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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

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

Title 50Chapter VIPart 660Subpart J → §660.604


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES
Subpart J—West Coast Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Program


§660.604   Vessel and first receiver responsibilities.

(a) General. This section lays out the requirements for catcher vessels to obtain an exemption to use EM in place of 100-percent observer coverage required by the Shorebased IFQ Program (§660.140(h)(1)(i)) and MS Co-op Program (§660.150(j)(1)(i)(B)). Requirements are also described for first receivers receiving landings from EM trips.

(b) Vessel owner responsibilities. To use EM under this section, vessel owners must:

(1) Obtain an EM Authorization from the NMFS West Coast Region Fisheries Permit Office (see §660.604(e));

(2) Install an EM system using a NMFS-permitted EM service provider that meets performance standards under §660.604(j);

(3) Have a signed EM system certification form (see §660.604(e)(3)(i));

(4) Have a NMFS-accepted vessel monitoring plan (see §660.604(e)(3)(iii));

(5) Ensure that the vessel operator attends a mandatory EM orientation session provided by the NMFS West Coast Region EM Program (NMFS may waive this requirement on a case-by-case basis, such as when the vessel operator has prior EM experience);

(6) Maintain logbooks and other records for three years and provide them to NMFS or authorized officers for inspection (see §660.604(t)).

(7) Obtain EM data processing, reporting, and recordkeeping services from a NMFS-permitted EM service provider (see §660.604(k)).

(c) Vessel operator responsibilities. To use EM under this section, vessel operators must:

(1) Maintain a valid EM Authorization and NMFS-accepted vessel monitoring plan onboard the vessel at all times that the vessel is fishing on an EM trip or when fish harvested during an EM trip are onboard the vessel;

(2) Ensure that the EM system is installed, operated, and maintained consistent with performance standards (see §660.604(l));

(3) Comply with a NMFS-accepted vessel monitoring plan (see §660.604(e)(3)(iii);

(4) Make declaration reports to OLE prior to leaving port (see §660.604(m));

(5) Provide advance notice to the NMFS WCGOP at least 48 hours prior to departing port (see §660.604(n));

(6) Comply with observer requirements, if NMFS notifies the vessel owner, operator, or manager that the vessel is required to carry an observer (see §660.604(n));

(7) Ensure retention and handling of all catch as provided under §§660.604(p) and 660.604(r); and

(8) Comply with recordkeeping, reporting, and inspection requirements (see §§660.604(o), (s) and (t)).

(d) First receiver responsibilities. First receivers receiving catch from trips taken under EM must follow special disposition and sorting requirements for prohibited and protected species (see §660.604(u)).

(e) Electronic Monitoring Authorization. To obtain an EM Authorization, a vessel owner must submit an initial application to the NMFS West Coast Region Fisheries Permit Office, then a final application that includes an EM system certification and a vessel monitoring plan (VMP). NMFS will only review complete applications. A vessel owner may submit an application at any time. Vessel owners that want to have their Authorizations effective for January 1 of the following calendar year must submit their complete application to NMFS by October 1. Vessel owners that want to have their Authorizations effective for May 15 must submit their complete application to NMFS by February 15 of the same year.

(1) Initial application. To be considered for an EM Authorization, the vessel owner must submit a completed application form provided by NMFS, signed and dated by an authorized representative of the vessel, and meet the following eligibility criteria:

(i) The applicant owns the vessel proposed to be used;

(ii) The vessel has a valid Pacific Coast Groundfish limited entry, trawl-endorsed permit registered to it;

(iii) If participating in the mothership sector, the vessel has a valid MS/CV endorsement;

(iv) The vessel is participating in the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery, mothership sector, or the Shorebased IFQ sector using groundfish non-trawl gear;

(v) The vessel is able to accommodate the EM system, including providing sufficient uninterrupted electrical power, suitable camera mounts, adequate lighting, and fittings for hydraulic lines to enable connection of a pressure transducer;

(vi) The vessel owner and operator are willing and able to comply with all applicable requirements of this section and to operate under a NMFS-accepted VMP.

(2) Review of initial application. Based on a complete initial application, if NMFS determines that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, NMFS will notify the applicant in writing that the initial application has been accepted for further consideration. An applicant who receives such notice may install an EM system on his or her vessel and proceed with submission of a final application as provided under paragraph (e)(3) of this section. If an initial application has not been accepted, NMFS will provide the applicant an explanation of the denial in writing. The applicant may appeal NMFS' determination following the process at §660.25(g).

(3) Final application. A final application must be complete and must include:

(i) EM system certification. A certification form, provided by NMFS, signed by a representative of a NMFS-permitted EM service provider that attests that an EM system and associated equipment that meets the performance standards at paragraph (k) of this section was installed on the vessel, that the system was tested while the vessel was underway, and that the vessel operator was briefed on the EM system operation and maintenance. NMFS will maintain a list of permitted EM service providers on its website.

(ii) Tentative fishing plan. A description of the vessel owner's fishing plans for the year, including which fishery the vessel owner plans to participate in, from what ports, and when the vessel owner intends to use EM and observers. This information is for purposes of planning observer deployments and is not binding.

(iii) Vessel monitoring plan. A complete vessel monitoring plan for the vessel that accurately describes how fishing operations on the vessel will be conducted and how the EM system and associated equipment will be configured to meet the performance standards at paragraph (k) of this section. NMFS will develop EM Program Guidelines containing best practices and templates and make them available on NMFS' website to assist vessel owners in developing VMPs (see §660.600(b)). NMFS may consider alternative, but equivalent, methods proposed by EM service providers and vessel owners in their plans to meet the requirements of this subpart, if they achieve the purpose of the EM program. An EM service provider may prepare and submit a VMP on behalf of the applicant. The VMP must include descriptions of the following (using pictures and diagrams where appropriate):

(A) General vessel information including the vessel name, hull number, gear type(s), home port, captain name, and target fishery or sector;

(B) The coordinates of the home port box, if a geo-referenced port box will be used to trigger data collection;

(C) A diagram of the vessel layout with measurements of the deck and denoting the location of any designated discard control points;

(D) The number and location of cameras and with images of corresponding views;

(E) The location of lighting, control center, GPS, sensors, monitor, and other EM equipment;

(F) Frame rates, image resolution, frequency of data logging, sensor trigger threshold values, and other EM system specifications;

(G) The location and procedures for any catch handling, including designated discard control points within camera view, procedures for sorting and measuring discards, the number of crew sorting catch, and what steps will be taken to ensure that all catch remains in camera view;

(H) The measurements of all bins, baskets, compartments, and other tools that will be used to calculate estimates of weight;

(I) The detailed steps that will be taken to minimize the potential for EM system malfunctions and the steps that will be taken, when malfunctions occur, to ensure the adequate monitoring of catch;

(J) The name, address, phone number, and email address of a primary point of contact for vessel operations;

(K) The name, address, and phone number of the vessel's EM service provider, and contact information for a primary point of contact at the EM service provider;

(L) The name, address, phone number, and signature of the applicant, and the date of the application; and,

(M) Any other information required by NMFS.

(iv) Any updates to information submitted in the initial application, including updates to proposed, self-enforcing agreements, if applicable (see paragraph (e)(5) of this section).

(4) Review of final application. NMFS may request additional information or revisions from the applicant until NMFS is satisfied that the application is complete. Based on a complete application, if NMFS determines that the applicant has met the requirements of this section, NMFS will issue an IAD and an EM Authorization. If the application is denied, the IAD will provide an explanation of the denial in writing. The applicant may appeal NMFS' determination following the process at §660.25(g). NMFS will evaluate an application based on the EM Program Guidelines (see §660.600(b)) and the following criteria, at a minimum:

(i) Review of the vessel owner's and operator's eligibility based on the eligibility criteria at paragraph (e)(1);

(ii) Review of the proposed VMP; and,

(iii) Review of the proposed self-enforcing agreement, if applicable.

(5) Self-enforcing agreement. In the future, through a proposed and final rulemaking, NMFS may allow for and provide requirements related to the use of voluntary self-enforcing agreements. This agreement would allow a group of eligible vessels to encourage compliance with the requirements of this section through private, contractual arrangements. If such arrangements are used, participating vessel owners must submit the proposed agreement to NMFS for review and acceptance as part of the application process as provided under paragraphs (e)(1) and (3) of this section. The existence of a self-enforcing agreement among EM vessels does not foreclose the possibility of independent enforcement action by NMFS OLE or authorized officers.

(f) Changes to a NMFS-accepted VMP. A vessel owner may make changes to a NMFS-accepted VMP by submitting a revised plan or plan addendum to NMFS in writing. NMFS will review and accept the change if it meets all the requirements of this section. A VMP addendum must contain:

(1) The date and the name and signature of the vessel owner;

(2) Address, telephone number, fax number and email address of the person submitting the addendum;

(3) A complete description of the proposed VMP change.

(g) Change in ownership of a vessel. If a vessel changed ownership, the new owner must apply for a new EM Authorization.

(h) Effective dates. (1) The EM Authorization is valid from the effective date identified on the Authorization until the expiration date of December 31. EM Authorization holders must renew annually by following the renewal process specified in paragraph (e) of this section. Failure to renew annually will result in expiration of the EM Authorization and endorsements on the Authorization expiration date.

(2) NMFS may invalidate an EM Authorization if NMFS determines that the vessel, vessel owner, and/or operator no longer meets the eligibility criteria specified at paragraph (e)(1) of this section. NMFS would first notify the vessel owner of the deficiencies in writing and the vessel owner must correct the deficiencies following the instructions provided. If the deficiencies are not resolved upon review of the first trip following the notification, NMFS will notify the vessel owner in writing that the EM Authorization is invalid and that the vessel is no longer exempt from observer coverage at §§660.140(h)(1)(i) and 660.150(j)(1)(i)(B) for that authorization period. The holder may reapply for an EM Authorization for the following authorization period.

(3) A vessel owner holding an expired or invalidated authorization may reapply for a new EM Authorization at any time consistent with paragraph (e) of this section.

(i) Renewing an EM Authorization. To maintain a valid EM Authorization, vessel owners must renew annually prior to the permit expiration date. NMFS will mail EM Authorization renewal forms to existing EM Authorization holders each year on or about: September 1 for non-trawl shorebased IFQ vessels and January 1 for Pacific whiting IFQ and MS/CV vessels. Vessel owners who want to have their Authorizations effective for January 1 of the following calendar year must submit their complete renewal form to NMFS by October 15. Vessel owners who want to have their EM Authorizations effective for May 15 of the following calendar year must submit their complete renewal form to NMFS by February 15.

(j) EM System Performance Standards. The specifications (e.g., image resolution, frame rate, user interface) and configuration of an EM system and associated equipment (e.g., number and placement of cameras, lighting) used to meet the requirements of this section must be sufficient to:

(1) Allow easy and complete viewing, identification, and quantification, of catch items discarded at sea, including during low light conditions;

(2) Continuously record vessel location (latitude/longitude coordinates), velocity, course, and sensor data (i.e, hydraulic and winch activity);

(3) Allow the identification of the time, date, and location of a haul/set or discard event;

(4) Record and store image data from all hauls/sets and the duration that fish are onboard the vessel until offloading begins;

(5) Continuously record and store raw sensor data (i.e., GPS and gear sensors) for the entire fishing trip;

(6) Prevent radio frequency interference (RFI) with vessel monitoring systems (VMS) and other equipment;

(7) Allow the vessel operator to test and monitor the functionality of the EM system prior to and during the fishing trip to ensure it is fully functional;

(8) Prevent tampering or, if tampering does occur, show evidence of tampering; and,

(9) Provide image and sensor data in a format that enables their integration for analysis.

(k) EM data services. A vessel owner with a valid EM Authorization must obtain EM data processing, reporting, and record retention services from a NMFS-permitted EM service provider, as described at §660.603(m). If the vessel owner changes EM service providers, the vessel owner must ensure the continuity of EM data retention for the entire duration of the required retention period as specified §660.603(m)(6). NMFS will maintain a list of permitted EM service providers on its website.

(l) EM system operation and maintenance. The EM system must be recording imagery and sensor data at all times that fish harvested during an EM trip are onboard the vessel until offloading begins. For the purposes of this section, a fully functional EM system is defined as an EM system and associated equipment that meets the performance standards listed in paragraph (j) of this section.

(1) Duties of care. The operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization must maintain the EM system in good working order, including:

(i) Ensuring the EM system is powered continuously during the fishing trip;

(ii) Ensuring the system is functioning for the entire fishing trip and that camera views are unobstructed and clear in quality, such that the performance standards listed in paragraph (j) of this section are met; and,

(iii) Ensuring EM system components are not tampered with, disabled, destroyed, operated or maintained improperly.

(2) Pre-departure test. Prior to departing port, the operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization must turn the EM system on and conduct a system function test following the instructions from the EM service provider. The vessel operator must verify that the EM system has adequate memory to record the entire trip and that the vessel is carrying one or more spare hard drives with sufficient capacity to record the entire trip.

(3) EM system malfunctions. The operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization is prohibited from fishing on an EM trip without a fully functional EM system, unless an alternate arrangement has been specified in the NMFS-accepted VMP. In the event of an EM system malfunction, the vessel operator may voluntarily obtain observer coverage and revise the vessel's declaration following the process at §660.13(d)(4), in which case the vessel operator is no longer exempt from the observer requirements at §§660.140(h) and 660.150(j).

(m) Declaration reports. The operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization must make a declaration report to NMFS OLE prior to leaving port following the process described at §660.13(d)(4). A declaration report will be valid until another declaration report revising the existing gear or monitoring declaration is received by NMFS OLE. A vessel operator declaring a limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ trip or limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector (catcher vessel or mothership) trip may only revise the existing monitoring declaration twice during the same calendar year. NMFS may waive this limitation with prior notice if it is determined to be unnecessary for purposes of planning observer deployments. Additional revisions may be made if the EM system has malfunctioned and the vessel operator has chosen to carry an observer, as allowed under paragraph (m)(3); or subsequently, the EM system has been repaired; and upon expiration or invalidation of the vessel's EM Authorization.

(n) Observer requirements. The operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization must provide advanced notice to NMFS, at least 48 hours prior to departing port, of the vessel operator's intent to take a trip under EM, including: vessel name, permit number; contact name and telephone number for coordination of observer deployment; date, time, and port of departure; and the vessel's trip plan, including area to be fished and gear type to be used. NMFS may waive this requirement for vessels declared into the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery or mothership sector with prior notice. If NMFS notifies the vessel owner, operator, or manager of any requirement to carry an observer, the vessel may not be used to fish for groundfish without carrying an observer. The vessel operator must comply with the following requirements on a trip that the vessel owner, operator, or manager has been notified is required to carry an observer.

(1) Notice of departure basic rule. At least 24 hours (but not more than 36 hours) before departing on a fishing trip, a vessel operator that has been notified by NMFS that his vessel is required to carry an observer, or that is operating in an active sampling unit, must notify NMFS (or its designated agent) of the vessel's intended time of departure. Notice will be given in a form to be specified by NMFS.

(2) Optional notice—weather delays. A vessel operator that anticipates a delayed departure due to weather or sea conditions may advise NMFS of the anticipated delay when providing the basic notice described in paragraph (n)(1) of this section. If departure is delayed beyond 36 hours from the time the original notice is given, the vessel operator must provide an additional notice of departure not less than 4 hours prior to departure, in order to enable NMFS to place an observer.

(3) Optional notice—back-to-back fishing trips. A vessel operator that intends to make back-to-back fishing trips (i.e., trips with less than 24 hours between offloading from one trip and beginning another), may provide a notice of departure as described in paragraph (n)(1) of this section for both trips, prior to making the first trip. A vessel operator that has given such notice is not required to give additional notice of the second trip.

(4) Cease fishing report. Within 24 hours of ceasing the taking and retaining of groundfish, vessel owners, operators, or managers must notify NMFS or its designated agent that fishing has ceased. This requirement applies to any vessel that is required to carry an observer, or that is operating in a segment of the fleet that NMFS has identified as an active sampling unit.

(5) Waiver. The West Coast Regional Administrator may provide written notification to the vessel owner stating that a determination has been made to temporarily waive coverage requirements because of circumstances that are deemed to be beyond the vessel's control.

(6) Accommodations and food. (i) Accommodations and food for trips less than 24 hours must be equivalent to those provided for the crew.

(ii) Accommodations and food for trips of 24 hours or more must be equivalent to those provided for the crew and must include berthing space, a space that is intended to be used for sleeping and is provided with installed bunks and mattresses. A mattress or futon on the floor or a cot is not acceptable if a regular bunk is provided to any crew member, unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the Regional Administrator or designee.

(7) Safe conditions. (i) The vessel operator must maintain safe conditions on the vessel for the protection of observers including adherence to all U.S. Coast Guard and other applicable rules, regulations, statutes, and guidelines pertaining to safe operation of the vessel, including, but not limited to rules of the road, vessel stability, emergency drills, emergency equipment, vessel maintenance, vessel general condition and port bar crossings, and provisions at §§600.725 and 600.746 of this chapter. An observer may refuse boarding or reboarding a vessel and may request a vessel to return to port if operated in an unsafe manner or if unsafe conditions are identified.

(ii) The vessel operator must have on board a valid Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Decal that certifies compliance with regulations found in 33 CFR chapter I and 46 CFR chapter I, a certificate of compliance issued pursuant to 46 CFR 28.710 or a valid certificate of inspection pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 3311.

(8) Observer communications. The vessel operator must facilitate observer communications by:

(i) Allowing observer(s) to use the vessel's communication equipment and personnel, on request, for the entry, transmission, and receipt of work related messages, at no cost to the observer(s) or the U.S. or designated agent; and

(ii) Ensuring that the vessel's communications equipment, used by observers to enter and transmit data, is fully functional and operational.

(9) Vessel position. The vessel operator must allow observer(s) access to the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel, on request, to determine the vessel's position.

(10) Access. The vessel operator must allow observer(s) free and unobstructed access to the vessel's bridge, trawl or working deck, holding bins, sorting areas, cargo hold, and any other space that may be used to hold, process, weigh, or store fish at any time.

(11) Prior notification. The vessel operator must notify observer(s) at least 15 minutes before fish are brought on board, or fish and fish products are transferred from the vessel, to allow sampling the catch or observing the transfer.

(12) Records. The vessel operator must allow observer(s) to inspect and copy any state or federal logbook maintained voluntarily or as required by regulation.

(13) Assistance. The vessel operator must provide all other reasonable assistance to enable observer(s) to carry out their duties, including, but not limited to:

(i) Measuring decks, codends, and holding bins.

(ii) Providing a designated safe working area on deck for the observer(s) to collect, sort and store catch samples.

(iii) Collecting samples of catch.

(iv) Collecting and carrying baskets of fish.

(v) Allowing the observer(s) to collect biological data and samples.

(vi) Providing adequate space for storage of biological samples.

(vii) Providing time between hauls to sample and record all catch.

(viii) Sorting retained and discarded catch into quota pound groupings.

(ix) Stowing all catch from a haul before the next haul is brought aboard.

(14) Sampling station. To allow the observer to carry out the required duties, the vessel operator must provide an observer sampling station that meets the following requirements so that the observer can carry out required duties.

(i) The observer sampling station must be available to the observer at all times.

(ii) The observer sampling station must be located within 4 m of the location from which the observer samples unsorted catch. Unobstructed passage must be provided between the observer sampling station and the location where the observer collects sample catch. To the extent possible, the area should be free and clear of hazards including, but not limited to, moving fishing gear, stored fishing gear, inclement weather conditions, and open hatches.

(15) Transfers at sea. Observers may be transferred at-sea between a MS vessel and a catcher vessel. Transfers at-sea between catcher vessels is prohibited. For transfers, both vessels must:

(i) Ensure that transfers of observers at sea via small boat under its own power are carried out during daylight hours, under safe conditions, and with the agreement of observers involved.

(ii) Notify observers at least 3 hours before observers are transferred, such that the observers can finish any sampling work, collect personal belongings, equipment, and scientific samples.

(iii) Provide a safe pilot ladder and conduct the transfer to ensure the safety of observers during transfers.

(iv) Provide an experienced crew member to assist observers in the small boat in which any transfer is made.

(16) Housing on vessel in port. During all periods an observer is housed on a vessel, the vessel operator must ensure that at least one crew member is aboard.

(o) Inspection. The operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization must make the EM system and associated equipment available for inspection immediately upon request by NMFS or any authorized officer.

(p) Retention requirements—(1) Pacific whiting IFQ and MS/CV vessels. The operator of a vessel on a declared limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ trip or limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector (catcher vessel or mothership) trip, EM trip must retain all fish until landing, with exceptions listed in paragraphs (p)(1)(i) through (v) of this section.

(i) Minor operational discards are permitted. Minor operational discards include mutilated fish; fish vented from an overfull codend, fish spilled from the codend during preparation for transfer to the mothership; and fish removed from the deck and fishing gear during cleaning. Minor operational discards do not include discards that result when more catch is taken than is necessary to fill the hold or catch from a tow that is not delivered.

(ii) Large individual marine organisms (i.e., all marine mammals, sea turtles, and non-ESA-listed seabirds, and fish species longer than 6 ft (1.8 m) in length) may be discarded. For any ESA-listed seabirds that are brought on board, vessel operators must follow any relevant instructions for handling and disposition under §660.21(c)(1)(v).

(iii) Crabs, starfish, coral, sponges, and other invertebrates may be discarded.

(iv) Trash, mud, rocks, and other inorganic debris may be discarded.

(v) A discard that is the result of an event that is beyond the control of the vessel operator or crew, such as a safety issue or mechanical failure, is permitted.

(2) Non-trawl shorebased IFQ. A vessel operator on a declared limited entry groundfish non-trawl, shorebased IFQ trip must retain all salmon and must discard Dungeness crab caught seaward of Washington or Oregon, Pacific halibut, green sturgeon, eulachon, sea turtles, and marine mammals. All other catch may be discarded following instructions in the VMP, except as required by the Seabird Avoidance Program at §660.21(c)(1)(v).

(q) Changes to retention requirements. Retention requirements for non-trawl shorebased IFQ vessels have been designated as “routine,” which means that they can be changed after a single Council meeting following the procedures described at §660.60(c).

(r) Catch handling. The vessel operator of a vessel on an EM trip must ensure that all catch is handled in a manner that enables the EM system to record it and that is consistent with the specific catch handling instructions in the NMFS-accepted VMP.

(s) Reporting requirements—(1) Discard logbook. The operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization must complete, submit, and maintain onboard the vessel an accurate federal discard logbook for each EM trip on forms supplied by or approved by NMFS. If authorized in writing by NMFS, a vessel owner or operator may submit reports electronically, for example by using a VMS or other media. A state logbook that contains all the required information may be submitted in place of a federal discard logbook. If operating an MS/CV vessel, the vessel operator must provide logbook information to the mothership observer by transmitting the logbook information via radio or email to the mothership at the completion of each haul.

(2) Submission of logbooks. Vessel operators must submit copies of the federal discard logbook and state retained logbook to NMFS or its agent within 24-hours of the end of each EM trip.

(3) Submission of EM data. Vessel operators must submit EM data to the vessel owner's contracted EM service provider using a method that documents time, date, and location of transmission and receipt. Deadlines for submission are as follows:

(i) Pacific whiting IFQ vessels. EM data from an EM trip must be submitted within 10 calendar days of the end of that EM trip.

(ii) Mothership catcher vessels. EM data from an EM trip must be submitted within 24-hours of the catcher vessel's return to port.

(iii) Non-trawl shorebased IFQ vessels. EM data from an EM trip must be submitted within 10 calendar days of the end of that EM trip.

(t) Retention of records. The operator of a vessel with a valid EM Authorization must maintain federal discard logbooks onboard the vessel until the end of the fishing year during which the EM trips were conducted, and make the report forms available to observers, NMFS staff, or authorized officers, immediately upon request. The vessel owner must maintain the federal discard logbooks and other records specified in this section, or used in the preparation of records or reports specified in this section or corrections to these reports, for a period of not less than three years after the date of landing from an EM trip. The vessel owner must make such records available for inspection by NMFS staff or authorized officers, immediately upon request.

(u) First receiver requirements—(1) Prohibited species handling and disposition. To ensure compliance with fishery regulations at 50 CFR part 300, subparts E and F, and part 600, subpart H; with the Pacific Salmon Fishery Management Plan; and with the Pacific Halibut Catch Share Plan; the handling and disposition of all prohibited species in EM trip landings are the responsibility of the first receiver and must be consistent with the following requirements:

(i) Any prohibited species landed at first receivers must not be transferred, processed, or mixed with another landing until the catch monitor has: Recorded the number and weight of salmon by species; inspected all prohibited species for tags or marks; and, collected biological data, specimens, and genetic samples.

(ii) No part of any prohibited species may be retained for personal use by a vessel owner or crew member, or by a first receiver or processing crew member. No part of any prohibited species may be allowed to reach commercial markets.

(iii) Prohibited species suitable for human consumption at landing must be handled and stored to preserve the quality. Priority in disposition must be given to the donation to surplus food collection and distribution system operated and established to assist in bringing donated food to nonprofit charitable organizations and individuals for the purpose of reducing hunger and meeting nutritional needs.

(iv) The first receiver must report all prohibited species landings on the electronic fish ticket and is responsible for maintaining records verifying the disposition of prohibited species. Records on catch disposition may include, but are not limited to: Receipts from charitable organizations that include the organization's name and amount of catch donated; cargo manifests setting forth the origin, weight, and destination of all prohibited species; or disposal receipts identifying the recipient organization and amount disposed. Any such records must be maintained for a period not less than three years after the date of disposal and such records must be provided to NMFS or authorized officers immediately upon request.

(2) Protected Species handling and disposition. All protected species must be abandoned to NMFS or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or disposed of consistent with paragraphs (u)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section. No part of any protected species may be retained for personal use by a vessel owner or crew member, or by a first receiver or processing crew member. No part of any protected species may be allowed to reach commercial markets.

(i) Eulachon and green sturgeon. Must be sorted and reported by species on electronic fish tickets and state landing receipts and may not be reported in unspecified categories. Whole body specimens of green sturgeon must be retained, frozen, stored separately by delivery, and labeled with the vessel name, electronic fish ticket number, and date of landing. Arrangements for transferring the specimens must be made by contacting NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center at 831-420-3903 within 72 hours after the completion of the offload.

(ii) Seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles. Albatross must reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (541-867-4558 extension 237 or 503-231-6179 as soon as possible and directions for surrendering must be followed. Marine mammals and sea turtles must be reported to NMFS as soon as possible (206-526-6550) and directions for surrendering or disposal must be followed. Whole body specimens must be labeled with the vessel name, electronic fish ticket number, and date of landing. Whole body specimens must be kept frozen or on ice until arrangements for surrendering or disposing are completed. Unless directed otherwise, after reporting is completed, seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles may be disposed by incinerating, rendering, composting, or returning the carcasses to sea.

[84 FR 31160, June 28, 2019; 84 FR 36035, July 26, 2019; 84 FR 67680, Dec. 11, 2019]

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