USCG Safety Regulation Update Meeting

     On October 28, 2016, 8AM at the Portuguese Cultural Center Hall 724  Kelly Ave, Half Moon Bay, the Half Moon Bay Seafood Marketing Association will be hosting a meeting with Peg Murphy, USCG District 11 CFVS, to provide updates of the Coast Guard’s process in developing new safety regulations for commercial fishing vessels.
     Contact Jim Anderson at allainehmb@gmail.com if you would like to attend
     Here’s  a description of the meeting from the organizers:
     As you will recall, we had planned to get together again with the USCG in the fall prior to everyone getting busy in preparation for the upcoming Crab season. This is that time.
     There have been many developments in Fishing Vessel Safety regulations since we met in May. ASCP was suspended but is being replaced with EOP (Enhanced Oversight Program). Not much is known about that program and Peg will be updating us in detail at the meeting with what she has learned. This will be our first real look at what the new “voluntary” program consists of and what exactly will be expected of the fleet.
     There also was a letter issued by the USCG in late August concerning the charters by NMFS of Commercial Fishing Vessels for Fisheries research. This letter basically stated that CFV would no longer be able to be chartered for research as has been the norm in all parts of the US for the last 20 plus years.(letter attached). The loss of this important data in our stock assessment process could lead to much more conservative allocations in our fisheries. This would be financially devastating to our already struggling fishing communities. In response to this letter Industry nationwide mobilized and the letter was walked back a bit. Peg will be filling us in on the details.
     Finally, We all received the notice of the extension of Public comment period for the Notice of Proposed Rule-making until December 18th, 2016. The question that I have heard most from industry is “What exactly am I supposed to comment on?”.  Well, that is a great question given all of the uncertainty that has been swirling about with everything Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety. Peg has agreed to walk us through what was in place before the ASCP plan, what is in place now after all of the changes and finally what the future is being proposed to look like for all of us. This should give us all a basis to formulate our comments by the deadline and hopefully have an impact on the rulemaking. Your input from the last meeting made a difference on the suspension of ASCP and I am certain your comments will have an impact on what new rules will be implemented.
     You will remember that the last meeting was intended to address ASCP and that it only applied to vessels over 50 feet in length overall. Since documented vessels are referred to on documentation papers a Registered Length rather than overall it was noted that this really could apply to vessels of registered length of 45 feet.
     Since many of the rules contemplated at the October meeting will apply to most Commercial Fishing vessels regardless of length it may be a good idea to share this meeting announcement with some of other vessel owners that were not at the last meeting. We are looking for representation from the entire California Coast to make this meeting as effective and complete as possible. We had very good representation last time and we will once again have many of the examiners from California in attendance.
     Please, Let us know if you will be attending by responding to either Jimmy or Bob ASAP so that we can plan. We will once again be starting at 8 AM with coffee and pastries. The meeting is slated to end at 12:30 so no lunch provided this time.