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Codfisher
10-19-2007, 01:42 PM
Get your crying towels out...:-)

Sedgwick fisherman faces $510,000 fine
By Tom Groening
Friday, October 19, 2007 - Bangor Daily News

ROCKLAND, Maine ó The captain of the Western Sea fishing boat and the vesselís owner face $510,000 in fines from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration for allegedly failing to comply with federal reporting laws on herring landings.

NOAA concluded that the vesselís captain, Daniel Fill, 43, of Sedgwick, failed to report about 15 million pounds of herring harvested in the Gulf of Maine between June 1 and late August, resulting in 51 violations of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act.

Herring fishing boats operate under a quota system, with each vessel allotted a certain percentage of the expected catch. Boat captains are required to report their catch weekly by telephone, and to keep daily logs detailing the vesselís location and catch information, said Mark Oswell, an NOAA spokesman based in Silver Spring, Md.

The fine and the suspension of Fillís license for two years were issued last week. The suspension is for all federal fishing permits, Oswell said, thereby prohibiting Fill from making a living seeking other species.

Fill, and the vesselís owner, Glenn Robbins of Eliot, have 30 days to go before an administrative judge to appeal the punishment, negotiate a settlement, or simply pay the fine.

Contacted on a cell phone as his vessel was entering Rockland Harbor Thursday afternoon, Fill said he hopes to work out a settlement with federal officials.

"Thatís crazy," he said of the fine. Fill and Robbins each would be responsible for half of the fine, he said.

Fill was pessimistic about surviving in the business.

"Iíll be back on state aid," he said, and imagined he would lose his home to the mortgage company and be lucky to leave the house with some personal items.

Oswell said the fine was the largest in Maine for a herring fisherman in the seven years he has been with NOAA. Any fine of more than $100,000 is "pretty significant," he said.

Someone in the fishing industry tipped law enforcement officials about the Western Sea not reporting, Oswell said.

Law enforcement officials who boarded the vessel in August found that Fill had not reported any catch the entire season, and had made none of the required daily log entries for the entire calendar year, he said.

Fill disputed this, conceding he was late in reporting his catch, but that he had kept the log nearly up to date.

"Iíve been so busy, because I run the boat and everything. Iím lucky to get ashore three days a month," he said.

"We donít have a secretary, so I basically do everything we can while weíre home. Itís not designed for the independent person," Fill said of the reporting system.

Companies that own several boats are better able to comply, he said.

Under state regulations, Fill had to file monthly reports, while under the NOAA rules, "Youíre supposed to call in every Tuesday to report. I couldnít find the number to call in," he said.

At the appeal hearing, he will solicit testimony from state Department of Marine Resources officials that he contacted them to get the telephone number.

"The numbers I got from them were inaccurate," which further delayed reporting, he said. "I just got the [catch] numbers a day or two before that federal guy came aboard," Fill said.

And often, his cell phone and satellite phone do not work when he is fishing far offshore, he added.

Fill suspects NOAA is making an example out of him for speaking against the quota system earlier this year.

"They want to crucify me," he claimed.

HIGHTIMES
10-19-2007, 02:25 PM
15 Million Pounds!!! WOW!!!

Hell be back on state aid:confused:

z-drive
10-22-2007, 08:41 PM
November national fisherman sitting on my bathroom floor---page 24. he speaks out against the ban on spawning herring. how ironic.