SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



October 22, 2014
Wednesday PM

(SitNews) - American Seafoods Company (ASC) and NOAA agreed last week to settle three civil enforcement cases involving flow scales on board the ASC’s fishing vessels. The cases relate to events that occurred during 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2012 in the Alaska pollock fishery. Pursuant to the settlement, ASC agreed to pay a combined civil penalty of $1.75 million.

The cases charged that personnel aboard the ASC’s catcher-processor vessels American Dynasty, Ocean Rover and Northern Eagle violated the Magnuson Stevens Act and the American Fisheries Act by causing the flow scales to weigh inaccurately.

Flow scales are used to ensure accurate catch accounting on catcher-processors, and the data they collect are essential to effective management of the Alaska pollock fishery, one of the largest, most valuable fisheries in the world. Pollock processed on these vessels is used for a variety of products, including fish fillets, imitation crab, roe, fish oil and fish meal.

The violations were investigated by NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement and prosecuted by the Enforcement Section of NOAA’s Office of General Counsel. The cases resulted from reports from observers assigned to the American Seafoods Company vessels who noticed discrepancies between weights recorded by the flow scale and their own motion-compensated scales. Observers are responsible for monitoring and documenting the fishing activities on board the vessels. Observer reports are used for scientific, management and compliance purposes in the Alaska pollock fishery.

Separate from these enforcement cases, the National Marine Fisheries Service has proposed a change to its flow scale regulations that would tighten daily scale testing standards, require that test results be electronically reported to NMFS, improve the Agency’s ability to detect of accidental or intentional introduction of scale bias and require flow scale video monitoring aboard all catcher-processors using at-sea scales.


Edited by Mary Kauffman, SitNews

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