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e-CFR data is current as of March 4, 2021

Title 50Chapter IIIPart 300Subpart C → §300.26


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS
Subpart C—Eastern Pacific Tuna Fisheries


§300.26   Vessel monitoring system (VMS).

(a) Assistant Director (AD), NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Pacific Islands Division (or designee) and VMS Helpdesk contact information and business hours. (1) The contact information for the AD for the purpose of this section: 1845 Wasp Blvd., Building 176, Honolulu, HI 96818; telephone: (808) 725-6100; facsimile: 808-725-6199; email: pidvms@noaa.gov; business hours: Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time.

(2) The contact information for the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk is telephone: (888) 219-9228, ext. 2; email: ole.helpdesk@noaa.gov. The business hours of the VMS Helpdesk are Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern Time.

(b) Applicability. This section applies to any U.S. commercial fishing vessel that is 24 meters or more in overall length and engaging in fishing activities for tuna or tuna-like species in the Convention Area, and for which either of the following permits is required: Pacific highly migratory species permit under §660.707, or high seas fishing permit under §300.13 of this part.

(c) Provisions for Installation, Activation and Operation—(1) VMS Unit Installation. The vessel owner or operator must obtain and have installed on the fishing vessel, in accordance with instructions provided by the AD and the VMS unit manufacturer, a VMS unit that is type-approved by NOAA for fisheries in the IATTC Convention Area. The vessel owner or operator shall arrange for a NOAA-approved mobile communications service provider to receive and relay transmissions from the VMS unit to NOAA at a default reporting interval of at least once per hour. NOAA, the USCG, and other authorized entities are authorized to receive and relay transmissions from the VMS unit. The NOAA OLE VMS Helpdesk is available to provide instructions for VMS installation and a list of the current type-approved VMS units and mobile communication service providers.

(2) VMS Unit Activation. If the VMS unit has not yet been activated as described in this paragraph, or if the VMS unit has been newly installed or reinstalled, or if the mobile communications service provider has changed since the previous activation, or if directed by the AD, the vessel owner or operator must, prior to leaving port:

(i) Turn on the VMS unit to make it operational;

(ii) Submit a written activation report to the AD, via mail, facsimile or email, that includes the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; the VMS unit manufacturer and identification number; and telephone, facsimile or email contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and

(iii) Receive verbal or written confirmation from the AD that the proper VMS unit transmissions are being received from the VMS unit.

(3) VMS Unit Operation. The vessel owner and operator shall continuously operate the VMS unit at all times, except that the VMS unit may be shut down while the vessel is in port or otherwise not at sea, or if, after the end of the fishing season, the vessel will no longer be engaging in fishing activities in the Convention Area for which either a Pacific highly migratory species permit or a high seas fishing permit is required, provided that the owner or operator:

(i) Prior to shutting down the VMS unit, reports to the AD or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk via facsimile, email, or web-form the following information: The intent to shut down the VMS unit; the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; an estimate for when the vessel's VMS may be turned back on; and telephone, facsimile or email contact information for the vessel owner or operator. In addition, the vessel owner or operator shall receive verbal or written confirmation from the AD before shutting down the VMS unit after the end of the fishing season; and

(ii) When turning the VMS unit back on, report to the AD or the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk, via mail, facsimile or email, the following information: That the VMS unit has been turned on; the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; and telephone, facsimile or email contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and

(iii) Prior to leaving port, receive verbal or written confirmation from the AD that proper transmissions are being received from the VMS unit.

(4) Failure of VMS unit. If the VMS unit has become inoperable or transmission of automatic position reports from the VMS unit has been interrupted, or if notified by NOAA or the USCG that automatic position reports are not being received from the VMS unit or that an inspection of the VMS unit has revealed a problem with the performance of the VMS unit, the vessel owner or operator shall comply with the following requirements:

(i) If the vessel is at port: The vessel owner or operator shall repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before the vessel leaves port.

(ii) If the vessel is at sea: The vessel owner, operator, or designee shall contact the AD by telephone, facsimile, or email at the earliest opportunity during the AD's business hours and identify the caller and vessel. The vessel operator shall follow the instructions provided by the AD which could include, but are not limited to, ceasing fishing, stowing fishing gear, returning to port, and/or submitting periodic position reports at specified intervals by other means; and repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before starting the next trip.

(5) Related VMS Requirements. Installing, carrying and operating a VMS unit in compliance with the requirements in part 300 of this title, part 660 of this title, or part 665 of this title relating to the installation, carrying, and operation of VMS units shall be deemed to satisfy the requirements of this paragraph (c), provided that the VMS unit is operated continuously and at all times while the vessel is at sea, unless the AD authorizes a VMS unit to be shut down as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the VMS unit and mobile communications service providers are type-approved by NOAA for fisheries in IATTC Convention Area, and the specific requirements of paragraph (c)(4) of this section are followed. If the VMS unit is owned by NOAA, the requirement under paragraph (c)(4) of this section to repair or replace the VMS unit will be the responsibility of NOAA, but the vessel owner and operator shall be responsible for ensuring that the VMS unit is operable before leaving port or starting the next trip.

(d) Costs. The vessel owner and operator shall be responsible for all costs associated with the purchase, installation and maintenance of the VMS unit and for all charges levied by the mobile communications service provider as necessary to ensure the transmission of automatic position reports to NOAA as required in paragraph (c) of this section. However, if NOAA is paying for the VMS-associated costs because the VMS unit is carried and operated under a requirement of part 300 of this title, part 660 of this title, or part 665 of this title, the vessel owner and operator shall not be responsible for costs that those regulations specify are the responsibility of NOAA. In addition, NOAA is responsible for the cost of any temporary increase in the default reporting interval to support active enforcement investigations of specific vessels.

(e) Tampering. The vessel owner and operator must ensure that the VMS unit is not tampered with, disabled, destroyed, damaged or maintained improperly, and that its operation is not impeded or interfered with.

(f) Inspection. The vessel owner and operator must make the VMS unit, including its antenna, connectors and antenna cable, available for inspection by authorized officers.

(g) Access to data. The vessel owner and operator must make the vessel's position data obtained from the VMS unit or other means immediately and always available for inspection by NOAA personnel, USCG personnel, and authorized officers.

[80 FR 60538, Oct. 7, 2015]

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