New NOAA compliance assistance liaison

19 Apr 2011
Don Frei brings to the compliance assistance liaison position fishing industry experience as well as and experience at NOAA with fishing regulations. Credit: NOAA

Don Frei brings to the compliance assistance liaison position fishing industry experience as well as and experience at NOAA with fishing regulations. Credit: NOAA

A former commercial fisherman has been tapped as NOAA Office of Law Enforcement’s compliance assistance liaison in the Northeast.

Selected through a competitive process, Don Frei will begin working as compliance assistance liaison this month. He will build upon the efforts of Don Mason, a NOAA fishery management specialist who laid the groundwork for the compliance assistance pilot program during a 120-day assignment to OLE.

US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced this pilot program in September 2010 in response to Office of Inspector General reports and feedback received from stakeholders during NOAA’s National Enforcement Summit in August 2010.

“We are confident Don Frei’s extensive experience communicating with fishermen regarding fishery regulations will further open the lines of communication and aid fishermen in understanding regulations and improving compliance,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

Mr Frei was a commercial fisherman for 23 years, starting as a deck hand and working his way up to captain. He spent the first 15 years of his career fishing primarily for scallops and also groundfish from New Bedford, Mass., before spending eight years fishing for scallops in the waters around Kodiak, Alaska.

Since 2002, he has been a fishery management specialist with NOAA’s Northeast Regional Office in Gloucester, Mass., working with industry on regulation and gear questions and on a number of fishery issues related to scallops, herring, mackerel, dogfish and loligo and illex squid.

As OLE’s compliance assistance liaison, Mr Frei will interact with stakeholders and work with them to solve problems. While Mr Frei will work for OLE, he will not be an enforcement officer or a special agent.

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