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Suggested Citation:"Control." National Research Council. 1995. Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans: Controlling Garbage and Plastic Wastes at Sea. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/4769.
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Page 93

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ELEMENTS OF AN IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY 93 especially by foreign commercial fleets and fish processors. What has evolved is a regulatory system that emphasizes annual stock estimates, catch quotas, and seasons and perpetuates some operational inefficiencies or creates new ones. But at least fishing operations are monitored. In some fisheries, management plans call for on-board observers who remain on vessels as long as they are at sea. In other fisheries, the catch is assessed when landed at the pier. In both cases, a survey program is in place that could be a mechanism for providing information on net and gear disposal alternatives. In practice, however, this may not be feasible. Control Control of fishing vessels is decentralized among private owners, who are difficult to reach for the purpose of persuading them to comply with Annex V. Neither Coast Guard nor Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) boarding parties routinely inspect fishing vessels. Some degree of public control can be exerted, however, because these vessels typically must operate within federally managed fisheries in accordance with plans created by public agencies, and NMFS agents routinely meet arriving vessels to verify the weight and type of fish caught. In addition, the United States can exert some control over nearby foreign fisheries through joint fishing or scientific agreements. The present fisheries management regime is not highly effective, in that compliance has been difficult to achieve (Sutinen et al., 1990). More to the point, the regime is not designed to support implementation of Annex V; in fact, it is obstructive. The regime has been criticized widely for establishing gear practices that encourage fishermen to disregard safety and environmental protection in pursuit of the catch. Some regional fisheries management plans create situations in which it may be to a fisherman's advantage to deliberately cut away and discard any remaining gear at the end of the season (even though such discards are prohibited by Annex v). But these regulatory practices may be ending as a result of severe economic dislocation among fishermen and the collapse of fish stocks, and implementation of Annex V is proceeding. The first major Annex V enforcement action in this fleet was taken in April 1993 against a fishing vessel operator based in Seattle; the operator was fined $150,000 for 85 counts of instructing crew members to throw all garbage over the side (Weikart, 1993). The incident, first reported by several disgruntled fisheries employees, attracted considerable attention on the Pacific Coast. The NMFS also has taken selective action to increase its control. In the summer groundfish fisheries off the Pacific Coast, fisheries observers sail with the larger processing vessels for the entire season, to witness the operations and verify that the operators catch fish in accordance with the law. Authorities had so mistrusted this fleet that fishermen agreed to the surveillance so they could continue fishing. However, such direct federal presence is costly and therefore rare.

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Marine debris is a serious environmental problem. To do its part, the United States has agreed to abide by the international treaty for garbage control at sea, known as MARPOL 73/78 Annex V.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans explores the challenge of translating Annex V into workable laws and regulations for all kinds of ships and boats, from cruise ships to fishing crafts and recreational boats. The volume examines how existing resources can be leveraged into a comprehensive strategy for compliance, including integrated waste management systems and effective enforcement.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans describes both progress toward and obstacles to Annex V compliance. The book covers:

  • How shipborne garbage orignates and what happens to garbage discharged into the seas.
  • Effects of discharge on human health, wildlife safety, and aesthetics.
  • Differences in perspective among military, industrial, and recreational seafarers and shoreside facilities.

Clean Ships, Clean Ports, Clean Oceans will be important to marine policymakers, port administrators, ship operations officers, maritime engineers, and marine ecologists.

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