Managing Our Nations Fisheries 3- Speakers Announced

Senator Mark Begich (D-AK), Representative Doc Hastings (R-WA), and Eric Schwaab, speaking for the Administration, will be featured speakers at the much-anticipated Managing Our Nation’s Fisheries 3 conference, held May 7-9, 2013 at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Coast Guard Struggles to Meet Demands as Sequestration Looms

The Coast Guard, already squeezed by dwindling resources, will be deeply affected by sequestration. Commandant Adm. Robert J. Papp said it goes against the Coast Guard’s culture to admit it can’t do more with less, but he is encouraging his units to do just that, the Navy Times reported.

“We can’t keep giving this image that we can do more with less,” he said.

Implementation of MARPOL Annex V Amendments

The Coast Guard is publishing an interim rule with request for comments to conform regulations to the adopted MARPOL Annex V amendments which entered into force on January 1, 2013. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) Annex V (Garbage) amendments prohibiting the discharge of garbage from vessels unless expressly allowed were adopted by the International Maritime Organization's Marine Environmental Protection Committee in July 2011 and implemented domestically through the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships. Under this rule, the only allowed discharges will be certain food wastes, cargo residues, cleaning agents and additives in wash waters, and animal carcasses.

This interim rule is effective April 1, 2013.

Fourth Circuit Strikes NMFS Biological Opinion regarding Pesticide Registrations

In a unanimous panel decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held (pdf) that a biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) regarding the effects of three pesticides on certain salmonids “was not the product of reasoned decision-making.”  The Fourth Circuit refused to “silently rubber stamp” an agency decision where NMFS failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for key aspects of that decision.  Further, the court refused to allow NMFS to offer post hoc rationalizations for its decision in the form of an expert affidavit and arguments advanced by counsel in the course of the litigation.  In contrast to the lower court decision, which deferred to NMFS and found that it is not the duty of the court to sit in judgment of scientific standards, the Fourth Circuit took a hard look at the agency determination even as it applied a deferential standard of review.

Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Hearing

On February 27th  Chairman Duncan Hunter and the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Chairman held the panel’s first hearing of the 113th Congress on the U.S. Coast Guard’s allocation of its personnel and resources among its multiple missions, as well as on how the Service measures mission performance.

The hearing focused on the Coast Guard’s ability to perform all of its 11 statutory missions, which are divided into “Non-Homeland Security” and “Homeland Security” missions, ranging from search and rescue, ice breaking, and marine environmental protection, to port security and drug interdiction.

Coast Guard Releases Safety Alerts

The Coast Guard’s latest release, “Safety Alerts, Safety Advisories, Lessons Learned 2008-2012” won’t be on the New York Times’ best-seller list, but it’s something fishermen and boat owners should read.

It contains 43 safety alerts that have come out of the Coast Guard’s Office of Investigations and Casualty Analysis over a period of five years. 

To view the report please click below (please be patient it could take 2-3 minutes to download


MPA Federal Advisory Committee and Sanctuary Council Chairs Meet for Joint Session on Tourism and Recreation

Recognizing that marine protected areas are destinations and play an important role in local and regional economies, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee met with National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council representatives and associated staff from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Department of the Interior and other ocean agencies, on Wednesday, December 5, 2012, to discuss how best to foster links between marine protected areas and the recreation, travel and tourism industries. This unprecedented joint meeting of over 70 participants represents a major step toward engaging two influential stakeholder groups with common goals but varied scales and perspectives. Meeting in small discussion groups, Federal Advisory Committee members and National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council representatives worked together to develop results-oriented plans that can be used to build engagement with the travel, tourism and recreation industries.

Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee to Meet in March

The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee (MEDMAC) will meet on March 14-15, 2013 to discuss matters relating to medical certification determinations for issuance of merchant mariner credentials, medical standards and guidelines for physical qualifications of operators of commercial vessels, medical examiner education, and medical research. The meeting will be open to the public.

 MEDMAC will meet on Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15, 2013, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Please note that the meeting may close early if the committee has completed its business.

Probe Cites Wrongs by NOAA Prosecutors By Richard Gaines

The special investigator commissioned by the Department of Commerce has concluded that the same two attorneys in NOAA’s Gloucester office who extracted an excessive settlement from a New Bedford scallop fishing business owner in 2005 did the same thing years earlier to a pair of New Bedford fish processors using coercive methods “with an intention to intimidate.”


USCG Forms Update Cancellation

The Coast Guard is cancelling the current forms update and will issue the update in conjunction with the pending STCW regulatory change. The following information bulletins are hereby cancelled: