Fish like there is a tomorrow - fish safe.

A web site for the Commercial Fishing Vessel Industry

 This page is for The Alternate Compliance and Safety Agreement (ACSA)

What is the ACSA?

It is a safety agreement between the longline and trawl fish processor fleets that operate in Alaska waters and the US Coast Guard.
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".

Guidance for the ACSA Program

ACSA Guide. This is the comprehensive guidance document for ACSA last updated June 2023.

ACSA CG-840 Exam Checklist This is the checklist used during the various USCG Examinations (Exemption Renewal Exam, Drydock Exam, Mid-Period Exam) Updated July 2023.

 CG-543 Policy Letter 12-01  This is the Coast Guard Headquarters program guidance on the ACSA.

Historical Documents