NMFS Proposes Changes to National Standard 1

National Standard 1 (NS1) of the MSA states that conservation and management measures shall prevent overfishing while achieving, on a continuing basis, the optimum yield (OY) from each fishery for the U.S. fishing industry.

NMFS has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking  to provide background information and request public comment on potential adjustments to the National Standard 1 Guidelines, one of 10 national standards for fishery conservation and management contained in Section 301 of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.  This action provides the public with a formal opportunity to comment on the specific ideas, as well as any additional ideas and solutions that couldimprove provisions of the National Standard 1 Guidelines.


Background on Endangered Species Act


Before a plant or animal species can receive the protection provided by the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, it must first be added to the Federal lists of threatened and endangered wildlife and plants. The List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants contain the names of all organisms that have been determined by the Services to qualify as ``endangered species'' or ``threatened species.'' After a species is listed as endangered or threatened under the Act, the Service that listed the species designates as ``critical habitat,'' to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, specific areas essential for the conservation of the species.

NMFS & FWS Revising Regulations to Publish Written Descriptions of Proposed and Final Critical Habitat Boundaries

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)are revising regulations related to publishing written descriptions of proposed and final critical habitat boundaries in the Federal Register for codification in the Code of Federal Regulations. In the interest of making the process of designating critical habitat more user-friendly for affected parties, the public as a whole, and the Services, as well as more efficient and cost effective, we are going to maintain the publication of maps of proposed and final critical habitat designations, but are making optional the inclusion of any written description of the boundaries of the designation in the Federal Register for codification in the Code of Federal Regulations. 

The boundaries of critical habitat as mapped or otherwise described in the Regulation Promulgation section of a rulemaking that is published in the Federal Register will be the official delineation of the designation. The coordinates and/or plot points from which the maps are generated will be included in the administrative record for the designation, and will be available to the public on the Internet site of the Service promulgating the designation, at www.regulations.gov, and at the lead field office of the Service responsible for the designation.

Congress Examines Maritime Regulatory Impacts

LoBiondo Holds Hearing to Examine Impact of Coast Guard and EPA Regulations on Job Growth in the Maritime Sector

The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, chaired by U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), held a hearing on Thursday, April 26th, to review the status of regulations by the United States Coast Guard and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and how such regulations impact the maritime industry.

The following is the statement of Chairman LoBiondo:

Marine Protected Area (MPA) Center External Review Report Now Available

The National Marine Protected Areas Center is pleased to share the findings of its External Review. This unprecedented review was conducted by four expert marine protected area (MPA) scientists and managers from academic, non-profit and state government institutions in January 2012. The panel was asked to review the MPA Center's activities in order to maximize its effectiveness and transparency and to provide an external assessment of both past accomplishments and future directions. This review will serve as a guide as the Center works with its partners, the MPA Federal Advisory Committee and stakeholders in coastal communities to craft a vision for our future in the context of current opportunities and threats to our shared ocean resources. For additional information, contact Lauren.Wenzel@noaa.gov. 

To read the report click here: 


NACO Sends Comments on Life Raft Issue

This week NACO sent a comment letter outlining the unintended consequences of the requirement to install inflatable life rafts on all COI vessels. Click to read the letter 

Automated Application Status Notification via Email Improvements

On Monday, April 30, 2012, the National Maritime Center (NMC) will launch an improvement to the automated email system originally fielded in December 2009. Mariners who have provided an email address to the NMC will receive an email notification 90 days prior to the expiration of their Merchant Mariner Credential, License, Merchant Mariner Document, or Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping. NACO has offered this service to you for 7 years. 

Intended as a final reminder of your impending credential expiration, you can ignore the email if you have recently submitted an application for renewal.

Washington DC Circuit Court of Appeals Hears Oral Arguments in E15 Waiver Case

On April 17, a panel of three judges of U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit) heard oral arguments on a legal challenge filed by numerous parties regarding the EPA Waiver that allows for 15 percent ethanol blended gasoline to be sold for use in cars model year 2001 and newer. Hopefully EPA's waiver will be struck down. 

Resolution to Amend H.R. 9 To Include Internal Revenue Code to Provide a Deduction for Domestic Business Income of Qualified Small Businesses

We just received this, we will be researching and report more to you next week.

Lawsuit Seeks Protection from Oil-spill Dispersants

Conservation groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard for authorizing toxic oil dispersants without ensuring that these chemicals would not harm endangered species or their habitats. The groups want the EPA to immediately study the effects of dispersants on endangered and threatened species in all U.S. waters, including threatened and endangered whales, sea turtles, salmon and seabirds in the Pacific and polar bears and walruses in the Arctic.