Beginning of National Science Program Reviews for NOAA Fisheries

In January 2013, NOAA Fisheries will begin a nationwide peer review process of the regional science center and headquarters Office of Science and Technology's programs that inform fishery and protected resource management. These reviews will standardize the patchwork of program reviews that all our centers currently conduct. 

Independent scientists from inside and outside NOAA will carefully examine science programs on a 5-year review cycle to improve integration, identify best practices, and share successes and challenges. Each year NOAA will review one of several key elements within our science enterprise---data collection/quality, stock assessment methods, protected resources, ecosystems, habitat, climate impacts and adaptation, and socioeconomics. 


Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

We Wish You A Very Merry Christmas and A Prosperous New Year!

The office will be closed December 21, 24, 25, 31 and January 1

Schedule of Fees for Access to NOAA Data, Information, and Related Products and Services

In this final rule, NESDIS establishes a new schedule of fees for the sale of its data, information, and related products and services to users. NESDIS is revising the fee schedule that has been in effect since 2011 to ensure that the fees accurately reflect the costs of providing access to the environmental data, information, and related products and services. NESDIS is authorized under 15 U.S.C. 1534 to assess fees, up to fair market value, for access to environmental data, information, and products derived from, collected, and/or archived by NOAA. Other than depreciation, costs to upgrade computer hardware and software systems will not be included in the fees charged to users. NESDIS is updating its schedule of fees for access to NOAA Environmental Data, Information, and Related Products and Services as costs of providing access have changed since 2011.

Effective Date: January 31, 2013.

Comment on Medical Waivers for Merchant Mariner Credential Applicants With Anti-Tachycardia Devices or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators

On September 7, 2012, the Coast Guard published a notice of proposed policy change and request for comments regarding criteria for granting medical waivers to mariners who have anti-tachycardia devices or implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). The public comment period for the notice expired on October 9, 2012. In today's action, the Coast Guard is reopening the public comment period to provide additional time for interested parties to submit comments.

Jane Lubchenco to leave NOAA in Feburary

In a letter to staff, NOAA Administrator, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, has announced that she will leave her post in February.  The text of her letter follows:

December 12, 2012
Dear NOAA Family,

I write to let you know that I have decided to return to my family and academia at the end of February. I am immensely proud of all we have accomplished in the last four years and know full well that we have been able to do so much only because of your impressive talent and dedication. It has been a special privilege to serve as Administrator and work with all of you.  

DOT Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance Notice

Recently, some states passed initiatives to permit use of marijuana for so-called “recreational” purposes.
We have had several inquiries about whether these state initiatives will have an impact upon the Department of Transportation’s longstanding regulation about the use of marijuana by safety‐sensitive transportation employees – pilots, school bus drivers, truck drivers, train engineers, subway operators, aircraft maintenance personnel, transit fire‐armed security personnel, ship captains, and pipeline emergency response personnel, among others.
We want to make it perfectly clear that the state initiatives will have no bearing on the Department of Transportation’s regulated drug testing program. The Department of Transportation’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Regulation – 49 CFR Part 40 – does not authorize the use of Schedule I drugs, including marijuana, for any reason.

Saltwater Sportsman’s Editor in Chief Speaks Out After Election


John Brownlee gives his laundry list to President Obama’s fishery team for his second term. He addresses adequate science, arbitrary closures, catch shares and allocations. 

To read the Opinion from the Editor click here



TWIC – Mobile Enrollment and Activation Services

As the first TWICs approach their expiration date, TSA has been contacted by a number of stakeholders interested in establishing mobile enrollment and activation services at their facilities. TSA understands the flexibility that mobile enrollment and activation services provide, not only for TWIC renewals, but for the recently started Extended Expiration Date (EED) TWIC. TWIC enrollment services will soon transition to a new contractor, MorphoTrust, under a Universal Enrollment Services (UES) contract. The UES contract will include enhanced mobile enrollment services, Enroll Your Own (EYO), and bulk payment arrangements.

House Approves Two-Year U.S. Coast Guard Bill

NACO'S Legislative Work Brings About Positive Results  
The major push for NACO in this bill was to exempt COI Passenger carrying vessels from having to replace their current life rafts with inflatables. These inflatable life rafts carry a hefty price tag along with expensive inspections from private companies.

This bill initially passed the House in November 2011. The Senate adopted a revised version of the House measure in September and yesterday’s measure, which passed by voice vote, reflects a resolution of the differences between the House- and Senate-passed bills. The measure now goes back to the Senate.
NACO and other industry groups worked together and although this bill does not give an exemption, if approved and signed by the President, the bill requires a detailed report to congress on the need for this action, that NACO requested. We are hopeful the study will provide evidence supporting our position of an unneeded requirement that would cost our industry excessive money to implement and maintain. Depending on the details of the report it could open the door to the possibility of that portion being rescinded.
Below is the section of the bill that addresses our issue.

Recreational Fisheries Working Group Nominations Sought

Nominations are being solicited for appointment to a Recreational Fisheries Working Group of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). The members will be appointed by MAFAC in consultation with NOAA and will serve for an initial term of up to two years, with the option to apply to be re-appointed. The term would begin in February or March 2013. Nominees should possess demonstrable expertise in the management or business of recreational fishing and/or fisheries science; a well-informed background in recreational fisheries issues; an operational knowledge of federal agencies and interactions with the Fishery Management Councils and/or regional and state partners; and be able to fulfill the time commitments required for up to two annual meetings.

DATES: Applications must be received on or before January 9, 2013, via mail or email.