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e-CFR data is current as of September 17, 2020

Title 50Chapter VIPart 697Subpart A → §697.12


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 697—ATLANTIC COASTAL FISHERIES COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT
Subpart A—General Provisions


§697.12   At-sea sea sampler/observer coverage.

(a) The Regional Administrator may request any vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit to carry a NMFS-approved sea sampler/observer. If requested by the Regional Administrator to carry a sea sampler/observer, a vessel may not engage in any fishing operations in the respective fishery unless a sea sampler/observer is on board, or unless the requirement is waived, as specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

(b) If requested in writing by the Regional Administrator to carry a sea sampler/observer, it is the responsibility of the vessel owner to arrange for and facilitate sea sampler/observer placement. Owners of vessels selected for sea sampler/observer coverage must notify the appropriate Regional or Science and Research Administrator, as specified by the Regional Administrator, before commencing any fishing trip that may result in the harvest of resources of the respective fishery. Notification procedures will be specified in election letters to vessel owners.

(c) The Regional Administrator may waive in writing the requirement to carry a sea sampler/observer if the facilities on a vessel for housing the sea sampler/observer, or for carrying out sea sampler/observer functions, are so inadequate or unsafe that the health or safety of the sea sampler/observer, or the safe operation of the vessel, would be jeopardized.

(d) An owner or operator of a vessel on which a NMFS-approved sea sampler/observer is embarked must:

(1) Provide accommodations and food that are equivalent to those provided to the crew.

(2) Allow the sea sampler/observer access to and use of the vessel's communications equipment and personnel upon request for the transmission and receipt of messages related to the sea sampler's/observer's duties.

(3) Provide true vessel locations, by latitude and longitude or loran coordinates, as requested by the sea sampler/observer, and allow the sea sampler/observer access to and use of the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel upon request to determine the vessel's position.

(4) Notify the sea sampler/observer in a timely fashion of when fishing operations are to begin and end.

(5) Allow for the embarking and debarking of the sea sampler/observer, as specified by the Regional Administrator, ensuring that transfers of sea samplers/observers at sea are accomplished in a safe manner, via small boat or raft, during daylight hours as weather and sea conditions allow, and with the agreement of the sea samplers/observers involved.

(6) Allow the sea sampler/observer free and unobstructed access to the vessel's bridge, working decks, holding bins, weight scales, holds, and any other space used to hold, process, weigh, or store fish.

(7) Allow the sea sampler/observer to inspect and copy the vessel's log, communications log, and records associated with the catch and distribution of fish for that trip.

(e) The owner or operator of a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit, if requested by the sea sampler/observer also must:

(1) Notify the sea sampler/observer of any sea turtles, marine mammals, or other specimens taken by the vessel.

(2) Provide the sea sampler/observer with sea turtles, marine mammals, or other specimens taken by the vessel.

(f) NMFS may accept sea sampler/observer coverage funded by outside sources if:

(1) All coverage conducted by such sea samplers/observers is determined by NMFS to be in compliance with NMFS' sea sampler/observer guidelines and procedures.

(2) The owner or operator of the vessel complies with all other provisions of this part.

(3) The sea sampler/observer is approved by the Regional Administrator.

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