ fiberglass vessel with one man and a dog ran aground off Santa Cruz in Monterey Marine Sanctuary. The man and his dog made it safely ashore with no injuries. The vessel broke up in the surf and was a total loss.
  • In November 2018, a 36’ fiberglass crabber had a crewmember hit in the head with a crab pot 7 nm off the Golden Gate Bridge. The crewmember was transferred to a patrol boat and then to awaiting paramedics on shore.
  • In August 2018, a Canadian tuna troller and a U.S. tuna troller collided more than 100 nm west of Newport, OR. Both vessels were able to proceed under their own power to Newport, where the Coast Guard boarded both vessels.

In February 2018, during the first month of Dungeness crab season, Coast Guard units in Washington and Oregon responded to 28 incidents of vessels losing propulsion, steering, or other casualties. Many of these responses involved crossing hazardous breaking bars and required the use of the specialized 52’ motor lifeboats located at Grays Harbor and the Columbia River in Washington, and Newport and Coos Bay in Oregon. These aging vessels are more than 60 years old, but continue to be maintained in the inventory because the capability they bring is essential to Search and Rescue operations on coastal Washington and Oregon Bars.

These incidents from 2018, as well as past incidents involving vessel losses and losses of life in commercial fisheries, make clear the hazards in the fishing industry are not isolated to a particular fishery or gear type or a specific geographic area or time of year. The USCG is constantly working to identify trends and take preventive actions in fisheries where incidents occur more frequently; as well as taking steps to attempt to improve the overall safety of the industry.

Mandatory dockside safety examinations are required for certain commercial fishing vessels, including vessels operating outside 3 nautical miles from the baseline, vessels carrying more than 16 individuals on board regardless of where the vessel is operating, and vessels engaged in the Aleutian Trade. These regulations require a USCG commercial fishing vessel safety examination to be completed at least once every 5 years. Having a current safety examination may reduce the extent and time boarding officers will examine safety and survival equipment at-sea. However, successful completion of an exam will not exempt vessels from boardings.

Further details, as well as updates on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Act rulemaking and other important commercial fishing vessel safety information are available at: www.fishsafewest.info.

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June 2019 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Thursday, June 27th, 2019

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met June 20-25, 2019 in San Diego, California. The June 2019 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document contains the highlights of significant decisions made at that meeting. Results of agenda items that do not reach a level of highlight significance are typically not described in the Decision Summary Document.


NOAA General Counsel seeking comments on Penalty Policy by June 3, 2019

Tuesday, May 28th, 2019

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announces the availability of draft revisions to NOAA’s Policy for the Assessment of Civil Administrative Penalties and Permit Sanctions (Penalty Policy) for public review and comment.

The draft revisions to the Penalty Policy will remain available for public review until June 3, 2019. To ensure that comments will be considered, NOAA must receive written comments by June 3, 2019.

Please see the Federal Register notice dated May 2, 2019 to view the draft Penalty Policy and to view instructions on how to comment.

For further information, please contact NOAA staff member Meggan Engelke-Ros at 301-427-2202.



March 2019 E-Portal for Public Comments is now open

Friday, January 25th, 2019

The Public Comment E-Portal for the March Advanced Briefing Book is now open.  Visit the E-portal to submit your written comment. The deadline for the Advanced Briefing Book is February 7th, by 5pm.  All comments submitted by the deadline will be reviewed and posted to the E-Portal page on February 15, 2019.

Visit our Current Council Meeting page for more details.


Pacific Fishery Management Council Appoints Advisory Body Members for the 2019-2021 Term

Thursday, November 8th, 2018

The Council appreciates all of the nominees’ interest and willingness to serve.  The Council reviewed the nominations and appointed Advisory Body representatives to the following positions for the 2019-2021 Advisory Body term.  Additionally, the Council increased the number of California Sport positions on the Salmon Advisory Subpanel from one to two.

The Council will solicit nominations for most of the remaining vacancies, including two at-large positions on the Scientific and Statistical Committee, after the November 2018 Council meeting for consideration at the March 2019 Council meeting in Vancouver, Washington.  Visit the Council’s Advisory Body Vacancies web page for details.

Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel:

California Commercial (3 Positions)

Mr. David Crabbe

Mr. David Haworth

Mr. Nick Jurlin

Oregon Commercial

Mr. Ryan Kapp

Washington Commercial

Mr. Daniel Crome

California Processor

Ms. Diane Pleschner-Steele

Oregon Processor

Mr. Mike Okoniewski

Washington Processor

Mr. Albert Carter

California Sport/Charter

Mr. Steve Crooke


Ms. Gillian Lyons

Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel:

California (3 At-large Positions)

Dr. Pete Adams

Ms. Corey Ridings

Mr. Donald Maruska

Oregon (3 At-large Positions)

Mr. Scott McMullen

Ms. Gway Rogers-Kirchner

Dr. Andrew Thurber

Washington (3 At-large Positions)

Mr. Paul Dye

Dr. Terrie Klinger

Mr. Nate Stone

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel:

Fixed Gear (3 At-large)

Mr. Bob Alverson

Ms. Michele Longo-Eder

Mr. Gerry Richter

Bottom Trawl

Mr. Travis Hunter

Mid-Water Trawl

Mr. Jeff Lackey

At-Large Trawl (2 Positions)

Mr. Kevin Dunn

Ms. Sarah Nayani

Open Access South of Cape Mendocino

Mr. Daniel Platt

Open Access North of Cape Mendocino

Mr. Jeffery Miles

Processors (2 At-large Positions)

Ms. Susan Chambers

Mr. Tom Libby

At-Sea Processor

Mr. Daniel Waldeck

California Charter South of Point Conception

Mr. Merit McCrea

California Charter North of Point Conception

Mr. Robert Ingles

Oregon Charter

Mr. Loren Goddard

Washington Charter

Mr. Thomas Burlingame

Sport Fisheries (3 At-large Positions)

Mr. John Holloway

Mr. Tom Marking

Mr. Dale Meyer


Mr. Shems Jud

Tribal Fisheries

Mr. Steve Joner

Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel:

Commercial Troll

Mr. Wayne Heikkila

Commercial Purse Seine

Mr. Michael Conroy

Commercial Gillnet

Mr. Gary Burke

Commercial Fisheries (2 At-large Positions)

Mr. Douglas Fricke

Mr. William Sutton

Processor South of Cape Mendocino

Mr. Dave Rudie

Processor North of Cape Mendocino

Ms. Nancy Fitzpatrick

California Charter Boat

Mr. Mike Thompson

Washington/Oregon Charter Boat

Ms. Linda Buell

Private Sport

Mr. Bob Osborne


Ms. Melissa Mahoney

Public At-large

Ms. Pamela Tom


Mr. Austen Brown

Salmon Advisory Subpanel:

California Troll

Mr. John Koeppen

Oregon Troll

Mr. Darus Peake

Washington Troll

Mr. Greg Mueller

Commercial Gillnet Fishery

Mr. Greg Johnson


Mr. Gerald Reinholdt

California Charter Boat

Mr. John Atkinson

Oregon Charter Boat

Mr. Mike Sorensen

Washington Charter Boat

Mr. Butch Smith

California Sport (2 positions)

Mr. Jim Yarnall

Mr. James Stone

Oregon Sport

Mr. Richard Heap

Washington Sport

Mr. Dave Johnson

Idaho Sport

Dr. Richard Scully

California Tribal

Mr. Dave Hillemeier


Ms. Megan Mueller

Habitat Committee:

Commercial Fishing Industry

Mr. Noah Oppenheim

Sport Fishing Industry

Ms. Liz Hamilton


Mr. Tom Rudolph

California Tribal

Mr. Justin Alvarez

At-large (2 Positions)

Dr. Scott Heppell

Mr. Stephen Scheiblauer

Scientific and Statistical Committee:

At-Large (8 Positions, 2 Vacancies Remain)

Dr. Aaron Berger

Dr. Michael Harte

Dr. Dan Holland

Dr. André Punt

Dr. William Satterthwaite

Dr. Rishi Sharma

Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Policy Advisory Committee

Conservation Representative

Ms. Melissa Mahoney


November 1-8, 2018 PFMC Meeting Fast Facts

Friday, October 19th, 2018

The November 1-8, 2018 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting “Fast Facts” are available. Fast Facts are answers to FAQs that can help you get oriented for the upcoming meeting (transportation options, internet code, hotel map).

November 2018 PFMC Meeting Fast Facts

If you have additional questions regarding the November 1-8, 2018 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting:



April 5-11, 2018 Council Meeting Fast Facts

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

The April 5-11, 2018 Council Meeting “Fast Facts” are available. Fast Facts are answers to FAQs that can help you get oriented for the upcoming meeting (transportation, internet code, hotel map).

If you have additional questions regarding the April 5-11, 2018 Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting:


November 2017 Briefing Book Available Online

Friday, October 27th, 2017

The Briefing Book for the November 14-20, 2017 Council meeting has been posted to the Council’s website on the “November 2017 Briefing Book” webpage. The Briefing Book contains the meeting agenda, “situation summaries” (brief summaries that provide background for each agenda item), reports and materials for each agenda item, and written public comment. Advisory body and committee agendas and memos are also available.

For further information:


June 2017 Council Decision Summary Document Online

Monday, June 19th, 2017

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met June 9-14, 2017 in Spokane, Washington. The June 2017 Council Meeting Decision Summary Document contains the highlights of significant decisions made at that meeting. Results of agenda items that do not reach a level of highlight significance are typically not described in the Decision Summary Document.


March 2017 Council Meeting Fast Facts

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

The March 7-13, 2017 Council Meeting “Fast Facts” are available. Fast Facts are answers to FAQs that can help you get oriented for the upcoming meeting (transportation, internet code, hotel map).