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NOAA Enforcement Reaching Out

Don Frei - NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement Compliance Liaison

About five years ago, NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) in the Northeast Region strengthened its compliance assistance and outreach efforts by creating a new Compliance Liaison position. This position supports OLE’s goal of ensuring that those who obey the rules reap the benefits of fair competition and an even playing field in the market.  

With 23 years of experience as a commercial fisherman for scallops and groundfish, and 10 years with our Sustainable Fisheries Division, Don Frei is a perfect fit for this job. Not only is he familiar with the needs of the fishing industry, but he knows a lot about fisheries management and regulations.

As Compliance Liaison, it’s Don’s job to work with the fishing industry to increase both understanding of and compliance with regional fisheries regulations. To do this, Don spends a lot of time on the road talking to people. And he also:

We hear from the fishing industry, as well as from NOAA staff, that the Compliance Liaison role in OLE has been helpful. They appreciate, for example the workshops Don coordinates to help the Coast Guard and the fishing Industry gain a better understanding of fishing gear changes in the regulations.  Improved understanding has also improved compliance.

Internally, Don works closely with our Analysis and Program Support staff to improve compliance on both vessel and dealer reporting. He also works with the fishing industry, environmental nonprofit organizations, and our Office of Enforcement on electronic monitoring issues. Within OLE, Don is working with other regions to develop a policy on evaluating Electronic Monitoring and its enforceability in the fishing industry.  

Based on the success of the program in the Northeast Region, Compliance LIason positions were created for  other OLE offices throughout the nation. For more information, go to: You may also contact Don at 978-675-2198 or email him at