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    Fisheries training center helps Coast Guard crews enforce laws in Alaska

    Fisheries training center helps Coast Guard crews enforce laws in Alaska

    Photo By Petty Officer 3rd Class Janessa-Reyanna Warschkow | Petty Officer 2nd Class Samuel Chipman, a Coast Guard Cutter Stratton crewmember,...... read more read more

    KODIAK, Alaska – In early March, instructors at the Coast Guard North Pacific Regional Fisheries Training Center (NPRFTC) prepared crewmembers of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton to safeguard Alaska’s living marine resources.

    Commissioned in 1995 in Kodiak, the personnel at the NPRFTC provide instruction to surface and aviation law enforcement crews, command personnel and supporting staff to promote maritime safety, protect valuable resources, and maintain a level playing field for the fisheries throughout Alaska, which are considered to be the most abundant and economically significant waters in the U.S.

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in 2018, the Alaskan fishing fleet provided 58% of the stock to the U.S. fisheries and seafood industry.

    Protecting living marine resources (LMR) ensures fishermen’s livelihoods and the long-term sustainability of the U.S. fisheries, which are threatened by Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing.

    The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Stratton attended training at the NPRFTC in order to uphold the IUU fishing commitment in the Bering Sea.

    “Maintaining safe and sustainable Alaskan fisheries is critical to the national seafood supply chain and the livelihood of Alaskans,” said Chief Petty Officer Neil Bacewicz, the training chief at NPRFTC. “The Alaskan seafood industry generates over $13 billion for the national economy and employs nearly 60,000 people. Ensuring our crews know how to apply the various laws correctly and consistently ensures the fisheries remain viable and sustainable for future generations, promotes fair industry practices, and institute a rules-based order in Alaskan waters.”

    Prior to a Bering Sea deployment that began in the spring, the Stratton crew attended the NPRFTC for training in order to be considered fully operational in Coast Guard 17th District area of responsibility.

    “Major cutters participate in a two-part certification system prior to being designated as fully operational,” says Bacewicz. “Prior to a patrol, boarding officers of a cutter will attend the Alaska LMR Resident Boarding Officer course to build a foundational understanding of Alaskan fisheries. Immediately prior to a patrol, the cutter’s law enforcement team will attend the Alaska LMR Cutter Training System, which is a four-day team training that integrates boarding officers, boarding team members, and the operations/combat information center personnel into a cohesive law enforcement team.”

    The instructors at the school educate crews on multiple laws including the at-sea enforcement of the Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; the Commercial Fishing Industry Vessel Safety Act; the Marine Mammal Protection Act; and the Endangered Species Act.

    The course consists of multiple knowledge lessons, including:
    ∙ Introduction to LMR policy.
    ∙ On-scene fishing activity.
    ∙ Required gear, permits and programs.
    ∙ Logs and reports.
    ∙ Marine protected areas.
    ∙ Patrol resources.
    ∙ Species identification.
    ∙ Commercial fishing vessel safety.
    ∙ Compliance monitoring.
    ∙ Documentation.

    “The boarding team members are getting the most fun and hands-on training,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Peter Lovold, a boatswain’s mate on the Stratton. “We're being trained on identifying different types of fish native to the Bering Sea and surrounding waters, identifying different types of fishing vessels involved in the commercial fishing trade in the area, and utilizing the Coast Guard 17th District fisheries boarding officer job aid kit and applying that in a boarding scenario.”

    In environments where weather conditions can be extreme and dangerous, these courses allowed the newest boarding team members to confidently and successfully conduct fifteen fisheries boardings during their patrol of the Bering Sea, under the watch of experienced boarding officers.

    “NPRFTC teaches you the basics, but there are a lot of other things where the only way to learn them is by doing the LMR boardings,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Jan Padilla, a boarding officer. “We definitely are more confident in our training and have a better understanding of the LMR mission.”

    Carrying out that mission can be challenging, especially during a global pandemic. Capt. Bob Little, commanding officer of the Stratton, praises his crew for their professionalism and resiliency despite the difficulties the COVID-19 virus introduced.

    “We're on our third deployment during the COVID-19 pandemic and this crew is motivated and has endured some significant hardships to conduct the missions of the Coast Guard,” said Little. “I’m proud of the crew’s devotion to duty to operate so well under such difficult conditions.”

    The Coast Guard operates five regional fisheries training centers across the country.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.21.2021
    Date Posted: 05.23.2021 12:21
    Story ID: 397107
    Location: KODIAK, AK, US 

    Web Views: 177
    Downloads: 1

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