NACO is a national association of charterboat owners and operators that was formed in 1991. Representing thousands of individuals all across the United States, our membership includes marine charters who provide fishing, sailing, diving, eco-tours, and other excursion vessels who carry passengers for hire. As the premiere Association that represents charter boat interests, our objective is to improve the professional charter boat operator's bottom line and to provide a strong voice in Washington, DC.
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NACO is pleased to announce that on Monday evening, February 1, we achieved one of our greatest accomplishments for NACO members and the For-Hire Industy. The passage of the USCG Bill includes language that eliminates the 2010 requirement that all USCG certified passenger vessels that carry more than 6 passengers must replace required life floats with out of the water survival craft. The 2010 requirement was to go into effect on February 26th.
Section 301 of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015, when signed into law, will supersede the current requirement mandating all COI vessels to install out of the water survival craft. That requirement was originally enacted in the year 2010. In June of 2011 NACO contacted the other National and Regional Passenger Associations to form a coalition to work to change the 2010 law. NACO and our partners worked overtime since then to convince Congress to reconsider its decision. Although some familiar with Congressional activities said we would not succeed, our persistence and unity of action persevered.
The last step is for the President to sign H.R. 4188. Congress will deliver the bill to the White House in a few days. Once it arrives there, the President will have 10 days to sign the bill into law, veto it, or simply let it become law without his signature. There is no indication that the President will veto the legislation.
Once H.R. 4188 (including section 301) becomes law a large number of NACO vessel owners will be relieved of the out of the water survival craft mandate of the 2010 law. Current Coast Guard regulations specifying the type of survival craft (life floats, IBAs, etc.) applicable to a specific vessel will continue unchanged.
NACO's Annual meeting was recently held January 18-20, 2016 in San Diego, CA. The meeting went well this year with some exciting decisions to help move NACO forward in the coming years, We would like to congratulate the reelected Board members Capt. Ron Maglio (IN), Capt. Paul Malo (MA), Capt. Ed O' Brien (MD), and Capt. Richard Yamada (AK) and our newly elected Board member Capt. Butch Smith (WA). We also would like to thank the two Board members who decided not to seek reelection, Capt. Bob Rush Jr. (NJ) and Capt. Randall Schmidt (IN) for their many years of service for NACO. Their work is greatly appreciated.
We congratulate the Board members reelected as officers, Capt. Bob Zales, II (President), Capt. Tom Becker (1st Vice President), Capt. Ed O’Brien (2nd Vice President), Capt. Ron Maglio (Treasurer), and Capt. Charlie Phillips (Secretary). We appreciate their continued hard work and dedication to NACO and the For-Hire Industry.
NACO extends its appreciation to Susan Mason-Yadav and her staff for their hard work on all the day to day issues that come before NACO. Her efforts and willingness to serve the Board continues to help enhance our Association.
NACO is constantly looking for new ways to serve our members and are in the process of implementing several new changes which you will see over the coming months. If you have not already liked our NACO Facebook page, Followed us on Twitter & Joined us on LinkedIn please do so; those as well as our NACO website will help to keep you informed.
As NACO is a membership driven association your concerns are very important to us. We encourage your participation with your local associations and are here to help you with regulatory issues and other issues that affect your business. The web site will be updated this week with the Board member contact info. When you have an issue we urge you to contact the NACO office toll free 866-981-5136 so they can address the issue or bring it to the attention of the Board. If you have suggestions on how we may better serve you please provide those. NACO is here to help you and to work to ease regulatory burdens that adversely affect your business.
We look forward to the coming year and working with the Board and the Membership to keep NACO as the premier voice for the Charter Boat Industry.
Capt. Bob Zales, II
New GAO report shows significant data collection gaps affecting recreational fishing of red snapper, other fish
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, today sent a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary Pritzker in response to the recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on Fisheries Data Collection. The report is the product of a 2013 bipartisan congressional request asking the GAO to study the National Marine Fisheries Service’s (NMFS) marine recreational fisheries data collection program. The report concluded that NMFS lacks a comprehensive strategy and recommends that the agency develop such a plan with programmatic goals and time frames, and clearly communicate that information to stakeholders. In the letter, Rubio urges the secretary to fully support implementation of the GAO’s recommendations.
“NMFS must work diligently to rebuild trust with key stakeholders for more effective management of our nation’s fisheries,” Rubio wrote. “The importance of having these stakeholders as data collection partners cannot be overstated. Our fisheries support millions of jobs and are economically vital to coastal communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. However, without effective and trustworthy data collection, these benefits will not be realized. A transparent, structured plan with established time frames is essential for a successful data program.”
Background: As Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard, Rubio has detailed the need for improved quality and timeliness of data collection to ensure sound fisheries management. On May 20, 2015, he reintroduced the Florida Fisheries Improvement Act, which was reported out of the Senate’s commerce committee on June 25, 2015. If enacted, S. 1403 would:
Repeal separate catch quotas for the recreational and commercial red snapper fisheries;
Require both the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council to review the allocation of fishing privileges;
Increase public involvement in the scientific and statistical processes that inform fishery management;
Allow fishery facilities to make use of capital construction funds;
Allow for more than 10 years of rebuilding for fish stocks managed under an international agreement;
Require a plan to conduct stock assessments for all stocks currently managed;
Require a report on better use of fisheries data; and
Speed up the timeline for fishery disaster declaration.
The full text of the letter is below.
Dear Secretary Pritzker:
As the Chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, I write to encourage you to direct the National Marine Fisheries Service to quickly implement the Government Accountability Office’s recent recommendations, as outlined in the report, “GAO-16-131, Recreational Fisheries Management: The National Marine Fisheries Service Should Develop a Comprehensive Strategy to Guide its Data Collection Efforts.”
The report stems from a 2013 bipartisan congressional request to examine current data collection practices used in determining stock assessments. Although the GAO report notes that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has taken steps to improve data collection for recreational fisheries, the report also states, “NMFS does not have a comprehensive strategy to guide the implementation of its various efforts… Moreover, without clearly communicating the strategy to its stakeholders, NMFS may find it difficult to build trust, potentially limiting its ability to effectively implement MRIP improvement initiatives that rely on data collection partners.”
As noted above, NMFS must work diligently to rebuild trust with key stakeholders for more effective management of our nation’s fisheries. The importance of having these stakeholders as data collection partners cannot be overstated. Our fisheries support millions of jobs and are economically vital to coastal communities throughout the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. However, without effective and trustworthy data collection, these benefits will not be realized. A transparent, structured plan with established time frames is essential for a successful data program.
As NMFS acknowledges the need to develop this important strategy, I urge you to use the necessary resources within the Department and NMFS to implement the recommended data collection efforts as soon as possible.
The NACO Annual Business meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Bayside in San Diego, CA., January 18th through the 20th for a 2 & 1/2 day meeting period. We invite you to attend the meeting and to contact us at the office for more information.
If you would like to run or nominate someone for an available board seat, please contact the office before the deadline of October 18th to submit a current resume/bio and a copy of your current CG license to qualify. This information may be submitted via Mail, fax or email, but must be received no later than October 18, 2015
Any regular member wishing to run for a seat on the Board must go through the selection process of the Nominating Committee to be on the ballot. The Nominating Committee shall nominate that number of candidates at least equal to the number of seats up for re-election to the Board. Members of the Board of Directors serve a three-year term, and attend the Annual Meeting each year, participate in quarterly meetings, and serve on one or more of the various committees of the Board. A list of those committees is available on the NACO web site.
Elections for the NACO Board of Directors will be finalized at the 2016 Annual Meeting.
toll free 866-981-5136.
Our united position for this request is that we feel there is no need to change the safety equipment we currently use as our industry has proven to be one of the safest passenger carrying industries in the country. The safety equipment plus the required monthly safety drills we undertake provide a more than adequate safe environment for the passengers and crew we carry. The Coast Guard “Survival Craft Safety” report verifies that our industry is safe and that the use of out of the water survival craft will not provide any more safety than we currently provide.
NACO's Capt. Bob Zales, Capt. Tom Becker, and Susan Mason-Yadav in collaboration with our friends from California, Capt. Roger Thomas of Golden Gate Fisherman's Association and Sportfishing Association of California's Ken Franke and Alayna Siddall put some boots to the ground to visit with Senator Wicker in his Gulfport office this week, It's good to know that we have people like Senator Wicker in office taking his time to understand how certain regulations impact the Charter Industry.
The Department of State, as authorized under the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act (ATCA), has appointed Mr. Ray Bogan as an alternate
to serve as the U.S Recreational Commissioner to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). This
position is a Presidential Appointment so Ray will serve until such time as the President makes the appointment. Since the Department
of State has placed Ray in this position he is in a great position to receive the Presidential appointment.
Capt. Bob Zales, II, President of NACO, stated, “I have known Ray for many years and have worked with him on a host of recreational
fishing issues, including working with him as a member of the U.S. ICCAT Advisory Committee. Ray is an excellent choice to serve as
the U.S. Recreational Commissioner to ICCAT which is why NACO fully endorsed and recommended Ray for the position.”
NACO will continue to recommend and endorse Ray for the full appointment. His lifelong involvement in his family charter/headboat
business, his work for all recreational anglers, and his vast knowledge of fisheries and the management system makes him the best choice
for the position.
We offer our sincere congratulations to Ray.
Award presented to Capt. Ed O'Brien on behalf of the Commandant by Assistant Commandant, Rear-Admiral, Paul Thomas
The Commandant of the United Stated Coast Guard takes great pleasure in presenting the Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award to Captain Edward A. O'Brien. As the Vice-President of the National Association of Charterboat Operators and President of the Maryland Charterboat Association, Capt. Ed O'Brien's leadership and relentless dedication to improving both charterboat operations and the licensing and certification processes that apply to charterboat captains, along with his steadgfast efforts to maintain open, candid dialog with regulators, not only improved overall safety, but saved countless hours by averting bureaucratic, political mis-steps, saving significant taxpayers dollars.
On behalf of our members NACO wishes to provide our full support to Raymond D. Bogan to be appointed as the next U.S. Recreational Commissioner to ICCAT. Ray's experience and expertise on national and international fishery issues is unsurpassed. Along with his extensive background in fishery management he is the best candidate qualified and able to represent the recreational fishing community in the ICCAT arena.
To view the entire letter of support click here
NACO Support for Capt. Andrew Mezirow to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council
We appreciate the opportunity to recommend Captain Mezirow and strongly encourage you to support his appointment to serve on the NPFMC. Should you have any questions on this issue or others please contact me.
To view the entire letter please click here
NOAA has released its National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy.
"The policy—crafted with input from recreational fishing and boating communities, conservation organizations, and managers across the nation—reflects anglers’ voices on a number of existing and emerging concerns, including public access, resource stewardship, regulatory education, science innovation, and better lines of communication between state and federal rulemakers with the community." (comment from NOAA webpage)
NACO’s Capt. Bob Zales, Capt. Richard Yamada and Capt. Dave Pecci, (Members of the Recreational Fishing Working Group) were involved in the development of the document. As with most Policy Statements it is not perfect but it is a step forward in finding a balance between commercial and recreational fishing interests.
Click the link or image below to read the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy
S.373 - A bill to provide for the establishment of nationally uniform and environmentally sound standards governing discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel.
As of yesterday afternoon, Senators Rubio, Thune and Nelson have reintroduced the bill from last year that will permanently exempt all charter vessels less than 79’ from having to obtain and comply with the EPA NPDES, (Incidental Vessel Discharge) permit.
Sen. Rubio, Marco [R-FL] (Introduced 02/04/2015)
Senate - Commerce, Science, and Transportation
02/04/2015 Read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.
NACO President Capt. Bob Zales, II was invited and gave testimony on behalf of the For-Hire Charter Fleet before the Senate Committee.
To read the full testimony given by Capt. Zales on February 4, 2015 please click here
While the Implementation Plan is currently limited to theSoutheast Region we know the National Marine Fisheries Service is considering moving to electronic data monitoring and reporting in all areas of the country. Clearly, electronic data monitoring and reporing is the way of the future to more precise and timely collection of effort and catch in fisheries...To Read the entire comment letter, please click here
Congratulations to our reelected Board members Capt. Percy Blackburn (VA), Capt. Roger Parcelles (FL), and Capt. Greg Sutter (AK) and newly elected Board members Capt. George Eller (FL) and Capt. Mike Schoonveld (IN ). We look forward to working together and to continue moving NACO forward.
NACO extends a special thank you to the two Board members who decided not to seek reelection, Capt. Scott Robson (FL) and Capt. Bryan Bondioli (AK) for their many years of service to NACO. Their work is greatly appreciated.
Board members elected as officers, are as follows:
Capt. Robert F. Zales II, President
Capt. Tom Becker , 1st Vice President,
Capt. Ed O’Brien, 2nd Vice President
Capt. Ron Maglio, Treasurer
Capt. Charlie Phillips, Secretary
We appreciate the hard work and dedication from the previous officers Capt. Percy Blackburn (President), Capt. Bob Rush (1st Vice President), Capt. Roger Parcelles (2nd Vice President), Capt. Randall Schmidt (Treasurer), and Capt. Dave Pecci (Secretary). They all did an excellent job and the current Officers will strive to continue that effort.
Thanks to Susan Mason and her staff for their hard work on all the day to day issues that come before NACO. Her efforts and willingness to serve the Board has helped to enhance our Association.
As NACO is a membership driven Association our members concerns are very important to us. We encourage membership and participation with your local Associations and are open to suggestions on how we may better serve you. NACO is here to help you and to work to ease regulatory burdens that adversely affect your business.
We at NACO look forward to the coming year and working with the Board and the Membership to keep NACO as the premier voice for the For-Hire Charter Boat Industry.