With halibut and sablefish fisheries opening on Saturday, the Coast Guard is encouraging fishermen to get a free commercial fishing vessel safety exam.
The exams help ensure compliance with current regulations and those that pass receive a decal, the Coast Guard said in a release.
The rules and regulations do not yet require fishermen operating beyond three nautical miles of the territorial sea baseline to pass a Coast Guard safety exam prior to the start of the fishing season — that regulation will begin to be implemented in 2015, the release states.
Still, some vessels, including halibut individual fishing quota fishermen, are now required by the National Marine Fisheries Service to have a valid decal prior to carrying a mandatory observer aboard, according to Ken Lawrenson, the Coast Guard 17th District commercial fishing vessel safety coordinator.
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