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Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
§660.131 Pacific whiting fishery management measures.
(a) Sectors—(1) The catcher/processor sector, or C/P Coop Program, is composed of catcher/processors registered to a limited entry permit with a C/P endorsement.
(2) The mothership sector, or MS Coop Program, is composed of motherships and catcher vessels that harvest Pacific whiting for delivery to motherships. Motherships are vessels registered to an MS permit, and catcher vessels are vessels registered to a limited entry permit with an MS/CV endorsement or vessels registered to a limited entry permit without an MS/CV endorsement if the vessel is authorized to harvest the coop's allocation.
(3) The Pacific whiting IFQ fishery is composed of vessels that harvest Pacific whiting for delivery shoreside to IFQ first receivers during the primary season.
(b) Pacific whiting seasons—(1) Primary seasons. The primary seasons for the Pacific whiting fishery are:
(i) For the Shorebased IFQ Program, Pacific whiting IFQ fishery, the period(s) of the large-scale target fishery is conducted after the season start date;
(ii) For catcher/processors, the period(s) when catching and at-sea processing is allowed for the catcher/processor sector (after the season closes at-sea processing of any fish already on board the processing vessel is allowed to continue); and
(iii) For vessels delivering to motherships, the period(s) when catching and at-sea processing is allowed for the mothership sector (after the season closes at-sea processing of any fish already on board the processing vessel is allowed to continue).
(2) Different primary season start dates. North of 40°30′ N. lat., different starting dates may be established for the catcher/processor sector, the mothership sector, and in the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery for vessels delivering to IFQ first receivers north of 42° N. lat. and vessels delivering to IFQ first receivers between 42° through 40°30′ N. lat.
(i) Procedures. The primary seasons for the whiting fishery north of 40°3′ N. lat. generally will be established according to the procedures of the PCGFMP for developing and implementing harvest specifications and apportionments. The season opening dates remain in effect unless changed, generally with the harvest specifications and management measures.
(ii) Criteria. The start of a primary season may be changed based on a recommendation from the Council and consideration of the following factors, if applicable: Size of the harvest guidelines for whiting and bycatch species; age/size structure of the whiting population; expected harvest of bycatch and prohibited species; availability and stock status of prohibited species; expected participation by catchers and processors; the period between when catcher vessels make annual processor obligations and the start of the fishery; environmental conditions; timing of alternate or competing fisheries; industry agreement; fishing or processing rates; and other relevant information.
(iii) Primary whiting season start dates and duration. After the start of a primary season for a sector of the whiting fishery, the season remains open for that sector until the sector allocation of whiting or non-whiting groundfish (with allocations) is reached or projected to be reached and the fishery season for that sector is closed by NMFS. The starting dates for the primary seasons for the whiting fishery are as follows:
(A) Catcher/processor sector—May 15.
(B) Mothership sector—May 15.
(C) Shorebased IFQ Program. The start of the Shorebased IFQ Program primary whiting season is:
(1) North of 40°30′ N. lat.—May 15;
(2) South of 40°30′ N. lat.—April 15.
(3) Trip limits in the whiting fishery. The “per trip” limit for whiting before the regular (primary) season for the shorebased sector is announced in Table 1 of this subpart, and is a routine management measure under §660.60(c). This trip limit includes any whiting caught shoreward of 100-fm (183-m) in the Eureka, CA area. The “per trip” limit for other groundfish species for the shorebased sector are announced in Table 1 (North) and Table 1 (South) of this subpart and apply as follows:
(i) During the groundfish cumulative limit periods both before and after the primary whiting season, vessels may use either small and/or large footrope gear, but are subject to the more restrictive trip limits for those entire cumulative periods.
(ii) If, during a primary whiting season, a whiting vessel harvests a groundfish species other than whiting for which there is a midwater trip limit, then that vessel may also harvest up to another footrope-specific limit for that species during any cumulative limit period that overlaps the start or close of the primary whiting season.
(c) Closed areas. Vessels fishing in the Pacific whiting primary seasons for the Shorebased IFQ Program, MS Coop Program, or C/P Coop Program shall not target Pacific whiting with midwater trawl gear in the following portions of the fishery management area:
(1) Klamath river salmon conservation zone. The ocean area surrounding the Klamath River mouth bounded on the north by 41°38.80′ N. lat. (approximately 6 nm north of the Klamath River mouth), on the west by 124°23′ W. long. (approximately 12 nm from shore), and on the south by 41°26.80′ N. lat. (approximately 6 nm south of the Klamath River mouth).
(2) Columbia river salmon conservation zone. The ocean area surrounding the Columbia River mouth bounded by a line extending for 6 nm due west from North Head along 46°18′ N. lat. to 124°13.30′ W. long., then southerly along a line of 167 True to 46°11.10′ N. lat. and 124°11′ W. long. (Columbia River Buoy), then northeast along Red Buoy Line to the tip of the south jetty.
(3) Ocean salmon conservation zone. All waters shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour. Latitude and longitude coordinates defining the boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour are provided at §660.73, subpart C. This closure will be implemented through automatic action, defined at §660.60(d), subpart C, when NMFS projects the Pacific whiting fishery may take in excess of 11,000 Chinook within a calendar year.
(4) Pacific whiting bycatch reduction areas (BRAs). Vessels using limited entry midwater trawl gear during the primary whiting season may be prohibited from fishing shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 75-fm (137-m), 100-fm (183-m) or 150-fm (274-m) depth contours. Latitude and longitude coordinates for the boundary lines approximating the depth contours are provided at §§660.72 and 660.73. Closures may be implemented inseason for a sector(s) through automatic action, defined at §660.60(d), when NMFS projects that a sector will exceed an allocation for a non-whiting groundfish species specified for that sector before the sector's whiting allocation is projected to be reached.
(d) Eureka area trip limits. Trip landing or frequency limits may be established, modified, or removed under §660.60 or this paragraph, specifying the amount of Pacific whiting that may be taken and retained, possessed, or landed by a vessel that, at any time during a fishing trip, fished in the fishery management area shoreward of the 100 fathom (183 m) contour (as shown on NOAA Charts 18580, 18600, and 18620) in the Eureka area (from 43°00′ to 40°30′ N. lat.). Unless otherwise specified, no more than 10,000-lb (4,536 kg) of whiting may be taken and retained, possessed, or landed by a vessel that, at any time during a fishing trip, fished in the fishery management area shoreward of the 100 fm (183 m) contour (as shown on NOAA Charts 18580, 18600, and 18620) in the Eureka management area (defined at §660.11).
(e) At-sea processing. Whiting may not be processed at sea south of 42°00′ N. lat. (Oregon-California border), unless by a waste-processing vessel as authorized under paragraph (g) of this section.
(f) Time of day. Vessels fishing in the Pacific whiting primary seasons for the Shorebased IFQ Program, MS Coop Program or C/P Coop Program shall not target Pacific whiting with midwater trawl gear in the fishery management area south of 42°00′ N. lat. between 0001 hours to one-half hour after official sunrise (local time). During this time south of 42°00′ N. lat., trawl doors must be on board any vessel used to fish for whiting and the trawl must be attached to the trawl doors. Official sunrise is determined, to the nearest 5° lat., in The Nautical Almanac issued annually by the Nautical Almanac Office, U.S. Naval Observatory, and available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.
(g) Processing fish waste at sea. A vessel that processes only fish waste (a “waste-processing vessel”) is not considered a whiting processor and therefore is not subject to the allocations, seasons, or restrictions for catcher/processors or motherships while it operates as a waste-processing vessel. However, no vessel may operate as a waste-processing vessel 48 hours immediately before and after a primary season for whiting in which the vessel operates as a catcher/processor or mothership. A vessel must meet the following conditions to qualify as a waste-processing vessel:
(1) The vessel makes meal (ground dried fish), oil, or minced (ground flesh) product, but does not make, and does not have on board, surimi (fish paste with additives), fillets (meat from the side of the fish, behind the head and in front of the tail), or headed and gutted fish (head and viscera removed).
(2) The amount of whole whiting on board does not exceed the trip limit (if any) allowed under §660.60(c), subpart C, or Tables 1 (North) or 1 (South) in subpart D.
(3) Any trawl net and doors on board are stowed in a secured and covered manner, and detached from all towing lines, so as to be rendered unusable for fishing.
(4) The vessel does not receive codends containing fish.
(5) The vessel's operations are consistent with applicable state and Federal law, including those governing disposal of fish waste at sea.
(h) Reapportionment of Pacific whiting. (1) Upon receipt of written notice to the Regional Administrator from the tribe(s) participating in the fishery that they do not intend to use a portion of the tribal allocation, the Regional Administrator may, no earlier than 7 days following notice to other treaty tribes with rights to whiting, reapportion any remainder to the other sectors of the trawl fishery as soon as practicable after receiving such notice. If no such reapportionment has occurred prior to September 15 of the fishing year, the Regional Administrator will, based on discussions with representatives of the tribes participating in the Pacific whiting fishery for that fishing year, consider the tribal harvests to date and catch projections for the remainder of the year relative to the tribal allocation of Pacific whiting, as specified at §660.50. That portion of the tribal allocation that the Regional Administrator determines will not be used by the end of the fishing year may be reapportioned to the other sectors of the trawl fishery on September 15 or as soon as practicable thereafter. Subsequent reapportionments may be made based on subsequent determinations by the Regional Administrator based on the factors described above in order to ensure full utilization of the resource. However, no reapportionments will occur after December 1 of the fishing year.
(2) NMFS will reapportion unused tribal allocation to the other sectors of the trawl fishery in proportion to their initial allocations.
(3) The reapportionment of surplus whiting will be made effective immediately by actual notice under the automatic action authority provided at §660.60(d)(1).
(4) Estimates of the portion of the tribal allocation that will not be used by the end of the fishing year will be based on the best information available to the Regional Administrator.
[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 75421, Dec. 3, 2010; 75 FR 78390, Dec. 15, 2010; 76 FR 27546, May 11, 2011; 76 FR 53837, Aug. 30, 2011; 77 FR 28516, May 15, 2012; 80 FR 27600, May 14, 2015; 80 FR 19036, Apr. 9, 2015]