9/24/15 – SAFMC News Release: Council Recognizes Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 

September 24, 2015  

Download PDF version here

 

 

CONTACT:  Kim Iverson

Public Information Officer

Toll Free 866/SAFMC-10 or 843/571-4366

kim.iverson@safmc.net

Council Recognizes Law Enforcement Officer of the Year

         NC Division of Marine Fisheries Marine Patrol Officer Jonathan Weaver receives award

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council awarded the 2014 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year award to Officer Jonathan Weaver with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries Marine Patrol.Officer Weaver was presented the prestigious award by newly-elected Council Chair Dr. Michelle Duval during the Council’s September meeting in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  The award, acknowledging service above and beyond duty requirements, recognizes distinguished service, professionalism and dedication to enforcing fisheries regulations in the South Atlantic region. Nominees may be submitted from each of the southeastern state law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA Fisheries. The Council’s Law Enforcement Advisory Panel selected three of the nominees for 2014 for consideration by the Council.

 
Council Chair Dr. Michelle Duval presents Officer Jonathan Weaver the SAFMC Officer of the Year Award.

 

     Law enforcement is an integral component of the fishery management process. To recognize its importance, the Council initiated the Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award in 2010 to recognize outstanding contributions made by law enforcement personnel.  “Presenting this award to Officer Weaver as my first duty as Chair of the Council is a special privilege,” said Dr. Duval.  “It is especially rewarding to have the Council choose an officer with North Carolina Marine Patrol this year. There are outstanding men and women at both the state and federal level that often go beyond the call of duty to protect natural resources through their law enforcement efforts. Jonathan represents that professionalism and dedication.”

     Officer Weaver serves the Oak Island and Holden Beach areas of Brunswick County, North Carolina, with duties that include boat patrol, polluted area surveillance, endangered species patrol, dealer and license inspections, and boating safety. In February 2014, Officer Weaver discovered a commercial vessel selling its catch without the proper licenses, resulting in the seizure and sale of 1,022 pounds of snapper grouper species as well as charges being brought for sale of fish without a proper license. Through further investigation, Office Weaver discovered the additional unlawful sale of over 4,000 pounds of fish by the same fisherman that resulted in penalties against both the fisherman and the dealer.

     Other surveillance efforts have resulted in prosecution of vessels exceeding trip limits, including one crew that threw fillets overboard when being approached for suspected illegal activity. The fillets were tested and proved to be snowy grouper. Multiple charges were brought against the fishermen. Officer Weaver has also assisted the U.S. Coast Guard in making cases involving illegal harvest of red snapper and continues to work with the local Coast Guard Sector to develop and share information.

     “I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this recognition,” said Colonel Jim Kelly with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries’ Marine Patrol. “In addition to excelling in his daily duties, Officer Weaver has done an excellent job coordinating efforts and investigations involving illegal harvest and sale of federally regulated species.”

     Officer Weaver attended the Officer of the Year presentation in Hilton Head with his wife Jennifer and expressed his sincere appreciation to the Council for the recognition. “It is very humbling to have been nominated for this award, said Weaver. “It sincerely makes me feel proud for the work that I do.”

     Weaver’s nomination for the award was submitted by Captain Jason Walker with the North Carolina Marine Patrol, and includes a long list of specific qualities. “Consistently Officer Weaver goes above and beyond expectation with any assignment or investigation. He not only excels in marine fisheries enforcement but is an excellent instructor,” stated Captain Walker. “Officer Weaver’s candor and sense of humor, as well as hard working attitude make him well liked and respected by his peers and supervisors. He is always ready to respond to any call for service without hesitation or complaint.”

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, one of eight regional councils, conserves and manages fish stocks from three to 200 miles offshore of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida.