U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Oct 30, 2020

§ 679.20 - General limitations.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 38100, June 25, 2020.

This section applies to vessels engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the GOA and/or the BSAI and to vessels engaged in commercial fishing for Arctic fish in the Arctic Management Area.

(a) Harvest limits - (1) OY - (i) BSAI and GOA. The OY for BSAI and GOA target species is a range or specific amount that can be harvested consistently with this part, plus the amounts of “nonspecified species” taken incidentally to the harvest of target species. The species categories are defined in Table 1 of the specifications as provided in paragraph (c) of this section.

(A) The OY for groundfish in the BSAI regulated by this section and by part 600 of this chapter is 1.4 million to 2.0 million mt.

(B) The OY for groundfish in the GOA regulated by this section and by part 600 of this chapter is 116,000 to 800,000 mt.

(ii) Arctic Management Area. The OY for each target fish species identified in the Fishery Management Plan for Fish Resources of the Arctic Management Area regulated by this section and by part 600 of this chapter is 0 mt.

(2) TAC. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, will specify and apportion the annual TAC and reserves for each calendar year among the GOA and BSAI target species. TACs in the target species category may be split or combined for purposes of establishing new TACs with apportionments thereof under paragraph (c) of this section. The sum of the TACs so specified must be within the OY range specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(3) Annual TAC determination. The annual determinations of TAC for each target species and the reapportionment of reserves may be adjusted, based upon a review of the following:

(i) Biological condition of groundfish stocks. Resource assessment documents prepared annually for the Council that provide information on historical catch trend; updated estimates of the MSY of the groundfish complex and its component species groups; assessments of the stock condition of each target species; assessments of the multispecies and ecosystem impacts of harvesting the groundfish complex at current levels, given the assessed condition of stocks, including consideration of rebuilding depressed stocks; and alternative harvesting strategies and related effects on the component species group.

(ii) Socioeconomic considerations. Socioeconomic considerations that are consistent with the goals of the fishery management plans for the groundfish fisheries of the BSAI and the GOA, including the need to promote efficiency in the utilization of fishery resources, including minimizing costs; the need to manage for the optimum marketable size of a species; the impact of groundfish harvests on prohibited species and the domestic target fisheries that utilize these species; the desire to enhance depleted stocks; the seasonal access to the groundfish fishery by domestic fishing vessels; the commercial importance of a fishery to local communities; the importance of a fishery to subsistence users; and the need to promote utilization of certain species.

(4) Sablefish TAC - (i) Eastern GOA regulatory area - (A) Fixed gear. Vessels in the Eastern GOA regulatory area using fixed gear will be allocated 95 percent of the sablefish TAC.

(B) Trawl gear. Vessels in the Eastern GOA regulatory area using trawl gear will be allocated 5 percent of the sablefish TAC for bycatch in other trawl fisheries.

(ii) Central and Western GOA regulatory areas - (A) Fixed gear. Vessels in the Central and Western GOA regulatory areas using fixed gear will be allocated 80 percent of the sablefish TAC in each of the Central and Western GOA regulatory areas.

(B) Trawl gear. Vessels using trawl gear will be allocated 20 percent of the sablefish TAC in these areas.

(iii) Bering Sea subarea - (A) Hook-and-line or pot gear. Vessels in the Bering Sea subarea using hook-and-line or pot gear will be allocated 50 percent of each TAC for sablefish.

(B) Trawl gear. Vessels in the Bering Sea subarea using trawl gear will be allocated 50 percent of each TAC for sablefish.

(iv) Aleutian Islands subarea - (A) Hook-and-line or pot gear. Vessels in the Aleutian Islands subarea using hook-and-line or pot gear will be allocated 75 percent of each TAC for sablefish.

(B) Trawl gear. Vessels in the Aleutian Islands subarea using trawl gear will be allocated 25 percent of each TAC for sablefish.

(5) Pollock TAC - (i) Bering Sea Subarea - (A) AFA allocations. The pollock TAC apportioned to the Bering Sea Subarea, after subtraction of the 10 percent CDQ reserve under § 679.31(a), will be allocated as follows:

(1) Incidental catch allowance. The Regional Administrator will establish an incidental catch allowance to account for projected incidental catch of pollock by vessels engaged in directed fishing for groundfish other than pollock and by vessels harvesting non-pollock CDQ. If during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that the incidental catch allowance has been set too high or too low, he/she may issue inseason notification in the Federal Register that reallocates incidental catch allowance to the directed fishing allowance, or vice versa, according to the proportions established under paragraph (a)(5)(i)(A) of this section.

(2) Directed fishing allowance. The remaining pollock TAC apportioned to the Bering Sea subarea is established as a directed fishing allowance.

(3) Inshore sector allocation. Fifty percent of the directed fishing allowance will be allocated to AFA catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by AFA inshore processors. The inshore allocation will be further divided into separate allocations for cooperative and open access fishing.

(i) Inshore cooperatives. The inshore cooperative allocation will be equal to the aggregate annual allocations of all AFA inshore catcher vessel cooperatives that receive pollock allocations under § 679.62(a).

(ii) Inshore open access. The inshore open access allocation will equal that portion of the inshore sector allocation that is not allocated to inshore cooperatives.

(4) Catcher/processor sector allocation. Forty percent of the directed fishing allowance will be allocated to AFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels delivering to catcher processors.

(i) Catcher/processor and catcher vessel cooperatives. If by December 1 of the year prior to the year when fishing under the cooperative agreement will begin, NMFS receives filing of cooperative contracts and/or an inter-cooperative agreement entered into by listed AFA catcher/processors and all AFA catcher vessels with catcher/processor sector endorsements, and the Regional Administrator determines that such contracts provide for the distribution of harvest between catcher/processors and catcher vessels in a manner agreed to by all members of the catcher/processor sector cooperative(s), then NMFS will not subdivide the catcher/processor sector allocation between catcher vessels and catcher/processors.

(ii) Catcher vessel allocation. If such contract is not filed with NMFS by December 1 of the preceding year, then NMFS will allocate 91.5 percent of the catcher/processor sector allocation to AFA catcher/processors engaged in directed fishing for pollock and 8.5 percent of the catcher/processor sector allocation to AFA catcher vessels delivering to catcher/processors.

(iii) Unlisted AFA catcher processors. Unlisted AFA catcher/processors will be limited to harvesting not more than 0.5 percent of catcher/processor sector allocation.

(5) Mothership sector allocation. Ten percent of the directed fishing allowance will be allocated to AFA catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by AFA motherships.

(6) Excessive harvesting share. NMFS will establish an excessive harvesting share limit equal to 17.5 percent of the sum of the directed fishing allowances established under paragraphs (a)(5)(i) and (a)(5)(ii) of this section. The excessive harvesting share limit will be published in the annual harvest specifications and is subject to revision on an inseason basis if NMFS reallocates unharvested amounts of the incidental catch allowance to the directed fishing allowance, or vice versa.

(7) Excessive processing share. NMFS will establish an excessive processing share limit equal to 30.0 percent of the sum of the directed fishing allowances established under paragraphs (a)(5)(i) and (a)(5)(ii) of this section. The excessive processing share limit will be published in the annual harvest specifications and is subject to revision on an inseason basis if NMFS reallocates unharvested amounts of the incidental catch allowance to the directed fishing allowance, or vice versa.

(B) BSAI seasonal allowances for AFA and CDQ - (1) Inshore, catcher/processor, mothership, and CDQ sectors. The portions of the BS subarea pollock directed fishing allowances allocated to each sector under sections 206(a) and 206(b) of the AFA and the CDQ allowance in the BSAI will be divided into two seasonal allowances corresponding to the two fishing seasons set out at § 679.23(e)(2), as follows:

(i) A Season, 45 percent;

(ii) B Season, 55 percent.

(2) Inseason adjustments. Within any fishing year, the Regional Administrator may add or subtract any under harvest or over harvest of a seasonal allowance for a component to the subsequent seasonal allowance for the component through notification published in the Federal Register.

(C) Steller sea lion conservation area (SCA) harvest limit. For each component under Sections 206(a) and 206(b) of the AFA and for the open access fishery, no more than 28 percent of the annual pollock directed fishery allowance may be taken from the SCA before April 1. The SCA is defined at § 679.22(a)(7)(vii).

(ii) Bogoslof District. If the Bogoslof District is open to directed fishing for pollock by regulation, then the pollock TAC for this district will be allocated according to the same procedure established for the Bering Sea subarea at paragraph (a)(5)(i) of this section. If the Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation, then the entire TAC for this district will be allocated as an incidental catch allowance.

(iii) AI. (A) If a directed fishery for pollock in the AI is not specified under paragraph (c) of this section, then the entire TAC for this subarea will be allocated as an incidental catch allowance.

(B) If the AI is open to directed fishing for pollock under paragraph (c) of this section, then the pollock TAC for this subarea will be specified, allocated, seasonally apportioned, and reallocated as follows:

(1) AI annual TAC limitations. When the AI pollock ABC is less than 19,000 mt, the annual TAC will be no greater than the ABC. When the AI pollock ABC equals or exceeds 19,000 mt, the annual TAC will be equal to 19,000 mt.

(2) Allocations - (i) CDQ Directed fishing allowance. 10 percent of the annual TAC will be allocated to the CDQ pollock reserve established under § 679.31(a)(2).

(ii) Incidental catch allowance. The Regional Administrator will determine the amount of the pollock incidental catch necessary to support an incidental catch allowance in the AI during the fishing year for each season. This amount of pollock will be deducted from the annual TAC. If during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that the incidental catch allowance is excessive or inadequate, the Regional Administrator may reallocate the excess of the incidental catch allowance to the directed pollock fishery, or may reallocate pollock from the directed pollock fishery to the incidental catch allowance as necessary to support incidental catch of pollock in AI groundfish fisheries, by publication in the Federal Register.

(iii) Directed Pollock Fishery. The amount of the TAC remaining after subtraction of the CDQ directed fishing allowance and the incidental catch allowance will be allocated to the Aleut Corporation as a directed pollock fishery allocation.

(3) Seasonal apportionment. The seasonal harvest of pollock in the AI directed pollock fishery shall be:

(i) A season. No greater than the lesser of the annual initial TAC plus any A season CDQ pollock directed fishery allowance or 40 percent of the AI pollock ABC. The total A season apportionment, including the AI directed pollock fishery allocation, the CDQ pollock directed fishery seasonal allowance, and the incidental catch amount, shall not exceed 40 percent of the ABC.

(ii) B season. The B season apportionment of the AI directed pollock fishery shall equal the annual initial TAC minus the A season directed pollock fishery apportionment under paragraph (a)(5)(iii)(B)(3)(i) of this section and minus the incidental catch amount under paragraph (a)(5)(iii)(B)(2)(ii) of this section.

(iii) Inseason adjustments for the directed pollock fishery. During any fishing year, the Regional Administrator may add any under harvest of the A season directed pollock fishery apportionment to the B season directed pollock fishery apportionment by inseason notification published in the Federal Register if the Regional Administrator determines that the harvest capacity in the B season is sufficient to harvest the adjusted B season apportionment.

(iv) Inseason adjustments for the incidental catch allowance. During any fishing year, the Regional Administrator may add any under harvest of the A season incidental catch allowance apportionment to the B season incidental catch allowance apportionment by publication in the Federal Register if the Regional Administrator determines that the additional B season incidental catch allowance is necessary to support other groundfish fisheries.

(4) Reallocation of the annual AI directed pollock fishery and AI CDQ allocations. As soon as practicable, if the Regional Administrator determines that vessels participating in either the AI directed pollock fishery or the AI CDQ directed pollock fishery likely will not harvest the entire AI directed pollock fishery or CDQ pollock directed fishing allowance, the Regional Administrator may reallocate some or all of the projected unused directed pollock fishery allocation to the Bering Sea subarea directed pollock fishery or AI CDQ pollock directed fishing allowance to the Bering Sea subarea CDQ pollock directed fishing allowance by inseason notification published in the Federal Register.

(5) Allocations to small vessels. The annual allocation for vessels 60 feet (18.3 m) LOA or less participating in the AI directed pollock fishery will be:

(i) No more than 25 percent of the AI directed pollock fishery allocation through 2008;

(ii) No more than 50 percent of the AI directed pollock fishery allocation from 2009 through 2012; and

(iii) 50 percent of the AI directed pollock fishery allocation in 2013 and beyond.

(6) Pollock harvest limitations. Pollock harvests during the A season as defined at § 679.23(e)(2) are limited to:

(i) No more than 5 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC in Area 543.

(ii) No more than 15 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC in Area 542.

(iii) No more than 30 percent of the Aleutian Islands pollock ABC in Area 541.

(iv) GOA - (A) Apportionment by area. The TAC for pollock in the combined GOA Western and Central Regulatory Areas will be apportioned among statistical areas 610, 620, and 630 in proportion to the distribution of the pollock biomass as determined by the most recent NMFS surveys.

(B) GOA Western and Central Regulatory Areas seasonal apportionments. Each apportionment established under paragraph (a)(5)(iv)(A) of this section will be divided into four seasonal apportionments corresponding to the four fishing seasons specified in § 679.23(d)(2) as follows: A Season, 25 percent; B Season, 25 percent; C Season, 25 percent; and D Season, 25 percent. Within any fishing year, underharvest or overharvest of a seasonal apportionment may be added to or subtracted from remaining seasonal apportionments in a manner to be determined by the Regional Administrator, provided that any revised seasonal apportionment does not exceed 20 percent of the seasonal TAC apportionment for the statistical area. The reapportionment of underharvest will be applied to the subsequent season within the same statistical area up to the 20 percent limit specified in this paragraph. Any underharvest remaining beyond the 20 percent limit may be further apportioned to the subsequent season in the other statistical areas, in proportion to estimated biomass and in an amount no more than 20 percent of the seasonal TAC apportionment for the statistical area.

(6) GOA inshore/offshore allocations - (i) GOA pollock. The apportionment of pollock in all GOA regulatory areas for each seasonal allowance described in paragraph (a)(5)(iv) of this section will be allocated entirely to vessels harvesting pollock for processing by the inshore component in the GOA after subtraction of an amount that is projected by the Regional Administrator to be caught by, or delivered to, the offshore component in the GOA incidental to directed fishing for other groundfish species.

(ii) Eastern GOA Regulatory Area Pacific cod. The apportionment of Pacific cod in the Eastern GOA Regulatory Area will be allocated 90 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the inshore component and 10 percent to vessels harvesting Pacific cod for processing by the offshore component.

(7) Pacific cod TAC, BSAI - (i) CDQ reserve and seasonal allowances. (A) A total of 10.7 percent of the annual Pacific cod TAC will be allocated to the CDQ Program in the annual harvest specifications required under paragraph (c) of this section. The Pacific cod CDQ allocation will be deducted from the annual Pacific cod TAC before allocations to the non-CDQ sectors are made under paragraph (a)(7)(ii) of this section.

(B) The BSAI Pacific cod CDQ gear allowances by season, as those seasons are specified under § 679.23(e)(5), are as follows:

Gear Type A season B season C season
(1) Trawl60%20%20%
(i) Trawl CV70%10%20%
(ii) Trawl CP50%30%20%
(2) Hook-and-line CP and hook-and-line CV ≥60 ft (18.3 m) LOA60%40%no C season
(3) Jig40%20%40%
(4) All other non-trawl gearno seasonal allowanceno seasonal allowanceno seasonal allowance

(ii) Non-CDQ allocations - (A) Sector allocations. The remainder of the BSAI Pacific cod TAC after subtraction of the CDQ reserve for Pacific cod will be allocated to non-CDQ sectors as follows:

Sector % Allocation
(1) Jig vessels1.4
(2) Hook-and-line/pot CV <60 ft (18.3 m) LOA2
(3) Hook-and-line CV ≥60 ft (18.3 m) LOA0.2
(4) Hook-and-line CP48.7
(5) Pot CV ≥60 ft (18.3 m) LOA8.4
(6) Pot CP1.5
(7) AFA trawl CP2.3
(8) Amendment 80 sector13.4
(9) Trawl CV22.1

(B) Incidental catch allowance. During the annual harvest specifications process set forth at paragraph (c) of this section, the Regional Administrator will specify an amount of Pacific cod that NMFS estimates will be taken as incidental catch in directed fisheries for groundfish other than Pacific cod by the hook-and-line and pot gear sectors. This amount will be the incidental catch allowance and will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC annually allocated to the hook-and-line and pot gear sectors before the allocations under paragraph (a)(7)(ii)(A) of this section are made to these sectors.

(iii) Reallocation among non-CDQ sectors. If, during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that a non-CDQ sector will be unable to harvest the entire amount of Pacific cod allocated to that sector under paragraph (a)(7)(ii)(A) of this section, the Regional Administrator will reallocate the projected unused amount of Pacific cod to other sectors through notification in the Federal Register. Any reallocation decision by the Regional Administrator will take into account the capability of a sector to harvest the reallocated amount of Pacific cod, and the following reallocation hierarchy:

(A) Catcher vessel sectors. The Regional Administrator will reallocate projected unharvested amounts of Pacific cod TAC from a catcher vessel sector as follows: first to the jig sector, or to the less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA hook-and-line or pot catcher vessel sector, or to both of these sectors; second, to the greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA hook-and-line or to the greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA pot catcher vessel sectors; and third to the trawl catcher vessel sector. If the Regional Administrator determines that a projected unharvested amount from the jig sector allocation, the less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA hook-and-line or pot catcher vessel sector allocation, or the greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA hook-and-line catcher vessel sector allocation is unlikely to be harvested through this hierarchy, the Regional Administrator will reallocate that amount to the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector. If the Regional Administrator determines that a projected unharvested amount from a greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA pot catcher vessel sector allocation is unlikely to be harvested through this hierarchy, the Regional Administrator will reallocate that amount to the pot catcher/processor sector in accordance with the hierarchy set forth in paragraph (a)(7)(iii)(C) of this section. If the Regional Administrator determines that a projected unharvested amount from a trawl catcher vessel sector allocation is unlikely to be harvested through this hierarchy, the Regional Administrator will reallocate that amount to the other trawl sectors in accordance with the hierarchy set forth in paragraph (a)(7)(iii)(B) of this section.

(B) Trawl gear sectors. The Regional Administrator will reallocate any projected unharvested amounts of Pacific cod TAC from the trawl catcher vessel or AFA catcher/processor sectors to other trawl sectors before unharvested amounts are reallocated and apportioned to specified gear sectors as follows:

(1) 83.1 percent to the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector,

(2) 2.6 percent to the pot catcher/processor sector, and

(3) 14.3 percent to the greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA pot catcher vessel sector.

(C) Pot gear sectors. The Regional Administrator will reallocate any projected unharvested amounts of Pacific cod TAC from the pot catcher/processor sector to the greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA pot catcher vessel sector, and from the greater than or equal to 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA pot catcher vessel sector to the pot catcher/processor sector before reallocating it to the hook-and-line catcher/processor sector.

(iv) Non-CDQ seasonal allowances - (A) Seasonal allowances by sector. The BSAI Pacific cod sector allowances are apportioned by season, as those seasons are specified at § 679.23(e)(5), as follows:

Sector Seasonal Allowances
A season B season C season
(1) Trawl
(i) Trawl CV74 %11 %15 %
(ii) Trawl CP75 %25 %0 %
(2) Hook-and-line CP, hook-and-line CV ≥60 ft (18.3 m) LOA, and pot gear vessels ≥60 ft (18.3 m) LOA51 %49 %no C season
(3) Jig vessels60 %20 %20 %
(4) All other nontrawl vesselsno seasonal allowanceno seasonal allowanceno seasonal allowance

(B) Unused seasonal allowances. Any unused portion of a seasonal allowance of Pacific cod from any sector except the jig sector will be reallocated to that sector's next season during the current fishing year unless the Regional Administrator makes a determination under paragraph (a)(7)(iii) of this section that the sector will be unable to harvest its allocation.

(C) Jig sector. The Regional Administrator will reallocate any projected unused portion of a seasonal allowance of Pacific cod for the jig sector under this section to the less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA hook-and-line or pot catcher vessel sector. The Regional Administrator will reallocate the projected unused portion of the jig sector's C season allowance on or about September 1 of each year.

(v) ITAC allocation to the Amendment 80 sector. A percentage of the Pacific cod TAC, after subtraction of the CDQ reserve, will be allocated as ITAC to the Amendment 80 sector as described in Table 33 to this part. Separate allocations for each Amendment 80 cooperative and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery are described under § 679.91. The allocation of Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector will be further divided into seasonal apportionments as described under paragraph (a)(7)(iv)(A)(1)(ii) of this section.

(A) Use of seasonal apportionments by Amendment 80 cooperatives. (1) The amount of Pacific cod listed on a CQ permit that is assigned for use in the A season may be used in the B or C season.

(2) The amount of Pacific cod that is listed on a CQ permit that is assigned for use in the B season may not be used in the A season.

(3) The amount of Pacific cod listed on a CQ permit that is assigned for use in the C season may not be used in the A or B seasons.

(B) Harvest of seasonal apportionments in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. (1) Pacific cod ITAC assigned for harvest by the Amendment 80 limited access fishery in the A season may be harvested in the B or C seasons.

(2) Pacific cod ITAC assigned for harvest by the Amendment 80 limited access fishery in the B season may not be harvested in the A season.

(3) Pacific cod ITAC assigned for harvest by the Amendment 80 limited access fishery in the C season may not be harvested in the A or B seasons.

(vi) ITAC rollover to Amendment 80 cooperatives. If during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that a portion of the Pacific cod TAC is unlikely to be harvested and is made available for reallocation to the Amendment 80 sector according to the provisions under paragraph (a)(7)(iii) of this section, the Regional Administrator may issue inseason notification in the Federal Register that reallocates that remaining amount of Pacific cod to Amendment 80 cooperatives, according to the procedures established under § 679.91(f).

(vii) Pacific cod harvest limitations. During the annual harvest specifications process, the Regional Administrator will establish an Area 543 Pacific cod harvest limit based on Pacific cod abundance in Area 543 as determined by the annual stock assessment process. NMFS will first subtract the State GHL Pacific cod amount from the AI Pacific cod ABC. Then NMFS will determine the harvest limit in Area 543 by multiplying the percentage of Pacific cod estimated in Area 543 by the remaining ABC for AI Pacific cod.

(viii) Aleutian Islands Pacific Cod Catcher Vessel Harvest Set-Aside Program - (A) Calculation of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ ICA and DFA. Each year, during the annual harvest specifications process set forth at paragraph (c) of this section, NMFS will specify the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ incidental catch allowance and directed fishing allowance from the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ TAC as follows. Shortly after completion of the process set forth in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(D) of this section, NMFS will announce through notice in the Federal Register whether the ICA and DFA will be in effect for the upcoming fishing year.

(1) Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ incidental catch allowance. Each year, during the annual harvest specifications process set forth at paragraph (c) of this section, NMFS will specify an amount of Aleutian Islands Pacific cod that NMFS estimates will be taken as incidental catch in non-CDQ directed fisheries for groundfish other than Pacific cod in the Aleutian Islands. This amount will be the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ incidental catch allowance and will be deducted from the aggregate portion of Pacific cod TAC annually allocated to the non-CDQ sectors identified in paragraph (a)(7)(ii)(A) of this section.

(2) Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance. Each year, during the annual harvest specifications process set forth at paragraph (c) of this section, NMFS will specify the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance. The Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance will be the amount of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod TAC remaining after subtraction of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod CDQ reserve and the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ incidental catch allowance.

(B) Calculation of the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside and Aleutian Islands Unrestricted Fishery. Each year, during the annual harvest specifications process set forth at paragraph (c) of this section, NMFS will specify the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside and the Aleutian Islands Unrestricted Fishery. The Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside will be an amount of Pacific cod equal to the lesser of either the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance as determined in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(A)(2) of this section or 5,000 mt. The Aleutian Islands Unrestricted Fishery will be the amount of Pacific cod that remains after deducting the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside from the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance as determined in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(A)(2) of this section. Shortly after completion of the process set forth in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(D) of this section, NMFS will announce through notice in the Federal Register whether the Aleutian Islands CV Harvest Set-Aside and the Aleutian Islands Unrestricted Fishery will be in effect for the upcoming fishing year.

(C) Calculation of the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation. Each year, during the annual harvest specifications process set forth at paragraph (c) of this section, NMFS will specify the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation and the amount of the trawl CV sector's A-season allocation that could be harvested in the Bering Sea subarea prior to March 21. The Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation will be an amount of Pacific cod equal to the lesser of either the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance as determined in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(A)(2) of this section or 5,000 mt. The amount of the trawl CV sector's A-season allocation that could be harvested in the Bering Sea subarea prior to March 21 will be the amount of Pacific cod that remains after deducting the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation from the amount of BSAI Pacific cod allocated to the trawl CV sector A-season as determined in paragraph (a)(7)(iv)(A)(1)(i) of this section. Shortly after completion of the process set forth in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(D) of this section, NMFS will announce through notice in the Federal Register whether the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation will be in effect for the upcoming fishing year.

(D) Annual notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod - (1) Submission of notification. The provisions of paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(E) of this section will apply if the either the City Manager of the City of Adak or the City Administrator of the City of Atka submits to NMFS a timely and complete notification of its intent to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod during the upcoming fishing year. This notification must be submitted annually to NMFS using the methods described below.

(2) Submittal method. An official notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod during the upcoming fishing year in the form of a letter or memorandum signed by the City Manager of the City of Adak or the City Administrator of the City of Atka must be submitted by certified mail through the United States Postal Service to: NMFS Alaska Region, Attn: Regional Administrator, P. O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. The City Manager or City Administrator must also submit an electronic copy of the official notification of intent and the certified mail receipt with postmark via email to [email protected] Email submission is in addition to submission via U.S. Postal Service; email submission does not replace the requirement to submit an official notification of intent via U.S. Postal Service.

(3) NMFS confirmation. On or shortly after December 8, 2016, or November 1 for each year after 2016, the Regional Administrator will send a signed and dated letter to the City Manager of the City of Adak or the City Administrator of the City of Atka either confirming NMFS' receipt of its official notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod, or informing the city that NMFS did not receive notification by the deadline.

(4) Deadline. The official notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod for the upcoming fishing year must be postmarked no later than December 8, 2016, or October 31 for each year after 2016, in order for the provisions of paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(E) of this section to apply during the upcoming fishing year. Notifications of intent postmarked on or after December 9, 2016, or November 1 for each year after 2016, will not be accepted by the Regional Administrator. The electronic copy of the official notification of intent and certified mail receipt with postmark must be submitted to NMFS via email dated no later than December 8, 2016, or no later than October 31 for each year after 2016, in order for the provisions of paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(E) of this section to apply during the upcoming fishing year.

(5) Contents of notification. A notification of intent to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod for the upcoming fishing year must contain the following information:

(i) Date,

(ii) Name of city,

(iii) Statement of intent to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod,

(iv) Identification of the fishing year during which the city intends to process Aleutian Island Pacific cod, and

(v) Signature of and contact information for the City Manager or City Administrator of the city intending to process Aleutian Islands Pacific cod.

(E) Aleutian Islands community protections for Pacific cod. If the City Manager of the City of Adak or the City Administrator of the City of Atka submits a timely and complete notification in accordance with paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(D) of this section, then the following provisions will apply for the fishing year following the submission of the timely and complete notification:

(1) Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation. Prior to March 21, the harvest of Pacific cod by the trawl CV sector in the Bering Sea subarea is limited to an amount equal to the trawl CV sector A-season allocation as determined in paragraph (a)(7)(iv)(A)(1)(i) of this section minus the Bering Sea Trawl CV A-Season Sector Limitation as determined in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(C) of this section. If, after the start of the fishing year, the provisions of paragraphs (a)(7)(viii)(E)(4) or (5) of this section are met, this paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(E)(1) will not apply for the remainder of the fishing year.

(2) Aleutian Islands Catcher Vessel Harvest Set-Aside. Prior to March 15, only catcher vessels that deliver their catch of Aleutian Islands Pacific cod to Aleutian Islands shoreplants for processing may directed fish for that portion of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance that is specified as the Aleutian Islands Catcher Vessel Harvest Set-Aside in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(B) of this section. If, after the start of the fishing year, the provisions of paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(E)(4) of this section are met, this paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(E)(2) will not apply for the remainder of the fishing year.

(3) Aleutian Islands Unrestricted Fishery. Prior to March 15, vessels otherwise authorized to directed fish for Pacific cod in the Aleutian Islands may directed fish for that portion of the Aleutian Islands Pacific cod non-CDQ directed fishing allowance that is specified as the Aleutian Islands Unrestricted Fishery as determined in paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(B) of this section and may deliver their catch to any eligible processor.

(4) Minimum Aleutian Islands shoreplant landing requirement. If less than 1,000 mt of the Aleutian Islands Catcher Vessel Harvest Set-Aside is landed at Aleutian Islands shoreplants on or before February 28, then paragraphs (a)(7)(viii)(E)(1) and (2) of this section will not apply for the remainder of the fishing year.

(5) Harvest of Aleutian Islands Catcher Vessel Harvest Set-Aside. If the Aleutian Islands Catcher Vessel Harvest Set-Aside is fully harvested prior to March 15, then paragraph (a)(7)(viii)(E)(1) of this section will not apply for the remainder of the fishing year.

(8) BSAI Atka mackerel - (i) Jig gear. Vessels using jig gear will be allocated up to 2 percent of the TAC of Atka mackerel specified for the Eastern Aleutian Islands District and Bering Sea subarea, after subtraction of reserves, based on the following criteria:

(A) The amount of Atka mackerel harvested by vessels using jig gear during recent fishing years;

(B) The anticipated harvest of Atka mackerel by vessels using jig gear during the upcoming fishing year; and

(C) The extent to which the jig-gear allocation will support the development of a jig-gear fishery for Atka mackerel while minimizing the amount of Atka mackerel TAC annually allocated to vessels using jig gear that remains unharvested at the end of the fishing year.

(ii) ITAC allocation to Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The remainder of the Atka mackerel TAC, after subtraction of the jig gear allocation, CDQ reserve, and incidental catch allowance for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear, will be allocated as ITAC to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors.

(A) Seasonal allowances. The Atka mackerel TAC specified for each subarea or district will be divided equally, after subtraction of the jig gear allocation, into two seasonal allowances corresponding to the A and B seasons defined at § 679.23(e)(3).

(B) Overages and Underages. Within any fishing year, unharvested amounts of the A season allowance will be added to the B season allowance and harvests in excess of the A season allowance will be deducted from the B season allowance.

(C) Atka mackerel harvest limitations. (1) Atka mackerel catch within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to this part and located west of 178° W longitude is:

(i) Limited to no more than 60 percent of the annual TACs in Areas 542 and 543; and

(ii) Equally divided between the A and B seasons as defined at § 679.23(e)(3).

(2) The annual TAC in Area 543 will be no more than 65 percent of the ABC in Area 543.

(D) Any unharvested Atka mackerel A season allowance that is added to the B season is prohibited from being harvested within waters 0 nm to 20 nm of Steller sea lion sites listed in Table 6 to this part and located in Areas 541, 542, and 543.

(iii) [Reserved]

(iv) Amendment 80 sector allocation. The allocation of Atka mackerel ITAC to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Table 33 to this part. The allocation of Atka mackerel ITAC to the Amendment 80 sector will be further divided into seasonal apportionments under § 679.23(e)(3), and separate allocations for each Amendment 80 cooperative and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery as described under § 679.91.

(A) Use of seasonal apportionments by Amendment 80 cooperatives. (1) The amount of Atka mackerel listed on a CQ permit that is assigned for use in the A season may be used in the B season.

(2) The amount of Atka mackerel listed on a CQ permit that is assigned for use in the B season may not be used in the A season.

(B) Harvest of seasonal apportionments in the Amendment 80 limited access fishery. (1) Atka mackerel ITAC assigned for harvest by the Amendment 80 limited access fishery in the A season may be harvested in the B season.

(2) Atka mackerel ITAC assigned for harvest by the Amendment 80 limited access fishery in the B season may not be harvested in the A season.

(v) BSAI trawl limited access sector allocation - (A) BSAI trawl limited access sector directed fishing allowance. The amount of Atka mackerel ITAC assigned as a directed fishing allowance to the BSAI trawl limited access sector is established in Table 33 to this part.

(B) BSAI trawl limited access sector incidental catch allowance and ITAC rollover. If, during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that a portion of the Atka mackerel incidental catch allowance or ITAC assigned to the BSAI trawl limited access sector is unlikely to be harvested, the Regional Administrator may issue inseason notification in the Federal Register that reallocates that remaining amount of Atka mackerel directed fishing allowance to Amendment 80 cooperatives, according to the procedures established under § 679.91(f).

(9) BSAI shortraker rockfish and rougheye rockfish. After subtraction of reserves, the TAC of shortraker rockfish and rougheye rockfish specified for the Aleutian Islands subarea will be allocated 30 percent to vessels using non-trawl gear and 70 percent to vessels using trawl gear.

(10) Amendment 80 species except Pacific cod and Atka mackerel - (i) ITAC allocation to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors. The remainder of the TACs for each Amendment 80 species other than Atka mackerel and Pacific cod, after subtraction of the CDQ reserve and incidental catch allowance for the BSAI trawl limited access sector and vessels using non-trawl gear, will be allocated as ITAC to the Amendment 80 and BSAI trawl limited access sectors.

(ii) Amendment 80 sector ITAC. The allocation of ITAC for each Amendment 80 species other than Atka mackerel and Pacific cod to the Amendment 80 sector is established in Tables 33 and 34 to this part. The allocation of these species to the Amendment 80 sector will be further divided into separate allocations for each Amendment 80 cooperative and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery as described under § 679.91.

(iii) BSAI trawl limited access sector allocation - (A) BSAI trawl limited access sector directed fishing allowance. The amount of ITAC for each Amendment 80 species other than Atka mackerel and Pacific cod assigned as a directed fishing allowance to the BSAI trawl limited access sector is established in Tables 33 and 34 to this part.

(B) BSAI trawl limited access sector ITAC rollover. If, during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that a portion of the incidental catch allowance or ITAC assigned to the BSAI trawl limited access sector for each Amendment 80 species other than Atka mackerel and Pacific cod is unlikely to be harvested, the Regional Administrator may issue inseason notification in the Federal Register that reallocates that remaining amount to Amendment 80 cooperatives, according to the procedures established under § 679.91(f).

(11) All other groundfish TAC. The initial TAC for each target species and the “other species” category will be 85 percent of the TAC as provided under paragraph (b) of this section.

(12) GOA Pacific cod TAC - (i) Seasonal allowances by sector. The Western and Central GOA Pacific cod TACs will be seasonally apportioned to each sector such that: 60 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the A season and 40 percent of the TAC is apportioned to the B season, as specified in § 679.23(d)(3).

(A) Western GOA Regulatory Area - Jig sector. A portion of the annual Pacific cod TAC will be allocated to vessels with an FFP that use jig gear, as determined in the annual harvest specification under paragraph (c)(7) of this section, before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. Other Pacific cod sector allowances are apportioned after allocation to the jig sector based on gear type and operation type as follows:

Sector Gear type Operation type Seasonal allowances
A season
(in percent)
B season
(in percent)
(1)Hook-and-LineCatcher vessel0.700.70
(2)Hook-and-LineCatcher/Processor10.908.90
(3)TrawlCatcher vessel27.7010.70
(4)TrawlCatcher/Processor0.901.50
(5)PotCatcher Vessel and Catcher/Processor19.8018.20
(6)NontrawlAny0.000.00

(B) Central GOA Regulatory Area - Jig sector. A portion of the annual Pacific cod TAC will be allocated to vessels with an FFP that use jig gear, as determined in the annual harvest specification under paragraph (c)(7) of this section, before TAC is apportioned among other non-jig sectors. Other Pacific cod sector allowances are apportioned after allocation to the jig sector based on gear type, operation type, and length overall as follows:

Sector Gear type Operation type Length overall in feet Seasonal allowances
A season
(in percent)
B season
(in percent)
(1)Hook-and-LineCatcher vessel<509.315525.28678
(2)Hook-and-LineCatcher vessel≥505.609351.09726
(3)Hook-and-LineCatcher/ProcessorAny4.106840.99751
(4)TrawlCatcher vesselAny21.1352320.44888
(5)TrawlCatcher/ProcessorAny2.003342.19451
(6)PotCatcher Vessel and Catcher/ProcessorAny17.829729.97506
(7)NontrawlAnyAny0.000.00

(ii) Reapportionment of TAC - (A) The Regional Administrator may apply any underage or overage of Pacific cod harvest by each sector from one season to the subsequent season. In adding or subtracting any underages or overages to the subsequent season, the Regional Administrator shall consider the incidental catch and any catch in the directed fishery by each sector.

(B) If, during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that a sector will be unable to harvest the entire amount of Pacific cod allocated to that sector under (a)(12)(i)(A) or (B) of this section, the Regional Administrator will reallocate the projected unused amount of Pacific cod to other sectors through notification in the Federal Register. Any reallocation decision by the Regional Administrator would consider a reallocation of the projected unused allocation to the CV sectors first, then to the combined CV and C/P pot sector, and then to all other C/P sectors, taking into account the capability of a sector, as determined by the NMFS Alaska Regional Administrator, to harvest the remaining Pacific cod TAC.

(iii) Catch accounting - (A) Incidental Pacific cod harvested between the closure of the A season and opening of the B season shall be deducted from the B season TAC apportionment for that sector.

(B) Each license holder that is assigned an LLP license with a catcher/processor operation type endorsement that is not assigned a catcher vessel operation type endorsement under the provisions at § 679.4(k)(10)(vii)(A) and (B) shall have all incidental and direct catch of Pacific cod deducted from the catcher/processor sector allocation and gear type designation corresponding to the gear used by that vessel.

(C) Holders of catcher/processor licenses assigned a Western GOA CV endorsement, under the provisions at § 679.4(k)(10)(vii)(A) and (B), shall have all incidental and direct catch of Pacific cod in the Western GOA deducted from the CV sector's allocation and gear type designation corresponding to the gear used by that vessel in the Western GOA.

(D) Holders of C/P licenses eligible to, and electing to receive a Central CV endorsement, under the provisions at § 679.4(k)(10)(vii)(A) and (B), shall have all incidental and direct catch of Pacific cod in the Central GOA deducted from the CV sector's allocation and gear type designation corresponding to the gear used by that vessel in the Central GOA.

(E) NMFS shall determine the length overall of a vessel operating in the Central GOA based on the length overall designated on the FFP assigned to that vessel.

(iv) Processing caps for FFP licensed vessels. In the Western GOA, no more than 2 percent of the total Pacific cod TAC allocated to the Western GOA regulatory area can be delivered for processing to vessels operating under the authority of an FFP.

(v) Processing caps for FPP licensed vessels operating as CQE floating processors. Harvesting vessels may deliver Pacific cod harvested in the directed Pacific cod TAC fishery, if the processing vessel receiving the Pacific cod -

(A) Does not meet the definition of a stationary floating processor at § 679.2;

(B) Is operating under the authority of an FPP license endorsed as a CQE floating processor;

(C) Is located within the marine municipal boundaries of a CQE community in the State waters adjacent to the Central or Western GOA as described in Table 21 to this part; and

(D) The total amount of Pacific cod received or processed by all CQE floating processors does not exceed -

(1) 3 percent of the total Western GOA Pacific cod TAC; or

(2) 3 percent of the total Central GOA Pacific cod TAC.

(b) Reserves - (1) BSAI - (i) Nonspecified reserve. Fifteen percent of the BSAI TAC for each target species, except pollock, the hook-and-line and pot gear allocation for sablefish, and the Amendment 80 species, which includes Pacific cod, is automatically placed in the nonspecified reserve before allocation to any sector. The remaining 85 percent of each TAC is apportioned to the initial TAC for each target species that contributed to the nonspecified reserve. The nonspecified reserve is not designated by species or species group. Any amount of the nonspecified reserve may be apportioned to target species that contributed to the nonspecified reserve, provided that such apportionments are consistent with paragraph (a)(3) of this section and do not result in overfishing of a target species.

(ii) CDQ reserves - (A) Pollock CDQ reserves - (1) Bering Sea. In the annual harvest specifications required by paragraph (c) of this section, 10 percent of the Bering Sea subarea pollock TAC will be allocated to a CDQ reserve as a directed fishing allowance.

(2) Aleutian Islands subarea and Bogoslof District. In the annual harvest specifications required by paragraph (c) of this section, 10 percent of the Aleutian Islands subarea and Bogoslof District pollock TACs will be allocated to a CDQ reserve as a directed fishing allowance unless the Aleutian Islands subarea or Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation. If the Aleutian Islands subarea and/or Bogoslof District is closed to directed fishing for pollock by regulation, then no pollock CDQ reserve will be established for those areas and incidental harvest of pollock by CDQ groups will accrue against the incidental catch allowance for pollock established under paragraph (a)(5)(i)(A)(1) of this section.

(B) Fixed gear sablefish CDQ reserves. Twenty percent of the hook-and-line or pot gear allocation of sablefish established under paragraphs (a)(4)(iii)(A) and (a)(4)(iv)(A) of this section will be allocated to a CDQ reserve for each subarea.

(C) CDQ reserves for Amendment 80 species. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the BSAI TACs for Atka mackerel, Aleutian Islands Pacific ocean perch, yellowfin sole, rock sole, flathead sole, and Pacific cod will be allocated to a CDQ reserve for each of these species by management area, subarea, or district.

(D) CDQ reserves for other groundfish species. (1) An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the BSAI TACs for Bering Sea Greenland turbot and arrowtooth flounder, and 7.5 percent of the trawl gear allocation of sablefish in the BS and AI is apportioned from the nonspecified reserve established under paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section to a CDQ reserve for each of these species by management area, subarea, or district.

(2) For all other groundfish species not specifically listed in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(A) through (b)(1)(ii)(D)(1) of this section, an amount equal to 10.7 percent of the BSAI TAC will be apportioned to a CDQ reserve if NMFS, after consultation with the Council and in consideration of public comment, determines in the annual harvest specifications process under paragraph (c) of this section that a directed fishery in the BSAI exists for this species under section 305(i)(1)(B)(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. In making this determination, the Council and NMFS shall consider whether sufficient TAC exists to open a directed fishery for that species in the BSAI and that this species or species group is economically viable for the CDQ group to target.

(iii) ABC reserves. (A) ABC reserves are annually established for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole. For each flatfish species, the ABC reserve is calculated as an amount less than or equal to the ABC surplus. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may set the ABC reserve for flathead sole, rock sole, or yellowfin sole below the ABC surplus for that species based on social, economic, or ecological considerations.

(B) CDQ ABC reserves. An amount equal to 10.7 percent of the ABC reserves for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole will be allocated to a CDQ ABC reserve. The CDQ ABC reserves will be:

(1) Calculated during the annual harvest specifications described at paragraph (c) of this section, as allocations to CDQ groups; and

(2) Allocated to each CDQ group as described under § 679.31(b)(4).

(C) Amendment 80 ABC reserves. Amendment 80 ABC reserves shall be calculated as the ABC reserves described under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(A) of this section as reduced by the CDQ ABC reserves under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(B) of this section. The Amendment 80 ABC reserves will be:

(1) Calculated during the annual harvest specifications described at paragraph (c) of this section, as allocations to Amendment 80 cooperatives; and

(2) Allocated to each Amendment 80 cooperative as described under § 679.91(i)(2).

(2) GOA. Initial reserves are established for pollock, Pacific cod, flatfish, octopuses, and sharks, which are equal to 20 percent of the TACs for these species or species groups.

(i) Pollock inshore-offshore reapportionment. Any amounts of the GOA reserve that are reapportioned to pollock as provided by paragraph (b) of this section must be apportioned for processing by the inshore component in the GOA and the offshore component in the GOA in the same proportions specified in paragraph (a)(6)(i) of this section.

(ii) Pacific cod reapportionment. Any amounts of the GOA reserve that are reapportioned to the GOA Pacific cod fishery as provided by paragraph (b) of this section must be apportioned in the same proportion specified in paragraphs (a)(6)(ii) and (a)(12)(i) of this section.

(3) Apportionment of reserves. (i) Notification. (A) As soon as practicable after April 1, June 1, and August 1, and on such other dates as NMFS determines appropriate, NMFS will, by notification in the Federal Register, apportion all or part of the BSAI or GOA reserve in accordance with this paragraph (b).

(B) No apportionment, retention, or PSC limit adjustment may take effect until notification has been published in the Federal Register with a statement of the findings upon which the apportionment, retention, or adjustment is based.

(ii) Apportionment - (A) General. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, NMFS will apportion the amount of BSAI or GOA reserve that will be harvested by U.S. vessels during the remainder of the year.

(B) Exception. Part or all of the BSAI or GOA reserve may be withheld if an apportionment would adversely affect the conservation of groundfish resources or prohibited species.

(iii) Public comment - (A) Prior comment. NMFS will provide all interested persons an opportunity to comment on the proposed apportionments, retentions, or PSC limit adjustments under this paragraph (b) before such apportionments, retentions, or adjustments are made, unless NMFS finds that there is good cause for not providing a prior comment opportunity, and publishes the reasons therefor in the notification of apportionment, retention, or adjustment.

(B) Submittal dates. Comments provided for in this paragraph (b)(3)(iii) must be received by NMFS not later than 5 days before April 1, June 1, and August 1, or other dates that may be specified.

(C) Subsequent comment. If NMFS determines for good cause that notification of apportionment, retention or PSC limit adjustment must be issued without providing interested persons a prior opportunity for public comment, comments on the apportionment, retention or adjustment will be received for a period of 15 days after its effective date.

(D) Response to comments. NMFS will consider all timely comments in deciding whether to make a proposed apportionment, retention, or PSC limit adjustment or to modify an apportionment, retention, or adjustment that previously has been made, and shall publish responses to those comments in the Federal Register as soon as practicable.

(E) Data available. The Regional Administrator will make available to the public during business hours the aggregate data upon which any preliminary TAC or PSC limit figure is based or the data upon which any apportionment or retention of surplus or reserve, or PSC limit adjustment was or is proposed to be based. These data will be available for a sufficient period to facilitate informed comment by interested persons.

(c) Annual specifications - (1) Proposed specifications - (i) Notification. As soon as practicable after consultation with the Council, NMFS will publish proposed specifications for the groundfish fisheries in the BSAI and the GOA.

(ii) Public comment. NMFS will accept public comment on the proposed specifications established by this section and by § 679.21 for a period specified in the notice of proposed specifications published in the Federal Register.

(iii) GOA. The proposed specifications will specify for up to two fishing years the annual TAC for each target species and apportionments thereof, halibut prohibited species catch amounts, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod.

(iv) BSAI. (A) The proposed harvest specifications will specify for up to two fishing years the annual TAC for each target species and apportionments thereof, PSQ reserves and prohibited species catch allowances, seasonal allowances of pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel TAC (including pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel CDQ), and CDQ reserves.

(B) The proposed harvest specifications will specify for up to two fishing years the ABC surpluses, ABC reserves, CDQ ABC reserves, CDQ ABC reserves for each CDQ group, Amendment 80 ABC reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC reserves for each Amendment 80 cooperative for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) Final specifications - (i) Procedure and notification. NMFS will consider comments received on the proposed specifications and, after consultation with the Council, will publish a notice of final specifications in the Federal Register unless NMFS determines that the final specifications would not be a logical outgrowth of the notice of proposed specifications. In that event, NMFS will either:

(A) Publish a revised notice of proposed specifications in the Federal Register for public comment, and after considering comments received on the revised proposed specifications, publish a notice of final specifications in the Federal Register; or

(B) Publish a notice of final specifications in the Federal Register without an additional opportunity for public comment based on a finding that good cause pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act justifies waiver of the requirement for a revised notice of proposed specifications and opportunity for public comment thereon.

(ii) GOA. The final specifications will specify for up to two fishing years the annual TAC for each target species and apportionments thereof, halibut prohibited species catch amounts, and seasonal allowances of pollock and Pacific cod.

(iii) BSAI. (A) The final harvest specifications will specify for up to two fishing years the annual TAC for each target species and apportionments thereof, PSQ reserves and prohibited species catch allowances, seasonal allowances of pollock (including pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel CDQ), and CDQ reserves.

(B) The final harvest specifications will specify for up to two fishing years the annual ABC surpluses, ABC reserves, CDQ ABC reserves, CDQ ABC reserves for each CDQ group, Amendment 80 ABC reserves, and Amendment 80 ABC reserves for each Amendment 80 cooperative for flathead sole, rock sole, and yellowfin sole.

(4) AFA and inshore/offshore allocations - (i) BSAI pollock. The annual harvest specifications will specify the allocation of pollock for processing by each AFA industry component in the BSAI, and any seasonal allowances thereof, as authorized under paragraph (a)(5) of this section.

(ii) GOA pollock. The annual harvest specifications will specify the allocation of GOA pollock for processing by the inshore component in the GOA and the offshore component in the GOA, and any seasonal allowances thereof, as authorized under paragraphs (a)(5) and (a)(6) of this section.

(iii) Eastern GOA Pacific cod. The annual harvest specifications will specify the allocation of Eastern GOA Pacific cod for processing by the inshore component and the offshore component, and any seasonal allowances thereof, as authorized under paragraph (a)(6) of this section.

(5) BSAI Pacific cod gear allocations. The proposed and final specifications will specify the allocation of BSAI Pacific cod among gear types as authorized under paragraph (a)(7) of this section.

(6) BSAI Atka mackerel allocations. The proposed and final harvest specifications will specify the allocation of BSAI Atka mackerel among gear types as authorized under paragraph (a)(8) of this section.

(7) Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations. The proposed and final harvest specifications will specify the allocation of GOA Pacific cod among gear types and any seasonal allowances thereof, as authorized under paragraph (a)(12) of this section.

(d) Fishery closures - (1) Directed fishing allowance - (i) General. If the Regional Administrator determines that any allocation or apportionment of a target species specified under paragraph (c) of this section has been or will be reached, the Regional Administrator may establish a directed fishing allowance for that species or species group.

(ii) Specified fishery amounts - (A) Inseason adjustments. The category allocations or apportionments established under paragraph (c) of this section may be revised by inseason adjustments, as defined at § 679.25, for a given species or species group or pollock allowance, as identified by regulatory area, subarea, or district, and, if applicable, as further identified by gear type.

(B) Incidental catch. In establishing a directed fishing allowance, the Regional Administrator shall consider the amount of the allocation or apportionment established under paragraph (c) of this section that will be taken as incidental catch in directed fishing for other species in the same subarea, regulatory area, or district.

(iii) Directed fishing closure - (A) Notification. If the Regional Administrator establishes a directed fishing allowance for a fishery allocation or apportionment under this paragraph (d), and that allowance has been or will be reached before the end of the fishing season or year, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register prohibiting directed fishing in the specified subarea, regulatory area, or district.

(B) Retention of incidental species. Except as described in § 679.20(e)(3)(iii) and § 679.20(j), if directed fishing for a target species or species group is prohibited, a vessel may not retain that incidental species in an amount that exceeds the maximum retainable amount, as calculated under paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section, at any time during a fishing trip.

(iv) AFA sideboard limitations - (A) If the Regional Administrator determines that any sideboard harvest limit for a group of AFA vessels established under § 679.64 has been or will be reached, the Regional Administrator may establish a sideboard directed fishing allowance for the species or species group applicable only to the identified group of AFA vessels.

(B) In establishing a directed fishing allowance under paragraph (d)(1)(iv)(A) of this section, the Regional Administrator will consider the amount of the sideboard limit established for a group of AFA vessels under § 679.64 that will be taken as incidental catch by those vessels in directed fishing for other species.

(C) If the Regional Administrator determines that a sideboard amount is insufficient to support a directed fishery for that species then the Regional Administrator may set the sideboard directed fishing allowance at zero for that species or species group.

(D) Species or species groups for which directed fishing for sideboard limits by AFA vessels is prohibited are listed in Tables 54, 55, and 56 to this part.

(v) Amendment 80 GOA sideboard limits - GOA groundfish. (A) If the Regional Administrator determines that a GOA sideboard limit for a GOA groundfish species as described under Table 37 to this part is sufficient to support a directed fishing allowance for that species, the Regional Administrator may establish a directed fishing allowance for the species applicable only to Amendment 80 vessels subject to the GOA groundfish sideboard limit.

(B) If the Regional Administrator determines that a GOA groundfish sideboard limit as described under Table 37 to this part is insufficient to support a directed fishing allowance by Amendment 80 vessels for that species, then the Regional Administrator may set the directed fishing allowance to zero for that species for Amendment 80 vessels.

(C) Upon determining that a GOA sideboard limit as described under Table 37 to this part for a species is or will be reached, the Regional Administrator will publish notification in the Federal Register prohibiting directed fishing for that species by the Amendment 80 vessels to which the GOA sideboard limit applies.

(vi) Amendment 80 GOA sideboard limits - halibut PSC. (A) If the Regional Administrator determines that a GOA sideboard limit for halibut PSC is sufficient to support a directed fishery for a species or species group, management area, and season specified in Table 38 to this part, then the Regional Administrator may establish a halibut PSC sideboard limit for that species or species group, management area, and season applicable to the Amendment 80 vessels to which the halibut PSC limit applies.

(B) If the Regional Administrator determines that a halibut PSC sideboard limit is insufficient to support a directed fishery for a species or species group, management area, and season as specified in Table 38 to this part then the Regional Administrator may set the halibut PSC sideboard limit for that species or species group to zero for the Amendment 80 vessels to which the halibut PSC limit applies.

(C) Upon determining that a halibut PSC sideboard limit for a species or species group, management area, and season as specified in Table 38 to this part is or will be reached, the Regional Administrator will publish notification in the Federal Register prohibiting directed fishing for a specific species or species group by the Amendment 80 vessels to which the halibut PSC limit applies as follows:

(1) If the halibut PSC sideboard limit is reached for the deep-water species fishery as defined in § 679.21(d)(3)(iii)(B) for a season, then NMFS will close directed fishing in the GOA for all species in the deep-water species fishery except northern rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, and pelagic shelf rockfish in the Central GOA for that season.

(2) If the halibut PSC sideboard limit is reached for the shallow-water species fishery as defined in § 679.21(d)(3)(iii)(A) for a season, then NMFS will close directed fishing in the GOA for all species in the shallow-water species fishery for that season.

(2) Groundfish as prohibited species closure. When the Regional Administrator determines that the TAC of any target species specified under paragraph (c) of this section, or the share of any TAC assigned to any type of gear, has been or will be achieved prior to the end of a year, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register requiring that target species be treated in the same manner as a prohibited species, as described under § 679.21(a), for the remainder of the year, except rockfish species caught by catcher vessels using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear as described in § 679.20(j).

(3) Overfishing closure - (i) Notification. If, in making a determination under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, the Regional Administrator also determines that fishing for other target species or species groups in the area, district or part thereof where the notification applies, may lead to the overfishing of the species or species group for which the allocation or apportionment has been or will be reached, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register specifying limitations or prohibitions designed to prevent overfishing of that species or species group.

(ii) Limitations and prohibitions. These limitations and prohibitions may prohibit directed fishing for other species or species groups in the area, district, or part thereof where the notification applies, or may limit time, area, or gear types that may be used in directed fishing for the other species or species groups.

(iii) Factors to be considered. When making the determinations specified under paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3) of this section, the Regional Administrator may consider allowing fishing to continue or resume with certain gear types or in certain areas and times based on findings of:

(A) The risk of biological harm to a groundfish species or species group for which the TAC or PSC limit is or will be reached.

(B) The risk of socioeconomic harm to authorized users of the groundfish for which the TAC or PSC limit will be or has been reached.

(C) The impact that the continued closure might have on the socioeconomic well-being of other domestic fisheries.

(4) Harvest control for pollock, Atka mackerel, and Pacific cod. If a biological assessment of stock condition for pollock, Pacific cod, or Atka mackerel within an area projects that the spawning biomass in that area will be equal to or below 20 percent of the projected unfished spawning biomass during a fishing year, the Regional Administrator will prohibit the directed fishery for the relevant species within the area. The Regional Administrator will prohibit the directed fishery under this paragraph by notification published in the Federal Register. The directed fishery will remain closed until a subsequent biological assessment projects that the spawning biomass for the species in the area will exceed 20 percent of the projected unfished spawning biomass during a fishing year.

(e) Maximum retainable amounts (MRA) - (1) Proportion of basis species. The maximum retainable amount of an incidental catch species is calculated as a proportion of the basis species retained on board the vessel using:

(i) The retainable percentages in Table 10 to this part for the GOA species categories (except the Rockfish Program fisheries, which are described in Table 30 to this part for the Rockfish Program fisheries); and

(ii) Table 11 to this part for the BSAI species categories.

(2) Calculation. (i) To calculate the maximum retainable amount for a specific incidental catch species, an individual retainable amount must be calculated with respect to each basis species that is retained on board that vessel.

(ii) To obtain these individual retainable amounts, multiply the appropriate retainable percentage for the incidental catch species/basis species combination, set forth in Table 10 to this part for the GOA species categories (except the Rockfish Program fisheries, which are described in Table 30 to this part for the Rockfish Program fisheries), and Table 11 to this part for the BSAI species categories, by the amount of that basis species, in round-weight equivalents.

(iii) The maximum retainable amount for that specific incidental catch species is the sum of the individual retainable amount.

(3) Application. (i) For catcher vessels, the maximum retainable amount for vessels fishing during a fishing trip in areas closed to directed fishing is the lowest maximum retainable amount applicable in any area, and this maximum retainable amount must be applied at any time and to all areas for the duration of the fishing trip.

(ii) For catcher/processors fishing in an area closed to directed fishing for a species or species group, the maximum retainable amount for that species or species group applies at any time for the duration of the fishing trip.

(iii) For all vessels not listed in subpart F of this section, the maximum retainable amount for pollock harvested in the BSAI is calculated at the end of each offload and is based on the basis species harvested since the previous offload. For purposes of this paragraph, offload means the removal of any fish or fish product from the vessel that harvested the fish or fish product to any other vessel or to shore.

(iv) The maximum retainable amount for groundfish harvested in the Central GOA by a catcher/processor vessel fishing under a rockfish CQ permit is calculated at the end of each weekly reporting period, and is based on the basis species defined in Table 30 harvested since the previous weekly reporting period, or for any portion of a weekly reporting period that vessel was designated under a vessel check-in as specified in § 679.5(r)(8).

(v) For all vessels not listed in subpart F of this section, the maximum retainable amount for Atka mackerel harvested in the Bering Sea subarea is calculated at the end of each offload and is based on the basis species harvested since the previous offload. For purposes of this paragraph, offload means the removal of any fish or fish product from the vessel that harvested the fish or fish product to any other vessel or to shore.

(f) Directed fishing calculations and determinations - (1) Round-weight equivalents. Any determination concerning directed fishing, the amount or percentage of any species, species group, or any fish or fish products must be calculated in round-weight equivalents.

(2) Retainable amounts. Any groundfish species for which directed fishing is closed may not be used to calculate retainable amounts of other groundfish species. Only fish harvested under the CDQ Program may be used to calculate retainable amounts of other CDQ species.

(g) Allowable retention of pollock roe - (1) Percentage of pollock roe. (i) Pollock roe retained on board a vessel at any time during a fishing trip must not exceed the following percentages of the total round-weight equivalent of pollock, as calculated from the primary pollock product on board the vessel during the same fishing trip:

(A) 7 percent in the Gulf of Alaska, and

(B) 9 percent in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

(ii) Determinations of allowable retention of pollock roe will be based on amounts of pollock harvested, received, or processed during a single fishing trip.

(iii) Pollock or pollock products from previous fishing trips that are retained on board a vessel may not be used to determine the allowable retention of pollock roe for that vessel.

(2) Primary product. (i) For purposes of this paragraph (g), only one primary pollock product per fish, other than roe, may be used to calculate the round-weight equivalent.

(ii) A primary pollock product that contains roe (such as headed and gutted pollock with roe) may not be used to calculate the round-weight equivalent of pollock.

(iii) The primary pollock product must be distinguished from ancillary pollock products in eLandings required under § 679.5(e)(9)(i)(D) and § 679.5(e)(10)(iii)(H) (see also Table 1c to this part).

(3) Pollock product recovery rates (PRRs). Use the product types and standard PRRs for pollock found in Table 3 to this part to calculate round-weight equivalents for pollock for purposes of this paragraph (g).

(4) Calculation of retainable pollock roe - (i) Round-weight equivalent. (A) To calculate the amount of pollock roe that can be retained on board during a fishing trip, first calculate the round-weight equivalent by dividing the total amount of primary product on board by the appropriate PRR.

(B) To determine the maximum amount of pollock roe that can be retained on board a vessel during the same fishing trip, multiply the round-weight equivalent by 0.07 in the Gulf of Alaska or 0.09 in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

(C) Pollock roe retained on board from previous fishing trips will not be counted.

(ii) Two or more products from different fish. (A) If two or more products, other than roe, are made from different fish, round-weight equivalents are calculated separately for each product.

(B) To determine the maximum amount of pollock roe that can be retained on board a vessel during a fishing trip, add the round-weight equivalents together; then, multiply the sum by 0.07 in the Gulf of Alaska or 0.09 in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.

(iii) Two or more products from same fish. If two or more products, other than roe, are made from the same fish, the maximum amount of pollock roe that can be retained during a fishing trip is determined from the primary product.

(5) Primary pollock product - (i) Process prior to transfer. Any primary pollock product used to calculate retainable amounts of pollock roe must be frozen, canned, or reduced to meal by the vessel retaining the pollock roe prior to any transfer of the product to another vessel.

(ii) No discard of processed product. Any pollock product that has been processed may not be discarded at sea unless such discarding is necessary to meet other requirements of this part.

(h) Standard product types and standard PRRs - (1) Calculating round-weight equivalents from standard PRRs. Round-weight equivalents for groundfish products are calculated using the product codes and standard PRRs specified in Table 3 to this part.

(2) Adjustments. The Regional Administrator may adjust standard PRRs and product types specified in Table 3 to this part if he or she determines that existing standard PRRs are inaccurate or if new product types are developed.

(i) Adjustments to any standard PRR listed in Table 3 to this part that are within and including 15 percent of that standard PRR may be made without providing notification and opportunity for prior public comment.

(ii) Adjustments of any standard PRR during a calendar year, when aggregated with all other adjustments made during that year, will not exceed 15 percent of the standard PRR listed in Table 3 to this part at the beginning of that calendar year.

(iii) No new product type will be announced until NMFS publishes the proposed adjustment and/or new product type in the Federal Register and provides the public with at least 30 days opportunity for public comment.

(iv) Any adjustment of a PRR that acts to further restrict the fishery will not be effective until 30 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.

(v) If NMFS makes any adjustment or announcement without providing a prior notification and opportunity for prior public comment, the Regional Administrator will receive public comments on the adjustment or announcement for a period of 15 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

(i) Forage fish, grenadiers, squids, and sculpins - (1) Definition. See Table 2c to this part.

(2) Applicability. The provisions of § 679.20(i) apply to all vessels fishing for groundfish in the BSAI or GOA, and to all vessels processing groundfish harvested in the BSAI or GOA.

(3) Closure to directed fishing. Directed fishing for forage fish, grenadiers, squids, and sculpins is prohibited at all times in the BSAI and GOA.

(4) Limits on sale, barter, trade, and processing. The sale, barter, trade, or processing of forage fish, grenadiers, squids, and sculpins is prohibited, except as provided in paragraph (i)(5) of this section.

(5) Allowable fishmeal production. Retained catch of forage fish, grenadiers, squids, or sculpins not exceeding the maximum retainable amount may be processed into fishmeal for sale, barter, or trade.

(j) Full retention of rockfish by catcher vessels using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear - (1) Retention and landing requirements. The operator of a catcher vessel that is required to have a Federal fisheries permit using hook-and-line, pot, or jig gear, must retain and land all rockfish that is caught while fishing for groundfish or IFQ or CDQ halibut in the BSAI or GOA.

(2) Maximum commerce allowance (MCA) for rockfish in the BSAI and GOA. Except as described in §§ 679.20(j)(3) and (4), when rockfish is closed to directed fishing, the operator of a catcher vessel that is required to have a Federal fisheries permit under § 679.4(b), or the manager of a shoreside processor that is required to have a Federal processor permit under § 679.4(f), must dispose of rockfish retained and landed in accordance with paragraph (j)(1) of this section as follows:

(i) A person may sell, barter, or trade a round weight equivalent amount of rockfish that is less than or equal to 15 percent of the aggregate round weight equivalent of IFQ halibut and groundfish species, other than rockfish, that are landed during the same fishing trip.

(ii) A person may sell, barter, or trade a round weight equivalent amount of yelloweye rockfish that is less than or equal to 5 percent of the aggregate round weight equivalent of IFQ halibut and groundfish species, other than rockfish, that are landed during the same fishing trip. The aggregate amount of all rockfish species sold, bartered, or traded cannot exceed the MCA established under paragraph (j)(2)(i) of this section.

(iii) Amounts of rockfish retained by catcher vessels under paragraphs (j)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section that are in excess of the limits specified in paragraphs (j)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section may be put to any use, including but not limited to personal consumption or donation, but must not enter commerce through sale, barter, or trade except as fish meal.

(3) MCA of DSR in Southeast Outside District of the GOA (SEO) when closed to directed fishing. When DSR is closed to directed fishing in the SEO, the operator of a catcher vessel that is required to have a Federal fisheries permit under § 679.4(b), or the manager of a shoreside processor that is required to have a Federal processor permit under § 679.4(f), must dispose of DSR retained and landed in accordance with paragraph (j)(1) of this section as follows:

(i) A person may sell, barter, or trade a round weight equivalent amount of DSR that is less than or equal to 10 percent of the aggregate round weight equivalent of IFQ halibut and groundfish species, other than sablefish, that are landed during the same fishing trip. The aggregate amount of all rockfish species sold, bartered, or traded cannot exceed the MCA established under paragraph (j)(2)(i) of this section.

(ii) A person may sell, barter, or trade a round weight equivalent amount of DSR that is less than or equal to 1 percent of the aggregate round weight equivalent of IFQ sablefish that are landed during the same fishing trip. The aggregate amount of all rockfish species sold, bartered, or traded cannot exceed the MCA established under paragraph (j)(2)(i) of this section.

(iii) Amounts of DSR retained by catcher vessels under paragraph (j)(1) of this section that are in excess of the limits specified in paragraphs (j)(3)(i) and (ii) of this section may be put to any use, including but not limited to personal consumption or donation, but must not enter commerce through sale, barter, or trade except as fish meal.

(4) MCA for rockfish when on prohibited species status. When a rockfish species is placed on prohibited species status under § 679.20(d)(2), the MCA is set to 0 percent and no amount of that rockfish species may enter commerce through sale, barter, or trade except as fish meal. The operator of a catcher vessel that is required to have a Federal fisheries permit under § 679.4(b), or the manager of a shoreside processor that is required to have a Federal processor permit under § 679.4(f), may put rockfish retained and landed in excess of the MCA specified in this paragraph to any use, including but not limited to personal consumption or donation, but such rockfish must not enter commerce through sale, barter, or trade except as fish meal.

[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996] Editorial Note:For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.20, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§ 679.21 - Prohibited species bycatch management.

(a) General. (1) See § 679.2 and Table 2b to this part for definition of prohibited species.

(2) Prohibited species catch restrictions. The operator of each vessel engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the GOA or BSAI must:

(i) Minimize its catch of prohibited species.

(ii) After allowing for sampling by an observer, if an observer is aboard, sort its catch immediately after retrieval of the gear and, except for salmon prohibited species catch in the BS pollock fisheries and GOA groundfish fisheries under paragraph (f) or (h) of this section, or any prohibited species catch as provided (in permits issued) under the PSD program at § 679.26, return all prohibited species, or parts thereof, to the sea immediately, with a minimum of injury, regardless of its condition.

(3) Rebuttable presumption. Except as provided under paragraphs (f) and (h) of this section and § 679.26, there will be a rebuttable presumption that any prohibited species retained on board a fishing vessel regulated under this part was caught and retained in violation of this section.

(4) Prohibited species taken seaward of the EEZ off Alaska. No vessel fishing for groundfish in the GOA or BSAI may have on board any species listed in this paragraph (a) that was taken in waters seaward of these management areas, regardless of whether retention of such species was authorized by other applicable laws.

(5) Sablefish as a prohibited species. (See § 679.24(c)(2)(ii).)

(6) Addresses. Unless otherwise specified, submit information required under this section to NMFS as follows: by mail to the Regional Administrator, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802; by courier to the Office of the Regional Administrator, 709 West 9th St., Juneau, AK 99801; or by fax to 907-586-7465. Forms are available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/).

(b) BSAI halibut PSC limits - (1) Establishment of BSAI halibut PSC limits. Subject to the provisions in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section, the following four BSAI halibut PSC limits are established, which total 3,515 mt: Amendment 80 sector - 1,745 mt; BSAI trawl limited access sector - 745 mt; BSAI non-trawl sector - 710 mt; and CDQ Program - 315 mt (established as a PSQ reserve).

(i) Amendment 80 sector. The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the Amendment 80 sector is an amount of halibut equivalent to 1,745 mt of halibut mortality. Halibut PSC limits within the Amendment 80 sector will be established for Amendment 80 cooperatives and the Amendment 80 limited access fishery according to the procedure and formulae in § 679.91(d) and (f). If halibut PSC is assigned to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery, it will be apportioned into PSC allowances for trawl fishery categories according to the procedure in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(A)(2) and (3) of this section.

(ii) BSAI trawl limited access sector - (A) General. (1) The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the BSAI trawl limited access sector is an amount of halibut equivalent to 745 mt of halibut mortality.

(2) NMFS, after consultation with the Council, will apportion the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section into PSC allowances for the trawl fishery categories defined in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(B)(1) through (6) of this section.

(3) Apportionment of the trawl halibut PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section among the trawl fishery categories will be based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut PSC during a fishing year and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvested under the halibut PSC limit for this sector.

(4) The sum of all PSC allowances for this sector will equal the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section.

(B) Trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the trawl PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A)(1) of this section among trawl fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those groundfish species or species groups for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(1) Midwater pollock fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a catch of pollock that is 95 percent or more of the total amount of groundfish caught during the week.

(2) Flatfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(i) Yellowfin sole fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2) and results in a retained amount of yellowfin sole that is 70 percent or more of the retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole.

(ii) Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/“other flatfish” fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2) and is not a yellowfin sole fishery as defined under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2)(i) of this section.

(3) Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Greenland turbot, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and sablefish that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(4) Rockfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rockfish species that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(5) Pacific cod fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(6) Pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species.” Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of pollock other than pollock harvested in the midwater pollock fishery defined under paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(1) of this section, Atka mackerel, and “other species” that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B).

(C) Halibut PSC in midwater pollock fishery. Any amount of halibut that is incidentally taken in the midwater pollock fishery, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(1) of this section, will be counted against the halibut PSC allowance specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” category, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(6) of this section.

(iii) BSAI Non-trawl Sector - (A) General. (1) The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the BSAI non-trawl sector is an amount of halibut equivalent to 710 mt of halibut mortality.

(2) NMFS, after consultation with the Council, will apportion the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(A)(1) into PSC allowances for the non-trawl fishery categories defined under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(B) of this section.

(3) Apportionment of the non-trawl halibut PSC limit of 710 mt among the non-trawl fishery categories will be based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut PSC during a fishing year and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvested under the halibut PSC limit for this sector.

(4) The sum of all PSC allowances for this sector will equal the PSC limit set forth under paragraph (b)(1)(iii)(A)(1) of this section.

(B) Non-trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the non-trawl halibut PSC limit among fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those BSAI groundfish species for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(1) Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher vessel fishery. Catcher vessels fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish species.

(2) Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor fishery. Catcher/processors fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish species.

(3) Sablefish hook-and-line fishery. Fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of sablefish that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish species.

(4) Groundfish jig gear fishery. Fishing with jig gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish.

(5) Groundfish pot gear fishery. Fishing with pot gear under restrictions set forth in § 679.24(b) during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish.

(6) Other non-trawl fisheries. Fishing for groundfish with non-trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish and does not qualify as a Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher vessel fishery, a Pacific cod hook-and-line catcher/processor fishery, a sablefish hook-and-line fishery, a jig gear fishery, or a groundfish pot gear fishery as defined under paragraphs (b)(1)(iii)(B)(1) through (5) of this section.

(iv) CDQ Program. The PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any fishery in the CDQ Program is an amount of halibut equivalent to 315 mt of halibut mortality. The PSC limit to the CDQ Program will be treated as a Prohibited Species Quota (PSQ) reserve to the CDQ Program for all purposes under 50 CFR part 679 including §§ 679.31 and 679.7(d)(3). The PSQ limit is not apportioned by gear, fishery, or season.

(2) Seasonal apportionments of BSAI halibut PSC allowances - (i) General. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may apportion a halibut PSC allowance on a seasonal basis.

(ii) Factors to be considered. NMFS will base any seasonal apportionment of a PSC allowance on the following types of information:

(A) Seasonal distribution of prohibited species;

(B) Seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to prohibited species distribution;

(C) Expected PSC needs on a seasonal basis relevant to change in prohibited species biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species;

(D) Expected variations in PSC rates throughout the fishing year;

(E) Expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons;

(F) Expected start of fishing effort; or

(G) Economic effects of establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish industry.

(iii) Seasonal trawl fishery PSC allowances - (A) Unused seasonal apportionments. Unused seasonal apportionments of trawl fishery PSC allowances made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section will be added to its respective fishery PSC allowance for the next season during a current fishing year.

(B) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a trawl fishery PSC allowance made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from its respective apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year.

(iv) Seasonal non-trawl fishery PSC allowances - (A) Unused seasonal apportionments. Any unused portion of a seasonal non-trawl fishery PSC allowance made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section will be reapportioned to the fishery's remaining seasonal PSC allowances during a current fishing year in a manner determined by NMFS, after consultation with the Council, based on the types of information listed under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

(B) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a non-trawl fishery PSC allowance made under paragraph (b)(2) of this section is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from the fishery's remaining seasonal PSC allowances during a current fishing year in a manner determined by NMFS, after consultation with the Council, based on the types of information listed under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

(3) Notification of allowances - (i) General. NMFS will publish in the Federal Register, for up to two fishing years, the proposed and final BSAI halibut PSC allowances, the seasonal apportionments thereof, and the manner in which seasonal apportionments of non-trawl fishery PSC allowances will be managed.

(ii) Public comment. Public comment will be accepted by NMFS on the proposed PSC allowances seasonal apportionments thereof, and the manner in which seasonal apportionments of non-trawl fishery PSC allowances will be managed, for a period specified in the notice of proposed specifications published in the Federal Register.

(4) Management of BSAI halibut PSC allowances - (i) Trawl sector - Amendment 80 limited access fishery and BSAI trawl limited access sector: closures - (A) Exception. When a PSC allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery category, as defined in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B)(6) of this section is reached, only directed fishing for pollock is closed to trawl vessels using nonpelagic trawl gear.

(B) Closures. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(4)(i)(A) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the trawl fishery categories listed in paragraphs (b)(1)(ii)(B)(2) through (6) of this section will catch the halibut PSC allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (b)(1)(i) or (b)(1)(ii) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the entire BSAI to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(ii) BSAI non-trawl sector: closures. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the non-trawl fishery categories listed under paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section will catch the halibut PSC allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the entire BSAI to directed fishing with the relevant gear type for each species and/or species group in that fishery category.

(iii) AFA PSC sideboard limits. Halibut PSC limits for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector will be established pursuant to § 679.64(a) and (b) and managed through directed fishing closures for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector in the groundfish fisheries for which the PSC limit applies.

(c) [Reserved]

(d) GOA halibut PSC limits. This section is applicable for vessels engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the GOA.

(1) Notification and public comment - (i) Proposed and final apportionments. NMFS will publish in the Federal Register proposed and final apportionments of the halibut PSC limits in paragraphs (d)(2) and (3) of this section in the notification required under § 679.20.

(ii) Modification of apportionments. NMFS, by notification in the Federal Register, may change the halibut PSC apportionments during the year for which they were specified, based on new information of the types set forth in this paragraph (d).

(iii) Public comment. NMFS will accept public comment on the proposed halibut PSC apportionments for a period specified in the notice of proposed halibut PSC apportionments published in the Federal Register. NMFS will consider comments received on proposed halibut PSC apportionments and, after consultation with the Council, will publish notification in the Federal Register specifying the final halibut PSC apportionments.

(2) Hook-and-line gear and pot gear annual halibut PSC limit. (i) The annual total PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any hook-and-line gear fishery for groundfish in the GOA is an amount of halibut equivalent to the amount of halibut mortality established for each of the fishery categories in paragraphs (d)(2)(i)(A) and (B) of this section. The notification at paragraph (d)(1) of this section also may specify a halibut PSC limit for the pot gear fisheries.

(A) Demersal shelf rockfish, Southeast Outside (SEO) District. The halibut PSC limit in the demersal shelf rockfish fishery in the SEO District is 9 mt.

(B) Other hook-and-line fishery. The halibut PSC limit in the other hook-and-line gear fishery is established according to the provisions of paragraphs (d)(2)(iii) and (d)(2)(iv) of this section.

(ii) Hook-and-line fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the hook-and-line halibut PSC limit among fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those GOA groundfish species for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(A) Demersal shelf rockfish, SEO District. Fishing with hook-and-line gear in the SEO District of the Eastern GOA regulatory area during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of demersal shelf rockfish that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (d)(2)(ii).

(B) Other hook-and-line fishery. Fishing with hook-and-line gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish and is not a demersal shelf rockfish fishery defined under paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(A) of this section.

(iii) Apportionment of the GOA halibut PSC limit among other hook-and-line catcher vessels and catcher/processors.

(A) Catcher vessels using hook-and-line gear in the other hook-and-line fishery will be apportioned part of the GOA halibut PSC limit in proportion to the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, where X is equal to annnual TAC, as follows:

(B) Catcher/processors using hook-and-line gear in the other hook-and-line fishery will be apportioned part of the GOA halibut PSC limit in proportion to the total Western and Central GOA Pacific cod allocations, where X is equal to annual TAC, as follows:

(C) No later than November 1, any halibut PSC limit allocated under paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(B) of this section not projected by the Regional Administrator to be used by one of the hook-and-line sectors during the remainder of the fishing year will be made available to the other sector.

(iv) Other hook-and-line fishery annual PSC limit reductions. The annual halibut PSC limits established for the other hook-and-line fishery under paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section are reduced, as follows:

Vessel category Annual PSC limit percent reduction from the annual halibut PSC limit established under paragraph (d)(2)(iii) of this section. Effective years
(A) Catcher vessel7
12
15
2014.
2015.
2016 and each year thereafter.
(B) Catcher/processor72014 and each year thereafter.

(3) Trawl gear annual halibut PSC limit. (i) The annual total PSC limit of halibut caught while conducting any trawl gear fishery for groundfish in the GOA is an amount of halibut equivalent to 1,973 mt of halibut mortality. This amount is reduced as follows:

Percent reduction from 1,973 mt Annual trawl gear PSC limit (mt) 1 Effective years
71,8482014.
121,7592015.
151,7052016 and each year thereafter.

1 This amount maintains the 191 mt annual allocation to the Rockfish Program (see Table 28d to this part) from the 1,973 mt halibut PSC limit, while reducing the remainder of the annual trawl gear halibut PSC limit by the percentage listed in the first column.

(ii) PSC allowance. The halibut PSC limit specified for vessels using trawl gear may be further apportioned as PSC allowances to the fishery categories listed in paragraph (d)(3)(iii) of this section, based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated halibut PSC mortality during a fishing year and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvest under the halibut PSC limit. The sum of all PSC allowances will equal the halibut PSC limit established under paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section.

(iii) Trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning the trawl halibut PSC limit among fisheries, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of these GOA groundfish species for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20:

(A) Shallow-water species fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate catch of pollock, Pacific cod, shallow-water flatfish, flathead sole, Atka mackerel, and “other species” that is greater than the retained aggregate amount of other GOA groundfish species or species group.

(B) Deep-water species fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained catch of groundfish and is not a shallow-water species fishery as defined under paragraph (d)(3)(iii)(A) of this section.

(4) Seasonal apportionments - (i) General. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may apportion each halibut PSC limit or bycatch allowance specified under this paragraph (d) on a seasonal basis.

(ii) Factors to be considered. NMFS will base any seasonal apportionment of a halibut PSC limit or bycatch allowance on the following types of information:

(A) Seasonal distribution of halibut.

(B) Seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to halibut distribution.

(C) Expected halibut bycatch needs, on a seasonal basis, relative to changes in halibut biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species.

(D) Expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the fishing year.

(E) Expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons.

(F) Expected start of fishing effort.

(G) Economic effects of establishing seasonal halibut allocations on segments of the target groundfish industry.

(iii) Unused seasonal apportionments. (A) Unused seasonal apportionments of halibut PSC limits specified for trawl, hook-and-line, or pot gear will be added to the respective seasonal apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year; and

(B) An amount not greater than 55 percent of the halibut PSC that had been allocated as CQ and that has not been used by a rockfish cooperative will be added to the last seasonal apportionment for trawl gear during the current fishing year:

(1) After November 15; or

(2) After the effective date of a termination of fishing declaration according to the provisions set out in § 679.4(n)(2), whichever occurs first.

(C) The amount of unused halibut PSC not reapportioned under the provisions described in § 679.21(d)(4)(iii)(B) will not be available for use as halibut PSC by any person for the remainder of that calendar year.

(D) Combined management of trawl halibut PSC limits from May 15 through June 30. NMFS will combine management of available trawl halibut PSC limits in the second season deep-water and shallow-water species fishery categories for use in either fishery from May 15 through June 30 during the current fishery year. Halibut PSC sideboard limits for the Amendment 80 and AFA sectors will continue to be defined as deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries from May 15 through June 30. NMFS will re-apportion the halibut PSC limit between the deep-water and shallow-water species fisheries after June 30 to account for actual halibut PSC use by each fishery category during May 15 through June 30. The Regional Administrator will issue a Federal Register notice to reapportion the amounts of trawl halibut PSC to each species fishery category.

(iv) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a halibut PSC limit specified for trawl, hook-and-line, pot gear, and/or operational type is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from the respective apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year.

(5) Apportionment among regulatory areas and districts. Each halibut PSC limit specified under this paragraph (d) also may be apportioned among the GOA regulatory areas and districts.

(6) Halibut PSC closures - (i) Trawl gear fisheries. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in either of the trawl fishery categories listed in paragraph (d)(3)(iii) (A) or (B) of this section will catch the halibut bycatch allowance, or apportionments thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing the entire GOA or the applicable regulatory area or district to directed fishing with trawl gear for each species and/or species group that comprises that fishing category; provided, however, that when the halibut bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for the shallow-water species fishery is reached, fishing for pollock by vessels using pelagic trawl gear may continue, consistent with other provisions of this part.

(ii) Hook-and-line fisheries. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the three hook-and-line gear and operational type fishery categories listed under paragraph (d)(2) of this section will catch the halibut PSC allowance, or apportionments thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (d)(1) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing the entire GOA or the applicable regulatory area, district, or operation type to directed fishing with hook-and-line gear for each species and/or species group that composes that fishing category.

(iii) Pot gear fisheries. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that the catch of halibut by operators of vessels using pot gear to participate in a directed fishery for groundfish will reach the halibut PSC limit, or seasonal apportionment thereof, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register prohibiting directed fishing for groundfish by vessels using pot gear for the remainder of the season to which the halibut PSC limit or seasonal apportionment applies.

(iv) Nonpelagic trawl gear fisheries - (A) Continued fishing under specified conditions. When the vessels to which a halibut PSC limit applies have caught an amount of halibut equal to that PSC, the Regional Administrator may, by notification in the Federal Register, allow some or all of those vessels to continue to fish for groundfish using nonpelagic trawl gear under specified conditions, subject to the other provisions of this part.

(B) Factors to be considered. In authorizing and conditioning such continued fishing with bottom-trawl gear, the Regional Administrator will take into account the following considerations, and issue relevant findings:

(1) The risk of biological harm to halibut stocks and of socio-economic harm to authorized halibut users posed by continued bottom trawling by these vessels.

(2) The extent to which these vessels have avoided incidental halibut catches up to that point in the year.

(3) The confidence of the Regional Administrator in the accuracy of the estimates of incidental halibut catches by these vessels up to that point in the year.

(4) Whether observer coverage of these vessels is sufficient to assure adherence to the prescribed conditions and to alert the Regional Administrator to increases in their incidental halibut catches.

(5) The enforcement record of owners and operators of these vessels, and the confidence of the Regional Administrator that adherence to the prescribed conditions can be assured in light of available enforcement resources.

(7) AFA halibut bycatch limitations. Halibut bycatch limits for AFA catcher vessels will be established according to the procedure and formula set out in § 679.64(b) and managed through directed fishing closures for AFA catcher vessels in the groundfish fisheries to which the halibut bycatch limit applies.

(e) BSAI PSC limits for crab and herring - (1) Trawl gear - (i) Red king crab in Zone 1. The PSC limit of red king crab caught by trawl vessels while engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in Zone 1 during any fishing year will be specified for up to two fishing years by NMFS, after consultation with the Council, based on abundance and spawning biomass of red king crab using the criteria set out under paragraphs (e)(1)(i)(A) through (C) of this section. The following table refers to the PSC limits for red king crab that you must follow in Zone 1:

When the number of mature female red king crab is ... The zone 1 PSC limit will be ...
(A) At or below the threshold of 8.4 million mature crab or the effective spawning biomass is less than or equal to 14.5 million lb (6,577 mt)32,000 red king crab.
(B) Above the threshold of 8.4 million mature crab and the effective spawning biomass is greater than 14.5 but less than 55 million lb (24,948 mt)97,000 red king crab.
(C) Above the threshold of 8.4 million mature crab and the effective spawning biomass is equal to or greater than 55 million lb197,000 red king crab.

(ii) Tanner crab (C. bairdi). The PSC limit of C. bairdi crabs caught by trawl vessels while engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in Zones 1 and 2 during any fishing year will be specified for up to two fishing years by NMFS under paragraph (e)(6) of this section, based on total abundance of C. bairdi crabs as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey, using the criteria set out under paragraphs (e)(1)(ii)(A) and (B) of this section.

(A) The following table refers to the PSC limits for C. bairdi that you must follow in Zone 1:

When the total abundance of C. bairdi crabs is ... The PSC limit will be ...
(1) 150 million animals or less0.5 percent of the total abundance minus 20,000 animals
(2) Over 150 million to 270 million animals730,000 animals
(3) Over 270 million to 400 million animals830,000 animals
(4) Over 400 million animals980,000 animals

(B) This table refers to the PSC limits for C. bairdi that you must follow in Zone 2.

When the total abundance of C. bairdi crabs is ... The PSC limit will be ...
(1) 175 million animals or less1.2 percent of the total abundance minus 30,000 animals
(2) Over 175 million to 290 million animals2,070,000 animals
(3) Over 290 million to 400 million animals2,520,000 animals
(4) Over 400 million animals2,970,000 animals

(iii) C. opilio. The PSC limit of C. opilio caught by trawl vessels while engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the COBLZ will be specified annually by NMFS under paragraph (e)(6) of this section, based on total abundance of C. opilio as indicated by the NMFS annual bottom trawl survey using the following criteria:

(A) PSC Limit. The PSC limit will be 0.1133 percent of the total abundance, minus 150,000 C. opilio crabs, unless;

(B) Minimum PSC Limit. If 0.1133 percent multiplied by the total abundance is less than 4.5 million, then the minimum PSC limit will be 4.350 million animals; or

(C) Maximum PSC Limit. If 0.1133 percent multiplied by the total abundance is greater than 13 million, then the maximum PSC limit will be 12.850 million animals.

(iv) [Reserved]

(v) Pacific herring. The PSC limit of Pacific herring caught while conducting any domestic trawl fishery for groundfish in the BSAI is 1 percent of the annual eastern Bering Sea herring biomass. The PSC limit will be apportioned into annual herring PSC allowances, by target fishery, and will be published along with the annual herring PSC limit in the Federal Register with the proposed and final groundfish specifications defined in § 679.20.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) PSC apportionment to trawl fisheries - (i) General - (A) PSQ reserve. The following allocations of the trawl gear PSC limits are made to the CDQ Program as PSQ reserves. The PSQ reserves are not apportioned by gear or fishery.

(1) Crab PSQ. 10.7 percent of each PSC limit set forth in paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section.

(2) [Reserved]

(B) Fishery categories. NMFS, after consultation with the Council and after subtraction of PSQ reserves and PSC CQ assigned to Amendment 80 cooperatives, will apportion each PSC limit set forth in paragraphs (e)(1)(i) through (vii) of this section into bycatch allowances for fishery categories defined in paragraph (e)(3)(iv) of this section, based on each category's proportional share of the anticipated incidental catch during a fishing year of prohibited species for which a PSC limit is specified and the need to optimize the amount of total groundfish harvested under established PSC limits.

(ii) Red king crab, C. bairdi, and C. opilio - (A) General. For vessels engaged in directed fishing for groundfish in the BSAI, other than vessels fishing under a CQ permit assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative, the PSC limits for red king crab, C. bairdi, and C. opilio will be apportioned to the trawl fishery categories defined in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv)(B) through (F) of this section.

(B) Red King Crab Savings Subarea (RKCSS). (1) The RKCSS is the portion of the RKCSA between 56°00′ and 56°10′ N. lat. Notwithstanding other provisions of this part, vessels using non-pelagic trawl gear in the RKCSS may engage in directed fishing for groundfish in a given year, if the ADF&G had established a guideline harvest level the previous year for the red king crab fishery in the Bristol Bay area.

(2) When the RKCSS is open to vessels fishing for groundfish with nonpelagic trawl gear under paragraph (e)(3)(ii)(B)(1) of this section, NMFS, after consultation with the Council, will specify an amount of the red king crab bycatch limit annually established under paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section for the RKCSS. The amount of the red king crab bycatch limit specified for the RKCSS will not exceed an amount equivalent to 25 percent of the red king crab PSC allowance and will be based on the need to optimize the groundfish harvest relative to red king crab bycatch.

(C) Incidental catch in midwater pollock fishery. Any amount of red king crab, C. bairdi, or C. opilio that is incidentally taken in the midwater pollock fishery as defined in paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(A) of this section will be counted against the bycatch allowances specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” category defined in paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(F) of this section.

(iii) Pacific herring. The PSC limit for Pacific herring will be apportioned to the BSAI trawl fishery categories defined in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv) (A) through (F) of this section.

(iv) Trawl fishery categories. For purposes of apportioning trawl PSC limits for crab and herring among fisheries, other than crab PSC CQ assigned to an Amendment 80 cooperative, the following fishery categories are specified and defined in terms of round-weight equivalents of those groundfish species or species groups for which a TAC has been specified under § 679.20.

(A) Midwater pollock fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a catch of pollock that is 95 percent or more of the total amount of groundfish caught during the week.

(B) Flatfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(1) Yellowfin sole fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(B) and results in a retained amount of yellowfin sole that is 70 percent or more of the retained aggregate amount of rock sole, “other flatfish,” and yellowfin sole.

(2) Rock sole/flathead sole/Alaska plaice/“other flatfish” fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that is defined as a flatfish fishery under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(B) and is not a yellowfin sole fishery as defined under paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(B)(1) of this section.

(C) Greenland turbot/arrowtooth flounder/Kamchatka flounder/sablefish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Greenland turbot, arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and sablefish that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(D) Rockfish fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of rockfish species that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(E) Pacific cod fishery. Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of Pacific cod that is greater than the retained amount of any other groundfish fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(F) Pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species.” Fishing with trawl gear during any weekly reporting period that results in a retained aggregate amount of pollock other than pollock harvested in the midwater pollock fishery defined under paragraph (e)(3)(iv)(A) of this section, Atka mackerel, and “other species” that is greater than the retained amount of any other fishery category defined under this paragraph (e)(3)(iv).

(v) AFA prohibited species catch limitations. Crab PSC limits for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector will be established according to the procedures and formulas set out in § 679.64(a) and (b) and managed through directed fishing closures for the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA trawl catcher vessel sector in the groundfish fisheries for which the PSC limit applies.

(vi) Amendment 80 sector bycatch limitations. (A) Crab PSC limits for the Amendment 80 sector in the BSAI will be established according to the procedure and formulae set out in § 679.91(d) through (f); and

(B) Crab PSC assigned to the Amendment 80 limited access fishery will be managed through directed fishing closures for Amendment 80 vessels to which the crab bycatch limits apply.

(4) [Reserved]

(5) Seasonal apportionments of bycatch allowances - (i) General. NMFS, after consultation with the Council, may apportion fishery bycatch allowances on a seasonal basis.

(ii) Factors to be considered. NMFS will base any seasonal apportionment of a bycatch allowance on the following types of information:

(A) Seasonal distribution of prohibited species;

(B) Seasonal distribution of target groundfish species relative to prohibited species distribution;

(C) Expected prohibited species bycatch needs on a seasonal basis relevant to change in prohibited species biomass and expected catches of target groundfish species;

(D) Expected variations in bycatch rates throughout the fishing year;

(E) Expected changes in directed groundfish fishing seasons;

(F) Expected start of fishing effort; or

(G) Economic effects of establishing seasonal prohibited species apportionments on segments of the target groundfish industry.

(iii) Seasonal trawl fishery bycatch allowances - (A) Unused seasonal apportionments. Unused seasonal apportionments of trawl fishery bycatch allowances made under this paragraph (e)(5) will be added to its respective fishery bycatch allowance for the next season during a current fishing year.

(B) Seasonal apportionment exceeded. If a seasonal apportionment of a trawl fishery bycatch allowance made under paragraph (d)(5) of this section is exceeded, the amount by which the seasonal apportionment is exceeded will be deducted from its respective apportionment for the next season during a current fishing year.

(6) Notification - (i) General. NMFS will publish in the Federal Register, for up to two fishing years, the annual red king crab PSC limit, and, if applicable, the amount of this PSC limit specified for the RKCSS, the annual C. bairdi PSC limit, the annual C. opilio PSC limit, the proposed and final PSQ reserve amounts, the proposed and final bycatch allowances, and the seasonal apportionments thereof, as required by paragraph (e) of this section.

(ii) Public comment. Public comment will be accepted by NMFS on the proposed annual red king crab PSC limit and, if applicable, the amount of this PSC limit specified for the RKCSS, the annual C. bairdi PSC limit, the annual C. opilio PSC limit, the proposed and final bycatch allowances, seasonal apportionments thereof, and the manner in which seasonal apportionments of non-trawl fishery bycatch allowances will be managed, for a period specified in the notice of proposed specifications published in the Federal Register.

(7) Trawl PSC closures - (i) Exception. When a bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery category is reached, only directed fishing for pollock is closed to trawl vessels using nonpelagic trawl gear.

(ii) Red king crab or C. bairdi Tanner crab, Zone 1, closure - (A) General. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(i) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv) (B) through (F) of this section will catch the Zone 1 bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, of red king crab or C. bairdi Tanner crab specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of Zone 1, including the RKCSS, to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(B) RKCSS. If, during the fishing year the Regional Administrator determines that the amount of the red king crab PSC limit that is specified for the RKCSS under § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B) of this section will be caught, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the RKCSS to directed fishing for groundfish with nonpelagic trawl gear for the remainder of the year.

(iii) C. bairdi Tanner crab, Zone 2, closure. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(i) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv) (B) through (F) of this section will catch the Zone 2 bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, of C. bairdi Tanner crab specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of Zone 2 to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(iv) COBLZ. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(i) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the trawl fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv)(B) through (F) of this section will catch the COBLZ bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, of C. opilio specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the COBLZ, as defined in Figure 13 to this part, to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category for the remainder of the year or for the remainder of the season.

(v) [Reserved]

(vi) Pacific herring - (A) Closure. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(7)(vi)(B) of this section, if, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that U.S. fishing vessels participating in any of the fishery categories listed in paragraphs (e)(3)(iv)(A) through (F) of this section in the BSAI will catch the herring bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, specified for that fishery category under paragraph (e)(3) of this section, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register the closure of the Herring Savings Area as defined in Figure 4 to this part to directed fishing for each species and/or species group in that fishery category.

(B) Exceptions - (1) Midwater pollock. When the midwater pollock fishery category reaches its specified bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, the Herring Savings Areas are closed to directed fishing for pollock with trawl gear.

(2) Pollock/Atka mackerel/ “other species”. When the pollock/Atka mackerel/“other species” fishery category reaches its specified bycatch allowance, or seasonal apportionment thereof, the Herring Savings Areas are closed to directed fishing for pollock by trawl vessels using nonpelagic trawl gear.

(f) Salmon Bycatch Management in the BS Pollock Fishery - (1) Applicability. This paragraph contains regulations governing the bycatch of salmon in the BS pollock fishery.

(2) Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) limit. Each year, NMFS will allocate to AFA sectors listed in paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section a portion of the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit. NMFS will publish the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit in the annual harvest specifications after determining if it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year. NMFS will determine that it is a low Chinook salmon abundance year when abundance of Chinook salmon in western Alaska is less than or equal to 250,000 Chinook salmon. By October 1 of each year, the State of Alaska will provide to NMFS an estimate of Chinook salmon abundance using the 3-System Index for western Alaska based on the Kuskokwim, Unalakleet, and Upper Yukon aggregate stock grouping.

(i) An AFA sector will receive a portion of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit, or, in a low Chinook salmon abundance year, the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit, if -

(A) No Chinook salmon bycatch incentive plan agreement (IPA) is approved by NMFS under paragraph (f)(12) of this section; or

(B) That AFA sector has exceeded its performance standard under paragraph (f)(6) of this section.

(ii) An AFA sector will receive a portion of the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, or, in a low Chinook salmon abundance year, the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, if -

(A) At least one IPA is approved by NMFS under paragraph (f)(12) of this section; and

(B) That AFA sector has not exceeded its performance standard under paragraph (f)(6) of this section.

(3) Allocations of the Chinook salmon PSC limits - (i) Seasonal apportionment. NMFS will apportion the Chinook salmon PSC limits annually 70 percent to the A season and 30 percent to the B season, which are described in § 679.23(e)(2).

(ii) AFA sectors. Each year, NMFS will make allocations of the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit to the following four AFA sectors:

AFA Sector: Eligible participants are:
(A) Catcher/processorAFA catcher/processors and AFA catcher vessels delivering to AFA catcher/processors, all of which are permitted under § 679.4(l)(2) and (l)(3)(i)(A), respectively.
(B) MothershipAFA catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by AFA motherships, all of which are permitted under § 679.4(l)(3)(i)(B) and (l)(4), respectively.
(C) InshoreAFA catcher vessels harvesting pollock for processing by AFA inshore processors, all of which are permitted under § 679.4(l)(3)(i)(C).
(D) CDQ ProgramThe six CDQ groups authorized under section 305(i)(1)(D) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act to participate in the CDQ Program.

(iii) Allocations to each AFA sector. NMFS will allocate the Chinook salmon PSC limits to each AFA sector as follows:

(A) If a sector is managed under the 60,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the maximum amount of Chinook salmon PSC allocated to each sector in each season and annually is -

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor32.913,81817.93,22228.417,040
(2) Mothership8.03,3607.31,3147.84,674
(3) Inshore49.820,91669.312,47455.633,390
(4) CDQ Program9.33,9065.59908.24,896

(B) If the sector is managed under the 45,000 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the sector will be allocated the following amount of Chinook salmon PSC in each season and annually:

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor32.910,36317.92,41528.412,780
(2) Mothership8.02,5207.39877.83,510
(3) Inshore49.815,68769.39,35555.625,020
(4) CDQ Program9.32,9305.57438.23,690

(C) If the sector is managed under the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the sector will be allocated the following amount of Chinook salmon PSC in each season and annually:

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor32.910,90617.92,55628.413,516
(2) Mothership8.02,6657.31,0427.83,707
(3) Inshore49.816,59169.39,89455.626,485
(4) CDQ Program9.33,0985.57858.23,883

(D) If the sector is managed under the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit, the sector will be allocated the following amount of Chinook salmon PSC in each season and annually:

AFA sector A season B season Annual total
% Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook % Allocation # of Chinook
(1) Catcher/processor32.97,67317.91,78928.49,462
(2) Mothership8.01,8667.37307.82,599
(3) Inshore49.811,61569.36,92655.618,525
(4) CDQ Program9.32,1695.55508.22,732

(iv) Allocations to the AFA catcher/processor and mothership sectors. (A) NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations under paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section to entities representing the AFA catcher/processor sector and the AFA mothership sector if these sectors meet the requirements of paragraph (f)(8) of this section.

(B) If no entity is approved by NMFS to represent the AFA catcher/processor sector or the AFA mothership sector, then NMFS will manage that sector under a non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation under paragraph (f)(10) of this section.

(v) Allocations to inshore cooperatives and the AFA inshore open access fishery. NMFS will further allocate the inshore sector's Chinook salmon PSC allocation under paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section among the inshore cooperatives and the inshore open access fishery based on the percentage allocations of pollock to each inshore cooperative under § 679.62(a). NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to inshore cooperatives. Any Chinook salmon PSC allocated to the inshore open access fishery will be as a non-transferable allocation managed by NMFS under the requirements of paragraph (f)(10) of this section.

(vi) Allocations to the CDQ Program. NMFS will further allocate the Chinook salmon PSC allocation to the CDQ Program under paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section among the six CDQ groups based on each CDQ group's percentage of the CDQ Program pollock allocation. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to CDQ groups.

(vii) Accrual of Chinook salmon bycatch to specific PSC allocations.

If a Chinook salmon PSC allocation is: Then all Chinook salmon bycatch:
(A) A transferable allocation to a sector-level entity, inshore cooperative, or CDQ group under paragraph (f)(8) of this sectionBy any vessel fishing under a transferable allocation will accrue against the allocation to the entity representing that vessel.
(B) A non-transferable allocation to a sector or the inshore open access fishery under paragraph (f)(10) of this sectionBy any vessel fishing under a non-transferable allocation will accrue against the allocation established for the sector or inshore open access fishery, whichever is applicable.
(C) The opt-out allocation under paragraph (f)(5) of this sectionBy any vessel fishing under the opt-out allocation will accrue against the opt-out allocation.

(viii) Public release of Chinook salmon PSC information. For each year, NMFS will release to the public and publish on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/):

(A) The Chinook salmon PSC allocations for each entity receiving a transferable allocation;

(B) The non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations;

(C) The vessels fishing under each transferable or non-transferable allocation;

(D) The amount of Chinook salmon bycatch that accrues towards each transferable or non-transferable allocation;

(E) Any changes to these allocations due to transfers under paragraph (f)(9) of this section, rollovers under paragraph (f)(11) of this section, and deductions from the B season non-transferable allocations under paragraphs (f)(5)(v) or (f)(10)(iii) of this section; and

(F) Tables for each sector that provide the percent of the sector's pollock allocation, numbers of Chinook salmon associated with each vessel in the sector used to calculate the opt-out allocation and annual threshold amounts, and the percent of the pollock allocation associated with each vessel that NMFS will use to calculate IPA minimum participation assigned to each vessel.

(4) Reduction in allocations of the Chinook salmon PSC limit - (i) Reduction in sector allocations. NMFS will reduce the seasonal allocation of the Chinook salmon PSC limit to the catcher/processor sector, the mothership sector, the inshore sector, or the CDQ Program under paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(A) or (B) of this section, if the owner of any permitted AFA vessel in that sector, or any CDQ group, does not participate in an approved IPA under paragraph (f)(12) of this section. NMFS will subtract the amount of Chinook salmon from each sector's allocation associated with each vessel not participating in an approved IPA.

(ii) Adjustments to the inshore sector and inshore cooperative allocations. (A) If some members of an inshore cooperative do not participate in an approved IPA, NMFS will reduce the allocation to the cooperative to which those vessels belong, or the inshore open access fishery.

(B) If all members of an inshore cooperative do not participate in an approved IPA, the amount of Chinook salmon that remains in the inshore sector's allocation, after subtracting the amount of Chinook salmon associated with the non-participating inshore cooperative, will be reallocated among the inshore cooperatives participating in an approved IPA based on the proportion each participating cooperative represents of the Chinook salmon PSC initially allocated among the participating inshore cooperatives that year.

(iii) Adjustment to CDQ group allocations. If a CDQ group does not participate in an approved IPA, the amount of Chinook salmon that remains in the CDQ Program's allocation, after subtracting the amount of Chinook salmon associated with the non-participating CDQ group, will be reallocated among the CDQ groups participating in an approved IPA based on the proportion each participating CDQ group represents of the Chinook salmon PSC initially allocated among the participating CDQ groups that year.

(iv) All members of a sector do not participate in an approved IPA. If all members of a sector do not participate in an approved IPA, the amount of Chinook salmon that remains after subtracting the amount of Chinook salmon associated with the non-participating sector will not be reallocated among the sectors that have members participating in an approved IPA. This portion of the PSC limit will remain unallocated for that year.

(5) Chinook salmon PSC opt-out allocation. The following table describes requirements for the opt-out allocation:

(i) What is the amount of Chinook salmon PSC that will be allocated to the opt-out allocation in the A season and the B season?The opt-out allocation will equal the sum of the Chinook salmon PSC deducted under paragraph (f)(4)(i) of this section from the seasonal allocations of each sector with members not participating in an approved IPA.
(ii) Which participants will be managed under the opt-out allocation?Any AFA-permitted vessel or any CDQ group that is a member of a sector eligible under paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of this section to receive allocations of the 60,000 PSC limit or the 45,000 PSC limit, but that is not participating in an approved IPA.
(iii) What Chinook salmon bycatch will accrue against the opt-out allocation?All Chinook salmon bycatch by participants under paragraph (f)(5)(ii) of this section.
(iv) How will the opt-out allocation be managed?All participants under paragraph (f)(5)(ii) of this section will be managed as a group under the seasonal opt-out allocations. If the Regional Administrator determines that the seasonal opt-out allocation will be reached, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register closing directed fishing for pollock in the BS, for the remainder of the season, for all vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation.
(v) What will happen if Chinook salmon bycatch by vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation exceeds the amount allocated to the A season opt-out allocation?NMFS will deduct from the B season opt-out allocation any Chinook salmon bycatch in the A season that exceeds the A season opt-out allocation.
(vi) What will happen if Chinook salmon bycatch by vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation is less than the amount allocated to the A season opt-out allocation?If Chinook salmon bycatch by vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation in the A season is less than the amount allocated to the opt-out allocation in the A season, this amount of Chinook salmon will not be added to the B season opt-out allocation.
(vii) Is Chinook salmon PSC allocated to the opt-out allocation transferable?No. Chinook salmon PSC allocated to the opt-out allocation is not transferable.

(6) Chinook salmon bycatch performance standard. If the total annual Chinook salmon bycatch by the members of a sector participating in an approved IPA is greater than that sector's annual threshold amount of Chinook salmon in any three of seven consecutive years, that sector will receive an allocation of Chinook salmon under the 47,591 PSC limit in all future years, except in low Chinook salmon abundance years when that sector will receive an allocation under the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit.

(i) Annual threshold amount. Prior to each year, NMFS will calculate each sector's annual threshold amount. NMFS will post the annual threshold amount for each sector on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/). At the end of each year, NMFS will evaluate the Chinook salmon bycatch by all IPA participants in each sector against that sector's annual threshold amount.

(ii) Calculation of the annual threshold amount. A sector's annual threshold amount is the annual number of Chinook salmon that would be allocated to that sector under the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit, as shown in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section, or the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit in low Chinook salmon abundance years, as shown in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(D) of this section. If any vessels in a sector do not participate in an approved IPA, NMFS will reduce that sector's annual threshold amount by the number of Chinook salmon associated with each vessel not participating in an approved IPA. If any CDQ groups do not participate in an approved IPA, NMFS will reduce the CDQ Program's annual threshold amount by the number of Chinook salmon associated with each CDQ group not participating in an approved IPA.

(iii) Exceeding the performance standard. If NMFS determines that a sector has exceeded its performance standard by exceeding its annual threshold amount in any three of seven consecutive years, NMFS will issue a notification in the Federal Register that the sector has exceeded its performance standard. In all subsequent years, NMFS will allocate to that sector either the amount of Chinook salmon in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section or, in low Chinook salmon abundance years, the amount of Chinook salmon in the table in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(D) of this section. All members of the affected sector will fish under this lower PSC allocation regardless of whether a vessel or CDQ group within that sector participates in an approved IPA.

(7) Replacement vessels. If an AFA-permitted vessel is no longer eligible to participate in the BS pollock fishery or if a vessel replaces a currently eligible vessel, NMFS will assign the portion and number of Chinook salmon associated with that vessel to the replacement vessel or distribute it among other eligible vessels in the sector based on the procedures in the law, regulation, or private contract that accomplishes the vessel removal or replacement action.

(8) Entities eligible to receive transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. (i) NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to the following entities, if these entities meet all the applicable requirements of this section.

(A) Inshore cooperatives. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to the inshore cooperatives permitted annually under § 679.4(l)(6). The representative and agent for service of process (see definition at § 679.2) for an inshore cooperative is the cooperative representative identified in the application for an inshore cooperative fishing permit issued under § 679.4(l)(6), unless the inshore cooperative representative notifies NMFS in writing that a different person will act as its agent for service of process for purposes of this paragraph (f). An inshore cooperative is not required to submit an application under paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section to receive a transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation.

(B) CDQ groups. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations to the CDQ groups. The representative and agent for service of process for a CDQ group is the chief executive officer of the CDQ group, unless the chief executive officer notifies NMFS in writing that a different person will act as its agent for service of process. A CDQ group is not required to submit an application under paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section to receive a transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation.

(C) Entity representing the AFA catcher/processor sector. NMFS will authorize only one entity to represent the catcher/processor sector for purposes of receiving and managing transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations on behalf of the catcher/processors eligible to fish under transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon allocations under the Chinook salmon PSC limit to the entity representing the catcher/processor sector if that entity represents all the owners of AFA-permitted vessels in this sector that are participants in an approved IPA.

(D) Entity representing the AFA mothership sector. NMFS will authorize only one entity to represent the mothership sector for purposes of receiving and managing transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations on behalf of the vessels eligible to fish under transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. NMFS will issue transferable Chinook salmon allocations under the Chinook salmon PSC limit to an entity representing the mothership sector if that entity represents all the owners of AFA-permitted vessels in this sector that are participants in an approved IPA.

(ii) Request for approval as an entity eligible to receive transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. A representative of an entity representing the catcher/processor sector or the mothership sector may request approval by NMFS to receive transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations on behalf of the members of the sector. The application must be submitted to NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section. A completed application consists of the application form and a contract, described below.

(A) Application form. The applicant must submit a paper copy of the application form with all information fields accurately filled in, including the affidavit affirming that each eligible vessel owner, from whom the applicant received written notification requesting to join the sector entity, has been allowed to join the sector entity subject to the same terms and conditions that have been agreed on by, and are applicable to, all other parties to the sector entity. The application form is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/) or from NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

(B) Contract. A contract containing the following information must be attached to the completed application form:

(1) Information that documents that all vessel owners party to the contract agree that the entity, the entity's representative, and the entity's agent for service of process named in the application form represent them for purposes of receiving transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations.

(2) A statement that the entity's representative and agent for service of process are authorized to act on behalf of the vessel owners party to the contract.

(3) Signatures, printed names, and date of signature for the owners of each AFA-permitted vessel identified in the application form.

(C) Contract duration. Once submitted, the contract attached to the application form is valid until amended or terminated by the parties to the contract.

(D) Deadline. An application form and contract must be received by NMFS no later than 1700 hours, A.l.t., on October 1 of the year prior to the year for which the Chinook salmon PSC allocations are effective.

(E) Approval. If more than one entity application form is submitted to NMFS, NMFS will approve the application form for the entity that represents the most eligible vessel owners in the sector.

(F) Amendments to the sector entity. (1) An amendment to the sector entity contract, with no change in entity participants, may be submitted to NMFS at any time and is effective upon written notification of approval by NMFS to the entity representative. To amend a contract, the entity representative must submit a complete application, as described in paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section.

(2) To make additions or deletions to the vessel owners represented by the entity for the next year, the entity representative must submit a complete application, as described in paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section, by December 1.

(iii) Entity representative. (A) The entity's representative must -

(1) Act as the primary contact person for NMFS on issues relating to the operation of the entity;

(2) Submit on behalf of the entity any applications required for the entity to receive a transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation and to transfer some or all of that allocation to and from other entities eligible to receive transfers of Chinook salmon PSC allocations;

(3) Ensure that an agent for service of process is designated by the entity; and

(4) Ensure that NMFS is notified if a substitute agent for service of process is designated. Notification must include the name, address, and telephone number of the substitute agent in the event the previously designated agent is no longer capable of accepting service on behalf of the entity or its members within the 5-year period from the time the agent is identified in the application to NMFS under paragraph (f)(8)(ii) of this section.

(B) Any vessel owner that is a member of an inshore cooperative, or a member of the entity that represents the catcher/processor sector or the mothership sector, may authorize the entity representative to sign a proposed IPA submitted to NMFS, under paragraph (f)(12) of this section, on his or her behalf. This authorization must be included in the contract submitted to NMFS, under paragraph (f)(8)(ii)(B) of this section, for the sector-level entities and in the contract submitted annually to NMFS by inshore cooperatives under § 679.61(d).

(iv) Agent for service of process. The entity's agent for service of process must -

(A) Be authorized to receive and respond to any legal process issued in the United States with respect to all owners and operators of vessels that are members of an entity receiving a transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC or with respect to a CDQ group. Service on or notice to the entity's appointed agent constitutes service on or notice to all members of the entity.

(B) Be capable of accepting service on behalf of the entity until December 31 of the year five years after the calendar year for which the entity notified the Regional Administrator of the identity of the agent.

(v) Absent a catcher/processor sector or mothership sector entity. If the catcher/processor sector or the mothership sector does not form an entity to receive a transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC, the sector will be managed by NMFS under a non-transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC under paragraph (f)(10) of this section.

(9) Transfers of Chinook salmon PSC. (i) A Chinook salmon PSC allocation issued to eligible entities under paragraph (f)(8)(i) of this section may be transferred to any other entity receiving a transferable allocation of Chinook salmon PSC by submitting to NMFS an application for transfer described in paragraph (f)(9)(iii) of this section. Transfers of Chinook salmon PSC allocations among eligible entities are subject to the following restrictions:

(A) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 60,000 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 60,000 PSC limit.

(B) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 45,000 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 45,000 PSC limit.

(C) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 47,591 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 47,591 PSC limit.

(D) Entities receiving transferable allocations under the 33,318 PSC limit may only transfer to and from other entities receiving allocations under the 33,318 PSC limit.

(E) Chinook salmon PSC allocations may not be transferred between seasons.

(ii) Post-delivery transfers. If the Chinook salmon bycatch by an entity exceeds its seasonal allocation, the entity may receive transfers of Chinook salmon PSC to cover overages for that season. An entity may conduct transfers to cover an overage that results from Chinook salmon bycatch from any fishing trip by a vessel fishing on behalf of that entity that was completed or is in progress at the time the entity's allocation is first exceeded. Under § 679.7(d)(5)(ii)(C)(2) and (k)(8)(v)(B), vessels fishing on behalf of an entity that has exceeded its Chinook salmon PSC allocation for a season may not start a new fishing trip for pollock in the BS on behalf of that same entity for the remainder of that season.

(iii) Application for transfer of Chinook salmon PSC allocation - (A) Completed application. NMFS will process a request for transfer of Chinook salmon PSC provided that a paper or electronic application is completed, with all information fields accurately filled in. Application forms are available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/) or from NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

(B) Certification of transferor - (1) Non-electronic submittal. The transferor's designated representative must sign and date the application certifying that all information is true, correct, and complete. The transferor's designated representative must submit the paper application as indicated on the application.

(2) Electronic submittal. The transferor's designated entity representative must log onto the NMFS online services system and create a transfer request as indicated on the computer screen. By using the transferor's NMFS ID, password, and Transfer Key, and submitting the transfer request, the designated representative certifies that all information is true, correct, and complete.

(C) Certification of transferee - (1) Non-electronic submittal. The transferee's designated representative must sign and date the application certifying that all information is true, correct, and complete.

(2) Electronic submittal. The transferee's designated representative must log onto the NMFS online services system and accept the transfer request as indicated on the computer screen. By using the transferee's NMFS ID, password, and Transfer Key, the designated representative certifies that all information is true, correct, and complete.

(D) Deadline. NMFS will not approve an application for transfer of Chinook salmon PSC after June 25 for the A season or after December 1 for the B season.

(10) Non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations. (i) All vessels belonging to a sector that is ineligible to receive transferable allocations under paragraph (f)(8) of this section, any catcher vessels participating in an inshore open access fishery, and all vessels fishing under the opt-out allocation under paragraph (f)(5) of this section will fish under specific non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocations.

(ii) All vessels fishing under a non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation, including vessels fishing on behalf of a CDQ group, will be managed together by NMFS under that non-transferable allocation. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that a seasonal non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation will be reached, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register closing the BS to directed fishing for pollock by those vessels fishing under that non-transferable allocation for the remainder of the season or for the remainder of the year.

(iii) For each non-transferable Chinook salmon PSC allocation, NMFS will deduct from the B season allocation any amount of Chinook salmon bycatch in the A season that exceeds the amount available under the A season allocation.

(11) Rollover of unused A season allocation - (i) Rollovers of transferable allocations. NMFS will add any Chinook salmon PSC allocation remaining at the end of the A season, after any transfers under paragraph (f)(9)(ii) of this section, to an entity's B season allocation.

(ii) Rollover of non-transferable allocations. For a non-transferable allocation for the mothership sector, catcher/processor sector, or an inshore open access fishery, NMFS will add any Chinook salmon PSC remaining in that non-transferable allocation at the end of the A season to that B season non-transferable allocation.

(12) Salmon bycatch incentive plan agreements (IPAs) - (i) Minimum participation requirements. More than one IPA may be approved by NMFS. Each IPA must have participants that represent the following:

(A) Minimum percent pollock. Parties to an IPA must collectively represent at least 9 percent of the BS pollock quota.

(B) Minimum number of unaffiliated AFA entities. Parties to an IPA must represent any combination of two or more CDQ groups or corporations, partnerships, or individuals who own AFA-permitted vessels and are not affiliated, as affiliation is defined for purposes of AFA entities in § 679.2.

(ii) Membership in an IPA. (A) No vessel owner or CDQ group is required to join an IPA.

(B) For a vessel owner in the catcher/processor sector or mothership sector to join an IPA, that vessel owner must be a member of the entity representing that sector under paragraph (f)(8).

(C) For a CDQ group to be a member of an IPA, the CDQ group must sign the IPA and list in that IPA each vessel harvesting BS pollock CDQ, on behalf of that CDQ group, that will participate in that IPA.

(D) Once a member of an IPA, a vessel owner or CDQ group cannot withdraw from the IPA during a fishing year.

(iii) Request for approval of a proposed IPA. The IPA representative must submit a proposed IPA to NMFS at the address in paragraph (b)(6) of this section. The proposed IPA must contain the following information:

(A) Affidavit. The IPA must include the affidavit affirming that each eligible vessel owner or CDQ group, from whom the IPA representative received written notification requesting to join the IPA, has been allowed to join the IPA subject to the same terms and conditions that have been agreed on by, and are applicable to, all other parties to the IPA.

(B) Name of the IPA.

(C) Representative. The IPA must include the name, telephone number, and email address of the IPA representative who submits the proposed IPA on behalf of the parties and who is responsible for submitting proposed amendments to the IPA and the annual report required under paragraph (f)(13) of this section.

(D) Third party group. The IPA must identify at least one third party group. Third party groups include any entities representing western Alaskans who depend on salmon and have an interest in salmon bycatch reduction but do not directly fish in a groundfish fishery.

(E) Description of the incentive plan. The IPA must contain a description of the following -

(1) The incentive(s) that will be implemented under the IPA for the operator of each vessel participating in the IPA to avoid Chinook salmon and chum salmon bycatch under any condition of pollock and Chinook salmon abundance in all years.

(2) How the incentive(s) to avoid chum salmon do not increase Chinook salmon bycatch.

(3) The rewards for avoiding Chinook salmon, penalties for failure to avoid Chinook salmon at the vessel level, or both.

(4) How the incentive measures in the IPA are expected to promote reductions in a vessel's Chinook salmon and chum salmon bycatch rates relative to what would have occurred in absence of the incentive program.

(5) How the incentive measures in the IPA promote Chinook salmon and chum salmon savings in any condition of pollock abundance or Chinook salmon abundance in a manner that is expected to influence operational decisions by vessel operators to avoid Chinook salmon and chum salmon.

(6) How the IPA ensures that the operator of each vessel governed by the IPA will manage that vessel's Chinook salmon bycatch to keep total bycatch below the performance standard described in paragraph (f)(6) of this section for the sector in which the vessel participates.

(7) How the IPA ensures that the operator of each vessel governed by the IPA will manage that vessel's chum salmon bycatch to avoid areas and times where the chum salmon are likely to return to western Alaska.

(8) The rolling hot spot program for salmon bycatch avoidance that operates throughout the entire A season and B season and the agreement to provide notifications of closure areas and any violations of the rolling hot spot program to the third party group.

(9) The restrictions or penalties targeted at vessels that consistently have significantly higher Chinook salmon PSC rates relative to other vessels fishing at the same time.

(10) The requirement for vessels to enter a fishery-wide in-season salmon PSC data sharing agreement.

(11) The requirement for the use of salmon excluder devices, with recognition of contingencies, from January 20 to March 31, and from September 1 until the end of the B season.

(12) The requirement that salmon savings credits are limited to a maximum of three years for IPAs with salmon savings credits.

(13) The restrictions or performance criteria used to ensure that Chinook salmon PSC rates in October are not significantly higher than those achieved in the preceding months.

(F) Compliance agreement. The IPA must include a written statement that all parties to the IPA agree to comply with all provisions of the IPA.

(G) Signatures. The names and signatures of the owner or representative for each vessel and CDQ group that is a party to the IPA. The representative of an inshore cooperative, or the representative of the entity formed to represent the AFA catcher/processor sector or the AFA mothership sector under paragraph (f)(8) of this section may sign a proposed IPA on behalf of all vessels that are members of that inshore cooperative or sector level entity.

(iv) Deadline and duration - (A) Deadline for proposed IPA. A proposed IPA must be received by NMFS no later than 1700 hours, A.l.t., on October 1 of the year prior to the year for which the IPA is proposed to be effective.

(B) Duration. Once approved, an IPA is effective starting January 1 of the year following the year in which NMFS approves the IPA, unless the IPA is approved between January 1 and January 19, in which case the IPA is effective starting in the year in which it is approved. Once approved, an IPA is effective until December 31 of the first year in which it is effective or until December 31 of the year in which the IPA representative notifies NMFS in writing that the IPA is no longer in effect, whichever is later. An IPA may not expire mid-year. No party may join or leave an IPA once it is approved, except as allowed under paragraph (f)(12)(v)(C) of this section.

(v) NMFS review of a proposed IPA - (A) Approval. An IPA will be approved by NMFS if it meets the following requirements:

(1) Meets the minimum participation requirements in paragraph (f)(12)(i) of this section;

(2) Is submitted in compliance with the requirements of paragraphs (f)(12)(ii) and (iv) of this section; and

(3) Contains the information required in paragraph (f)(12)(iii) of this section.

(B) IPA identification number. If approved, NMFS will assign an IPA identification number to the approved IPA. This number must be used by the IPA representative in amendments to the IPA.

(C) Amendments to an IPA. Amendments to an approved IPA may be submitted to NMFS at any time and will be reviewed under the requirements of this paragraph (f)(12). An amendment to an approved IPA is effective upon written notification of approval by NMFS to the IPA representative.

(D) Disapproval. (1) NMFS will disapprove a proposed IPA or a proposed amendment to an IPA for either of the following reasons:

(i) If the proposed IPA fails to meet any of the requirements of paragraphs (f)(12)(i) through (iii) of this section, or

(ii) If a proposed amendment to an IPA would cause the IPA to no longer be consistent with the requirements of paragraphs (f)(12)(i) through (iv) of this section.

(2) Initial Administrative Determination (IAD). If, in NMFS' review of the proposed IPA, NMFS identifies deficiencies in the proposed IPA that require disapproval of the proposed IPA, NMFS will notify the applicant in writing. The IPA representative will be provided one 30-day period to address, in writing, the deficiencies identified by NMFS. Additional information or a revised IPA received by NMFS after the expiration of the 30-day period specified by NMFS will not be considered for purposes of the review of the proposed IPA. NMFS will evaluate any additional information submitted by the applicant within the 30-day period. If the Regional Administrator determines that the additional information addresses deficiencies in the proposed IPA, the Regional Administrator will approve the proposed IPA under paragraphs (f)(12)(iv)(B) and (f)(12)(v)(A) of this section. However, if, after consideration of the original proposed IPA and any additional information submitted during the 30-day period, NMFS determines that the proposed IPA does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (f)(12) of this section, NMFS will issue an initial administrative determination (IAD) providing the reasons for disapproving the proposed IPA.

(3) Administrative Appeals. An IPA representative who receives an IAD disapproving a proposed IPA may appeal under the procedures set forth at § 679.43. If the IPA representative fails to file an appeal of the IAD pursuant to § 679.43, the IAD will become the final agency action. If the IAD is appealed and the final agency action is a determination to approve the proposed IPA, then the IPA will be effective as described in paragraph (f)(12)(iv)(B) of this section.

(4) Pending appeal. While appeal of an IAD disapproving a proposed IPA is pending, proposed members of the IPA subject to the IAD that are not currently members of an approved IPA will fish under the opt-out allocation under paragraph (f)(5) of this section. If no other IPA has been approved by NMFS, NMFS will issue all sectors allocations of the 47,591 Chinook salmon PSC limit as described in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section, or, in low Chinook salmon abundance years, allocations of the 33,318 Chinook salmon PSC limit as described in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(D) of this section.

(vi) Public release of an IPA. NMFS will make all proposed IPAs and all approved IPAs and the list of participants in each approved IPA available to the public on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site

(http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/).

(13) IPA Annual Report. The representative of each approved IPA must submit a written annual report to the Council at the address specified in § 679.61(f). The Council will make the annual report available to the public.

(i) Submission deadline. The IPA Annual Report must be received by the Council no later than March 15.

(ii) Information requirements. The IPA Annual Report must contain the following information:

(A) A comprehensive description of the incentive measures, including the rolling hot spot program and salmon excluder use, in effect in the previous year;

(B) A description of how these incentive measures affected individual vessels;

(C) An evaluation of whether incentive measures were effective in achieving salmon savings beyond levels that would have been achieved in absence of the measures, including the effectiveness of -

(1) Measures to ensure that chum salmon were avoided in areas and at times where chum salmon are likely to return to western Alaska;

(2) Restrictions or penalties that target vessels that consistently have significantly higher Chinook salmon PSC rates relative to other vessels; and

(3) Restrictions or performance criteria used to ensure that Chinook PSC rates in October are not significantly higher than in previous months.

(D) A description of any amendments to the terms of the IPA that were approved by NMFS since the last annual report and the reasons that the amendments to the IPA were made.

(E) The sub-allocation to each participating vessel of the number of Chinook salmon PSC and amount of pollock (mt) at the start of each fishing season, and number of Chinook salmon PSC and amount of pollock (mt) caught at the end of each season.

(F) The following information on in-season transfer of Chinook salmon PSC and pollock among AFA cooperatives, entities eligible to receive Chinook salmon PSC allocations, or CDQ groups:

(1) Date of transfer;

(2) Name of transferor;

(3) Name of transferee;

(4) Number of Chinook salmon PSC transferred; and

(5) Amount of pollock (mt) transferred.

(G) The following information on in-season transfers among vessels participating in the IPA:

(1) Date of transfer;

(2) Name of transferor;

(3) Name of transferee;

(4) Number of Chinook salmon PSC transferred; and

(5) Amount pollock (mt) transferred.

(14) Non-Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) limit and Chum Salmon Savings Area. (i) The PSC limit for non-Chinook salmon caught by vessels using trawl gear from August 15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area, as defined under § 679.22(a)(5) and in Figure 2 to this part, is 42,000 fish.

(ii) 10.7 percent of the non-Chinook PSC limit is allocated to the CDQ Program as a PSQ reserve.

(iii) If the Regional Administrator determines that 42,000 non-Chinook salmon have been caught by vessels using trawl gear during the period August 15 through October 14 in the Catcher Vessel Operational Area, NMFS will prohibit fishing for pollock for the remainder of the period September 1 through October 14 in the Chum Salmon Savings Area as defined in Figure 9 to this part.

(iv) Trawl vessels participating in directed fishing for pollock and operating under an IPA approved by NMFS under paragraph (f)(12) of this section are exempt from closures in the Chum Salmon Savings Area.

(15) Salmon handling. Regulations in this paragraph apply to vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including pollock CDQ, and processors taking deliveries from these vessels.

(i) Salmon discard. The operator of a vessel and the manager of a shoreside processor or SFP must not discard any salmon or transfer or process any salmon under the PSD Program at § 679.26 if the salmon were taken incidental to a directed fishery for pollock in the BS until the number of salmon has been determined by the observer and the observer's collection of any scientific data or biological samples from the salmon has been completed.

(ii) Salmon retention and storage. (A) Operators of catcher/processors or motherships must -

(1) Sort and transport all salmon bycatch from each haul to an approved storage container located adjacent to the observer sampling station that allows an observer free and unobstructed access to the salmon (see § 679.28(d)(2)(i) and (d)(7)). The salmon storage container must remain in view of the observer from the observer sampling station at all times during the sorting of the haul.

(2) If, at any point during sorting of a haul or delivery, the salmon are too numerous to be contained in the salmon storage container, cease all sorting and give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon in the storage container and collect scientific data or biological samples. Once the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for the counted salmon, the salmon must be removed by vessel personnel from the approved storage container and the observer sampling station, in the presence of the observer.

(3) Before sorting of the next haul may begin, give the observer the opportunity to complete the count of salmon and the collection of scientific data or biological samples from the previous haul. When the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for a haul or delivery, vessel personnel must remove the salmon, in the presence of the observer, from the salmon storage container and the observer sampling station.

(4) Ensure no salmon of any species pass the observer sample collection point, as identified in the scale drawing of the observer sampling station (see § 679.28(d)(2)(i) and (d)(7)).

(B) Operators of vessels delivering to shoreside processors or stationary floating processors must -

(1) Retain all salmon taken incidental to a directed fishery for pollock in the BS until the salmon are delivered to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch.

(2) Notify the observer at least 15 minutes before handling catch on board the vessel, including, but not limited to, moving catch from one location to another, sorting, or discard of catch prior to the delivery of catch to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch. This notification requirement is in addition to the notification requirements in § 679.51(e).

(3) Secure all salmon and catch after the observer has completed the collection of scientific data and biological samples and after the vessel crew has completed handling the catch. All salmon and any other catch retained on board the vessel must be made unavailable for sorting and discard until the delivery of catch to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch. Methods to make salmon or retained catch unavailable for sorting or discard include but are not limited to securing the catch in a completely enclosed container above or below deck, securing the catch in an enclosed codend, or completely and securely covering the fish on deck.

(4) Comply with the requirements in paragraphs (f)(15)(ii)(B)(2) and (3) of this section, before handling the catch prior to delivery.

(C) Shoreside processors or stationary floating processors must -

(1) Comply with the requirements in § 679.28(g)(7)(vii) for the receipt, sorting, and storage of salmon from deliveries of catch from the BS pollock fishery.

(2) Ensure no salmon of any species pass beyond the last point where sorting of fish occurs, as identified in the scale drawing of the plant in the Catch Monitoring Control Plan (CMCP).

(3) Sort and transport all salmon of any species to the salmon storage container identified in the CMCP (see § 679.28 (g)(7)(vi)(C) and (g)(7)(x)(F)). The salmon must remain in that salmon storage container and within the view of the observer at all times during the offload.

(4) If, at any point during the offload, salmon are too numerous to be contained in the salmon storage container, cease the offload and all sorting and give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples. The counted salmon then must be removed from the area by plant personnel in the presence of the observer.

(5) At the completion of the offload, give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples.

(6) Before sorting of the next offload of catch from the BS pollock fishery may begin, give the observer the opportunity to complete the count of salmon and the collection of scientific data or biological samples from the previous offload of catch from the BS pollock fishery. When the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for the offload, plant personnel must remove the salmon, in the presence of the observer, from the salmon storage container and location where salmon are counted and biological samples or scientific data are collected.

(iii) Assignment of crew to assist observer. Operators of vessels and managers of shoreside processors and SFPs that are required to retain salmon under paragraph (f)(15)(i) of this section must designate and identify to the observer aboard the vessel, or at the shoreside processor or SFP, a crew person or employee responsible for ensuring all sorting, retention, and storage of salmon occurs according to the requirements of (f)(15)(ii) of this section.

(iv) Discard of salmon. Except for salmon under the PSD Program at § 679.26, all salmon must be returned to the sea as soon as is practicable, following notification by an observer that the number of salmon has been determined and the collection of scientific data or biological samples has been completed.

(g) Chinook salmon bycatch management in the AI pollock fishery - (1) Applicability. This paragraph contains regulations governing the bycatch of Chinook salmon in the AI pollock fishery.

(2) AI Chinook salmon PSC limit. (i) The PSC limit for Chinook salmon caught by vessels while harvesting pollock in the AI is 700 fish.

(ii) 7.5 percent of the PSC limit is allocated to the CDQ Program as a PSQ reserve.

(3) Area closures. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that catch of Chinook salmon by vessels using trawl gear while directed fishing for pollock in the AI will reach the PSC limit, NMFS, by notification in the Federal Register, will close the AI Chinook Salmon Savings Area, as defined in Figure 8 to this part, to directed fishing for pollock with trawl gear on the following dates:

(i) From the effective date of the closure until April 15, and from September 1 through December 31, if the Regional Administrator determines that the annual limit of AI Chinook salmon will be attained before April 15.

(ii) From September 1 through December 31, if the Regional Administrator determines that the annual limit of AI Chinook salmon will be attained after April 15.

(h) GOA Chinook Salmon PSC Management - (1) Applicability. Regulations in this paragraph apply to trawl vessels participating in the directed fishery for groundfish in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA and processors receiving deliveries from these vessels.

(2) GOA Chinook salmon PSC limits for the pollock sectors (fisheries). (i) The annual PSC limit for vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Western reporting area of the GOA is 6,684 Chinook salmon.

(ii) The annual PSC limit for vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Central reporting area of the GOA is 18,316 Chinook salmon.

(3) GOA non-pollock trawl sectors. For the purposes of accounting for the annual Chinook salmon PSC limits at paragraph (h)(4)(i) of this section, the non-pollock trawl sectors are:

(i) Trawl catcher/processor sector. The Trawl catcher/processor sector is any catcher/processor vessel fishing for groundfish, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western or Central GOA reporting area and processing that groundfish at sea;

(ii) Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector. The Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector is any catcher vessel fishing for groundfish, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western or Central reporting area of the GOA and operating under the authority of a Central GOA Rockfish Program CQ permit assigned to the catcher vessel sector; and

(iii) Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector. The Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector is any catcher vessel fishing for groundfish, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western or Central reporting area of the GOA and not operating under the authority of a Central GOA Rockfish Program CQ permit assigned to the catcher vessel sector.

(4) GOA Chinook salmon PSC limits for non-pollock trawl fisheries. (i) The annual Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA for the sectors defined in paragraph (h)(3) of this section are as follows:

For the following sectors defined in § 679.21(h)(3) . . . The total Chinook salmon PSC limit in each calendar year is . . . Unless, the use of the Chinook
salmon PSC limit for that sector in a calendar year does not exceed . . .
If so, in the
following calendar year, the Chinook salmon PSC limit for that sector will be . . .
(A) Trawl catcher/processor sector3,6003,1204,080
(B) Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector1,200N/A
(C) Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector2,7002,3403,060

(ii) For the Trawl catcher/processor sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section:

(A) The seasonal PSC limit prior to June 1 is 2,376 Chinook salmon if the annual Chinook salmon PSC limit is 3,600. The seasonal PSC limit prior to June 1 is 2,693 Chinook salmon if the annual Chinook salmon PSC limit is 4,080.

(B) The number of Chinook salmon PSC available on June 1 through the remainder of the calendar year is the annual Chinook salmon PSC limit specified for the Trawl catcher/processor sector minus the number of Chinook salmon used by that sector prior to June 1 and any Chinook salmon PSC limit reapportioned to another sector specified at paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section prior to June 1.

(5) Inseason reapportionment of Chinook salmon PSC limits. (i) On October 1, the Regional Administrator may reallocate any unused Chinook salmon PSC available to the Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, defined in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section, in excess of 150 Chinook salmon to the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, but not to exceed the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector's limit on Chinook salmon PSC reapportionment as defined in paragraph (h)(5)(iv)(D) of this section.

(ii) On November 15, the Regional Administrator may reallocate all remaining Chinook salmon PSC available to the Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, defined in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section, to the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector, but not to exceed the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector's limit on Chinook salmon PSC reapportionment as defined in paragraph (h)(5)(iv)(D) of this section.

(iii) Any Chinook salmon PSC limit in paragraphs (h)(2) or (h)(4) of this section projected by the Regional Administrator to be unused during the remainder of the fishing year may be reapportioned subject to the Chinook salmon PSC limits in paragraphs (h)(5)(iv)(A) through (D) of this section for the remainder of the fishing year. NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register announcing any Chinook salmon PSC limit reapportionments in the GOA.

(iv) On an annual basis, NMFS shall not reapportion an amount of unused Chinook salmon PSC greater than the following amounts:

(A) 3,342 Chinook salmon to vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Western reporting area of the GOA;

(B) 9,158 Chinook salmon to vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Central reporting area of the GOA;

(C) 600 Chinook salmon to the Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(ii) of this section; and

(D) 1,350 Chinook salmon to the Non-Rockfish Program catcher vessel sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(iii) of this section.

(6) Salmon retention. (i) The operator of a vessel, including but not limited to a catcher vessel or tender, must retain all salmon until delivered to a processing facility.

(ii) The operator of a catcher/processor or the owner and manager of a shoreside processor or SFP receiving groundfish deliveries from trawl vessels must retain all salmon until the number of salmon by species has been accurately recorded in the eLandings at-sea production report or eLandings groundfish landing report.

(iii) The owner and manager of a shoreside processor or SFP receiving pollock deliveries must, if an observer is present, retain all salmon until the observer is provided the opportunity to count the number of salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples from the salmon.

(iv) The operator of a catcher/processor must retain all salmon until an observer is provided the opportunity to collect scientific data or biological samples from the salmon.

(7) Salmon discard. Except for salmon under the PSD program defined in § 679.26, all salmon must be discarded after the requirements at paragraph (h)(6)(ii) or (h)(6)(iii) of this section have been met.

(8) GOA Chinook salmon PSC closures. If, during the fishing year, the Regional Administrator determines that:

(i) Vessels participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Western reporting area or Central reporting area of the GOA will reach the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit specified for that reporting area under paragraph (h)(2) of this section or the applicable limit following any reapportionment under paragraph (h)(5) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing the applicable regulatory area to directed fishing for pollock;

(ii) Vessels in a sector defined in paragraph (h)(3) of this section will reach the applicable Chinook salmon PSC limit specified for that sector under paragraph (h)(4)(i) of this section or the applicable limit following any reapportionment under paragraph (h)(5) of this section, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing directed fishing for all groundfish species, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA for that sector; or

(iii) Vessels in the Trawl catcher/processor sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section will reach the seasonal Chinook salmon PSC limit specified at paragraph (h)(4)(ii)(A) of this section prior to June 1, NMFS will publish notification in the Federal Register closing directed fishing for all groundfish species, other than pollock, with trawl gear in the Western and Central reporting areas of the GOA for all vessels in the Trawl catcher/processor sector until June 1. Directed fishing for groundfish species, other than pollock will reopen on June 1 for the Trawl catcher/processor sector defined in paragraph (h)(3)(i) of this section with the Chinook salmon PSC limit determined at paragraph (h)(4)(ii)(B) of this section unless NMFS determines that the amount of Chinook salmon PSC available to the sector is insufficient to allow the sector to fish and not exceed its annual Chinook salmon PSC limit.

[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996] Editorial Note:For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.21, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§ 679.22 - Closures.

(a) BSAI - (1) Zone 1 (512) closure to trawl gear. No fishing with trawl gear is allowed at any time in reporting Area 512 of Zone 1 in the Bering Sea subarea.

(2) Zone 1 (516) closure to trawl gear. No fishing with trawl gear is allowed at any time in reporting Area 516 of Zone 1 in the Bering Sea Subarea during the period March 15 through June 15.

(3) Red King Crab Savings Area (RKCSA). Directed fishing for groundfish by vessels using trawl gear other than pelagic trawl gear is prohibited at all times, except as provided at § 679.21(e)(3)(ii)(B), in that part of the Bering Sea subarea defined as RKCSA in Figure 11 to this part.

(4) Walrus protection areas. (i) From April 1 through September 30 of each calendar year, vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit issued under § 679.4 are prohibited from deploying fishing gear in that part of the Bering Sea subarea between 3 and 12 nm seaward of the baseline used to measure the territorial sea around islands named Round Island and The Twins, as shown on National Ocean Survey Chart 16315, and around Cape Peirce (58°33′ N. lat., 161°43′ W. long.).

(ii) From April 1 through September 30 of each calendar year, vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit issued under § 679.4 are prohibited in that part of the Bering Sea subarea between 3 and 12 nm seaward of the baseline used to measure the territorial sea around islands named Round Island and The Twins, as shown on National Ocean Survey Chart 16315, and around Cape Peirce (58°33′ N. lat., 161°43′ W. long.), except that from April 1 through August 15 of each calendar year vessels designated on a Federal fisheries permit are not prohibited from entering and transiting through waters off:

(A) Round Island, north of a straight line connecting 58°47.90′ N. lat./160°21.91′ W. long., and 58°32.94′ N. lat./159°35.45′ W. long.; and

(B) Cape Peirce, east of a straight line connecting 58°30.00′ N. lat./161°46.20′ W. long., and 58°21.00′ N. lat./161°46.20′ W. long.

(5) Catcher Vessel Operational Area (CVOA) - (i) Definition. The CVOA is defined as that part of the BSAI that is south of 56°00′ N lat. and between 163°00′ W long. and 167°30′ W long., and north of the Aleutian Islands (Figure 2 to part 679).

(ii) Catcher/processor restrictions. A catcher/processor vessel authorized to fish for BSAI pollock under § 679.4 is prohibited from conducting directed fishing for pollock in the CVOA during the B pollock season defined at § 679.23(e)(2)(ii), unless it is directed fishing for Pollock CDQ.

(6) Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone. Directed fishing for groundfish using trawl gear or pot gear, or fishing for halibut using pot gear, is prohibited at all times in the area defined in Figure 10 to this part as the Pribilof Islands Habitat Conservation Zone.

(7) Steller sea lion protection areas, Bering Sea reporting areas. (A) Boundaries. The Bogoslof area consists of all waters of area 518 as described in Figure 1 of this part south of a straight line connecting 55°00′ N lat./170°00′ W long., and 55°00′ N lat./168°11′4.75′ W long.;

(B) Fishing prohibition. All waters within the Bogoslof area are closed to directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b), except as provided in paragraph (a)(7)(i)(C) of this section.

(C) Bogoslof Pacific cod exemption area. (1) All catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear for directed fishing for Pacific cod are exempt from the Pacific cod fishing prohibition as described in paragraph (a)(7)(i)(B) of this section in the portion of the Bogoslof area south of a line connecting a point 3 nm north of Bishop Point (54°01′25″ N lat./166°57′00″ W long.) to Cape Tanak (53°33′50″ N lat./168°00′00″ W long.), not including waters of the Bishop Point Pacific cod fishing closures as described in Table 5 of this part.

(2) If the Regional Administrator determines that 113 mt of Pacific cod have been caught by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear in the exemption area described in paragraph (a)(7)(i)(C)(1) of this section, the Regional Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for Pacific cod by catcher vessels less than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using jig or hook-and-line gear in the exemption area by notification published in the Federal Register.

(ii) Bering Sea Pollock Restriction Area. (A) Boundaries. The Bering Sea Pollock Restriction Area consists of all waters of the Bering Sea subarea south of a line connecting the points 163°0′00″ W long./55°46′30″ N lat., 165°08′00″ W long./54°42′9″ N lat., 165°40′00″ W long./54°26′30″ N lat., 166°12′00″ W long./54°18′40″ N lat., and 167°0′00″ W long./54°8′50″ N lat.

(B) Fishing prohibition. All waters within the Bering Sea Pollock Restriction Area are closed during the A season, as defined at § 679.23(e)(2), to directed fishing for pollock by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b).

(iii) Groundfish closures. Directed fishing for groundfish by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) is prohibited within 3 nm of selected sites. These sites are listed in Table 12 of this part and are identified by “Bering Sea” in column 2.

(iv) Pollock closures. Directed fishing for pollock by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) is prohibited within pollock no-fishing zones around selected sites. These sites are listed in Table 4 of this part and are identified by “Bering Sea” in column 2.

(v) Pacific cod closures. Directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) and using trawl, hook-and-line, or pot gear is prohibited within the Pacific cod no-fishing zones around selected sites. These sites and gear types are listed in Table 5 of this part and are identified by “BS” in column 2.

(vi) Atka mackerel closures. Directed fishing for Atka mackerel by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) and using trawl gear is prohibited within the Bering Sea reporting areas.

(vii) Steller sea lion conservation area (SCA) - (A) General. Directed fishing for pollock by vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component, catcher/processors in the offshore component, motherships in the offshore component, or directed fishing for CDQ pollock, is prohibited within the SCA until April 1 when the Regional Administrator announces, by notification in the Federal Register, that the criteria set out in paragraph (a)(7)(vii)(C) of this section have been met by that industry component.

(B) Boundaries. The SCA consists of the area of the Bering Sea subarea between 170°00′ W long. and 163°00′ W long., south of straight lines connecting the following points in the order listed:

55°00′ N lat. 170°00′ W long.;

55°00′ N lat. 168°00′ W long.;

55°30′ N lat. 168°00′ W long.;

55°30′ N lat. 166°00′ W long.;

56°00′ N lat. 166°00′ W long.; and,

56°00′ N lat. 163°00′ W long.

(C) Criteria for closure - (1) General. The directed fishing closures identified in paragraph (a)(7)(vii)(A) of this section will take effect when the Regional Administrator determines that the harvest limit for pollock within the SCA, as specified in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C) is reached before April 1. The Regional Administrator shall prohibit directed fishing for pollock in the SCA by notification published in the Federal Register.

(2) Inshore catcher vessels greater than 99 ft (30.2 m) LOA. The Regional Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for pollock by vessels greater than 99 ft (30.2 m) LOA, catching pollock for processing by the inshore component before reaching the inshore SCA harvest limit before April 1 to accommodate fishing by vessels less than or equal to 99 ft (30.2 m) inside the SCA until April 1. The Regional Administrator will estimate how much of the inshore seasonal allowance is likely to be harvested by catcher vessels less than or equal to 99 ft (30.2 m) LOA and reserve a sufficient amount of the inshore SCA allowance to accommodate fishing by such vessels after the closure of the SCA to inshore vessels greater than 99 ft (30.2 m) LOA. The Regional Administrator will prohibit directed fishing for all inshore catcher vessels within the SCA when the harvest limit specified in § 679.20(a)(5)(i)(C) has been met before April 1.

(8) Steller sea lion protection areas, Aleutian Islands reporting areas - (i) Seguam Foraging area. (A) The Seguam foraging area is all waters within the area between 52° N lat. and 53° N lat. and between 173°30′ W long. and 172°30′ W long.

(B) Directed fishing for pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) is prohibited in the Seguam Foraging area as described in paragraph (a)(8)(i)(A) of this section.

(ii) Pollock Closure. Directed fishing for pollock by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) is prohibited within the pollock no-fishing zones around selected sites. These sites are listed in Table 4 of this part and are identified by “Aleutian I.” in column 2.

(iii) Groundfish closures. Directed fishing for groundfish by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) is prohibited within 3 nm of selected sites. These sites are listed in Table 12 of this part and are identified by “Aleutian Islands” in column 2.

(iv) Pacific cod closures. Directed fishing for Pacific cod required to be deducted from the Federal TAC specified at § 679.20 by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) using trawl, hook-and-line, or pot gear is prohibited within Pacific cod no-fishing zones around selected sites. These sites and gear types are described in Table 5 of this part and its footnotes and are identified by “AI” in column 2.

(v) Atka mackerel closures. Directed fishing for Atka mackerel by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) and using trawl gear is prohibited within Atka mackerel no-fishing zones around selected sites. These sites are listed in Table 6 of this part and are identified by “Aleutian Islands” in column 2.

(9) Nearshore Bristol Bay Trawl Closure. Directed fishing for groundfish by vessels using trawl gear in Bristol Bay, as described in the current edition of NOAA chart 16006, is closed at all times in the area east of 162°00′ W. long., except that the Nearshore Bristol Bay Trawl Area defined in Figure 12 to this part is open to trawling from 1200 hours A.l.t., April 1 to 1200 hours A.l.t., June 15 of each year.

(10) Chum Salmon Savings Area. Directed fishing for pollock by vessels using trawl gear is prohibited from August 1 through August 31 in the Chum Salmon Savings Area defined at Figure 9 to this part (see also § 679.21(f)(14)). Vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including pollock CDQ, and operating under an approved IPA under § 679.21(f)(12) are exempt from closures in the Chum Salmon Savings Area.

(11) [Reserved]

(12) Alaska Seamount Habitat Protection Areas. No federally permitted vessel may fish with bottom contact gear in the Alaska Seamount Habitat Protection Areas, as described in Table 22 to this part.

(13) Aleutian Islands Coral Habitat Protection Areas. No federally permitted vessel may fish with bottom contact gear in the Aleutian Islands Coral Habitat Protection Areas, as described in Table 23 to this part.

(14) Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area. Except within those areas identified as opened to nonpelagic trawl gear fishing in Table 24 to this part, no federally permitted vessel may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area, as described in Table 24 to this part.

(15) Bowers Ridge Habitat Conservation Zone. No federally permitted vessel may fish with mobile bottom contact gear in the Bowers Ridge Habitat Conservation Zone, as described in Table 25 to this part.

(16) Bering Sea Habitat Conservation Area. No federally permitted vessel may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Bering Sea Habitat Conservation Area specified at Table 42 and Figure 16 to this part.

(17) Northern Bering Sea Research Area. No federally permitted vessel may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Northern Bering Sea Research Area specified at Table 43 and Figure 17 to this part.

(18) Nunivak Island, Etolin Strait, and Kuskokwim Bay Habitat Conservation Area. No federally permitted vessel may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Nunivak Island, Etolin Strait, and Kuskokwim Bay Habitat Conservation Area specified at Table 44 and Figure 21 to this part.

(19) St. Lawrence Island Habitat Conservation Area. No federally permitted vessel may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the St. Lawrence Island Habitat Conservation Area specified at Table 45 to this part.

(20) St. Matthew Island Habitat Conservation Area. No federally permitted vessel may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the St. Matthew Island Habitat Conservation Area specified at Table 46 to this part.

(21) Modified Gear Trawl Zone. No vessel required to be federally permitted may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Modified Gear Trawl Zone specified at Table 51 to this part, except for federally permitted vessels that are directed fishing for groundfish using modified nonpelagic trawl gear that meets the standards at § 679.24(f).

(b) GOA - (1) Kodiak Island, trawls other than pelagic trawls - (i) Type I closures. No person may trawl in waters of the EEZ within the vicinity of Kodiak Island, as shown in Figure 5 to this part as Type I areas, from a vessel having any trawl other than a pelagic trawl either attached or on board.

(ii) Type II closures. From February 15 to June 15, no person may trawl in waters of the EEZ within the vicinity of Kodiak Island, as shown in Figure 5 to this part as Type II areas, from a vessel having any trawl other than a pelagic trawl either attached or on board.

(iii) Type III closures. Type III areas are open unless otherwise closed to trawling.

(2) Steller sea lion protection areas - (i) Groundfish closures. Directed fishing for groundfish by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) is prohibited within 3 nm of selected sites. These sites are listed in Table 12 of this part and are identified by “Gulf of Alaska” in column 2.

(ii) Pollock closures. Directed fishing for pollock by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) is prohibited within pollock no-fishing zones around selected sites. These sites are listed in Table 4 of this part and are identified by “Gulf of Alaska” in column 2.

(iii) Pacific cod closures. Directed fishing for Pacific cod by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) and using trawl, hook-and-line, or pot gear in the federally managed Pacific cod or State of Alaska parallel groundfish fisheries, as defined in Alaska Administrative Code (5 AAC 28.087(c), January 3, 2002), is prohibited within Pacific cod no-fishing zones around selected sites. These sites and gear types are listed in Table 5 of this part and are identified by “GOA” in column 2.

(iv) Atka mackerel closure. Directed fishing for Atka mackerel by vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b) within the Gulf of Alaska subarea is prohibited at all times.

(3) Marmot Bay Tanner Crab Protection Area. No federally permitted vessel may fish with trawl gear in the Marmot Bay Tanner Crab Protection Area, as described in Figure 5 to this part, except federally permitted vessels directed fishing for pollock using pelagic trawl gear.

(4) Southeast Outside District, gear other than nontrawl. Use of any gear other than nontrawl gear is prohibited at all times in Southeast Outside District defined at Figure 3 to this part.

(5) Sitka Pinnacles Marine Reserve. (i) No FFP holder may fish for groundfish in the Sitka Pinnacles Marine Reserve, and no vessel named on an FFP may be anchored in the Sitka Pinnacles Marine Reserve, as described in Figure 18 to this part.

(ii) No person fishing under an IFQ halibut permit may fish for halibut and no person fishing under an IFQ sablefish permit may fish for sablefish in the Sitka Pinnacles Marine Reserve; and no vessel with an IFQ permit holder or IFQ hired master permit holder onboard may be anchored in the Sitka Pinnacles Marine Reserve, as described in Figure 18 to this part.

(6) [Reserved]

(7) Cook Inlet. No person may use a non-pelagic trawl in waters of the EEZ of Cook Inlet north of a line from Cape Douglas (58°51.10′ N. lat.) to Point Adam (59°15.27′ N. lat.).

(8) Alaska Seamount Habitat Protection Areas. No federally permitted vessel may fish with bottom contact gear in the Alaska Seamount Habitat Protection Areas, as described in Table 22 to this part.

(9) Gulf of Alaska Coral Habitat Protection Areas. No federally permitted vessel may fish with bottom contact gear in the Gulf of Alaska Coral Habitat Protection Areas, as described in Table 26 to this part.

(10) Gulf of Alaska Slope Habitat Conservation Areas. No federally permitted vessel may fish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Gulf of Alaska Slope Habitat Conservation Areas, as described in Table 27 to this part.

(c) Directed fishing closures. See § 679.20(d) and § 679.20(i).

(d) Groundfish as prohibited species closures. See § 679.20(d).

(e) Overfishing closures. See § 679.20(d).

(f) Prohibited species closures. See § 679.21.

(g) [Reserved]

(h) CDQ fisheries closures. See § 679.7(d)(5) for time and area closures that apply to the CDQ fisheries once the non-Chinook salmon PSQ and crab PSQ amounts have been reached.

(i) Forage fish, grenadiers, squids, and sculpins closures. See § 679.20(i)(3).

[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996] Editorial Note:For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.22, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§ 679.23 - Seasons.

Link to an amendment published at 85 FR 38100, June 25, 2020.

(a) Groundfish, general. Fishing for groundfish in the GOA and BSAI is authorized from 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1, through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, subject to the other provisions of this part, except as provided in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) Time of groundfish openings and closures. The time of all openings and closures of fishing seasons, other than the beginning and end of the calendar fishing year, is 1200 hours, A.l.t.

(c) GOA and BSAI trawl groundfish. Notwithstanding other provisions of this part, fishing for groundfish with trawl gear in the GOA and BSAI is prohibited from 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1, through 1200 hours, A.l.t., January 20.

(d) GOA groundfish seasons - (1) Directed fishing for trawl rockfish. Directed fishing for rockfish with trawl gear is authorized from 1200 hours, A.l.t., on the first day of the third quarterly reporting period of a fishing year through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, subject to other provisions of this part.

(2) Directed fishing for pollock. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for pollock in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas is authorized only during the following four seasons:

(i) A season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., January 20 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., March 10;

(ii) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., March 10 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., May 31;

(iii) C season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., August 25 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., October 1; and

(iv) D season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., October 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., November 1.

(3) Directed fishing for Pacific cod (i) Hook-and-line or pot gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for Pacific cod with hook-and-line or pot gear in the Western and Central GOA Regulatory Areas is authorized only during the following two seasons:

(A) A season. From 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10; and

(B) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1 through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31.

(ii) Trawl gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for Pacific cod with trawl gear in the Western and Central Regulatory Areas is authorized only during the following two seasons:

(A) A season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., January 20 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10; and

(B) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., November 1.

(iii) Jig gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for Pacific cod with jig gear in the Western and Central GOA Regulatory Areas is authorized only during the following two seasons:

(A) A season. From 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10 or when the jig A season allocation is reached, whichever occurs first;

(B) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10 through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31 or when the jig B season allocation is reached, whichever occurs first.

(e) BSAI groundfish seasons - (1) Directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Greenland turbot. Directed fishing for arrowtooth flounder, Kamchatka flounder, and Greenland turbot in the BSAI is authorized from 1200 hours, A.l.t., May 1 through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31, subject to the other provisions of this part.

(2) Directed fishing for pollock in the Bering Sea subarea by inshore, offshore catcher/processor, and mothership components, in the AI directed pollock fishery, and pollock CDQ fisheries. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for pollock by vessels catching pollock for processing by the inshore component, catcher/processors in the offshore component, and motherships in the offshore component in the Bering Sea subarea, directed fishing for pollock in the AI directed pollock fishery, or directed fishing for CDQ pollock in the BSAI is authorized only during the following two seasons:

(i) A season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., January 20 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10; and

(ii) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., November 1.

(3) Directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for Atka mackerel with trawl gear in the BSAI is authorized only during the following two seasons:

(i) A season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., January 20 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10; and

(ii) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., December 31.

(4) CDQ fishing seasons. (i) Halibut CDQ. Fishing for CDQ halibut with fixed gear under an approved CDQ allocation may begin on the effective date of the allocation, except that CDQ fishing may occur only during the fishing periods specified in the annual management measures published in the Federal Register pursuant to § 300.62 of chapter III of this title.

(ii) Sablefish CDQ. Fishing for CDQ sablefish with fixed gear under an approved CDQ allocation may begin on the effective date of the allocation, except that it may occur only during the IFQ fishing season specified in paragraph (g)(1) of this section.

(iii) Groundfish CDQ. Fishing for groundfish CDQ species, other than CDQ pollock; hook-and-line, pot, jig, or trawl CDQ Pacific cod; trawl CDQ Atka mackerel; and fixed gear CDQ sablefish under subpart C of this part, is authorized from 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1 through the end of each fishing year, except as provided under paragraph (c) of this section.

(5) Directed fishing for Pacific cod - (i) Hook-and-line gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for CDQ and non-CDQ Pacific cod with vessels equal to or greater than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using hook-and-line gear is authorized only during the following two seasons:

(A) A season. From 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10; and

(B) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10 through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31.

(ii) Trawl gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for CDQ and non-CDQ Pacific cod with trawl gear in the BSAI is authorized only during the following three seasons:

(A) A season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., January 20 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 1;

(B) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10; and

(C) C season - (1) Catcher vessels and AFA catcher/processors. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., November 1.

(2) Amendment 80 and CDQ. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., December 31.

(iii) Pot gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, non-CDQ directed fishing for Pacific cod with vessels equal to or greater than 60 ft (18.3 m) LOA using pot gear in the BSAI is authorized only during the following two seasons:

(A) A season. From 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., June 10; and

(B) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., September 1 through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31.

(iv) Jig gear. Subject to other provisions of this part, directed fishing for CDQ and non-CDQ Pacific cod with jig gear is authorized only during the following three seasons:

(A) A season. From 0001 hours, A.l.t., January 1 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 30;

(B) B season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., April 30 through 1200 hours, A.l.t., August 31;

(C) C season. From 1200 hours, A.l.t., August 31 through 2400 hours, A.l.t., December 31.

(f) IFQ halibut. The fishing period(s) for IFQ halibut are established by the IPHC and are specified in the annual management measures published in the Federal Register pursuant to § 300.62 of chapter III of this title. Catches of halibut by fixed gear at times other than during the specified fishing periods must be treated as prohibited species as prescribed at § 679.21(a).

(g) IFQ sablefish. (1) Directed fishing for sablefish using fixed gear in any IFQ regulatory area may be conducted in any fishing year during the period specified by the Regional Administrator and announced by publication in the Federal Register. The Regional Administrator will take into account the opening date of the halibut season when determining the opening date for sablefish for the purposes of reducing bycatch and regulatory discards between the two fisheries.

(2) Except for catches of sablefish with longline pot gear in the GOA, catches of sablefish by fixed gear during other periods may be retained up to the amounts provided for by the directed fishing standards specified at § 679.20 when made by an individual aboard the vessel who has a valid IFQ permit and unused IFQ in the account on which the permit was issued.

(3) Catches of sablefish in excess of the maximum retainable bycatch amounts and catches made without IFQ must be treated in the same manner as prohibited species as defined at § 679.21(a).

(h) Stand down requirements for trawl catcher vessels transiting between the BSAI and GOA.

If you own or operate a catcher vessel and fish for groundfish with trawl gear in the* * * You are prohibited from subsequently deploying trawl gear in the* * * Until* * *
(1) BSAI while pollock or Pacific cod is open to directed fishing in the BSAIWestern and Central GOA regulatory areas1200 hours A.l.t. on the third day after the date of landing or transfer of all groundfish on board the vessel harvested in the BSAI, unless you are engaged in directed fishing for Pacific cod in the GOA for processing by the offshore component.
(2) Western GOA regulatory area while pollock or inshore Pacific cod is open to directed fishing in the Western GOA regulatory areaBSAI1200 hours A.l.t. on the third day after the date of landing or transfer of all groundfish on board the vessel harvested in the Western Regulatory Area of the GOA, unless you are participating in a CDQ fishery.
(3) Central GOA regulatory area while pollock or inshore Pacific cod is open to directed fishing in the Central GOA regulatory areaBSAI1200 hours A.l.t. on the second day after the date of landing or transfer of all groundfish on board the vessel harvested in the Central GOA regulatory area , unless you are participating in a CDQ fishery.

(i) Catcher vessel exclusive fishing seasons for pollock. Catcher vessels are prohibited from participating in directed fishing for pollock under the following conditions. Vessels less than 125 ft (38.1 m) LOA are exempt from this restriction when fishing east of 157°00′ W long. GOA and BSAI seasons are specified at § 679.23(d)(2) and § 679.23(e)(2).

[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996] Editorial Note:For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.23, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§ 679.24 - Gear limitations.

Regulations pertaining to vessel and gear markings are set forth in this section and as prescribed in the annual management measures published in the Federal Register pursuant to § 300.62 of chapter III of this title.

(a) Marking of hook-and-line, longline pot, and pot-and-line gear. (1) All hook-and-line, longline pot, and pot-and-line marker buoys carried on board or used by any vessel regulated under this part shall be marked with the vessel's Federal fisheries permit number or ADF&G vessel registration number.

(2) Markings shall be in characters at least 4 inches (10.16 cm) in height and 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) in width in a contrasting color visible above the water line and shall be maintained so the markings are clearly visible.

(3) Each end of a set of longline pot gear deployed to fish IFQ sablefish in the GOA must have attached a cluster of four or more marker buoys including one hard buoy ball marked with the capital letters “LP” in accordance with paragraph (a)(2) of this section, a flag mounted on a pole, and radar reflector floating on the sea surface.

(b) Gear restrictions - (1) Pots - - Longline pot gear. Any person using longline pot gear must treat any catch of groundfish as a prohibited species, except:

(i) In the Aleutian Islands subarea.

(ii) While directed fishing for sablefish in the Bering Sea subarea.

(iii) While directed fishing for IFQ sablefish in the GOA.

(iv) While fishing for IFQ or CDQ halibut in the BSAI.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) Trawl footrope. No person trawling in any GOA area limited to pelagic trawling under § 679.22 may allow the footrope of that trawl to be in contact with the seabed for more than 10 percent of the period of any tow.

(4) BSAI pollock nonpelagic trawl prohibition. No person may use nonpelagic trawl gear to engage in directed fishing for pollock in the BSAI.

(c) Gear restrictions for sablefish - (1) Gear allocations. Gear allocations of sablefish TAC are set out under § 679.20.

(2) Eastern GOA regulatory area - (i) General. (A) No person may use any gear other than hook-and-line, longline pot, and trawl gear when fishing for sablefish in the Eastern GOA regulatory area.

(B) No person may use any gear other than hook-and-line gear and longline pot gear to engage in directed fishing for IFQ sablefish.

(ii) Sablefish as prohibited species - (A) Trawl gear. When operators of vessels using trawl gear have harvested 5 percent of the TAC for sablefish in the Eastern GOA regulatory area during any year, further trawl catches of sablefish must be treated as prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(a).

(B) Other gear. Operators of vessels using gear types other than those specified in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section in the Eastern GOA regulatory area must treat any catch of sablefish as a prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(a).

(3) Central and Western GOA regulatory areas; sablefish as prohibited species. Operators of vessels using gear types other than hook-and-line, longline pot, and trawl gear in the Central and Western GOA regulatory areas must treat any catch of sablefish in these areas as a prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(a).

(4) BSAI. Operators of vessels using gear types other than hook-and-line, longline pot, pot-and-line, or trawl gear in the BSAI must treat sablefish as a prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(a).

(d) Trawl gear test areas - (1) General. For purposes of allowing pelagic and nonpelagic trawl fishermen to test trawl fishing gear, NMFS may establish, after consulting with the Council, locations for the testing of trawl fishing gear in areas that would otherwise be closed to trawling.

(2) Trawl gear testing. For the purposes of this section, “trawl gear testing” means deploying trawl gear in areas designated in this paragraph (d) and in Figure 7 to this part under the following conditions.

(i) The codend shall be unzipped while trawl gear testing.

(ii) Groundfish shall not be possessed on board when trawl gear testing.

(iii) Observers aboard vessels during the time spent trawl gear testing shall not fulfill observer requirements at subpart E of this part.

(3) Criteria. The establishment of test areas must comply with the following criteria:

(i) Depth and bottom type must be suitable for testing the particular gear type.

(ii) The areas must be outside State waters.

(iii) The areas must be in locations not normally closed to fishing with that gear type.

(iv) The areas must be in locations that are not usually fished heavily by that gear type.

(v) The areas must not be within a designated Steller sea lion protection area at any time of the year.

(4) Test areas. Trawl gear testing is allowed in the following areas (Figure 7 to this part) bounded by straight lines connecting the coordinates in the order listed, at all times:

(i) Kodiak Test Area.

57°37′ N. lat., 152°02′ W. long. 57°37′ N. lat., 151°25′ W. long. 57°23′ N. lat., 151°25′ W. long. 57°23′ N. lat., 152°02′ W. long. 57°37′ N. lat., 152°02′ W. long.

(ii) Sand Point Test Area.

54°50′ N. lat., 161°00′ W. long. 54°50′ N. lat., 160°30′ W. long. 54°35′ N. lat., 160°30′ W. long. 54°35′ N. lat., 161°00′ W. long. 54°50′ N. lat., 161°00′ W. long.

(iii) Bering Sea Test Area.

55°00′ N. lat., 167°00′ W. long. 55°00′ N. lat., 166°00′ W. long. 54°40′ N. lat., 166°00′ W. long. 54°40′ N. lat., 167°00′ W. long. 55°00′ N. lat., 167°00′ W. long.

(e) Seabird avoidance program for vessels fishing with hook-and-line gear - (1) Applicability. The operator of a vessel that is longer than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA fishing with hook-and-line gear must comply with the seabird avoidance requirements as specified in paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) of this section while fishing for any of the following species:

(i) IFQ halibut or CDQ halibut.

(ii) IFQ sablefish.

(iii) Groundfish in the EEZ off Alaska.

(2) Seabird Avoidance Requirements. The operator of a vessel described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section must:

(i) Gear onboard. Have onboard the vessel the seabird avoidance gear as specified in paragraph (e)(3) of this section;

(ii) Gear inspection. Upon request by an authorized officer or observer, make the seabird avoidance gear available for inspection;

(iii) Gear use. Use seabird avoidance gear as specified in paragraph (e)(3) of this section that meets standards as specified in paragraph (e)(4) of this section, while hook-and-line gear is being deployed.

(iv) Sink baited hooks. Use hooks that when baited, sink as soon as they are put in the water.

(v) Offal discharge. (A) If offal is discharged while gear is being set or hauled, discharge offal in a manner that distracts seabirds from baited hooks, to the extent practicable. The discharge site on board a vessel must be either aft of the hauling station or on the opposite side of the vessel from the hauling station.

(B) Remove hooks from any offal that is discharged.

(C) Eliminate directed discharge through chutes or pipes of residual bait or offal from the stern of the vessel while setting gear. This does not include baits falling off the hook or offal discharges from other locations that parallel the gear and subsequently drift into the wake zone well aft of the vessel.

(D) For vessels not deploying gear from the stern, eliminate directed discharge of residual bait or offal over sinking hook-and-line gear while gear is being deployed.

(vi) Safe release of seabirds. Make every reasonable effort to ensure birds brought on board alive are released alive and that, wherever possible, hooks are removed without jeopardizing the life of the birds.

(3) Seabird avoidance gear requirements. (See also Table 20 to this part.)

(i) The operator of a vessel identified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section must comply with paragraph (e)(3)(ii) or (e)(3)(iii) of this section while fishing with hook-and-line gear for groundfish, IFQ halibut, CDQ halibut, or IFQ sablefish in Federal waters (EEZ) and for IFQ halibut, CDQ halibut, or IFQ sablefish in the State of Alaska waters, excluding fishing in:

(A) NMFS Reporting Area 649 (Prince William Sound);

(B) State waters of Cook Inlet;

(C) NMFS Reporting Area 659 (Eastern GOA Regulatory Area; Southeast Inside District), but including waters in the areas south of a straight line at 56°17.25 N. lat. between Point Harris and Port Armstrong in Chatham Strait, State statistical areas 325431 and 325401, and west of a straight line at 136°21.17 E. long. from Point Wimbledon extending south through the Inian Islands to Point Lavinia; and

(D) Area 4E with a vessel less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA, but including fishing in waters south of 60°00.00 N. lat. and west of 160°00.00 W. long.

(ii) Using other than snap gear,

(A) A minimum of 1 buoy bag line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA without masts, poles, or rigging.

(B) A minimum of a single streamer line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(ii) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA with masts, poles, or rigging.

(C) A minimum of a paired streamer line of a standard as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(iii) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA.

(iii) Using snap gear,

(A) A minimum of 1 buoy bag line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA without masts, poles, or rigging.

(B) A minimum of a single streamer line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(iv) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA with masts, poles, or rigging.

(C) A minimum of a single streamer line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(iv) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA.

(4) Seabird avoidance gear performance and material standards:

(i) Buoy bag line weather exception. In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of a buoy bag line is discretionary.

(ii) Single streamer standard. (A) A single streamer line must:

(1) Be a minimum of 300 feet (91.4 m) in length;

(2) Have streamers spaced every 16.4 ft (5 m);

(3) Be deployed before the first hook is set in such a way that streamers are in the air for a minimum of 131.2 ft (40 m) aft of the stern and within 6.6 ft (2 m) horizontally of the point where the main groundline enters the water.

(4) Have individual streamers that hang attached to the mainline to 9.8 in (0.25 m) above the waterline in the absence of wind.

(5) Have streamers constructed of material that is brightly colored, UV-protected plastic tubing or 3/8 inch polyester line or material of an equivalent density.

(B) Weather exception: In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of a single streamer line is discretionary.

(iii) Paired streamer standard: (A) At least one streamer line must be deployed before the first hook is set and two streamer lines must be fully deployed within 90 seconds.

(B) Weather exceptions: In conditions of wind speeds exceeding 30 knots (near gale or Beaufort 7 conditions), but less than or equal to 45 knots, a single streamer must be deployed from the windward side of the vessel. In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of streamer lines is discretionary.

(C) Streamer lines must:

(1) Be deployed in such a way that streamers are in the air for a minimum of 131.2 ft (40 m) aft of the stern for vessels under 100 ft (30.5 m) and 196.9 ft (60 m) aft of the stern for vessels 100 ft (30.5 m) or over;

(2) Be a minimum of 300 feet (91.4 m) in length;

(3) Have streamers spaced every 16.4 ft (5 m);

(4) For vessels deploying hook-and-line gear from the stern, the streamer lines must be deployed from the stern, one on each side of the main groundline.

(5) For vessels deploying gear from the side, the streamer lines must be deployed from the stern, one over the main groundline and the other on one side of the main groundline.

(6) Have individual streamers that hang attached to the mainline to 9.8 in (0.25 m) above the waterline in the absence of wind.

(7) Have streamers constructed of material that is brightly colored, UV-protected plastic tubing or 3/8 inch polyester line or material of an equivalent density.

(iv) Snap gear streamer standard: (A) For vessels using snap gear, a single streamer line must:

(1) Be deployed before the first hook is set in such a way that streamers are in the air for 65.6 ft (20 m) aft of the stern and within 6.6 ft (2 m) horizontally of the point where the main groundline enters the water.

(2) Have a minimum length of 147.6 ft (45 m).

(B) Weather exception: In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of a single streamer line is discretionary.

(v) Weather safety standard. The use of seabird avoidance devices required by paragraph (e)(3) of this section is discretionary for vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA in conditions of wind speeds exceeding 30 knots (near gale or Beaufort 7 conditions).

(5) Other methods. Any of the following measures or methods must be accompanied by the applicable seabird avoidance gear requirements as specified in paragraph (e)(3) of this section:

(i) Night-setting.

(ii) Line shooter.

(iii) Lining tube.

(6) Seabird avoidance exemption.

Nothwithstanding any other paragraph in this part, operators of vessels 32 ft (9.8 m) LOA or less using hook-and-line gear in IPHC Area 4E in waters shoreward of the EEZ are exempt from seabird avoidance regulations.

(f) Modified nonpelagic trawl gear. Nonpelagic trawl gear modified as shown in Figure 26 to this part must be used by any vessel required to be federally permitted and that is used to directed fish for flatfish, as defined in § 679.2, in any reporting area of the BS or in the Central GOA Regulatory Area or directed fish for groundfish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Modified Trawl Gear Zone specified in Table 51 to this part. Nonpelagic trawl gear used by these vessels must meet the following standards:

(1) Elevated section minimum clearance. Except as provided for in paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section, elevating devices must be installed on the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part to raise the elevated section at least 2.5 inches (6.4 cm), as measured adjacent to the elevating device contacting a hard, flat surface that is parallel to the elevated section, regardless of the elevating device orientation, and measured between the surface and the widest part of the line material. Elevating devices must be installed on each end of the elevated section, as shown in Figure 26 to this part. Measuring locations to determine compliance with this standard are shown in Figure 25 to this part.

(2) Elevating device spacing. Elevating devices must be secured along the entire length of the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part and spaced no less than 30 feet (9.1 m) apart; and either

(i) If the elevating devices raise the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) or less, the space between elevating devices must be no more than 65 feet (19.8 m); or

(ii) If the elevating devices raise the elevated section shown Figure 26 to this part more than 3.5 inches (8.9 cm), the space between elevating devices must be no more than 95 feet (29 m).

(3) Clearance measurements and line cross sections. (i) The largest cross section of the line of the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part between elevating devices shall not be greater than the cross section of the material at the nearest measurement location, as selected based on the examples shown in Figure 25 to this part. The material at the measurement location must be -

(A) The same material as the line between elevating devices, as shown in Figures 25a and 25d to this part;

(B) Different material than the line between elevating devices and used to support the elevating device at a connection between line sections (e.g., on a metal spindle, on a chain), as shown in Figure 25b to this part; or

(C) Disks of a smaller cross section than the elevating device, which are strung continuously on a line between elevating devices, as shown in Figure 25c to this part.

(ii) Portions of the line between elevating devices that are braided or doubled for section terminations or used for line joining devices are not required to be a smaller cross section than the measuring location.

(iii) Required minimum clearance for supporting material of a larger cross section than the cross section of the line material. When the material supporting the elevating device has a larger cross section than the largest cross section of the line between elevating devices, except as provided for in paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section, based on measurements taken in locations shown in Figure 27 to this part, the required minimum clearance shall be as follows:

(A) For elevating devices spaced 30 feet (9.1 m) to 65 feet (19.8 m), the required minimum clearance is ≥[2.5 inches − ((support material cross section − line material cross section)/2)], or

(B) For elevating devices spaced greater than 65 feet (19.8 m) to 95 feet (29 m), the required minimum clearance is ≥[3.5 inches −((support material cross section − line material cross section)/2)].

[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996] Editorial Note:For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.24, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§ 679.25 - Inseason adjustments.

(a) General - (1) Types of adjustments. Inseason adjustments for directed fishing for groundfish or fishing for IFQ or CDQ halibut issued by NMFS under this section include:

(i) Closure, extension, or opening of a season in all or part of a management area.

(ii) Modification of the allowable gear to be used in all or part of a management area.

(iii) Adjustment of TAC and PSC limits.

(iv) Interim closures of statistical areas, or portions thereof, to directed fishing for specified groundfish species.

(v) Inseason closures of an area, district, or portions thereof, of harvest of specified halibut fisheries.

(2) Determinations. (i) Any inseason adjustment taken under paragraph (a)(1)(i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of this section must be based on a determination that such adjustments are necessary to prevent:

(A) Overfishing of any species or stock of fish or shellfish;

(B) Harvest of a TAC for any groundfish species or the taking of a PSC limit for any prohibited species that, on the basis of the best available scientific information, is found by NMFS to be incorrectly specified; or

(C) Underharvest of a TAC or gear share of a TAC for any groundfish species when catch information indicates that the TAC or gear share has not been reached.

(ii) Any inseason closure of a statistical area, or portion thereof, under paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this section, must be based upon a determination that such closures are necessary to prevent:

(A) A continuation of relatively high bycatch rates of prohibited species specified under § 679.21(a) in a statistical area, or portion thereof;

(B) Take of an excessive share of PSC limits or bycatch allowances established under § 679.21(d) and (e) by vessels fishing in a statistical area, or portion thereof;

(C) Closure of one or more directed fisheries for groundfish due to excessive prohibited species bycatch rates occurring in a specified fishery operating within all or part of a statistical area; or

(D) Premature attainment of established PSC limits or bycatch allowances and associated loss of opportunity to harvest the groundfish OY.

(iii) The selection of the appropriate inseason management adjustments under paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section must be from the following authorized management measures and must be based upon a determination by the Regional Administrator that the management adjustment selected is the least restrictive necessary to achieve the purpose of the adjustment:

(A) Any gear modification that would protect the species in need of conservation, but that would still allow other fisheries to continue;

(B) An inseason adjustment that would allow other fisheries to continue in noncritical areas and time periods;

(C) Closure of a management area or portion thereof, or gear type, or season to all groundfish or halibut fishing; or

(D) Reopening of a management area or season to achieve the TAC or gear share of a TAC for any of the target species.

(iv) The adjustment of a TAC or PSC limit for any species under paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section must be based upon a determination by the Regional Administrator that the adjustment is based upon the best available scientific information concerning the biological stock status of the species in question and that the currently specified TAC or PSC limit is incorrect. Any adjustment to a TAC or PSC limit must be reasonably related to the change in biological stock status.

(v) The inseason closure of a statistical area, or a portion thereof, under paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this section shall not extend beyond a 60-day period unless information considered under paragraph (b) of this section warrants an extended closure period. Any closure of a statistical area, or portion thereof, to reduce prohibited species bycatch rates requires a determination by the Regional Administrator that the closure is based on the best available scientific information concerning the seasonal distribution and abundance of prohibited species and bycatch rates of prohibited species associated with various groundfish fisheries.

(b) Data. All information relevant to one or more of the following factors may be considered in making the determinations required under paragraphs (a)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section:

(1) The effect of overall fishing effort within a statistical area;

(2) Catch per unit of effort and rate of harvest;

(3) Relative distribution and abundance of stocks of groundfish species and prohibited species within all or part of a statistical area;

(4) Condition of a stock in all or part of a statistical area;

(5) Inseason prohibited species bycatch rates observed in groundfish fisheries in all or part of a statistical area;

(6) Historical prohibited species bycatch rates observed in groundfish fisheries in all or part of a statistical area;

(7) Economic impacts on fishing businesses affected; or

(8) Any other factor relevant to the conservation and management of groundfish species or any incidentally caught species that are designated as prohibited species or for which a PSC limit has been specified.

(c) Procedure. (1) No inseason adjustment issued under this section will take effect until -

(i) NMFS has filed the proposed adjustment for public inspection with the Office of the Federal Register; and

(ii) NMFS has published the proposed adjustment in the Federal Register for public comment for a period of 30 days before it is made final, unless NMFS finds for good cause that such notification and public procedure is impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.

(2) If NMFS decides, for good cause, that an adjustment is to be made without affording a prior opportunity for public comment, public comments on the necessity for, and extent of, the adjustment will be received by the Regional Administrator for a period of 15 days after the effective date of notification.

(3) During any such 15-day period, the Regional Administrator will make available for public inspection, during business hours, the aggregate data upon which an adjustment was based.

(4) If written comments are received during any such 15-day period that oppose or protest an inseason adjustment issued under this section, NMFS will reconsider the necessity for the adjustment and, as soon as practicable after that reconsideration, will either -

(i) Publish in the Federal Register notification of continued effectiveness of the adjustment, responding to comments received; or

(ii) Modify or rescind the adjustment.

(5) Notifications of inseason adjustments issued by NMFS under paragraph (a) of this section will include the following information:

(i) A description of the management adjustment.

(ii) Reasons for the adjustment and the determinations required under paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.

(iii) The effective date and any termination date of such adjustment. If no termination date is specified, the adjustment will terminate on the last day of the fishing year.

[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996, as amended at 75 FR 61642, Oct. 6, 2010; 81 FR 24733, Apr. 27, 2016; 85 FR 850, Jan. 8, 2020]

§ 679.26 - Prohibited Species Donation Program.

(a) Authorized species. The PSD program applies only to the following species:

(1) Salmon.

(2) Halibut delivered by catcher vessels using trawl gear to shoreside processors and stationary floating processors.

(b) Authorized distributors - (1) Application. An applicant seeking to become an authorized distributor must provide the Regional Administrator with the following information:

(i) Proof of the applicant's tax-exempt status.

(ii) A description of the arrangements for processing, shipping, storing, and transporting donated fish and an estimate of the associated costs.

(iii) A statement describing the applicant's expertise in providing for the distribution of food product from remote Alaskan locations to hunger relief agencies, food bank networks, or food bank distributors, including arrangements for transportation, distribution costs, and product quality control.

(iv) Documentation of support from cold storage and transportation facilities.

(v) A proposed operating budget that is adequate to ensure that fish donated under this program will be distributed to hunger relief agencies, food bank networks, or food bank distributors and that the fish will be maintained in a manner fit for human consumption.

(vi) Proof of the applicant's ability to obtain and maintain adequate funding for the distribution of fish under the PSD program.

(vii) A copy of the applicant's articles of incorporation and bylaws showing that the purpose of the applicant includes providing food resources to hunger relief agencies, food bank networks, or food bank distributors.

(viii) Proof of the applicant's ability to take full responsibility for the documentation and disposition of fish received under the PSD program, including sufficient liability insurance to cover public interests relating to the quality of fish distributed for human consumption.

(ix) Quality control criteria to be followed by vessels, processors, hunger relief agencies, food bank networks, and food bank distributors.

(x) The number of vessels and processors that the applicant is capable of administering effectively.

(xi) A list of all vessels and processors, and food bank networks or food bank distributors participating in the PSD program. The list of vessels and processors must include:

(A) The vessel's or processor's Federal fisheries permit number or Federal processor permit number.

(B) The name of the vessel owner or responsible operator or the name of the owner or plant manager of the processor.

(C) The vessel's or processor's telephone number.

(D) The signature of the vessel owner or responsible operator or the owner or plant manager of the processor.

(xii) A signed statement from the applicant and from all persons who are listed under paragraph (b)(1)(xi) of this section and who would conduct activities pursuant to the PSD permit waiving any and all claims against the United States and its agents and employees for any liability for personal injury, death, sickness, damage to property directly or indirectly due to activities conducted under the PSD program.

(xiii) A list of locations where fish must be delivered by participating vessels and processors.

(xiv) A separate application must be submitted for each species listed under paragraph (a) of this section that the applicant seeks to distribute.

(2) Selection. The Regional Administrator may select one or more tax-exempt organizations to be authorized distributors under the PSD program based on the information submitted by applicants under paragraph (b)(1) of this section. The number of authorized distributors selected by the Regional Administrator will be based on the following criteria:

(i) The number and qualifications of applicants for PSD permits.

(ii) The number of harvesters and the quantity of fish that applicants can effectively administer.

(iii) The anticipated level of bycatch of prohibited species listed under paragraph (a) of this section.

(iv) The potential number of vessels and processors participating in the PSD program.

(3) PSD Permit. (i) After review of qualified applicants, the Regional Administrator will announce the selection of authorized distributor(s) in the Federal Register and will issue PSD permit(s).

(ii) The Regional Administrator may impose additional terms and conditions on a PSD permit consistent with the objectives of the PSD program.

(iii) A PSD permit may be suspended, modified, or revoked, under 15 CFR part 904 for noncompliance with terms and conditions specified in the permit or for a violation of this section or other regulations in this part.

(iv) Effective period. A PSD permit issued for salmon or halibut remains in effect for a 3-year period after the selection notice is published in the Federal Register unless suspended or revoked. A PSD permit issued to an authorized distributor may be renewed following the application procedures in this section.

(v) If the authorized distributor modifies any information on the PSD permit application submitted under paragraph (b)(1)(xi) or (b)(1)(xiii) of this section, the authorized distributor must submit a modified list of participants or a modified list of delivery locations to the Regional Administrator.

(c) Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. (1) A vessel or processor retaining prohibited species under the PSD program must comply with all applicable recordkeeping and reporting requirements, including allowing the collection of data and biological sampling by an observer prior to processing any fish under the PSD program. A vessel or processor participating in the PSD program:

(i) In the BS pollock fishery must comply with applicable regulations at §§ 679.7(d) and (k), 679.21(c), and 679.28; and

(ii) In the Central or Western GOA pollock fishery must comply with applicable regulations at §§ 679.7(b), 679.21(h) and 679.28.

(2) Prohibited species retained under the PSD program must be packaged, and all packages must be labeled with the date of processing, the name of the processing facility, the contents and the weight of the fish contained in the package, and the words, “NMFS PROHIBITED SPECIES DONATION PROGRAM - NOT FOR SALE - PERISHABLE PRODUCT - KEEP FROZEN”.

(3) A processor retaining or receiving fish under the PSD program and an authorized distributor must keep on file and make available for inspection by an authorized officer all documentation, including receipt and cargo manifests setting forth the origin, weight, and destination of all prohibited species bycatch. Such documentation must be retained until 3 years after the effective period of the PSD permit.

(d) Processing, handling, and distribution. (1) Processing and reprocessing of all fish retained under the PSD Program must be carried out under the direction of the authorized distributor. A processor retaining or receiving fish under the PSD Program, at a minimum, must head, gut, and freeze the fish in a manner that makes it fit for human consumption.

(2) Fish that are determined to be unfit for human consumption prior to delivery to an authorized distributor must be discarded under § 679.21(a). Fish that are determined to be unfit for human consumption after delivery to the authorized distributor must be destroyed in accordance with applicable sanitation laws and regulations.

(3) Authorized distributors and persons conducting activities supervised by authorized distributors may retain prohibited species only for the purpose of processing and delivering the prohibited species to hunger relief agencies, food networks or food distributors as provided by this section. Such persons may not consume or retain prohibited species for personal use and may not sell, trade or barter, or attempt to sell, trade or barter any prohibited species that is retained under the PSD program, except that processors may convert offal from salmon or halibut that has been retained pursuant to the PSD program into fish meal, fish oil, or bone meal, and sell or trade these products.

(4) No prohibited species that has been sorted from a vessel's catch or landing may be retained by a vessel or processor, or delivered to a delivery location under this section, unless the vessel or processor and delivery location is included on the list provided to the Regional Administrator under paragraph (b)(1)(xi), (b)(1)(xiii) or (b)(3)(v) of this section.

[61 FR 38359, July 24, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 32145, 32146, June 12, 1998; 65 FR 78121, Dec. 14, 2000; 66 FR 53122, Oct. 19, 2001; 67 FR 4148, Jan. 28, 2002; 69 FR 52612, Aug. 27, 2004; 75 FR 53067, Aug. 30, 2010; 77 FR 42636, July 20, 2012; 81 FR 24733, Apr. 27, 2016] Effective Date Note:At 67 FR 4158, Jan. 28, 2002, § 679.26 was amended in paragraph (c)(3) by removing the words “until 1 year after” and inserting in its place “until 3 years after”. This amendment contains information collection and recordkeeping requirements and will not become effective until approval has been given by the Office of Management and Budget.

§ 679.27 - Improved Retention/Improved Utilization Program.

(a) Applicability. The owner or operator of a vessel that is required to obtain a Federal fisheries or processor permit under § 679.4 must comply with the IR/IU program set out in this section while fishing for groundfish in the GOA or BSAI, fishing for groundfish in waters of the State of Alaska that are shoreward of the GOA or BSAI, or when processing groundfish harvested in the GOA or BSAI.

(b) IR/IU species. The following species are defined as “IR/IU species” for the purposes of this section:

(1) Pollock.

(2) Pacific cod.

(3) Shallow-water flatfish species complex in the GOA as defined in the annual harvest specifications for the GOA (beginning January 1, 2003).

(4) For catcher/processors not listed in § 679.4(l)(2)(i) using trawl gear in the BSAI, all species listed in Table 2a to this part, except for groundfish in prohibited species status.

(c) Minimum retention requirements - (1) Definition of retain on board. Notwithstanding the definition at 50 CFR 600.10, for the purpose of this section, to retain on board means to be in possession of on board a vessel.

(2) The following table displays minimum retention requirements by vessel category and directed fishing status:

If you own or operate a ... and ... you must retain on board until lawful transfer ...
(i) Catcher vessel(A) Directed fishing for an IR/IU species is openall fish of that species brought on board the vessel.
(B) Directed fishing for an IR/IU species is prohibitedall fish of that species brought on board the vessel up to the MRA for that species.
(C) Retention of an IR/ IU species is prohibitedno fish of that species.
(ii) Catcher/processor(A) Directed fishing for an IR/IU species is opena primary product from all fish of that species brought on board the vessel.
(B) Directed fishing for an IR/IU species is prohibiteda primary product from all fish of that species brought on board the vessel up to the point that the round-weight equivalent of primary products on board equals the MRA for that species.
(C) Retention of an IR/IU species is prohibitedno fish or product of that species.
(iii) Mothership(A) Directed fishing for an IR/IU species is opena primary product from all fish of that species brought on board the vessel
(B) Directed fishing for an IR/IU species is prohibiteda primary product from all fish of that species brought on board the vessel up to the point that the round-weight equivalent of primary products on board equals the MRA for that species.
(C) Retention of an IR/IU species is prohibitedno fish or product of that species.

(d) Bleeding codends and shaking longline gear. Any action intended to discard or release an IR/IU species prior to being brought on board the vessel is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to bleeding codends and shaking or otherwise removing fish from longline gear.

(e) At-sea discard of product. Any product from an IR/IU species may not be discarded at sea, unless such discarding is necessary to meet other requirements of this part.

(f) Discard of fish or product transferred from other vessels. The retention requirements of this section apply to all IR/IU species brought on board a vessel, whether harvested by that vessel or transferred from another vessel. At-sea discard of IR/IU species or products that were transferred from another vessel is prohibited.

(g) IR/IU species as bait. IR/IU species may be used as bait provided that the deployed bait is physically secured to authorized fishing gear. Dumping of unsecured IR/IU species as bait (chumming) is prohibited.

(h) Previously caught fish. The retention and utilization requirements of this section do not apply to incidental catch of dead or decomposing fish or fish parts that were previously caught and discarded at sea.

(i) Minimum utilization requirements. If you own or operate a catcher/processor or mothership, the minimum utilization requirement for an IR/IU species harvested in the BSAI is determined by the directed fishing status for that species according to the following table:

If... then your total weight of retained or lawfully transferred products produced from your catch or receipt of that IR/IU species during a fishing trip must...
(1) directed fishing for an IR/IU species is open,equal or exceed 15 percent of the round-weight catch or round-weight delivery of that species during the fishing trip.
(2) directed fishing for an IR/IU species is prohibited,equal or exceed 15 percent of the round-weight catch or round-weight delivery of that species during the fishing trip or 15 percent of the MRA for that species, whichever is lower.
(3) retention of an IR/IU species is prohibited,equal zero.

(j) [Reserved]

[62 FR 63890, Dec. 3, 1997, as amended at 62 FR 65381, Dec. 12, 1997; 68 FR 52144, Sept. 2, 2003; 69 FR 32903, June 14, 2004; 71 FR 17381, Apr. 6, 2006; 72 FR 52722, Sept. 14, 2007; 73 FR 76166, Dec. 15, 2008; 74 FR 62508, Nov. 30, 2009; 75 FR 53069, Aug. 30, 2010; 77 FR 6502, Feb. 8, 2012; 78 FR 12632, Feb. 25, 2013]

§ 679.28 - Equipment and operational requirements.

(a) Applicability. This section contains the operational requirements for scales, observer sampling stations, vessel monitoring system hardware, catch monitoring and control plans, catcher vessel electronic logbook software, and video monitoring systems. The operator or manager must retain a copy of all records described in this section (§ 679.28) as indicated at § 679.5(a)(5) and (6) and make available the records upon request of NMFS observers and authorized officers as indicated at § 679.5(a)(5).

(b) Scales used to weigh catch at sea. In order to be approved by NMFS a scale used to weigh catch at sea must meet the type evaluation requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(1) of this section and the initial inspection and annual reinspection requirements set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. Once a scale is installed on a vessel and approved by NMFS for use to weigh catch at sea, it must be reinspected annually and must be tested daily and meet the maximum permissible error (MPE) requirements described in paragraph (b)(3) of this section.

(1) List of scales eligible for approval. The model of scale must be included on the Regional Administrator's list of scales eligible to be approved for weighing catch at sea before an inspector will schedule or conduct a scale inspection under paragraph (b)(2) of this section. A scale will be included on the list when the Regional Administrator receives the information specified in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section. This information identifies and describes the scale, sets forth contact information regarding the manufacturer, and sets forth the results of required type evaluations and testing. Type evaluation and testing must be conducted by a laboratory accredited by the government of the country in which the tests are conducted.

(i) Information about the scale. (A) Name of scale manufacturer.

(B) Name of manufacturer's representative.

(C) Mailing address of scale manufacturer and manufacturer's representative.

(D) Telephone and fax number of manufacturer's representative.

(E) Model and serial number of the scale tested.

(F) A written description of the scale and diagrams explaining how the scale operates and how it compensates for motion.

(G) A list of the model numbers of all scales for which type evaluation results are applicable, identifying the differences between the model evaluated in the laboratory and other models listed. The scales may differ only in the elements of the scale that perform motion compensation, the size or capacity of the scale, and the software used by the scale.

(H) A list of types of scale adjustments that will be recorded on the audit trail, including the name of the adjustment as it will appear on the audit trail, and a written description of the adjustment.

(ii) Information about the laboratory. (A) Name of laboratory.

(B) Mailing address of laboratory.

(C) Telephone and fax number of laboratory's representative.

(D) Name and address of government agency accrediting the laboratory.

(E) Name and signature of person responsible for evaluation of the scale and the date of signature.

(iii) Checklist. A completed checklist indicating that all applicable technical and performance standards in appendix A to this part and the laboratory tests in the annex to appendix A to this part have been met.

(iv) Verification of test results. Verification that a scale meets the laboratory evaluation and testing requirements in appendix A of this part and each of the influence quantity and disturbance tests as specified in the annex to appendix A to this part:

(A) Test results and data on forms supplied by NMFS;

(B) National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) Certificates of Conformance, test results and data for a component of a scale or for the entire device. NTEP Certificates of Conformance, test results, and data may be submitted only in lieu of the specific influence factor tests conducted to obtain the NTEP Certificates of Conformance. Additional information must be submitted to verify compliance with the laboratory tests that are not performed under the NTEP; and/or

(C) International Organization of Legal Metrology (OIML) Certificates of Conformance, test results and data.

(v) Exceptions. A scale manufacturer or their representative may request that NMFS approve a custom built automatic hopper scale under the following conditions:

(A) The scale electronics are the same as those used in other scales on the Regional Administrator's list of scales eligible for approval;

(B) Load cells have received Certificates of Conformance from NTEP or OIML;

(C) The scale compensates for motion in the same manner as other scales made by that manufacturer which have been listed on the Regional Administrator's list of scales eligible for approval;

(D) The scale, when installed, meets all of the requirements set forth in paragraph 3 of appendix A to this part, except those requirements set forth in paragraph 3.2.1.1.

(2) Inspection of at-sea scales - (i) What is an inspection? An inspection is a visual assessment and test of a scale after it is installed on the vessel and while the vessel is tied up at a dock and not under power at sea to determine if the scale meets all of the applicable performance and technical requirements in paragraph (b)(2) of this section and in appendix A to this part. A scale will be approved by the inspector if it meets all of the applicable performance and technical requirements in paragraph (b)(2) of this section and appendix A to this part.

(ii) How often must a scale be inspected? Each scale must be inspected and approved before the vessel may participate in any fishery requiring the weighing of catch at sea with an approved scale. Each scale must be reinspected within 12 months of the date of the most recent inspection.

(iii) Who may perform scale inspections and approvals? Scales must be inspected and approved by a NMFS-staff scale inspector or an inspector designated by NMFS and trained by a NMFS-staff scale inspector.

(iv) How does a vessel owner arrange for a scale inspection? The operator must submit a request for a scale inspection at least 10 working days in advance of the requested date of inspection by filing a request online or by printing and faxing the scale inspection request at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/scales/default.htm.

(v) Where will scale inspections be conducted? Scales inspections by inspectors paid by NMFS will be conducted on vessels tied up at docks in Kodiak, Alaska; Dutch Harbor, Alaska; and in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

(vi) Responsibilities of the vessel owner during a scale inspection. After the vessel owner has installed a model of scale that is on the Regional Administrator's list of scales eligible to be approved for weighing catch at sea, the vessel owner must:

(A) Make the vessel and scale available for inspection by the scale inspector.

(B) Provide a copy of the scale manual supplied by the scale manufacturer to the inspector at the beginning of the inspection.

(C) Transport test weights, test material, and equipment required to perform the test to and from the inspector's vehicle and the location on the vessel where the scale is installed.

(D) Apply test weights to the scale or convey test materials across the scale, if requested by the scale inspector.

(E) Assist the scale inspector in performing the scale inspection and testing.

(vii) Scale inspection report. (A) A scale is approved for use when the scale inspector completes and signs a scale inspection report verifying that the scale meets all of the requirements specified in this paragraph (b)(2) and appendix A to this part.

(B) The scale inspector must provide the original inspection report to the vessel owner and a copy to NMFS.

(C) The vessel owner must either:

(1) Maintain a copy of the report on board when use of the scale is required and make the report available to the observer, NMFS personnel, or an authorized officer, upon request, or;

(2) Display a valid NMFS-sticker on each approved scale.

(D) When in use, an approved scale must also meet the requirements described in paragraphs (b)(3) through (b)(6) of this section.

(3) At-sea scale tests. To verify that the scale meets the MPEs specified in this paragraph (b)(3), the vessel operator must test each scale or scale system used by the vessel to weigh catch at least one time during each calendar day. No more than 24 hours may elapse between tests when use of the scale is required. The vessel owner must ensure that these tests are performed in an accurate and timely manner.

(i) Belt scales and automatic hopper scales. (A) The MPE in the daily at-sea scale tests is plus or minus 3 percent of the known weight of the test material.

(B) Test procedure. The vessel operator must conduct a material test by weighing no less than 400 kg of test material, supplied by the scale manufacturer or approved by a NMFS-authorized scale inspector, on the scale under test. The test material may be run across the scale multiple times in order to total 400 kg; however, no single batch of test material may weigh less than 40 kg. The known weight of the test material must be determined at the time of each scale test by weighing it on a platform scale approved for use under paragraph (b)(7) of this section.

(ii) Platform and hanging scales. (A) The MPE for platform and hanging scales is plus or minus 0.5 percent of the known weight of the test material.

(B) Test weights. Each test weight must have its weight stamped on or otherwise permanently affixed to it. The weight of each test weight must be annually certified by a National Institute of Standards and Technology approved metrology laboratory or approved for continued use by the NMFS authorized inspector at the time of the annual scale inspection. The amount of test weights that must be provided by the vessel owner is specified in paragraphs (b)(3)(ii)(B)(1) and (b)(3)(ii)(B)(2) of this section.

(1) Platform scales used as observer sampling scales or to determine the known weight of test materials. Any combination of test weights that will allow the scale to be tested at 10 kg, 25 kg, and 50 kg.

(2) Scales used to weigh catch. Test weights equal to the largest amount of fish that will be weighed on the scale in one weighment.

(iii) Requirements for all scale tests. (A) Notify the observer at least 15 minutes before the time that the test will be conducted, and conduct the test while the observer is present.

(B) Conduct the scale test by placing the test material or test weights on or across the scale and recording the following information on the at-sea scale test report form:

(1) Vessel name;

(2) Month, day, and year of test;

(3) Time test started to the nearest minute;

(4) Known weight of test material or test weights;

(5) Weight of test material or test weights recorded by scale;

(6) Percent error as determined by subtracting the known weight of the test material or test weights from the weight recorded on the scale, dividing that amount by the known weight of the test material or test weights, and multiplying by 100; and

(7) Signature of vessel operator.

(4) Scale maintenance. The vessel owner must ensure that the vessel operator maintains the scale in proper operating condition throughout its use; that adjustments made to the scale are made so as to bring the performance errors as close as practicable to a zero value; and that no adjustment is made that will cause the scale to weigh fish inaccurately.

(5) Printed reports from the scale (not applicable to observer sampling scales). The vessel owner must ensure that the printed reports are provided as required by this paragraph. Printed reports from the scale must be maintained on board the vessel until the end of the year during which the reports were made and be made available to observers, NMFS personnel, or an authorized officer. In addition, printed reports must be retained by the vessel owner for 3 years after the end of the year during which the printouts were made.

(i) Reports of catch weight and cumulative weight. Reports must be printed at least once every 24 hours when use of the scale is required. Reports must also be printed before any information stored in the scale computer memory is replaced. Scale weights must not be adjusted by the scale operator to account for the perceived weight of water, mud, debris, or other materials. Scale printouts must show:

(A) The vessel name and Federal fisheries or processor permit number;

(B) The haul or set number as recorded in the processor's DCPL (see § 679.5);

(C) The total weight of the haul or set;

(D) The total cumulative weight of all fish or other material weighed on the scale.

(ii) Printed report from the audit trail. The printed report must include the information specified in sections 2.3.1.8, 3.3.1.7, and 4.3.1.8 of appendix A to this part. The printed report must be provided to the authorized scale inspector at each scale inspection and must also be printed at any time upon request of the observer, the scale inspector, NMFS staff, or an authorized officer.

(iii) Printed reports from the calibration log. The vessel operator must print the calibration log on request by NMFS employees or any individual authorized by NMFS. The calibration log must be printed and retained by the vessel owner and operator before any information stored in the scale computer memory is replaced. The calibration log must detail either the prior 1,000 calibrations or all calibrations since the scale electronics were first put into service, whichever is less. The printout from the calibration log must show:

(A) The vessel name and Federal fisheries or processor permit number;

(B) The month, day, and year of the calibration;

(C) The time of the calibration to the nearest minute in A.l.t.;

(D) The weight used to calibrate the scale; and

(E) The magnitude of the calibration in comparison to the prior calibration.

(iv) Printed reports from the fault log. The vessel operator must print the fault log on request by NMFS employees or any individual authorized by NMFS. The fault log must be printed and retained by the vessel owner and operator before any information stored in the scale computer memory is replaced. The fault log must detail either the prior 1,000 faults and startups, or all faults and startups since the scale electronics were first put into service, whichever is less. A fault, for the purposes of the fault log, is any condition other than underflow detected by the scale electronics that could affect the metrological accuracy of the scale. The printout from the fault log must show:

(A) The vessel name and Federal fisheries or processor permit number;

(B) The month, day, year, and time of each startup to the nearest minute in A.l.t.;

(C) The month, day, year, and time that each fault began to the nearest minute in A.l.t.;

(D) The month, day, year, and time that each fault was resolved to the nearest minute in A.l.t.

(6) Scale installation requirements. The scale display must be readable from the location where the observer collects unsorted catch unless otherwise authorized by a NMFS-authorized scale inspector.

(7) Platform scales used as observer sampling scales or to determine the known weight of test materials. Platform scales used only as observer sampling scales or to determine the known weight of fish for a material test of another scale are required to meet all of the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section and appendix A to this part except sections 4.3.1 and 4.3.1.5 of appendix A to this part (printer) or section 4.3.1.8 (audit trail) of appendix A to this part.

(8) Video monitoring for scales used by the vessel crew to weigh catch. The owner and operator of a vessel fishing for groundfish who are required to weigh catch under the regulations in this section must provide and maintain a NMFS-approved video monitoring system as specified in paragraph (e) of this section. Additionally, the system must:

(i) Provide sufficient resolution and field of view to monitor: All areas where catch enters the scale, moves across the scale and leaves the scale; any access point to the scale from which the scale may be adjusted or modified by vessel crew while the vessel is at sea; and the scale display and the indicator for the scale operating in a fault state.

(ii) Record and retain video for all periods when catch that must be weighed is on board the vessel.

(c) Scales approved by the State of Alaska. Scale requirements in this paragraph are in addition to those requirements set forth by the State of Alaska, and nothing in this paragraph may be construed to reduce or supersede the authority of the State to regulate, test, or approve scales within the State of Alaska or its territorial sea. Scales used to weigh groundfish catch that are also required to be approved by the State of Alaska under Alaska Statute 45.75 must meet the following requirements:

(1) Verification of approval. The scale must display a valid State of Alaska sticker indicating that the scale was inspected and approved within the previous 12 months.

(2) Visibility. The owner and manager of the processor must ensure that the scale and scale display are visible simultaneously to the observer. Observers, NMFS personnel, or an authorized officer must be allowed to observe the weighing of fish on the scale and be allowed to read the scale display at all times.

(3) Printed scale weights. (i) The owner and manager of the processor must ensure that printouts of the scale weight of each haul, set, or delivery are made available to observers, NMFS personnel, or an authorized officer at the time printouts are generated and thereafter upon request for the duration of the fishing year. The owner and manager must retain scale printouts as records as specified in § 679.5(a)(5)(ii).

(ii) A scale identified in a CMCP (see paragraph (g) of this section) must produce a printed record for each delivery, or portion of a delivery, weighed on that scale. If approved by NMFS as part of the CMCP, scales not designed for automatic bulk weighing may be exempted from part or all of the printed record requirements. The printed record must include:

(A) The processor name;

(B) The weight of each load in the weighing cycle;

(C) The total weight of fish in each delivery, or portion of the delivery that was weighed on that scale;

(D) The total cumulative weight of all fish or other material weighed on the scale since the last annual inspection;

(E) The date and time the information is printed;

(F) The name and ADF&G number of the vessel making the delivery. This information may be written on the scale printout in pen by the scale operator at the time of delivery.

(4) Inseason scale testing. Scales identified in an approved CMCP (see paragraph (g) of this section) must be tested by plant personnel in accordance with the CMCP when testing is requested by NMFS-staff or NMFS-authorized personnel. Plant personnel must be given no less than 20 minutes notice that a scale is to be tested and no testing may be requested if a scale test has been requested and the scale has been found to be accurate within the last 24 hours.

(i) How does a scale pass an inseason test? To pass an inseason test, NMFS staff or NMFS-authorized personnel will verify that the scale display and printed information are clear and easily read under all conditions of normal operation, weight values are visible on the display until the value is printed, and the scale does not exceed the maximum permissible errors specified below:

Test Load in Scale
Divisions
Maximum Error in Scale Divisions
(A) 0-5001
(B) 501-2,0002
(C) 2,001-4,0003
(D) >4,0005

(ii) How much weight is required to do an inseason scale test? Scales must be tested with the amount and type of weight specified for each scale type in the following tables:

(A) Automatic hopper 0 to 150 kg (0 to 300 lb) capacity.

Certified Test Weights Other test material
(1) Minimum weighment or 10 kg (20 lb), whichever is greaterMinimum
(2) MaximumMaximum

(B) Automatic hopper >150 kg (300 lb) capacity.

Certified Test Weights Other test material
(1) Minimum weighment or 10 kg (20 lb), whichever is greaterMinimum
(2) 25 percent of maximum or 150 kg (300 lb), whichever is greater.Maximum

(C) Platform or flatbed 0 to 150 kg (0 to 300 lb) capacity.

Certified Test Weights Other test material
(1) 10 kg (20 lb)Not Acceptable
(2) MidpointNot Acceptable
(3) MaximumNot Acceptable

(D) Platform or flatbead >150 kg (300 lb) capacity.

Certified Test Weights Other test material
(1) 10 kg (20 lb)Not Acceptable
(2) 12.5 percent of maximum or 75 kg (150 lb), whichever is greater50 percent of maximum or 75 kg (150 lb), whichever is greater
(3) 25 percent of maximum or 150 kg (300 lb), whichever is greater75 percent of maximum or 150 kg (300 lb), whichever is greater

(E) Observer sampling scale >50 kg capacity.

Certified Test Weights Other test material
(1) 10 kgNot Acceptable
(2) 25 kgNot Acceptable
(3) 50 kgNot Acceptable

(iii) Certified test weights. Each test weight used for inseason scale testing must have its weight stamped on or otherwise permanently affixed to it. The weight of each test weight must be certified by a National Institute of Standards and Technology approved metrology laboratory every 2 years. An observer platform scale must be provided with sufficient test weights to test the scale at 10 kg, 25 kg, and 50 kg. All other scales identified in an approved CMCP must be provided with sufficient test weights to test the scale as described in this paragraph (c)(4) of this section. Test weights for observer platform scales must be denominated in kilograms. Test weights for other scales may be denominated in pounds.

(iv) Other test material. When permitted in paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section, a scale may be tested with test material other than certified test weights. This material must be weighed on an accurate observer platform scale at the time of each use.

(v) Observer sampling scales. Platform scales used as observer sampling scales must:

(A) Have a capacity of no less than 50 kg;

(B) Have a division size of no less than 5 g;

(C) Indicate weight in kilograms and decimal subdivisions; and

(D) Be accurate within plus or minus 0.5 percent when tested at 10 kg, 25 kg, and 50 kg by NMFS staff or an observer.

(d) Observer sampling station - (1) Accessibility. All the equipment required for an observer sampling station must be available to the observer at all times while a sampling station is required and the observer is aboard the vessel, except that the observer sampling scale may be used by vessel personnel to conduct material tests of the scale used to weigh catch under paragraph (b)(3) of this section, as long as the use of the observer's sampling scale by others does not interfere with the observer's sampling duties.

(2) Location - (i) Motherships and catcher/processors or catcher vessels using trawl gear. The observer sampling station must be located within 4 m of the location from which the observer collects unsorted catch. Clear, unobstructed passage must be provided between the observer sampling station and the location where the observer collects unsorted catch. When standing where unsorted catch is sampled, the observer must be able to see that no fish have been removed between the bin and the scale used to weigh total catch.

(ii) Vessels using nontrawl gear. The observer sampling station must be located within 5 m of the collection area, described at § 679.28(d)(8)(ii)(B) of this section, unless any location within this distance is unsafe for the observer. Clear, unobstructed passage must be provided between the observer sampling station and the collection area. Access must be provided to the tally station, described at § 679.28(d)(8)(ii)(A) of this section. NMFS may approve an alternative location if the vessel owner submits a written proposal describing the alternative location and the reasons why a location within 5 m of where fish are brought on board the vessel is unsafe, and the proposed observer sampling station meets all other applicable requirements of this section.

(iii) What is clear, unobstructed passage? Where clear and unobstructed passage is required, passageways must be at least 65 cm wide at their narrowest point, be free of tripping hazards, and be at least 1.8 m high. Doorways or companionways must be free of obstacles.

(3) Minimum work space. The observer must have a working area for sampling of at least 4.5 square meters. This working area includes the observer's sampling table. The observer must be able to stand upright and have a work area at least 0.9 m deep in the area in front of the table and scale.

(4) Table. The observer sampling station must include a table at least 0.6 m deep, 1.2 m wide and 0.9 m high and no more than 1.1 m high. The entire surface area of the table must be available for use by the observer. Any area used for the observer sampling scale is in addition to the minimum space requirements for the table. The observer's sampling table must be secured to the floor or wall.

(5) Observer sampling scale. The observer sampling station must include a NMFS-approved platform scale with a capacity of at least 50 kg located within 1 m of the observer's sampling table. The scale must be mounted so that the weighing surface is no more than 0.7 m above the floor. The scale must be approved by NMFS under paragraph (b) of this section and must meet the maximum permissible error requirement specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii)(A) of this section when tested by the observer.

(6) Other requirements. The sampling station must include flooring that prevents slipping and drains well (grating or other material where appropriate), adequate lighting, and a hose that supplies fresh or sea water to the observer.

(7) Catcher/processors and motherships in the BS pollock fishery, including pollock CDQ. Catcher/processors directed fishing for pollock in the BS or motherships taking deliveries from vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS also must meet the following requirements:

(i) A salmon storage container must be located adjacent to the observer sampling station;

(ii) The salmon storage container must remain in view of the observer at the observer sampling station at all times during the sorting of each haul; and

(iii) The salmon storage container must be at least 1.5 cubic meters.

(8) Requirements for sampling catch - (i) Motherships and catcher/processors using trawl gear. The conveyor belt conveying unsorted catch must have a removable board to allow fish to be diverted from the belt directly into the observer's sampling baskets. The diverter board must be located downstream of the scale used to weigh total catch so that the observer can use this scale to weigh large samples. At least 1 m of accessible belt space, located downstream of the scale used to weigh total catch, must be available for the observer's use when sampling a haul.

(ii) Catcher/processors using non-trawl gear. In addition to the sampling station, vessels using non-trawl gear must provide:

(A) Tally station. A place where the observer can see the gear as it leaves the water and can count and identify fish. It must be within 5 m of where fish are brought aboard the vessel and in a location where the observer is not in danger of falling overboard or being injured during gear retrieval. Where exposed to wind or seas, it must be equipped with a railing at least 1.0 m high, grating or other non-slip material, and adequate lighting.

(B) Collection area. A collection area is a place where the observer, or vessel crew under the observer's guidance, collects fish as they come off the line or are removed from pots. It must be located where the observer can see the gear when it leaves the water. Where exposed to wind or seas, it must be equipped with a railing at least 1.0 m high and grating or other non-slip material.

(9) Observer deck sampling station. Motherships and catcher/processors subject to § 679.120 must be equipped with a deck sampling station that meets the following requirements:

(i) Accessibility. All equipment required for an observer deck sampling station must be available to the observer at all times when halibut deck sorting.

(ii) Location. The observer deck sampling station must be located adjacent to the point of discard.

(iii) Work space. The observer must be able to stand upright in front of the table.

(iv) Table - (A) Size. The observer deck sampling station must include a table at least 0.6 m deep, 1.2 m wide, and 0.9 m high, and no more than 1.1 m high. The entire surface area of the table must be available for use by the observer. The table must be secured to the deck when halibut deck sorting. The table must be constructed to prevent fish from sliding off.

(B) Length measuring device. The table must have a NMFS-approved length measuring device secured to the surface of the table.

(v) Single pathway. There must be a single pathway for halibut to be conveyed to the observer deck sampling station. All halibut sorted on deck must pass over the observer table. There must be a single point of discard after the observer deck sampling station visible to the observer. Halibut too large to be lifted to the table may be measured on deck.

(10) Inspection of the observer sampling station. Each observer sampling station must be inspected and approved by NMFS prior to its use for the first time and then once each year within 12 months of the most recent inspection with the following exceptions: If the observer sampling station is moved or if the space or equipment available to the observer is reduced or removed when use of the observer sampling station is required, the Observer Sampling Station Inspection Report issued under this section is no longer valid, and the observer sampling station must be reinspected and approved by NMFS. Inspection of the observer sampling station is in addition to inspection of the at-sea scales by an authorized scale inspector required at paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(i) How does a vessel owner arrange for an observer sampling station inspection? The vessel owner must submit an Inspection Request for Observer Sampling Station with all the information fields accurately filled in to NMFS by fax (206-526-4066) or emailing ([email protected]) at least 10 working days in advance of the requested date of inspection. The request form is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

(ii) Where will Observer sampling station inspections be conducted? Inspections will be conducted on vessels tied up at docks in Kodiak, Alaska, Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

(iii) Observer Sampling Station Inspection Report. An Observer Sampling Station Inspection Report will be issued by NMFS to the vessel owner if the observer sampling station meets the requirements in this paragraph (d). The vessel owner must maintain a current Observer Sampling Station Inspection Report on board the vessel at all times when the vessel is required to provide an observer sampling station approved for use under this paragraph (d). The Observer Sampling Station Inspection Report must be made available to the observer, NMFS personnel, or to an authorized officer upon request.

(A) Deck Sorting. An Observer Sampling Station Inspection Report issued to the owner of a vessel participating in halibut deck sorting as described at § 679.120 will indicate the time limit for halibut deck sorting activities. Considerations used by NMFS to determine the time limit for halibut deck sorting include, but are not limited to, deck space and configuration, and best available halibut viability information.

(B) [Reserved].

(e) Video Monitoring System Requirements - (1) What requirements must a vessel owner and operator comply with for a video monitoring system? (i) The system must have sufficient data storage capacity to store all video data from an entire trip. Each frame of stored video data must record a time/date stamp in Alaska local time (A.l.t.).

(ii) The system must include at least one external USB port or other removable storage device approved by NMFS.

(iii) The system must output video files to an open source format or the vessel owner must provide software capable of converting the output video file to an open source format or commercial software must be available for converting the output video file to an open source format.

(iv) Color cameras must have at a minimum 470 TV lines of resolution, auto-iris capabilities, and output color video to the recording device with the ability to revert to black and white video output when light levels become too low for color recognition.

(v) The video data must be maintained by the vessel operator and made available on request by NMFS employees, or any individual authorized by NMFS. The data must be retained on board the vessel for no less than 120 days after the date the video is recorded, unless NMFS has notified the vessel operator that the video data may be retained for less than this 120-day period.

(vi) The system must record at a speed of no less than 5 unique frames per second at all times when the use of a video monitoring system is required.

(vii) NMFS employees, or any individual authorized by NMFS, must be able to view any video footage from any point in the trip using a 16-bit or better color monitor that can display all camera views simultaneously and must be assisted by crew knowledgeable in the operation of the system.

(viii) Unless exempted under paragraph (D) below, a 16-bit or better color monitor must be provided within the observer sampling station or at the location where the observer sorts and weighs samples. The monitor:

(A) Must have the capacity to display all camera views simultaneously;

(B) Must be operating when the use of a video monitoring system is required;

(C) Must be securely mounted at or near eye level;

(D) Is not applicable to longline C/Ps subject to § 679.100(b)(2).

(2) How does a vessel owner or operator arrange for NMFS to conduct a video monitoring system inspection? The vessel owner or operator must submit an Inspection Request for a Video Monitoring System to NMFS with all information fields accurately filled in at least 10 working days in advance of the requested date of inspection. The request form is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov).

(3) What additional information is required for a video monitoring system inspection? (i) A diagram drawn to scale showing all sorting locations, the location of the motion-compensated scale, the location of each camera and its coverage area, and the location of any additional video equipment must be submitted with the Inspection Request for a Video Monitoring System form. Diagrams for C/Ps and motherships in the BSAI pollock fishery, including pollock CDQ, must include the location of the salmon storage container.

(ii) Any additional information requested by the Regional Administrator.

(4) Where will NMFS conduct video monitoring and bin monitoring system inspections? Inspections will be conducted on vessels tied to docks at Dutch Harbor, Alaska; Kodiak, Alaska; and in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

(5) A video monitoring system is approved for use when NMFS employees, or any individual authorized by NMFS, completes and signs a Video Monitoring Inspection Report verifying that the video system meets all applicable requirements of this section.

(6) A vessel owner or operator must maintain a current NMFS-issued Video Monitoring System Inspection Report on board the vessel at all times the vessel is required to provide an approved video monitoring system. The Video Monitoring System Inspection Report must be made available to the observer, NMFS personnel, or to an authorized officer upon request.

(7) How does a vessel owner make a change to the video monitoring system? Any change to the video monitoring system that would affect the system's functionality must be submitted by a vessel owner to, and be approved by, the Regional Administrator in writing before that change is made.

(f) Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Requirements - (1) What is a VMS? A VMS consists of a NMFS-approved VMS transmitter that automatically determines the vessels position and transmits it to a NMFS-approved communications service provider. The communications service provider receives the transmission and relays it to NMFS.

(2) How are VMS transmitters and communications service providers approved by NMFS? (i) NMFS publishes type approval specifications for VMS components in the Federal Register.

(ii) Transmitter manufacturers or communication service providers may submit products or services to NMFS for evaluation based on the published specifications.

(iii) NMFS will publish a list of NMFS-approved transmitters and communication service providers in the Federal Register. As necessary, NMFS will publish amendments to the list of approved components in the Federal Register.

(3) What are the vessel owner's responsibilities? If you are a vessel owner that must participate in a VMS, you or your crew must:

(i) Obtain a NMFS-approved VMS transmitter with transmission capabilities required for the areas of vessel operation and have it installed onboard your vessel in accordance with the instructions provided by NMFS. You may get a copy of the VMS installation and operation instructions from the Regional Administrator upon request.

(ii) Activate the VMS transmitter and receive confirmation from NMFS that the VMS transmissions are being received before engaging in operations when a VMS is required.

(iii) Continue the VMS transmissions until no longer engaged in operations requiring VMS.

(iv) Stop fishing immediately if:

(A) Informed by NMFS staff or an authorized officer that NMFS is not receiving position reports from the VMS transmitter, or

(B) The vessel operator determines that the VMS is not transmitting properly.

(v) Make the VMS transmitter available for inspection by NMFS personnel, observers or an authorized officer.

(vi) Ensure that the VMS transmitter is not tampered with, disabled, destroyed or operated improperly.

(vii) Pay all charges levied by the communication service provider.

(4) What must the vessel owner do before activating a VMS transmitter for the first time? If you are a vessel owner who must use a VMS and you are activating a VMS transmitter for the first time, you must:

(i) Register the vessel's VMS unit with an appropriate service provider;

(ii) [Reserved]

(iii) Call OLE at 907-586-7225, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 0800 hours, A.l.t., and 1630 hours, A.l.t., at least 72 hours before leaving port and receive confirmation that the transmissions are being received.

(5) What must the vessel owner do when the vessel replaces a VMS transmitter? A vessel owner who must use a VMS and who intends to replace a transmitter, must follow the reporting and confirmation procedure for the replacement transmitter, as described in paragraph (f)(4) of this section.

(6) When must the VMS transmitter be transmitting? Your vessel's transmitter must be transmitting if:

(i) You operate a vessel in any reporting area (see definitions at § 679.2) off Alaska while any fishery requiring VMS, for which the vessel has a species and gear endorsement on its Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b), is open.

(ii) You operate a vessel required to be federally permitted in reporting areas located in the Aleutian Islands subarea or operate a federally permitted vessel in adjacent State waters;

(iii) You operate a vessel required to be Federally permitted with non-pelagic trawl or dredge gear onboard in reporting areas located in the GOA or operate a federally permitted vessel with non-pelagic trawl or dredge gear onboard in adjacent State waters;

(iv) When that vessel is required to use functioning VMS equipment in the Rockfish Program as described in § 679.7(n)(3);

(v) You operate a vessel in federal reporting areas 610, 620, or 630, and receive and process groundfish from other vessels;

(vi) You operate an Amendment 80 catcher/processor (see § 679.5(s));

(vii) You are fishing for IFQ sablefish in the Bering Sea or Aleutian Islands (see § 679.42(k));

(viii) You are fishing for IFQ sablefish in the GOA using longline pot gear (see § 679.42(l)) or fishing for IFQ or CDQ halibut or CDQ sablefish in the BSAI using pot gear (see § 679.42(m)); or

(ix) You are required under the Crab Rationalization Program regulations at 50 CFR 680.23(d).

(7) What additional requirements does an operator have if trawling in the Aleutian Islands reporting areas? Operators of vessels named on a Federal Fisheries Permit under § 679.4(b), and that are using trawl gear in the Aleutian Islands reporting areas to harvest groundfish that is required to be deducted from a Federal TAC specified at § 679.20, must set their VMS to transmit the vessel location at least 10 times per hour.

(g) Catch monitoring and control plan requirements (CMCP) - (1) What is a CMCP? A CMCP is a plan submitted by the owner and manager of a processing plant, and approved by NMFS, detailing how the processing plant will meet the catch monitoring and control standards detailed in paragraph (g)(7) of this section.

(2) Who is required to prepare and submit a CMCP for approval? The owner and manager of shoreside or stationary floating processors receiving fish harvested in the following fisheries must prepare, submit, and have approved a CMCP prior to the receipt of fish harvested in these fisheries:

(i) AFA and CDQ pollock,

(ii) AI directed pollock,

(iii) Rockfish Program, unless those fish are harvested under the rockfish entry level longline fishery as described under § 679.83.

(3) How is a CMCP approved by NMFS? NMFS will approve a CMCP if it meets all the requirements specified in paragraph (g)(7) of this section. The processor must be inspected by NMFS prior to approval of the CMCP to ensure that the processor conforms to the elements addressed in the CMCP. NMFS will complete its review of the CMCP within 14 working days of receiving a complete CMCP and conducting a CMCP inspection. If NMFS disapproves a CMCP, the plant owner or manager may resubmit a revised CMCP or file an administrative appeal as set forth under the administrative appeals procedures described at § 679.43.

(4) How is a CMCP inspection arranged? The time and place of a CMCP inspection may be arranged by submitting a written request for an inspection to NMFS, Alaska Region. NMFS will schedule an inspection within 10 working days after NMFS receives a complete application for an inspection. The inspection request must include:

(i) Name and signature of the person submitting the application and the date of the application;

(ii) Address, telephone number, fax number, and email address (if available) of the person submitting the application;

(iii) A proposed CMCP detailing how the processor will meet each of the performance standards in paragraph (g)(7) of this section.

(5) For how long is a CMCP approved? NMFS will approve a CMCP for 1 year if it meets the performance standards specified in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. An owner or manager must notify NMFS in writing if changes are made in plant operations or layout that do not conform to the CMCP.

(6) How do I make changes to my CMCP? An owner and manager may change an approved CMCP by submitting a CMCP addendum to NMFS. NMFS will approve the modified CMCP if it continues to meet the performance standards specified in paragraph (e)(2) of this section. Depending on the nature and magnitude of the change requested, NMFS may require a CMCP inspection as described in paragraph (g)(3) of this section. A CMCP addendum must contain:

(i) Name and signature of the person submitting the addendum;

(ii) Address, telephone number, fax number and email address (if available) of the person submitting the addendum;

(iii) A complete description of the proposed CMCP change.

(7) Catch monitoring and control standards - (i) Catch sorting and weighing requirements. All groundfish delivered to the plant must be sorted and weighed by species. The CMCP must detail the amount and location of space for sorting catch, the number of staff assigned to catch sorting and the maximum rate that catch will flow through the sorting area.

(ii) Scales used for weighing groundfish. The CMCP must identify by serial number each scale used to weigh groundfish and describe the rational for its use.

(iii) Scale testing procedures. Scales identified in the CMCP must be accurate within the limits specified in paragraph (c)(4)(i) of this section. For each scale identified in the CMCP a testing plan must be developed that:

(A) Describes the procedure the plant will use to test the scale;

(B) Lists the test weights and equipment required to test the scale;

(C) Lists where the test weights and equipment will be stored; and

(D) Lists the plant personnel responsible for conducting the scale testing.

(iv) Printed record. The owner and manager must ensure that the scale produces a complete and accurate printed record of the weight of each species in a delivery. All of the groundfish in a delivery must be weighed on a scale capable of producing a complete printed record as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section. However, NMFS may exempt scales not designed for automatic bulk weighing from some or all of the printed record requirements if the CMCP identifies any scale that cannot produce a complete printed record, states how the processor will use the scale, and states how the plant intends to produce a complete record of the total weight of each delivery.

(v) Delivery point. Each CMCP must identify a single delivery point. The delivery point is the first location where fish removed from a delivering catcher vessel can be sorted or diverted to more than one location. If the catch is pumped from the hold of a catcher vessel or a codend, the delivery point normally will be the location where the pump first discharges the catch. If catch is removed from a vessel by brailing, the delivery point normally will be the bin or belt where the brailer discharges the catch.

(vi) Observation area. Each CMCP must designate an observation area. The observation area is a location designated on the CMCP where an individual may monitor the flow of fish during a delivery. The owner and manager must ensure that the observation area meets the following standards:

(A) Access to the observation area. The observation area must be freely accessible to NMFS staff or NMFS-authorized personnel at any time a valid CMCP is required.

(B) Monitoring the flow of fish. From the observation area, an individual must have an unobstructed view or otherwise be able to monitor the entire flow of fish between the delivery point and a location where all sorting has taken place and each species has been weighed.

(C) For shoreside processors or stationary floating processors taking deliveries from vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including vessels directed fishing for pollock CDQ in the BS, the observation area must provide a clear, unobstructed view of the salmon storage container to ensure no salmon of any species are removed without the observer's knowledge.

(vii) Observer work station. Each CMCP must identify and include an observer work station for the exclusive use of observers. Unless otherwise approved by NMFS, the work station must meet the following criteria:

(A) Location of observer work station. (1) The observer work station must be located in an area protected from the weather where the observer has access to unsorted catch.

(2) For shoreside processors or stationary floating processors taking deliveries from vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including vessels directed fishing for pollock CDQ in the BS, the observer work station must be adjacent to the location where salmon will be counted and biological samples or scientific data are collected.

(B) Platform scale. The observer work station must include a platform scale as described in paragraph (c)(4) of this section;

(C) Proximity of observer work station. The observation area must be located near the observer work station. The plant liaison must be able to walk between the work station and the observation area in less than 20 seconds without encountering safety hazards.

(D) Workspace. The observer work station must include: A working area of at least 4.5 square meters, a table as specified in paragraph (d)(4) of this section, and meet the other requirements as specified in paragraph (d)(6) of this section.

(E) Lockable cabinet. The observer work station must include a secure and lockable cabinet or locker of at least 0.5 cubic meters.

(viii) Communication with observer. The CMCP must describe what communication equipment such as radios, pagers or cellular phones, is used to facilitate communications within the plant. The plant owner must ensure that the plant manager provides the observer with the same communications equipment used by plant staff.

(ix) Plant liaison. The CMCP must designate a plant liaison. The plant liaison is responsible for:

(A) Orienting new observers to the plant and providing a copy of the approved CMCP;

(B) Assisting in the resolution of observer concerns; and

(C) Informing NMFS if changes must be made to the CMCP.

(x) Scale drawing of plant. The CMCP must be accompanied by a scale drawing of the plant showing:

(A) The delivery point;

(B) The observation area;

(C) The observer work station;

(D) The location of each scale used to weigh catch;

(E) Each location where catch is sorted including the last location where sorting could occur; and

(F) For shoreside processors or stationary floating processors taking deliveries from vessels directed fishing for BS pollock, including vessels directed fishing for pollock CDQ in the BS, the location of the salmon storage container.

(xi) CMCP specialist notification. For shoreside processors receiving deliveries of groundfish harvested under the authority of a rockfish CQ permit, describe how the CMCP specialist will be notified of deliveries of groundfish harvested under the authority of a rockfish CQ permit.

(h) ELB software - (1) How do I get my ELB software approved by NMFS? - (i) Specifications. NMFS will provide specifications for ELB software upon request. Interested parties may contact NMFS by mail at NMFS Alaska Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Catch Accounting/Data Quality, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668; by telephone at 907-586-7228. The four types of ELB software are:

(A) Catcher vessel longline or pot gear (see § 679.5(c)(3));

(B) Catcher/processor longline or pot gear (see § 679.5(c)(3));

(C) Catcher vessel trawl gear (see § 679.5(c)(4)); and

(D) Catcher/processor trawl gear (see § 679.5(c)(4)).

(ii) ELB submittal package. A vendor or developer wishing to have an ELB approved by NMFS must submit:

(A) A fully operational test copy of the software; and

(B) An application for ELB-approval giving the following information (see paragraphs (h)(1)(ii)(B)(1) through (3) of this section):

(1) Company, contact person, address, telephone number, and fax number for the company developing the software;

(2) Name and type of software; and

(3) Printed name and signature of individual submitting the software for approval.

(C) Copies of all manuals and documentation for the software.

(iii) ELB approval. NMFS will approve ELB software within 60 working days of receipt of all required information if the software meets the following standards in paragraphs (h)(1)(iii)(A) through (H) of this section):

(A) Has fields for the entry of all information required for a paper DFL or DCPL as described in § 679.5(c)(3) and (4), as appropriate.

(B) The software must automatically time and date stamp each printed copy of the ELB logsheet and ELB discard report and clearly identify the first printed copy as an original. If any changes are made to the data in the ELB, subsequent printed copies must clearly be identified as revised. The software must be designed to prevent the operator from overriding this feature.

(C) The software must export data as an ASCII comma delimited text file, xml file, or other format approved by NMFS.

(D) The software must integrate with the vessel's global positioning system (GPS) to allow vessel location fields to be completed automatically.

(E) When the software is started, it must clearly show the software version number.

(F) The software must be designed to facilitate the transfer of an export file to NMFS as an email attachment.

(G) The software must be designed to ensure that an operator can comply with the requirements for ELB use as described in § 679.5(f).

(H) The software must include sufficient data validation capability to prevent a submitter from accidentally transmitting a data file or printing an ELB logsheet that is incomplete or contains clearly erroneous data.

(2) What if I need to make changes to NMFS-approved ELB software? - (i) NMFS-instigated changes. NMFS will provide the developer with information that affects the ELB software as soon as it is available for distribution, e.g., changes in species codes or product codes.

(ii) Developer-instigated changes. The developer must submit a copy of the changed software along with documentation describing the need for the change to NMFS for review and approval as described in paragraph (h)(1)(ii) of this section. NMFS will review and approve the new version according to the guidelines set forth in paragraph (h)(1)(iii) of this section.

(iii) NMFS-approved ELB changes. If changes to ELB software are approved by NMFS, the developer must:

(A) Give the revised software a new version number;

(B) Notify all known ELB users of the software that a new version is available; and

(C) Ensure that the ELB users are provided with a revised copy within 15 days of notification.

(i) Bin monitoring - (1) Bin monitoring standards. The vessel owner or operator must comply with the requirements specified in paragraph (i)(1)(i) of this section unless the vessel owner or operator has requested, and NMFS has approved, the video monitoring option described at paragraph (i)(1)(ii) of this section.

(i) Option 1 - No crew in bin or tank. No crew may enter any bin or tank preceding the point where the observer samples unsorted catch, unless:

(A) The flow of fish has been stopped between the tank and the location where the observer samples unsorted catch;

(B) All catch has been cleared from all locations between the tank and the location where the observer samples unsorted catch;

(C) The observer has been given notice that the vessel crew must enter the tank; and either

(D) The observer is given the opportunity to observe the activities of the person(s) in the tank; or

(E) The observer informs the vessel operator, or his designee, that all sampling has been completed for a given haul, in which case crew may enter a tank containing fish from that haul without stopping the flow of fish or clearing catch between the tank and the observer sampling station.

(ii) Option 2 - Video monitoring system option. A vessel owner and operator must provide and maintain a NMFS-approved video monitoring system as specified in paragraph (e) of this section. Additionally, the vessel owner and operator must ensure that the system:

(A) Records and retains all video for all periods when fish are inside the bin; and

(B) Provides sufficient resolution and field of view to see crew activities from any location within the tank where crew could be located.

(2) Who must have a bin monitoring option inspection? A vessel owner or operator choosing to operate under the video option (option 2) in paragraph (i)(1)(ii) of this section must receive an annual bin monitoring option inspection.

(3) How does a vessel owner arrange for a bin monitoring option inspection? The owner must submit an Inspection Request for Bin Monitoring to NMFS with all the information fields filled in at least 10 working days in advance of the requested date of inspection. The request form is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site (https://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov).

(4) Where will bin monitoring option inspections be conducted? Inspections will be conducted on vessels tied to docks at Dutch Harbor, Alaska, Kodiak, Alaska, and in the Puget Sound area of Washington State.

(5) Bin monitoring option inspection report. A bin monitoring option inspection report will be issued to the vessel owner if the bin monitoring option meets the requirements of paragraph (i)(1)(ii) of this section. The vessel owner must maintain a current bin option inspection report on board the vessel at all times the vessel is required to provide an approved bin monitoring option under this paragraph (i)(5). The bin monitoring option inspection report must be made available to the observer, NMFS personnel, or to an authorized officer upon request.

(j) Video monitoring on catcher/processors and motherships in the BS pollock fishery, including pollock CDQ. The owner and operator of a catcher/processor or a mothership must provide and maintain a video monitoring system approved under paragraph (e) of this section. These video monitoring system requirements must be met when the catcher/processor is directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including pollock CDQ, and when the mothership is taking deliveries from catcher vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including pollock CDQ. Additionally, the system must -

(1) Record and retain video for all periods when fish are flowing past the sorting area or salmon are in the storage container.

(2) The system must provide sufficient resolution and field of view to observe all areas where salmon are sorted from the catch, all crew actions in these areas, and discern individual fish in the salmon storage container.

(k) Video monitoring in the longline catcher/processor subsector. The owner and operator of a catcher/processor subject to § 679.100(b)(2) must provide and maintain a video monitoring system approved under paragraph (e) of this section. These video monitoring system requirements must be met when the vessel is operating in either the BSAI or GOA groundfish fisheries when directed fishing for Pacific cod is open in the BSAI, or while the vessel is groundfish CDQ fishing. Additionally, the system must:

(1) Record and retain video for all periods when Pacific cod are being sorted and weighed.

(2) Provide sufficient resolution and field of view to monitor all areas where Pacific cod are sorted from the catch, all fish passing over the motion-compensated scale, and all crew actions in these areas.

(l) Video monitoring for halibut deck sorting. The owner and operator of a mothership or catcher/processor subject to § 679.120 must provide and maintain a video monitoring system approved under paragraph (e) of this section when the vessel is halibut deck sorting. Additionally, the system must -

(1) Record and retain video for an entire trip when halibut deck sorting may occur; and

(2) Provide sufficient resolution and field of view to monitor all areas on deck where halibut may be sorted from the catch and discarded, and all crew actions in these areas.

[63 FR 5843, Feb. 4, 1998] Editorial Note:For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.28, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.