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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 21, 2020

Title 50Chapter VIPart 660Subpart E → §660.230


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


§660.230   Fixed gear fishery—management measures.

(a) General. Most species taken in limited entry fixed gear (longline and pot/trap) fisheries will be managed with cumulative trip limits (see trip limits in Tables 2 (North) and 2 (South) of this subpart), size limits (see §660.60(h)(5)), seasons (see trip limits in Tables 2 (North) and 2 (South) of this subpart and sablefish primary season details in §660.231), gear restrictions (see paragraph (b) of this section), and closed areas (see paragraph (d) of this section and §§660.70 through 660.79). Cowcod retention is prohibited in all fisheries, and groundfish vessels operating south of Point Conception must adhere to CCA restrictions (see paragraph (d)(10) of this section and §660.70). Yelloweye rockfish retention is prohibited in the limited entry fixed gear fisheries. Regulations governing and tier limits for the limited entry, fixed gear sablefish primary season north of 36° N lat. are found in §660.231. Vessels not participating in the sablefish primary season are subject to daily or weekly sablefish limits in addition to cumulative limits for each cumulative limit period. Only one sablefish landing per week may be made in excess of the daily trip limit and, if the vessel chooses to make a landing in excess of that daily trip limit, then that is the only sablefish landing permitted for that week. The trip limit for black rockfish caught with hook-and-line gear also applies, see §660.230(e). The trip limits in Table 2 (North) and Table 2 (South) of this subpart apply to vessels participating in the limited entry groundfish fixed gear 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) Gear restrictions—(1) Longline and pot or trap gear are authorized in the limited entry fixed gear fishery, providing the gear is in compliance with the restrictions set forth in this section, and gear marking requirements described in §660.219 of this subpart.

(2) Vessels participating in the limited entry fixed gear fishery may also fish with open access gear subject to the gear restrictions at §660.330(b), subpart F, but will be subject to the most restrictive trip limits for the gear used as specified at §660.60(h)(7), subpart C.

(3) Limited entry fixed gear (longline, trap or pot gear) must be attended at least once every 7 days.

(4) Traps or pots must have biodegradable escape panels constructed with 21 or smaller untreated cotton twine in such a manner that an opening at least 8 inches (20.3 cm) in diameter results when the twine deteriorates.

(5) Vessels fishing with bottom longline and snap gears as defined at §660.11 are subject to the requirements of the Seabird Avoidance Program described in §660.21.

(c) Sorting Requirements. (1) 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 receipts.

(2) For limited entry fixed gear vessels, the following species must be sorted:

(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, big skate, and Pacific whiting;

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

(d) Groundfish conservation areas. GCAs are defined by coordinates expressed in degrees of latitude and longitude. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the GCA boundaries are specified at §§660.70 through 660.74. A vessel that is authorized by this paragraph to fish within a GCA (e.g., fishing for “other flatfish” using no more than 12 hooks, “Number 2” or smaller), may not simultaneously have other gear on board the vessel that is unlawful to use for fishing within the GCA. The following GCAs apply to vessels participating in the limited entry fixed gear fishery.

(1) North coast recreational yelloweye rockfish conservation area. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the North Coast Recreational Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA) boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. The North Coast Recreational YRCA is designated as an area to be avoided (a voluntary closure) by commercial fixed gear fishers.

(2) North coast commercial yelloweye rockfish conservation area. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the North Coast Commercial Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA) boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. Fishing with limited entry fixed gear is prohibited within the North Coast Commercial YRCA. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with limited entry fixed gear within the North Coast Commercial YRCA. Limited entry fixed gear vessels may transit through the North Coast Commercial YRCA with or without groundfish on board.

(3) South coast recreational yelloweye rockfish conservation area. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the South Coast Recreational Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA) boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. The South Coast Recreational YRCA is designated as an area to be avoided (a voluntary closure) by commercial fixed gear fishers.

(4) Westport offshore recreational YRCA. The latitude and longitude coordinates that define the Westport Offshore Recreational YRCA boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. The Westport Offshore Recreational YRCA is designated as an area to be avoided (a voluntary closure) by commercial fixed gear fishers.

(5) Point St. George YRCA. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the Point St. George YRCA boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. Fishing with limited entry fixed gear is prohibited within the Point St. George YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with limited entry fixed gear within the Point St. George YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. The closure is not in effect at this time. This closure may be imposed through inseason adjustment. Limited entry fixed gear vessels may transit through the Point St. George YRCA, at any time, with or without groundfish on board.

(6) South Reef YRCA. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the South Reef YRCA boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. Fishing with limited entry fixed gear is prohibited within the South Reef YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with limited entry fixed gear within the South Reef YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. The closure is not in effect at this time. This closure may be imposed through inseason adjustment. Limited entry fixed gear vessels may transit through the South Reef YRCA, at any time, with or without groundfish on board.

(7) Reading Rock YRCA. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the Reading Rock YRCA boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. Fishing with limited entry fixed gear is prohibited within the Reading Rock YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with limited entry fixed gear within the Reading Rock YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. The closure is not in effect at this time. This closure may be imposed through inseason adjustment. Limited entry fixed gear vessels may transit through the Reading Rock YRCA, at any time, with or without groundfish on board.

(8) Point Delgada (North) YRCA. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the Point Delgada (North) YRCA boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. Fishing with limited entry fixed gear is prohibited within the Point Delgada (North) YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with limited entry fixed gear within the Point Delgada (North) YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. The closure is not in effect at this time. This closure may be imposed through inseason adjustment. Limited entry fixed gear vessels may transit through the Point Delgada (North) YRCA, at any time, with or without groundfish on board.

(9) Point Delgada (South) YRCA. The latitude and longitude coordinates of the Point Delgada (South) YRCA boundaries are specified at §660.70, subpart C. Fishing with limited entry fixed gear is prohibited within the Point Delgada (South) YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with limited entry fixed gear within the Point Delgada (South) YRCA, on dates when the closure is in effect. The closure is not in effect at this time. This closure may be imposed through inseason adjustment. Limited entry fixed gear vessels may transit through the Point Delgada (South) YRCA, at any time, with or without groundfish on board.

(10) Cowcod Conservation Areas. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish within the CCAs, except for species authorized in this paragraph caught according to gear requirements in this paragraph, when those waters are open to fishing. Commercial fishing vessels may transit through the Western CCA with their gear stowed and groundfish on board only in the transit corridor, defined at §660.70. Fishing with limited entry fixed gear is prohibited within the CCAs, except as follows:

(i) Fishing for “other flatfish” is permitted within the CCAs under the following conditions: When using no more than 12 hooks, “Number 2” or smaller, which measure no more than 11 mm (0.44 inches) point to shank, and up to two 1-lb (0.45 kg) weights per line; and provided a valid declaration report as required at §660.13(d), subpart C, has been filed with NMFS OLE.

(ii) Fishing for rockfish and lingcod is permitted shoreward of the boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour within the CCAs when trip limits authorize such fishing and provided a valid declaration report as required at §660.13(d) has been filed with NMFS OLE. Coordinates for the boundary line approximating the 40 fm (73 m) depth contour are listed in §660.71.

(11) Nontrawl Rockfish Conservation Area (RCA). The nontrawl RCA is defined at §660.11 and with latitude and longitude coordinates, at §§660.71 through 660.74, where fishing for groundfish with nontrawl gear is prohibited. Boundaries for the nontrawl RCA throughout the year are provided in the header to Table 2 (North) and Table 2 (South) of this subpart and may be modified by NMFS inseason pursuant to §660.60(c).

(i) It is unlawful to operate a vessel with limited entry nontrawl gear in the nontrawl RCA, except for the purpose of continuous transit, or when the use of limited entry nontrawl gear is authorized in this section. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with limited entry nontrawl gear within the nontrawl RCA, unless otherwise authorized in this section.

(ii) Limited entry nontrawl vessels may transit through the nontrawl RCA, with or without groundfish on board, provided all groundfish nontrawl gear is stowed either: Below deck; or if the gear cannot readily be moved, in a secured and covered manner, detached from all lines, so that it is rendered unusable for fishing.

(iii) The nontrawl RCA restrictions in this section apply to vessels registered to limited entry fixed gear permits fishing for species other than groundfish with nontrawl gear on trips where groundfish species are retained. Unless otherwise authorized in this section, a vessel may not retain any groundfish taken on a fishing trip for species other than groundfish that occurs within the nontrawl RCA. If a vessel fishes in a non-groundfish fishery in the nontrawl RCA, it may not participate in any fishing for groundfish on that trip that is prohibited within the nontrawl RCA. [For example, if a vessel fishes in the salmon troll fishery within the RCA, the vessel cannot on the same trip fish in the sablefish fishery outside of the RCA.]

(iv) It is lawful to fish within the nontrawl RCA with limited entry fixed gear only under the following conditions: when fishing for “other flatfish” off California (between 42° N. lat. south to the U.S./Mexico border) using no more than 12 hooks, “Number 2” or smaller, which measure no more than 11 mm (0.44 inches) point to shank, and up to two 1-lb (0.91 kg) weights per line when trip limits authorize such fishing, provided a valid declaration report as required at §660.13(d), subpart C, has been filed with NMFS OLE.

(12) Farallon Islands. Under California law, commercial fishing for all groundfish is prohibited between the shoreline and the 10 fm (18 m) depth contour around the Farallon Islands. An exception to this prohibition is that commercial fishing for “other flatfish” is permitted around the Farallon Islands using no more than 12 hooks, “Number 2” or smaller, which measure no more than 11 mm (0.44 inches) point to shank, and up to two 1-lb (0.45-kg) weights per line. (See Table 2 (South) of this subpart.) For a definition of the Farallon Islands, see §660.70, subpart C.

(13) Cordell Banks. Commercial fishing for groundfish is prohibited in waters of depths less than 100 fm (183 m) around Cordell Banks, as defined by specific latitude and longitude coordinates at §660.70, subpart C. An exception to this prohibition is that commercial fishing for “other flatfish” is permitted around Cordell Banks using no more than 12 hooks, “Number 2” or smaller, which measure no more than 11 mm (0.44 inches) point to shank, and up to two 1-lb (0.45-kg) weights per line.

(e) Black rockfish fishery management. The trip limit for black rockfish (Sebastes melanops) for commercial fishing vessels using hook-and-line gear between the U.S.-Canada border and Cape Alava (48°09.50 N. lat.), and between Destruction Island (47°40 N. lat.) and Leadbetter Point (46°38.17 N. lat.), is 100 lbs (45 kg) or 30 percent, by weight of all fish on board, whichever is greater, per vessel per fishing trip. These per trip limits apply to limited entry and open access fisheries, in conjunction with the cumulative trip limits and other management measures in §660.230, subpart E, and §660.330, subpart F. The crossover provisions in §660.60(h)(7), subpart C, do not apply to the black rockfish per-trip limits.

(f) Salmon bycatch. This fishery may be closed through automatic action at §660.60(d)(1)(v) and (vi).

(g) Essential Fish Habitat Conservation Areas (EFHCA). EFHCAs, defined at §660.11 and with latitude and longitude coordinates at §§660.75 through 660.79, apply to vessels using bottom contact gear, defined at §660.11, and includes limited entry fixed gear (e.g., longline and pot/trap,) among other gear types. EFHCAs closed to bottom contact gear are listed at §660.12(a).

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 76 FR 27549, May 11, 2011; 76 FR 53838, Aug. 30, 2011; 78 FR 634, Jan. 3, 2013; 80 FR 12593, Mar. 10, 2015; 80 FR 71981, Nov. 18, 2015; 82 FR 9662, Feb. 7, 2017; 82 FR 60569, Dec. 21, 2017; 83 FR 64006, Dec. 12, 2018; 84 FR 49962, Sept. 24, 2019; 84 FR 63991, Nov. 19, 2019]

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