Gulf Oil Spill: BP Focused On Too Many Details, Not Big Picture, Safety Panel Concludes

BP and the drilling contractor it hired to operate the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon focused too closely on workers' personal safety at the expense of preventing major hazards, such as those that ultimately caused the rig to blow up in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, killing 11 people, federal investigators said.

Final Rule to Modify Angler Registry Rule

Based on its experience with administering the National Saltwater Angler Registry and State Exemption Program (NSAR) and input from states and the National Saltwater Angler Registry Team, NMFS has made minor revisions to the NSAR regulations. These revisions are needed to clarify and update certain provisions as follows:

Action Needed Now To Exempt Charter Boats!

Dear NACO Member, 

The clean water act bill introduced by Senator Begich now has a number and can be referenced. We need all NACO members to contact their respective Senators and ask for their support of S3332. This bill has the below provision that will permanently exempt all charter vessels, both uninspected and USCG COI, less than 79’ from the EPA clean water NPDES vessel discharges requirements. Currently there is a moratorium on these requires until Dec 2013, but this legislation must be passed and signed into law in order to have a permanent exemption. EPA has insisted that our vessels not be exempt so the passage of this bill is critical. The permitting, paper work, requirements, and potential liability that we will have if required to comply will be devastating to our businesses. Several of your Board members have been actively working on this issue in DC and with other fishing associations. 

This bill is gaining cosponsors in the senate as I write this. Senator Feinstein is opposed but many other democrats are supporting the bill. If you need the contact info for your Senators, please contact the NACO office. Action needs to be taken ASAP as the current session ends August 3rd. Congress will be back in session on September 10. Please act today!

Thanks,

Capt. Bob Zales, II

President

On page 26 under section 7, exemptions, it states: 

IN GENERAL.—No permit shall be required or prohibition enforced under any other provision of law for,  nor shall any vessel incidental discharge standards under this Act apply to—

(1) a discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel if the vessel is less than 79 feet in length and engaged in commercial service (as defined in section 2101(5) of title 46, United States Code);

(2) a discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel if the vessel is a fishing vessel, including a fish processing vessel and a fish tender vessel, (as defined in section 2101 of title 46, United States Code);

(3) a discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel if the vessel is a recreational vessel  (as defined in section 2101 of title 46, United States Code);

NACO

P.O. Box 2990

Orange beach, AL 36561

PH: 866-981-5136

Fax: 251-981-8191

So You Want To Be A Charter Boat Captain

If you currently do not have a license and are interested in becoming a “Charter Boat Captain, ” you can achieve this goal by obtaining a variety of licenses, as detailed below.
  • Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV) or “6-Pack” License – This license is most appropriate for un-inspected passenger vessels which by law are limited to six or less passengers for hire. These are usually smaller vessels and normally engage in charter fishing, whale watching, SCUBA diving, and tour cruises. This license is limited to near coastal waters only not more than 100 miles offshore and is not valid for international voyages.
  • OUPV Limited License – Also known as Limited Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessels. This is commonly known as a “launchtender license” and is issued to those employed by organizations such as yacht clubs, marinas, formal camps, and educational institutions, limited to the specific activity and locality.
  • Limited Master License (less than 100 gross register tons) – This is the same license as the 46 CFR 11.467 Limited Master, but is issued to those who operate Coast Guard inspected vessels.
  • Master 200 Ton and Below Near Coastal License (less than 200 gross register tons and only for 25, 50, 100, 150, 200 gross register tons) – This license is most appropriate for operating small passenger vessels that hold a USCG Certificate of Inspection and carry more than six passengers. Typical vessels include charter boats (head boats), small ferries, dinner boats, and whale watch vessels.        
  • Master 200 Ton and Below Inland License (less than 200 gross register tons and only for 25, 50, 100, 150, 200 gross register tons) – This license is most appropriate for operating small passenger vessels that hold a USCG Certificate of Inspection and carry more than six passengers. Typical vessels include charter boats (head boats), small ferries, dinner boats, and whale watch vessels.        
 

Plan for Periodic Review of Regulations

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) periodically review existing regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, such as small businesses, small organizations, and small governmental jurisdictions. This plan describes how NMFS will perform this review and describes the regulations that are being proposed for review during the current review-cycle.

Written comments must be received by NMFS by August 15, 2012.

National Sea Grant Advisory Board

This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a forthcoming meeting of the National Sea Grant Advisory Board. Board members will discuss and provide advice on the National Sea Grant College Program in the areas of program evaluation, strategic planning, education and extension, science and technology programs, and other matters as described in the Agenda below.

The announced meeting is scheduled for: Monday, August 6 2012.

Joint Subcommittee on Aquaculture Research and Development Strategic Plan

AGENCIES: Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

Notice of availability and request for comments.

NOAA and U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) announce on behalf of the Federal Interagency Working Group on Aquaculture under the Office of Science and Technology Policy that a draft National Aquaculture Research and Development Strategic Plan (R&D Plan) for the United States is being made available for public review and comment. This plan will provide a framework for federal agencies to develop programs for research and development that affect the production of aquatic organisms such as finfish, crustaceans, mollusks, and algae.

U.S. Coral Reef Task Force Meeting and Public Comment

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announced a public meeting of the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force (USCRTF) and a request for written comments. This meeting, the 28th biannual meeting of the USCRTF, provides a forum for coordinated planning and action among Federal agencies, State and territorial governments, and nongovernmental partners.

DATES: Meeting Dates: August 20, 2012, through August 23, 2012.   

Public Comment Period Extended for National Standard 1 Guidelines

NMFS is extending the date by which public comments are due in response to the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) published on May 3, 2012, 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. NMFS has received a request to extend the comment period for the ANPR beyond its current 90-day comment period, originally scheduled to end on August 1, 2012. With this notice, NMFS is extending the comment period to September 15, 2012, to ensure there is adequate time for stakeholders and members of the public to comment on the ANPR.

The deadline for receipt of comments on the ANPR published on May 3, 2012 (77 FR 26238), is extended to September 15, 2012.

US Coast Guard Releases Annual Safety Statistics

Recently, the U.S. Coast Guard released its annual report on recreational boating for 2011, showing boating fatalities rose 12.8 percent from 672 to 758. The USCG report comes on the heels of NMMA's latest statistical abstract, which notes an increase in participation for recreational boating and would certainly have an impact on the safety statistics reported. In 2011, U.S. boating participation increased an estimated ten percent to 83 million boaters, the largest proportion of adults (34.8 percent) who went boating since 1997, when 35.8 percent participated.