Your survival craft, when required, must have sufficient capacity to accommodate the total number of persons, including the observer(s), on each observed fishing trip. Prior to deployment, a vessel owner or operator must accompany an observer in checking the survival craft capacity and other safety items during the vessel safety check.
Framework 32 of the Atlantic Sea Scallop Fishery Management Plan allows a two-person increase in the crew limit for the Nantucket Lightship South-Deep Scallop Access Area. The crew increase applies only to this scallop access area in an effort to help process the smaller sized scallops in the area. This increase allows for up to ten (10) crew on full-time limited access scallop vessels and eight (8) on limited access single dredge scallop boats. New crew limits may increase the likelihood of reaching or exceeding maximum capacity in the survival craft, as the most common survival craft are limited to 8 or 10 persons.
Failure to provide sufficient capacity in the survival craft for an observer on a selected trip
is a violation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and its implementing regulations at 50 C.F.R. § 600.746(f)(6). Vessels may need to leave a crewmember on shore in order to accommodate the observer on the selected trip, or they may need to acquire extra survival craft capacity in order to meet the accommodation requirement. Inadequate survival craft capacity may result in the issuance of a Safety Deficiency Report to the vessel, the Fisheries Sampling Branch, and NOAA/OLE, and may bar the vessel from fishing without observer coverage.
Follow these observer survival craft requirements as part of the pre-trip vessel safety check and to help ensure all fishing trips operate in the safest manner possible. We encourage you to work cooperatively with assigned observers.
Contact: Special Agent Thomas S. Gaffney, NOAA OLE, (508)495-2147 or Zachary Fyke, Observer Compliance Liaison, (508)495-2002