NACO

National Association of Charterboat Operators

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.

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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.

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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

http://www.managingfisheries.org/2013%20documents/MONF_Findings.pdf

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

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Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Developing Social Wellbeing Indicators for Marine Management

The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.

 This request is for a new information collection.

Written comments must be submitted on or before July 8, 2013.

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Results from Electronic Logbook Pilot Study Are Now Available

Since its inception, a key priority of MRIP has been to explore new technologies and new methods to gather catch and trip information from the charter for-hire industry. A pilot study was recently completed that tested the feasibility of using electronic logbooks to collect landings and fishing effort data. An MRIP Project Team comprised of partners from Florida, Texas, and the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission, as well as a group of independent experts, worked alongside for-hire captains to design a pilot program to collect catch and effort data in the Florida Panhandle and Corpus Christi, Texas, during 2010 and 2011. The final project report, which provides results and recommendations for future work, is now available online at  www.countmyfish.noaa.gov. 

Key project findings include the following:

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Vacancies Announced on Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee

The United States Coast Guard is requesting applications from qualified candidates seeking consideration for appointment as members to the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee (MEDMAC). MEDMAC provides advice to the United States Coast Guard on matters related to medical certification determinations for issuance of licenses, certificates of registry, and merchant mariners' documents; medical standards and guidelines for the physical qualifications of operators of commercial vessels; medical examiner education; and medical research.

Applicants must send a cover letter describing their interest, reasons for application, and qualifications, and should enclose a complete professional biography or resume to LT Ashley Holm, the Alternate Designated Federal Officer (ADFO). Applications will be accepted from the time the notice is published until May 29, 2013.

 

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Draft NOAA Five Year Research and Development Plan

NOAA's draft Five Year Research and Development Plan is available for public review and comment until June 3, 2013. This plan will guide NOAA's research and development activities over the next five years, from 2013-2017. The Plan provides a common understanding among NOAA's leadership, workforce, partners, constituents, and Congress on how the agency's R&D creates value. This plan will help NOAA and the public monitor and evaluate the agency's progress and learn from its experiences.

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D.C. Circuit Holds EPA Can Invalidate a Clean Water Act Section 404 Permit After It Is Issued

In a ruling that adds to the complexity of the federal regulatory landscape, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has the authority to retroactively disapprove dredge and fill permits issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps") under section 404 of the Clean Water Act.  As a result of the decision, even after a regulated entity lawfully obtains a section 404 permit from the Corps, at any time during the life of that permit EPA can exercise its authority – independent from the Corps – to revoke the permit.  The decision further complicates the already byzantine process of obtaining authorizations necessary for public works and private development projects.

Under section 404, any person seeking to discharge dredged or fill material into waters within the Corps’ jurisdiction must secure a permit.  Subsection 404(a) provides that the Secretary of the Army, who acts through the Corps, "may issue permits ... at specified disposal sites" for the dredging or filling of navigable waters.  Subsection 404(c) states that EPA "is authorized to prohibit the specification ... of any defined area as a disposal site...."  Thus, the Corps can issue a permit and identify where the waste can be disposed of, but EPA can veto the disposal site.

 

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8 Regional Councils to Meet in DC

The Pacific Council will host a meeting of the Council Coordination Committee (CCC) consisting of the eight Regional Fishery Management Council (RFMC) chairs, vice chairs, and executive directors and its subcommittees in May 2013. The intent of this meeting is to discuss issues of relevance to the Councils, including: budget issues, CCC meeting protocols, Managing Our Nation's Fisheries 3 (MONF3) conference results, Endangered Species Act transparency, electronic monitoring, allocation review process, Department of Commerce Office of the Inspector General report action plan, new environmental review process, other topics of concern to the RFMC, and decisions and follow-up activities.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 6, 2013, and recess at 5:30 p.m. or when business is complete; reconvene at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 9, 2013 and recess at 5 p.m. or when business is complete; and reconvene at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 10, 2013 and adjourn by 5:30 p.m. or when business is complete.

 

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