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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of March 26, 2020

Title 50Chapter VIPart 660Subpart D → §660.130


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES
Subpart D—West Coast Groundfish—Limited Entry Trawl Fisheries


§660.130   Trawl fishery—management measures.

(a) General. This section applies to the limited entry trawl fishery. Most species taken in the limited entry trawl fishery will be managed with quotas (see §660.140), allocations or set-asides (see §660.150 or §660.160), or cumulative trip limits (see trip limits in Tables 1 (North) and 1 (South) of this subpart), size limits (see §660.60 (h)(5)), seasons (see Pacific whiting at §660.131(b), subpart D), gear restrictions (see paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section) and closed areas (see paragraphs (c) and (e) of this section and §§660.70 through 660.79). The limited entry trawl fishery has gear requirements and harvest limits that differ by the type of groundfish trawl gear on board and the area fished. Groundfish vessels operating south of Point Conception must adhere to CCA restrictions (see paragraph (e)(1) of this section and §660.70). The trip limits in Tables 1 (North) and 1 (South) of this subpart applies to vessels participating in the limited entry trawl fishery and may not be exceeded. Federal commercial groundfish regulations are not intended to supersede any more restrictive state commercial groundfish regulations relating to federally-managed groundfish.

(b) Trawl gear requirements and restrictions. Trawl nets may be fished with or without otter boards, and may use warps or cables to herd fish.

(1) Bottom trawl gear—(i) Large footrope trawl gear. Lines or ropes that run parallel to the footrope may not be augmented with material encircling or tied along their length such that they have a diameter larger than 19 inches (48 cm). For enforcement purposes, the footrope will be measured in a straight line from the outside edge to the opposite outside edge at the widest part on any individual part, including any individual disk, roller, bobbin, or any other device.

(ii) Small footrope trawl gear. Lines or ropes that run parallel to the footrope may not be augmented with material encircling or tied along their length such that they have a diameter larger than 8 inches (20 cm). For enforcement purposes, the footrope will be measured in a straight line from the outside edge to the opposite outside edge at the widest part on any individual part, including any individual disk, roller, bobbin, or any other device.

(A) Selective flatfish trawl gear. Selective flatfish trawl gear is a type of small footrope trawl gear. The selective flatfish trawl net must be either a two-seamed or four-seamed net with no more than four riblines, excluding the codend. The breastline may not be longer than 3 ft (0.92 m) in length. There may be no floats along the center third of the headrope or attached to the top panel except on the riblines. The footrope must be less than 105 ft (32.26 m) in length. The headrope must be not less than 30 percent longer than the footrope. The headrope shall be measured along the length of the headrope from the outside edge to the opposite outside edge. An explanatory diagram of a selective flatfish trawl net is provided as Figure 1 of part 660, subpart D.

(B) [Reserved]

(2) Midwater (pelagic or off-bottom) trawl gear. Midwater trawl gear must have unprotected footropes at the trawl mouth, and must not have rollers, bobbins, tires, wheels, rubber discs, or any similar device anywhere on any part of the net. The footrope of midwater gear may not be enlarged by encircling it with chains or by any other means. Ropes or lines running parallel to the footrope of midwater trawl gear must be bare and may not be suspended with chains or any other materials. Sweep lines, including the bottom leg of the bridle, must be bare. For at least 20 ft (6.15 m) immediately behind the footrope or headrope, bare ropes or mesh of 16-inch (40.6-cm) minimum mesh size must completely encircle the net.

(c) Restrictions by limited entry trawl gear type. Management measures may vary depending on the type of trawl gear (i.e., large footrope, small footrope, selective flatfish, or midwater trawl gear) used and/or on board a vessel during a fishing trip, cumulative limit period, and the area fished. Trawl nets may be used on and off the seabed. For some species or species groups, Table 1 (North) and Table 1 (South) of this subpart provide trip limits that are specific to different types of trawl gear: Large footrope, small footrope (including selective flatfish), selective flatfish, midwater, and multiple types. If Table 1 (North) and Table 1 (South) of this subpart provide gear specific limits or closed areas for a particular species or species group, prohibitions at §§660.12 and 660.112(a)(5) apply. Additional conservation areas applicable to vessels registered to limited entry permits with trawl endorsements are listed at paragraph (e) of this section.

(1) Fishing with large footrope trawl gear—(i) North of 46°16 N lat. It is unlawful for any vessel using large footrope gear to fish for groundfish shoreward of the trawl RCA, defined at §660.11 and with latitude and longitude coordinates at §§660.71 through 660.74. The use of large footrope gear is allowed where bottom trawling is allowed seaward of the trawl RCA.

(ii) South of 46°16 N lat. It is unlawful for any vessel using large footrope gear to fish for groundfish shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour defined with latitude and longitude coordinates at §660.73. The use of large footrope gear is allowed where bottom trawling is allowed seaward of the boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour.

(2) Fishing with small footrope trawl gear. The use of small footrope bottom trawl gear is allowed in all areas where bottom trawling is allowed with the following requirements:

(i) Fishing with selective flatfish trawl gear. The use of selective flatfish trawl gear, a type of small footrope trawl gear, is allowed in all areas where bottom trawling is allowed. Selective flatfish trawl gear is required shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour between 42° N lat. and 40°10 N lat. and fishing with all other types of small footrope trawl gear is prohibited in this area.

(ii) Salmon bycatch mitigation restrictions. The use of small footrope trawl, other than selective flatfish trawl gear, is prohibited between 42° N lat. and 40°10 N lat.

(iii) Salmon conservation area restrictions. The use of small footrope trawl, other than of selective flatfish trawl gear, is prohibited inside the Klamath River Salmon Conservation Zone and the Columbia River Salmon Conservation Zone (defined at §660.131(e)(8)).

(3) Fishing with limited entry midwater trawl gear—(i) North of 40°10 N lat., limited entry midwater trawl gear is required for vessels declared into the Pacific whiting fishery; limited entry midwater trawl gear is allowed for vessels declared into the non-whiting Shorebased IFQ Program during the Pacific whiting primary season.

(ii) South of 40°10 N lat., vessels declared into limited entry midwater trawl are prohibited from operating, other than for the purpose of continuous transiting with prohibited gear stowed, shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 150 fm (274 m) depth contour, as defined with latitude and longitude coordinates at §660.73. Vessels declared limited entry midwater trawl may operate seaward of a boundary line approximating the 150 fm (274 m) depth contour. See also paragraph (c)(4)(ii) of this section for additional restrictions.

(4) More than one type of trawl gear on board. The trip limits in Table 1 (North) or Table 1 (South) of this subpart must not be exceeded. A vessel may not have both groundfish trawl gear and non-groundfish trawl gear onboard simultaneously. A vessel may have more than one type of limited entry trawl gear on board (midwater, large or small footrope, including selective flatfish trawl), either simultaneously or successively, during a cumulative limit period except between 42° N lat. and 40°10 N lat. as described in this section. If a vessel fishes both north and south of 40°10 N lat. with any type of small or large footrope gear onboard the vessel at any time during the cumulative limit period, the most restrictive cumulative limit associated with the gear on board would apply for that trip and all catch would be counted toward that cumulative limit (See crossover provisions at §660.60(h)(7)). When operating in an applicable GCA, all trawl gear must be stowed, consistent with prohibitions at §660.112(a)(5)(i), unless authorized in this section.

(i) Vessels operating north of 40°10 N lat.—(A) Limited entry bottom trawl gears. A vessel may have more than one type of limited entry bottom trawl gear on board (large or small footrope, including selective flatfish trawl), either simultaneously or successively, during a cumulative limit period with the following exception: between 42° N lat. and 40°10 N lat. and shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour defined with latitude and longitude coordinates at §660.73. In this area, vessels may not have any type of small footrope trawl gear other than selective flatfish trawl gear on board when fishing, per prohibitions at §660.112(a)(5)(i).

(B) Limited entry midwater trawl gears. A vessel may have more than one type of midwater groundfish trawl gear on board, either simultaneously or successively, during a cumulative limit period.

(C) Limited entry selective flatfish trawl gear. If a vessel fishes exclusively with selective flatfish trawl gear during an entire cumulative limit period, then the vessel is subject to the selective flatfish trawl gear-cumulative limits during that limit period, regardless of whether the vessel is fishing shoreward or seaward of the trawl RCA or the boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour defined with latitude and longitude coordinates at §660.73.

(D) Cumulative limits. If a vessel fishes exclusively with large or small footrope trawl gear during an entire cumulative limit period, the vessel is subject to the cumulative limits for that gear. If more than one type of groundfish bottom trawl gear (selective flatfish, large footrope, or small footrope) is on board, either simultaneously or successively, at any time during a cumulative limit period, then the most restrictive cumulative limit associated with the groundfish bottom trawl gear on board during that cumulative limit period applies for the entire cumulative limit period.

(ii) Vessels operating south of 40°10 N lat.—(A) Limited entry bottom trawl gears. A vessel may have more than one type of limited entry bottom trawl gear on board (large or small footrope, including selective flatfish trawl), either simultaneously or successively, during a cumulative limit period.

(B) Limited entry midwater trawl gear. Vessels may not operate, other than transiting through, with limited entry midwater trawl gear on board that is not stowed, consistent with §660.112(a)(5), in the area shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 150 fm (274 m) depth contour defined with latitude and longitude coordinates at §660.73. If a vessel fishes with limited entry bottom trawl gear in this area, vessels may have midwater trawl gear on board that is stowed, consistent with §660.112(a)(5), and may fish seaward of the boundary line approximating the 150 fm (274 m) depth contour on the same trip with appropriate declaration changes. Vessels with groundfish on board harvested using limited entry midwater trawl gear may transit the area shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 150 fm (274 m) depth contour defined with latitude and longitude coordinates at §660.73 if the midwater gear is stowed consistent with §660.112(a)(5).

(d) Sorting. In addition to the requirements at §660.12(a)(8), the States of Washington, Oregon, and California may also require that vessels record their landings as sorted on their state landing receipt. Sector-specific sorting requirements and exceptions are listed at paragraphs (d)(2) and (d)(3) of this section.

(1) Species and areas—(i) Coastwide. Widow rockfish, canary rockfish, darkblotched rockfish, yelloweye rockfish, shortbelly rockfish, black rockfish, blue/deacon rockfish, minor nearshore rockfish, minor shelf rockfish, minor slope rockfish, shortraker rockfish, rougheye/blackspotted rockfish, shortspine and longspine thornyhead, Dover sole, arrowtooth flounder, petrale sole, starry flounder, English sole, other flatfish, lingcod, sablefish, Pacific cod, spiny dogfish, other fish, longnose skate, Pacific whiting, and big skate.

(ii) North of 40°10 N lat. POP, yellowtail rockfish, Washington cabezon/kelp greenling complex, Oregon cabezon/kelp greenling complex, cabezon off California; and

(iii) South of 40°10 N. lat. Minor shallow nearshore rockfish, minor deeper nearshore rockfish, California scorpionfish, chilipepper, bocaccio, splitnose rockfish, Pacific sanddabs, cowcod, bronzespotted rockfish, blackgill rockfish and cabezon.

(2) Sorting requirements for the Shorebased IFQ Program—(i) First receivers. Fish landed at IFQ first receivers (including shoreside processing facilities and buying stations that intend to transport catch for processing elsewhere) must be sorted, prior to first weighing after offloading from the vessel and prior to transport away from the point of landing, with the following exception: Catch from a Pacific whiting IFQ trip may be sorted after weighing as specified at §660.140(j)(2).

(ii) Catcher vessels. All catch must be sorted to the species groups specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section for vessels with limited entry permits, except those engaged in maximized retention while declared into a Pacific whiting IFQ trip. The catch must not be discarded from the vessel and the vessel must not mix catch from hauls until the observer has sampled the catch, unless otherwise allowed under the EM Program requirements at §660.604 of subpart J. Prohibited species must be sorted according to the following species groups: Dungeness crab, Pacific halibut, Chinook salmon, other salmon. Non-groundfish species must be sorted as required by the state of landing.

(3) Sorting requirements for the MS Coop and the C/P Coop Programs. (i) Processing vessels in the MS and C/P Coop Programs may use a bulk weighing scale in compliance with the equipment requirement at §660.15(b) to derive an accurate total catch weight prior to sorting. Immediately following weighing of the total catch, the catch must be sorted to the species groups specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section and all catch of-groundfish and non-groundfish species must be accurately accounted for and the weight of all catch other than a single predominant species deducted from the total catch weight to derive the weight of a single predominant species.

(ii) If sorting occurs on a catcher vessel in the MS Co-op Program, the catch must not be discarded from the vessel and the vessel must not mix catch from hauls until the observer has sampled the catch, or unless otherwise allowed under the EM Program requirements at §660.604 of subpart J.

(e) Groundfish conservation areas (GCAs). GCAs are closed areas, defined at §660.11, and using latitude and longitude coordinates specified at §§660.70 through 660.74. This paragraph describes GCAs applicable to the limited entry trawl fishery, per prohibitions at §660.112(a)(5), and exceptions to those closures. Vessels with trawl gear on board that is not stowed, as defined at §660.111, may not operate within a GCA listed in this section, unless authorized in this section. Vessels may not take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken within an applicable GCA, except as authorized in this paragraph. A vessel authorized to fish within an applicable GCA may simultaneously have other groundfish trawl gear on board the vessel that is unlawful to use for fishing within the applicable GCAs, but only if the prohibited gear is stowed, as defined at §660.111. Continuous transit, with or without groundfish on board, is allowed within an applicable GCA, only when all prohibited trawl gear on board stowed, as defined at §660.111. Additional closed areas that specifically apply to vessels using limited entry midwater trawl gear are described at §660.131(c).

(1) Cowcod conservation areas (CCAs). This closure applies to vessels with limited entry trawl gear on board. Limited entry trawl vessels may transit through the Western CCA within the transit corridor, defined at §660.70.

(2) Farallon islands. Under California law, commercial fishing for all groundfish is prohibited around the Farallon Islands, as defined at §660.70. Vessels may transit through with all trawl gear stowed.

(3) Cordell Banks. Commercial fishing for groundfish is prohibited in waters of depths less than 100-fm (183-m) around Cordell Banks, defined at §660.70. Vessels may transit through with all trawl gear stowed.

(4) Trawl RCA. This GCA is off the coast of Washington, between the US/Canada border and 46°16 N lat. Boundaries for the trawl RCA applicable to groundfish trawl vessels throughout the year are provided in the header to Table 1 (North) of this subpart and may be modified by NMFS inseason pursuant to §660.60(c). Prohibitions at §660.112(a)(5) do not apply under the following conditions and when the vessel has a valid declaration for the allowed fishing:

(i) Limited entry midwater trawl gear. Limited entry midwater trawl gear may be used within the trawl RCA by vessels targeting Pacific whiting or non-whiting when it is an authorized gear type for the area and season. If a vessel fishes in the trawl RCA using midwater trawl gear, it may also fish outside the trawl RCA with limited entry trawl gear on the same trip with appropriate declaration changes.

(ii) Transiting. A vessel authorized to operate in the trawl RCA may continuously transit through the trawl RCA, with or without groundfish on board, with prohibited trawl gear stowed, as defined at §660.111.

(5) Block area closures or BACs. BACs, defined at §660.111, are applicable to vessels with groundfish bottom trawl gear on board that is not stowed, per the prohibitions in §660.112(a)(5). When in effect, BACs are areas closed to bottom trawl fishing. A vessel operating, for any purpose other than continuous transiting, in the BAC must have prohibited trawl gear stowed, as defined at §660.111. Nothing in these Federal regulations supersedes any state regulations that may prohibit trawling shoreward of the fishery management area, defined at §660.11. Prohibitions at §660.112(a)(5) do not apply under any of the following conditions and when the vessel has a valid declaration for the allowed fishing:

(i) Limited entry midwater trawl. Limited entry midwater trawl gear may be used within the BAC only when it is an authorized gear type for the area and season. If a vessel fishes in the BAC using midwater trawl gear, it may also fish outside the BAC with groundfish bottom trawl gear on the same trip with appropriate declaration changes.

(ii) Transiting. A vessel authorized to operate in a BAC may continuously transit through the BAC, with or without groundfish on board, with prohibited trawl gear stowed, as defined at §660.111.

(iii) Multiple gears. If a vessel fishes in a BAC using midwater trawl gear, it may also fish outside the BAC with groundfish bottom trawl gear on the same trip with the appropriate declaration change.

(6) Bycatch reduction areas or BRAs. Vessels using midwater groundfish trawl gear during the applicable Pacific whiting primary season may be prohibited from fishing shoreward of a boundary line approximating the 75 fm (137 m), 100 fm (183 m), 150 fm (274 m), or 200 fm (366 m) depth contours.

(7) Eureka management area midwater trawl trip limits. 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 with midwater groundfish trawl gear in the fishery management area shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 100 fm (183 m) depth contour in the Eureka management area, defined at §660.11. See also midwater trawl depth restrictions in paragraph (c) of this section.

(8) Salmon conservation zones. Fishing with midwater trawl gear and bottom trawl gear, other than selective flatfish trawl gear, is prohibited in the Klamath River Salmon Conservation Zone and the Columbia River Salmon Conservation Zone (defined at §660.111).

(f) Essential fish habitat conservation areas. EFHCAs are defined at §660.11 and at §§660.76 through 660.79. EFHCAs apply to vessels using bottom trawl gear or to vessels using bottom contact gear, defined at §660.11. Vessels may transit through, with or without groundfish on board, with all prohibited gear stowed. EFHCAs closed to bottom trawl gear are listed at §660.112(a)(5)(v). EFHCAs off California that are closed to bottom trawl gear, except vessels fishing with a valid declaration for demersal seine gear, are listed in §660.112(a)(5)(vi). EFHCAs closed to bottom contact gear are listed at §660.12(a)(4), (16) and (17).

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 78389, Dec. 15, 2010; 75 FR 82305, Dec. 30, 2010; 76 FR 27546, May 11, 2011; 76 FR 53837, Aug. 30, 2011; 76 FR 74741, Dec. 1, 2011; 78 FR 629, Jan. 3, 2013; 78 FR 68769, Nov. 15, 2013; 79 FR 71343, Dec. 2, 2014; 80 FR 12590, Mar. 10, 2015; 80 FR 31860, June 4, 2015; 80 FR 77272, Dec. 14, 2015; 82 FR 9658, Feb. 7, 2017; 83 FR 62277, Dec. 3, 2018; 83 FR 64002, Dec. 12, 2018; 83 FR 66638, Dec. 27, 2018; 84 FR 31159, June 28, 2019; 84 FR 49962, Sept. 24, 2019; 84 FR 63986, Nov. 19, 2019]

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