>Fifth Coast Guard District Kicks Off Operation Safe Catch 2010

>The Fifth Coast Guard District, which ranges from New Jersey to North Carolina, launched on Nov. 1, Operation Safe Catch 2010, a marine safety pulse operation that runs through Apr. 30, 2010. The pulse operation is intended to improve commercial fishing vessel safety and prevent loss of life and property at sea.

The implementation of the commercial fishing industry vessel regulations published in 1991 has reduced fishing vessel casualties and subsequent loss of life throughout the fishing fleet. However, as of Nov 1, 2009, there have been eight lives and nine fishing vessels lost in CY 2009 within the Fifth District, confirming that commercial fishing continues to rank among the most hazardous occupations in the U.S.

Operation Safe Catch 2010 is intended to increase the rate of safety compliance of commercial fishing vessels through: (1) Education, outreach and increased participation in the Coast Guard’s voluntary dockside examination program; (2) Increased at sea enforcement of safety regulations through risk-based operations; and (3) Leveraging and expanding the Coast Guard’s partnerships within the commercial fishing vessel industry and resource managers.

During the operation, Coast Guard at-sea boarding teams and dockside examiners will concentrate on “high risk” vessels. These are vessels in poor condition with inadequate safety equipment; have a history of repeated search and rescue interventions; or engage in higher risk fishery operations, such as one-person fishing vessels operated far from shore.
Pictured above: The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Finback tows the 71-foot fishing vessel Dictator Wednesday, Apr. 15, 2009, after it was involved in a collision with the 965-foot merchant vessel Florida 47 miles off the coast of Cape May, N.J. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Petty Officer 2nd Class Roy A. Snyder)