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As of May 1, 2006, all federally permitted fishing vessels and/or those participating in Category 1 or Category II fisheries under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) that require mandatory observer coverage will be required to successfully complete the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Examination and display a current safety decal issued within the last two years, with one exception.

Vessels that fail to satisfy the new safety requirement will be deemed unsafe for purposes of carrying an observer onboard and will be prohibited from fishing. If the vessel fishes without correcting the safety deficiency, NOAA Fisheries Service or the U.S. Coast Guard may take enforcement action. A waiver to the requirements may be granted by the agency as long as the U.S. Coast Guard deficiency list, provided by the inspector to a failing vessel, includes only marine sanitation equipment.

Last Updated: October 28, 2005

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