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e-CFR data is current as of November 20, 2020

Title 50Chapter VIPart 648Subpart K → §648.202

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
Subpart K—Management Measures for the Atlantic Herring Fishery

§648.202   Season and area restrictions.

(a) Purse Seine/Fixed Gear Only Area. Vessels fishing for Atlantic herring may not use, deploy, or fish with midwater trawl gear in Area 1A from June 1 September 30 of each fishing year. A limited access herring vessel with midwater trawl gear on board may transit Area 1A from June 1-September 30, provided such midwater trawl gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2. Vessels may use any authorized gear type to harvest herring in Area 1A from October 1 - May 31.

(b) Fishing in Northeast Multispecies Closed Areas. (1) No vessel issued an Atlantic herring permit and fishing with midwater trawl gear, may fish for, possess or land fish in or from the Closed Areas, including Cashes Ledge Closure Area, Western GOM Closure Area, Closed Area I North (February 1-April 15), and Closed Area II, as defined in §648.81(a)(3), (4), and (5) and (c)(3) and (4), respectively, unless it has declared first its intent to fish in the Closed Areas as required by §648.11(m)(1), and is carrying onboard a NMFS-certified observer.

(2) No vessel issued an Atlantic herring permit and fishing with midwater trawl gear, when fishing any part of a midwater trawl tow in the Closed Areas, may slip or operationally discard catch, as defined at §648.2, except in the following circumstances:

(i) The vessel operator has determined, and the preponderance of available evidence indicates that, there is a compelling safety reason; or

(ii) A mechanical failure, including gear damage, precludes bringing some or all of the catch on board the vessel for inspection; or,

(iii) The vessel operator determines that pumping becomes impossible as a result of spiny dogfish clogging the pump intake. The vessel operator shall take reasonable measures, such as strapping and splitting the net, to remove all fish which can be pumped from the net prior to release.

(3) Vessels may make test tows without pumping catch on board if the net is re-set without releasing its contents provided that all catch from test tows is available to the observer to sample when the next tow is brought on board.

(4) If catch is slipped or operational discarded by a vessel, the vessel operator must:

(i) Stop fishing and immediately exit the Closed Areas. Once the vessel has exited the Closed Areas, it may continue to fish, but may not fish inside the Closed Areas for the remainder of that trip.

(ii) Complete and sign a Released Catch Affidavit detailing: The vessel name and permit number; the VTR serial number; where, when, and for what reason the catch was released; the estimated weight of each species brought on board or released on that tow. A completed affidavit must be submitted to NMFS within 48 hr of the end of the trip.

(iii) Report slippage events on the Atlantic herring daily VMS catch report and indicate the reason for slipping catch if the vessel was issued a limited access herring permit.

(iv) Comply with the measures to address slippage specified in §648.11(m)(4)(iv) and (v) if the vessel was issued a Category A or B Herring Permit.

[72 FR 11277, Mar. 12, 2007, as amended at 79 FR 8816, Feb. 13, 2014; 79 FR 52580, Sept. 4, 2014; 81 FR 19054, Apr. 4, 2016; 83 FR 15275, Apr. 9, 2018; 85 FR 7442, Feb. 7, 2020; 85 FR 26886, May 6, 2020]

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