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March 2, 2010
NOAA and Gloucester Fish Exchange, Inc. (owner of the Gloucester Seafood Display Auction) agreed late yesterday to settle three pending enforcement cases that involved allegations of handling illegally caught fish and maintaining false records.
The settlement involves payment by the Exchange of $85,000 and a 35-day closure (non-consecutive) of the Gloucester Seafood Display Auction, over a three-year period under certain requirements. The days of closure will be coordinated in order to minimize economic hardship and customer burden. Under the terms of the settlement, NOAA and the Exchange further agree to dismiss all outstanding litigation involving these three cases.
“We are pleased to reach a settlement in this long-standing case and we are optimistic that we’ve entered a more constructive relationship going forward,” said Charles Green, NOAA Deputy Assistant General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation. “NOAA will continue to work with the New England fishing community to build a sustainable fishery that maximizes benefits to coastal communities and the nation. Compliance with fishery laws and regulations is critical to the success of our joint efforts.”
In January, NOAA announced it is developing a comprehensive plan to ensure a fair and effective enforcement program and to promote fairness, transparency and accountability in its fisheries enforcement operations.