Gulf Shrimpers at odds with new AIS rules

coast guardSome shrimp boat owners are seeking an exemption from federal vessel regulations that took effect May 1, alleging that new rules require installation of computer systems that can render vital existing navigation equipment ineffective. The fishermen would also like the rules, which grew out of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010, to be more closely examined before enforcement begins. Alleging that the rules were promulgated with Pacific Coast fisheries in mind, the Gulf of Mexico fishing interests say they are not only inapplicable to the Gulf, but can actually do the opposite of what they were intended to do, which was to keep fishermen safer. Kimberly Chauvin has formally asked for a waiver of requirements that vessels more than 65 feet in length use AIS systems for vessel identification when in federal waters. She also asked – on behalf of all commercial fishing vessels in the Gulf – that enforcement of new rules be halted and, if need be, rewritten. Two members of the Bayou Region’s congressional delegation – state Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, and U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge – have staff members working on facilitating the requests. Read the rest here 11:35

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