NOAA Fisheries has announced publication of a final rule to improve administration of the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act and monitoring of US fishing vessels on the high seas. The rule – published on Oct. 16 and effective on Jan. 14 – includes adjustments to permitting and reporting procedures for all US fishing vessels on the high seas.
The revised High Seas Fishing Compliance Act also includes requirements for the installation and operation of enhanced mobile transceiver units for vessel monitoring, carrying observers on vessels, reporting of transshipments taking place on the high seas, and protection of vulnerable marine ecosystems.
The HSFCA was adopted in 1994 to implement the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations agreement to promote compliance with international conservation and management measures by fishing vessels on the high seas. The program requires that US vessels operating on the high seas possess a permit issued in accordance with Section 104 of the HSFCA and be marked for identification purposes, and for permit holders to report their fishing activities.
The HSFCA prohibits use of high seas fishing vessels in contravention of international conservation and management measures recognized by the US or in a manner that would violate a permit condition.
A list of the international conservation and management measures recognized by the US is published in the Federal Register from time to time in consultation with the Secretary, as required under HSFCA.