Enforcement Patrols Begin in
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
MAY 8, 2001
Anne Smrcina, 781-545-8026, ext. 204
Mass. -- The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary will receive
this summer as a joint federal-state program begins regular law
enforcement patrols starting Friday, May 11th.
the first time, Massachusetts Environmental Police (MEP) patrol
boats will provide a visible presence
in the Sanctuary, particularly on busy weekend days when commercial
and recreational boats jockey for position around local whales.
MEP officers are cross-deputized to work in federal waters, and
can enforce federal environmental regulations, particularly ones
to protect endangered marine mammals and other Sanctuary resources.
cooperative effort between the Stellwagen Bank National Marine
Sanctuary, the Massachusetts Environmental Police, and the NOAA
Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement will educate the boating
public while documenting Sanctuary uses and provide a regular
marine "cop on the beat."
the growth of whale watching and a steady increase in boat traffic,
the Sanctuary has become an oftentimes busy marine crossroads,"
notes Sanctuary Superintendent Dr. Craig MacDonald. "Unfortunately,
many boaters are unaware of the established guidelines for safe
boating around whales. This program seeks to both bring important
education and information to the public and put officers on the
water where they can investigate potential violations of law."
Massachusetts Environmental Police has been an active force in
marine resource protection over the years," says MEP Director
Richard Murray. "We are pleased to to be part of this interagency
cooperative effort and to field trained officers in support of
patrols depart from various Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay
harbors from the beginning of May through Oct. MEP officers will
offer education materials to boaters in the Sanctuary, collect
data on vessel traffic, and document violations of federal marine
is an example of state and federal conservation agencies working
together towards a common goal," notes Dick Livingston, Special
Agent in Charge of NOAA Fisheries Northeast Enforcement Division.
The program builds upon a joint enforcement plan developed by
the Sanctuary and the NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement.
Under this agreement, a NOAA Special Agent is assigned to the
Sanctuary to coordinate law enforcement activities.
see our major thrust in Year One to be in the area of public outreach
and education," said MacDonald. "Part of the program
will be an effort to gather better information about Sanctuary
traffic. We have an 842-square-mile Sanctuary (almost the size
of Rhode Island) and a scarcity of data about the level of usage
of this vast tract of open water," he added.
Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is one
of 13 sites in the National Marine Sanctuary System. This historically
important fishing ground and prime whalewatching site was designated
a National Marine Sanctuary in 1992. The Sanctuary is located
at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay between Cape Ann and Cape Cod;
its headquarters office is located in Scituate, Mass.