NOAA: New Outreach Positions to Help NE Fishermen Comply with Regulations

November 29, 2010

NOAA has hired two new staff members, both residents of the Gloucester area, as a part of its ongoing efforts to improve communication with the fishing industry and to work proactively with fishermen to help them understand and comply with fisheries regulations.

Compliance assistance liaison Don Mason and fishing outreach specialist Sheila Jarnes began their positions based in Gloucester earlier this month. The compliance pilot program was announced by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke in September in response to Office of Inspector General reports and feedback received from stakeholders during NOAA’s National Enforcement Summit in August.

“This is another step toward a more proactive approach to working with fishermen on a real-time basis to achieve compliance with fisheries regulations,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service. “As an agency, we understand that consistent compliance with fishery regulation provides a level playing field for the industry today and ensures healthy stocks that translate directly into financial dividends for fishermen both today and for generations to come.”

Mason, who is not an enforcement officer, will serve as a liaison to the fishing industry and other stakeholders. His job will be to listen and work collaboratively to solve such problems as understanding regulations or helping the industry ensure their gear is in compliance.

Mason is a lifelong resident of Cape Ann and has worked at NOAA’s Fisheries Service for 25 years, monitoring industry trends and conditions on the Gloucester waterfront. Prior to working for NOAA, he was a buyer for a mid-sized seafood processor that serviced wholesale and retail customers in 14 states.

Jarnes joins NOAA as fisheries outreach specialist for NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) - Northeast Division, headquartered in Gloucester. She will develop informational materials, including interpretation of regulations; coordinate public and private meetings between OLE and stakeholders; and work to implement a web-based “Ask an Agent” forum, among other responsibilities.

A lifelong resident of Newburyport, Mass., Jarnes earned her degree in Environmental Conservation from the University of New Hampshire. Jarnes previously worked for Oxfam America, a group of organizations working in more than 90 countries to find solutions to poverty and injustice, where she worked in outreach on climate change, women’s empowerment and food security.

The mission of NOAA OLE is to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations enacted to conserve and protect our nation's marine resources. To report a suspected violation, contact the NOAA OLE national hotline at 1-800-853-1964.

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