A destructive fishing practice indiscriminately killing massive amounts of marine life is taking place in our world’s oceans. The practice of dragging enormous nets suspended for miles in open water is called high seas drift net fishing and is a form of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
In February, a Coast Guard airplane circled high off the coast of New Jersey. Scallopers were suspected of illegally fishing in a closed area, damaging the recovery of the Hudson Canyon’s scallop population. However, locating and gathering evidence against them in a large, exposed area presented challenges. Protecting living marine resources has been a Coast Guard mission since 1894, although the execution has evolved. Nowhere is this truer than in the 5th Coast Guard District.
The Coast Guard earned kudos from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano during a visit to the Vessel Traffic Center in New Orleans. Secretary Napolitano noted the Coast Guard’s diverse and often unpublicized port safety and security missions during a meeting with public and private sector stakeholders to discuss inter-agency coordination and port resurgence after Hurricane Katrina.