Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee: Intercessional Meeting

Two working groups of the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee (MEDMAC) will meet to discuss Task Statement 1, ``Revision of Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) 04-08'' and Task Statement 4, ``Revision of CG-719K, Merchant Mariner Credential Medical Evaluation Report and CG-719K/E, Merchant Mariner Evaluation of Fitness for Entry Level Ratings.'' The meeting will be open to the public.

The working groups will meet Tuesday, June 18 and Wednesday, June 19, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please note that the working groups may end early if they have completed their business. Written comments to be distributed to working group members are due by June 10, 2013.


Emerging Data Collection Technologies, Angler Confidence

The following update on MRIP was published by NOAA 

Subject of Recent Congressional Hearing

he May 21  oversight hearing on data collection issues related to the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act featured a lot of discussion about the implementation of the Marine Recreational Information Program and building angler confidence in the recreational fisheries statistics we produce. There were also a number of comments about emerging electronic technologies and self-reported angler data. Below is a summary of these discussions and the ways MRIP is looking at these issues.


The Latest On Sawfish Listing As Endangered

The WildEarth Guardians (WEG) in 2010 requested that NMFS list six sawfish species as endangered. NMFS published a finding that it may be warranted  in 2011. This is their latest report regarding sawfish, which they state are located everywhere. 

We, NMFS, have completed comprehensive status reviews under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of five species of sawfishes in response to a petition to list six sawfish species. In our 90-day finding we determined that Pristis pristis, as described in the petition, was not a valid species and began our status review on the remaining five species (Anoxypristis cuspidata; Pristis clavata; Pristis microdon; Pristis zijsron; and all non-listed population(s) of Pristis pectinata). During our status review, new scientific information revealed that three previously recognized species (P. microdon, P. pristis, and P. perotteti) were in fact a single species, Pristis pristis. We had previously listed P. perotteti as an endangered species (July 12, 2011). We therefore also considered the information from our 2010 status review of P. perotteti, herein P. pristis. We have determined, based on the best scientific and commercial data available and after taking into account efforts being made to protect the species, that the narrow sawfish (A. cuspidata); dwarf sawfish (P. clavata); largetooth sawfish (collectively P. pristis; formerly P. pristis, P. microdon, and P. perotteti); green sawfish (P. zijsron); and the non-listed population(s) of smalltooth sawfish P. pectinata meet the definition of an endangered species. We also include a change in the scientific name for largetooth sawfish in this proposed rule to codify the taxonomic reclassification of P. perotteti to P. pristis. We are not proposing to designate critical habitat because the geographical areas occupied by the species are entirely outside U.S. jurisdiction and we have not identified any unoccupied areas that are currently essential to the conservation of any of these species. We are soliciting information that may be relevant to these listing and critical habitat determinations, especially on the status and conservation of these species.

Comments on this proposed rule must be received by August 5, 2013. Public hearing requests must be made by July 19, 2013.


Coast Guard Closes Investigation into Parasailing Deaths

The United States Coast Guard has closed an investigation into the death of two women while parasailing in Ocean Isle Beach NC nearly four years ago.  The report recommends the Coast Guard increase several safety expectations for parasailing operations, including seeking legislative authority for inspections of vessels.


NMFS Withdraws Proposed Regulation for Determining Fishery Resource Disasters

NMFS withdraws a proposed rule for proposed regulations governing the requests for determinations of fishery resource disasters as a basis for acquiring disaster assistance, which was published on January 15, 2009. Instead of going forward with a final rule directly resulting from the 2009 proposed rule, NMFS issued an internal policy on June 16, 2011.

The proposed rule published on January 15, 2009 (74 FR 2467) is withdrawn as of May 30, 2013.

Comments Sought for Continuation of National Recreational Boating Survey

The U.S. Coast Guard is requesting an extension of its approval to the collection of National Recreational Boating Survey. Before submitting this ICR to OMB, the Coast Guard is inviting comments as described below.

Comments must reach the Coast Guard on or before July 1, 2013.

USCG Inappropriate Navigation Lights Alert

The Coast Guard has recently become aware of the uninspected towing vessel industry using inappropriate navigation lights that fail to meet the criteria for use onboard any vessel; SEACHOICE Products LED Navigation Light, SCP #03201 shown below. Online research shows many outlets for the sale of this product.  It is possible that this product may be in widespread use in the recreational boating industry as well.

U.S. Coast Guard: 2012 Recreation Boating report: drop in fatalities, accidents & injuries

The U.S. Coast Guard released its 2012 Recreational Boating Statistics, revealing that boating fatalities that year totaled 651, the lowest number of boating fatalities on record.

From 2011 to 2012, deaths in boating-related accidents decreased from 758 to 651, a 14.1 percent decrease; injuries decreased from 3,081 to 3,000, a 2.6 percent reduction; and the total reported recreational boating accidents decreased from 4,588 to 4,515, a 1.6 percent decrease.

Chairman Hastings Joins 12 Members in Launching Endangered Species Act Working Group

Chairman Hastings Joins 12 Members in Launching Endangered Species Act Working Group

Group will continue Committee's examination of ESA litigation

On Thursday, Members of the House of Representatives, representing a broad geographic range, announced the creation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Working Group.

Managing Our Nations Fisheries 3 Concluded

The Managing Our Nation's Fisheries 3 conference wrapped up with conference participants developing 128 recommendations for improving fishery sustainability. The draft recommendations are posted online in the link below and will be further elaborated in the conference proceedings. Find all recommendations here

The conference was coordinated by the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils and NOAA Fisheries, and was sponsored by both fishing industry and environmental groups.