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Fifth Coast Guard District
Commercial Fishing Vessels

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The Fifth District commercial fishing fleet consists of an estimated 9,400 vessels, with 2,000 documented and 7,400 state registered, and 4,600 operating within 3 NM and 4,800 operating beyond 3 NM of the shoreline.  These vessels range in size from 16-foot skiffs with single operators to 165-foot purse seiners with crews of 14 or more.

CFV Capt. PeabodyVessels operating within 3 NM of the shoreline usually engage in multiple fisheries with the dominant fishery being pot/trap fishing for blue crab, followed by dredging for oysters.  Most vessel losses are due to uncontrolled flooding but cause relatively few fatalities because they usually are in close proximity to land and other vessels.  Most crew fatalities are due to single operators falling or being pulled overboard from their vessels.

Vessels operating outside 3 NM of the shoreline also engage in multiple fisheries with the dominant fishery being dredging for Atlantic Sea Scallops, followed by dredging for surf clams and ocean quahog clams, and mid-water trawling for squid and other species.  Most vessel losses are due to uncontrolled flooding.  Most crew fatalities are due to vessel sinkings where the crew cannot abandon ship effectively.

CFV CAPT. PETE on fireOn average, each year Fifth District will see the operational loss of nine vessels and five lives, with 26 lives saved by required safety equipment or training.  Adverse weather conditions play a role in most casualties.  The most notable recent casualty was the loss of the F/V LADY MARY on March 24, 2009 with one survivor, and six either recovered deceased or still missing; a Marine Board of Investigation pends.

USCG Auxiliary MembersThe CFVS Program has 12 billets assigned at the District and Sectors Delaware Bay, Baltimore, Hampton Roads and North Carolina.  Other resources include an additional 32 Auxiliary, four station and one Reserve Examiners who assist the billeted Examiners.  Field Examiners conduct an average of 763 examinations annually, with 567 safety decals issued.  Auxiliary Examiners complete over half of the examinations, by far the highest percentage of any district.

Before June 2008, decals were valid for two years; in July 2008 LANT reduced the period of validity to one year.  This change has had a negative impact on the overall percentage of the fishing fleet with valid decals, but had minimal impact on the high risk, high consequence fisheries where most of the Examiner outreach effort is focused.  In 2012, LANT  changed the validity back to two years.

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Last Modified 9/20/2013