13th Coast Guard District
915 Second Ave
Seattle, WA 98176
A web site for Commercial Fishing Vessel Owners, Operators and Crew
What is the ACSA?
Unlike commercial fishing vessels, Fish processing vessels are required to meet classification and loadline requirements. The District Commander has the authority to allow exemptions of regulations provide that good cause exists and the safety of the vessel and crew are not compromised.
The ACSA was established for a fleet of vessels that were actually processing fish as opposed to just head, gutting and freezing (below is a list of processes a fishing vessel is allowed to perform). Initially it was difficult for the Coast Guard to determine whether a vessel was truly a fishing vessel or doing more to the fish that caused the vessel to be considered as a fish processing vessel.
A tool for determining exactly what each vessel was doing to the fish became apparent when the 17th Coast Guard District discovered that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) requires these vessels to report the products they produce using a list called the NMFS product codes. By examining the products these vessels were reporting to NMFS the Coast Guard was able to clearly determine whether a vessel was truly operating as a fishing vessel or as a fish processing vessel. Many vessels that initially operated as fishing vessels were driven to retain and utilize a larger portion of fish to satisfy the requirements in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (excerpt section 104-297(i)).
A fishing vessel is allowed to:
Fish processing vessels �
Several vessel owners elected to stop producing those products that
constituted processing and only perform those allowed of a fishing vessel (listed
as H_&_G). Most vessels opted to comply with the newly established
standards in the ACSA program and were allowed to continue
minimal processing These vessels were not allowed to
producing products listed as
extensive processing. Only fish processing vessels that are classed and
loadlined are allowed to perform "extensive processing".
CG-543 Policy Letter 12-01 This is the Coast Guard Headquarters program guidance on the ACSA.
Procedure H2-20 Guidelines for Commercial Fishing Vessel Stability