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NOAA Fisheries Reminds Commercial HMS Permit Holders of U.S. Coast Guard Commercial Fishing Vessel Dockside Safety Examination Requirements

Posted January 31, 2017

NOAA Fisheries is reminding commercial Highly Migratory Species (HMS) vessel permit holders that they are required to obtain a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Commercial Fishing Vessel Dockside Safety Examination.

Effective October 15, 2015, the law requires completion of a mandatory dockside safety exam at least once every five years.  See USCG Marine Safety Information Bulletin, or MSIB, 12-15 for clarification about the five-year mandatory dockside safety exam.

Commercial fishing means a vessel that commercially engages in the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish which, either in whole or in part, is intended to enter commerce through sale, barter, or trade. 

So, whether your vessel is USCG documented or State registered, if you catch fish beyond 3 nautical miles with the intent to sell them, you are operating a commercial fishing vessel.  The USCG categorizes vessels that hold one or more of the follow HMS permits as commercial fishing vessels subject to mandatory dockside safety exams:

Commercial fishing vessels are required to comply with the commercial fishing vessel safety regulations found in 46 CFR Part 28.

For more info about dockside safety exams and how to obtain a decal:

USCG has a helpful tool to assist vessel owners/operators prepare their fishing vessel prior to examination.  Commercial Fishing Vessel Checklist Generator:

This notice is a courtesy to commercial HMS permit holders to help keep you informed about the fishery.  For additional information, call (978) 281-9260, or go to  Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.

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