Article Category: Columns

Fishing Vessel Stability Requirements—Adding Clarity to the Murky Applicability

Fishing Vessel Stability Requirements—Adding Clarity to the Murky Applicability

This is the second article in a three-part series on the topic of fishing vessel stability. Last month’s column covered awareness and training and next month’s will address operational stability and how the use of a vessel can drastically affect its stability. But this issue’s article focuses on regulations and requirements and how some in the industry and even the Coast Guard, fail to recognize when they apply. What, When, Who? – Does This Apply to Me? When it comes to commercial fishing industry vessels 79 feet or greater (that are not required to have a load line), the stability rules are within 46 Code of Federal Regulations Part 28, Subpart E (Stability). You can look up those on your own if you want to read it word for word.  They are most helpful if you are having difficulty fa...
On to the Future

On to the Future

By the time you read this, PCFFA will be under new leadership. Unlike some partings, this one is very amicable. When I came aboard, PCFFA needed a uniter. I think we were very successful in bringing unity to our organization as well as reestablishing relationships with commercial fishing organizations we had lost touch with. Today, PCFFA is in need of someone who can lead the organization to become even more prosperous. Like most fishing organizations, PCFFA has operated on a shoestring budget.  COVID-19 provided challenges, but thanks to some generous donations and COVID relief funds, we persevered. But to accomplish our organizational goals and objectives, we realized we need leadership which has a primary focus of raising funds. With those funds, we will be better situated to remain ...
Guest Column: Doing More with Less

Guest Column: Doing More with Less

It would appear that “doing more with less” could be the unofficial motto for today’s society, especially regarding the workplace. Restaurants, offices, tech companies and many other businesses are feeling the squeeze of being short staffed and finding it hard to recruit and retain qualified long-term help. What does this mean for the employees who are in the workforce? It means doing more than your normal duties in your job description. While it is a fact that sometimes you just do what needs to be done to perform the task at hand, this extra effort is creating an environment for workers that leads to extra stress, longer hours, fatigue and eventually burnout. This does not create a healthy and sustainable model for businesses to succeed and thrive. The COVID-19 pandemic was har...
Stability Awareness — Are You Aware?

Stability Awareness — Are You Aware?

Fishing vessel stability is often characterized in foreign and misunderstood terms that describe the constantly changing forces that act upon a vessel while it is at sea. The wind and waves provide the motion as the vessel rolls, pitches, yaws, heaves, sways and surges. The burning of fuel and use of water changes the internal weights of the vessel and introduces an additional force of free surface effect. The skipper and crew working hard to move equipment, launch fishing gear, tow nets, haul back the catch, dump it on deck and into the holds adds even more complexity. That’s a lot of dynamic forces going on for a craft at sea. Add in that fishing vessels are what the Coast Guard considers “uninspected,” so there is ambiguity to what standards, if any, need to be followed, which regu...
Responding to Climate Change Threats to Fisheries

Responding to Climate Change Threats to Fisheries

Almost exactly a decade ago, in 2012, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations adopted and published a major policy statement explaining just what “global climate change” was all about, and why we as ocean commercial fisheries folks should be concerned. That landmark policy statement “Combating Global Warming & Acidic Seas (2012)” (https://pcffa.org/climate-change-and-fisheries) still stands as a beacon of good sense in a world where the threat of climate change has gone from scientific theory to grim reality—and will with certainty get a lot worse before it gets better. This column is to bring our fleet up to date on what is actually being done to help our industry continue to fish in the face of these scary (and sometimes seemingly overwhelming) worldwide changes. T...
From the Editor: Tackling Illegal Fishing

From the Editor: Tackling Illegal Fishing

In the June issue of Fishermen’s News, we ran a lengthy feature article on illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and how, for multiple reasons, such fishing is a leading global maritime security threat. Well, as a follow up to that report, I’m happy to report this news: the United States is strengthening its commitment to combating IUU fishing. In late June, at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Portugal, the U.S. made a series of announcements that elevates the country’s commitment to combat IUU fishing and the labor abuses associated with it. In conjunction with the announcements, President Biden signed memorandum addressing IUU fishing and related harmful fishing practices. Among the measures that the Biden administration spells out in the memorandum are that the ...
Why Do I Need to Do Emergency Drills with My Crew?

Why Do I Need to Do Emergency Drills with My Crew?

Because you never know how your day is going to end, emergency drills are required to be conducted monthly on many fishing vessels during the season. Even if they are not required on your vessel, drills are a standard in the industry. In the event of a casualty, not conducting drills is a poor defense. Without regular drills, in an emergency the crew will be looking to the master to answer the big question: what do we do? Meanwhile, the master of the vessel is flooded with sensory information that is incomplete or unknown as well as dealing with conflicting emotions and the weight of responsibility for dealing with the emergency. This is not the best state of mind for someone to make the correct decision. A crew that is not trained in what to do makes it even more difficult for the ma...
NOAA’s AOA Process

NOAA’s AOA Process

On May 7, 2020, then-President Trump signed Executive Order 13921, titled Promoting American Seafood Competitiveness and Economic Growth. Two sections of that E.O. addressed aquaculture. Section 6 is titled Removing Barriers to Aquaculture Permitting and Section 7 is titled Aquaculture Opportunity Areas. This column is focuses primarily on Section 7. The E.O. required the identification of at least two geographic areas containing locations suitable for commercial aquaculture within one year from the issuance of the order. These would be identified by the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the secretaries of defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Homeland Security and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other appropriate federal officials and Region...
Fishing for Sleep

Fishing for Sleep

Getting enough high-quality sleep on a vessel is inherently difficult. The vessel has motion, noises, smells, is cramped and there is little privacy. There also can be lots to worry about. At times it’s a tense environment with lots of unknowns and demands, especially for those in positions of greater responsibility. Despite the fact that we spend 33% of our lives sleeping, it’s only in the last few decades of research that we have learned much about its impact in every aspect of our health, performance and safety. Hundreds of studies from all over the world have demonstrated that being sleep deprived negatively affects every system in the body. People who are chronically sleep deprived have shorter lifespans due to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and many other health disorde...
Offshore Wind Energy:  Benefit or Boondoggle?

Offshore Wind Energy: Benefit or Boondoggle?

One of President Biden’s first acts in office was signing Executive Order No. 13990 on January 20, 2021. The order re-set the course of U.S. energy policy in response to the global emergency of climate change and growing energy demand. Since then, U.S policy has been to phase out greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels in favor of non-fossil fuel “renewables” as soon as possible. As a result, there has been a massive political and PR push to develop new sources of wind energy, specifically in the oceans. Many other countries have developed offshore wind energy, but hardly any of that has been in the U.S. Unfortunately, the push to quickly develop offshore wind energy has become the latest political fad, even a cure-all in some minds, for meeting the nation’s vast renewable energy needs, at...