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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

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

Title 50Chapter VIPart 660Subpart F → §660.330


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES
Subpart F—West Coast Groundfish—Open Access Fisheries


§660.330   Open access fishery—management measures.

(a) General. Groundfish species taken in open access fisheries will be managed with cumulative trip limits (see trip limits in Tables 3 (North) and 3 (South) of this subpart), size limits (see §660.60(h)(5)), seasons (see seasons in Tables 3 (North) and 3 (South) of this subpart), gear restrictions (see paragraph (b) of this section), and closed areas (see paragraph (d) of this section and §§660.70 through 660.79). Unless otherwise specified, a vessel operating in the open access fishery is subject to, and must not exceed any trip limit, frequency limit, and/or size limit for the open access fishery. Cowcod retention is prohibited in all fisheries and groundfish vessels operating south of Point Conception must adhere to CCA restrictions (see paragraph (d)(11) of this section and §660.70). Retention of yelloweye rockfish is prohibited in all open access fisheries. For information on the open access daily/weekly trip limit fishery for sablefish, see §660.332 of this subpart and the trip limits in Tables 3 (North) and 3 (South) of this subpart. Open access vessels 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 paragraph (e) of this section. Open access vessels that fish with non-groundfish trawl gear or in the salmon troll fishery north of 40°10 N lat. are subject the cumulative limits and closed areas (except the pink shrimp fishery which is not subject to RCA restrictions) listed in Tables 3 (North) and 3 (South) of this subpart. Federal commercial groundfish regulations are not intended to supersede any more restrictive state commercial groundfish regulations relating to federally managed groundfish.

(b) Gear restrictions. Open access gear includes longline, trap, pot, hook-and-line (fixed or mobile), setnet (anchored gillnet or trammel net, which are permissible south of 38° N. lat. only), spear and non-groundfish trawl gear (trawls used to target non-groundfish species: pink shrimp or ridgeback prawns, and, south of Pt. Arena, CA (38°57.50' N. lat.), California halibut or sea cucumbers). Restrictions for gears used in the open access fisheries are as follows:

(1) Non-groundfish trawl gear. Non-groundfish trawl gear is generally trawl gear used to target pink shrimp, ridgeback prawn, California halibut and sea cucumber and is exempt from the limited entry trawl gear restrictions at §660.130(b). The following gear restrictions apply to non-groundfish trawl gear:

(i) Bottom trawl gear with a footrope diameter greater than 19 inches (48 cm) (including rollers, bobbins, or other material encircling or tied along the length of the footrope) is prohibited anywhere in EFH within the EEZ, as defined by latitude/longitude coordinates at §660.75. unless such gear is the gear of another vessel that has been retrieved at sea and made inoperable or stowed in a manner not capable of being fished. The disposal at sea of such gear is prohibited by Annex V of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution From Ships, 1973 (Annex V of MARPOL 73/78).

(ii) [Reserved]

(2) Fixed gear. (i) Fixed gear (longline, trap or pot, set net and stationary hook-and-line gear, including commercial vertical hook-and-line gear) must be attended at least once every 7 days. 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.

(ii) Set nets. Fishing for groundfish with set nets is prohibited in the fishery management area north of 38°00.00' N. lat.

(iii) Traps or pots. Traps 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.

(iv) Spears. Spears may be propelled by hand or by mechanical means.

(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 open access 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, longnose skate, other fish, Pacific whiting, big skate, and Pacific sanddabs;

(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, chilipepper, bocaccio, splitnose rockfish, cowcod, bronzespotted rockfish, blackgill rockfish and cabezon.

(d) Groundfish conservation areas (GCAs). GCAs, a type of closed area, are defined at §660.11 and with latitude and longitude coordinates 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 open access groundfish 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 open access gear is prohibited within the North Coast Commercial YRCA. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with open access gear within the North Coast Commercial YRCA. Open access 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 open access 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 open access 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. Open access 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 open access 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 open access 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. Open access 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 open access 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 open access 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. Open access 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 open access 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 open access 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. Open access 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 open access 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 open access 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. Open access gear vessels may transit through the Point Delgada (South) YRCA, at any time, with or without groundfish on board.

(10) Salmon Troll Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area (YRCA). The latitude and longitude coordinates of the Salmon Troll YRCA boundaries are specified in the groundfish regulations at §660.70, subpart C, and in the salmon regulations at §660.405. Fishing with salmon troll gear is prohibited within the Salmon Troll YRCA. It is unlawful for commercial salmon troll vessels to take and retain, possess, or land fish taken with salmon troll gear within the Salmon Troll YRCA. Open access vessels may transit through the Salmon Troll YRCA with or without fish on board.

(11) Cowcod Conservation Areas (CCAs). 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 open access gear is prohibited in 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), 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.

(12) Nontrawl rockfish conservation areas for the open access fisheries. The nontrawl RCAs are closed areas, defined by specific latitude and longitude coordinates (specified at §§660.70 through 660.74, subpart C) designed to approximate specific depth contours, where fishing for groundfish with nontrawl gear is prohibited. Boundaries for the nontrawl RCA throughout the year are provided in the open access trip limit tables, Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) of this subpart and may be modified by NMFS inseason pursuant to §660.60(c).

(i) It is unlawful to operate a vessel in the nontrawl RCA that has nontrawl gear onboard and is not registered to a limited entry permit on a trip in which the vessel is used to take and retain or possess groundfish in the EEZ, or land groundfish taken in the EEZ, except for the purpose of continuous transiting, or when the use of nontrawl gear is authorized in part 660.

(ii) On any trip on which a groundfish species is taken with nontrawl open access gear and retained, the open access nontrawl vessel may transit through the nontrawl RCA only if 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 taking and retaining or possessing groundfish in the EEZ, or landing groundfish taken in the EEZ. Unless otherwise authorized by part 660, 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) Fishing for “other flatfish” off California (between 42° N. lat. south to the U.S./Mexico border) is permitted within the nontrawl RCA with fixed gear only 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 (0.91 kg) weights per line when trip limits authorize such fishing; and provided a valid declaration report as required at §660.13(d), has been filed with NMFS OLE.

(13) Non-groundfish trawl rockfish conservation areas for the open access non-groundfish trawl fisheries. The non-groundfish trawl RCAs are closed areas, defined by specific latitude and longitude coordinates (specified at §§660.70 through 660.74, subpart C) designed to approximate specific depth contours, where fishing for groundfish with nontrawl gear is prohibited. Boundaries for the nontrawl RCA throughout the year are provided in the open access trip limit tables, Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) of this subpart and may be modified by NMFS in season pursuant to §660.60(c).

(i) It is unlawful to operate a vessel in the non-groundfish trawl RCA with non-groundfish trawl gear onboard, except for the purpose of continuous transiting, or when the use of trawl gear is authorized in part 660. It is unlawful to take and retain, possess, or land groundfish taken with non-groundfish trawl gear within the nontrawl RCA, unless otherwise authorized in part 660.

(ii) Non-groundfish trawl vessels may transit through the non-groundfish trawl RCA, with or without groundfish on board, provided all non-groundfish trawl gear is stowed either: Below deck; or if the gear cannot readily be moved, in a secured and covered manner, detached from all towing lines, so that it is rendered unusable for fishing; or remaining on deck uncovered if the trawl doors are hung from their stanchions and the net is disconnected from the doors.

(iii) The non-groundfish trawl RCA restrictions in this section apply to vessels taking and retaining or possessing groundfish in the EEZ, or landing groundfish taken in the EEZ. Unless otherwise authorized by Part 660, it is unlawful for a vessel to retain any groundfish taken on a fishing trip for species other than groundfish that occurs within the non-groundfish trawl RCA. If a vessel fishes in a non-groundfish fishery in the non-groundfish trawl RCA, it may not participate in any fishing on that trip that is prohibited within the non-groundfish trawl RCA. Nothing in these Federal regulations supersedes any state regulations that may prohibit trawling shoreward of the fishery management area (3-200 nm).

(iv) It is lawful to fish with non-groundfish trawl gear within the non-groundfish trawl RCA only under the following conditions:

(A) Pink shrimp trawling is permitted in the non-groundfish trawl RCA when a valid declaration report as required at §660.12(d), subpart C, has been filed with NMFS OLE. Groundfish caught with pink shrimp trawl gear may be retained anywhere in the EEZ and are subject to the limits in Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) of this subpart.

(B) When the shoreward line of the trawl RCA is shallower than 100 fm (183 m), vessels using ridgeback prawn trawl gear south of 34°27.00 N. lat. may operate out to the 100 fm (183 m) boundary line specified at §660.73, when a valid declaration report as required at §660.13(d), has been filed with NMFS OLE. Groundfish caught with ridgeback prawn trawl gear are subject to the limits in Table 3 (North) and Table 3 (South) of this subpart.

(14) 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.

(15) 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 and 660.330. The crossover provisions in §660.60(h)(7), 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 trawl gear or bottom contact gear, defined at §660.11, and includes non-groundfish trawl gear and 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). EFHCAs closed to bottom trawl gear are listed at §660.312(d).

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 76 FR 27554, May 11, 2011; 76 FR 53839, Aug. 30, 2011; 78 FR 638, Jan. 3, 2013; 80 FR 12597, Mar. 10, 2015; 80 FR 71981, Nov. 18, 2015; 82 FR 9665, Feb. 7, 2017; 82 FR 60570, Dec. 21, 2017; 83 FR 64010, Dec. 12, 2018; 84 FR 49962, Sept. 24, 2019; 84 FR 63992, Nov. 19, 2019]

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