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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

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

Title 50Chapter VIPart 660 → Subpart D


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES


Subpart D—West Coast Groundfish—Limited Entry Trawl Fisheries


Contents
§660.100   Purpose and scope.
§660.111   Trawl fishery—definitions.
§660.112   Trawl fishery—prohibitions.
§660.113   Trawl fishery—recordkeeping and reporting.
§660.114   Trawl fishery—economic data collection program.
§660.115   Trawl fishery—cost recovery program.
§660.120   Trawl fishery—crossover provisions.
§660.130   Trawl fishery—management measures.
§660.131   Pacific whiting fishery management measures.
§660.140   Shorebased IFQ Program.
§660.150   Mothership (MS) Coop Program.
§660.160   Catcher/processor (C/P) Coop Program.
Table 1 (North) to Part 660, Subpart D—Limited Entry Trawl Rockfish Conservation Areas and Landing Allowances for Non-IFQ Species and Pacific Whiting North of 40°10 N Lat.
Table 1 (South) to Part 660, Subpart D—Limited Entry Trawl Landing Allowances for Non-IFQ Species and Pacific Whiting South of 40°10 N Lat.
Figure 1 to Part 660, Subpart D—Diagram of Selective Flatfish Trawl

Source: 75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, unless otherwise noted.

§660.100   Purpose and scope.

This subpart applies to the Pacific coast groundfish limited entry trawl fishery. Under the trawl rationalization program, the limited entry trawl fishery consists of the Shorebased IFQ Program, the MS Coop Program, and the C/P Coop Program. Nothing in these regulations shall be construed to modify, impair, or supersede the operation of any of the antitrust laws. The trawl rationalization program creates limited access privileges. These limited access privileges, including the QS or IBQ, QP or IBQ pounds, and catch history assignments, may be revoked, limited or modified at any time in accordance with the MSA—and do not create any right of compensation to the holder of the limited access privilege if it is revoked, limited, or modified. The trawl rationalization program does not create any right, title, or interest in or to any fish before the fish is harvested by the holder and shall be considered a grant of permission to the holder of the limited access privilege to engage in activities permitted by the trawl rationalization program.

[75 FR 78383, Dec. 15, 2010, as amended at 80 FR 77271, Dec. 14, 2015]

§660.111   Trawl fishery—definitions.

These definitions are specific to the limited entry trawl fisheries covered in this subpart. General groundfish definitions are found at §660.11.

Accumulation limits mean the maximum extent of permissible ownership, control or use of a privilege within the trawl rationalization program, and include the following:

(1) Shorebased IFQ Program. (i) Control limits means the maximum amount of QS or IBQ that a person may own or control, as described at §660.140(d)(4).

(ii) Vessel limits means the maximum amount of QP a vessel can hold, acquire, and/or use during a calendar year, and specify the maximum amount of QP that may be registered to a single vessel during the year (QP Vessel Limit) and, for some species, the maximum amount of unused QP registered to a vessel account at any one time (Unused QP Vessel Limit), as described at §660.140(e)(4). Compliance with the QP vessel limit (annual limit) is calculated as all QPs transferred in minus all QPs transferred out of the vessel account.

(2) MS Coop Program. (i) MS permit usage limit means the maximum amount of the annual mothership sector Pacific whiting allocation that a person owning an MS permit may cumulatively process, no more than 45 percent, as described at §660.150(f)(3)(i).

(ii) MS/CV permit ownership limit means the maximum amount of catch history assignment that a person may own, no more than 20 percent of the MS sector's allocation of Pacific whiting, as described at §660.150(g)(3)(i).

(iii) Catcher vessel usage limit means the maximum amount of the annual mothership sector Pacific whiting allocation that a vessel may catch, no more than 30 percent, as described at §660.150(g)(3)(ii).

Block area closures or BACs are a type of groundfish conservation area, defined at §660.11, bounded on the north and south by commonly used geographic coordinates, defined at §660.11, and on the east and west by boundary lines approximating depth contours, defined with latitude and longitude coordinates at §§660.71 through 660.74. BACs may be implemented or modified, off Oregon and California, as routine management measures, per regulations at §660.60(c). BACs may vary in their shape and duration. Their shape and effective dates will be announced in the Federal Register. BACs may have a specific re-opening date as described in the Federal Register, or may be in effect until modified. BACs that are in effect until modified by Council recommendation and subsequent NMFS action are set out in Tables 1 (North) and 1 (South) of this subpart.

Catch history assignment or CHA means a percentage of the mothership sector allocation of Pacific whiting based on a limited entry permit's qualifying history and which is specified on the MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit.

Catcher/processor coop or C/P coop means a harvester group that includes all eligible catcher/processor at-sea Pacific whiting endorsed permit owners who voluntarily form a coop and who manage the catcher/processor-specified allocations through private agreements and contracts.

Catcher/Processor (C/P) Coop Program or C/P sector, refers to the fishery described at §660.160, subpart D. The C/P Coop Program is composed of vessels registered to a limited entry permit with a C/P endorsement and a valid declaration for limited entry, midwater trawl, Pacific whiting catcher/processor sector.

Charterer means, for the purpose of economic data collection program, a person, other than the owner of the vessel, who: entered in to any agreement or commitment by which the possession or services of the vessel are secured for a period of time for the purposes of commercially harvesting or processing fish. A long-term or exclusive contract for the sale of all or a portion of the vessel's catch or processed products is not considered a charter.

Columbia River Salmon Conservation Zone means the ocean area surrounding the Columbia River mouth bounded by a line extending for 6 nm due west from North Head along 46°18 N lat. to 124°13.30 W long., then southerly along a line of 167 True to 46°11.10 N lat. and 124°11 W long. (Columbia River Buoy), then northeast along Red Buoy Line to the tip of the south jetty.

Complete economic data collection (EDC) form means that a response is supplied for each question, sub-question, and answer-table cell. If particular question or sub-question is not applicable, “NA”, must be entered in the appropriate space on the form. The form must also be signed and dated to certify that the information is true and complete to the best of the signatory's knowledge.

Coop agreement means a private agreement between a group of MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit owners or C/P-endorsed permit owners that contains all information specified at §§660.150 and 660.160, subpart D.

Coop member means a permit owner of an MS/CV-endorsed permit for the MS Coop Program that is a party to an MS coop agreement, or a permit owner of a C/P-endorsed permit for the C/P Coop Program that is legally obligated to the C/P coop.

Coop permit means a Federal permit required to participate as a Pacific whiting coop in the catcher/processor or mothership sectors.

Designated coop manager means an individual appointed by a permitted coop that is identified in the coop agreement and is responsible for actions described at §§660.150 (for an MS coop) or 660.160 (for a C/P coop), subpart D.

Ex-vessel value means, for the purposes of the cost recovery program specified at §660.115, all compensation (based on an arm's length transaction between a buyer and seller) that a fish buyer pays to a fish seller in exchange for groundfish species (as defined in §660.11), and includes the value of all in-kind compensation and all other goods or services exchanged in lieu of cash. Ex-vessel value shall be determined before any deductions are made for transferred or leased allocation, or for any goods or services.

(1) For the Shorebased IFQ Program, the value of all groundfish species (as defined in §660.11) from IFQ landings.

(2) For the MS Coop Program, the value of all groundfish species (as defined in §660.11) delivered by a catcher vessel to an MS-permitted vessel.

(3) For the C/P Coop Program, the value as determined by the aggregate pounds of all groundfish species catch (as defined in §660.11) retained on board, by the vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit, multiplied by the MS Coop Program average price per pound as announced pursuant to §660.115(b)(2).

Fish buyer means, for the purposes of the cost recovery program specified at §660.115,

(1) For the Shorebased IFQ Program, the IFQ first receiver as defined in §660.111.

(2) For the MS Coop Program, the owner of a vessel registered to an MS permit, the operator of a vessel registered to an MS permit, and the owner of the MS permit registered to that vessel. All three parties shall be jointly and severally responsible for fulfilling the obligations of a fish buyer.

(3) For the C/P Coop Program, the owner of a vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit, the operator of a vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit, and the owner of the C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit registered to that vessel. All three parties shall be jointly and severally responsible for fulfilling the obligations of a fish buyer.

Fish seller means the party who harvests and first sells or otherwise delivers groundfish species (as defined in §660.11) to a fish buyer.

IBQ pounds means the quotas, expressed in round weight of fish, that are issued annually to each QS permit owner in the Shorebased IFQ Program based on the amount of IBQ they own and the amount of allowable bycatch mortality allocated to the Shorebased IFQ Program. IBQ pounds have the same species/species group and area designations as the IBQ from which they are issued.

IFQ first receivers mean persons who first receive, purchase, or take custody, control, or possession of catch onshore directly from a vessel that harvested the catch while fishing under the Shorebased IFQ Program described at §660.140, subpart D.

IFQ landing means an offload of fish harvested under the Shorebased IFQ Program described at §660.140, subpart D.

IFQ trip means a trip in which the vessel has a valid fishing declaration for any of the following: Limited entry midwater trawl, non-whiting shorebased IFQ; Limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ; Limited entry bottom trawl, shorebased IFQ, not including demersal trawl; Limited entry demersal trawl, shorebased IFQ; or Limited entry groundfish non-trawl, shorebased IFQ.

Individual bycatch quota (IBQ) means the amount of bycatch quota for an individual species/species group and area expressed as a percentage of the annual allocation of allowable bycatch mortality to the Shorebased IFQ Program. IBQ is used as the basis for the annual calculation and allocation of a QS permit owner's IBQ pounds in the Shorebased IFQ Program. Both IBQ and QS may be listed on a QS permit and in the associated QS account. Species for which IBQ will be issued for the Shorebased IFQ Program are listed at §660.140, subpart D.

Individual fishing quota (IFQ) means a Federal permit to harvest a quantity of fish, expressed as a percentage of the total allowable catch of a fishery that may be received or held for exclusive use by a person. An IFQ is a harvest privilege that may be revoked at any time in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act. IFQ species for the Shorebased IFQ Program are listed at §660.140, subpart D.

Inter-coop means two or more permitted coops that have submitted an accepted inter-coop agreement to NMFS that specifies a coordinated strategy for harvesting pooled allocations of Pacific whiting and non-whiting groundfish.

Inter-coop agreement means a written agreement between two or more permitted mothership coops and which contains private contractual arrangements for sharing catch and/or bycatch with one another.

Klamath River Salmon Conservation Zone means the ocean area surrounding the Klamath River mouth bounded on the north by 41°38.80 N lat. (approximately 6 nm north of the Klamath River mouth), on the west by 124°23 W long. (approximately 12 nm from shore), and on the south by 41°26.80 N lat. (approximately 6 nm south of the Klamath River mouth).

Lessee means, for the purpose of economic data collection program, a person, other than the owner of the vessel or facility, who: was identified as the leaseholder, in a written lease, of the vessel or facility, or paid expenses of the vessel or facility, or claimed expenses for the vessel or facility as a business expense on a federal income tax return, or on a state income tax return.

Material change means, for the purposes of a coop agreement, a change to any of the required components of the coop agreement, defined at §§660.150 and 660.160, subpart D, which was submitted to NMFS during the application process for the coop permit.

Maximized retention means a vessel retains all catch from a trip until landing, subject to the specifications of this subpart.

Mothership coop or MS coop means a group of MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit owners that are authorized by means of a coop permit to jointly harvest and process from a single coop allocation.

Mothership Coop Program or MS Coop Program means the MS Coop Program described at §660.150, subpart D, and includes both the coop and non-coop fisheries.

Mothership (MS) Coop Program or MS sector refers to the fishery described at §660.150, subpart D, and includes both the coop and non-coop fisheries. The MS Coop Program is composed of motherships with MS permits and catcher vessels registered to a limited entry permit with an MS/CV endorsement and a valid declaration for limited entry, midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector. The MS Coop Program also includes vessels registered to a limited entry permit without an MS/CV endorsement if the vessel is authorized to harvest the MS sector's allocation and has a valid declaration for limited entry, midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector.

Mutual agreement exception means, for the purpose of §660.150, subpart D, an agreement that allows the owner of an MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit to withdraw the permit's obligation of its catch history assignment to a permitted mothership processor, when mutually agreed to with the mothership processor, and to obligate to a different permitted mothership processor.

Net ex-vessel value means, for the purposes of the cost recovery program specified at §660.115, the ex-vessel value minus the cost recovery fee.

Pacific halibut set-aside means an amount of Pacific halibut annually set aside for the at-sea whiting fisheries (mothership and C/P sectors) and which is based on the trawl allocation of Pacific whiting.

Pacific whiting fishery refers to the Pacific whiting primary season fisheries described at §660.131. The Pacific whiting fishery is composed of vessels participating in the C/P Coop Program, the MS Coop Program, or the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery.

Pacific whiting IFQ fishery is composed of vessels on Pacific whiting IFQ trips.

Pacific whiting IFQ trip means a trip in which a vessel uses midwater groundfish trawl gear during the dates of the Pacific whiting primary season to target Pacific whiting, and Pacific whiting constitutes 50 percent or more of the catch by weight at landing as reported on the state landing receipt. Vessels on Pacific whiting IFQ trips must have a valid declaration for limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ.

Processor obligation means an annual requirement for an MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit to assign the amount of catch available from the permit's catch history assignment to a particular MS permit.

Quota pounds (QP) means the quotas, expressed in round weight of fish, that are issued annually to each QS permit owner in the Shorebased IFQ Program based on the amount of QS they own and the amount of fish allocated to the Shorebased IFQ Program. QP have the same species/species group and area designations as the QS from which they are issued.

Quota share (QS) means the amount of fishing quota for an individual species/species group and area expressed as a percentage of the annual allocation of fish to the Shorebased IFQ Program. The QS is used as the basis for the annual calculation and allocation of a QS permit owner's QP in the Shorebased IFQ Program. Both QS and IBQ may be listed on a QS permit and in the associated QS account. Species for which QS will be issued for the Shorebased IFQ Program are listed at §660.140, subpart D.

Shorebased IFQ Program or Shorebased IFQ sector, refers to the fishery described at §660.140, subpart D, and includes all vessels on IFQ trips.

Stow or stowed, for the purposes of this subpart, means the subject trawl gear is either stored below deck; or, if the gear cannot readily be moved, must be stowed in a secured and covered manner detached from all towing lines so that it is rendered unusable for fishing; or, if remaining on deck uncovered, must be stowed disconnected from the trawl doors with the trawl doors hung from their stanchions.

Vessel account means an account held by the vessel owner where QP and IBQ pounds are registered for use by a vessel in the Shorebased IFQ Program.

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 78383, Dec. 15, 2010; 76 FR 74739, Dec. 1, 2011; 78 FR 68769, Nov. 15, 2013; 78 FR 75278, Dec. 11, 2013; 80 FR 77271, Dec. 14, 2015; 84 FR 63986, Nov. 19, 2019; 84 FR 68806, Dec. 17, 2019]

Editorial Note: At 80 FR 77271, Dec. 14, 2015, §660.111 was amended; however, a portion of the amendment could not be incorporated due to inaccurate amendatory instruction.

§660.112   Trawl fishery—prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in §660.12 and §600.725 of this chapter, it is unlawful for any person or vessel to:

(a) General—(1) Trawl gear endorsement. Fish with groundfish trawl gear, or carry groundfish trawl gear on board a vessel that also has groundfish on board, unless the vessel is registered for use with a valid limited entry permit with a trawl gear endorsement, with the following exception.

(i) The vessel is in continuous transit from outside the fishery management area to a port in Washington, Oregon, or California;

(ii) The vessel is registered to a limited entry MS permit with a valid mothership fishery declaration, in which case trawl nets and doors must be stowed in a secured and covered manner, and detached from all towing lines, so as to be rendered unusable for fishing.

(2) Sorting, retention, and disposition. (i) Fail to sort, retain, discard, or dispose of catch consistent with the requirements specified at §§660.130(d), 660.140 (b)(2)(iii) and (viii), 660.140(g), and 660.140(j)(2).

(ii) Fail to sort, retain, discard, or dispose of prohibited and protected species from maximized retention landings consistent with the requirements specified at §660.140(g)(3).

(iii) Retain for personal use or allow to reach commercial markets any part of any prohibited or protected species.

(3) Recordkeeping and reporting. (i) Fail to comply with all recordkeeping and reporting requirements at §660.13, subpart C; including failure to submit information, or submission of inaccurate or false information on any report required at §660.13(d), subpart C, and §660.113.

(ii) Falsify or fail to make and/or file, retain or make available any and all reports of groundfish landings, containing all data, and in the exact manner, required by the regulation at §660.13, subpart C, or §660.113.

(iii) Failure to submit a complete EDC form to NMFS as required by §660.113.

(4) Observers. (i) Fish in the Shorebased IFQ Program, the MS Coop Program, or the C/P Coop Program without observer coverage.

(ii) Fish in the Shorebased IFQ Program, the MS Coop Program, or the C/P Coop Program if the vessel is inadequate or unsafe for observer deployment as described at §660.12(e).

(iii) Fail to maintain observer coverage in port as specified at §660.140(h)(1)(i).

(5) Fishing in conservation areas with trawl gear. (i) Operate any vessel registered to a limited entry permit with a trawl endorsement in an applicable GCA (defined at §§660.11 and 660.130), except for purposes of continuous transiting (defined at §660.11), unless all groundfish trawl gear on board is stowed (as defined at §660.111), or unless otherwise authorized at §660.130.

(ii) Fish with bottom trawl gear (defined at §660.11) anywhere within EFH seaward of a line approximating the 700-fm (1,280-m) depth contour, as defined in §660.76. For the purposes of regulation, EFH seaward of 700-fm (1,280-m) within the EEZ is described at §660.75.

(iii) Fish with bottom trawl gear (defined at §660.11) 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) anywhere within EFH within the EEZ. For the purposes of regulation, EFH within the EEZ is described at §660.75.

(iv) Fish with bottom trawl gear (defined at §660.11) with a footrope diameter greater than 8 inches (20 cm) (including rollers, bobbins or other material encircling or tied along the length of the footrope) anywhere within the EEZ shoreward of a line approximating the 100-fm (183-m) depth contour (defined at §660.73).

(v) Fish with bottom trawl gear (defined at §660.11), within the EEZ in the following EFHCAs areas (defined at §§660.77 and 660.78): Olympic 2, Biogenic 1, Biogenic 2, Quinault Canyon, Grays Canyon, Willapa Canyonhead, Willapa Deep, Biogenic 3, Astoria Deep, Astoria Canyon, Nehalem Bank/Shale Pile, Garibaldi Reef North, Garibaldi Reef South, Siletz Deepwater, Daisy Bank/Nelson Island, Newport Rockpile/Stonewall Bank, Hydrate Ridge, Heceta Bank, Deepwater off Coos Bay, Arago Reef, Bandon High Spot, Rogue Canyon, and Rogue River Reef.

(vi) Fish with bottom trawl gear (defined at §660.11), other than demersal seine, unless otherwise specified in this section or §660.130, within the EEZ in the following EFHCAs areas (defined at §660.79): Brush Patch, Trinidad Canyon, Mad River Rough Patch, Samoa Deepwater, Eel River Canyon, Blunts Reef, Mendocino Ridge, Delgada Canyon, Tolo Bank, Navarro Canyon, Point Arena North, Point Arena South Biogenic Area, The Football, Gobbler's Knob, Point Reyes Reef, Cordell Bank/Biogenic Area, Rittenburg Bank, Farallon Islands/Fanny Shoal/Cochrane Bank, Farallon Escarpment, Half Moon Bay, Pescadero Reef, Pigeon Point Reef, Ascension Canyonhead, South of Davenport, Monterey Bay/Canyon, West of Sobranes Point, Point Sur Deep, Big Sur Coast/Port San Luis, La Cruz Canyon, West of Piedras Blancas State Marine Conservation Area, East San Lucia Bank, Point Conception, Hidden Reef/Kidney Bank (within Cowcod Conservation Area West), Catalina Island, Potato Bank (within Cowcod Conservation Area West), Cherry Bank (within Cowcod Conservation Area West), Cowcod EFHCA Conservation Area East, and Southern California Bight.

(vii) Fish with bottom contact gear (defined at §660.11) within specific EFHCAs and the DECA, consistent with the prohibitions at §660.12(a)(4), (16) through (18).

(6) Cost recovery program. (i) Fail to fully pay or collect any fee due under the cost recovery program specified at §660.115 and/or otherwise avoid, decrease, interfere with, hinder, or delay any such payment or collection.

(ii) Convert, or otherwise use any paid or collected fee for any purpose other than the purposes specified in this subpart.

(iii) For the Shorebased IFQ Program and the MS Coop Program, fail to deposit on time the full amount of all fee revenue collected under the cost recovery program specified at §660.115 into a deposit account, or fail to timely disburse the full amount of all deposit principal to the Fund.

(iv) Fail to maintain records as required by §660.113 and/or fail to make reports to NMFS as required under §660.113.

(v) Fail to advise NMFS of any fish buyer's failure to collect any fee due and payable under the cost recovery program specified at §660.115.

(vi) Refuse to allow NMFS employees, agents, or contractors to review and audit all records and other information required to be maintained as set forth in §660.113, and/or §660.115.

(vii) Make any false statement to NMFS, including any NMFS employee, agent or contractor, concerning a matter related to the cost recovery program described in this subpart.

(viii) Obstruct, prevent, or delay, or attempt to obstruct, prevent, or delay, any audit or investigation NMFS employees, agents, or contractors conduct, or attempt to conduct, in connection with any of the matters in the cost recovery program described in this subpart.

(b) Shorebased IFQ Program—(1) General. (i) Own or control by any means whatsoever an amount of QS or IBQ that exceeds the Shorebased IFQ Program accumulation limits.

(ii) Fish in the Shorebased IFQ Program with a vessel that does not have a valid vessel account or that has a vessel account with a deficit (negative balance) for any species/species group.

(iii) Have any IFQ species/species group catch (landings and discards) from an IFQ trip not covered by QP for greater than 30 days from the date the deficit (negative balance) from that trip is documented, unless the deficit is within the limits of the carryover provision specified at §660.140(e)(5), subpart D, in which case the vessel has 30 days after the QP for the following year are issued to eliminate the deficit.

(iv) Register the limited entry trawl endorsed permit to another vessel or sell the limited entry trawl endorsed permit to another owner if the vessel registered to the permit has a deficit (negative balance) in their vessel account, until the deficit is covered, regardless of the amount of the deficit.

(v) Use QP by vessels not registered to a limited entry trawl permit with a valid vessel account.

(vi) Use QP in an area or for species/species groups other than that for which it is designated.

(vii) For vessels fishing with multiple trawl gear types on a single trip, fail to keep catch from different trawl gears separate and land the catch separately by gear type.

(viii) Fish on a Pacific whiting IFQ trip with a gear other than midwater groundfish trawl gear.

(ix) Fish on a Pacific whiting IFQ trip without a valid declaration for limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting shorebased IFQ.

(x) Use midwater groundfish trawl gear Pacific whiting IFQ fishery primary season dates as specified at §660.131(b).

(xi) Mix catch from different hauls before all sampling and monitoring requirements for the hauls have been met.

(xii) Process groundfish at-sea (“at-sea processing”) by vessels in the Shorebased IFQ Program regardless of the type of gear used, with the following exceptions:

(A) A vessel that is 75-ft (23-m) or less LOA that harvests Pacific whiting and, in addition to heading and gutting, cuts the tail off and freezes the whiting, is not considered to be a C/P vessel nor is it considered to be processing fish, and

(B) A vessel that has a non-whiting at-sea processing exemption, described at §660.25(b)(6)(ii) may process non-whiting groundfish at sea.

(xiii) Discard or attempt to discard IFQ species/species group at sea unless the observer has documented or estimated the discards.

(xiv) Begin a new fishing trip until all fish from an IFQ landing have been offloaded from the vessel, consistent with §660.12(a)(11).

(xv) Fail to establish a new registered vessel account in the name of the current vessel owner, following a change in ownership of a vessel, prior to fishing in the Shorebased IFQ Program with that vessel.

(xvi) Land groundfish taken and retained during an IFQ trip, from the vessel that harvested the fish, to a first receiver that does not hold a valid first receiver site license for the physical location where the IFQ landing occurred.

(2) IFQ first receivers. (i) Receive, purchase, or take custody, control, or possession of an IFQ landing from a vessel that harvested the catch while fishing under the Shorebased IFQ Program without a valid first receiver site license.

(ii) Fail to sort or dispose of catch received from an IFQ trip in accordance with the requirements of §§660.130(d) and 660.140(g)(3).

(iii) Process, sell, or discard any groundfish received from an IFQ landing that has not been weighed on a scale that is in compliance with requirements at §660.15, subpart C.

(iv) Transport catch away from the point of landing before that catch has been sorted and weighed by federal groundfish species or species group, and recorded for submission on an electronic fish ticket. (If fish will be transported to a different location for processing, all sorting and weighing to federal groundfish species groups must occur before transporting the catch away from the point of landing).

(v) Receive an IFQ landing without coverage by a catch monitor when one is required by regulations, unless NMFS has granted a written waiver exempting the IFQ first receiver from the catch monitor coverage requirements. On a case-by-case basis, a temporary written waiver may be granted by the Assistant Regional Administrator or designee if he/she determines that the failure to obtain coverage of a catch monitor was due to circumstances beyond the control of the first receiver. The duration of the waiver will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

(vi) Receive an IFQ landing without a NMFS-accepted catch monitoring plan or not in accordance with their NMFS-accepted catch monitoring plan.

(vii) Mix catch from more than one IFQ landing prior to the catch being sorted and weighed.

(viii) Fail to comply with the IFQ first receiver responsibilities specified at §660.140(b)(2).

(ix) Process, sell, or discard any groundfish received from an IFQ landing that has not been accounted for on an electronic fish ticket with the identification number for the vessel that delivered the fish.

(x) Fail to submit, or submit incomplete or inaccurate information on any report, application, or statement required under this part.

(c) MS and C/P Coop Programs. (1) Process Pacific whiting in the fishery management area during times or in areas where at-sea processing is prohibited for the sector in which the vessel fishes, unless:

(i) The fish are received from a member of a Pacific Coast treaty Indian tribe fishing under §660.50, subpart C;

(ii) The fish are processed by a waste-processing vessel according to §660.131(g); or

(iii) The vessel is completing processing of Pacific whiting taken on board prior to the close of that vessel's primary season.

(2) During times or in areas where at-sea processing is prohibited, take and retain or receive Pacific whiting, except as cargo or fish waste, on a vessel in the fishery management area that already has processed Pacific whiting on board. An exception to this prohibition is provided if the fish are received within the tribal U&A fishing area, described at §660.4, subpart A, from a member of a Pacific Coast treaty Indian tribe fishing under §660.50, subpart C.

(3) Operate as a waste-processing vessel within 48 hours of a primary season for Pacific whiting in which that vessel operates as a catcher/processor or mothership, according to §660.131(g).

(4) Catch, take, or harvest fish in the MS Coop Program with a vessel that does not have a valid VMS declaration for limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector, as specified at §660.13(d)(4)(iv)(A), subpart C.

(5) Fail to weigh all fish taken and retained aboard the vessel on a scale that meets the performance and technical requirements specified at §660.15(b).

(6) Weigh fish taken and retained aboard the vessel without operating and maintaining a video monitoring system that meets the performance and technical requirements specified at §660.15(e).

(d) MS Coop Program (coop and non-coop fisheries). (1) Catch, take, or harvest fish in the mothership non-coop fishery with a vessel that is not registered to a current MS/CV-endorsed limited entry trawl permit.

(2) Receive catch, process catch, or otherwise fish as a mothership vessel if it is not registered to a current MS permit.

(3) Fish with a vessel in the mothership sector, if that vessel was used to fish in the C/P fishery in the same calendar year.

(4) Catch, take, or harvest fish in the MS Coop Program with a vessel that does not have a valid VMS declaration for limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting mothership sector, as specified at §660.13(d)(5)(iv)(A), subpart C.

(5) Transfer catch to a vessel that is not registered to an MS permit. (i.e., a tender vessel).

(6) Use a vessel registered to a limited entry permit with a trawl endorsement (with or without an MS/CV endorsement) to catch more than 30 percent of the Pacific whiting allocation for the mothership sector.

(7) Process more than 45 percent of the annual mothership sector's Pacific whiting allocation.

(8) Catch, take, or harvest fish before all catch from any previous haul has been transferred to a single vessel registered to an MS permit.

(9) Transfer catch from a single haul to more than one permitted MS vessel.

(10) Catch, take, or harvest fish for a MS coop with a vessel that has not been identified by the coop as a vessel authorized to harvest that coop's allocation.

(11) Catch, take, or harvest fish in the non-coop fishery with a vessel registered to an MS/CV-endorsed permit in the same year the MS/CV-endorsed permit was registered to a vessel that fished as a member of a coop in the MS Coop Program.

(12) Sort or discard any portion of the catch taken by a catcher vessel in the MS Coop Program before the catcher vessel observer completes sampling of the catch, except for minor operational amounts of catch lost by a catcher vessel provided the observer has accounted for the discard (i.e., a maximized retention fishery).

(13) Mix catch from more than one haul before the observer completes their collection of catch for sampling.

(14) Take deliveries without a valid scale inspection report signed by an authorized scale inspector on board the MS vessel.

(15) Sort, process, or discard catch delivered to MS vessels before the catch is weighed on a scale that meets the requirements of §660.15(b), including the daily test requirements.

(16) Retain and process more than 1 mt of Shared EC Species other than squid species in any calendar year; or, retain and process more than 40 mt of any Shared EC squid species in any calendar year.

(e) C/P Coop Program. (1) Fish with a vessel in the catcher/processor sector that is not registered to a current C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit.

(2) Fish as a catcher/processor vessel in the same year that the vessel fishes as a catcher vessel in the mothership fishery.

(3) Fish as a catcher/processor vessel in the same year that the vessel operates as a mothership in the mothership fishery.

(4) Fish in the C/P Coop Program with a vessel that does not have a valid VMS declaration for limited entry midwater trawl, Pacific whiting catcher/processor sector, as specified at §660.13(d)(4)(iv)(A).

(5) Fish in the C/P Coop Program with a vessel that is not identified in the C/P coop agreement.

(6) Fish in the C/P Coop Program without a valid scale inspection report signed by an authorized scale inspector on board the vessel.

(7) Sort, process, or discard catch before the catch is weighed on a scale that meets the requirements of §660.15(b), including the daily test requirements.

(8) Discard any catch from the codend or net (i.e., bleeding) before the observer has completed their data collection.

(9) Mix catch from more than one haul before the observer completes their collection of catch for sampling.

(10) Retain and process more than 1 mt of Shared EC Species other than squid species in any calendar year; or, retain and process more than 40 mt of any Shared EC squid species in any calendar year.

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 78384, Dec. 15, 2010; 76 FR 53837, Aug. 30, 2011; 76 FR 74739, Dec. 1, 2011; 77 FR 55155, Sept. 7, 2012; 78 FR 629, Jan. 3, 2013; 78 FR 68769, Nov. 15, 2013; 78 FR 75279, Dec. 11, 2013; 80 FR 22285, Apr. 21, 2015; 80 FR 77272, Dec. 14, 2015; 81 FR 19058, Apr. 4, 2016; 81 FR 27010, May 5, 2016; 81 FR 36808, June 8, 2016; 81 FR 84429, Nov. 23, 2016; 83 FR 62276, Dec. 3, 2018; 84 FR 63986, Nov. 19, 2019]

§660.113   Trawl fishery—recordkeeping and reporting.

General groundfish recordkeeping and reporting requirements are defined at §660.13, subpart C. The following recordkeeping and reporting requirements are in addition to those and are specific to the limited entry trawl fisheries.

(a) General requirements. (1) All records or reports required by this paragraph (a) must: be maintained in English, be accurate, be legible, be based on local time, and be submitted in a timely manner.

(2) All records used in the preparation of records or reports specified in this section or corrections to these reports must be maintained for a period of not less than three years after the date of landing and must be immediately available upon request for inspection by NMFS or authorized officers or others as specifically authorized by NMFS. Records used in the preparation of required reports specified in this section or corrections to these reports that are required to be kept include, but are not limited to, any written, recorded, graphic, electronic, or digital materials as well as other information stored in or accessible through a computer or other information retrieval system; worksheets; weight slips; preliminary, interim, and final tally sheets; receipts; checks; ledgers; notebooks; diaries; spreadsheets; diagrams; graphs; charts; tapes; disks; or computer printouts. All relevant records used in the preparation of electronic fish ticket reports or corrections to these reports, including dock tickets, must be maintained for a period of not less than three years after the date of landing and must be immediately available upon request for inspection by NMFS or authorized officers or others as specifically authorized by NMFS.

(b) Shorebased IFQ Program. (1) Economic data collection (EDC) program. The following persons are required to submit an EDC form as specified at §660.114:

(i) All owners, lessees, and charterers of a catcher vessel registered to a limited entry trawl endorsed permit.

(ii) All owners of a first receiver site license.

(iii) All owners and lessees of a shorebased processor.

(iv) All owners of a quota share (QS) permit as defined at §660.25(c).

(2) Electronic vessel logbook. [Reserved]

(3) Gear switching declaration. Any person with a limited entry trawl permit participating in the Shorebased IFQ Program using groundfish non-trawl gear (i.e., gear switching) must submit a valid gear declaration reporting such participation as specified in §660.13(d)(4)(iv)(A).

(4) Electronic fish ticket. The IFQ first receiver is responsible for compliance with all reporting requirements described in this paragraph.

(i) Required information. All IFQ first receivers must provide the following types of information: Date of landing, vessel that made the delivery, vessel account number, name of the vessel operator, gear type used, catch area, first receiver, actual weights of species landed listed by species or species group including species with no value, condition landed, number of salmon by species, number of Pacific halibut, ex-vessel value of the landing by species, fish caught inside/outside 3 miles or both, and any other information deemed necessary by the Regional Administrator as specified on the appropriate electronic fish ticket form.

(ii) Submissions. The IFQ first receiver must:

(A) Include, as part of each electronic fish ticket submission, the actual scale weight for each groundfish species as specified by requirements at §660.15(c), and the vessel identification number. Use, and maintain in good working order, hardware, software, and internet access as specified at §660.15(d).

(B) Submit a completed electronic fish ticket for every IFQ landing no later than 24 hours after the date the fish are received, unless a waiver of this requirement has been granted under provisions specified at paragraph (b)(4)(iv) of this section.

(C) Follow these process and submittal requirements for offloading at a first receiver site where the fish will be processed at the offload site or if an electronic fish ticket will be recorded prior to transport:

(1) The IFQ first receiver must communicate the electronic fish ticket number to the catch monitor.

(2) After completing the offload, the electronic fish ticket information must be recorded immediately.

(3) Prior to submittal of the electronic fish ticket, the information recorded for the electronic fish ticket must be reviewed by the catch monitor and the vessel operator who delivered the fish.

(4) After review, the IFQ first receiver and the vessel operator must sign a printed hard copy of the electronic fish ticket or, if the delivery occurs outside of business hours, the original dock ticket.

(5) Prior to submittal, three copies of the printed, signed, electronic fish ticket must be produced by the IFQ first receiver and a copy provided to each of the following:

(i) The vessel operator,

(ii) The state of origin if required by state regulations, and

(iii) The IFQ first receiver.

(6) After review and signature, the electronic fish ticket must be submitted within 24 hours of the completion of the offload, as specified in paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B) of this section.

(D) Follow these process and submittal requirements for offloading at a first receiver site where the fish will be transported for processing at a different location if an electronic fish ticket is not recorded prior to transport:

(1) The IFQ first receiver must communicate the electronic fish ticket number to the catch monitor at the beginning of the offload.

(2) The vessel name and the electronic fish ticket number must be recorded on each dock ticket related to that delivery.

(3) Upon completion of the dock ticket, but prior to transfer of the offload to another location, the dock ticket information that will be used to complete the electronic fish ticket must be reviewed by the catch monitor and the vessel operator who delivered the fish.

(4) After review, the IFQ first receiver and the vessel operator must sign the original copy of each dock ticket related to that delivery.

(5) Prior to submittal of the electronic fish ticket, three copies of the signed dock ticket must be produced by the IFQ first receiver and a copy provided to each of the following:

(i) The vessel operator,

(ii) The state of origin if required by state regulations, and

(iii) The IFQ first receiver.

(6) Based on the information contained in the signed dock ticket, the electronic fish ticket must be completed and submitted within 24 hours of the completion of the offload, as specified in paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(D) of this section.

(7) Three copies of the electronic fish ticket must be produced by the IFQ first receiver and a copy provided to each of the following:

(i) The vessel operator,

(ii) The state of origin if required by state regulations, and

(iii) The IFQ first receiver.

(iii) Revising a submission. In the event that a data error is found, electronic fish ticket submissions must be revised by resubmitting the revised form electronically. Electronic fish tickets are to be used for the submission of final data. Preliminary data, including estimates of fish weights or species composition, shall not be submitted on electronic fish tickets.

(iv) Waivers for submission. On a case-by-case basis, a temporary written waiver of the requirement to submit electronic fish tickets may be granted by the Assistant Regional Administrator or designee if he/she determines that circumstances beyond the control of a first receiver would result in inadequate data submissions using the electronic fish ticket system. The duration of the waiver will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

(v) Reporting requirements when a temporary waiver has been granted. IFQ first receivers that have been granted a temporary waiver from the requirement to submit electronic fish tickets must submit on paper the same data as is required on electronic fish tickets within 24 hours of the date received during the period that the waiver is in effect. Paper fish tickets must be sent by facsimile to NMFS, West Coast Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 206-526-6736 or by delivering it in person to 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115. The requirements for submissions of paper tickets in this paragraph are separate from, and in addition to existing state requirements for landing receipts or fish receiving tickets.

(5) Cost recovery program. In addition to the requirements at paragraph (a) of this section, the fish buyer, as defined at §660.111 for the Shorebased IFQ Program, is required to comply with the following recordkeeping and reporting requirements:

(i) Reporting. The fish buyer must submit a cost recovery form at the time cost recovery fees are paid to NMFS as specified at §660.115. The cost recovery form requires providing information that includes, but is not limited to, fish buyer's name, address, phone number, first receiver site license number, month and year of landings, weight of landings, ex-vessel value, and fee due.

(ii) Recordkeeping. The fish buyer must maintain the following records:

(A) For all deliveries of groundfish that the fish buyer buys from each fish seller:

(1) The date of delivery,

(2) The fish seller's identity,

(3) The weight of each species of groundfish delivered,

(4) Information sufficient to specifically identify the fishing vessel which delivered the groundfish,

(5) The ex-vessel value of each species of groundfish,

(6) The net ex-vessel value of each species of groundfish,

(7) The identity of the payee to whom the net ex-vessel value is paid, if different than the fish seller,

(8) The date the net ex-vessel value was paid,

(9) The total fee amount collected as a result of all groundfish.

(B) For all fee collection deposits to and disbursements from the deposit account:

(1) The date of each deposit in to the deposit account required at §660.115(d)(1)(ii)(A),

(2) The total amount deposited in to the deposit account,

(3) The date of each disbursement,

(4) The total amount disbursed,

(5) The dates and amounts of disbursements to the fish buyer, or other parties, of interest earned on deposits.

(c) MS Coop Program (coop and non-coop fisheries)—(1) Economic data collection (EDC) program. The following persons are required to submit a complete economic data collection form as specified at §660.114.

(i) All owners, lessees, and charterers of a catcher vessel registered to a limited entry trawl MS/CV-endorsed permit.

(ii) All owners, lessees, and charterers of a vessel registered to an MS permit.

(2) NMFS-approved scale—(i) Scale test report form. Mothership vessel operators are responsible for conducting scale tests and for recording the scale test information on the scale test report form as specified at §660.15(b), for mothership vessels.

(ii) Printed scale reports. Requirements pertaining to printed scale reports and scale weight printouts are specified at §660.15(b), for mothership vessels.

(iii) Retention of scale records and reports. Vessels must maintain scale test report forms on board until the end of the fishing year during which the tests were conducted, and make the report forms available to observers, NMFS staff, or authorized officers. In addition, the scale test report forms must be maintained for 3 years after the end of the fishing year during which the tests were performed. All scale test report forms must be signed by the operator.

(3) Annual coop report. The designated coop manager for the mothership coop must submit an annual report to NMFS and the Council by March 31 each year, before a coop permit is issued for that year. The annual coop report will contain information about the previous year's fishery, including:

(i) The mothership sector's annual allocation of Pacific whiting and the permitted mothership coop allocation;

(ii) The mothership coop's actual retained and discarded catch of Pacific whiting, salmon, Pacific halibut, rockfish, groundfish, and other species on a vessel-by-vessel basis;

(iii) A description of the method used by the mothership coop to monitor performance of coop vessels that participated in the fishery;

(iv) A description of any actions taken by the mothership coop in response to any vessels that exceed their allowed catch and bycatch; and

(v) Plans for the current year's mothership coop fishery, including the companies participating in the cooperative, the harvest agreement, and catch monitoring and reporting requirements.

(4) Cease fishing report. If required, as specified at §660.150(c)(4)(ii), the designated coop manager, or, in the case of an inter-coop agreement, all of the designated coop managers must submit a cease fishing report to NMFS indicating that harvesting has concluded for the year.

(5) Cost recovery program. In addition to the requirements at paragraph (a) of this section, the fish buyer, as defined at §660.111 for the MS Coop Program, is required to comply with the following recordkeeping and reporting requirements:

(i) Reporting. (A) Cost recovery form. The fish buyer must submit a cost recovery form at the time cost recovery fees are paid to NMFS as specified at §660.115. The cost recovery form requires providing information that includes, but is not limited to, fish buyer's name, address, phone number, MS permit number, vessel name, USCG vessel documentation number, month and year of deliveries, weight of deliveries, ex-vessel value, and fee due.

(B) Annual report. By March 31 each year, each fish buyer must submit to NMFS a report containing the following information from the preceding calendar year for all groundfish each fish buyer purchases from fish sellers:

(1) Total weight bought,

(2) Total ex-vessel value paid,

(3) Total fee amounts collected,

(4) Total fee collection amounts deposited by month,

(5) Dates and amounts of monthly disbursements to the Fund.

(ii) Recordkeeping. The fish buyer must maintain the following records:

(A) For all deliveries of groundfish that the fish buyer buys from each fish seller:

(1) The date of delivery,

(2) The fish seller's identity,

(3) The weight of each species of groundfish delivered,

(4) Information sufficient to specifically identify the fishing vessel which delivered the groundfish,

(5) The ex-vessel value of each species of groundfish,

(6) The net ex-vessel value of each species of groundfish,

(7) The identity of the payee to whom the net ex-vessel value is paid, if different than the fish seller,

(8) The date the net ex-vessel value was paid,

(9) The total fee amount collected as a result of all groundfish.

(B) For all fee collection deposits to and disbursements from the deposit account:

(1) The date of each deposit in to the deposit account required at §660.115(d)(1)(ii)(A),

(2) The total amount deposited in to the deposit account,

(3) The date of each disbursement,

(4) The total amount disbursed,

(5) The dates and amounts of disbursements to the fish buyer, or other parties, of interest earned on deposits.

(d) C/P Coop Program—(1) Economic data collection (EDC) program. All owners, lessees, and charterers of a vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit are required to submit a complete economic data collection form as specified at §660.114.

(2) NMFS-approved scales—(i) Scale test report form. Catcher/processor vessel operators are responsible for conducting scale tests and for recording the scale test information on the scale test report form as specified at §660.15(b), for catcher/processor vessels.

(ii) Printed scale reports. Specific requirements pertaining to printed scale reports and scale weight printouts are specified at §660.15(b), for catcher/processor vessels.

(iii) Retention of scale records and reports. The vessel must maintain the scale test report form on board until the end of the fishing year during which the tests were conducted, and make the report forms available to observers, NMFS staff, or authorized officers. In addition, the scale test report forms must be maintained for 3 years after the end of the fishing year during which the tests were performed. All scale test report forms must be signed by the operator.

(3) Annual coop report. The designated coop manager for the C/P coop must submit an annual report to NMFS and the Council by March 31 each year, before a coop permit is issued for that year. The annual coop report will contain information about the previous year's fishery, including:

(i) The C/P sector's annual allocation of Pacific whiting;

(ii) The C/P coop's actual retained and discarded catch of Pacific whiting, salmon, Pacific halibut, rockfish, groundfish, and other species on a vessel-by-vessel basis;

(iii) A description of the method used by the C/P coop to monitor performance of cooperative vessels that participated in the fishery;

(iv) A description of any actions taken by the C/P coop in response to any vessels that exceed their allowed catch and bycatch; and

(v) Plans for the current year's C/P coop fishery, including the companies participating in the cooperative, the harvest agreement, and catch monitoring and reporting requirements.

(4) Cease fishing report. If required, as specified at §660.160(c)(5), the designated coop manager must submit a cease fishing report to NMFS indicating that harvesting has concluded for the year.

(5) Cost recovery program. In addition to the requirements at paragraph (a) of this section, the fish buyer, as defined at §660.111 for the C/P Coop Program, is required to comply with the following recordkeeping and reporting requirements:

(i) Reporting. The fish buyer must submit a cost recovery form at the time cost recovery fees are paid to NMFS as specified at §660.115. The cost recovery form requires providing information that includes, but is not limited to, fish buyer's name, address, phone number, C/P-endorsed limited entry permit number, vessel name, USCG vessel documentation number, year of harvest, weight, ex-vessel value, and fee due.

(ii) Recordkeeping. The fish buyer must maintain the following records:

(A) For all groundfish:

(1) The date of harvest,

(2) The weight of each species of groundfish retained on board,

(3) Information sufficient to specifically identify the fishing vessel which harvested the groundfish,

(4) The ex-vessel value of each species of groundfish retained on board,

(5) The net ex-vessel value of each species of groundfish retained on board,

(6) The total fee amount collected as a result of all groundfish.

(B) For all disbursements to NMFS:

(1) The date of each disbursement,

(2) The total amount disbursed.

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 78385, Dec. 15, 2010; 76 FR 53837, Aug. 30, 2011; 76 FR 74740, Dec. 1, 2011; 78 FR 68769, Nov. 15, 2013; 78 FR 75279, Dec. 11, 2013; 80 FR 22285, Apr. 21, 2015; 81 FR 27010, May 5, 2016; 81 FR 84430, Nov. 23, 2016; 83 FR 62276, Dec. 3, 2018; 84 FR 68806, Dec. 17, 2019]

§660.114   Trawl fishery—economic data collection program.

(a) General. The economic data collection (EDC) program collects mandatory economic data from participants in the trawl rationalization program. NMFS requires submission of EDC forms to gather ongoing, annual economic data, including, but not limited to the following categories of information related to participation in the trawl rationalization program:

(1) Annual data related to QS permit owner activity and characteristics of participation in the fishery, costs and earnings from quota trades, and quota leasing.

(2) Annual data related to costs, earnings, value, labor, operations, physical characteristics, ownership and leasing information for vessels, first receiver sites, or shorebased processors.

(b) Economic data collection program requirements. The following fishery participants in the limited entry groundfish trawl fisheries are required to comply with the following EDC program requirements:

Fishery participantEconomic data collectionWho is required to submit an EDC?Consequence for failure to submit (In addition to consequences listed below, failure to submit an EDC may be a violation of the MSA.)
(1) Limited entry trawl catcher vessels(i) Annual/ongoing economic data(A) All owners, lessees, and charterers of a catcher vessel registered to a limited entry trawl endorsed permit(1) For permit owner, a limited entry trawl permit application (including MS/CV-endorsed limited entry trawl permit) will not be considered complete until the required EDC for that permit owner associated with that permit is submitted, as specified at §660.25(b)(4)(i).
   (2) For a vessel owner, participation in the groundfish fishery (including, but not limited to, changes in vessel registration, vessel account actions, or if own QS permit, issuance of annual QP or IBQ pounds) will not be authorized until the required EDC for that owner for that vessel is submitted, as specified, in part, at §660.25(b)(4)(vi) and §660.140(e).
   (3) For a vessel lessee or charterer, participation in the groundfish fishery (including, but not limited to, issuance of annual QP or IBQ pounds if own QS or IBQ) will not be authorized, until the required EDC for their operation of that vessel is submitted.
   (B) [Reserved]
(2) Motherships(i) Annual/ongoing economic data(A) All owners, lessees, and charterers of a mothership vessel registered to an MS permit(1) For permit owner, an MS permit application will not be considered complete until the required EDC for that permit owner associated with that permit is submitted, as specified at §660.25(b)(4)(i).
   (2) For a vessel owner, participation in the groundfish fishery (including, but not limited to, changes in vessel registration) will not be authorized until the required EDC for that owner for that vessel is submitted, as specified, in part, at §660.25(b)(4)(vi).
   (3) For a vessel lessee or charterer, participation in the groundfish fishery will not be authorized, until the required EDC for their operation of that vessel is submitted.
   (B) [Reserved]
(3) Catcher processors(i) Annual/ongoing economic data(A) All owners, lessees, and charterers of a catcher processor vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit(1) For permit owner, a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit application will not be considered complete until the required EDC for that permit owner associated with that permit is submitted, as specified at §660.25(b)(4)(i).
(2) For a vessel owner, participation in the groundfish fishery (including, but not limited to, changes in vessel registration) will not be authorized until the required EDC for that owner for that vessel is submitted, as specified, in part, at §660.25(b)(4)(vi).
   (3) For a vessel lessee or charterer, participation in the groundfish fishery will not be authorized, until the required EDC for their operation of that vessel is submitted.
   (B) [Reserved]
(4) First receivers/shorebased processors(i) Annual/ongoing economic data(A) All owners of a first receiver site license(1) A first receiver site license application will not be considered complete until the required EDC for that license owner associated with that license is submitted, as specified at §660.140(f)(3). See paragraph (b)(4)(i)(A) of this table.
(2) [Reserved]
   (B) All owners and lessees of a shorebased processor (as defined under “processor” at §660.11, for purposes of EDC) that received round or headed-and-gutted IFQ species groundfish or whiting from a first receiver.
(5) Quota Share Permit Owners(i) Annual/ongoing economic data(A) All owners of a Quota Share permit and account (as defined under §660.25 (c))(1) A Quota Share permit application or permit renewal package will not be considered complete until the required EDC for that permit is submitted, as specified at §660.140, subpart D.
(2) [Reserved]
   (B) [Reserved]

(c) Submission of the EDC forms, and deadline—(1) Submission of the EDC form. The complete, certified EDC forms must contain valid responses for all data fields, and must be submitted either by paper or web form submission as follows:

(i) Paper form submission. Paper forms must be submitted to ATTN: Economic Data Collection Program (FRAM Division), NMFS, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, 2725 Montlake Boulevard East, Seattle, WA 98112.

(ii) Web form submission. Completed EDC web forms must be submitted electronically via the Economic Data Collection Program Web Form portal through NOAA.gov/fisheries and the signature page faxed, mailed, or hand-delivered to NWFSC.

(2) Deadline. Complete, certified EDC forms must be mailed and postmarked by or hand-delivered to NMFS NWFSC no later than September 1 each year for the prior year's data.

(3) Quota Share Permit Owner Survey Submissions and Deadline. Quota Share Permit Owner survey forms are submitted by webform only during the quota account application and renewal process specified at §660.140 (d)(2). The complete certified Quota Share Permit Owner survey must be submitted no later than November 30 of each year.

(d) Confidentiality of information. Information received on an EDC form will be considered confidential under applicable law and guidance.

(e) EDC audit procedures—(1) NMFS reserves the right to conduct verification of economic data with the submitter of the form. NMFS may employ a third party agent to conduct the audits.

(2) The submitter of the EDC form must respond to any inquiry by NMFS or a NMFS agent within 20 days of the date of issuance of the inquiry, unless an extension is granted by NMFS.

(3) The submitter of the form must provide copies of additional data to facilitate verification by NMFS or NMFS' agent upon request. The NMFS auditor may review and request copies of additional data provided by the submitter, including but not limited to, previously audited or reviewed financial statements, worksheets, tax returns, invoices, receipts, and other original documents substantiating the economic data submitted.

[75 FR 78387, Dec. 15, 2010, as amended at 77 FR 55155, Sept. 7, 2012; 81 FR 84430, Nov. 23, 2016; 84 FR 68806, Dec. 17, 2019]

§660.115   Trawl fishery—cost recovery program.

(a) General. The cost recovery program collects mandatory fees of up to three percent of the ex-vessel value of fish harvested by sector under the trawl rationalization program in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Act. NMFS collects the fees to recover the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the trawl rationalization program. In addition to the requirements of this section, the following groundfish regulations also apply:

(1) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart C: §660.11 Definitions and §660.25 Permits.

(2) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart D: §660.111 Definitions, §660.112 Trawl fishery prohibitions, §660.113 Trawl fishery recordkeeping and reporting, §660.140 Shorebased IFQ Program, §660.150 MS Coop Program, and §660.160 C/P Coop Program.

(b) Fee percentage by sector. The annual fee percentage by sector is calculated as described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. NMFS will establish the fee percentage each year and will announce the fee percentage by sector in accordance with paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The fee percentage must not exceed three percent of the ex-vessel value of fish harvested by sector under the trawl rationalization program pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 16 U.S.C. 1854(d)(2)(B).

(1) Calculation. In the last quarter of each calendar year, NMFS will calculate the fee percentage by sector based on information from the previous fiscal year (defined at §660.11). The fee percentage will be rounded to the nearest 0.1 percent and must not exceed three percent for each sector (Shorebased IFQ Program, MS Coop Program, and C/P Coop Program). NMFS will use the following equation to annually determine the fee percentage by sector: Fee percentage = the lower of 3% or (DPC/V) × 100, where:

(i) “DPC,” or direct program costs, are the actual incremental costs for the previous fiscal year directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of each sector (Shorebased IFQ Program, MS Coop Program, and C/P Coop Program). Actual incremental costs means those net costs that would not have been incurred but for the implementation of the trawl rationalization program, including additional costs for new requirements of the program and reduced trawl sector related costs resulting from efficiencies as a result of the program. If the amount of fees collected by NMFS is greater or less than the actual net incremental costs incurred, the DPC will be adjusted accordingly for calculation of the fee percentage in the following year.

(ii) “V” is, for each applicable sector, the total ex-vessel value, as defined at §660.111, from the previous calendar year attributable to that sector of the trawl rationalization program (Shorebased IFQ Program, MS Coop Program, and C/P Coop Program).

(2) Notification of the fee percentage and MS average pricing. During the last quarter of each calendar year, NMFS will announce the following through a Federal Register notice:

(i) The fee percentage to be applied by fish buyers and fish sellers, for each sector, that will be in effect for the upcoming calendar year, and

(ii) The average MS price per pound from the previous fiscal year as reported for the MS Coop Program to be used in the C/P Coop Program to calculate the fee amount for the upcoming calendar year as specified in paragraph (c) of this section.

(iii) Information on how to pay in to the Fund subaccount as specified at paragraph (d) of this section.

(c) Fee amount. The fee amount is the ex-vessel value, as defined at §660.111, for each sector multiplied by the fee percentage for that sector as announced in accordance with paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(d) Fee payment and collection—(1) Fee payment and collection in the Shorebased IFQ Program and MS Coop Program. Payment of fees at the fee percentage rate announced in paragraph (b)(2) of this section begins January 1 and continues without interruption through December 31 each year.

(i) Between the fish seller and fish buyer. Except as described below, the full fee is due and payable at the time of fish landing/delivery. Each fish buyer must collect the fee at the time of fish landing/delivery by deducting the fee from the ex-vessel value before paying the net ex-vessel value to the fish seller. Each fish seller must pay the fee at the time of fish landing/delivery by receiving from the fish buyer the net ex-vessel value, as defined at §660.111.

(A) In the event of any post-delivery payment for fish, the fish seller must pay, and the fish buyer must collect, at the time the amount of such post-landing/delivery payment, the fee that would otherwise have been due and payable at the time of initial fish landing/delivery.

(B) When the fish buyer and fish seller are the same entity, that entity must comply with the requirements for both the fish seller and the fish buyer as specified in this section.

(ii) Between the fish buyer and NMFS—(A) Deposit accounts. Each fish buyer shall maintain a segregated account at a federally insured financial institution for the sole purpose of depositing collected fee revenue from the cost recovery program specified in this section and disbursing the deposit principal directly to NMFS in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(C) of this section.

(B) Fee collection deposits. Each fish buyer, no less frequently than at the end of each month, shall deposit, in the deposit account established under paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(A) of this section, all fees collected, not previously deposited, that the fish buyer collects through a date not more than two calendar days before the date of deposit. The deposit principal may not be pledged, assigned, or used for any purpose other than aggregating collected fee revenue for disbursement to the Fund in accordance with paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(C) of this section. The fish buyer is entitled, at any time, to withdraw deposit interest, if any, but never deposit principal, from the deposit account for the fish buyer's own use and purposes. If the fish buyer has used a credit card to pay the cost recovery fee, the deposit principal may be used to reimburse the credit card in the same amount as the fee payment.

(C) Deposit principal disbursement. Not later than the 14th calendar day after the last calendar day of each month, or more frequently if the amount in the account exceeds the account limit for insurance purposes, the fish buyer shall disburse to NMFS the full deposit principal then in the deposit account. The fish buyer shall disburse deposit principal by electronic payment to the Fund subaccount to which the deposit principal relates. If the fish buyer has used a credit card to pay the cost recovery fee, the deposit principal may be used to reimburse the credit card in the same amount as the fee payment. NMFS will announce information about how to make an electronic payment to the Fund subaccount in the notification on fee percentage specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. Each disbursement must be accompanied by a cost recovery form provided by NMFS. Recordkeeping and reporting requirements are specified in paragraph (d)(4) of this section and at §660.113(b)(5) for the Shorebased IFQ Program and §660.113(c)(5) for the MS Coop Program. The cost recovery form will be available on the pay.gov website.

(2) Fee payment and collection in the C/P Coop Program. Payment of fees for the calendar year at the fee percentage rate announced in paragraph (b)(2) of this section is due in the last quarter of the calendar year and no later than December 31 each year. The fish buyer is responsible for fee payment to NMFS. The fish seller and the fish buyer, as defined at §660.111, are considered the same entity in the C/P Coop Program. The fish buyer shall disburse to NMFS the full fee amount for the calendar year by electronic payment to the Fund subaccount. NMFS will announce information about how to make an electronic payment to the Fund subaccount in the notification on fee percentage specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. Each disbursement must be accompanied by a cost recovery form provided by NMFS. Recordkeeping and reporting requirements are specified in paragraph (d)(4) of this section and at §660.113(d)(5) for the C/P Coop Program. The cost recovery form will be available on the pay.gov Web site.

(3) Failure to pay or collect—(i) Responsibility to notify NMFS. (A) If a fish buyer fails to collect the fee in the amount and manner required by this section, the fish seller shall then advise the fish buyer of the fish seller's fee payment obligation and of the fish buyer's cost recovery fee collection obligation. If the fish buyer still fails to properly collect the fee, the fish seller, within the next 7 calendar days, shall forward the fee to NMFS. The fish seller at the same time shall also advise NMFS in writing at the address in paragraph (d)(3)(i)(C) of this section of the full particulars, including:

(1) The fish buyer's and fish seller's name, address, and telephone number,

(2) The name of the fishing vessel from which the fish seller made fish delivery and the date of doing so,

(3) The weight and ex-vessel value of each species of fish that the fish seller delivered, and

(4) The fish buyer's reason, if known, for failing or refusing to collect the fee in accordance with this subpart;

(B) Notifications must be mailed or faxed to: National Marine Fisheries Service, West Coast Region, Office of Management and Information, ATTN: Cost Recovery Notification, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115; Fax: 206-526-6426; or delivered to National Marine Fisheries Service at the same address.

(ii) IAD, appeals, and final decision. If NMFS determines the fish buyer or other responsible party has not submitted a complete cost recovery form and corresponding payment by the due date specified in paragraphs (d)(1) and (2) of this section, NMFS will at any time thereafter notify the fish buyer or other responsible party in writing via an initial administrative determination (IAD) letter.

(A) IAD. In the IAD, NMFS will state the discrepancy and provide the person 30 calendar days to either pay the specified amount due or appeal the IAD in writing.

(B) Appeals. If the fish buyer appeals an IAD, the appeal must be postmarked, faxed, or hand delivered to NMFS no later than 30 calendar days after the date on the IAD. If the last day of the time period is a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, the time period will extend to the close of business on the next business day. The appeal must be in writing, must allege credible facts or circumstances, and must include any relevant information or documentation to support the appeal. Appeals must be mailed, faxed, or hand-delivered to: National Marine Fisheries Service, West Coast Region, Office of Management and Information, ATTN: Cost Recovery Appeals, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115; Fax: 206-526-6426; or delivered to National Marine Fisheries Service at the same address.

(C) Final decision—(1) Final decision on appeal. For the appeal of an IAD, the Regional Administrator shall appoint an appeals officer. After determining there is sufficient information and that all procedural requirements have been met, the appeals officer will review the record and issue a recommendation on the appeal to the Regional Administrator, which shall be advisory only. The recommendation must be based solely on the record. Upon receiving the findings and recommendation, the Regional Administrator, acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, will issue a written decision on the appeal which is the final decision of the Secretary of Commerce.

(2) Final decision if there is no appeal. If the fish buyer does not appeal the IAD within 30 calendar days, NMFS will notify the fish buyer or other responsible party in writing via a final decision letter. The final decision will be from the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

(3) If the final decision determines that the fish buyer is out of compliance, the final decision will require payment within 30 calendar days. If such payment is not received within 30 calendar days of issuance of the final decision, NMFS will refer the matter to the appropriate authorities for purposes of collection. As of the date of the final decision if the fish buyer is out of compliance, NMFS will not approve a permit renewal for an MS permit or a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit until all cost recovery fees due have been paid as specified at §660.25(b)(4)(i)(G); or reissue an IFQ first receiver site license until all cost recovery fees due have been paid, as specified at §660.140(f)(4).

(4) Recordkeeping, reporting, and audits—(i) Recordkeeping. Each fish buyer and fish seller shall retain records in accordance with §660.113(a). In addition, fish buyers shall retain records in accordance with the following paragraphs: §660.113(b)(5) for the Shorebased IFQ Program, §660.113(c)(5) for the MS Coop Program, and §660.113(d)(5) for the C/P Coop Program.

(ii) Reporting, including annual report. Each fish buyer shall submit reports in accordance with the following paragraphs: §660.113(b)(5) for the Shorebased IFQ Program, §660.113(c)(5) for the MS Coop Program, and §660.113(d)(5) for the C/P Coop Program. The fish buyer must submit a cost recovery form along with fee payment to NMFS. By March 31 each year, fish buyers in the MS Coop Program must submit an annual report to NMFS containing information from the preceding calendar year as specified at §660.113(c)(5).

(iii) Audits. NMFS or its agents may audit, in whatever manner NMFS determines reasonably necessary for the duly diligent administration of the cost recovery program, the financial records of fish buyers and fish sellers in order to ensure proper fee payment, collection, deposit, disbursement, accounting, recordkeeping, and reporting. Fish buyers and fish sellers must respond to any inquiry by NMFS or a NMFS agent within 20 calendar days of the date of issuance of the inquiry, unless an extension is granted by NMFS. Fish buyers and fish sellers shall make all relevant records available to NMFS or NMFS' agents at reasonable times and places and promptly provide all requested information reasonably related to these records. NMFS may employ a third party agent to conduct the audits. The NMFS auditor may review and request copies of additional data provided by the submitter, including but not limited to, previously audited or reviewed financial statements, worksheets, tax returns, invoices, receipts, and other original documents substantiating the data submitted.

[78 FR 75280, Dec. 11, 2013, as amended at 84 FR 68808, Dec. 17, 2019]

§660.120   Trawl fishery—crossover provisions.

The crossover provisions listed at §660.60(h)(7), apply to vessels fishing in the limited entry trawl fishery.

[76 FR 74740, Dec. 1, 2011]

§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]

§660.131   Pacific whiting fishery management measures.

(a) General. This section applies to the MS sector, the C/P sector, the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery, and Shorebased IFQ vessels targeting Pacific whiting under trip limits outside the Pacific whiting primary season.

(b) Pacific whiting primary seasons and Pacific whiting trip limits—(1) Pacific whiting fishery primary seasons. (i) For the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery, the primary season is the period(s) of the large-scale Pacific whiting target fishery conducted after the primary season start date.

(ii) For the C/P sector, the primary season is the period(s) when catching and at-sea processing are allowed (after the season closes, at-sea processing of any fish already on board the processing vessel is allowed to continue).

(iii) For vessels delivering to motherships, the primary season is the period(s) when catching and at-sea processing is allowed for the MS sector (after the season closes, at-sea processing of any fish already on board the processing vessel is allowed to continue).

(2) Different primary season start dates. North of 40°30 N. lat., different primary season starting dates may be established for the C/P Coop Program, the MS Coop Program, and the Pacific whiting IFQ fishery for vessels delivering to IFQ first receivers north of 42° N. lat. and vessels delivering to IFQ first receivers between 42° and 40°30 N. lat.

(i) Procedures. The Pacific whiting primary seasons north of 40°30 N. lat. generally will be established according to the procedures of the PCGFMP for developing and implementing harvest specifications and apportionments. The season opening dates remain in effect unless changed.

(ii) Criteria. The start of a Pacific whiting primary season may be changed based on a recommendation from the Council and consideration of the following factors, if applicable: Size of the harvest guidelines for whiting and bycatch species; age/size structure of the whiting population; expected harvest of bycatch and prohibited species; availability and stock status of prohibited species; expected participation by catchers and processors; the period between when catcher vessels make annual processor obligations and the start of the fishery; environmental conditions; timing of alternate or competing fisheries; industry agreement; fishing or processing rates; and other relevant information.

(iii) Primary whiting season start dates and duration. After the start of a primary season for a sector of the Pacific whiting fishery, the primary season remains open for that sector until the sector allocation of whiting or non-whiting groundfish (with allocations) is reached or projected to be reached and the primary season for that sector is closed by NMFS. The starting dates for the primary seasons are as follows:

(A) Catcher/processor sector—May 15.

(B) Mothership sector—May 15.

(C) Shorebased IFQ Program. The start of the Shorebased IFQ Program primary whiting season is:

(1) North of 40°30 N. lat.—May 15;

(2) South of 40°30 N. lat.—April 15.

(3) Pacific whiting trip limits. For Shorebased IFQ Program vessels targeting Pacific whiting outside the primary season, the “per trip” limit for whiting is announced in Table 1 of this subpart. The per-trip limit is a routine management measure under §660.60(c). This trip limit includes any whiting caught shoreward of 100 fm (183 m) in the Eureka management-area. The per-trip limit for other groundfish species are announced in Table 1 (North) and Table 1 (South) of this subpart and apply as follows:

(i) During the groundfish cumulative limit periods both before and after the primary whiting season, vessels may use either small and/or large footrope gear, but are subject to the more restrictive trip limits for those entire cumulative periods.

(ii) If a vessel on a Pacific whiting IFQ trip harvests a groundfish species other than whiting for which there is a midwater trip limit, then that vessel may also harvest up to another footrope-specific limit for that species during any cumulative limit period that overlaps the start or close of the primary season.

(c) Closed areas. The conservation areas described here are in addition to conservation areas applicable to vessels operating with midwater trawl gear on board described in §660.130(c) and (e). Vessels fishing during the Pacific whiting primary seasons shall not target Pacific whiting with midwater groundfish trawl gear in the following portions of the fishery management area:

(1) Klamath river salmon conservation zone, defined at §660.111.

(2) Columbia river salmon conservation zone, defined at §660.111.

(3) Bycatch reduction areas or BRAs. Bycatch reduction area closures specified at §660.130(e) may be implemented inseason through automatic action when NMFS projects that a Pacific whiting sector will exceed an allocation for a non-whiting groundfish species specified for that sector before the sector's whiting allocation is projected to be reached.

(d) Eureka management area trip limits. Trip landing or frequency limits may be established, modified, or removed under §660.60 or this paragraph, specifying the amount of Pacific whiting that may be taken and retained, possessed, or landed by a vessel that, at any time during a fishing trip, fished in the fishery management area shoreward of the 100 fathom (183 m) contour in the Eureka management area. Unless otherwise specified, 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 in the fishery management area shoreward of the 100 fm (183 m) contour in the Eureka management area.

(e) At-sea processing. Whiting may not be processed at sea south of 42°00 N. lat. (Oregon-California border), unless by a waste-processing vessel as authorized under paragraph (g) of this section.

(f) Time of day. Vessels fishing in the Pacific whiting primary seasons for the Shorebased IFQ Program, MS Coop Program or C/P Coop Program shall not target Pacific whiting with midwater trawl gear in the fishery management area south of 42°00 N. lat. between 0001 hours to one-half hour after official sunrise (local time). During this time south of 42°00 N. lat., trawl doors must be on board any vessel used to fish for whiting and the trawl must be attached to the trawl doors. Official sunrise is determined, to the nearest 5° lat., in The Nautical Almanac issued annually by the Nautical Almanac Office, U.S. Naval Observatory, and available from the U.S. Government Printing Office.

(g) Processing fish waste at sea. A vessel that processes only fish waste (a “waste-processing vessel”) is not considered a whiting processor and therefore is not subject to the allocations, seasons, or restrictions for catcher/processors or motherships while it operates as a waste-processing vessel. However, no vessel may operate as a waste-processing vessel 48 hours immediately before and after a primary season for whiting in which the vessel operates as a catcher/processor or mothership. A vessel must meet the following conditions to qualify as a waste-processing vessel:

(1) The vessel makes meal (ground dried fish), oil, or minced (ground flesh) product, but does not make, and does not have on board, surimi (fish paste with additives), fillets (meat from the side of the fish, behind the head and in front of the tail), or headed and gutted fish (head and viscera removed).

(2) The amount of whole whiting on board does not exceed the trip limit (if any) allowed under §660.60(c), subpart C, or Tables 1 (North) or 1 (South) in subpart D.

(3) Any trawl net and doors on board are stowed in a secured and covered manner, and detached from all towing lines, so as to be rendered unusable for fishing.

(4) The vessel does not receive codends containing fish.

(5) The vessel's operations are consistent with applicable state and Federal law, including those governing disposal of fish waste at sea.

(h) Reapportionment of Pacific whiting. (1) Upon receipt of written notice to the Regional Administrator from the tribe(s) participating in the fishery that they do not intend to use a portion of the tribal allocation, the Regional Administrator may, no earlier than 7 days following notice to other treaty tribes with rights to whiting, reapportion any remainder to the other sectors of the trawl fishery as soon as practicable after receiving such notice. If no such reapportionment has occurred prior to September 15 of the fishing year, the Regional Administrator will, based on discussions with representatives of the tribes participating in the Pacific whiting fishery for that fishing year, consider the tribal harvests to date and catch projections for the remainder of the year relative to the tribal allocation of Pacific whiting, as specified at §660.50. That portion of the tribal allocation that the Regional Administrator determines will not be used by the end of the fishing year may be reapportioned to the other sectors of the trawl fishery on September 15 or as soon as practicable thereafter. Subsequent reapportionments may be made based on subsequent determinations by the Regional Administrator based on the factors described above in order to ensure full utilization of the resource. However, no reapportionments will occur after December 1 of the fishing year.

(2) The reapportionment of surplus whiting will be made by actual notice under the automatic action authority provided at §660.60(d)(1).

(3) The reapportionment of surplus whiting will be made effective immediately by actual notice under the automatic action authority provided at §660.60(d)(1).

(4) Estimates of the portion of the tribal allocation that will not be used by the end of the fishing year will be based on the best information available to the Regional Administrator.

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

(ii) [Reserved]

(5) Prior to reapportionment, NMFS will consider Chinook salmon take numbers and bycatch rates in each sector of the Pacific whiting fishery, in order to prevent a reapportionment that would limit Pacific Coast treaty Indian Tribes' access to the tribal allocation by triggering inseason closure of the Pacific whiting fishery as described at §660.60(d)(1)(v).

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

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 75421, Dec. 3, 2010; 75 FR 78390, Dec. 15, 2010; 76 FR 27546, May 11, 2011; 76 FR 53837, Aug. 30, 2011; 77 FR 28516, May 15, 2012; 80 FR 27600, May 14, 2015; 80 FR 19036, Apr. 9, 2015; 80 FR 77273, Dec. 14, 2015; 83 FR 64002, Dec. 12, 2018; 84 FR 63988, Nov. 19, 2019; 84 FR 65926, Dec. 2, 2019]

§660.140   Shorebased IFQ Program.

(a) General. The regulations in this section apply to the Shorebased IFQ Program. The Shorebased IFQ Program includes a system of transferable QS for most groundfish species or species groups, IBQ for Pacific halibut, and trip limits or set-asides for the remaining groundfish species or species groups. NMFS will issue a QS permit to eligible participants and will establish a QS account for each QS permit owner to track the amount of QS or IBQ and QP or IBQ pounds owned by that owner. QS permit owners may own QS or IBQ for IFQ species, expressed as a percent of the allocation to the Shorebased IFQ Program for that species. NMFS will issue QP or IBQ pounds to QS permit owners, expressed in pounds, on an annual basis, to be deposited in the corresponding QS account. NMFS will establish a vessel account for each eligible vessel owner participating in the Shorebased IFQ Program, which is independent of the QS permit and QS account. In order to use QP or IBQ pounds, a QS permit owner must transfer the QP or IBQ pounds from the QS account into the vessel account for the vessel to which the QP or IBQ pounds is to be assigned. Harvests of IFQ species may only be delivered to an IFQ first receiver with a first receiver site license. In addition to the requirements of this section, the Shorebased IFQ Program is subject to the following groundfish regulations of subparts C and D:

(1) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart C: §660.11 Definitions, §660.12 Prohibitions, §660.13 Recordkeeping and reporting, §660.14 VMS requirements, §660.15 Equipment requirements, §660.16 Groundfish observer program, §660.20 Vessel and gear identification, §660.25 Permits, §660.55 Allocations, §660.60 Specifications and management measures, §660.65 Groundfish harvest specifications, and §§660.70 through 660.79 Closed areas.

(2) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart D: §660.111 Trawl fishery definitions, §660.112 Trawl fishery prohibitions, §660.113 Trawl fishery recordkeeping and reporting, §660.115 Trawl fishery cost recovery program, §660.120 Trawl fishery crossover provisions, §660.130 Trawl fishery management measures, and §660.131 Pacific whiting fishery management measures.

(3) The Shorebased IFQ Program may be restricted or closed as a result of projected overages within the Shorebased IFQ Program, the MS Coop Program, or the C/P Coop Program. As determined necessary by the Regional Administrator, area restrictions, season closures, or other measures will be used to prevent the trawl sector in aggregate or the individual trawl sectors (Shorebased IFQ, MS Coop, or C/P Coop) from exceeding an ACL, OY, ACT or formal allocation specified in the PCGFMP or regulation at §660.55, subpart C, or §§660.140, 660.150, or 660.160, subpart D.

(b) Participation requirements and responsibilities—(1) IFQ vessels. (i) Vessels must be registered to a groundfish limited entry permit, endorsed for trawl gear with no C/P endorsement.

(ii) To start a fishing trip in the Shorebased IFQ Program, a vessel and its owner(s) (as described on the USCG documentation or state registration document) must be registered to the same vessel account established by NMFS with no deficit (negative balance) for any species/species group.

(iii) All IFQ species/species group catch (landings and discards) must be covered by QP or IBQ pounds. Any deficit (negative balance in a vessel account) must be cured within 30 calendar days from the date the deficit from that trip is documented in the vessel account, unless the deficit is within the limits of the carryover provision at paragraph (e)(5) of this section, in which case the vessel account owner must declare out of the Shorebased IFQ Program, and must eliminate the deficit prior to re-entry into the fishery in the current year, or within 30 days after the issuance of QP or IBQ pounds for the following year.

(iv) Any vessel with a deficit (negative balance) in its vessel account is prohibited from fishing that is within the scope of the Shorebased IFQ Program until sufficient QP or IBQ pounds are transferred into the vessel account to remove any deficit, regardless of the amount of the deficit.

(v) A vessel account may not have QP or IBQ pounds (used and unused combined) in excess of the QP Vessel Limit in any year, and for species covered by Unused QP Vessel Limit, may not have QP or IBQ pounds in excess of the Unused QP Vessel Limit at any time. These amounts are specified at paragraph (e)(4) of this section.

(vi) Vessels must use either trawl gear as specified at §660.130(b), or a legal non-trawl groundfish gear under the gear switching provisions as specified at §660.140(k).

(vii) Vessels that are registered to MS/CV-endorsed permits may be used to fish in the Shorebased IFQ Program provided that the vessel is registered to a valid Shorebased IFQ Program vessel account.

(viii) In the same calendar year, a vessel registered to a trawl endorsed limited entry permit with no MS/CV or C/P endorsements may be used to fish in the Shorebased IFQ Program if the vessel has a valid vessel account, and to fish in the mothership sector for a permitted MS coop as authorized by the MS coop.

(ix) Vessels that are registered to C/P-endorsed permits may not be used to fish in the Shorebased IFQ Program.

(x) Fish sellers must pay cost recovery program fees, as specified at §660.115.

(2) IFQ first receivers. The IFQ first receiver must:

(i) Ensure that all catch removed from a vessel making an IFQ delivery is weighed on a scale or scales meeting the requirements described in §660.15(c).

(ii) Ensure that all catch is landed, sorted, and weighed in accordance with a valid catch monitoring plan as described in §660.140(f)(3)(iii).

(iii) Ensure that all catch is sorted, prior to first weighing, as specified at §660.130(d) and consistent with §660.140(j)(2)(viii).

(iv) Provide unrestricted access to all areas where fish are or may be sorted or weighed to catch monitors, NMFS staff, NMFS-authorized personnel, or authorized officers at any time when a delivery of IFQ species, or the processing of those species, is taking place.

(v) Ensure that each scale produces a complete and accurate printed record of the weight of all catch in a delivery, unless exempted in the NMFS-accepted catch monitoring plan.

(vi) Retain and make available to catch monitors, NMFS staff, NMFS-authorized personnel, or authorized officers, all printed output from any scale used to weigh catch, and any hand tally sheets, worksheets, or notes used to determine the total weight of any species.

(vii) Ensure that each delivery of IFQ catch is monitored by a catch monitor and that the catch monitor is on site the entire time the delivery is being weighed or sorted.

(viii) Ensure that sorting and weighing is completed prior to catch leaving the area that can be monitored from the observation area described paragraph (i) of this section.

(ix) Collect and remit to NMFS cost recovery program fees, as specified at §660.115.

(c) IFQ species, management areas, and allocations.

(1) IFQ management areas. IFQ management areas are as follows:

(i) Between the U.S./Canada border and 40°10 N lat.,

(ii) Between 40°10 N lat. and 36° N lat.,

(iii) Between 36° N lat. and 34°27 N lat., and

(iv) Between 34°27 N lat. and the U.S./Mexico border.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) IFQ program allocations. Allocations for the Shorebased IFQ Program are determined for IFQ species as follows:

(i) For Pacific whiting, the Shorebased IFQ Program allocation is specified at §660.55(i)(2), subpart C, 42 percent.

(ii) For Sablefish N. of 36° N. lat., the Shorebased IFQ Program allocation is the limited entry trawl allocation specified at §660.55(h), subpart C, minus any set-asides for the mothership and C/P sectors for that species.

(iii) For IFQ species listed in the trawl/nontrawl allocation table, specified at §660.55(c), subpart C, allocations are determined by applying the trawl column percent to the fishery harvest guideline minus any set-asides for the mothership and C/P sectors for that species and minus allocations for darkblotched rockfish, POP, and widow rockfish.

(iv) The remaining IFQ species (canary rockfish, bocaccio, cowcod, yelloweye rockfish, minor shelf rockfish N. of 40°10 N. lat., and minor shelf rockfish S. of 40°10 N. lat., and minor slope rockfish S. of 40°10 N. lat.) are allocated through the biennial specifications and management measures process minus any set-asides for the mothership and C/P sectors for that species.

(v) For Pacific halibut N. of 40°10 N. lat., the Shorebased IFQ Program allocation is specified at 660.55(m).

(vi) For each IFQ species, NMFS will determine annual sub-allocations to individual QS accounts by multiplying the percent of QS or IBQ registered to the account by the amount of each respective IFQ species allocated to the Shorebased IFQ Program for that year. For each IFQ species, NMFS will deposit QP or IBQ pounds in the respective QS account in the amount of each sub-allocation determined.

(vii) Reallocations—(A) Reallocation with changes in management areas.

(1) Area subdivision. If at any time after the initial allocation, an IFQ species is geographically subdivided, those holding QS or IBQ for the IFQ species being subdivided will receive an amount of QS or IBQ for each newly created area that is equivalent to the amount they held for the area before it was subdivided.

(2) Area recombination. When two areas are combined for an IFQ species, the QS or IBQ held by individuals in each area will be adjusted proportionally such that:

(i) The total QS or IBQ for the area sums to 100 percent, and

(ii) A person holding QS or IBQ in the newly created area will receive the same amount of total QP or IBQ pounds as they would if the areas had not been combined.

(3) Area line movement. When a management area boundary line is moved for an IFQ species, the QS or IBQ held by individuals in each area will be adjusted proportionally such that they each maintain their same share of the trawl allocation on a coastwide basis (a fishing area may expand or decrease, but the individual's QP or IBQ pounds for both areas combined wouldn't change because of the change in areas). In order to achieve this end, the holders of QS or IBQ in the area being reduced will receive QS or IBQ for the area being expanded, such that the total QP or IBQ pounds they would be issued will not be reduced as a result of the area reduction. Those holding QS or IBQ in the area being expanded will have their QS or IBQ reduced such that the total QP or IBQ pounds they receive in the year of the line movement will not increase as a result of the expansion (nor will it be reduced).

(B) Reallocation with subdivision of a species group. If at any time after the initial allocation an IFQ species which is a species group is subdivided, each species or species group resulting from the subdivision will be an IFQ species. QS owners for the species group being subdivided will receive an amount of QS for each newly created IFQ species that is equivalent to the amount they held for the species group before it was subdivided. For example, if a person holds one percent of a species group before the subdivision, that person will hold one percent of the QS for each IFQ species resulting from the subdivision.

(d) QS permits and QS accounts—(1) General. In order to obtain QS and/or IBQ, a person must apply for a QS permit. NMFS will determine if the applicant is eligible to own QS and/or IBQ in accordance with paragraph (d)(2) of this section. If eligible, NMFS will issue a QS permit, and will establish a QS account to track QS and IBQ balances for all IFQ species identified at §660.140(c)(1). NMFS will issue initial allocations of QS and IBQ in accordance with paragraph (d)(8) of this section. Transfers of QS and IBQ, and of QP or IBQ pounds, are subject to provisions at paragraph (d)(3) of this section. QS permit owners can monitor the status of their QS and IBQ, and associated QP and IBQ pounds, throughout the year in their QS account.

(i) Annual QS adjustments. On or about January 1 each year, QS permit owners will be notified, via the IFQ Web site and their QS account, of any adjustments to their QS and/or IBQ allocations, for each of the IFQ species. Updated QS and/or IBQ values, if applicable, will reflect the results of: any recalculation of initial allocation formulas resulting from changes in provisional OYs used in the allocation formulas or appeals, any redistribution of QS and IBQ (e.g., resulting from permanent revocation of applicable permits, subject to accumulation limits), and any transfers of QS and/or IBQ made during the prior year.

(ii) Annual QP and IBQ pound allocations. QP and IBQ pounds will be deposited into QS accounts annually. QS permit owners will be notified of QP deposits via the IFQ website and their QS account. QP and IBQ pounds will be issued to the nearest whole pound using standard rounding rules (i.e., decimal amounts less than 0.5 round down and 0.5 and greater round up). NMFS will distribute such allocations to the maximum extent practicable, not to exceed the total allocation. QS permit owners must transfer their QP and IBQ pounds from their QS account to a vessel account in order for those QP and IBQ pounds to be fished. QP and IBQ pounds must be transferred in whole pounds (i.e., no fraction of a QP or IBQ pound can be transferred). All QP and IBQ pounds in a QS account must be transferred to a vessel account between January 1 and December 31 of the year for which they were issued in order to be fished.

(A) Non-whiting QP annual sub-allocations. NMFS will issue QP for IFQ species other than Pacific whiting and Pacific halibut annually by multiplying the QS permit owner's QS for each such IFQ species by that year's shorebased trawl allocation for that IFQ species. Deposits to QS accounts for IFQ species other than Pacific whiting and Pacific halibut will be made on or about January 1 each year. Until the implementation of any regulatory changes developed pursuant to the first program review for the trawl rationalization program, the resulting AMP QP will be issued to all QS permit owners in proportion to their non-whiting QS.

(1) In years where the groundfish harvest specifications are known by January 1, deposits to QS accounts for IFQ species will be made on or about January 1.

(2) In years where the groundfish harvest specifications are not known by January 1, NMFS will issue QP in two parts. On or about January 1, NMFS will deposit QP based on the shorebased trawl allocation multiplied by the lower end of the range of potential harvest specifications for that year. After the final harvest specifications are established later in the year, NMFS will deposit additional QP to the QS account.

(3) In years where the non-tribal deductions from the TAC, ACL, or ACT when specified, described at §660.55(b), were too high and would go unharvested, NMFS may increase the shorebased trawl allocation, consistent with §660.60(c), and issue additional QP to QS accounts.

(B) Pacific whiting QP annual allocation. NMFS will issue QP for Pacific whiting annually by multiplying the QS permit owner's QS for Pacific whiting by that year's shorebased trawl allocation for Pacific whiting.

(1) In years where the Pacific whiting harvest specification is known by January 1, deposits to QS accounts for Pacific whiting will be made on or about January 1.

(2) In years where the Pacific whiting harvest specification is not known by January 1, NMFS will issue Pacific whiting QP in two parts. On or about January 1, NMFS will deposit Pacific whiting QP based on the shorebased trawl allocation multiplied by the lower end of the range of potential harvest specifications for Pacific whiting for that year. After the final Pacific whiting harvest specifications are established later in the year, NMFS will deposit additional QP to QS accounts.

(3) In years where the non-tribal deductions from the TAC, ACL, or ACT when specified, described at §660.55(b), were too high and would go unharvested, NMFS may increase the shorebased trawl allocation, consistent with §660.60(c), and issue additional QP to QS accounts.

(4) In years where there is reapportionment of Pacific whiting, specified at §660.131(h), to the Shorebased IFQ Program, NMFS will increase the shorebased trawl allocation and issue additional QP to QS accounts as described at paragraph (d)(3)(ii)(B)(3) of this section.

(C) Pacific halibut IBQ pounds annual allocation. NMFS will issue IBQ pounds for Pacific halibut annually by multiplying the QS permit owner's IBQ percent by the Shorebased IFQ Program component of the trawl bycatch mortality limit for that year. Deposits to QS accounts for Pacific halibut IBQ pounds will be made on or about January 1 each year. Mortality of any size Pacific halibut count against IBQ pounds.

(1) In years where the Pacific halibut total constant exploitation yield is known by January 1, deposits to QS accounts will be made on or about January 1.

(2) In years where the Pacific halibut total constant exploitation yield is not known by January 1, NMFS will issue QP in two parts. On or about January 1, NMFS will deposit QP based on some portion of the International Pacific Halibut Commission's staff recommended total constant exploitation yield from their interim meeting. After the final Pacific halibut total constant exploitation yield is established from the International Pacific Halibut Commission's annual meeting, NMFS will deposit additional QP to the QS account.

(D) For the trawl fishery, NMFS will issue QP based on the following shorebased trawl allocations:

Table 1 to Paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(D)

IFQ speciesArea2019 Shorebased
trawl allocation
(mt)
2020 Shorebased
trawl allocation
(mt)
Arrowtooth flounderCoastwide12,735.110,052.3
BocaccioSouth of 40°10 N lat800.7767.1
Canary rockfishCoastwide953.6894.3
ChilipepperSouth of 40°10 N lat1,838.31,743.8
COWCODSouth of 40°10 N lat2.22.2
Darkblotched rockfishCoastwide658.4703.4
Dover soleCoastwide45,979.245,979.2
English soleCoastwide9,375.19,417.9
LingcodNorth of 40°10 N lat2,051.91,903.4
LingcodSouth of 40°10 N lat462.5386.0
Longspine thornyheadNorth of 34°27 N lat2,420.02,293.6
Minor Shelf Rockfish complexNorth of 40°10 N lat1,155.21,151.6
Minor Shelf Rockfish complexSouth of 40°10 N lat188.6188.6
Minor Slope Rockfish complexNorth of 40°10 N lat1,248.81,237.5
Minor Slope Rockfish complexSouth of 40°10 N lat456.0455.4
Other Flatfish complexCoastwide5,603.75,192.4
Pacific codCoastwide1,034.11,034.1
Pacific ocean perchNorth of 40°10 N lat3,697.33,602.2
Pacific whitingCoastwide152,326.5TBD
Petrale soleCoastwide2,453.02,393.2
SablefishNorth of 36° N lat2,581.32,636.8
SablefishSouth of 36° N lat834.0851.7
Shortspine thornyheadNorth of 34°27 N lat1,506.81,493.5
Shortspine thornyheadSouth of 34°27 N lat50.050.0
Splitnose rockfishSouth of 40°10 N lat1,646.71,628.7
Starry flounderCoastwide211.6211.6
Widow rockfishCoastwide9,928.89,387.1
YELLOWEYE ROCKFISHCoastwide3.43.4
Yellowtail rockfishNorth of 40°10 N lat4,305.84,048.0

(2) Eligibility and registration—(i) Eligibility. Only the following persons are eligible to own QS permits:

(A) A United States citizen, that is eligible to own and control a U.S. fishing vessel with a fishery endorsement pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 12113 (general fishery endorsement requirements and 75 percent citizenship requirement for entities);

(B) A permanent resident alien, that is eligible to own and control a U.S. fishing vessel with a fishery endorsement pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 12113 (general fishery endorsement requirements and 75 percent citizenship requirement for entities); or

(C) A corporation, partnership, or other entity established under the laws of the United States or any State, that is eligible to own and control a U.S. fishing vessel with a fishery endorsement pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 12113 (general fishery endorsement requirements and 75 percent citizenship requirement for entities). However, there is an exception for any entity that owns a mothership that participated in the west coast groundfish fishery during the allocation period and is eligible to own or control that U.S. fishing vessel with a fishery endorsement pursuant to sections 203(g) and 213(g) of the AFA.

(ii) Registration. A QS account will be established by NMFS with the issuance of a QS permit. The administrative functions associated with the Shorebased IFQ Program (e.g., account registration, landing transactions, and transfers) are designed to be accomplished online; therefore, a participant must have access to a computer with Internet access and must set up online access to their QS account to participate. The computer must have Internet browser software installed (e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla Firefox); as well as the Adobe Flash Player software version 9.0 or greater. NMFS will mail initial QS permit owners instructions to set up online access to their QS account. NMFS will use the QS account to send messages to QS permit owners; it is important for QS permit owners to monitor their online QS account and all associated messages.

(iii) QS permit application process. NMFS will accept a QS permit application from January 1 to November 30 of each calendar year. QS permit applications received between December 1 and December 31 will be processed by NMFS in the following calendar year. NMFS will issue only one QS permit to each unique person, as defined at §660.11 subject to the eligibility requirements at paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section. Each applicant must submit a complete application. A complete application includes a QS permit application form, payment of required fees, complete documentation of QS permit ownership on the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form as required under paragraph (d)(4)(iv) of this section, and a complete economic data collection form as required under §660.114. NMFS may require additional documentation as it deems necessary to make a determination on the application. The QS permit application will be considered incomplete until the required information is submitted.

(A) Initial administrative determination. For all complete applications, NMFS will issue an IAD that either approves or disapproves the application. If approved, the QS permit serves as the IAD. If disapproved, the IAD will provide the reasons for this determination. If the applicant does not appeal the IAD within 30 calendar days, the IAD becomes the final decision of the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

(B) Effective date. The QS permit is effective on the date given on the permit and remains effective until the end of the calendar year.

(C) Appeals. If NMFS does not accept the QS permit application, the applicant may appeal the IAD consistent with the general permit appeals process defined at §660.25(g).

(3) Renewal, change of permit ownership, and transfers—(i) Renewal. (A) QS permits expire at the end of each calendar year, and must be renewed between October 1 and November 30 of each year in order to remain in effect the following year. A complete QS permit renewal package must be received by NMFS no later than November 30 to be accepted by NMFS. A QS permit owner may submit a paper renewal package after January 1 of the following year as described in paragraph (d)(3)(i)(C) of this section.

(B) Notification to renew QS permits will be sent by SFD by September 15 each year to the QS permit owner's most recent address in the SFD record. The QS permit owner shall provide SFD with notice of any address change within 15 days of the change.

(C) A complete QS permit renewal package must be received by November 30 of each calendar year. If a complete QS permit renewal package is not received by November 30, NMFS will not renew the QS permit, the associated QS account will not be activated in the following calendar year, and QS may not be transferred. NMFS will not issue QP or IBQ pounds associated with the non-renewed QS permit for that year. Any QP or IBQ pounds derived from the QS or IBQ in the inactive QS account will be distributed to the active QS accounts in proportion to the QS or IBQ for each IFQ species given on the renewed QS permit. If a QS permit is not renewed during the October 1 through November 30 renewal period, the QS permit owner may renew after January 1 in the following year by submission of a paper renewal application, or may renew the QS permit during the next October 1 through November 30 renewal period. For renewals submitted after January 1, QPs allocated as specified at paragraph (d)(1) of this section will not be allocated to the QS account in that year. The QS permit owner will be able to transfer QS percentages from the time the QS account is activated until November 30 of that calendar year.

(D) QS permits will not be renewed until SFD has received a complete application for a QS permit renewal, which includes payment of required fees, complete documentation of QS permit ownership on the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form as required under paragraph (d)(4)(iv) of this section, a complete economic data collection form as required under §660.114. The QS permit renewal will be considered incomplete until the required information is submitted.

(E) Effective Date. A QS permit is effective on the date given on the permit and remains effective until the end of the calendar year.

(F) IAD and appeals. QS permit renewals are subject to the permit appeals process specified at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(ii) Change of permit ownership and transfer restrictions—(A) Change in QS permit ownership. Ownership of a QS permit cannot be registered to another individual or entity. The QS permit owner cannot change or add additional individuals or entities as owners of the permit (i.e., cannot change the legal name of the permit owner(s) as given on the permit). Any change in ownership of the QS permit requires the new owner(s) to apply for a QS permit, and is subject to accumulation limits and approval by NMFS.

(B) Transfers of QS or IBQ or QP or IBQ pounds. (1) General. Transfers of QS or IBQ from one QS account to another QS account and transfers of QP or IBQ pounds from a QS account to a vessel account must be accomplished via the online QS account. During the year there may be situations where NMFS deems it necessary to prohibit transfers (i.e., account reconciliation, system maintenance, or for emergency fishery management reasons). To make a transfer, a QS permit owner must initiate a transfer request by logging onto the online QS account. Following the instructions provided on the Web site, the QS permit owner must enter pertinent information regarding the transfer request including, but not limited to: IFQ species, amount of QS, IBQ, QP, or IBQ pounds to be transferred for each IFQ species; name and any other identifier of the eligible transferee (e.g., QS permit number, vessel account number); and the value of the transferred QS, IBQ, QP, or IBQ pounds for each IFQ species. The online system will verify whether all information has been entered and whether the transfer complies with ownership limits or vessel limits, as applicable. If the information is not accepted, an electronic message will record as much in the transferor's QS account explaining the reason(s). If the information is accepted, the online system will record the pending transfer in both the transferor's QS account and the transferee's QS account or vessel account. The transferee must approve the transfer by electronic signature in order for the transfer to be completed. If the transferee accepts the transfer, the online system will record the transfer and confirm the transaction in both the transferor's QS account and the transferee's QS account or vessel account through a transaction confirmation notice. Once the transferee accepts the transaction, the transaction is final and permanent.

(2) Transfer of QS or IBQ between QS accounts. QS permit owners may transfer QS or IBQ to another owner of a QS permit, subject to accumulation limits and approval by NMFS. QS or IBQ is transferred as a percent, divisible to one-thousandth of a percent (i.e., greater than or equal to 0.001 percent). QS or IBQ cannot be transferred to a vessel account. Owners of non-renewed QS permits may not transfer QS. QP in QS accounts cannot be transferred between QS accounts. NMFS will allocate QP based on the QS percentages as listed on a QS permit that was renewed during the previous October 1 through November 30 renewal period. QS transfers will be recorded in the QS account but will not become effective for purposes of allocating QPs until the following year. QS or IBQ may not be transferred between December 1 through December 31 each year. Any QS transaction that is pending as of December 1 will be administratively retracted. NMFS will allocate QP for the following year based on the QS percentages as of December 1 of each year.

(3) Transfer of QP or IBQ pounds from a QS account to a vessel account. QP or IBQ pounds must be transferred in whole pounds (i.e., no fraction of a QP can be transferred). QP or IBQ pounds must be transferred to a vessel account in order to be used. Transfers of QP or IBQ pounds from a QS account to a vessel account are subject to annual vessel accumulation limits and NMFS' approval. Once QP or IBQ pounds are transferred from a QS account to a vessel account (accepted by the transferee/vessel owner), they cannot be transferred back to a QS account and may only be transferred to another vessel account. QP or IBQ pounds may not be transferred from one QS account to another QS account. All QP or IBQ pounds from a QS account must be transferred to one or more vessel accounts by December 31 each year in order to be fished. All QP or IBQ pounds expire at the end of the post-season transfer period of the year after which they were issued. If, in any year, the Regional Administrator makes a decision to reapportion Pacific whiting from the tribal to the non-tribal fishery or NMFS releases additional QP consistent with §660.60(c) and paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section, NMFS will credit QS accounts with additional QP proportionally, based on the QS percent for a particular QS permit owner and the increase in the shorebased trawl allocation specified at paragraph (d)(1)(ii)(D) of this section.

(C) Effective date—(1) Transfer of QS or IBQ between QS accounts is effective on the date approved by NMFS.

(2) Transfer of QP or IBQ pounds from a QS account to a vessel account is effective on the date approved by NMFS.

(D) IAD and appeals. Transfers are subject to the permit appeals process specified at §660.25 (g), subpart C.

(4) Accumulation limits—(i) QS and IBQ control limits. QS and IBQ control limits are accumulation limits and are the amount of QS and IBQ that a person, individually or collectively, may own or control. QS and IBQ control limits are expressed as a percentage of the Shorebased IFQ Program's allocation.

(A) Control limits for individual species. No person may own or control, or have a controlling influence over, by any means whatsoever an amount of QS or IBQ for any individual species that exceeds the Shorebased IFQ Program accumulation limits.

(B) Control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings. To determine how much aggregate nonwhiting QS a person holds, NMFS will convert the person's QS to pounds. This conversion will always be conducted using the trawl allocations applied to the 2010 OYs, until such time as the Council recommends otherwise. Specifically, NMFS will multiply each person's QS for each species by the shoreside trawl allocation for that species. The person's pounds for all nonwhiting species will be summed and divided by the shoreside trawl allocation of all nonwhiting species to calculate the person's share of the aggregate nonwhiting trawl quota. To determine the shoreside trawl allocation for the purpose of determining compliance with the aggregate nonwhiting control limit, for species that have specific trawl allocation percentages in Amendment 21, NMFS will apply the Amendment 21 trawl allocation percentages to (set forth at §660.55) the 2010 OYs, and where applicable, will deduct the preliminary set-asides for the at-sea sectors from Amendment 21. For species that do not have specific trawl allocation percentages in Amendment 21, NMFS will apply a percentage based on the Northwest Fishery Science Center final report on 2010 estimated total fishing mortality of groundfish by sector, or, if the final report for 2010 is not available, based on the most recent report available.

(C) The Shorebased IFQ Program accumulation limits are as follows:

Accumulation Limits

Species categoryQS and IBQ
control limit
(in percent)
Arrowtooth flounder10
Bocaccio S. of 40°10 N. lat.13.2
Canary rockfish4.4
Chilipepper S. of 40°10 N. lat.10
Cowcod S. of 40°10 N. lat.17.7
Darkblotched rockfish4.5
Dover sole2.6
English sole5
Lingcod:
N. of 40°10 N. lat.2.5
S. of 40°10 N. lat.2.5
Longspine thornyhead:
N. of 34°27 N. lat.6
Minor rockfish complex N. of 40°10 N. lat.:
Shelf species5
Slope species5
Minor rockfish complex S. of 40°10 N. lat.:
Shelf species9
Slope species6
Other flatfish stock complex10
Pacific cod12
Pacific halibut (IBQ) N. of 40°10 N. lat.5.4
Pacific ocean perch N. of 40°10 N. lat.4
Pacific whiting (shoreside)10
Petrale sole3
Sablefish:
N. of 36° N. lat. (Monterey north)3
S. of 36° N. lat. (Conception area)10
Shortspine thornyhead:
N. of 34°27 N. lat.6
S. of 34°27 N. lat.6
Splitnose rockfish S. of 40°10 N. lat.10
Starry flounder10
Widow rockfish5.1
Yelloweye rockfish5.7
Yellowtail rockfish N. of 40°10 N. lat.5
Non-whiting groundfish species2.7

(ii) Ownership—individual and collective rule. The QS or IBQ that counts toward a person's accumulation limit will include:

(A) The QS or IBQ owned by that person, and

(B) That portion of the QS or IBQ owned by an entity in which that person has an economic or financial interest, where the person's share of interest in that entity will determine the portion of that entity's QS or IBQ that counts toward the person's limit.

(iii) Control. Control means, but is not limited to, the following:

(A) The person has the right to direct, or does direct, in whole or in part, the business of the entity to which the QS or IBQ are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(C) and (G) of this section;

(B) The person has the right to limit the actions of or replace, or does limit the actions of or replace, the chief executive officer, a majority of the board of directors, any general partner, or any person serving in a management capacity of the entity to which the QS or IBQ are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(C) and (G) of this section;

(C) The person, excluding banks and other financial institutions that rely on QS or IBQ as collateral for loans as described under paragraph (d)(4)(iii)(G) of this section, has the right to direct, or does direct, and/or the right to prevent or delay, or does prevent or delay, the transfer of QS or IBQ, or the resulting QP or IBQ pounds;

(D) The person, through loan covenants or any other means, has the right to restrict, or does restrict, and/or has a controlling influence over the day to day business activities or management policies of the entity to which the QS or IBQ are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(C) and (G) of this section;

(E) The person, has the right to restrict, or does restrict, any activity related to QS or IBQ or QP or IBQ pounds, including, but not limited to, use of QS or IBQ, or the resulting QP or IBQ pounds, or disposition of fish harvested under the resulting QP or IBQ pounds, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(C) and (G) of this section;

(F) The person has the right to control, or does control, the management of, or to be a controlling factor in, the entity to which the QS or IBQ, or the resulting QP or IBQ pounds, are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(C) and (G) of this section;

(G) The person, excluding banks and other financial institutions that rely on QS or IBQ as collateral for loans, has the right to cause or prevent, or does cause or prevent, the sale, lease or other disposition of QS or IBQ, or the resulting QP or IBQ pounds; and

(1) To qualify for this exception, a bank or other financial institution must be regularly or primarily engaged in the business of lending and not engaged in or controlled by entities whose primary business is the harvesting, processing, or distribution of fish or fish products.

(2) Any state or federally chartered bank or financial institution that meets the requirement of paragraph (d)(4)(iii)(G)(1) of this section does not need to submit additional information to NMFS.

(3) Any entity that is not a state or federally chartered bank or financial institution, must submit a letter requesting the exception and disclose the identity and interest share of any shareholder with a 2% or more ownership interest in the lender through submission of the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form (see paragraph (d)(4)(iv) of this section). The lender must make subsequent annual submissions of the letter and Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form to maintain the exception. Letters requesting the exception and complete Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Forms may be submitted to NMFS, West Coast Region, Permits Office, ATTN: Fisheries Permit Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115. NMFS will only accept complete applications.

(H) The person has the ability through any means whatsoever to control or have a controlling influence over the entity to which QS or IBQ is registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (d)(4)(iii)(C) and (G) of this section.

(iv) Trawl identification of ownership interest form. Any person that owns a limited entry trawl permit and that is applying for or renewing a QS permit shall document those persons that have an ownership interest in the limited entry trawl or QS permit greater than or equal to 2 percent. This ownership interest must be documented with the SFD via the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form. For renewal, if the limited entry trawl permit and QS permit have identical ownership interest, only one form need be submitted attesting to such ownership. SFD will not issue a QS permit unless the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form has been completed. Further, if SFD discovers through review of the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form that a person owns or controls more than the accumulation limits and is not authorized to do so under paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section, the person will be notified and the QS permit will be issued up to the accumulation limit specified in the QS or IBQ control limit table from paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section. NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to verify compliance with accumulation limits.

(v) Divestiture. Accumulation limits will be calculated by first calculating the aggregate nonwhiting QS limit and then the individual species QS or IBQ control limits. For QS permit owners (including any person who has ownership interest in the owner named on the permit) that are found to exceed the accumulation limits during the reallocation of widow rockfish QS, an adjustment period will be provided during which they will have to completely divest their QS or IBQ in excess of the accumulation limits. If NMFS identifies that a QS permit owner exceeds the accumulation limits in 2016 or beyond, the QS permit owner must divest of the QS or IBQ in excess of the accumulation limits according to the procedure provided under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. Owners of QS or IBQ in excess of the control limits may receive and use the QP or IBQ pounds associated with that excess, up to the time their divestiture is completed.

(A) Divestiture and redistribution process in 2016 and beyond. Any person owning or controlling QS or IBQ must comply with the accumulation limits, even if that control is not reflected in the ownership records available to NMFS as specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (iii) of this section. If NMFS identifies that a QS permit owner exceeds an accumulation limit in 2016 or beyond for a reason other than the reallocation of widow rockfish, NMFS will notify the QS permit owner that he or she has 90 days to divest of the excess QS or IBQ. In the case that a QS permit owner exceeds the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings, the QS permit owner may abandon QS to NMFS within 60 days of the notification by NMFS, using the procedure provided under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(C) of this section. After the 90-day divestiture period, NMFS will revoke all QS or IBQ held by a person (including any person who has ownership interest in the owner names on the permit) in excess of the accumulation limits following the procedures specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(v)(D) through (G) of this section. All abandoned or revoked shares will be redistributed to all other QS permit owners in proportion to their QS or IBQ holdings on or about January 1 of the following calendar year, based on current ownership records, except that no person will be allocated an amount of QS or IBQ that would put that person over an accumulation limit.

(B) Divestiture and redistribution process for the reallocation of widow rockfish. Any person owning or controlling QS or IBQ must comply with the accumulation limits, even if that control is not reflected in the ownership records available to NMFS as specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(i) and (iii) of this section. If the reallocation of widow rockfish puts any QS permit owner over an accumulation limit, the QS permit owner will have until November 30 of the year widow rockfish becomes transferrable to divest of their excess widow rockfish QS. In the case that a QS permit owner exceeds the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings as the result of the reallocation of widow rockfish, the permit owner may abandon QS to NMFS by November 15 of the year widow rockfish becomes transferrable, using the procedure provided under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(C) of this section. NMFS will announce the QS transfer date for widow rockfish, the divestiture deadline, and the abandonment deadline after the widow reallocation IAD appeal deadline. After the widow rockfish reallocation divestiture period, NMFS will revoke all QS and IBQ held by a person (including any person who has ownership interest in the owner names on the permit) in excess of the accumulation limits following the procedures specified under paragraphs (d)(4)(v)(D) through (G) of this section. All abandoned or revoked shares will be redistributed to all other QS permit owners in proportion to their QS or IBQ holdings on or about January 1 of the following calendar year, based on current ownership records, except that no person will be allocated an amount of QS or IBQ that would put that person over an accumulation limit.

(C) Abandonment of QS. QS permit owners that are over the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings may voluntarily abandon QS if they notify NMFS in writing by the applicable deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. The written abandonment request must include the following information: QS permit number, IFQ species, and the QS percentage to be abandoned. Either the QS permit owner or an authorized representative of the QS permit owner must sign the request. QS permit owners choosing to utilize the abandonment option will permanently relinquish to NMFS any right to the abandoned QS, and the QS will be redistributed as described under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any abandoned shares.

(D) Revocation. NMFS will revoke QS from any QS permit owner who exceeds an accumulation limit after the divestiture deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. NMFS will follow the revocation approach summarized in the following table and explained under paragraphs (d)(4)(v)(E) through (G) of this section:

If, after the divestiture deadline, a QS permit owner exceedsThen
An individual species control limit in one QS permitNMFS will revoke excess QS at the species level.
An individual species control limit across multiple QS permitsNMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount the QS percentage from each permit contributes to the total QS percentage owned.
The control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdingsNMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount of the aggregate overage divided by the aggregate total owned.

(E) Revocation of excess QS or IBQ from one QS permit. In cases where a person has not divested to the control limits for individual species in one QS permit by the deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section, NMFS will revoke excess QS at the species level in order to get that person to the limits. NMFS will redistribute the revoked QS following the process specified in paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any revoked shares.

(F) Revocation of excess QS or IBQ from multiple QS permits. In cases where a person has not divested to the control limits for individual species across QS permits by the deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section, NMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount the QS percentage from each permit contributes to the total QS percentage owned. NMFS will redistribute the revoked QS following the process specified in paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any revoked shares.

(G) Revocation of QS in excess of the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings. In cases where a QS permit owner has not divested to the control limit for aggregate nonwhiting QS holdings by the deadline specified under paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section, NMFS will revoke QS at the species level in proportion to the amount of the aggregate overage divided by the aggregate total owned. NMFS will redistribute the revoked QS following the process in paragraph (d)(4)(v)(A) or (B) of this section. No compensation will be due for any revoked shares.

(5) Appeals. An appeal to a QS permit or QS account action follows the same process as the general permit appeals process as defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(6) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge fees for administrative costs associated with the issuance of a QS permit consistent with the provisions given at §660.25(f), subpart C.

(7) [Reserved]

(8) Application requirements and initial issuance for QS permit and QS/IBQ—(i) Additional definitions. The following definitions are applicable to paragraph (d)(8) of this section and apply to terms used for the purposes of application requirements and initial issuance of QS permits and QS/IBQ:

(A) Nonwhiting trip means a fishing trip where less than 50 percent by weight of all fish reported on the state landing receipt is whiting.

(B) PacFIN means the Pacific Fisheries Information Network of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

(C) Relative history means the landings history of a permit for a species, year, and area subdivision, divided by the total fleet history of the sector for that species, year, and area subdivision, as appropriate, or, in the case of shoreside processors, the annual sum of the shoreside processor's whiting receipts divided by the aggregate annual sum of whiting received by all shoreside processors in that year. Relative history is expressed as a percent.

(D) Shoreside processor means an operation, working on U.S. soil, that takes delivery of trawl caught groundfish that has not been processed; and that thereafter engages that fish in shoreside processing. Entities that received fish that have not undergone at-sea processing or shoreside processing and sell that fish directly to consumers shall not be considered a processor for purposes of QS allocations. Shoreside processing is defined as either of the following:

(1) Any activity that takes place shoreside; and that involves: Cutting groundfish into smaller portions; or freezing, cooking, smoking, drying groundfish; or packaging that groundfish for resale into 100 pound units or smaller for sale or distribution into a wholesale or retail market.

(2) The purchase and redistribution in to a wholesale or retail market of live groundfish from a harvesting vessel.

(E) Whiting trip means a fishing trip where greater than or equal to 50 percent by weight of all fish reported on the state landing receipt is whiting.

(ii) Eligibility criteria for QS permit and QS/IBQ. Only the following persons are eligible to receive a QS permit or QS/IBQ:

(A) The owner of a valid trawl limited entry permit is eligible to receive a QS permit and its associated QS or IBQ amount. Any past landings history associated with the current limited entry trawl permit accrues to the current permit owner. NMFS will not recognize any person as the limited entry permit owner other than the person listed as limited entry permit owner in NMFS permit database. If a limited entry permit has history on state landing receipts and has been combined with a permit that has received or will receive a C/P endorsement, the trawl limited entry permit does not qualify for QS or IBQ.

(B) Shoreside processors that meet the recent participation requirement of having received deliveries of 1 mt or more of whiting from whiting trips in each of any two years from 1998 through 2004 are eligible for an initial issuance of whiting QS. NMFS will initially identify shoreside processors by reference to Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers recorded on fish tickets in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 1, 2010, subject to correction as described in paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(G) of this section.

(iii) Steps for QS and IBQ allocation formulas. The QS and IBQ allocation formulas are applied in the following steps:

(A) First, for each limited entry trawl permit owner, NMFS will determine a preliminary QS allocation for non-whiting trips.

(B) Second, for each limited entry trawl permit owner, NMFS will determine a preliminary QS allocation for whiting trips.

(C) Third, for each limited entry trawl permit owner, NMFS will combine the amounts resulting from paragraphs (d)(8)(iii)(A) and (B) of this section.

(D) Fourth, NMFS will reduce the results for limited entry trawl permit owners by 10 percent of non-whiting species as a set aside for Adaptive Management Program (AMP) and by 20 percent of whiting for the initial issuance of QS allocated to qualifying shoreside processors.

(E) Fifth, NMFS will determine the whiting QS allocation for qualifying shoreside processors from the 20 percent of whiting QS allocated to qualifying shoreside processors at initial issuance of QS.

(F) Sixth, for each limited entry trawl permit owner, NMFS will determine the Pacific halibut IBQ allocation.

(G) Seventh, for limited entry trawl permits transferred after November 8, 2008, or if transferred earlier, not registered with NMFS by November 30, 2008, for which NMFS determines the owners of such permits would exceed the accumulation limits specified at paragraph (d)(4) of this section based on the previous steps, NMFS will redistribute the excess QS or IBQ to other qualified QS permit owners within the accumulation limits.

(iv) Allocation formula for specific QS and IBQ amounts—(A) Allocation formula rules. Unless otherwise specified, the following rules will be applied to data for the purpose of calculating an initial allocation of QS and IBQ:

(1) For limited entry trawl permit owners, a permit will be assigned catch history or relative history based on the landing history of the vessel(s) associated with the permit at the time the landings were made.

(2) The relevant PacFIN dataset includes species compositions based on port sampled data and applied to data at the vessel level.

(3) Only landings of IFQ species which are caught in the exclusive economic zone or adjacent state waters off Washington, Oregon and California will be used for calculation of allocation formulas. For the purpose of allocation of IFQ species for which the QS or IBQ will be subdivided by area, catch areas have been assigned to landings of IFQ species reported on state landing receipts based on port of landing.

(4) History from limited entry permits that have been combined with a permit that may qualify for a C/P endorsement and which has shorebased permit history will not be included in the preliminary QS and IBQ allocation formula, other than in the determination of fleet history used in the calculation of relative history for permits that do not have a C/P endorsement.

(5) History of illegal landings and landings made under non-whiting EFPs that are in excess of the cumulative limits in place for the non-EFP fishery will not count toward the allocation of QS or IBQ.

(6) The limited entry permit's landings history includes the landings history of permits that have been previously combined with that permit.

(7) If two or more limited entry trawl permits have been simultaneously registered to the same vessel, NMFS will split the landing history evenly between all such limited entry trawl-endorsed permits during the time they were simultaneously registered to the vessel.

(8) Unless otherwise noted, the calculation for QS or IBQ allocation under paragraph (d)(8) of this section will be based on state landing receipts (fish tickets) as recorded in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 1, 2010.

(9) For limited entry trawl permits, landings under provisional “A” permits that did not become “A” permits and “B” permits will not count toward the allocation of QS or IBQ, other than in the determination of fleet history used in the calculation of relative history for permits that do not have a C/P endorsement.

(10) For limited entry trawl permits, NMFS will calculate initial issuance of QS separately based on whiting trips and non-whiting trips, and will weigh each calculation according to initial issuance allocations between whiting trips and non-whiting trips, which are one-time allocations necessary for the formulas used during the initial issuance of QS to create a single Shorebased IFQ Program. The initial issuance allocations between whiting and non-whiting trips for canary rockfish, bocaccio, cowcod, yelloweye rockfish, minor shelf rockfish N. of 40°10, minor shelf rockfish S. of 40°10, and minor slope rockfish S. of 40°10 will be determined through the biennial specifications process. The initial issuance allocations for the remaining IFQ species are as follows:

SpeciesInitial issuance allocation percentage
Non-whitingWhiting
Lingcod99.7%0.3%
Pacific Cod99.9%0.1%
Pacific Whiting0.1%99.9%
Sablefish N. of 36° N. lat.98.2%1.8%
Sablefish S. of 36° N. lat.100.0%0.0%
PACIFIC OCEAN PERCHremaining17% or 30 mt, whichever is greater, to shorebased + at-sea whiting.
      If under rebuilding, 52% to shorebased + at-sea whiting.
WIDOWremainingIf stock rebuilt, 10% or 500 mt, whichever is greater, to shorebased + at-sea whiting.
Chilipepper S. of 40°10 N. lat.100.0%0.0%
Splitnose S. of 40°10 N. lat.100.0%0.0%
Yellowtail N. of 40°10 N. lat.remaining300 mt.
Shortspine N. of 34°27 N. lat.99.9%0.1%
Shortspine S. of 34°27 N. lat.100.0%0.0%
Longspine N. of 34°27 N. lat.100.0%0.0%
DARKBLOTCHEDremaining9% or 25 mt, whichever is greater, to shorebased + at-sea whiting.
Minor Slope Rockfish N. of 40°10 N. lat98.6%1.4%
Dover Sole100.0%0.0%
English Sole99.9%0.1%
Petrale Sole100.0%0.0%
Arrowtooth Flounder100.0%0.0%
Starry Flounder100.0%0.0%
Other Flatfish99.9%0.1%

(B) Preliminary QS allocation for nonwhiting trips. NMFS will calculate the non-whiting preliminary QS allocation differently for different species groups, Groups 1 through 3.

(1) Allocation formula species groups. For the purposes of preliminary QS allocation, IFQ species will be grouped as follows:

(i) Group 1 includes lingcod, Pacific cod, Pacific whiting, sablefish north of 36° N. lat., sablefish south of 36° N. lat., Dover sole, English sole, petrale sole, arrowtooth flounder, starry flounder, other flatfish stock complex, chilipepper rockfish, splitnose rockfish, yellowtail rockfish, shortspine thornyhead north of 34°27 N. lat., shortspine thornyhead south of 34°27 N. lat., longspine thornyhead north of 34°27 N. lat., minor rockfish north slope species complex, minor rockfish south slope species complex, minor rockfish north shelf species complex, and minor rockfish south shelf species complex.

(ii) Group 2 includes bocaccio, cowcod, darkblotched rockfish, Pacific ocean perch, widow rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish.

(iii) Group 3 includes canary rockfish.

(2) Group 1 species: The preliminary QS allocation process indicated in paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(A) of this section for Group 1 species follows a two-step process, one to allocate a pool of QS equally among all eligible limited entry permits and the other to allocate the remainder of the preliminary QS based on permit history. Through these two processes, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent for each Group 1 species will be allocated. In later steps this amount will be adjusted and reduced as indicated in paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(C) and (D), to determine the QS allocation.

(i) QS to be allocated equally. The pool of QS for equal allocation will be determined using the landings history from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program (i.e., buyback permit) (70 FR 45695, August 8, 2005). The QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be the buyback permit history as a percent of the total fleet history for the allocation period. The calculation will be based on total absolute pounds with no dropped years and no other adjustments. The QS pool will be divided equally among qualifying limited entry permits for all QS species/species groups and areas in Group 1.

(ii) QS to be allocated based on each permit's history. The pool for QS allocation based on limited entry trawl permit history will be the QS remaining after subtracting out the QS allocated equally. This pool will be allocated to each qualifying limited entry trawl permit based on the permit's relative history from 1994 through 2003. For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will calculate a set of relative histories using the following methodology. First, NMFS will sum the permit's landings by each year for each Group 1 species/species group and area subdivision. Second, NMFS will divide each permit's annual sum for a particular species/species group and area subdivision by the shoreside limited entry trawl fleet's annual sum for the same species/species group and area subdivision. NMFS will then calculate a total relative history for each permit by species/species group and area subdivision by adding all relative histories for the permit together and subtracting the three years with the lowest relative history for the permit. The result for each permit by species/species group and areas subdivision will be divided by the aggregate sum of all total relative histories of all qualifying limited entry trawl permits for that species/species group and area subdivision. NMFS will then multiply the result from this calculation by the amount of QS in the pool to be allocated based on each permit's history.

(3) Group 2 species: The preliminary QS allocation step indicated in paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(A) of this section will be calculated for each limited entry trawl permit using a formula based on QS allocations for each limited entry trawl permit for 11 target species, areas of distribution of fishing effort as determined from 2003-2006 target species catch data from the PacFIN Coastwide Trawl Logbook Database, average bycatch ratios for each area as derived from West Coast Groundfish Observer Program (WCGOP) data from 2003 through 2006, and the non-whiting initial issuance allocation of the limited entry trawl allocation amounts for 2011 for each of the 11 target species. These data are used in a series of sequential steps to estimate the allocation of Group 2 species to each limited entry trawl permit. Paragraphs (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(iii) to (vi) of this section estimate the permit's total 2003-2006 target species by area. Paragraphs (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(vii) to (xii) of this section project Group 2 species bycatch amounts using 2003-2006 WCGOP observer ratios and the initial issuance allocation applied to the 2011 limited entry trawl allocation. Paragraphs (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(xiv) to (xvii) of this section convert these amounts into QS. As with Group 1 species, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent for each Group 2 species unit will be allocated and the amount of the allocations will be adjusted and reduced as indicated in paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(C) and (D) of this section to determine the QS allocation.

(i) The 11 target species are arrowtooth flounder, starry flounder, other flatfish, Dover sole, English sole, petrale sole, minor slope rockfish, shortspine thornyheads, longspine thornyheads, sablefish, and Pacific cod.

(ii) The 8 areas of distribution of fishing effort are defined latitudinally and by depth. The latitudinal areas are (a) north of 47°40 N. lat.; (b) between 47°40 N. lat. and 43°55 N. lat.; (c) 43°55 N. lat. and 40°10 N. lat.; and (d) south of 40°10 N. lat. Each latitudinal area is further divided by depth into areas shoreward and seaward of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area as defined at §660.130(e)(4) of this subpart.

(iii) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will review the permit logbook data for that permit and sum target species catch recorded for the years 2003-2006, resulting in total target species catch in each area for each permit for the years 2003 through 2006 for all 11 target species in aggregate.

(iv) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will also sum target species catch by area into total coastwide target species catch for each permit for the years 2003 through 2006 for all 11 target species in aggregate. For practicability, seaward or shoreward of the RCA as identified in the logbook data is defined as being deeper than or shallower than 115 fathoms, respectively.

(v) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will divide logbook aggregate target species catch in each area (paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(iii) of this section) by the permit's total coastwide target species catch (paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(iv) of this section) to create a set of 8 area catch ratios for each permit. (Note: The sum of all area catch ratios equals 1 for each permit).

(vi) For limited entry trawl permits where the vessel registered to the permit did not submit logbooks showing any catch of the 11 target species for any of the years 2003 through 2006, NMFS will use the following formula to calculate area target catch ratios: (a) NMFS will sum by area all limited entry trawl permits' total logbook area target catches from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(iii) of this section, (b) NMFS will sum coastwide all limited entry trawl permits' total logbook target catches across all areas from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(iv) of this section, and (c) NMFS will divide these sums (i.e., a/b) to create average permit logbook area target catch ratios.

(vii) NMFS will calculate the 2011 non-whiting short term allocation amount for each of the 11 target species by multiplying the limited entry trawl allocation amounts for 2011 for each by the corresponding initial issuance allocation percentage for the non-whiting sector given in paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(A)(10) of this section or determined through the biennial specifications process, as applicable.

(viii) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will obtain the percentage of the limited entry trawl permit initial QS allocation for each of the 11 target species resulting from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(2) of this section.

(ix) NMFS will calculate each limited entry trawl permit's projected non-whiting sector quota pounds for 2011 by multiplying the 2011 non-whiting sector initial issuance allocation amounts for each of the 11 target species from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(vii) of this section by each permit's target species QS allocation percentage from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(viii) of this section.

(x) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will sum the projected quota pounds for the 11 target species from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(ix) of this section to get a total projected weight of all 11 target species for the limited entry trawl permit.

(xi) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will estimate the permit's total incidental catch of Group 2 species by area by multiplying the projected 2011 total weight of all 11 target species by the applicable area catch ratio for each area as calculated in either paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(v) of this section (permits with logbook data) or paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(vi) of this section (permits without logbook data).

(xii) NMFS will apply WCGOP average bycatch ratios for each Group 2 species (observed Group 2 species catch/total target species catch) by area. The WCGOP average bycatch ratios are as follows:

AreaShorewardSeaward
Bocaccio
N. of 47°40 N. lat.
43°55 N. lat. to 47°40 N. lat.
40°10 N. lat. to 43°55 N. lat.
S. of 40°10 N. lat.0.0190137590.001794203
Cowcod
N. of 47°40 N. lat.
43°55 N. lat. to 47°40 N. lat.
40°10 N. lat. to 43°55 N. lat.
S. of 40°10 N. lat.0.0012850880.000050510
Darkblotched
N. of 47°40 N. lat.0.0015604610.009950330
43°55 N. lat. to 47°40 N. lat.0.0022380540.018835786
40°10 N. lat. to 43°55 N. lat.0.0021847880.015025697
S. of 40°10 N. lat.0.0000069510.004783988
Pacific ocean perch
N. of 47°40 N. lat.0.0010699540.019848047
43°55 N. lat. to 47°40 N. lat.0.0001108020.015831815
40°10 N. lat. to 43°55 N. lat.0.0001487150.001367645
S. of 40°10 N. lat.
Widow
N. of 47°40 N. lat.0.0001323320.000065291
43°55 N. lat. to 47°40 N. lat.0.0003873460.000755163
40°10 N. lat. to 43°55 N. lat.0.0001751280.000008118
S. of 40°10 N. lat.0.0010494850.000676828
Yelloweye
N. of 47°40 N. lat.0.0003346970.000006363
43°55 N. lat. to 47°40 N. lat.0.0000839510.000010980
40°10 N. lat. to 43°55 N. lat.0.0001289420.000006300
S. of 40°10 N. lat.0.000094029

(xiii) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will calculate projected Group 2 species amounts by area by multiplying the limited entry trawl permit's projected 2011 total weight of all target species by area from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(xi) of this section by the applicable average bycatch ratio for each Group 2 species and corresponding area of paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(xii) of this section.

(xiv) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will sum all area amounts for each Group 2 species from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(xiii) of this section to calculate the total projected amounts of each Group 2 species for each limited entry trawl permit.

(xv) NMFS will sum all limited entry trawl permits' projected Group 2 species amounts from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(xiv) of this section to calculate coastwide total projected amounts for each Group 2 species.

(xvi) NMFS will estimate preliminary QS for each limited entry trawl permit for each Group 2 species by dividing each limited entry trawl permit's total projected amount of each Group 2 species from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(xiv) of this section by the coastwide total projected amount for that species from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3)(xv) of this section.

(4) Group 3 Species: (i) The preliminary QS allocation step indicated in paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(A) of this section will be performed in two calculations that result in the division of preliminary QS allocation into two pools, one to allocate QS equally among all eligible limited entry permits, using the approach identified for Group 1 species in paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(2)(i) of this section, and the other to allocate QS using a formula based on QS allocations for target species and areas fished, using the approach identified for Group 2 species in paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(3) of this section, using the following WCGOP average bycatch rates:

Canary

AreaShorewardSeaward
N. of 47°40 N. lat.0.0080418980.000030522
43°55 N. lat. to 47°40 N. lat.0.0030818300.000142136
40°10 N. lat. to 43°55 N. lat.0.0087161480.000021431
S. of 40°10 N. lat.0.0015811940.000009132

(ii) Through these two processes, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent for each species will be allocated. In later steps, this amount will be adjusted and reduced as indicated in paragraphs (d)(8)(iii)(C) and (D) of this section to determine the QS allocation. In combining the two QS pools for each permit, the equal allocation portion is weighted according to the process in paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(2)(i) of this section, and the portion calculated based on allocations for target species and areas fished is weighted according to the process in (d)(8)(iv)(B)(2)(ii) of this section.

(C) Preliminary QS allocation for whiting trips. The preliminary QS allocation based on whiting trips as indicated in paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(B) of this section for limited entry trawl permits follows a two step process, one to allocate a pool of QS equally among all eligible limited entry permits and the other to allocate the remainder of the preliminary QS based on permit history. Through these two processes, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent for each species will be allocated. In later steps, this amount will be adjusted and reduced, as indicated in paragraphs (d)(8)(iii)(C) and (D) of this section, to determine the QS allocation.

(1) QS to be allocated equally. The pool of QS for equal allocation will be determined using the whiting trip landings history from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program (i.e., buyback permit) (70 FR 45695, August 8, 2005). For each species, the whiting trip QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be the buyback permit history as a percent of the total fleet history for the allocation period. The calculation will be based on total absolute pounds with no dropped years and no other adjustments. The whiting trip QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be divided equally among all qualifying limited entry permits for each species.

(2) QS to be allocated based on each permit's history. The pool for QS allocation based on each limited entry trawl permit's history will be the QS remaining after subtracting out the QS associated with the buyback permits allocated equally.

(i) Whiting QS allocated based on each permit's history. Whiting QS based on each limited entry trawl permit's history will be allocated based on the permit's relative history from 1994 through 2003. For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will calculate a whiting relative history for each qualifying year, as follows. First, NMFS will sum the permit's history of landings of whiting from whiting trips for each year. Second, NMFS will divide each permit's annual sum of whiting from whiting trips by the shoreside limited entry trawl fleet's annual sum of whiting. NMFS will then calculate a total relative history for each permit by adding all relative histories for the permit together and subtracting the two years with the lowest relative history. NMFS will then divide the result for each permit by the total relative history for whiting of all qualifying limited entry trawl permits. The result from this calculation will then be multiplied by the amount of whiting QS in the pool to be allocated based on each permit's history.

(ii) Other incidentally caught species QS allocation for eligible limited entry trawl permit owners. Other incidentally caught species from the QS remaining after subtracting out the QS associated with the buyback permits will be allocated pro-rata based on each limited entry trawl permit's whiting QS from whiting trips. Pro-rata means a percent that is equal to the percent of whiting QS.

(D) QS from limited entry permits calculated separately for non-whiting trips and whiting trips. NMFS will calculate the portion of QS for each species which a permit receives based on non-whiting trips and whiting trips separately and will weight each preliminary QS in proportion to the initial issuance allocation percentage between whiting trips and non-whiting trips for that species in paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(A)(10) of this section or determined through the biennial specifications process, as applicable.

(1) Nonwhiting trips. To determine the amount of QS of each species for non-whiting trips for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will multiply the preliminary QS for the permit from paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(A) of this section for each species by the initial issuance allocation percentage for that species for non-whiting trips.

(2) Whiting trips. To determine the amount of QS of each species for whiting trips for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will multiply the preliminary QS from paragraph (d)(8)(iii)(B) of this section for each species by the initial issuance allocation percentage for that species for whiting trips.

(E) QS for each limited entry trawl permit. For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will add the results for the permit from paragraphs (d)(8)(iv)(D)(1) and (D)(2) of this section in order to determine the total QS for each species on that permit.

(F) Adjustment for AMP set-aside and shoreside processor initial issuance allocations. NMFS will reduce the non-whiting QS allocation to each limited entry trawl permit by 10 percent, for a QS set-aside to AMP. NMFS will reduce the whiting QS allocation to each limited entry trawl permit by 20 percent for the initial QS allocation to shoreside processors.

(G) Allocation of initial issuance of whiting QS for shoreside processors. NMFS will calculate the amount of whiting QS available to shoreside processors from the 20 percent adjustment of whiting QS allocations in paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(F) of this section. For each eligible shoreside processor, whiting QS will be allocated based on the eligible shoreside processor's relative history from 1998 through 2004. Only the deliveries for which the shoreside processor is the first processor of the fish will be used in the calculation of whiting relative history.

(1) For each shoreside processor which has received deliveries of at least 1 mt of whiting from whiting trips in each of any two years from 1998 through 2004, NMFS will calculate a whiting relative history for each qualifying year, as follows. First, NMFS will sum the shoreside processor's receipts of whiting for each year. Second, NMFS will calculate the relative history for each year by dividing each shoreside processor's annual sum of whiting receipts by the aggregate annual sum of whiting received by all shoreside processors in that year. NMFS will then calculate a total relative history for each shoreside processor by adding all relative histories for the shoreside processor together and subtracting the two years with the lowest relative history. NMFS will then divide the result for each shoreside processor by the aggregate sum of all total relative histories for whiting by all qualifying shoreside processors. The result from this calculation will then be multiplied by 20 percent to determine the shoreside processor's whiting QS.

(2) For purposes of making an initial issuance of whiting QS to a shoreside processor, NMFS will attribute landing history to the Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver reported on the landing receipt (the entity responsible for filling out the state landing receipt) as recorded in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 1, 2010. History may be reassigned to a shoreside processor not on the state landings receipt as described at paragraph (d)(8)(vi)(B) of this section.

(H) Allocation of Pacific halibut IBQ for each limited entry trawl permit. For each eligible limited entry trawl permit owner, NMFS will calculate Pacific halibut individual bycatch quota (IBQ) for the area north of 40°10 N. lat. using a formula based on (a) QS allocations for each limited entry trawl permit for two target species, (b) areas of distribution of fishing effort as determined from 2003-2006 target species catch data from the PacFIN Coastwide Trawl Logbook Database, (c) average bycatch ratios for each area as derived from WCGOP data from 2003 through 2006, and (d) the non-whiting initial issuance allocation of the limited entry trawl allocation amounts for 2011 for arrowtooth and petrale sole. These data are used in a series of sequential steps to determine the allocation of IBQ to each limited entry trawl permit. Paragraphs (d)(8)(iv)(H)(3) to (6) of this section estimate the permit's total 2003-2006 target species by area. Paragraphs (d)(8)(iv)(H)(7) to (13) of this section project Pacific halibut bycatch amounts using 2003-2006 WCGOP observer ratios and the 2011 non-whiting initial issuance allocation of the limited entry trawl allocation amounts. Paragraphs (d)(8)(iv)(H)(14) to (16) of this section convert these amounts into QS.

(1) The target species are arrowtooth flounder and petrale sole.

(2) The four bycatch areas are defined latitudinally and by depth. The latitudinal areas are (a) north of 47°30 N. lat., and (b) between 40°10 N. lat. and 47°30 N. lat. Each latitudinal area is further divided by depth into areas shoreward and seaward of the trawl Rockfish Conservation Area as defined at §660.130(e)(4), subpart D.

(3) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will review the permit logbook data for that permit and sum target species catch recorded for the years 2003-2006, resulting in total target species catch in each of the four areas for each permit for the years 2003 through 2006 for both target species in aggregate. For practicability, seaward or shoreward of the RCA as identified in the logbook data is defined as being deeper than or shallower than 115 fathoms, respectively.

(4) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will also sum the target species catch by area into total aggregate target species catch for each permit for the years 2003 through 2006.

(5) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will divide logbook aggregate target species catch in each area (paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(3) of this section) by the sum of the permit's catch of each target species in all four bycatch areas (paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(4) of this section) to create a set of area catch ratios for each permit. (Note: The sum of all four area catch ratios in aggregate equals 1 for each permit).

(6) For limited entry trawl permits where the vessel registered to the permit did not submit logbooks showing any catch of either of the two target species for any of the years 2003 through 2006, NMFS will use the following formula to calculate area target catch ratios: NMFS will sum by area all limited entry trawl permits' total logbook area target catches from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(3) of this section, and sum all limited entry trawl permits' total logbook target catches across all four areas from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(4) of this section; and divide these sums to create average permit logbook area target catch ratios.

(7) NMFS will calculate the 2011 non-whiting initial issuance allocation amount for each of the two target species by multiplying the limited entry trawl allocation amounts for 2011 for each by the corresponding initial issuance allocation percentage for the non-whiting sector given in paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(A)(10) of this section.

(8) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will obtain the non-whiting portion of each limited entry trawl permit's initial QS allocations for each of the two target species resulting from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(B)(2) of this section.

(9) NMFS will calculate each limited entry trawl permit's projected non-whiting sector quota pounds for the two target species for 2011 by multiplying the 2011 non-whiting sector short term allocation amounts for each of the target species by the permit's QS allocation percentage for the species from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(8) of this section.

(10) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will sum the projected quota pounds for the two target species from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(9) of this section to get a total projected weight of the two target species for the limited entry trawl permit.

(11) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will multiply the projected 2011 total weight of the two target species by the applicable area catch ratio for each area as calculated in either paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(5) of this section (permits with logbook data) or paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(6) of this section (permits without logbook data).

(12) NMFS will apply WCGOP average halibut bycatch ratios (observed halibut catch/total of two target species catch) by area. The WCGOP average halibut bycatch ratios are as follows:

Pacific Halibut

AreaShorewardSeaward
N. of 47°30 N. lat.0.2257371620.084214162
40°10 N. lat. to 47°30 N. lat.0.0862509130.033887839

(13) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will calculate projected Pacific halibut amounts by area by multiplying the limited entry trawl permit's projected 2011 total weight of the two target species by area from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(11) of this section by the average bycatch ratio for the corresponding area of paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(12) of this section.

(14) For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will sum all area amounts from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(13) of this section to calculate the total projected Pacific halibut amount for each limited entry trawl permit.

(15) NMFS will sum all limited entry trawl permits' projected Pacific halibut amounts from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(14) of this section to calculate aggregate total amounts of Pacific halibut.

(16) NMFS will estimate preliminary Pacific halibut IBQ for each limited entry trawl permit by dividing each limited entry trawl permit's total projected Pacific halibut amount from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(14) of this section by the aggregate total amounts of Pacific halibut from paragraph (d)(8)(iv)(H)(15) of this section.

(I) Redistribution of QS and IBQ. For each limited entry trawl permit transferred after November 8, 2008, or if transferred earlier, not registered with NMFS by November 30, 2008, for which NMFS determines that the owner of such permit would exceed the accumulation limits specified at paragraph (d)(4)(i) of this section based on calculation of the preceding allocation formulas for all limited entry trawl permits owned by such owner using the individual and collective rule described at §660.140(d)(4)(ii), NMFS will redistribute the excess QS or IBQ to other qualified QS permit owners within the accumulation limits.

(v) QS application. Persons may apply for an initial issuance of QS and IBQ and a QS permit in one of two ways: Complete and submit a prequalified application received from NMFS, or complete and submit an application package. The completed application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered within normal business hours no later than November 1, 2010. If an applicant fails to submit a completed application by the deadline date, they forgo the opportunity to receive consideration for initial issuance of QS and IBQ and a QS permit.

(A) Prequalified application. A “prequalified application” is a partially pre-filled application where NMFS has preliminarily determined the landings history that may qualify the applicant for an initial issuance of QS and IBQ. The application package will include a prequalified application (with landings history), a Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest form, and any other documents NMFS believes are necessary to aid the limited entry permit owner in completing the QS application.

(1) For current trawl limited entry permit owners, NMFS will mail a prequalified application to all owners, as listed in the NMFS permit database at the time applications are mailed, that NMFS determines may qualify for QS or IBQ. NMFS will mail the application by certified mail to the current address of record in the NMFS permit database. The application will contain the basis of NMFS' calculation of the permit owner's QS and IBQ for each species/species group or area.

(2) For shoreside processors, NMFS will mail a prequalified application to those Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers with receipts of 1 mt or more of whiting from whiting trips in each of any two years from 1998 through 2004, as documented on fish tickets in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 1, 2010. NMFS will mail the prequalified application by certified mail to the current address of record given by the state in which the entity is registered. For all qualified entities who meet the eligibility requirement at paragraph (d)(8)(ii)(B) of this section, the application will provide the basis of NMFS' calculation of the initial issuance of Pacific whiting QS.

(B) Request for an application. An owner of a current limited entry trawl permit or a Pacific whiting first receiver or shoreside processor that believes it is qualified for an initial issuance of QS and IBQ and does not receive a prequalified application, must complete an application package and submit the completed application to NMFS by the application deadline. Application packages are available on NMFS' Web site (http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Groundfish-Halibut/Groundfish-Permits/index.cfm) or by contacting SFD. An application must include valid PacFIN data or other credible information that substantiates the applicant's qualification for an initial issuance of QS and IBQ.

(vi) Corrections to the application. If an applicant does not accept NMFS' calculation in the prequalified application either in part or whole, the applicant must identify in writing to NMFS which parts the applicant believes to be inaccurate, and must provide specific credible information to substantiate any requested corrections. The completed application and specific credible information must be provided to NMFS in writing by the application deadline. Written communication must either be post-marked or hand-delivered within normal business hours no later than November 1, 2010. Requests for corrections may only be granted for the following reasons:

(A) Errors in NMFS' use or application of data, including:

(1) Errors in NMFS' use or application of landings data from PacFIN;

(2) Errors in NMFS' use or application of state logbook data from PacFIN;

(3) Errors in NMFS' application of the QS or IBQ allocation formula;

(4) Errors in identification of the permit owner, permit combinations, or vessel registration as listed in NMFS permit database;

(5) Errors in identification of ownership information for the first receiver or the processor that first processed the fish; and

(6) Errors in NMFS' use or application of ownership interest information.

(B) Reassignment of Pacific whiting landings history for shoreside processors. For shoreside processors, the landing history may be reassigned from the Pacific whiting shoreside first receive identified in the relevant PacFIN database to a shoreside processor that was in fact the first processor of the fish. In order for an applicant to request that landing history be reassigned, an authorized representative for the Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver identified on the state landing receipt must submit, by the application deadline date specified in paragraph (d)(8)(vii)(B) of this section for initial issuance of QS, a written request that the whiting landings history from the qualifying years be conveyed to a shoreside processor. The letter must be signed and dated by the authorized representative of the Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver named on the state landing receipt and signed and dated by the authorized representative of the shoreside processor to which the Pacific whiting landing history is requested to be reassigned. The letter must identify the dates of the landings history and the associated amounts that are requested to be reassigned, and include the legal name of the shoreside processor to which the Pacific whiting landing history is requested to be reassigned, their date of birth or tax identification number, business address, business phone number, fax number, and e-mail address. If any document exists that demonstrates that the shoreside processor to which the Pacific whiting landing history is requested to be reassigned was in fact the first processor of the fish, such documentation must be provided to NMFS. NMFS will review the information submitted and will make a determination as part of the IAD.

(vii) Submission of the application and application deadline—(A) Submission of the application. Submission of the complete, certified application includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) The applicant is required to sign and date the application and have the document notarized by a licensed Notary Public.

(2) The applicant must certify that they qualify to own QS and IBQ.

(3) The applicant must indicate they accept NMFS' calculation of initial issuance of QS and IBQ provided in the prequalified application, or provide credible information that demonstrates their qualification for QS and IBQ.

(4) The applicant is required to provide a complete Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form as specified at paragraph (d)(4)(iv) of this section.

(5) Business entities may be required to submit a corporate resolution or other credible documentation as proof that the representative of the entity is authorized to act on behalf of the entity; and

(6) NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to make an IAD on initial issuance of QS or IBQ.

(B) Application deadline. A complete, certified application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered within normal business hours to NMFS, Northwest Region, Permits Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE., Seattle, WA 98115, no later than November 1, 2010. NMFS will not accept or review any applications received or postmarked after the application deadline. There are no hardship exemptions for this deadline.

(viii) Permit transfer during application period. NMFS will not review or approve any request for a change in limited entry trawl permit owner at any time after either November 1, 2010 or the date upon which the application is received by NMFS, whichever occurs first, until a final decision is made by the Regional Administrator on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce regarding the QS and IBQ to be issued for that permit.

(ix) Initial Administrative Determination (IAD). NMFS will issue an IAD for all complete, certified applications received by the application deadline date. If NMFS approves an application for initial issuance of QS and IBQ, the applicant will receive a QS permit specifying the amounts of QS and IBQ for which the applicant has qualified and the applicant will be registered to a QS account. If NMFS disapproves or partially disapproves an application, the IAD will provide the reasons. As part of the IAD, NMFS will indicate whether the QS permit owner qualifies for QS or IBQ in amounts that exceed the accumulation limits and are subject to divestiture provisions given at paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section, or whether the QS permit owner qualifies for QS or IBQ that exceed the accumulation limits and does not qualify to receive the excess under paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section. If the applicant does not appeal the IAD within 60 calendar days of the date on the IAD, the IAD becomes the final decision of the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

(x) Appeals. For QS permits and QS/IBQ issued under this section, the appeals process and timelines are specified at §660.25(g), subpart C. For the initial issuance of QS/IBQ and the QS permits, the bases for appeal are described in paragraph (d)(8)(vi) of this section. An additional basis for appeal for whiting QS based on shoreside processing is an allegation that the shoreside processor or Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver to which a QS permit and whiting QS have been assigned was not in fact the first processor of the fish included in the qualifying landings history. The appellant must submit credible information supporting the allegation that they were in fact the first shoreside processor for the fish in question. Items not subject to appeal include, but are not limited to, the accuracy of permit landings data or Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver landings data in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 1, 2010.

(9) Reallocation of widow rockfish QS. (i) Additional definitions. The following definitions are applicable to paragraph (d)(9) of this section and apply only to terms used for the purposes of reallocation of widow rockfish QS:

(A) Nonwhiting trip means a fishing trip where less than 50 percent by weight of all fish reported on the state landing receipt is whiting.

(B) PacFIN means the Pacific Fisheries Information Network of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission.

(C) Relative history means the landings history of a limited entry trawl permit for a species, year, and area subdivision, divided by the total fleet history of the sector for that species, year, and area subdivision, as appropriate.

(D) Whiting trip means a fishing trip where greater than or equal to 50 percent by weight of all fish reported on the state landing receipt is whiting.

(ii) Eligibility criteria for receiving reallocated widow rockfish QS. Only the owner of an original QS permit (non-shoreside processor) to which QS was initially allocated in 2011 is eligible to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS based on the history of the limited entry trawl permit(s) that accrued to that QS permit, regardless of current limited entry permit ownership. For those new QS permits to which widow rockfish was administratively transferred by NMFS under U.S. court order, NMFS will reallocate widow rockfish QS directly to the new QS permit. Any limited entry trawl permit owners who did not submit an initial application for a QS permit will not be eligible to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS.

(iii) Steps for widow rockfish QS reallocation formula. The widow rockfish QS reallocation formula is applied in the following steps:

(A) First, for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will determine a preliminary QS allocation for nonwhiting trips.

(B) Second, for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will determine a preliminary QS allocation for whiting trips.

(C) Third, for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will combine the amounts resulting from paragraphs (d)(9)(iii)(A) and (B) of this section.

(D) Fourth, NMFS will reduce the total widow rockfish QS reallocated to QS permit owners by 10 percent as a set aside for AMP.

(iv) Reallocation formula for specific widow rockfish QS amounts—(A) Reallocation formula rules. The following rules will be applied to data for the purpose of calculating the initial reallocation of widow rockfish QS:

(1) Limited entry trawl permits will be assigned catch history or relative history based on the landing history of the vessel(s) associated with the permit at the time the landings were made.

(2) The relevant PacFIN dataset includes species compositions based on port sampled data and applied to data at the vessel level.

(3) Only landings of widow rockfish that were caught in the exclusive economic zone or adjacent state waters off Washington, Oregon, and California will be used for calculating the reallocation of widow rockfish QS.

(4) History from limited entry trawl permits that have been combined with a limited entry trawl permit that qualified for a C/P endorsement and which has shorebased permit history will not be included in the preliminary QS and IBQ allocation formula, other than in the determination of fleet history used in the calculation of relative history for limited entry trawl permits that do not have a C/P endorsement.

(5) History of illegal landings and landings made under nonwhiting EFPs that are in excess of the cumulative limits in place for the non-EFP fishery will not count toward the allocation of QS.

(6) The limited entry trawl permit's landings history includes the landings history of limited entry trawl permits that have been previously combined with that limited entry trawl permit.

(7) If two or more limited entry trawl permits have been simultaneously registered to the same vessel, NMFS will split the landing history evenly between all such limited entry trawl permits during the time they were simultaneously registered to the vessel.

(8) Unless otherwise noted, the calculation for the reallocation of widow rockfish QS under paragraph (d)(9) will be based on state landing receipts (fish tickets) as recorded in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 27, 2016.

(9) For limited entry trawl permits, landings under provisional “A” permits that did not become “A” permits and “B” permits will not count toward the reallocation of widow rockfish QS, other than in the determination of fleet history used in the calculation of relative history for permits that do not have a C/P endorsement.

(10) For limited entry trawl permits, NMFS will calculate the reallocation of widow rockfish QS separately based on whiting trips and nonwhiting trips, and will weigh each calculation according to a split between whiting trips and nonwhiting trips of 10.833 percent for whiting trips and 89.167 percent for nonwhiting trips, which is a one-time proportion necessary for the reallocation formula.

(B) Preliminary widow rockfish QS reallocation for nonwhiting trips. The preliminary reallocation process in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(A) of this section follows a two-step process, one to allocate a pool of QS equally among all eligible limited entry permits and the other to allocate the remainder of the preliminary QS based on limited entry trawl permit history. Through these two processes, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent will be allocated. In later steps, this will be adjusted and reduced as indicated in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(C) and (D) to determine the QS allocation.

(1) QS to be allocated equally. The pool of QS for equal allocation will be determined using the nonwhiting trip landings history from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program (i.e., buyback program) (68 FR 42613, July 18, 2003). The nonwhiting trip QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be the buyback permit history as a percent of the total fleet history for the 1994 to 2003 nonwhiting trip reallocation period. The calculation will be based on total absolute pounds with no dropped years and no other adjustments. The QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be divided equally among all qualifying limited entry permits.

(2) QS to be allocated based on each permit's history. The pool of QS for allocation based on limited entry trawl permit nonwhiting trip history will be the QS remaining after subtracting out the QS allocated equally. This pool will be allocated to each qualifying limited entry trawl permit based on the permit's relative nonwhiting trip history from 1994 through 2002, dropping the three lowest years. For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will calculate relative history using the following methodology. First, NMFS will sum the permit's widow rockfish landings on nonwhiting trips for each year in the reallocation period. Second, NMFS will divide each permit's annual sum by the shoreside limited entry trawl fleet's annual sum. NMFS will then calculate a total relative history for each permit by adding all relative histories for the permit together and subtracting the three years with the lowest relative history for the permit. The result for each permit will be divided by the aggregate sum of all total relative histories of all qualifying limited entry trawl permits. NMFS will then multiply the result from this calculation by the amount of QS in the pool to be allocated based on each permit's history.

(C) Preliminary widow rockfish QS reallocation for whiting trips. The preliminary reallocation process in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(B) of this section follows a two-step process, one to allocate a pool of QS equally among all eligible limited entry permits and the other to allocate the remainder of the preliminary QS based on permit history. Through these two processes, preliminary QS totaling 100 percent will be allocated. In later steps, this will be adjusted and reduced as indicated in paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(C) and (D) to determine the QS allocation.

(1) QS to be allocated equally. The pool of QS for equal allocation will be determined using whiting trip landings history from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program (i.e., buyback program) (68 FR 42613, July 18, 2003). The whiting trip QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be the buyback permit history as a percent of the total fleet history for the 1994 to 2003 whiting trip reallocation period. The calculation will be based on total absolute pounds with no dropped years and no other adjustments. The QS pool associated with the buyback permits will be divided equally among all qualifying limited entry permits.

(2) QS to be allocated based on each permit's history. The pool of QS for allocation based on each limited entry trawl permit's whiting trip history will be the QS remaining after subtracting out the QS allocated equally. Widow rockfish QS for this pool will be allocated pro-rata based on each limited entry trawl permit's whiting QS from whiting trips that was established in 2010 and used to allocate the whiting trip portion of whiting QS at the time of initial implementation in 2011. Pro-rata means a percent that is equal to the percent of whiting QS from whiting trips.

(D) QS from limited entry permits calculated separately for nonwhiting trips and whiting trips. NMFS will calculate the portion of widow QS a limited entry trawl permit receives based on nonwhiting trips and whiting trips separately, and will weight each preliminary QS in proportion to the one-time reallocation percentage between whiting trips and nonwhiting trips of 10.833 percent and 89.167 percent, respectively.

(1) Nonwhiting trips. To determine the amount of widow QS for nonwhiting trips for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will multiply the preliminary QS for the permit from paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(A) of this section by the one-time reallocation percentage of 89.167 percent for nonwhiting trips.

(2) Whiting trips. To determine the amount of widow QS for whiting trips for each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will multiply the preliminary QS for the permit from paragraph (d)(9)(iii)(B) of this section by the one-time reallocation percentage of 10.833 percent for whiting trips.

(E) QS for each limited entry trawl permit. For each limited entry trawl permit, NMFS will add the results for the permit from paragraphs (d)(9)(iv)(D)(1) and (D)(2) of this section in order to determine the total QS widow for that permit.

(F) Adjustment for AMP set-aside. NMFS will reduce the widow QS reallocated to each permit owner by a proportional amount that is equivalent to a reduction of 10 percent across all widow reallocation recipients' holdings as a set aside for AMP.

(v) Widow rockfish QS reallocation application. Persons may apply for issuance of reallocated widow rockfish QS by completing and submitting a prequalified application. A “prequalified application” is a partially pre-filled application where NMFS has preliminarily determined the landings history for each limited entry trawl permit that qualifies the applicant for a reallocation of widow QS. The application package will include a prequalified application with landings history. The completed application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered to NMFS within normal business hours no later than December 26, 2017. If an applicant fails to submit a completed application by the deadline date, they forgo the opportunity to receive reallocated widow rockfish QS and their percentage will be redistributed to other QS permit owners who submitted complete widow rockfish reallocation applications in proportion to their reallocated widow QS amount.

(vi) Corrections to the application. If an applicant does not accept NMFS's calculation in the prequalified application either in part or whole, the applicant must identify in writing to NMFS which parts the applicant believes to be inaccurate, and must provide specific credible information to substantiate any requested corrections. The completed application and specific credible information must be provided to NMFS in writing by the application deadline. Written communication must either be post-marked or hand-delivered to NMFS within normal business hours no later than December 26, 2017. Requests for corrections may only be granted for the following reasons:

(A) Errors in NMFS's use or application of data, including:

(1) Errors in NMFS's use or application of landings data from PacFIN;

(2) Errors in NMFS's application of the reallocation formula; and

(3) Errors in identification of the QS permit owner, permit combinations, or vessel registration as listed in NMFS permit database.

(B) [Reserved]

(vii) Submission of the application and application deadline—(A) Submission of the application. Submission of the complete, certified application includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) The applicant is required to sign and date the application and declare that the contents are true, correct and complete.

(2) The applicant must certify that they qualify to own reallocated widow rockfish QS.

(3) The applicant must indicate they accept NMFS's calculation of reallocated widow rockfish QS provided in the prequalified application, or provide a written statement and credible information if they do not accept NMFS's calculation.

(4) NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to make an IAD on reallocated widow rockfish QS.

(B) Application deadline. A complete, certified application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered within normal business hours to NMFS, West Coast Region, Permits Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115, no later than December 26, 2017. NMFS will not accept or review any applications received or postmarked after the application deadline. There are no hardship exemptions for this deadline.

(viii) Initial Administrative Determination (IAD). NMFS will issue an IAD for all complete, certified applications received by the application deadline date. If NMFS approves an application for reallocated widow rockfish QS, the IAD will say so, and the applicant will receive a 2018 QS permit specifying the reallocated amount of widow rockfish QS the applicant has qualified for. If NMFS disapproves or partially disapproves an application, the IAD will provide the reasons. As part of the IAD, NMFS will indicate to the best of its knowledge whether the QS permit owner qualifies for QS or IBQ in amounts that exceed the accumulation limits and are subject to divestiture provisions given at paragraph (d)(4)(v) of this section. If the applicant does not appeal the IAD within 60 calendar days of the date on the IAD, the IAD becomes the final decision of the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

(ix) Appeals. For reallocated widow rockfish QS issued under this section, the appeals process and timelines are specified at §660.25(g), subpart C. For the reallocation of widow rockfish QS, the bases for appeal are described in paragraph (d)(9)(vi) of this section. Items not subject to appeal include, but are not limited to, the accuracy of permit landings data in the relevant PacFIN dataset on July 27, 2016.

(e) Vessel accounts—(1) General. In order to participate in the Shorebased IFQ Program, a vessel must be registered to an eligible limited entry trawl permit. A vessel account will be established on request for an owner of a vessel registered to an eligible limited entry trawl permit in order to track QP and IBQ pounds. QP or IBQ pounds will have the same species/species groups and area designations as the QS or IBQ from which it was issued. Annually, QS or IBQ (expressed as a percent) are converted to QP or IBQ pounds (expressed as a weight) in a QS account. QP or IBQ pounds may be transferred from a QS account to a vessel account or from one vessel account to another vessel account. QP or IBQ pounds are required to cover catch (landings and discards) by limited entry trawl vessels of all IFQ species/species groups, except for:

(i) Gear exception. Vessels registered to a limited entry trawl permit using the following gears would not be required to cover groundfish catch with QP or Pacific halibut catch with IBQ pounds: Non-groundfish trawl, gear types defined in the coastal pelagic species FMP, gear types defined in the highly migratory species FMP, salmon troll, crab pot, and limited entry fixed gear when the vessel also has a limited entry permit endorsed for fixed gear and has declared that it is fishing in the limited entry fixed gear fishery. Vessels using gears falling under this exception are subject to the open access fishery restrictions and limits when declared in to an open access fishery.

(ii) Species exception. QP are not required for the following species: Longspine thornyheads south of 34°27 N. lat., minor nearshore rockfish (north and south), black rockfish (coastwide), California scorpionfish, cabezon, kelp greenling, shortbelly rockfish, and “other fish” (as defined at §660.11, subpart C, under the definition of “groundfish”). For these species, trip limits remain in place as specified in the trip limit tables at Table 1 (North) and Table 1 (South) of this subpart.

(2) Eligibility and registration—(i) Eligibility. To establish a registered vessel account, a person must own a vessel and that vessel must be registered to a groundfish limited entry permit endorsed for trawl gear.

(ii) Registration. A vessel account must be registered with the NMFS SFD Permits Office. A vessel account may be established at any time during the year. An eligible vessel owner must submit a request in writing to NMFS to establish a vessel account. The request must include the vessel name; USCG vessel registration number (as given on USCG Form 1270) or state registration number, if no USCG documentation; all vessel owner names (as given on USCG Form 1270, or on state registration, as applicable); and business contact information, including: Address, phone number, fax number, and email. Requests for a vessel account must also include the following information: A complete economic data collection form as required under §660.113(b), (c) and (d), and a complete Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form as required under paragraph (e)(4)(ii) of this section. The request for a vessel account will be considered incomplete until the required information is submitted. Any change specified at paragraph (e)(3)(ii) of this section, including a change in the legal name of the vessel owner(s), will require the new owner to register with NMFS for a vessel account. A participant must have access to a computer with Internet access and must set up online access to their vessel account to participate. The computer must have Internet browser software installed (e.g., Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla Firefox); as well as the Adobe Flash Player software version 9.0 or greater. NMFS will mail vessel account owners instructions to set up online access to their vessel account. NMFS will use the vessel account to send messages to vessel owners in the Shorebased IFQ Program; it is important for vessel owners to monitor their online vessel account and all associated messages.

(3) Renewal, change of account ownership, and transfer of QP or IBQ pounds—(i) Renewal. (A) Vessel accounts expire at the end of each calendar year, and must be renewed between October 1 and November 30 of each year in order to ensure the vessel account is active on January 1 of the following year. A complete vessel account renewal package must be received by SFD no later than November 30 to be accepted by NMFS.

(B) Notification to renew vessel accounts will be issued by SFD by September 15 each year to the vessel account owner's most recent address in the SFD record. The vessel account owner shall provide SFD with notice of any address change within 15 days of the change.

(C) Any vessel account for which SFD does not receive a vessel account renewal request by November 30 will have its vessel account inactivated by NMFS at the end of the calendar year. NMFS will not issue QP or IBQ pounds to the inactivated vessel account. Any QP or IBQ pounds in the vessel account will expire and surplus QP or IBQ pounds will not be available for carryover. A non-renewed vessel account may be renewed in a subsequent year by submission of a complete vessel account renewal package.

(D) Vessel accounts will not be renewed until SFD has received a complete application for a vessel account renewal, which includes payment of required fees, a complete documentation of permit ownership on the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form as required under paragraph (e)(4)(ii) of this section, and a complete economic data collection form as required under §660.114. The vessel account renewal will be considered incomplete until the required information is submitted.

(E) Effective Date. A vessel account is effective on the date issued by NMFS and remains effective until the end of the calendar year.

(F) IAD and appeals. Vessel account renewals are subject to the appeals process specified at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(ii) Change in vessel account ownership. Vessel accounts are non-transferable and ownership of a vessel account cannot change (i.e., cannot change the legal name of the owner(s) as given on the vessel account). If the ownership of a vessel changes (as given on a USCG or state vessel registration documentation), then a new vessel account must be opened by the new owner in order for the vessel to participate in the Shorebased IFQ Program.

(iii) Transfer of QP or IBQ pounds—(A) General. QP or IBQ pounds may only be transferred from a QS account to a vessel account or between vessel accounts. QP or IBQ pounds cannot be transferred from a vessel account to a QS account. Transfers of QP or IBQ pounds are subject to annual vessel accumulation limits. QP or IBQ pounds must be transferred in whole pounds (i.e., no fraction of a QP or IBQ pound can be transferred). During the year there may be situations where NMFS deems it necessary to prohibit transfers (i.e., account reconciliation, system maintenance, or for emergency fishery management reasons).

(B) Transfer procedures. QP or IBQ pound transfers from one vessel account to another vessel account must be accomplished via the online vessel account. To make a transfer, a vessel account owner must initiate a transfer request by logging onto the online vessel account. Following the instructions provided on the website, the vessel account owner must enter pertinent information regarding the transfer request including, but not limited to: IFQ species, amount of QP or IBQ pounds to be transferred for each IFQ species (in whole pound increments); name and any other identifier of the eligible transferee (e.g., USCG documentation number or state registration number, as applicable) of the eligible vessel account receiving the transfer; and the value of the transferred QP or IBQ pounds. The online system will verify whether all information has been entered and whether the transfer complies with vessel limits, as applicable. If the information is not accepted, an electronic message will record as much in the transferor's vessel account explaining the reason(s). If the information is accepted, the online system will record the pending transfer in both the transferor's and the transferee's vessel accounts. The transferee must approve the transfer by electronic signature. If the transferee accepts the transfer, the online system will record the transfer and confirm the transaction in both accounts through a transaction confirmation notice. Once the transferee accepts the transaction, the transaction is final and permanent. QP or IBQ pounds may be transferred between vessel accounts at any time during January 1 through December 31 each year unless otherwise notified by NMFS. Unused QP from the previous fishing year (base year) may be transferred for the purpose of covering end-of-the-year vessel account deficits through the end of the post-season transfer period described at paragraph (e)(5)(iv) of this section.

(4) Accumulation limits—(i) Vessel limits. For each IFQ species or species group specified in this paragraph, vessel accounts may not have QP or IBQ pounds in excess of the annual QP vessel limit in any year, except as allowed by paragraph (e)(5)(iii) of this section. The annual QP vessel limit is calculated as all QPs transferred in minus all QPs transferred out of the vessel account.

Species categoryAnnual QP
vessel limit
(in percent)
Arrowtooth flounder20
Bocaccio S of 40°10 N lat15.4
Canary rockfish10
Chilipepper S of 40°10 N lat15
Cowcod S of 40°10 N lat17.7
Darkblotched rockfish6.8
Dover sole3.9
English sole7.5
Lingcod:
N of 40°10 N lat5.3
S of 40°10 N lat13.3
Longspine thornyhead:
N of 34°27 N lat9
Minor rockfish complex N of 40°10 N lat.:
Shelf species7.5
Slope species7.5
Minor rockfish complex S of 40°10 N lat.:
Shelf species13.5
Slope species9
Other Flatfish complex15
Pacific cod20
Pacific halibut (IBQ) N of 40°10 N lat14.4
Pacific ocean perch N of 40°10 N lat6
Pacific whiting (shoreside)15
Petrale sole4.5
Sablefish:
N of 36° N lat. (Monterey north)4.5
S of 36° N lat. (Conception area)15
Shortspine thornyhead:
N of 34°27 N lat9
S of 34°27 N lat9
Splitnose rockfish S of 40°10 N lat15
Starry flounder20
Widow rockfish8.5
Yelloweye rockfish11.4
Yellowtail rockfish N of 40°10 N lat7.5
Non-whiting groundfish species3.2

(ii) Trawl identification of ownership interest form. Any person that owns a vessel registered to a limited entry trawl permit and that is applying for or renewing a vessel account shall document those persons that have an ownership interest in the vessel greater than or equal to 2 percent. This ownership interest must be documented with the SFD via the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form. SFD will not generate and issue a vessel account unless the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form has been completed. NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to verify compliance with accumulation limits.

(5) Carryover of Surplus and Deficit QP or IBQ. The carryover provision allows a limited amount of surplus QP or IBQ pounds in a vessel account to be carried over from one year (the base year) to the next immediately following year or allows a deficit in a vessel account from fishing during the base year to be covered in the immediately following year with QP or IBQ pounds from the base year or the a immediately following year, up to a carryover limit without violating the provisions of this section.

(i) Surplus QP or IBQ pounds. A vessel account with a surplus of QP or IBQ (unused QP or IBQ pounds) for any IFQ species following the post-season transfer period specified at paragraph (e)(5)(iv) of this section, may carryover for use in the year immediately following the base year amounts of unused QP or IBQ pounds up to its carryover limit specified at (e)(5)(ii) of this section, and subject to the limitations of this paragraph. After the post-season transfer period is concluded, NMFS will complete determination of surplus QP or IBQ pound amounts that may be carried over into the following year up to the surplus carryover limit specified at paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section. The amount of surplus QP or IBQ pounds issued as carryover will be reduced in proportion to any reduction in the ACL-between the base year and the immediately following year. At the end of the post-season transfer period, any base year QP or IBQ pounds remaining in vessel accounts will be suspended from use while NMFS calculates annual surplus carryover amounts. NMFS will consult with the Council in making its final determination of the IFQ species and total QP or IBQ amounts to be issued as annual surplus carryover. After NMFS completes determination of the annual surplus carryover amounts for each vessel account, suspended QP or IBQ pounds in excess of the annual surplus carryover amount will expire. NMFS will subsequently release any remaining suspended QP or IBQ pounds for issuance as surplus carryover to vessel accounts from which they were suspended, and notify vessel account owners of the issuance. Surplus carryover QP or IBQ pounds are valid for the year in which they are issued (i.e., the year immediately following the base year). Surplus carryover amounts that would place a vessel above the annual QP vessel limits for the immediately following year (specified at paragraph (e)(4) of this section) will not be issued. Amounts issued as surplus QP or IBQ pounds do not change the shorebased trawl allocation in the year in which the carryover was issued. Surplus QP or IBQ pounds may not be carried over for more than one year.

(ii) Surplus Carryover Limit. The limit for the surplus carryover is calculated by multiplying 10 percent by the cumulative total QP or IBQ pounds (used and unused) transferred into a vessel account for the base year, less any transfers out of the vessel account, QP resulting from reapportionment of whiting specified at §660.60(d), additional QP issued to the account during the year (as specified at §660.60(c)(3)(ii)), and previous carryover amounts. The percentage used for the carryover surplus limit may be changed by Council recommendation during the biennial specifications and management measures process or by routine management measures as specified in §660.60(c).

(iii) Deficit QP or IBQ pounds. After the end of the base year, a vessel account may cover the full amount of any deficit (negative balance) of QP or IBQ pounds using QP or IBQ from the following year, base year QP or IBQ pounds, through the post-season transfer period, or a combination, without restriction by annual QP vessel limits. A vessel account acquiring QP or IBQ after the base year to cover a deficit resulting from catch in excess of the base year annual QP vessel limits may still be in violation of annual vessel QP limit provisions specified at paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section, or other provisions of this section, if the deficit exceeds the deficit carryover limit specified at paragraph (e)(5)(iii)(B) of this section. If an IFQ species is reallocated between the base year and the following year due to changes in management areas or subdivision of a species group as specified at paragraph (c)(3)(vii) of this section, a vessel account will not carryover the deficit for that IFQ species into the following year. A vessel account with a deficit for any IFQ species in the base year may cover that deficit during the post-season transfer period or with QP or IBQ pounds from the following year without violating the provisions of this section if all of the following conditions are met:

(A) The vessel account owner declares out of the Shorebased IFQ Program for the remainder of the year in which the deficit occurred. The vessel account owner must submit a signed, dated, and notarized letter to OLE, declaring out of the Shorebased IFQ Program for the remainder of the year and invoking the carryover provision to cover the deficit. Signed, dated, and notarized letters may be submitted to NMFS, West Coast Region, Office of Law Enforcement, ATTN VMS, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. If the vessel account owner covers the deficit later within the same calendar year, the vessel may re-enter the Shorebased IFQ Program. If the deficit is documented less than 30 days before the end of the calendar year, exiting out of the Shorebased IFQ Program for the remainder of the year is not required.

(B) The amount of QP or IBQ pounds required to cover the deficit from the current fishing year is less than or equal to the vessel's carryover limit for a deficit. The carryover limit for a deficit is calculated as 10 percent of the total cumulative QP or IBQ pounds (used and unused, less any transfers out of the vessel account, and any previous carryover amounts) in the vessel account 30 days after the date the deficit is documented;

(C) Sufficient QP or IBQ pounds are transferred into the vessel account to cure the deficit within 30 days of NMFS' issuance of QP or IBQ pounds to QS accounts in the following year or the date the deficit is documented (whichever is later) but not later than the end of the post-season transfer period; and

(D) The total QP required to cover the vessel's total catch from the base year is not greater than the annual QP vessel limit for the base year.

(iv) Post-Season QP or IBQ transfers. A vessel account with a deficit (negative balance) of QP or IBQ pounds after December 31 for any IFQ species may conduct post-season transfers to cure the deficit by obtaining available unused QP or IBQ pounds remaining in other vessel accounts from the base fishing year. Vessel account owners may conduct post-season transfers of QP and IBQ pounds according to transfer procedures specified in paragraph (e)(3)(iii) of this section, and subject to the following conditions:

(A) Post-season transfers may be conducted during a period starting January 1 and ending 14 calendar days after NMFS has completed its determination of the total base year IFQ catch for all vessels for end-of-the-year account reconciliation. NMFS will issue a public notice when end-of-the-year account reconciliation has been completed, on or about March 1 of each year.

(B) QP or IBQ pounds from the base fishing year transferred during the post-season transfer period may not be fished in any way, and may only be transferred for the purpose of covering deficits carried into the immediately following fishing year from the base fishing year.

(C) After the post-season transfer period, remaining QP and IBQ pounds surplus and deficits from the base fishing year are subject to carryover provisions specified at paragraphs (e)(5)(ii) and (e)(5)(iii) of this section.

(6) Appeals. An appeal to a vessel account action follows the appeals process defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(7) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge fees for administrative costs associated with the vessel accounts consistent with the provisions given at §660.25(f), subpart C.

(8) Cost recovery. The fish seller, as defined at §660.111, is subject to the cost recovery program specified at §660.115.

(f) First receiver site license—(1) General. The first receiver site license authorizes the holder to receive, purchase, or take custody, control, or possession of an IFQ landing at a specific physical site onshore directly from a vessel. Each buyer of groundfish from a vessel making an IFQ landing must have a first receiver site license for each physical location where the IFQ landing is offloaded.

(2) Issuance. (i) First receiver site licenses will only be issued to a person registered to a valid license issued by the state of Washington, Oregon, or California, and that authorizes the person to receive fish from a catcher vessel.

(ii) An IFQ first receiver must have a separate first receiver site license for each unique physical location where the IFQ first receiver will receive, purchase or take custody, control, or take possession of an IFQ landing from a vessel.

(iii) An IFQ first receiver may apply for a first receiver site license at any time during the calendar year.

(iv) IFQ first receivers must reapply for a first receiver site license as specified at paragraphs (f)(6) and (7) of this section:

(3) Application process. Persons interested in being licensed as an IFQ first receiver for a specific physical location must submit a complete application for a first receiver site license to NMFS, West Coast Region, ATTN: Fisheries Permit Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115. NMFS will only consider complete applications for approval. A complete application includes:

(i) State license. The license owner must provide a copy of a valid license issued by the state in which they operate that allows the person to receive fish from a catcher vessel.

(ii) Application form. A completed IFQ first receiver application form provided by NMFS, signed and dated by an authorized representative of the first receiver. To be considered complete, the form must also be notarized.

(iii) A catch monitoring plan. All IFQ first receivers must prepare and operate under a NMFS-accepted catch monitoring plan for each specific physical location. A proposed catch monitoring plan detailing how the IFQ first receiver will meet each of the performance standards in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section must be included with the application. NMFS will not issue a first receiver site license to a person that does not have a current, NMFS-accepted catch monitoring plan.

(A) Catch monitoring plan review process. NMFS will accept a catch monitoring plan if it includes all the required elements specified in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section and conforms with the actual operations and layout at the site. A site inspection is required for new first receiver site licenses. For re-registration of an existing first receiver site license, the site must be inspected at least once every three years or more frequently, as deemed necessary by NMFS, or by a NMFS designated representative. If NMFS does not accept a catch monitoring plan for any reason, a new or revised catch monitoring plan may be required of the first receiver.

(B) Arranging a site inspection. After receiving a complete application for a first receiver site license, if a site inspection is required, NMFS will contact the applicant to schedule a site inspection. A complete application for a first receiver site license must include the proposed catch monitoring plan. NMFS may request a representative of the first receiver to be at the site at the time of inspection. If the requested representative of the first receiver is not made available for the inspection, the site inspection may be postponed until the requested representative of the first receiver is made available.

(C) Contents of a catch monitoring plan. The catch monitoring plan must:

(1) Catch sorting. Describe the amount and location of all space used for sorting catch, the number of staff assigned to catch sorting, and the maximum rate that catch will flow through the sorting area.

(2) Monitoring for complete sorting. Detail how IFQ first receiver staff will ensure that sorting is complete; what steps will be taken to prevent unsorted catch from entering the factory or other areas beyond the location where catch sorting and weighing can be monitored from the observation area; and what steps will be taken if unsorted catch enters the factory or other areas beyond the location where catch sorting and weighing can be monitored from the observation area.

(3) Scales used for weighing IFQ landings. Identify each scale that will be used to weigh IFQ landings by the type and capacity and describe where it is located and what it will be used for. Each scale must be appropriate for its intended use.

(4) Printed record. Identify all scales that will be used to weigh IFQ landings that cannot produce a complete printed record as specified at §660.15(c), subpart C. State how the scale will be used, and how the plant intends to produce a complete and accurate record of the total weight of each delivery.

(5) Weight monitoring. Detail how the IFQ first receiver will ensure that all catch is weighed and the process used to meet the catch weighing requirements specified at paragraph (j) of this section. If a catch monitoring plan proposes the use of totes in which IFQ species will be weighed, or a deduction for the weight of ice, the catch monitoring plan must detail how the process will accurately account for the weight of ice and/or totes.

(6) Delivery points. Identify specific delivery points where catch is removed from an IFQ vessel. The delivery point is the first location where fish removed from a delivering catcher vessel can be sorted or diverted to more than one location. If the catch is pumped from the hold of a catcher vessel or a codend, the delivery point will be the location where the pump first discharges the catch. If catch is removed from a vessel by brailing, the delivery point normally will be the bin or belt where the brailer discharges the catch.

(7) Observation area. Designate and describe the observation area. The observation area is a location where a catch monitor may monitor the flow of fish during a delivery, including: Access to the observation area, the flow of fish, and lighting used during periods of limited visibility. Standards for the observation area are specified at paragraph (i)(4)(ii) of this section.

(8) Lockable cabinet. Identify the location of a secure, dry, and lockable cabinet or locker with the minimum interior dimensions of two feet wide by two feet tall by two feet deep for the exclusive use of the catch monitor, NMFS staff, or authorized officers.

(9) Plant liaison. Identify the designated plant liaison. The plant liaison responsibilities are specified at paragraph (i)(6) of this section.

(10) First receiver diagram. The catch monitoring plan must be accompanied by a diagram of the plant showing:

(i) The delivery point(s);

(ii) The observation area;

(iii) The lockable cabinet;

(iv) The location of each scale used to weigh catch; and

(v) Each location where catch is sorted.

(11) Electronic fish ticket submittal. Describe how the electronic fish ticket submittal requirements specified at §660.113(b)(4)(ii) will be met.

(12) Applicant contact. Print the name of the first receiver, physical location of the first receiver, name and phone number of the applicant, and the date of the application. The applicant must sign the catch monitoring plan.

(D) Catch monitoring plan acceptance period and changes. NMFS will accept a catch monitoring plan if it includes the required elements specified in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section and conforms with the actual operations and layout at the site. For the first receiver site license to remain in effect, the owner or manager must notify NMFS in writing of any and all changes made in IFQ first receiver operations or layout that do not conform to the catch monitoring plan.

(E) Changing a NMFS-accepted catch monitoring plan. An owner and manager may change an accepted catch monitoring plan by submitting a plan addendum to NMFS. NMFS will accept the modified catch monitoring plan if it continues to meet the performance standards specified in paragraph (f)(3)(iii)(C) of this section. Depending on the nature and magnitude of the change requested, NMFS may require an additional catch monitoring plan inspection. A catch monitoring plan addendum must contain:

(1) Name and signature of the person submitting the addendum;

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

(3) A complete description of the proposed catch monitoring plan change.

(iv) Completed EDC form. A first receiver site license application must include a complete economic data collection form as required under §660.113(b), subpart D. The application for a first receiver site license will be marked incomplete until the required information is submitted.

(4) Initial administrative determination. For all complete applications, NMFS will issue an IAD that either approves or disapproves the application. If approved, the IAD will include a first receiver site license. If disapproved, the IAD will provide the reasons for this determination. NMFS will not reissue a first receiver site license until the required cost recovery program fees, as specified at §660.115, have been paid. The IAD, appeals, and final decision process for the cost recovery program is specified at §660.115(d)(3)(ii).

(5) Effective dates. The first receiver site license is valid from the effective date identified on the license until June 30, or until the state license required by paragraph (f)(2)(i) of this section is no longer effective, whichever occurs first. A first receiver site license may not be valid for more than 365 days.

(6) Re-registration of FRSL in subsequent years. Existing first receiver site license holders must reapply annually by following the application process specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section. If the existing license holder fails to reapply, the first receiver site license will expire as specified in paragraph (f)(5) of this section. NMFS will not reissue a first receiver site license until all required cost recovery program fees, as specified at §660.115, associated with that license have been paid. For existing first receiver site license holders to continue to receive IFQ landings without a lapse in the effectiveness of their first receiver site license, the following re-registration deadlines apply:

(i) NMFS will mail a first receiver site license application to existing license holders on or about February 1 each year.

(ii) Applicants who want to have their new license effective for July 1 must submit their complete re-registration application to NMFS by April 15. For those first receiver site license holders who do not submit a complete re-registration application by April 15, NMFS may not be able to issue the new license by July 1 of that calendar year, and will issue the new license as soon as practicable.

(7) Change in ownership of an IFQ first receiver. If there are any changes to the owner of a first receiver registered to a first receiver site license during a calendar year, the first receiver site license is void. The new owner of the first receiver must apply to NMFS for a first receiver site license. A first receiver site license may not be registered to any other person.

(8) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge fees for administrative costs associated with processing the application consistent with the provisions given at §660.25(f), subpart C.

(9) Appeals. If NMFS does not accept the first receiver site license application through an IAD, the applicant may appeal the IAD consistent with the general permit appeals process defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(10) Cost recovery. The first receiver site license holder is considered the fish buyer as defined at §660.111, and must comply with the cost recovery program specified at §660.115.

(g) Retention and disposition requirements—(1) General. Shorebased IFQ Program vessels may discard IFQ species/species groups, provided such discards are accounted for and deducted from QP in the vessel account. With the exception of vessels on a declared Pacific whiting IFQ trip and engaged in maximized retention, and vessels fishing under a valid EM Authorization in accordance with §660.604 of subpart J, prohibited and protected species (except short-tailed albatross as directed by §660.21(c)(1)(v)) must be discarded at sea; Pacific halibut must be discarded as soon as practicable and the discard mortality must be accounted for and deducted from IBQ pounds in the vessel account. Non-IFQ species and non-groundfish species may be discarded at sea, unless otherwise required by EM Program requirements at §660.604 of subpart J. The sorting of catch, the weighing and discarding of any IBQ and IFQ species, and the retention of IFQ species must be monitored by the observer or EM system.

(2) Maximized retention for Pacific whiting IFQ trips. Vessels on Pacific whiting IFQ trips may engage in maximized retention. Maximized retention allows for the discard minor operational amounts of catch at sea if the observer has accounted for the discard. Vessels engaged in maximized retention must retain prohibited species until landing. Protected species may be retained until landing except as provided under paragraph (g)(3) of this section. Pacific halibut must be accounted for and deducted from IBQ pounds in the vessel account.

(3) Disposition of prohibited species and protected species in maximized retention landings—(i) 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 maximized retention landings are the responsibility of the first receiver and must be consistent with the following requirements:

(A) 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.

(B) 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.

(C) 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.

(D) 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 OLE upon request.

(ii) Protected Species handling and disposition. All protected species must be abandoned to NMFS or the US Fish and Wildlife Service or disposed of consistent with paragraphs (g)(3)(ii)(A) and (B) 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.

(A) 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.

(B) Seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles. Short-tailed albatross must be reported as soon as possible and directions for surrendering must be followed as directed by §660.21(c)(1)(v). 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.

(h) Observer requirements—(1) Observer coverage requirements—(i) Coverage. The following observer coverage pertains to certified observers obtained from an observer provider permitted by NMFS.

(A) Any vessel participating in the Shorebased IFQ Program:

(1) Must carry a certified observer on any fishing trip from the time the vessel leaves port and until the completion of landing (until all catch from that fishing trip has been offloaded—see landing at §§660.11 and 660.60(h)(2)).

(2) Must carry an observer at any time the vessel is underway in port, including transit between delivery points when fish is offloaded at more than one IFQ first receiver.

(3) Is exempt from the requirement to maintain observer coverage as specified in this paragraph (h) while remaining docked in port when the observer makes available to the catch monitor an Observer Program reporting form documenting the weight and number of any overfished species listed under a rebuilding plan at §660.40 retained during that trip and which documents any discrepancy the vessel operator and observer may have in the weights and number of the overfished species, unless modified inseason under routine management measures at §660.60(c)(1).

(4) Is exempt from the requirement to carry an observer if the vessel has a valid EM Authorization and is fishing with EM under §660.604 of subpart J.

(B) Any vessel 125 ft (38.1 m) LOA or longer that is engaged in at-sea processing must carry two certified observers, and any vessel shorter than 125 ft (38.1 m) LOA that is engaged in at-sea processing must carry one certified observer, each day that the vessel is used to take, retain, receive, land, process, or transport groundfish.

(ii) Observer deployment limitations and workload. If an observer is unable to perform their duties for any reason, the vessel is required to be in port within 36 hours of the last haul sampled by the observer. An observer must not be deployed for more than 22 calendar days in a calendar month, except for when a waiver has been issued by the Observer Program. The Observer Program may issue waivers to the observer provider to allow observers to work more than 22 calendar days per month in the following circumstances:

(A) When it's anticipated that one trip will last over 20 days.

(B) When a replacement observer is not available due to injury or illness.

(C) When the Observer Program has predetermined that the extended deployment is not likely to result in data delays or otherwise impact the overall duties and obligations of the observer.

(iii) Refusal to board. Any boarding refusal on the part of the observer or vessel must be immediately reported to the Observer Program and OLE by the observer provider. The observer must be available for an interview with the Observer Program or OLE if necessary.

(2) Vessel responsibilities. As specified at §660.140(h)(1)(ii), if an observer is unable to perform their duties for any reason, the vessel is required to be in port within 36 hours of the last haul sampled by the observer. An operator and/or crew of a vessel required to carry an observer must provide:

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

(B) 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.

(ii) Safe conditions. (A) 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. 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.

(B) 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. Maintain safe conditions on the vessel for the protection of observer(s) including adherence to all USCG and other applicable rules, regulations, or statutes pertaining to safe operation of the vessel, and provisions at §§600.725 and 600.746 of this chapter.

(iii) Computer hardware and software. [Reserved]

(iv) Vessel position. Allow observer(s) access to the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel, on request, to determine the vessel's position.

(v) Access. 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.

(vi) Prior notification. Notify observer(s) at least 15 minutes before fish are brought on board to allow sampling the catch.

(vii) Records. Allow observer(s) to inspect and copy any state or Federal logbook maintained voluntarily or as required by regulation.

(viii) [Reserved]

(ix) Sampling station. To allow the observer to carry out the required duties, the vessel owner must provide an observer sampling station that is:

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

(B) Limits hazards. 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.

(x) Transfers at sea. Transfers at-sea are prohibited.

(xi) 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.

(3) Procurement of observer services. Owners of vessels required to carry observers under paragraph (h)(1) of this section must arrange for observer services from an observer provider, except that:

(i) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff or an individual authorized by NMFS in lieu of an observer provided by an observer provider.

(ii) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program and an observer provider when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff and/or individuals authorized by NMFS, in addition to an observer provided by an observer provider.

(4) Application to become an observer provider. See §660.18.

(5) Observer provider responsibilities.

(i) Provide qualified candidates to serve as observers. Observer providers must provide qualified candidates to serve as observers. To be qualified, a candidate must have:

(A) A Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences;

(B) Successfully completed a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in applicable biological sciences with extensive use of dichotomous keys in at least one course;

(C) Successfully completed at least one undergraduate course each in math and statistics with a minimum of 5 semester hours total for both; and

(D) Computer skills that enable the candidate to work competently with standard database software and computer hardware.

(ii) Hiring an observer candidate—(A) The observer provider must provide the candidate a copy of NMFS-provided pamphlets, information and other literature describing observer duties, for example, the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program's sampling manual. Observer job information is available from the Observer Program Office's web site at http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fram/observer/index.cfm.

(B) Observer contracts. The observer provider must have a written contract or a written contract addendum signed by the observer and observer provider prior to the observer's deployment with the following clauses:

(1) That the observer will return all phone calls, emails, text messages, or other forms of communication within the time specified by the Observer Program;

(2) That the observer inform the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation if he or she is experiencing any new mental illness or physical ailments or injury since submission of the physician's statement as required as a qualified observer candidate that would prevent him or her from performing their assigned duties; and

(3) That every observer successfully completes a Red Cross (or equivalent) basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation/first aid certification course prior to the end of the West Coast Groundfish Observer Training class.

(iii) Ensure that observers complete duties in a timely manner. An observer provider must ensure that observers employed by that observer provider do the following in a complete and timely manner:

(A) Submit to NMFS all data, logbooks and reports and biological samples as required under the observer program policy deadlines.

(B) Report for his or her scheduled debriefing and complete all debriefing responsibilities; and

(C) Return all sampling and safety gear to the Observer Program Office at the termination of their contract.

(D) Immediately report to the Observer Program Office and the OLE any refusal to board an assigned vessel.

(iv) Observers provided to vessel. (A) Must have a valid West Coast Groundfish observer certification with the required endorsements;

(B) Must not have informed the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation that he or she is experiencing a mental illness or a physical ailment or injury developed since submission of the physician's statement, as required in paragraph (h)(5)(xi)(B) of this section that would prevent him or her from performing his or her assigned duties; and

(C) Must have successfully completed all NMFS required training and briefing before deployment.

(v) Respond to industry requests for observers. An observer provider must provide an observer for deployment pursuant to the terms of the contractual relationship with the vessel to fulfill vessel requirements for observer coverage under paragraphs (h)(5)(xi)(D) of this section. An alternate observer must be supplied in each case where injury or illness prevents an observer from performing his or her duties or where an observer resigns prior to completion of his or her duties. If the observer provider is unable to respond to an industry request for observer coverage from a vessel for whom the observer provider is in a contractual relationship due to the lack of available observers by the estimated embarking time of the vessel, the observer provider must report it to NMFS at least four hours prior to the vessel's estimated embarking time, unless the vessel provides less than four hour notice to the provider, in which case the provider is to notify NMFS as soon as practical after the situation arises.

(vi) Provide observer salaries and benefits. An observer provider must provide to its observer employees salaries and any other benefits and personnel services in accordance with the terms of each observer's contract.

(vii) Provide observer deployment logistics. (A) An observer provider must ensure each of its observers under contract:

(1) Has an individually assigned mobile or cell phones, in working order, for all necessary communication. An observer provider may alternatively compensate observers for the use of the observer's personal cell phone or pager for communications made in support of, or necessary for, the observer's duties.

(2) Has a check-in system in which the observer is required to contact the observer provider each time they depart and return to port on a vessels.

(3) Remains available to OLE and the Observer Program until the conclusion of debriefing.

(4) Receives all necessary transportation, including arrangements and logistics to the initial location of deployment, to all subsequent vessel assignments during that deployment, and to and from the location designated for an observer to be interviewed by the Observer Program; and

(5) Receives lodging, per diem, and any other services necessary to observers assigned to fishing vessels.

(i) An observer under contract may be housed on a vessel to which he or she is assigned: Prior to their vessel's initial departure from port; for a period not to exceed 24 hours following the completion of an offload when the observer has duties and is scheduled to disembark; or for a period not to exceed 24 hours following the vessel's arrival in port when the observer is scheduled to disembark.

(ii) Otherwise, each observer between vessels, while still under contract with an observer provider, shall be provided with accommodations in accordance with the contract between the observer and the observer provider. If the observer provider is responsible for providing accommodations under the contract with the observer, the accommodation must be at a licensed hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or other shoreside accommodations that has an assigned bed for each observer that no other person may be assigned to for the duration of that observer's stay. Additionally, no more than four beds may be in any room housing observers at accommodations meeting the requirements of this section.

(viii) Observer deployment limitations and workload. (A) Not deploy an observer on the same vessel more than 90 calendar days in a 12-month period, unless otherwise authorized by NMFS.

(B) Not exceed observer deployment limitations and workload as outlined in paragraph (h)(1)(ii) of this section.

(ix) Verify vessel's Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Decal. An observer provider must ensure that the observer completes a current observer vessel safety checklist, and verify that a vessel has a valid USCG Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Decal as required under paragraph (h)(2)(ii)(B) of this section prior to the observer embarking on the first trip and before an observer may get underway aboard the vessel. The provider must submit all vessel safety checklists to the Observer Program, as specified by Observer Program. One of the following acceptable means of verification must be used to verify the decal validity:

(A) An employee of the observer provider, including the observer, visually inspects the decal aboard the vessel and confirms that the decal is valid according to the decal date of issuance; or

(B) The observer provider receives a hard copy of the USCG documentation of the decal issuance from the vessel owner or operator.

(x) Maintain communications with observers. An observer provider must have an employee responsible for observer activities on call 24 hours a day to handle emergencies involving observers or problems concerning observer logistics, whenever observers are at sea, in transit, or in port awaiting vessel reassignment.

(xi) Maintain communications with the Observer Program Office. An observer provider must provide all of the following information by electronic transmission (email), fax, or other method specified by NMFS.

(A) Observer training, briefing, and debriefing registration materials. This information must be submitted to the Observer Program Office at least 10 business days prior to the beginning of a scheduled West Coast groundfish observer certification training or briefing session. Submissions received less than 10 business days prior to a West Coast groundfish observer certification training or briefing session will be approved by the Observer Program on a case-by-case basis.

(1) Training registration materials consist of the following:

(i) Date of requested training;

(ii) A list of observer candidates that includes each candidate's full name (i.e., first, middle and last names), date of birth, and gender;

(iii) A copy of each candidate's academic transcripts and resume;

(iv) A statement signed by the candidate under penalty of perjury which discloses the candidate's criminal convictions;

(v) Length of each observer's contract.

(2) Briefing registration materials consist of the following:

(i) Date and type of requested briefing session;

(ii) List of observers to attend the briefing session, that includes each observer's full name (first, middle, and last names);

(iii) Length of each observer's contract.

(3) Debriefing. The Observer Program will notify the observer provider which observers require debriefing and the specific time period the observer provider has to schedule a date, time, and location for debriefing. The observer provider must contact the Observer Program within 5 business days by telephone to schedule debriefings.

(i) Observer providers must immediately notify the observer program when observers end their contract earlier than anticipated.

(ii) [Reserved]

(B) Physical examination. A signed and dated statement from a licensed physician that he or she has physically examined an observer or observer candidate. The statement must confirm that, based on that physical examination, the observer or observer candidate does not have any health problems or conditions that would jeopardize that individual's safety or the safety of others while deployed, or prevent the observer or observer candidate from performing his or her duties satisfactorily. The statement must declare that, prior to the examination, the physician was made aware of the duties of the observer and the dangerous, remote, and rigorous nature of the work by reading the NMFS-prepared information. The physician's statement must be submitted to the Observer Program Office prior to certification of an observer. The physical exam must have occurred during the 12 months prior to the observer's or observer candidate's deployment. The physician's statement expires 12 months after the physical exam occurred and a new physical exam must be performed, and accompanying statement submitted, prior to any deployment occurring after the expiration of the statement.

(C) Certificates of insurance. Copies of “certificates of insurance,” that name the Northwest Fisheries Science Center Observer Program manager as the “certificate holder,” shall be submitted to the Observer Program Office by February 1 of each year. The certificates of insurance shall verify the following coverage provisions and state that the insurance company will notify the certificate holder if insurance coverage is changed or canceled.

(1) Maritime Liability to cover “seamen's” claims under the Merchant Marine Act (Jones Act) and General Maritime Law ($1 million minimum).

(2) Coverage under the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act ($1 million minimum).

(3) States Worker's Compensation as required.

(4) Commercial General Liability.

(D) Observer provider contracts. If requested, observer providers must submit to the Observer Program Office a completed and unaltered copy of each type of signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract) between the observer provider and those entities requiring observer services under paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section. Observer providers must also submit to the Observer Program Office, upon request, a completed and unaltered copy of the current or most recent signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract and any agreements or policies with regard to observer compensation or salary levels) between the observer provider and the particular entity identified by the Observer Program or with specific observers. The copies must be submitted to the Observer Program Office via email, fax, or mail within 5 business days of the request. Signed and valid contracts include the contracts an observer provider has with:

(1) Vessels required to have observer coverage as specified at paragraph (h)(1)(i) of this section; and

(2) Observers.

(E) Change in observer provider management and contact information. An observer provider must submit to the Observer Program Office any change of management or contact information as required at §660.18(h).

(F) Biological samples. The observer provider must ensure that biological samples are stored/handled properly prior to delivery/transport to NMFS.

(G) Observer status report. Observer providers must provide NMFS with an updated list of observer trips per Observer Program protocol. Trip information includes observer provider name, observer last name, observer first name, trip start date, trip end date, status of observer, vessel name, and vessel identification number.

(H) Other information. Observer providers must submit to NMFS, if requested, copies of any information developed and used by the observer providers distributed to vessels, such as informational pamphlets, payment notification, description of observer duties, etc.

(I) Other reports. Reports of the following must be submitted in writing to the Observer Program Office by the observer provider via fax or email address designated by the Observer Program Office within 24 hours after the observer provider becomes aware of the information:

(1) Any information regarding possible observer harassment;

(2) Any information regarding any action prohibited under §660.12(e); §660.112(a)(4); or §600.725(o), (t) and (u) of this chapter;

(3) Any concerns about vessel safety or marine casualty under 46 CFR 4.05-1(a)(1) through (7);

(4) Any observer illness or injury that prevents the observer from completing any of his or her duties described in the observer manual; and

(5) Any information, allegations or reports regarding observer conflict of interest or breach of the standards of behavior described in observer provider policy.

(xii) Replace lost or damaged gear. Lost or damaged gear issued to an observer by NMFS must be replaced by the observer provider. All replacements must be provided to NMFS and be in accordance with requirements and procedures identified in writing by the Observer Program Office.

(xiii) Maintain confidentiality of information. An observer provider must ensure that all records on individual observer performance received from NMFS under the routine use provision of the Privacy Act U.S.C. 552a or as otherwise required by law remain confidential and are not further released to any person outside the employ of the observer provider company to whom the observer was contracted except with written permission of the observer.

(xiv) Limitations on conflict of interest. Observer providers:

(A) Must not have a direct financial interest, other than the provision of observer, catch monitor or other biological sampling services, in any federal or state managed fisheries, including, but not limited to:

(1) Any ownership, mortgage holder, or other secured interest in a vessel or shoreside processor facility involved in the catching, taking, harvesting or processing of fish;

(2) Any business involved with selling supplies or services to any vessel or shoreside processors participating in a fishery managed pursuant to an FMP in the waters off the coasts of Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington, or

(3) Any business involved with purchasing raw or processed products from any vessel or shoreside processor participating in a fishery managed pursuant to an FMP in the waters off the coasts of Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington.

(B) Must assign observers without regard to any preference by representatives of vessels other than when an observer will be deployed.

(C) Must not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gratuity, gift, favor, entertainment, loan, or anything of monetary value except for compensation for providing observer services from any person who conducts fishing or fish processing activities that are regulated by NMFS, or who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the official duties of observer providers.

(xv) Observer conduct and behavior. An observer provider must develop and maintain a policy addressing observer conduct and behavior for their employees that serve as observers.

(A) The policy shall address the following behavior and conduct regarding:

(1) Observer use of alcohol;

(2) Observer use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs in violation of applicable law; and;

(3) Sexual contact with personnel of the vessel or processing facility to which the observer is assigned, or with any vessel or processing plant personnel who may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the observer's official duties.

(B) An observer provider shall provide a copy of its conduct and behavior policy by February 1 of each year, to: observers, observer candidates and the Observer Program Office.

(xvi) Refusal to deploy an observer. Observer providers may refuse to deploy an observer on a requesting vessel if the observer provider has determined that the requesting vessel is inadequate or unsafe pursuant to those described at §600.746 or U.S. Coast Guard and other applicable rules, regulations, statutes, or guidelines pertaining to safe operation of the vessel.

(6) Observer certification and responsibilities—(i) Applicability. Observer certification authorizes an individual to fulfill duties as specified in writing by the Observer Program Office while under the employ of an observer provider and according to certification requirements as designated under paragraph (h)(6)(iii) of this section.

(ii) Observer certification official. The Regional Administrator will designate a NMFS observer certification official who will make decisions for the Observer Program Office on whether to issue or deny observer certification.

(iii) Certification requirements—(A) Initial certification. NMFS may certify individuals who, in addition to any other relevant considerations:

(1) Are employed by an permitted observer provider at the time of the of the certification is issued;

(2) Have provided, through their observer provider:

(i) Information identified by NMFS at §679.52 (b) of this chapter regarding an observer candidate's health and physical fitness for the job;

(ii) Meet all observer candidate education and health standards as specified in §679.52 (b) of this chapter; and

(iii) Have successfully completed NMFS-approved training as prescribed by the Observer Program. Successful completion of training by an observer applicant consists of meeting all attendance and conduct standards issued in writing at the start of training; meeting all performance standards issued in writing at the start of training for assignments, tests, and other evaluation tools; and completing all other training requirements established by the Observer Program.

(iv) Have not been decertified under paragraph (h)(6)(ix) of this section, or pursuant to §679.53(c) of this chapter.

(B) [Reserved]

(iv) Denial of a certification. The NMFS observer certification official will issue a written determination denying observer certification if the candidate fails to successfully complete training, or does not meet the qualifications for certification for any other relevant reason.

(v) Issuance of an observer certification. An observer certification may be issued upon determination by the observer certification official that the candidate has successfully met all requirements for certification as specified at paragraph (h)(6)(iii) of this section. The following endorsements as prescribed by the Observer Program must be obtained in addition to observer certification.

(A) West Coast Groundfish Observer Program training endorsement. A training endorsement signifies the successful completion of the training course required to obtain observer certification. This endorsement expires when the observer has not been deployed and performed sampling duties as required by the Observer Program Office for a period of time, specified by the Observer Program, after his or her most recent debriefing. The Observer can renew the endorsement by successfully completing training once more.

(B) West Coast Groundfish Observer Program annual general endorsement. Each observer must obtain an annual general endorsement to their certification prior to his or her first deployment within any calendar year subsequent to a year in which a training endorsement is obtained. To obtain an annual general endorsement, an observer must successfully complete the annual briefing, as specified by the Observer Program. All briefing attendance, performance, and conduct standards required by the Observer Program must be met.

(C) West Coast Groundfish Observer Program deployment endorsement. Each observer who has completed an initial deployment, as defined by the Observer Program, after receiving a training endorsement or annual general endorsement, must complete all applicable debriefing requirements specified by the Observer Program. A deployment endorsement is issued to observers who meet the performance standards specified by the Observer Program. A deployment endorsement must be obtained prior to any subsequent deployments for the remainder of that calendar year. If a deployment endorsement is not issued, certification training must be repeated.

(vi) Maintaining the validity of an observer certification. After initial issuance, an observer must keep their certification valid by meeting all of the following requirements specified below:

(A) Successfully perform their assigned duties as described in the observer manual or other written instructions from the Observer Program.

(B) Accurately record their sampling data, write complete reports, and report accurately any observations of suspected violations of regulations relevant to conservation of marine resources or their environment.

(C) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel or in the processing facility to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel or an authorized officer or NMFS.

(D) Successfully complete any required trainings or briefings as prescribed by the Observer Program.

(E) Successful completion of briefing by an observer applicant consists of meeting all attendance and conduct standards issued in writing at the start of training; meeting all performance standards issued in writing at the start of briefing for assignments, tests, and other evaluation tools; and completing all other briefing requirements established by the Observer Program.

(F) Hold a Red Cross (or equivalent) basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation/first aid certification.

(G) Successfully meet Observer Program performance standards reporting for assigned debriefings or interviews.

(H) Submit all data and information required by the Observer Program within the program's stated guidelines.

(I) Meet the minimum annual deployment period of 45 days every 12 months. On a case-by case basis, the Observer Program may consider waiving the 45 day requirement.

(vii) Limitations on conflict of interest. Observers:

(A) Must not have a direct financial interest, other than the provision of observer services or catch monitor services, in a North Pacific fishery managed pursuant to an FMP for the waters off the coast of Alaska, Alaska state waters, or in a Pacific Coast fishery managed by either the state or Federal Governments in waters off Washington, Oregon, or California, including but not limited to:

(1) Any ownership, mortgage holder, or other secured interest in a vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processor facility involved in the catching, taking, harvesting or processing of fish,

(2) Any business involved with selling supplies or services to any vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processing facility; or

(3) Any business involved with purchasing raw or processed products from any vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processing facilities.

(B) Must not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gratuity, gift, favor, entertainment, loan, or anything of monetary value from any person who either conducts activities that are regulated by NMFS in the Pacific coast or North Pacific regions or has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the observers' official duties.

(C) May not serve as observers on any vessel or at any shore-based or floating stationary processor owned or operated by a person who employed the observer in the last two years.

(D) May not solicit or accept employment as a crew member or an employee of a vessel or shore-based or floating stationary processor while employed by an observer provider.

(E) Provisions for remuneration of observers under this section do not constitute a conflict of interest.

(viii) Standards of behavior. Observers must:

(A) Perform their duties as described in the observer manual or other written instructions from the Observer Program Office.

(B) Accurately record their sampling data, write complete reports, and report accurately any observations of suspected violations of regulations relevant to the conservation of marine resources of their environment.

(C) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel, an authorized officer, or NMFS.

(ix) Suspension and decertification—(A) Suspension and decertification review official. The Regional Administrator (or a designee) will designate an observer suspension and decertification review official(s), who will have the authority to review observer certifications and issue IAD of observer certification suspension and/or decertification.

(B) Causes for suspension or decertification. In addition to any other supported basis connected to an observer's job performance, the suspension and decertification official may initiate suspension or decertification proceedings against an observer:

(1) When it is alleged that the observer has not met applicable standards, including any of the following:

(i) Failed to satisfactorily perform duties as described or directed by the Observer Program; or

(ii) Failed to abide by the standards of conduct for observers, including conflicts of interest;

(2) Upon conviction of a crime or upon entry of a civil judgment for:

(i) Commission of fraud or other violation in connection with obtaining or attempting to obtain certification, or in performing the duties as specified in writing by the NMFS Observer Program;

(ii) Commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property;

(iii) Commission of any other offense indicating a lack of integrity or honesty that seriously and directly affects the fitness of observers.

(C) Issuance of an IAD. Upon determination that suspension or decertification is warranted, the suspension/decertification official will issue a written IAD to the observer via certified mail at the observer's most current address provided to NMFS. The IAD will identify whether a certification is suspended or revoked and will identify the specific reasons for the action taken. Decertification is effective 30 calendar days after the date on the IAD, unless there is an appeal.

(D) Appeals. A certified observer who receives an IAD that suspends or revokes his or her observer certification may appeal the determination within 30 calendar days after the date on the IAD to the Office of Administrative Appeals pursuant to §660.19.

(i) Catch monitor requirements for IFQ first receivers—(1) Catch monitor coverage requirements. A catch monitor is required be present at each IFQ first receiver whenever an IFQ landing is received, unless the first receiver has been granted a written waiver from the catch monitor requirements by NMFS.

(2) Procurement of catch monitor services. Owners or managers of each IFQ first receiver must arrange for catch monitor services from a catch monitor provider prior to accepting IFQ landings.

(3) Catch monitor safety. (i) Each IFQ first receiver must adhere to all applicable rules, regulations, or statutes pertaining to safe operation and maintenance of a processing and/or receiving facility.

(ii) Unless alternative arrangements are approved by the Catch Monitor Program Office, the working hours of each individual catch monitor will be limited as follows: the time required for a catch monitor to conduct monitoring duties must not exceed 14 consecutive hours in a calendar day. Following a monitoring shift of more than 10 hours, each catch monitor must be provided with a minimum 8 hours break before they may resume monitoring.

(4) Catch monitor access. (i) Each IFQ first receiver must allow catch monitors free and unobstructed access to the catch throughout the sorting process and the weighing process.

(ii) The IFQ first receiver must ensure that there is an observation area available to the catch monitor that meets the following standards:

(A) Access to the observation area. The observation area must be freely accessible to NMFS staff, NMFS-authorized personnel, or authorized officers at any time a valid catch monitoring plan is required.

(B) Monitoring the flow of fish. The catch monitor must have an unobstructed view or otherwise be able to monitor the entire flow of fish between the delivery point and a location where all sorting has takes place and each species has been weighed.

(C) Adequate lighting. Adequate lighting must be provided during periods of limited visibility.

(iii) Each IFQ first receiver must allow catch monitors free and unobstructed access to any documentation required by regulation including fish tickets, scale printouts and scale test results.

(5) Lockable cabinet. Each IFQ first receiver must provide a secure, dry, and lockable cabinet or locker with the minimum interior dimensions of two feet wide by two feet tall by two feet deep for the exclusive use the catch monitor and NMFS staff or NMFS-authorized agents.

(6) Plant liaison for the catch monitor. Each IFQ first receiver must designate a plant liaison. The plant liaison is responsible for:

(i) Orienting new catch monitors to the facility;

(ii) Assisting in the resolution of catch monitoring concerns; and

(iii) Informing NMFS if changes must be made to the catch monitoring plan.

(7) Reasonable assistance. Each IFQ first receiver must provide reasonable assistance to the catch monitors to enable each catch monitor to carry out his or her duties. Reasonable assistance includes, but is not limited to: informing the monitor when bycatch species will be weighed, and providing a secure place to store equipment and gear.

(j) Catch weighing requirements—(1) Catch monitoring plan. All IFQ first receivers must operate under a NMFS-accepted catch monitoring plan for each specific physical location where IFQ landings will be received, purchased, or taken custody, control, or possession of.

(2) Sorting and weighing IFQ landings—(i) Approved scales. The IFQ first receiver must ensure that all IFQ species received from a vessel making an IFQ landing are weighed on a scale(s) that meets the requirements specified at §660.15(c).

(ii) Printed record. All scales identified in the catch monitoring plan accepted by NMFS during the first receiver site license application process, must produce a printed record as specified at §660.15(c).

(iii) Scales that may be exempt from printed report. An IFQ first receiver that receives no more than 200,000 pounds of groundfish in any calendar month will be exempt from the requirement to produce a printed record provided that:

(A) The first receiver has not previously operated under a catch monitoring plan where a printed record was required;

(B) The first receiver ensures that all catch is weighed; and

(C) The catch monitor, NMFS staff, or authorized officer can verify that all catch is weighed.

(iv) Retention of printed records. An IFQ first receiver must maintain printouts on site until the end of the fishing year during which the printouts were made consistent with §660.113(a)(2).

(v) Weight monitoring. An IFQ first receiver must ensure that it is possible for the catch monitor, NMFS staff, or authorized officer to verify the weighing of all catch.

(vi) Catch sorting. All fish delivered to the plant must be sorted and weighed by species as specified at §660.130(d).

(vii) Complete sorting. Sorting and weighing must be completed prior to catch leaving the area that can be monitored from the catch monitor's observation area.

(viii) Pacific whiting IFQ trips. Immediately following weighing of the total catch and prior to processing or transport away from the point of landing, the catch must be sorted to the species groups specified at §660.130(d) and all catch other than the target species (groundfish and non groundfish species) must be accurately weighed and the weight of non-target species deducted from the total catch weight to derive the weight of a single predominant species. Catch from a Pacific whiting IFQ trip may be sorted after weighing and the weight of a single predominant species determined by deducting the weight of all other species from the total weight of the landing, provided that:

(A) The unsorted catch is weighed on a bulk weighing scale in compliance with equipment requirements at §660.15(c);

(B) All catch (groundfish and non-groundfish species) in the landing other than the single predominant species is reweighed on a scale in compliance with equipment requirements at §660.15(c) and the reweighed catch is deducted from the total weight of the landing;

(C) The catch is sorted to the species groups specified at §660.130(d) prior to processing or transport away from the point of landing; and

(D) Prohibited species are sorted by species, counted, and weighed.

(ix) For all other IFQ landings the following weighing standards apply:

(A) A belt or automatic hopper scale may be used to weigh all of the catch prior to sorting. All but a single predominant species must then be reweighed.

(B) An in-line conveyor or automatic hopper scale may be used to weigh the single predominant species after catch has been sorted. Other species must be weighed in a manner that facilitates tracking of the weights of those species.

(C) IFQ species or species group may be weighed in totes on a platform scale capable of printing a label or tag and recording the label or tag information to memory for printing a report as specified at §660.15. The label or tag must remain affixed to the tote until the tote is emptied. The label or tag must show the following information:

(1) The species or species group;

(2) The weight of the fish in the tote;

(3) The date the label or tag was printed; and

(4) The vessel name.

(D) Totes and ice. If a catch monitoring plan proposes the use of totes in which fish will be weighed, or a deduction for the weight of ice, the deduction must be accurately accounted for. No deduction may be made for the weight of water or slime. This standard may be met by:

(1) Taring the empty or pre-iced tote on the scale prior to filling with fish;

(2) Labeling each tote with an individual tare weight. This weight must be accurate within 500 grams (1 pound if scale is denominated in pounds) for any given tote and the average error for all totes may not exceed 200 grams (8 ounces for scales denominated in pounds);

(3) An alternate approach accepted by NMFS. NMFS will only accept approaches that do not involve the estimation of the weight of ice or the weight of totes and allow NMFS staff or an authorized officer to verify that the deduction or tare weight is accurate.

(E) An alternate approach accepted by NMFS in the catch monitoring plan.

(3) IFQ first receiver responsibilities relative to catch weighing and monitoring of catch weighing. The IFQ first receiver must:

(i) General. Ensure that all IFQ landings are sorted and weighed as specified at §660.130(d) and in accordance with an approved catch monitoring plan.

(ii) Catch monitors, NMFS staff, and authorized officers. (A) Have a catch monitor on site the entire time an IFQ landing is being offloaded, sorted, or weighed.

(B) Notify the catch monitor of the offloading schedule.

(C) Provide catch monitors, NMFS staff, or an authorized officer with unobstructed access to any areas where IFQ species are or may be sorted or weighed at any time IFQ species are being landed or processed.

(D) Ensure that catch monitors, NMFS staff, or an authorized officer are able to simultaneously observe the weighing of catch on the scale and read the scale display at any time.

(E) Ensure that printouts of the scale weight of each delivery or offload are made available to catch monitors, NMFS staff, or an authorized officer at the time printouts are generated.

(4) Scale tests. All testing must meet the scale test standards specified at §660.15(c).

(k) Gear switching. (1) Participants in the Shorebased IFQ Program may take IFQ species using any legal groundfish non-trawl gear (i.e., gear switching) and are exempt from the gear endorsements at §660.25(b)(3) for limited entry fixed gear permits, provided the following requirements are met:

(i) The vessel must be registered to a limited entry trawl permit.

(ii) The vessel must be registered to a vessel account that is not in deficit on any IFQ species.

(iii) The vessel operator must have submitted a valid gear declaration for the trip that declares “Limited entry groundfish non-trawl, shorebased IFQ,” as specified in §660.13(d)(5)(iv)(A), and does not declare any other designation (a Shorebased IFQ Program trip may not be combined with any other designation).

(iv) The vessel must comply with prohibitions applicable to the limited entry fixed gear fishery as specified at §660.212, gear restrictions applicable to limited entry fixed gear as specified in §§660.219 and 660.230(b), and management measures specified in §660.230(d), including restrictions on the fixed gear allowed onboard, its usage, and applicable fixed gear groundfish conservation area restrictions, except that the vessel will not be subject to limited entry fixed gear trip limits when fishing in the Shorebased IFQ Program. Vessels using bottom longline and snap gears as defined at §660.11 are subject to the requirements of the Seabird Avoidance Program described in §660.21.

(v) The vessel must comply with the limited entry trawl trip limits for species/species groups not covered under the Shorebased IFQ Program or whiting trip limits outside the primary season.

(vi) The vessel must comply with recordkeeping and reporting requirements applicable to limited entry trawl gear as specified in §660.113.

(vii) The vessel must comply with and observer requirements and all other provisions of the Shoreside IFQ Program as specified in this section.

(2) [Reserved]

(l) Adaptive management program—(1) General. The adaptive management program (AMP) is a set-aside of 10 percent of the non-whiting QS to address the following objectives:

(i) Community stability;

(ii) Processor stability;

(iii) Conservation;

(iv) Unintended/unforeseen consequences of IFQ management; or

(v) Facilitating new entrants.

(2) AMP QP pass through. The 10 percent of non-whiting QS will be reserved for the AMP, but the resulting AMP QP will be issued to all QS permit owners in proportion to their non-whiting QS until an alternative use of AMP QP is implemented.

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §660.140, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

§660.150   Mothership (MS) Coop Program.

(a) General. The MS Coop Program is a general term to describe the limited access program that applies to eligible harvesters and processors in the mothership sector of the Pacific whiting at-sea trawl fishery. Eligible harvesters and processors, including coop and non-coop fishery participants, must meet the requirements set forth in this section of the Pacific Coast groundfish regulations. Each year a vessel registered to an MS/CV-endorsed permit may fish in either the coop or non-coop portion of the MS Coop Program, but not both. In addition to the requirements of this section, the MS Coop Program is subject to the following groundfish regulations of subparts C and D of this part:

(1) Pacific whiting seasons §660.131(b), subpart D.

(2) Area restrictions specified for midwater trawl gear used to harvest Pacific whiting fishery specified at §660.131(c), Subpart D for GCAs, RCAs, Salmon Conservation Zones, BRAs, and EFHCAs.

(3) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart C: §660.11 Definitions, §660.12 Prohibitions, §660.13 Recordkeeping and reporting, §660.14 VMS requirements, §660.15 Equipment requirements, §660.16 Groundfish Observer Program, §660.20 Vessel and gear identification, §660.25 Permits, §660.55 Allocations, §660.60 Specifications and management measures, §660.65 Groundfish harvest specifications, and §§660.70 through 660.79 Closed areas.

(4) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart D: §660.111 Trawl fishery definitions, §660.112 Trawl fishery prohibitions, §660.113 Trawl fishery recordkeeping and reporting, §660.115 Trawl fishery cost recovery program, §660.120 Trawl fishery crossover provisions, §660.130 Trawl fishery management measures, and §660.131 Pacific whiting fishery management measures.

(5) The MS Coop Program may be restricted or closed as a result of projected overages within the MS Coop Program, the C/P Coop Program, or the Shorebased IFQ Program. As determined necessary by the Regional Administrator, area restrictions, season closures, or other measures will be used to prevent the trawl sectors in aggregate or the individual trawl sector (Shorebased IFQ, MS Coop, or C/P Coop) from exceeding an ACL, ACT, or formal allocation specified in the PCGFMP or regulation at §660.55, subpart C, or §§660.140, 660.150, or 660.160, subpart D.

(b) Participation requirements and responsibilities—(1) Mothership vessels. (i) Mothership vessel participation requirements. A vessel is eligible to receive and process catch as a mothership in the MS Coop Program if:

(A) The vessel is registered to an MS permit;

(B) The vessel is not used to fish as a catcher vessel in the mothership sector of the Pacific whiting fishery in the same calendar year; and

(C) The vessel is not used to fish as a C/P in the Pacific whiting fishery in the same calendar year.

(ii) Mothership vessel responsibilities. The owner and operator of a mothership vessel must:

(A) Recordkeeping and reporting. Maintain a valid declaration as specified at §660.13(d); maintain records as specified at §660.113(a); and maintain and submit all records and reports specified at §660.113(c) including, economic data, scale tests records, cease fishing reports, and cost recovery.

(B) Observers. As specified at paragraph (j) of this section, procure observer services, maintain the appropriate level of coverage, and meet the vessel responsibilities.

(C) Catch weighing requirements. The owner and operator of a mothership vessel must:

(1) Ensure that all catch is weighed in its round form on a NMFS-approved scale that meets the requirements described in section §660.15(b);

(2) Provide a NMFS-approved platform scale, belt scale, and test weights that meet the requirements described in section §660.15(b).

(D) Cost recovery program. Collect and remit to NMFS cost recovery program fees as specified at §660.115.

(2) Mothership catcher vessels—(i) Mothership catcher vessel participation requirements—(A) A vessel is eligible to harvest in the MS Coop Program if the following conditions are met:

(1) If the vessel is used to fish as a mothership catcher vessel for a permitted MS coop, the vessel is registered to a limited entry permit with a trawl endorsement and NMFS has been notified that the vessel is authorized to fish for the coop.

(2) If the vessel is used to harvest fish in the non-coop fishery, the vessel is registered to an MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit.

(3) The vessel is not used to harvest fish or process as a mothership or catcher/processor vessel in the same calendar year.

(4) The vessel does not catch more than 30 percent of the Pacific whiting allocation for the mothership sector.

(B) [Reserved]

(ii) Mothership catcher vessel responsibilities—(A) Observers. As specified at paragraph (j) of this section, procure observer services, maintain the appropriate level of coverage, and meet the vessel responsibilities.

(B) Recordkeeping and reporting. Maintain a valid declaration as specified at §660.13(d), subpart C; and, maintain and submit all records and reports specified at §660.113(c) including, economic data and scale tests records, if applicable.

(C) Cost recovery program. Vessel must pay cost recovery program fees, as specified at §660.115.

(3) MS coops—(i) MS coop participation requirements. For a MS coop to participate in the Pacific whiting mothership sector fishery it must:

(A) Be issued a MS coop permit;

(B) Be composed of MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit owners;

(C) Be formed voluntarily;

(D) Be a legally recognized entity that represents its members;

(E) Designate an individual as a coop manager; and

(F) Include at least 20 percent of all MS/CV-endorsed permits as members. The coop membership percentage will be interpreted by rounding to the nearest whole permit (i.e., less than 0.5 rounds down and 0.5 and greater rounds up).

(ii) MS coop responsibilities. A MS coop is responsible for:

(A) Applying for and being registered to a MS coop permit;

(B) Organizing and coordinating harvest activities of vessels authorized to fish for the coop;

(C) Reassigning catch history assignments for use by coop members;

(D) Organizing and coordinating the transfer and leasing of catch allocations with other permitted coops through inter-coop agreements;

(E) Monitoring harvest activities and enforcing the catch limits of coop members;

(F) Submitting an annual report.

(G) Having a designated coop manager. The designated coop manager must:

(1) Serve as the contact person between NMFS, the Council, and other coops;

(2) Be responsible for the annual distribution of catch and bycatch allocations among coop members;

(3) Oversee reassignment of catch allocations within the coop;

(4) Oversee inter-coop catch allocation reassignments;

(5) Prepare and submit an annual report on behalf of the coop;

(6) Be authorized to receive or respond to any legal process in which the coop is involved; and

(7) Notify NMFS if the coop dissolves.

(iii) MS coop compliance and joint/several liability. An MS coop must comply with the provisions of this section. The MS coop, member limited entry permit owners, and owners and operators of vessels registered to member limited entry permits, are jointly and severally responsible for compliance with the provisions of this section. Pursuant to 15 CFR part 904, each MS coop, member permit owner, and owner and operator of a vessel registered to a coop member permit may be charged jointly and severally for violations of the provisions of this section. For purposes of enforcement, an MS coop is a legal entity that can be subject to NOAA enforcement action for violations of the provisions of this section.

(c) MS Coop Program species and allocations—(1) MS Coop Program species. All species other than Pacific whiting are managed with set-asides for the MS and C/P Coop Programs, as described in Table 1d to subpart C of this part.

(2) Annual mothership sector sub-allocations. Annual allocation amount(s) will be determined using the following procedure:

(i) MS/CV catch history assignments. Catch history assignments will be based on catch history using the following methodology:

(A) Pacific whiting catch history assignment. Each MS/CV endorsement's associated catch history assignment of Pacific whiting will be annually allocated to a single permitted MS coop or to the non-coop fishery. If multiple MS/CV endorsements and their associated CHAs are registered to a limited entry permit, that permit may be simultaneously registered to more than one MS coop or to both a coop(s) and non-coop fishery. Once assigned to a permitted MS coop or to the non-coop fishery, each MS/CV endorsement's catch history assignment remains with that permitted MS coop or non-coop fishery for that calendar year. When the mothership sector allocation is established, the information for the conversion of catch history assignment to pounds will be made available to the public through a Federal Register announcement and/or public notice and/or the NMFS website. The amount of whiting from the catch history assignment will be issued to the nearest whole pound using standard rounding rules (i.e., less than 0.5 rounds down and 0.5 and greater rounds up).

(1) In years where the Pacific whiting harvest specification is known by the start of the mothership sector primary whiting season specified at §660.131(b)(2)(iii)(B), allocation for Pacific whiting will be made by the start of the season.

(2) In years where the Pacific whiting harvest specification is not known by the start of the mothership sector primary whiting season specified at §660.131(b)(2)(iii)(B), NMFS will issue Pacific whiting allocations in two parts. Before the start of the primary whiting season, NMFS will allocate Pacific whiting based on the MS Coop Program allocation percent multiplied by the lower end of the range of potential harvest specifications for Pacific whiting for that year. After the final Pacific whiting harvest specifications are established, NMFS will allocate any additional amounts of Pacific whiting to the MS Coop Program.

(B) Non-whiting groundfish species catch—(1) At-sea set-asides of non-whiting groundfish species will be managed on an annual basis unless there is a risk of a harvest specification being exceeded, unforeseen impact on other fisheries, or conservation concerns, in which case inseason action may be taken. Set asides may be adjusted through the biennial specifications and management measures process as necessary.

(2) Groundfish species not addressed in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(B)(1) of this section, will be managed on an annual basis unless there is a risk of a harvest specification being exceeded, unforeseen impact on other fisheries, or conservation concerns, in which case inseason action may be taken.

(3) Annually a specified amount of the Pacific halibut will be held in reserve as a shared set-aside for bycatch in the at-sea Pacific whiting fisheries and the shorebased trawl sector south of 40°10 N lat.

(C) Rounding rules and MS/CV allocations. Rounding rules may affect distribution of the MS Coop Program allocations among the catch history assignments for individual MS/CV-endorsed permits. NMFS will distribute such allocations to the maximum extent practicable, not to exceed the total allocation.

(ii) Annual coop allocations—(A) Pacific whiting. Each permitted MS coop is authorized to harvest a quantity of Pacific whiting that is based on the sum of the catch history assignments for each member MS/CV-endorsed permit identified in the NMFS-accepted coop agreement for a given calendar year. Other limited entry permits registered to vessels that will fish for the coop do not bring catch allocation to a permitted MS coop.

(B) Single MS/CV Coop Fishery. If all MS/CV-endorsed permits are members of a single coop in a given year and there is not a non-coop fishery, then NMFS will allocate 100 percent of the MS Coop Program allocation to that coop.

(iii) Annual non-coop allocation—(A) Pacific whiting. The non-coop whiting fishery is authorized to harvest a quantity of Pacific whiting that is remaining in the mothership sector annual allocation after the deduction of all coop allocations.

(B) Announcement of the non-coop fishery allocations. Information on the amount of Pacific whiting and non-whiting groundfish with allocations that will be made available to the non-coop fishery when the final Pacific whiting specifications for the mothership sector is established and will be announced to the public through a Federal Register announcement and/or public notice and/or the NMFS website.

(3) Reaching an allocation or sub-allocation. When the mothership sector Pacific whiting allocation, or Pacific whiting sub-allocation is reached or is projected to be reached, the following action may be taken:

(i) Further harvesting, receiving or at-sea processing by a mothership or catcher vessel in the mothership sector is prohibited when the mothership sector Pacific whiting allocation is projected to be reached. No additional unprocessed groundfish may be brought on board after at-sea processing is prohibited, but a mothership may continue to process catch that was on board before at-sea processing was prohibited. Pacific whiting may not be taken and retained, possessed, or landed by a catcher vessel participating in the mothership sector.

(ii) When a permitted MS coop sub-allocation of Pacific whiting-is reached, further harvesting or receiving of groundfish by vessels fishing in the permitted MS coop must cease, unless the permitted MS coop is operating under an NMFS-accepted inter-coop agreement.

(iii) When the non-coop fishery sub-allocation of Pacific whiting is projected to be reached, further harvesting or receiving of groundfish by vessels fishing in the non-coop fishery must cease.

(4) [Reserved]

(5) Announcements. The Regional Administrator will announce in the Federal Register when the mothership sector allocation of Pacific whiting is reached, or is projected to be reached, and specify the appropriate action. In order to prevent exceeding an allocation and to avoid underutilizing the resource, prohibitions against further taking and retaining, receiving, or at-sea processing of Pacific whiting may be made effective immediately by actual notice to fishers and processors, by email, internet, phone, fax, letter, press release, and/or USCG Notice to Mariners (monitor channel 16 VHF), followed by publication in the Federal Register, in which instance public comment will be sought for a reasonable period of time thereafter.

(6) Redistribution of annual allocation—(i) Between permitted MS coops (inter-coop). (A) Through an inter-coop agreement, the designated coop managers of permitted MS coops may distribute Pacific whiting allocations among one or more permitted MS coops, provided the processor obligations at paragraph (c)(7) of this section have been met or a mutual agreement exception at paragraph (c)(7)(iv) of this section has been submitted to NMFS.

(B) In the case of a MS coop failure during the Pacific whiting primary season for the mothership sector, unused allocation associated with the catch history will not be available for harvest by the coop that failed, by any former members of the coop that failed, or any other MS coop for the remainder of that calendar year.

(1) Between the MS coop and non-coop fisheries. Pacific whiting may not be redistributed between the coop and non-coop fisheries.

(2) Between Pacific whiting sectors. Pacific whiting may not be redistributed between the mothership sector and catcher/processor sector. Whiting may not be redistributed to the Shorebased IFQ Program.

(7) Processor obligation and mutual agreement exceptions—(i) Processor obligation. Through the annual MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit renewal process, the MS/CV-endorsed permit owner must identify to NMFS to which MS permit the MS/CV permit owner intends to obligate the catch history assignment associated with that permit if they are participating in the MS coop fishery. Only one MS permit may be designated for each MS/CV endorsement and associated catch history assignment.

(ii) Expiration of a processor obligation. Processor obligations expire at the end of each calendar year when the MS Coop Permit expires.

(iii) Processor obligation when MS coop allocation is redistributed. When a permitted MS coop redistributes Pacific whiting allocation within the permitted MS coop or from one permitted MS coop to another permitted MS coop through an inter-coop agreement, such allocations must be delivered to the mothership registered to the MS permit to which the allocation was obligated under the processor obligation submitted to NMFS, unless a mutual agreement exception has been submitted to NMFS.

(iv) Mutual agreement exception. An MS/CV-endorsed permit's catch history assignment can be released from a processor obligation through a mutual agreement exception. The MS/CV-endorsed permit owner must submit a copy to NMFS of the written agreement that includes the initial MS permit owner's acknowledgment of the release of the MS/CV-endorsed permit owner's processor obligation and the MS/CV-endorsed permit owner must identify a processor obligation for a new MS permit.

(v) MS permit withdrawal. If an MS permit withdraws from the mothership fishery before the resulting amounts of catch history assignment have been announced by NMFS, any MS/CV-endorsed permit obligated to the MS permit may elect to participate in the coop or non-coop fishery. In such an event, the MS permit owner must provide written notification of its withdrawal to NMFS and all MS/CV-endorsed permits that are obligated to the MS permit, and the owner of each MS/CV-endorsed permit obligated to the MS permit must provide written notification to NMFS of their intent to either participate in the non-coop fishery or the coop fishery, and if participating in the coop fishery must identify a processor obligation for a new MS permit.

(vi) Submission of a mutual agreement exception or MS permit withdrawal. Written notification of a mutual exception agreement or MS permit withdrawal must be submitted to NMFS, Northwest Region, Permits Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115.

(d) MS coop permit and agreement—(1) Eligibility and registration. (i) Eligibility. To be an eligible coop entity a group of MS/CV-endorsed permit owners (coop members) must be a recognized entity under the laws of the United States or the laws of a State and represent all of the coop members.

(ii) Annual registration and deadline. Each year, a coop entity intending to participate as a coop under the MS Coop Program must submit an application for a MS coop permit between February 1 and March 31 of the year in which it intends to fish. NMFS will not consider any applications received after March 31. A MS coop permit expires on December 31 of the year in which it was issued.

(iii) Application for MS coop permit. The designated coop manager, on behalf of the coop entity, must submit a complete application form and include each of the items listed in paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(A) of this section. Only complete applications will be considered for issuance of a MS coop permit. An application will not be considered complete if any required application fees and annual coop reports have not been received by NMFS. NMFS may request additional supplemental documentation as necessary to make a determination of whether to approve or disapprove the application. Application forms and instruction are available on the NMFS NWR Web site (http://www.nwr.noaa.gov) or by request from NMFS. The designated coop manager must sign the application acknowledging the responsibilities of a designated coop manager defined in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. For permit owners with more than one MS/CV endorsement and associated CHA, paragraph (g)(2)(iv)(D) of this section specifies how to join an MS coop(s).

(A) Coop agreement. Signed copies of the coop agreement must be submitted to NMFS before the coop is authorized to engage in fishing activities. A coop agreement must include all of the information listed in this paragraph to be considered a complete coop agreement. NMFS will only review complete coop agreements. A coop agreement will not be accepted unless it includes all of the required information; the descriptive items listed in this paragraph appear to meet the stated purpose; and information submitted is correct and accurate.

(1) Coop agreement contents. Each coop agreement must be signed by all of the coop members (MS/CV-endorsed permit owners) and include the following information:

(i) A list of all vessels and permit owners participating in the coop and their share of the allocated catch history assignments which must match the amount distributed to individual permit owners by NMFS.

(ii) All MS/CV-endorsed limited entry member permits identified by permit number.

(iii) A processor obligation clause indicating that each MS/CV-endorsed permit has notified a specific MS permit by September 1 of the previous year of that MS/CV-endorsed permit's intent to obligate its catch history assignment to that MS permit, except that for the 2011 fishery, such notification must have been made prior to submission of the MS coop permit application.

(iv) A clause indicting that each member MS/CV-endorsed permit's catch history assignment is based on the catch history assignment calculation by NMFS used for distribution to the coop.

(v) A description of the coop's plan to adequately monitor and account for the catch of Pacific whiting and non-whiting groundfish, and to monitor and account for the catch of prohibited species.

(vi) A clause stating that if a permit is registered to a new permit owner during the effective period of the coop agreement, any new owners of that member permit would be coop members required to comply with membership restrictions in the coop agreement.

(vii) A description of the coop's enforcement and penalty provisions adequate to maintain catch of Pacific whiting and non-whiting groundfish within the allocations.

(viii) A description of measures to reduce catch of overfished species.

(ix) A clause describing the co-op manager's responsibility for managing inter-coop reassignments of catch history assignment, should any occur.

(x) A clause describing how the annual report will be produced to document the coop's catch, bycatch data, inseason catch history reassignments and any other significant activities undertaken by the coop during the year, and the submission deadlines for that report.

(xi) Identification of the designated coop manager.

(xii) Provisions that prohibit member permit owners that have incurred legal sanctions that prevent them from fishing groundfish in the Council region from fishing in the coop.

(2) Inter-coop agreement. The coop entity must provide, at the time of annual application, copies of any inter-coop agreement(s) into which the coop has entered. Such agreements must incorporate and honor the provisions of the individual coop agreements for each coop that is a party to the inter-coop agreement. Inter-coop agreements are specified at paragraph (e) of this section.

(B) Acceptance of a coop agreement—(1) If NMFS does not accept the coop agreement, the coop permit application will be returned to the applicant with a letter stating the reasons the coop agreement was not accepted by NMFS.

(2) Coop agreements that are not accepted may be resubmitted for review by sufficiently addressing the deficiencies identified in the NMFS letter and resubmitting the entire coop permit application by the date specified in the NMFS letter.

(3) An accepted coop agreement that was submitted with the MS coop permit application and for which a MS coop permit was issued will remain in place through the end of the calendar year. The designated coop manager must resubmit a complete coop agreement to NMFS consistent with the coop agreement contents described in paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(A)(1) of this section if there is a material change to the coop agreement.

(4) Within 7 calendar days following a material change, the designated coop manager must notify NMFS of the material change. Within 30 calendar days, the designated coop manger must submit to NMFS the revised coop agreement with a letter that describes such changes. NMFS will review the material changes and provide a letter to the coop manager that either accepts the changes as given or does not accept the revised coop agreement with a letter stating the reasons that it was not accepted by NMFS. The coop may resubmit the coop agreement with further revisions to the material changes responding to NMFS concerns.

(iv) Effective date of MS coop permit. A MS coop permit will be effective upon the date approved by NMFS and will allow fishing from the start of the MS sector primary whiting season until the end of the calendar year or until one or more of the following events occur, whichever comes first:

(A) NMFS permanently closes the mothership sector fishing season for the year or a specific MS coop or the designated coop manager notifies NMFS that the coop has completed fishing for the calendar year,

(B) The coop has reached its Pacific whiting allocation,

(C) A material change to the coop agreement has occurred and the designated coop manager failed to notify NMFS within 7 calendar days of the material change and submit to NMFS the revised coop agreement with a letter that describes such changes within 30 calendar days, or

(D) NMFS has determined that a coop failure occurred.

(2) Initial administrative determination. For all complete applications, NMFS will issue an IAD that either approves or disapproves the application. If approved, the IAD will include a MS coop permit. If disapproved, the IAD will provide the reasons for this determination. The IAD for a MS coop permit follows the same requirement as specified for limited entry permits at §660.25(g)(4)(ii); if the applicant does not appeal the IAD within the 30 calendar days, the IAD becomes the final decision of the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

(3) Appeals. An appeal to a MS coop permit action follows the same process as the general permit appeals process defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(4) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge fees for administrative costs associated with the issuance of a MS coop permit consistent with the provisions given at §660.25(f), subpart C.

(e) Inter-coop agreements—(1) General. Permitted MS coops may voluntarily enter into inter-coop agreements for the purpose of sharing permitted MS coop allocations of Pacific whiting and allocated non-whiting groundfish. If two or more permitted MS coops enter into an inter-coop agreement, the inter-coop agreement must incorporate and honor the provisions of each permitted MS coop subject to the inter-coop agreement.

(2) Submission of inter-coop agreements. Inter-coop agreements must be submitted to NMFS for acceptance.

(3) Inter-coop agreement review process. Each designated coop manager must submit a copy of the inter-coop agreement signed by both designated coop managers for review. Complete coop agreements containing all items listed under paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(A)(1) will be reviewed by NMFS.

(f) Mothership (MS) permit.

(1) General. Any vessel that processes or receives deliveries as a mothership processor in the Pacific whiting fishery mothership sector must be registered to an MS permit. A vessel registered to an MS permit may receive fish from a vessel that fishes in an MS coop and/or may receive fish from a vessel that fishes in the non-coop fishery at the same time or during the same year.

(i) Vessel size endorsement. An MS permit does not have a vessel size endorsement. The endorsement provisions at §660.25(b)(3)(iii), subpart C, do not apply to an MS permit.

(ii) Restriction on C/P vessels operating as motherships. Restrictions on a vessel registered to a limited entry permit with a C/P endorsement operating as a mothership are specified at §660.160, subpart D.

(2) Renewal, change of permit ownership, or vessel registration—(i) Renewal. An MS permit must be renewed annually consistent with the limited entry permit regulations given at §660.25(b)(4). If a vessel registered to the MS permit will operate as a mothership in the year for which the permit is renewed, the permit owner must make a declaration as part of the permit renewal that while participating in the whiting fishery it will operate solely as a mothership during the calendar year to which its limited entry permit applies. Any such declaration is binding on the vessel for the calendar year, even if the permit is registered to a different permit owner during the year, unless it is rescinded in response to a written request from the permit owner. Any request to rescind a declaration must be made by the permit owner and granted in writing by the Regional Administrator before any unprocessed whiting has been taken on board the vessel that calendar year.

(ii) Change of permit ownership. An MS permit is subject to the limited entry permit change in permit ownership regulations given at §660.25(b)(4), subpart C.

(iii) Change of vessel registration. An MS permit is subject to the limited entry permit change of vessel registration regulations given at §660.25(b)(4), subpart C.

(3) Accumulation limits—(i) MS permit usage limit. No person who owns an MS permit(s) may register the MS permit(s) to vessels that cumulatively process more than 45 percent of the annual mothership sector Pacific whiting allocation. For purposes of determining accumulation limits, NMFS requires that permit owners submit a complete trawl ownership interest form for the permit owner as part of annual renewal for the MS permit. An ownership interest form will also be required whenever a new permit owner obtains an MS permit as part of a request for a change in permit ownership. Accumulation limits will be determined by calculating the percentage of ownership interest a person has in any MS permit. Determination of ownership interest will subject to the individual and collective rule:

(ii) Ownership—individual and collective rule. The ownership that counts toward a person's accumulation limit will include:

(A) Any MS permit owned by that person, and

(B) A portion of any MS permit owned by an entity in which that person has an interest, where the person's share of interest in that entity will determine the portion of that entity's ownership that counts toward the person's limit.

(iii) [Reserved]

(iv) Trawl identification of ownership interest form. Any person that is applying for or renewing an MS permit shall document those persons that have an ownership interest in the permit greater than or equal to 2 percent. This ownership interest must be documented with the SFD via the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form. SFD will not issue an MS Permit unless the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form has been completed. NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to verify compliance with accumulation limits.

(4) Appeals. An appeal to an MS permit action follows the same process as the general permit appeals process defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(5) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge fees for administrative costs associated with the issuance of an MS permit consistent with the provisions given at §660.25(f), Subpart C.

(6) Cost recovery. The owner of a vessel registered to an MS permit, the operator of a vessel registered to an MS permit, and the owner of the MS permit registered to that vessel, are considered to be the fish buyer as defined at §660.111, and must comply with the cost recovery program specified at §660.115.

(g) Mothership catcher vessel (MS/CV)—endorsed permit—(1) General. Any vessel that delivers whiting to a mothership processor in the Pacific whiting fishery mothership sector must be registered to an MS/CV-endorsed permit, except that a vessel registered to limited entry trawl permit without an MS/CV or C/P endorsement may fish for a coop if authorized by the coop. Within the MS Coop Program, an MS/CV-endorsed permit may participate in an MS coop or in the non-coop fishery. An MS/CV-endorsed permit is a limited entry permit and is subject to the limited entry permit provisions given at §660.25(b), subpart C.

(i) Catch history assignment. NMFS will assign a catch history assignment to each MS/CV-endorsed permit. The catch history assignment is based on the catch history in the Pacific whiting mothership sector during the qualifying years of 1994 through 2003. The catch history assignment is expressed as a percentage of Pacific whiting of the total mothership sector allocation as described at paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section. Catch history assignments will be issued to the nearest whole pound using standard rounding rules (i.e., decimal amounts from zero up to 0.5 round down and 0.5 up to 1.0 round up).

(ii) Pacific whiting mothership sector allocation. The catch history assignment allocation accrues to the coop to which the MS/CV-endorsed permit is tied through private agreement, or will be assigned to the non-coop fishery if the MS/CV-endorsed permit does not participate in the coop fishery.

(iii) MS/CV endorsement and CHA non-severable. Subject to the regulations at paragraph (g)(2)(iv) and (v) of this section, an MS/CV endorsement and its associated CHA are permanently linked together as originally issued by NMFS and cannot be divided or registered separately to another limited entry trawl permit. An MS/CV endorsement and its associated CHA must be registered to a limited entry trawl permit and any change in endorsement registration must be to another limited entry trawl permit.

(iv) Restrictions on processing for MS/CV-endorsed permits. A vessel registered to an MS/CV-endorsed permit in a given year shall not engage in processing of Pacific whiting during that year.

(2) Renewal, change of permit owner, vessel registration, or combination—(i) Renewal. An MS/CV-endorsed permit must be renewed annually consistent with the limited entry permit regulations given at §660.25(b)(4). During renewal, all MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permit owners must make a preliminary declaration regarding their intent to participate in the coop or non-coop portion of the MS Coop Program for the following year. If the owner of a MS/CV-endorsed permit intends to participate in the coop portion of the MS Coop Program, they must also declare to which MS permit they intend to obligate the permit's catch history assignment. MS/CV-endorsed permits not obligated to a permitted MS coop by March 31 of the fishing year will be assigned to the non-coop fishery. For an MS/CV-endorsed permit that is not renewed, the following occurs:

(A) For the first year after the permit is not renewed, the permit will be extinguished, and the catch history assignment from that permit will be assigned to the non-coop fishery.

(B) In the year after the permit is extinguished (the second year after the permit is not renewed), the catch history assignment from that permit will be redistributed proportionally to all valid MS/CV-endorsed permits.

(ii) Change of permit ownership. An MS/CV-endorsed permit is subject to the limited entry permit change in permit ownership regulations given at §660.25(b)(4), subpart C.

(iii) Change of vessel registration. An MS/CV-endorsed permit is subject to the limited entry permit change of vessel registration regulations given at §660.25(b)(4), subpart C.

(iv) Change in MS/CV endorsement registration. As specified at §660.25(b)(3)(v), each MS/CV endorsement has an associated CHA that is permanently linked as originally issued by NMFS and cannot be divided or registered separately to another limited entry trawl permit. An MS/CV endorsement and associated CHA must be registered to a limited entry trawl permit and any change in MS/CV endorsement registration must be to another limited entry trawl permit. Any change in MS/CV endorsement registration will be registered separately on the limited entry trawl permit. An MS/CV endorsement and its associated CHA cannot be registered to any other person other than the specified owner of the limited entry trawl permit to which it is registered.

(A) Multiple MS/CV endorsements on a limited entry trawl permit. Multiple MS/CV endorsements and associated CHAs may be registered to a single limited entry trawl permit. If multiple endorsements are registered to a single limited entry trawl permit, the whiting CHA amount (expressed as a percent) will remain in the amount that it was originally issued by NMFS and will not be combined as a single larger CHA, unless two or more MS/CV-endorsed permits are combined for purposes of increasing the size endorsement, as specified at §660.25(b)(4)(ii)(B). Any change in MS/CV endorsement registration may be disapproved if the person owning the limited entry trawl permit has aggregate CHA amounts in excess of the accumulation limits specified at paragraph (g)(3) of this section.

(B) Application. NMFS will begin accepting applications for a change in MS/CV endorsement registration beginning September 1, 2014. A request for a change in MS/CV endorsement registration must be made between September 1 and December 31 of each year. Any transfer of MS/CV endorsement and its associated CHA to another limited entry trawl permit must be requested using a Change in Registration of a Mothership/Catcher Vessel Endorsement/Catch History Assignment Application form and the permit owner or an authorized representative of the permit owner must certify that the application is true and correct by signing and dating the form. In addition, the form must be notarized, and the permit owner selling the MS/CV endorsement and its CHA must provide the sale price of the MS/CV endorsement and its associated CHA. If any assets in addition to the MS/CV endorsement and its associated CHA are included in the sale price, those assets must be itemized and described.

(C) Effective date. Any change in MS/CV endorsement registration from one limited entry trawl permit to another limited entry trawl permit will be effective on January 1 in the year following the application period.

(D) A limited entry trawl permit owner with multiple MS/CV-endorsements and associated CHA on a single permit may assign each distinct MS/CV endorsement and catch history assignment separately to coop(s) or the non-coop fishery. In such cases, as part of the coop permit application process, specified at paragraph (d)(1)(iii) of this section, the permit owner must specify on the coop permit application form which MS/CV endorsement and associated CHA is specifically registered to a particular coop.

(v) Combination. An MS/CV-endorsed permit may be combined with one or more other limited entry trawl permits; the resulting permit will be a single permit with an increased size endorsement. If the MS/CV-endorsed permit is combined with another limited entry trawl-endorsed permit other than a C/P-endorsed permit, the resulting permit will be MS/CV-endorsed. If an MS/CV-endorsed permit is combined with a C/P-endorsed permit, the resulting permit will be exclusively a C/P-endorsed permit, and will not have an MS/CV endorsement. If an MS/CV-endorsed permit is combined with another MS/CV-endorsed permit, the combined catch history assignment of the permit(s) will be added to the active permit (the permit remaining after combination) and the other permit will be retired. If a trawl permit has more than one MS/CV endorsements and it is combined with a non C/P-endorsed trawl permit with no such endorsements, the MS/CV endorsements on the resulting permit will be maintained as separate endorsements on the resulting permit. NMFS will not approve a permit combination if it results in a person exceeding the accumulation limits specified at paragraph (g)(3) of this section. Any request to combine permits is subject to the provision provided at §660.25(b), including the combination formula for resulting size endorsements.

(vi) One-time request to undo a permit combination. If two or more MS/CV-endorsed permits have been combined before January 1, 2012 for purposes of increasing the vessel's size endorsement, a permit owner of the resulting combined permit will have until February 29, 2012 to undo that permit combination. The permit owner must submit a letter to NMFS requesting such action. The letter must be postmarked or hand-delivered to NMFS by the deadline.

(3) Accumulation limits—(i) MS/CV-endorsed permit ownership limit. No person shall own MS/CV-endorsed permits for which the collective Pacific whiting allocation total is greater than 20 percent of the total mothership sector allocation. For purposes of determining accumulation limits, NMFS requires that permit owners submit a complete trawl ownership interest form for the permit owner as part of annual renewal of an MS/CV-endorsed permit. An ownership interest form will also be required whenever a new permit owner obtains an MS/CV-endorsed permit as part of a request for a change in permit ownership. Accumulation limits will be determined by calculating the percentage of ownership interest a person has in any MS/CV-endorsed permit and the amount of the Pacific whiting catch history assignment given on the permit. Determination of ownership interest will be subject to the individual and collective rule.

(A) Ownership—Individual and collective rule. The Pacific whiting catch history assignment that applies to a person's accumulation limit will include:

(1) The catch history assignment on any MS/CV-endorsed permit owned by that person, and

(2) That portion of the catch history assignment on any MS/CV-endorsed permit owned by an entity in which that person has an economic or financial interest, where the person's share of interest in that entity will determine the portion of that entity's catch history assignment that counts toward the person's limit.

(B) [Reserved]

(C) Trawl identification of ownership interest form. Any person that owns a limited entry trawl permit and that is applying for or renewing an MS/CV endorsement shall document those persons that have an ownership interest in the permit greater than or equal to 2 percent. This ownership interest must be documented with the SFD via the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form. SFD will not issue an MS/CV endorsement unless the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form has been completed. NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to verify compliance with accumulation limits. Further, if SFD discovers through review of the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form that a person owns or controls more than the accumulation limits, the person will be subject to divestiture provisions specified in paragraph (g)(3)(i)(D) of this section.

(D) Divestiture. For MS/CV-endorsed permit owners that are found to exceed the accumulation limits during the initial issuance of MS/CV-endorsed permits, an adjustment period will be provided during which they will have to completely divest of ownership in permits that exceed the accumulation limits. Any person that NMFS determines, as a result of the initial issuance of MS/CV-endorsed permits, to own in excess of 20 percent of the total catch history assignment in the MS Coop Program applying the individual and collective rule described at §660.150(g)(3)(i)(A) will be allowed to receive such permit(s), but must divest themselves of the excess ownership by August 31, 2016. Owners of such permit(s) may receive and use the MS/CV-endorsed permit(s), up to the time their divestiture is completed. After August 31, 2016, any MS/CV-endorsed permits owned by a person (including any person who has ownership interest in the owner named on the permit) in excess of the accumulation limits will not be issued (renewed) until the permit owner complies with the accumulation limits.

(ii) Catcher vessel usage limit. No vessel may catch more than 30 percent of the mothership sector's whiting allocation.

(4) Appeals. An appeal to an MS/CV-endorsed permit action follows the same process as the general permit appeals process defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(5) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge a fee for administrative costs associated with the issuance of an MS/CV-endorsed permit, as provided at §660.25(f), subpart C.

(6) Application requirements and initial issuance for MS/CV endorsement—(i) Eligibility criteria for MS/CV endorsement. Only a current trawl limited entry permit with a qualifying history of Pacific whiting deliveries in the MS Pacific whiting sector is eligible to receive an MS/CV endorsement. Any past catch history associated with the current limited entry trawl permit accrues to the permit. If a trawl limited entry permit is eligible to receive both a C/P endorsement and an MS/CV endorsement, the permit owner must choose which endorsement to apply for (i.e., the owner of such a permit may not receive both a C/P and an MS/CV endorsement). NMFS will not recognize any other person as permit owner other than the person listed as permit owner in NMFS permit database.

(ii) Qualifying criteria for MS/CV endorsement. In order to qualify for an MS/CV endorsement, a qualifying trawl-endorsed limited entry permit must have been registered to a vessel or vessels that caught and delivered a cumulative amount of at least 500 mt of Pacific whiting to motherships between 1994 through 2003. The calculation will be based on the following:

(A) To determine a permit's qualifying catch history, NMFS will use documented deliveries to a mothership in Pacific whiting observer data as recorded in the relevant NORPAC dataset on August 1, 2010.

(B) The qualifying catch history will include any deliveries of Pacific whiting to motherships by vessels registered to limited entry trawl-endorsed permits that were subsequently combined to generate the current permit.

(C) If two or more limited entry trawl permits have been simultaneously registered to the same vessel, NMFS will divide the qualifying catch history evenly between all such limited entry trawl-endorsed permits during the time they were simultaneously registered to the vessel.

(D) History of illegal deliveries will not be included in the qualifying catch history.

(E) Deliveries made from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program will not be included in the qualifying catch history.

(F) Deliveries made under provisional “A” permits that did not become “A” permits and “B” permits will not be included in the qualifying catch history.

(iii) Qualifying criteria for catch history assignment. A catch history assignment will be specified as a percent on the MS/CV-endorsed permit. The calculation will be based on the following:

(A) For determination of a permit's catch history, NMFS will use documented deliveries to a mothership in Pacific whiting observer data as recorded in the relevant NORPAC dataset on August 1, 2010.

(B) NMFS will use relative history, which means the catch history of a permit for a year divided by the total fleet history for that year, expressed as a percent. NMFS will calculate relative history for each year in the qualifying period from 1994 through 2003 by dividing the total deliveries of Pacific whiting to motherships for the vessel(s) registered to the permit for each year by the sum of the total catch of Pacific whiting delivered to mothership vessel(s) for that year.

(C) NMFS will select the eight years with the highest relative history of Pacific whiting, unless the applicant requests a different set of eight years during the initial issuance and appeals process, and will add the relative histories for these years to generate the permit's total relative history. NMFS will then divide the permit's total relative history by the sum of all qualifying permits' total relative histories to determine the permit's catch history assignment, expressed as a percent.

(D) The total relative history will include any deliveries of Pacific whiting to motherships by vessels registered to limited entry trawl-endorsed permits that were subsequently combined to generate the current permit.

(E) If two or more limited entry trawl permits have been simultaneously registered to the same vessel, NMFS will split the catch history evenly between all such limited entry trawl-endorsed permits during the time they were simultaneously registered to the vessel.

(F) History of illegal deliveries will not be included in the calculation of a permit's catch history assignment or in the calculation of relative history for individual years.

(G) Deliveries made from Federal limited entry groundfish permits that were retired through the Federal buyback program will not be included in the calculation of a permit's catch history assignment other than for the purpose of calculating relative history for individual years.

(H) Deliveries made under provisional “A” permits that did not become “A” permits and “B” permits will not be included in the calculation of a permit's catch history assignment other than for the purpose of calculating relative history for individual years.

(iv) MS/CV endorsement and catch history assignment application. Persons may apply for an initial issuance of an MS/CV endorsement on a limited entry trawl permit and its associated catch history assignment in one of two ways: complete and submit a prequalified application received from NMFS, or complete and submit an application package. The completed application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered within normal business hours no later than November 1, 2010. If an applicant fails to submit a completed application by the deadline date, they forgo the opportunity to receive consideration for an initial issuance of an MS/CV endorsement and associated catch history assignment.

(A) Prequalified application. A “prequalified application” is a partially pre-filled application where NMFS has preliminarily determined the catch history that may qualify the applicant for an initial issuance of an MS/CV endorsement and associated catch history assignment. NMFS will mail prequalified application packages to the owners of current limited entry trawl permits, as listed in the NMFS permit database at the time applications are mailed, which NMFS determines may qualify for an MS/CV endorsement and associated catch history assignment. NMFS will mail the application by certified mail to the current address of record in the NMFS permit database. The application will contain the basis of NMFS' calculation. The application package will include, but is not limited to: a prequalified application (with landings history), a Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest form, and any other documents NMFS believes are necessary to aid the limited entry permit owner in completing the application.

(B) Request for an application. Any owner of a current limited entry trawl permit that does not receive a prequalified application that believes the permit qualifies for an initial issuance of an MS/CV endorsement and associated catch history assignment must complete an application package and submit the completed application to NMFS by the application deadline. Application packages are available on the NMFS Web site (http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/Groundfish-Halibut/Groundfish-Permits/index.cfm) or by contacting SFD. An application must include valid NORPAC data, copies of NMFS observer data forms, or other credible information that substantiates the applicant's qualification for an initial issuance of an MS/CV endorsement and associated catch history assignment.

(v) Corrections to the application. If the applicant does not accept NMFS' calculation in the prequalified application either in part or whole, in order for NMFS to reconsider NMFS' calculation, the applicant must identify in writing to NMFS which parts of the application that the applicant contends to be inaccurate, and must provide specific credible information to substantiate any requested corrections. The completed application and specific credible information must be provided to NMFS in writing by the application deadline. Written communication must be either post-marked or hand-delivered within normal business hours no later than November 1, 2010. Requests for corrections may only be granted for changes to the selection of the eight years with the highest relative history of whiting and errors in NMFS' use or application of data, including:

(A) Errors in NMFS' use or application of data from NORPAC;

(B) Errors in NMFS' calculations;

(C) Errors in the identification of the permit owner, permit combinations, or vessel registration as listed in the NMFS permit database; and

(D) Errors in NMFS' use or application of ownership interest information.

(vi) Submission of the application and application deadline—(A) Submission of the application. Submission of the complete, certified application includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(1) The applicant is required to sign and date the application and have the document notarized by a licensed Notary Public.

(2) The applicant must certify that they qualify to own an MS/CV-endorsed permit and associated catch history assignment.

(3) The applicant must indicate they accept NMFS' calculation of initial issuance of an MS/CV-endorsed permit and associated catch history assignment provided in the prequalified application, or provide credible information that demonstrates their qualification for an MS/CV-endorsed permit and associated catch history assignment.

(4) The applicant is required to provide a complete Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form as specified at paragraph (g)(3)(i)(C) of this section.

(5) Business entities may be required to submit a corporate resolution or other credible documentation as proof that the representative of the entity is authorized to act on behalf of the entity; and

(6) NMFS may request additional information of the applicant as necessary to make an IAD on initial issuance of an MS/CV-endorsed permit and associated catch history assignment.

(B) Application deadline. A complete, certified application must be either postmarked or hand-delivered within normal business hours to NMFS, Northwest Region, Permits Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Seattle, WA 98115, no later than November 1, 2010. NMFS will not accept or review any applications received or postmarked after the application deadline. There are no hardship provisions for this deadline.

(vii) Permit transfer during application period. NMFS will not review or approve any request for a change in limited entry trawl permit owner at any time after either November 1, 2010 or the date upon which the application is received by NMFS, whichever occurs first, until a final decision is made by the Regional Administrator on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce on that permit.

(viii) Initial Administrative Determination (IAD). NMFS will issue an IAD for all complete, certified applications received by the application deadline date. If NMFS approves an application for initial issuance of an MS/CV-endorsed permit and associated catch history assignment, the applicant will receive an MS/CV endorsement on a limited entry trawl permit specifying the amounts of catch history assignment for which the applicant has qualified. If NMFS disapproves an application, the IAD will provide the reasons. If known at the time of the IAD, NMFS will indicate if the owner of the MS/CV-endorsed permit has ownership interest in catch history assignments that exceed the accumulation limits and are subject to divestiture provisions given at paragraph (g)(3)(i)(D) of this section. If the applicant does not appeal the IAD within 60 calendar days of the date on the IAD, the IAD becomes the final decision of the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

(ix) Appeals. For an MS/CV-endorsed permit and associated catch history assignment issued under this section, the appeals process and timelines are specified at §660.25(g), subpart C. For the initial issuance of an MS/CV-endorsed permit and associated catch history assignment, the bases for appeal are described in paragraph (g)(6)(v) of this section. Items not subject to appeal include, but are not limited to, the accuracy of data in the relevant NORPAC dataset on August 1, 2010.

(7) Cost recovery. The fish seller, as defined at §660.111, is subject to the cost recovery program specified at §660.115.

(h) Non-coop fishery—(1) Access to non-coop fishery allocation. All vessels registered to the MS/CV-endorsed permits assigned to the non-coop fishery will have access to harvest and deliver the aggregate catch history assignment of all MS/CV permits assigned to the non-coop fishery.

(2) Non-coop fishery closure. The non-coop fishery will be closed by automatic action as specified at §660.60(d) when the Pacific whiting or non-whiting allocations to the non-coop fishery have been reached or are projected to be reached.

(i) Retention requirements. Catcher vessels participating in the MS Co-op Program may discard minor operational amounts of catch at sea if the observer or EMS has accounted for the discard (i.e., a maximized retention fishery).

(j) Observer requirements—(1) Observer coverage requirements—(i) Coverage. The following observer coverage pertains to certified observers obtained from an observer provider permitted by NMFS.

(A) MS vessels. Any vessel registered to an MS permit 125 ft (38.1 m) LOA or longer must carry two certified observers, and any vessel registered to an MS permit shorter than 125 ft (38.1 m) LOA must carry one certified observer, each day that the vessel is used to take, retain, receive, land, process, or transport groundfish.

(B) Catcher vessels. Any vessel delivering catch to any MS vessel must carry one certified observer each day that the vessel is used to take groundfish, unless the catcher vessel has a valid EM Authorization and is fishing with EM under §660.604 of subpart J.

(ii) Observer workload—(A) MS vessels. The time required for the observer to complete sampling duties must not exceed 12 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period.

(B) Catcher vessels. If an observer is unable to perform their duties for any reason, the vessel is required to be in port within 36 hours of the last haul sampled by the observer.

(iii) Refusal to board. Any boarding refusal on the part of the observer or vessel must be reported to the Observer Program and OLE by the observer provider. The observer must be available for an interview with the Observer Program or OLE if necessary.

(2) Vessel responsibilities. An operator and/or crew of a vessel required to carry an observer must provide:

(i) Accommodations and food—(A) MS vessels. Provide accommodations and food that are equivalent to those provided for officers, engineers, foremen, deck-bosses or other management level personnel of the vessel.

(B) Catcher vessels—(1) Accommodations and food for trips less than 24 hours must be equivalent to those provided for the crew.

(2) 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.

(ii) Safe conditions. MS vessels and catcher vessels must:

(A) Maintain safe conditions on the vessel for the protection of observers including adherence to all U.S. Coast Guard and other applicable rules, regulations, or statutes 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. An observer may refuse boarding or reboarding a vessel and may request a vessel return to port if operated in an unsafe manner or if unsafe conditions are indentified.

(B) 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. Maintain safe conditions on the vessel for the protection of observer(s) including adherence to all USCG and other applicable rules, regulations, or statutes pertaining to safe operation of the vessel, and provisions at §§600.725 and 600.746 of this chapter.

(iii) Computer hardware and software. MS vessels must:

(A) Provide hardware and software pursuant to regulations at §679.51(e)(iii)(B) of this chapter.

(B) Provide the observer(s) access to a computer required under paragraph (j)(2)(iii)(A) of this section, and that is connected to a communication device that provides a point-to-point connection to the NMFS host computer.

(C) Ensure that the MS vessel has installed the most recent release of NMFS data entry software or other approved software prior to the vessel receiving, catching or processing IFQ species.

(D) Ensure that the communication equipment required in paragraph (j)(2)(iii) of this section and that is used by observers to enter and transmit data, is fully functional and operational. “Functional” means that all the tasks and components of the NMFS supplied, or other approved, software described at paragraph (j)(2)(iii) of this section and the data transmissions to NMFS can be executed effectively aboard the vessel by the communications equipment.

(iv) Vessel position. Allow observer(s) access to the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel, on request, to determine the vessel's position.

(v) Access. Allow observer(s) free and unobstructed access to the vessel's bridge, trawl or working decks, holding bins, processing areas, freezer spaces, weight scales, cargo holds, and any other space that may be used to hold, process, weigh, or store fish or fish products at any time.

(vi) Prior notification. 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.

(vii) Records. Allow observer(s) to inspect and copy any state or Federal logbook maintained voluntarily or as required by regulation.

(viii) Assistance. Provide all other reasonable assistance to enable observer(s) to carry out their duties, including, but not limited to:

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

(B) Providing the observer(s) with a safe work area.

(C) Collecting samples of catch.

(D) Collecting and carrying baskets of fish.

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

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

(ix) Sample station and operational requirements.

(A) MS vessels. To allow the observer to carry out required duties, the vessel owner must provide an observer sampling station that meets the following requirements:

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

(2) Location. The observer sampling station must be located within 4 m of the location from which the observer samples unsorted catch.

(3) Access. Unobstructed passage must be provided between the observer sampling station and the location where the observer collects sample catch.

(4) Minimum work space. The observer must have a working area of at least 4.5 square meters, including the observer's sampling table, for sampling and storage of fish to be sampled. The observer must be able to stand upright and have a work area at least 0.9 m deep in the area in front of the table and scale.

(5) Table. The observer sampling station must include a table at least 0.6 m deep, 1.2 m wide and 0.9 m high and no more than 1.1 m high. The entire surface area of the table must be available for use by the observer. Any area for the observer sampling scale is in addition to the minimum space requirements for the table. The observer's sampling table must be secured to the floor or wall.

(6) Diverter board. The conveyor belt conveying unsorted catch must have a removable board (“diverter board”) to allow all fish to be diverted from the belt directly into the observer's sampling baskets. The diverter board must be located downstream of the scale used to weigh total catch. At least 1 m of accessible belt space, located downstream of the scale used to weigh total catch, must be available for the observer's use when sampling.

(7) Other requirements. The sampling station must be in a well-drained area that includes floor grating (or other material that prevents slipping), lighting adequate for day or night sampling, and a hose that supplies fresh or sea water to the observer.

(8) Observer sampling scale. The observer sample station must include a NMFS-approved platform scale (pursuant to requirements at §679.28(j)(2)) with a capacity of at least 50 kg located within 1 m of the observer's sampling table. The scale must be mounted so that the weighing surface is no more than 0.7 m above the floor.

(B) Catcher vessels. To allow the observer to carry out the required duties, the vessel owner must provide an observer sampling station that is:

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

(2) Limits hazards. 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.

(x) Transfer at sea. Observers may be transferred at-sea between MS vessels, between MS vessels and C/P vessels, or between a MS vessel and a catcher vessel. Transfers at-sea between catcher vessels is prohibited. For transfers, both vessels must:

(A) 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.

(B) 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.

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

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

(xi) 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.

(3) Procurement of observer services—(i) MS vessels. Owners of vessels required to carry observers under paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section must arrange for observer services from an observer provider, except that:

(A) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff or an individual authorized by NMFS in lieu of an observer provided by an observer provider.

(B) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program and an observer provider when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff and/or individuals authorized by NMFS, in addition to an observer provided by an observer provider.

(ii) Catcher vessels. Owners of vessels required to carry observers under paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section must arrange for observer services from an observer provider, except that:

(A) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff or an individual authorized by NMFS in lieu of an observer provided by an observer provider.

(B) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program and an observer provider when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff and/or individuals authorized by NMFS, in addition to an observer provided by an observer provider.

(4) Observer provider responsibilities. (i) Provide qualified candidates to serve as observers. Observer providers must provide qualified candidates to serve as observers. To be qualified, a candidate must have:

(A) A Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences;

(B) Successfully completed a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in applicable biological sciences with extensive use of dichotomous keys in at least one course;

(C) Successfully completed at least one undergraduate course each in math and statistics with a minimum of 5 semester hours total for both; and

(D) Computer skills that enable the candidate to work competently with standard database software and computer hardware.

(ii) Hiring an observer candidate—(A) MS vessels. (1) The observer provider must provide the candidate a copy of NMFS-provided pamphlets, information and other literature describing observer duties (i.e. The At-Sea Hake Observer Program's Observer Manual) prior to hiring the candidate. Observer job information is available from the Observer Program Office's Web site at http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fram/observer/index.cfm.

(2) The observer provider must have a written contract or a written contract addendum that is signed by the observer and observer provider prior to the observer's deployment with the following clauses:

(i) That the observer will return all phone calls, emails, text messages, or other forms of communication within the time specified by the Observer Program;

(ii) That the observer inform the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation if he or she is experiencing any new mental illness or physical ailments or injury since submission of the physician's statement as required as a qualified observer candidate that would prevent him or her from performing their assigned duties.

(B) Catcher vessels. (1) Provide the candidate a copy of NMFS-provided pamphlets, information and other literature describing observer duties, for example, the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program's sampling manual. Observer job information is available from the Observer Program Office's Web site at http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fram/observer/index.cfm.

(2) The observer provider must have a written contract or a written contract addendum that is signed by the observer and observer provider prior to the observer's deployment with the following clauses:

(i) That the observer will return all phone calls, emails, text messages, or other forms of communication within the time specified by the Observer Program;

(ii) That the observer inform the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation if he or she is experiencing any new mental illness or physical ailments or injury since submission of the physician's statement as required as a qualified observer candidate that would prevent him or her from performing their assigned duties; and

(iii) That the observer successfully completes a Red Cross (or equivalent) basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation/first aid certification course prior to the end of the Observer Program Training class.

(iii) Ensure that observers complete duties in a timely manner—(A) MS vessels. An observer provider must ensure that observers employed by that observer provider do the following in a complete and timely manner:

(1) Submit to NMFS all data, logbooks, and reports as required by the observer manual;

(2) Report for his or her scheduled debriefing and complete all debriefing responsibilities;

(3) Return all sampling and safety gear to the Observer Program Office;

(4) Submit all biological samples from the observer's deployment by the completion of the electronic vessel and/or processor survey(s); and

(5) Immediately report to the Observer Program Office and the OLE any refusal to board an assigned vessel.

(B) Catcher vessels. An observer provider must ensure that observers employed by that observer provider do the following in a complete and timely manner:

(1) Submit to NMFS all data, logbooks, and reports and biological samples as required under the Observer Program policy deadlines;

(2) Report for his or her scheduled debriefing and complete all debriefing responsibilities;

(3) Return all sampling and safety gear to the Observer Program Office; and

(4) Immediately report to the Observer Program Office and the OLE any refusal to board an assigned vessel.

(iv) Observers provided to vessel—(A) MS vessels. Observers provided to MS vessels:

(1) Must have a valid North Pacific groundfish observer certification with required endorsements and an At-Sea Hake Observer Program endorsement;

(2) Must not have informed the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation that he or she is experiencing a mental illness or a physical ailment or injury developed since submission of the physician's statement that would prevent him or her from performing his or her assigned duties; and

(3) Must have successfully completed all NMFS required training and briefing before deployment.

(B) Catcher vessels. Observers provided to catcher vessels:

(1) Must have a valid West Coast Groundfish observer certification with the required endorsements;

(2) Must have not informed the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation that he or she is experiencing a mental illness or a physical ailment or injury developed since submission of the physician's statement (required in paragraph (j)(4)(xi)(B)(2) of this section) that would prevent him or her from performing his or her assigned duties; and,

(3) Must have successfully completed all NMFS required training and briefing before deployment.

(v) Respond to industry requests for observers. An observer provider must provide an observer for deployment pursuant to the terms of the contractual relationship with the vessel to fulfill vessel requirements for observer coverage specified at paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section. An alternate observer must be supplied in each case where injury or illness prevents an observer from performing his or her duties or where the observer resigns prior to completion of his or her duties. If the observer provider is unable to respond to an industry request for observer coverage from a vessel for whom the observer provider is in a contractual relationship due to lack of available observers by the estimated embarking time of the vessel, the observer provider must report it to the Observer Program at least four hours prior to the vessel's estimated embarking time.

(vi) Provide observer salaries and benefits. An observer provider must provide to its observer employees salaries and any other benefits and personnel services in accordance with the terms of each observer's contract.

(vii) Provide observer deployment logistics—(A) MS vessels. An observer provider must provide to each of its observers under contract:

(1) All necessary transportation, including arrangements and logistics, to the initial location of deployment, to all subsequent vessel assignments during that deployment, and to and from the location designated for an observer to be interviewed by the Observer Program; and

(2) Lodging, per diem, and any other services necessary to observers assigned to fishing vessels.

(3) An observer under contract may be housed on a vessel to which he or she is assigned:

(i) Prior to their vessel's initial departure from port;

(ii) For a period not to exceed 24 hours following the completion of an offload when the observer has duties and is scheduled to disembark; or

(iii) For a period not to exceed 24 hours following the vessel's arrival in port when the observer is scheduled to disembark.

(iv) An observer under contract who is between vessel assignments must be provided with shoreside accommodations pursuant to the terms of the contract between the observer provider and the observers. If the observer provider is responsible for providing accommodations under the contract with the observer, the accommodations must be at a licensed hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or other shoreside accommodations for the duration of each period between vessel or shoreside assignments. Such accommodations must include an assigned bed for each observer and no other person may be assigned that bed for the duration of that observer's stay. Additionally, no more than four beds may be in any room housing observers at accommodations meeting the requirements of this section.

(B) Catcher vessels. An observer provider must ensure each of its observers under contract:

(1) Has an individually assigned mobile or cell phones, in working order, for all necessary communication. An observer provider may alternatively compensate observers for the use of the observer's personal cell phone or pager for communications made in support of, or necessary for, the observer's duties.

(2) Has a check-in system in which the observer is required to contact the observer provider each time they depart and return to port on a vessel.

(3) Remains available to OLE and the Observer Program until the conclusion of debriefing.

(4) Receives all necessary transportation, including arrangements and logistics to the initial location of deployment, to all subsequent vessel assignments during that deployment, and to and from the location designated for an observer to be interviewed by the Observer Program; and

(5) Receives lodging, per diem, and any other services necessary to observers assigned to fishing vessels.

(i) An observer under contract may be housed on a vessel to which he or she is assigned: Prior to their vessel's initial departure from port; for a period not to exceed 24 hours following the completion of an offload when the observer has duties and is scheduled to disembark; or for a period not to exceed 24 hours following the vessel's arrival in port when the observer is scheduled to disembark.

(ii) Otherwise, each observer between vessels, while still under contract with an observer provider, shall be provided with accommodations in accordance with the contract between the observer and the observer provider. If the observer provider is responsible for providing accommodations under the contract with the observer, the accommodations must be at a licensed hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or other shoreside accommodations that has an assigned bed for each observer that no other person may be assigned to for the duration of that observer's stay. Additionally, no more than four beds may be in any room housing observers at accommodations meeting the requirements of this section.

(viii) Observer deployment limitations—(A) MS vessels. Unless alternative arrangements are approved by the Observer Program Office, an observer provider must not:

(1) Deploy an observer on the same vessel more than 90 days in a 12-month period;

(2) Deploy an observer for more than 90 days in a single deployment;

(3) Include more than four vessels assignments in a single deployment, or

(4) Disembark an observer from a vessel before that observer has completed his or her sampling or data transmission duties.

(B) Catcher vessels. Unless alternative arrangements are approved by the Observer Program Office, an observer provider must not deploy an observer on the same vessel more than 90 calendar days in a 12-month period.

(ix) Verify vessel's Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Decal. An observer provider must ensure that the observer completes an observer vessel safety checklist, and verify that a vessel has a valid USCG Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Decal as required under paragraph (j)(2)(ii)(B) of this section prior to the observer embarking on the first trip and before an observer may get underway aboard the vessel. The provider must submit all vessel safety checklists to the Observer Program, as specified by Observer Program policy. One of the following acceptable means of verification must be used to verify the decal validity:

(A) The observer provider or employee of the observer provider, including the observer, visually inspects the decal aboard the vessel and confirms that the decal is valid according to the decal date of issuance; or

(B) The observer provider receives a hard copy of the USCG documentation of the decal issuance from the vessel owner or operator.

(x) Maintain communications with observers. An observer provider must have an employee responsible for observer activities on call 24 hours a day to handle emergencies involving observers or problems concerning observer logistics, whenever observers are at sea, in transit, or in port awaiting vessel reassignment.

(xi) Maintain communications with the Observer Program Office. An observer provider must provide all of the following information by electronic transmission (email), fax, or other method specified by NMFS.

(A) Motherships—(1) Training and briefing registration materials. The observer provider must submit training and briefing registration materials to the Observer Program Office at least 5 business days prior to the beginning of a scheduled observer at-sea hake training or briefing session.

(i) Registration materials. Registration materials consist of the date of requested training or briefing with a list of observers including each observer's full name (i.e., first, middle and last names).

(ii) Projected observer assignments. Prior to the observer's completion of the training or briefing session, the observer provider must submit to the Observer Program Office a statement of projected observer assignments that include the observer's name; vessel, gear type, and vessel/processor code; port of embarkation; and area of fishing.

(2) Observer debriefing registration. The observer provider must contact the At-Sea Hake Observer Program within 5 business days after the completion of an observer's deployment to schedule a date, time and location for debriefing. Observer debriefing registration information must be provided at the time of debriefing scheduling and must include the observer's name, cruise number, vessel name(s) and code(s), and requested debriefing date.

(3) Observer provider contracts. If requested, observer providers must submit to the Observer Program Office a completed and unaltered copy of each type of signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract) between the observer provider and those entities requiring observer services under paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section. Observer providers must also submit to the Observer Program Office upon request, a completed and unaltered copy of the current or most recent signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract and any agreements or policies with regard to observer compensation or salary levels) between the observer provider and the particular entity identified by the Observer Program or with specific observers. The copies must be submitted to the Observer Program Office via fax or mail within 5 business days of the request. Signed and valid contracts include the contracts an observer provider has with:

(i) Vessels required to have observer coverage as specified at paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section; and

(ii) Observers.

(4) Change in observer provider management and contact information. Observer providers must submit notification of any other change to provider contact information, including but not limited to, changes in contact name, phone number, email address, and address.

(5) Other reports. Reports of the following must be submitted in writing to the At-Sea Hake Observer Program Office by the observer provider via fax or email address designated by the Observer Program Office within 24 hours after the observer provider becomes aware of the information:

(i) Any information regarding possible observer harassment;

(ii) Any information regarding any action prohibited under §660.12(e); §660.112(a)(4); or §600.725(o), (t) and (u) of this chapter;

(iii) Any concerns about vessel safety or marine casualty under 46 CFR 4.05-1(a)(1) through (7);

(iv) Any observer illness or injury that prevents the observer from completing any of his or her duties described in the observer manual; and

(v) Any information, allegations or reports regarding observer conflict of interest or breach of the standards of behavior described in observer provider policy.

(B) Catcher vessels. An observer provider must provide all of the following information by electronic transmission (email), fax, or other method specified by NMFS.

(1) Observer training, briefing, and debriefing registration materials. This information must be submitted to the Observer Program Office at least 10 business days prior to the beginning of a scheduled West Coast groundfish observer certification training or briefing session. Submissions received less than 10 business days prior to a West Coast groundfish observer certification training or briefing session will be approved by the Observer Program on a case-by-case basis.

(i) Training registration materials consist of the following: Date of requested training; a list of observer candidates that includes each candidate's full name (i.e., first, middle and last names), date of birth, and gender; a copy of each candidate's academic transcripts and resume; a statement signed by the candidate under penalty of perjury which discloses the candidate's criminal convictions; and length of observer contract.

(ii) Briefing registration materials consist of the following: Date and type of requested briefing session; list of observers to attend the briefing session, that includes each observer's full name (first, middle, and last names); and length of observer contract.

(iii) The Observer Program will notify the observer provider which observers require debriefing and the specific time period the observer provider has to schedule a date, time, and location for debriefing. The observer provider must contact the Observer Program within 5 business days by telephone to schedule debriefings. Observer providers must immediately notify the Observer Program when observers end their contract earlier than anticipated.

(2) Physical examination. A signed and dated statement from a licensed physician that he or she has physically examined an observer or observer candidate. The statement must confirm that, based on that physical examination, the observer or observer candidate does not have any health problems or conditions that would jeopardize that individual's safety or the safety of others while deployed, or prevent the observer or observer candidate from performing his or her duties satisfactorily. The statement must declare that, prior to the examination, the physician was made aware of the duties of the observer and the dangerous, remote, and rigorous nature of the work by reading the NMFS-prepared information. The physician's statement must be submitted to the Observer Program Office prior to certification of an observer. The physical exam must have occurred during the 12 months prior to the observer's or observer candidate's deployment. The physician's statement expires 12 months after the physical exam occurred and a new physical exam must be performed, and accompanying statement submitted, prior to any deployment occurring after the expiration of the statement.

(3) Certificates of insurance. Copies of “certificates of insurance,” that names the Northwest Fisheries Science Center Observer Program manager as the “certificate holder,” shall be submitted to the Observer Program Office by February 1 of each year. The certificates of insurance shall verify the following coverage provisions and state that the insurance company will notify the certificate holder if insurance coverage is changed or canceled.

(i) Maritime Liability to cover “seamen's” claims under the Merchant Marine Act (Jones Act) and General Maritime Law ($1 million minimum).

(ii) Coverage under the U.S. Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act ($1 million minimum).

(iii) States Worker's Compensation as required.

(iv) Commercial General Liability.

(4) Observer provider contracts. If requested, observer providers must submit to the Observer Program Office a completed and unaltered copy of each type of signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract) between the observer provider and those entities requiring observer services under paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section. Observer providers must also submit to the Observer Program Office upon request, a completed and unaltered copy of the current or most recent signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract and any agreements or policies with regard to observer compensation or salary levels) between the observer provider and the particular entity identified by the Observer Program or with specific observers. The copies must be submitted to the Observer Program Office via fax or mail within 5 business days of the request. Signed and valid contracts include the contracts an observer provider has with:

(i) Vessels required to have observer coverage as specified at paragraph (j)(1)(i) of this section; and

(ii) Observers.

(5) Change in observer provider management and contact information. An observer provider must submit to the Observer Program office any change of management or contact information as required at §660.18(f).

(6) Biological samples. The observer provider must ensure that biological samples are stored/handled properly prior to delivery/transport to NMFS.

(7) Observer status report. Observer providers must provide NMFS with an updated list of observer trip per Observer Program protocol. Trip information includes observer provider name, observer last name, observer first name, trip start date, trip end date, status of observer, vessel name, and vessel identification number.

(8) Other information. An observer provider must submit to NMFS, if requested, copies of any information developed and used by the observer providers distributed to vessels, such as informational pamphlets, payment notification, description of observer duties, etc.

(9) Other reports. Reports of the following must be submitted in writing to the Observer Program Office by the observer provider via fax or email address designated by the Observer Program Office within 24 hours after the observer provider becomes aware of the information:

(i) Any information regarding possible observer harassment;

(ii) Any information regarding any action prohibited under §660.12(e); §660.112(a)(4); or §600.725(o), (t) and (u) of this chapter;

(iii) Any concerns about vessel safety or marine casualty under 46 CFR 4.05-1(a)(1) through (7);

(iv) Any observer illness or injury that prevents the observer from completing any of his or her duties described in the observer manual; and

(v) Any information, allegations or reports regarding observer conflict of interest or breach of the standards of behavior described in observer provider policy.

(xii) Replace lost or damaged gear. Lost or damaged gear issued to an observer by NMFS must be replaced by the observer provider. All replacements must be provided to NMFS and be in accordance with requirements and procedures identified in writing by the Observer Program Office.

(xiii) Maintain confidentiality of information. An observer provider must ensure that all records on individual observer performance received from NMFS under the routine use provision of the Privacy Act under 5 U.S.C. 552a or as otherwise required by law remain confidential and are not further released to any person outside the employ of the observer provider company to whom the observer was contracted except with written permission of the observer.

(xiv) Limitations on conflict of interest. Observer providers must meet limitations on conflict of interest. Observer providers:

(A) Must not have a direct financial interest, other than the provision of observer, catch monitor or other biological sampling services, in any federal or state managed fisheries, including but not limited to:

(1) Any ownership, mortgage holder, or other secured interest in a vessel, or shoreside processor facility involved in the catching, taking, harvesting or processing of fish,

(2) Any business involved with selling supplies or services to any vessel or shoreside processors participating in a fishery managed pursuant to an FMP in the waters off the coasts of Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington, or

(3) Any business involved with purchasing raw or processed products from any vessel or shoreside processor participating in a fishery managed pursuant to an FMP in the waters off the coasts of Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington.

(B) Must assign observers without regard to any preference by representatives of vessels other than when an observer will be deployed.

(C) Must not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gratuity, gift, favor, entertainment, loan, or anything of monetary value except for compensation for providing observer services from any person who conducts fishing or fish processing activities that are regulated by NMFS in the Pacific coast or North Pacific regions, or who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the official duties of observer providers.

(xv) Observer conduct and behavior. An observer provider must develop and maintain a policy addressing observer conduct and behavior for their employees that serve as observers. The policy shall address the following behavior and conduct regarding:

(A) Observer use of alcohol;

(B) Observer use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs in violation of applicable law; and

(C) Sexual contact with personnel of the vessel or processing facility to which the observer is assigned, or with any vessel or processing plant personnel who may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the observer's official duties.

(D) An observer provider shall provide a copy of its conduct and behavior policy by February 1 of each year, to: observers, observer candidates and the Observer Program Office.

(xvi) Refusal to deploy an observer. Observer providers may refuse to deploy an observer on a requesting vessel if the observer provider has determined that the requesting vessel is inadequate or unsafe pursuant to those regulations described at §600.746 of this chapter or U.S. Coast Guard and other applicable rules, regulations, statutes, or guidelines pertaining to safe operation of the vessel.

(5) Observer certification and responsibilities—(i) Applicability. Observer certification authorizes an individual to fulfill duties as specified in writing by the NMFS Observer Program Office while under the employ of a NMFS-permitted observer provider and according to certification endorsements as designated under paragraph (j)(6)(iii) of this section.

(ii) Observer certification official. The Regional Administrator will designate a NMFS observer certification official who will make decisions for the Observer Program Office on whether to issue or deny observer certifications and endorsements.

(iii) Certification requirements—(A) Initial certification. NMFS may certify individuals who, in addition to any other relevant considerations:

(1) Are employed by an observer provider company permitted pursuant to §660.16 at the time of the issuance of the certification;

(2) Have provided, through their observer provider:

(i) Information identified by NMFS at §679.52(b) of this chapter regarding an observer candidate's health and physical fitness for the job;

(ii) Meet all observer education and health standards as specified in §679.52(b) of this chapter; and

(iii) Have successfully completed NMFS-approved training as prescribed by the Observer Program. Successful completion of training by an observer applicant consists of meeting all attendance and conduct standards issued in writing at the start of training; meeting all performance standards issued in writing at the start of training for assignments, tests, and other evaluation tools; and completing all other training requirements established by the Observer Program.

(iv) Have not been decertified under paragraph (j)(5)(ix) of this section, or pursuant to §679.53(c) of this chapter.

(B) [Reserved]

(iv) Denial of a certification. The NMFS observer certification official will issue a written determination denying observer certification if the candidate fails to successfully complete training, or does not meet the qualifications for certification for any other relevant reason.

(v) Issuance of an observer certification. An observer certification will be issued upon determination by the observer certification official that the candidate has successfully met all requirements for certification as specified at paragraph (j)(6)(iii) of this section. The following endorsements must be obtained, in addition to observer certification, in order for an observer to deploy.

(A) MS vessels—(1) North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program certification training endorsement. A certification training endorsement signifies the successful completion of the training course required to obtain observer certification. This endorsement expires when the observer has not been deployed and performed sampling duties as required by the Observer Program Office for a period of time, specified by the Observer Program, after his or her most recent debriefing. The observer can renew the endorsement by successfully completing certification training once more.

(2) North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program annual general endorsements. Each observer must obtain an annual general endorsement to their certification prior to his or her first deployment within any calendar year subsequent to a year in which a certification training endorsement is obtained. To obtain an annual general endorsement, an observer must successfully complete the annual briefing, as specified by the Observer Program. All briefing attendance, performance, and conduct standards required by the Observer Program must be met.

(3) North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program deployment endorsements. Each observer who has completed an initial deployment after certification or annual briefing must receive a deployment endorsement to their certification prior to any subsequent deployments for the remainder of that year. An observer may obtain a deployment endorsement by successfully completing all pre-cruise briefing requirements. The type of briefing the observer must attend and successfully complete will be specified in writing by the Observer Program during the observer's most recent debriefing.

(4) At-Sea Hake Observer Program endorsements. A Pacific whiting fishery endorsement is required for purposes of performing observer duties aboard vessels that process groundfish at sea in the Pacific whiting fishery. A Pacific whiting fishery endorsement to an observer's certification may be obtained by meeting the following requirements:

(i) Have a valid North Pacific groundfish observer certification;

(ii) Receive an evaluation by NMFS for his or her most recent deployment that indicated that the observer's performance met Observer Program expectations for that deployment; successfully complete any required briefings as prescribed by the Observer Program; and comply with all of the other requirements of this section.

(B) Catcher vessels. The following endorsements as prescribed by the Observer Program must be obtained in addition to observer certification, in order for an observer to deploy.

(1) West Coast Groundfish Observer Program training endorsement. A training endorsement signifies the successful completion of the training course required to obtain observer certification. This endorsement expires when the observer has not been deployed and performed sampling duties as required by the Observer Program office for a period of time, specified by the Observer Program, after his or her most recent debriefing. The observer can renew the endorsement by successfully completing training once more.

(2) West Coast Groundfish Observer Program annual general endorsement. Each observer must obtain an annual general endorsement to their certification prior to his or her first deployment within any calendar year subsequent to a year in which a training certification endorsement is obtained. To obtain an annual general endorsement, an observer must successfully complete the annual briefing, as specified by the Observer Program. All briefing attendance, performance, and conduct standards required by the Observer Program must be met.

(3) West Coast Groundfish Observer Program deployment endorsement. Each observer who has completed an initial deployment, as defined by the Observer Program, after receiving a training endorsement or annual general endorsement, must complete all applicable debriefing requirements specified by the Observer Program. A deployment endorsement is issued to observers who meet the performance standards specified by the Observer Program. A deployment endorsement must be obtained prior to any subsequent deployments for the remainder of that calendar year. If a deployment endorsement is not issued, certification training must be repeated.

(vi) Maintaining the validity of an observer certification. After initial issuance, an observer must keep their certification valid by meeting all of the following requirements specified below:

(A) MS vessels. (1) Successfully perform their assigned duties as described in the observer manual or other written instructions from the Observer Program.

(2) Accurately record their sampling data, write complete reports, and report accurately any observations of suspected violations of regulations relevant to conservation of marine resources or their environment.

(3) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel or in the processing facility to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel or an authorized officer or NMFS.

(4) Successfully complete any required briefings as prescribed by the At-Sea Hake Observer Program.

(5) Successful completion of briefing by an observer applicant consists of meeting all attendance and conduct standards issued in writing at the start of training; meeting all performance standards issued in writing at the start of training for assignments, tests, and other evaluation tools; and completing all other briefing requirements established by the Observer Program.

(6) Successfully meet all debriefing expectations including meeting Observer Program performance standards reporting for assigned debriefings or interviews.

(7) Submit all data and information required by the Observer Program within the program's stated guidelines.

(B) Catcher vessels. After initial issuance, an observer must keep their certification valid by meeting all of the following requirements specified below:

(1) Successfully perform their assigned duties as described in the observer manual or other written instructions from the Observer Program.

(2) Accurately record their sampling data, write complete reports, and report accurately any observations of suspected violations of regulations relevant to conservation of marine resources or their environment.

(3) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel or in the processing facility to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel or an authorized officer or NMFS.

(4) Successfully complete any required trainings or briefings as prescribed by the Observer Program.

(5) Successful completion of briefing by an observer applicant consists of meeting all attendance and conduct standards issued in writing at the start of training; meeting all performance standards issued in writing at the start of training for assignments, tests, and other evaluation tools; and completing all other briefing requirements established by the Observer Program.

(6) Hold current a Red Cross (or equivalent) basic cardiopulmonary resuscitation/first aid certification.

(7) Successfully meet all expectations in all debriefings including reporting for assigned debriefings or interviews and meeting program standards.

(8) Submit all data and information required by the observer program within the program's stated guidelines.

(9) Meet the minimum annual deployment period of 45 days every 12 months. On a case-by case basis, the Observer Program may consider waiving the 45 day requirement.

(vii) Limitations on conflict of interest. Observers:

(A) Must not have a direct financial interest, other than the provision of observer services or catch monitor services, in a North Pacific fishery managed pursuant to an FMP for the waters off the coast of Alaska, Alaska state waters, or in a Pacific Coast fishery managed by either the state or Federal Governments in waters off Washington, Oregon, or California, including but not limited to:

(1) Any ownership, mortgage holder, or other secured interest in a vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processor facility involved in the catching, taking, harvesting or processing of fish,

(2) Any business involved with selling supplies or services to any vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processing facility; or

(3) Any business involved with purchasing raw or processed products from any vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processing facilities.

(B) Must not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gratuity, gift, favor, entertainment, loan, or anything of monetary value from any person who either conducts activities that are regulated by NMFS in the Pacific coast or North Pacific regions or has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the observers' official duties.

(C) May not serve as observers on any vessel or at any shore-based or floating stationary processor owned or operated by a person who employed the observer in the last two years.

(D) May not solicit or accept employment as a crew member or an employee of a vessel or shore-based or floating stationary processor while employed by an observer provider.

(E) Provisions for remuneration of observers under this section do not constitute a conflict of interest.

(viii) Standards of behavior. Observers must:

(A) Perform their assigned duties as described in the observer manual or other written instructions from the Observer Program Office.

(B) Accurately record their sampling data, write complete reports, and report accurately any observations of suspected violations of regulations relevant to conservation of marine resources or their environment.

(C) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel, an authorized officer, or NMFS.

(D) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel, an authorized officer, or NMFS.

(ix) Suspension and decertification—(A) Suspension and decertification review official. The Regional Administrator (or a designee) will designate an observer suspension and decertification review official(s), who will have the authority to review observer certifications and issue IADs of observer certification suspension and/or decertification.

(B) Causes for suspension or decertification. The suspension/decertification official may initiate suspension or decertification proceedings against an observer:

(1) When it is alleged that the observer has not met applicable standards, including any of the following:

(i) Failed to satisfactorily perform duties of observers as specified in writing by the NMFS Observer Program; or

(ii) Failed to abide by the standards of conduct for observers, including conflicts of interest;

(2) Upon conviction of a crime or upon entry of a civil judgment for:

(i) Commission of fraud or other violation in connection with obtaining or attempting to obtain certification, or in performing the duties as specified in writing by the NMFS Observer Program;

(ii) Commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property;

(iii) Commission of any other offense indicating a lack of integrity or honesty that seriously and directly affects the fitness of observers.

(C) Issuance of an IAD. Upon determination that suspension or decertification is warranted, the suspension/decertification official will issue a written IAD to the observer via certified mail at the observer's most current address provided to NMFS. The IAD will identify whether a certification is suspended or revoked and will identify the specific reasons for the action taken. Decertification is effective 30 calendar days after the date on the IAD, unless there is an appeal.

(D) Appeals. A certified observer who receives an IAD that suspends or revokes his or her observer certification may appeal the determination within 30 calendar days after the date on the IAD to the Office of Administrative Appeals pursuant to §660.19.

(k) MS coop failure—(1) The Regional Administrator will determine that a permitted MS coop is considered to have failed if:

(i) The coop members dissolve the coop, or

(ii) The coop membership falls below 20 percent of the MS/CV-endorsed limited entry permits, or

(iii) The coop agreement is no longer valid.

(2) If a permitted MS coop dissolves, the designated coop manager must notify NMFS SFD in writing of the dissolution of the coop.

(3) In the event of a NMFS determined coop failure, or reported failure, the designated coop manager will be notified in writing about NMFS' determination. Upon notification of a coop failure, fishing under the MS coop permit will no longer be allowed. Should a coop failure determination be made during the Pacific whiting primary season for the mothership sector, unused allocation associated with the catch history will not be available for harvest by the coop that failed, by any former members of the coop that failed, or any other MS coop for the remainder of that calendar year.

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 78406, Dec. 15, 2010; 76 FR 27547, May 11, 2011; 76 FR 53838, Aug. 30, 2011; 76 FR 74744, Dec. 1, 2011; 77 FR 45512, Aug. 1, 2012; 77 FR 55157, Sept. 7, 2012; 78 FR 18896, Mar. 28, 2013; 78 FR 68772, Nov. 15, 2013; 78 FR 75282, Dec. 11, 2013; 80 FR 22290, Apr. 21, 2015; 81 FR 27011, May 5, 2016; 83 FR 762, Jan. 8, 2018; 83 FR 64004, Dec. 12, 2018; 84 FR 31160, June 28, 2019; 84 FR 68810, Dec. 17, 2019]

§660.160   Catcher/processor (C/P) Coop Program.

(a) General. The C/P Coop Program is a limited access program that applies to vessels in the C/P sector of the Pacific whiting at-sea trawl fishery and is a single voluntary coop. Eligible harvesters and processors must meet the requirements set forth in this section of the Pacific Coast groundfish regulations. In addition to the requirements of this section, the C/P Coop Program is subject to the following groundfish regulations:

(1) Pacific whiting seasons §660.131(b), subpart D.

(2) Area restrictions specified for midwater trawl gear used to harvest Pacific whiting fishery specified at §660.131(c), subpart D for GCAs, RCAs, Salmon Conservation Zones, BRAs, and EFHCAs.

(3) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart C: §660.11 Definitions, §660.12 Prohibitions, §660.13 Recordkeeping and reporting, §660.14 VMS requirements, §660.15 Equipment requirements, §660.16 Groundfish Observer Program, §660.20 Vessel and gear identification, §660.25 Permits, §660.55 Allocations, §660.60 Specifications and management measures, §660.65 Groundfish harvest specifications, and §§660.70 through 660.79 Closed areas.

(4) Regulations set out in the following sections of subpart D: §660.111 Trawl fishery definitions, §660.112 Trawl fishery prohibitions, §660.113 Trawl fishery recordkeeping and reporting, §660.115 Trawl fishery cost recovery program, §660.120 Trawl fishery crossover provisions, §660.130 Trawl fishery management measures, and §660.131 Pacific whiting fishery management measures.

(5) The C/P Coop Program may be restricted or closed as a result of projected overages within the MS Coop Program, the C/P Coop Program, or the Shorebased IFQ Program. As determined necessary by the Regional Administrator, area restrictions, season closures, or other measures will be used to prevent the trawl sectors in aggregate or the individual trawl sector (Shorebased IFQ, MS Coop, or C/P Coop) from exceeding an ACL, ACT, or formal allocation specified in the PCGFMP or regulation at §660.55, subpart C, or §§660.140, 660.150, or 660.160, subpart D.

(b) Participation requirements and responsibilities—(1) C/P vessels—(i) C/P vessel participation requirements. A vessel is eligible to fish as a catcher/processor in the C/P Coop Program if:

(A) The vessel is registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit.

(B) The vessel is not used to harvest fish as a catcher vessel in the mothership coop program in the same calendar year.

(C) The vessel is not used to fish as a mothership in the MS Coop Program in the same calendar year.

(ii) Catcher/processor vessel responsibilities. The owner and operator of a catcher/processor vessel must:

(A) Recordkeeping and reporting. Maintain a valid declaration as specified at §660.13(d); maintain records as specified at §660.113(a); and maintain and submit all records and reports specified at §660.113(d) including, economic data, scale tests records, cease fishing reports, and cost recovery.

(B) Observers. As specified at paragraph (g) of this section, procure observer services, maintain the appropriate level of coverage, and meet the vessel responsibilities.

(C) Catch weighing requirements. The owner and operator of a catcher/processor vessel must:

(1) Ensure that all catch is weighed in its round form on a NMFS-approved scale that meets the requirements described in §660.15(b);

(2) Provide a NMFS-approved platform scale, belt scale, and test weights that meet the requirements described in §660.15(b).

(D) Cost recovery program. Collect and remit to NMFS cost recovery program fees, as specified at §660.115.

(2) C/P coops—(i) C/P coop participation requirements. For a C/P coop to participate in the catcher/processor sector of the Pacific whiting fishery, the C/P coop must:

(A) Be issued a C/P coop permit;

(B) Be composed of all C/P-endorsed limited entry permits and their owners;

(C) Be formed voluntarily;

(D) Be a legally recognized entity that represents its members; and

(E) Designate an individual as a coop manager.

(ii) C/P coop responsibilities. A C/P coop is responsible for:

(A) Applying for and being registered to a C/P coop permit;

(B) Organizing and coordinating harvest activities of vessels that fish for the coop;

(C) Allocating catch for use by specific coop members;

(D) Monitoring harvest activities and enforcing the catch limits of coop members;

(E) Submitting an annual report.

(F) Having a designated coop manager. The designated coop manager must:

(1) Serve as the contact person with NMFS and the Council;

(2) Be responsible for the annual distribution of catch and bycatch allocations among coop members;

(3) Prepare and submit an annual report on behalf of the coop; and

(4) Be authorized to receive or respond to any legal process in which the coop is involved; and

(5) Notify NMFS if the coop dissolves.

(iii) C/P coop compliance and joint/several liability. A C/P coop must comply with the provisions of this section. The C/P coop, member limited entry permit owners, and owners and operators of vessels registered to member limited entry permits, are jointly and severally responsible for compliance with the provisions of this section. Pursuant to 15 CFR part 904, each C/P coop, member permit owner, and owner and operator of a vessel registered to a coop member permit may be charged jointly and severally for violations of the provisions of this section. For purposes of enforcement, a C/P coop is a legal entity that can be subject to NOAA enforcement action for violations of the provisions of this section.

(c) C/P Coop Program species and allocations—(1) C/P Coop Program species. All species other than Pacific whiting are managed with set-asides for the MS and C/P Coop Programs.

(i) Species with formal allocations to the C/P Coop Program: Pacific whiting.

(ii) Species with set-asides for the MS and C/P Programs, as described in Table 1d and Table 2d to subpart C of this part.

(2) C/P Coop Program annual allocations. The C/P Coop Program allocation of Pacific whiting is equal to the catcher/processor sector allocation. Only a single coop may be formed in the catcher/processor sector with the one permitted coop receiving the catcher/processor sector allocation.

(i) In years where the Pacific whiting harvest specification is known by the start of the catcher/processor sector primary whiting season specified at §660.131(b)(2)(iii)(A), allocation for Pacific whiting will be made by the start of the season.

(ii) In years where the Pacific whiting harvest specification is not known by the start of the catcher/processor sector primary whiting season specified at §660.131(b)(2)(iii)(A), NMFS will issue Pacific whiting allocations in two parts. Before the start of the primary whiting season, NMFS will allocate Pacific whiting based on the C/P Coop Program allocation percent multiplied by the lower end of the range of potential harvest specifications for Pacific whiting for that year. After the final Pacific whiting harvest specifications are established, NMFS will allocate any additional amounts of Pacific whiting to the C/P Coop Program.

(3) Non-whiting groundfish species—(i) At-sea sector set-asides of non-whiting groundfish species will be managed on an annual basis unless there is a risk of a harvest specification being exceeded, unforeseen impact on other fisheries, or conservation concerns, in which case inseason action may be taken. Set asides may be adjusted through the biennial specifications and management measures process as necessary.

(ii) Groundfish species not addressed in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section, will be managed on an annual basis unless there is a risk of a harvest specification being exceeded, unforeseen impact on other fisheries, or conservation concerns, in which case inseason action may be taken.

(4) Halibut set-asides. Annually a specified amount of the Pacific halibut will be held in reserve as a shared set-aside for bycatch in the at-sea Pacific whiting fisheries and the shorebased trawl sector south of 40°10 N lat.

(5) [Reserved]

(6) Reaching the catcher/processor sector allocation. When the catcher/processor sector allocation of Pacific whiting is reached or is projected to be reached, further taking and retaining, receiving, or at-sea processing by a catcher/processor is prohibited. No additional unprocessed groundfish may be brought on board after at-sea processing is prohibited, but a catcher/processor may continue to process catch that was on board before at-sea processing was prohibited. The catcher/processor sector will close when the allocation of any one species is reached or projected to be reached.

(7) Announcements. The Regional Administrator will announce in the Federal Register when the catcher/processor sector allocation of Pacific whiting is reached, or is projected to be reached, and specify the appropriate action. In order to prevent exceeding an allocation and to avoid underutilizing the resource, prohibitions against further taking and retaining, receiving, or at-sea processing of Pacific whiting may be made effective immediately by actual notice to fishers and processors, by email, internet, phone, fax, letter, press release, and/or USCG Notice to Mariners (monitor channel 16 VHF), followed by publication in the Federal Register, in which instance public comment will be sought for a reasonable period of time thereafter.

(d) C/P coop permit and agreement—(1) Eligibility and registration—(i) Eligibility. To be an eligible coop entity a group of C/P-endorsed permit owners (coop members) must be a recognized entity under the laws of the United States or the laws of a State and that represents all of the coop members.

(ii) Annual registration and deadline. Each year, the coop entity must submit a complete application to NMFS for a C/P coop permit. The application must be submitted to NMFS by between February 1 and March 31 of the year in which it intends to participate. NMFS will not consider any applications received after March 31. A C/P coop permit expires on December 31 of the year in which it was issued.

(iii) Application for a C/P coop permit. The designated coop manager, on behalf of the coop entity, must submit a complete application form and include each of the items listed in paragraph (d)(1)(iii)(A) of this section. Only complete applications will be considered for issuance of a C/P coop permit. An application will not be considered complete if any required application fees and annual coop reports have not been received by NMFS. NMFS may request additional supplemental documentation as necessary to make a determination of whether to approve or disapprove the application. Application forms and instruction are available on the NMFS NWR Web site (http://www.nwr.noaa.gov) or by request from NMFS. The designated coop manager must sign the application acknowledging the responsibilities of a designated coop manager defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(A) Coop agreement. Signed copies of the coop agreement must be submitted to NMFS before the coop is authorized to engage in fishing activities. A coop agreement must include all of the information listed in this paragraph to be considered a complete coop agreement. NMFS will only review complete coop agreements. A coop agreement will not be accepted unless it includes all of the required information; the descriptive items listed in this paragraph appear to meet the stated purpose; and information submitted is correct and accurate.

(1) Coop agreement contents. The coop agreement must be signed by the coop members (C/P-endorsed permit owners) and include the following information:

(i) A list of all vessels registered to C/P-endorsed permits that the member permit owners intend to use for fishing under the C/P coop permit.

(ii) All C/P-endorsed limited entry member permits identified by permit number.

(iii) A description of the coop's plan to adequately monitor and account for the catch of Pacific whiting and non-whiting groundfish, and to monitor and account for the catch of prohibited species.

(iv) A clause stating that if a permit is registered to a new permit owner during the effective period of the coop agreement, any new owners of that member permit would be coop members and are required to comply with membership restrictions in the coop agreement.

(v) A description of the coop's enforcement and penalty provisions adequate to maintain catch of Pacific whiting and non-whiting groundfish within the allocations.

(vi) A description of measures to reduce catch of overfished species.

(vii) A clause describing how the annual report will be produced to document the coop's catch, bycatch data, and any other significant activities undertaken by the coop during the year, and the submission deadlines for that report.

(viii) Identification of the designated coop manager.

(2) [Reserved]

(B) Acceptance of a coop agreement—(1) If NMFS does not accept the coop agreement, the coop permit application will be returned to the applicant with a letter stating the reasons the coop agreement was not accepted by NMFS.

(2) Coop agreements that are not accepted may be resubmitted for review by sufficiently addressing the deficiencies identified in the NMFS letter and resubmitting the entire coop permit application by the date specified in the NMFS letter.

(3) An accepted coop agreement that was submitted with the C/P coop permit application and for which a C/P coop permit was issued will remain in place through the end of the calendar year. The designated coop manager must resubmit a complete coop agreement to NMFS consistent with the coop agreement contents described in this paragraph if there is a material change to the coop agreement.

(4) Within 7 calendar days following a material change, the designated coop manager must notify NMFS of the material change. Within 30 calendar days, the designated coop manger must submit to NMFS the revised coop agreement with a letter that describes such changes. NMFS will review the material changes and provide a letter to the coop manager that either accepts the changes as given or does not accept the revised coop agreement with a letter stating the reasons that it was not accepted by NMFS. The coop may resubmit the coop agreement with further revisions to the material changes responding to NMFS concerns.

(iv) Effective date of C/P coop permit. A C/P coop permit will be effective on the date approved by NMFS and will allow fishing from the start of the C/P sector primary whiting season until the end of the calendar year or until one or more of the following events occur, whichever comes first:

(A) NMFS closes the C/P sector fishing season for the year or the designated coop manager notifies NMFS that the coop has completed fishing for the calendar year,

(B) The C/P coop has reached its Pacific whiting allocation,

(C) A material change to the coop agreement has occurred and the designated coop manager failed to notify NMFS within 7 calendar days of the material change and submit to NMFS the revised coop agreement with a letter that describes such changes within 30 calendar days, or

(D) NMFS has determined that a coop failure occurred.

(2) Initial administrative determination. For all complete applications, NMFS will issue an IAD that either approves or disapproves the application. If approved, the IAD will include a C/P coop permit. If disapproved, the IAD will provide the reasons for this determination. The IAD for a C/P coop permit follows the same requirement as specified for limited entry permits at §660.25(g)(4)(ii), if the applicant does not appeal the IAD within the 30 calendar days, the IAD becomes the final decision of the Regional Administrator acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce.

(3) Appeals. An appeal to a C/P coop permit action follows the same process as the general permit appeals process defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(4) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge fees for administrative costs associated with the issuance of a C/P coop permit consistent with the provisions given at §660.25(f), subpart C.

(e) C/P-endorsed permit—(1) General. Any vessel participating in the C/P sector of the non-tribal primary Pacific whiting fishery-must be registered to a valid limited entry permit with a C/P endorsement—subject to the limited entry permit provisions given at §660.25(b).

(i) Non-severable. A C/P endorsement is not severable from the limited entry trawl permit, and therefore, the endorsement may not be registered to another permit owner or to another vessel separately from the limited entry trawl permit.

(ii) Restriction on C/P vessel operating as a catcher vessel in the mothership sector. A vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed permit cannot operate as a catcher vessel delivering unprocessed Pacific whiting to a mothership processor during the same calendar year it participates in the C/P sector.

(iii) Restriction on C/P vessel operating as mothership. A vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed permit cannot operate as a mothership during the same calendar year it participates in the C/P sector.

(iv) Trawl identification of ownership interest form. Any person that is applying for or renewing a C/P-endorsed permit shall document those persons that have an ownership interest in the permit greater than or equal to 2 percent. This ownership interest must be documented with the SFD via the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form. SFD will not issue a C/P-endorsed permit unless the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form has been completed.

(2) Renewal, change in permit ownership, vessel registration, or combination.

(i) Renewal. A C/P-endorsed permit must be renewed annually consistent with the limited entry permit regulations given at §660.25(b)(4). If a vessel registered to the C/P-endorsed permit will operate as a mothership in the year for which the permit is renewed, the permit owner must make a declaration as part of the permit renewal that while participating in the whiting fishery they will operate solely as a mothership during the calendar year to which its limited entry permit applies. Any such declaration is binding on the vessel for the calendar year, even if the permit is registered to a different permit owner during the year, unless it is rescinded in response to a written request from the permit owner. Any request to rescind a declaration must be made by the permit owner and granted in writing by the Regional Administrator before any unprocessed whiting has been taken on board the vessel that calendar year.

(ii) Change of permit ownership. A C/P-endorsed permit is subject to the limited entry permit change in permit ownership regulations given at §660.25(b)(4), subpart C.

(iii) Change of vessel registration. A C/P-endorsed permit is subject to the limited entry permit change of vessel registration regulations given at §660.25(b)(4), subpart C.

(iv) Combination. If two or more permits are combined, the resulting permit is one permit with an increased size endorsement. A C/P-endorsed permit that is combined with another limited entry trawl-endorsed permit that does not have a C/P endorsement will result in a single trawl limited entry permit with a C/P endorsement with a larger size endorsement. Any request to combine permits is subject to the provisions provided at §660.25(b), including the combination formula for resulting size endorsements.

(3) Appeals. An appeal to a C/P-endorsed permit action follows the same process as the general permit appeals process defined at §660.25(g), subpart C.

(4) Fees. The Regional Administrator is authorized to charge fees for the administrative costs associated with review and issuance of a C/P endorsement consistent with the provisions at §660.25(f), subpart C.

(5) Cost recovery. The owner of a vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit, the operator of a vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit, and the owner of the C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit registered to that vessel, are considered both the fish buyer and the fish seller as defined at §660.111, and must comply with the cost recovery program specified at §660.115.

(f) Retention requirements. [Reserved]

(g) Observer requirements—(1) Observer coverage requirements—(i) Coverage. The following observer coverage pertains to certified observers obtained from an observer provider permitted by NMFS. Any vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit that is 125 ft (38.1 m) LOA or longer must carry two certified observers, and any vessel registered to a C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit that is shorter than 125 ft (38.1 m) LOA must carry one certified observer, each day that the vessel is used to take, retain, receive, land, process, or transport groundfish.

(ii) Observer workload. The time required for the observer to complete sampling duties must not exceed 12 consecutive hours in each 24-hour period.

(iii) Refusal to board. Any boarding refusal on the part of the observer or vessel must be reported to the Observer Program and OLE by the observer provider. The observer must be available for an interview with the Observer Program or OLE if necessary.

(2) Vessel responsibilities. An operator and/or crew of a vessel required to carry an observer must provide:

(i) Accommodations and food. Provide accommodations and food that are equivalent to those provided for officers, engineers, foremen, deck-bosses or other management level personnel of the vessel.

(ii) Safe conditions—(A) Maintain safe conditions on the vessel for the protection of observers including adherence to all U.S. Coast Guard and other applicable rules, regulations, or statutes 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. 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.

(B) 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. Maintain safe conditions on the vessel for the protection of observer(s) including adherence to all USCG and other applicable rules, regulations, or statutes pertaining to safe operation of the vessel, and provisions at §§600.725 and 600.746 of this chapter.

(iii) Computer hardware and software. C/P vessels must:

(A) Provide hardware and software pursuant to regulations at §679.51 (e)(iii)(B) of this chapter.

(B) Provide the observer(s) access to a computer required under paragraph (g)(2)(iii) of this section that is connected to a communication device that provides a point-to-point connection to the NMFS host computer.

(C) Ensure that the C/P vessel has installed the most recent release of NMFS data entry software, or other approved software prior to the vessel receiving, catching or processing IFQ species.

(D) Ensure that the communication equipment required in paragraph (g)(2)(iii) of this section and used by observers to enter and transmit data, is fully functional and operational. “Functional” means that all the tasks and components of the NMFS supplied, or other approved, software described at paragraph (g)(2)(iii) of this section and the data transmissions to NMFS can be executed effectively aboard the vessel by the communications equipment.

(iv) Vessel position. Allow observer(s) access to, the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel, on request, to determine the vessel's position.

(v) Access. Allow observer(s) free and unobstructed access to the vessel's bridge, trawl or working decks, holding bins, processing areas, freezer spaces, weight scales, cargo holds, and any other space that may be used to hold, process, weigh, or store fish or fish products at any time.

(vi) Prior notification. 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.

(vii) Records. Allow observer(s) to inspect and copy any State or Federal logbook maintained voluntarily or as required by regulation.

(viii) Assistance. Provide all other reasonable assistance to enable observer(s) to carry out their duties, including, but not limited to:

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

(B) Providing the observer(s) with a safe work area.

(C) Collecting samples of catch.

(D) Collecting and carrying baskets of fish.

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

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

(ix) Sampling station and operational requirements for C/P vessels. This paragraph contains the requirements for observer sampling stations. To allow the observer to carry out the required duties, the vessel owner must provide an observer sampling station that meets the following requirements:

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

(B) Location. The observer sampling station must be located within 4 m of the location from which the observer samples unsorted catch.

(C) Access. Unobstructed passage must be provided between the observer sampling station and the location where the observer collects sample catch.

(D) Minimum work space. The observer must have a working area of at least 4.5 square meters, including the observer's sampling table, for sampling and storage of fish to be sampled. The observer must be able to stand upright and have a work area at least 0.9 m deep in the area in front of the table and scale.

(E) Table. The observer sampling station must include a table at least 0.6 m deep, 1.2 m wide and 0.9 m high and no more than 1.1 m high. The entire surface area of the table must be available for use by the observer. Any area for the observer sampling scale is in addition to the minimum space requirements for the table. The observer's sampling table must be secured to the floor or wall.

(F) Diverter board. The conveyor belt conveying unsorted catch must have a removable board (“diverter board”) to allow all fish to be diverted from the belt directly into the observer's sampling baskets. The diverter board must be located downstream of the scale used to weigh total catch. At least 1 m of accessible belt space, located downstream of the scale used to weight total catch, must be available for the observer's use when sampling.

(G) Other requirements. The sampling station must be in a well-drained area that includes floor grating (or other material that prevents slipping), lighting adequate for day or night sampling, and a hose that supplies fresh or sea water to the observer.

(H) Observer sampling scale. The observer sample station must include a NMFS-approved platform scale (pursuant to requirements at §679.28(d)(5)) with a capacity of at least 50 kg located within 1 m of the observer's sampling table. The scale must be mounted so that the weighing surface is no more than 0.7 m above the floor.

(x) Transfer at sea. Observers may be transferred at-sea between catcher-processors, between catcher-processors and motherships, or between a catcher-processor and a catcher vessel. Transfers at-sea between catcher vessels is prohibited. For transfers, both vessels must:

(A) 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.

(B) 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.

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

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

(xi) 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.

(3) Procurement of observer services. Owners of vessels required to carry observers under paragraph (g)(1) of this section must arrange for observer services from an observer provider permitted by NMFS, except that:

(i) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff or an individual authorized by NMFS in lieu of an observer provided by an observer provider.

(ii) Vessels are required to procure observer services directly from the Observer Program and an observer provider when NMFS has determined and given notification that the vessel must carry NMFS staff and/or individuals authorized by NMFS, in addition to an observer provided by an observer provider.

(4) Observer provider responsibilities—(i) Provide qualified candidates to serve as observers. Observer providers must provide qualified candidates to serve as observers. To be qualified, a candidate must have:

(A) A Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university with a major in one of the natural sciences;

(B) Successfully completed a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent in applicable biological sciences with extensive use of dichotomous keys in at least one course;

(C) Successfully completed at least one undergraduate course each in math and statistics with a minimum of 5 semester hours total for both; and

(D) Computer skills that enable the candidate to work competently with standard database software and computer hardware.

(ii) Hiring an observer candidate. (A) The observer provider must provide the candidate a copy of NMFS-provided pamphlets, information and other literature describing observer duties (i.e. The At-Sea Hake Observer Program's Observer Manual) prior to hiring an observer candidate. Observer job information is available from the Observer Program Office's Web site at http://www.nwfsc.noaa.gov/research/divisions/fram/observer/index.cfm.

(B) The observer provider must have a written contract or a written contract addendum that is signed by the observer and observer provider prior to the observer's deployment with the following clauses:

(1) That the observer will return all phone calls, emails, text messages, or other forms of communication within the time specified by the Observer Program;

(2) That the observer inform the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation if he or she is experiencing any new mental illness or physical ailments or injury since submission of the physician's statement as required as a qualified observer candidate that would prevent him or her from performing their assigned duties.

(iii) Ensure that observers complete duties in a timely manner. An observer provider must ensure that observers employed by that observer provider do the following in a complete and timely manner:

(A) Submit to NMFS all data, logbooks and reports as required by the observer manual;

(B) Report for his or her scheduled debriefing and complete all debriefing responsibilities;

(C) Return all sampling and safety gear to the Observer Program Office;

(D) Submit all biological samples from the observer's deployment by the completion of the electronic vessel and/or processor survey(s); and

(E) Immediately report to the Observer Program Office and the OLE any refusal to board an assigned vessel.

(iv) Observers provided to vessel. Observers provided to C/P vessels:

(A) Must have a valid North Pacific groundfish observer certification with required endorsements and an At-Sea Hake Observer Program endorsement;

(B) Must not have informed the observer provider prior to the time of embarkation that he or she is experiencing a mental illness or a physical ailment or injury developed since submission of the physician's statement that would prevent him or her from performing his or her assigned duties; and

(C) Must have successfully completed all NMFS required training and briefing before deployment.

(v) Respond to industry requests for observers. An observer provider must provide an observer for deployment as requested pursuant to the contractual relationship with the vessel to fulfill vessel requirements for observer coverage specified under paragraph (g)(1) of this section. An alternate observer must be supplied in each case where injury or illness prevents the observer from performing his or her duties or where the observer resigns prior to completion of his or her duties. If the observer provider is unable to respond to an industry request for observer coverage from a vessel for whom the observer provider is in a contractual relationship due to lack of available observers by the estimated embarking time of the vessel, the observer provider must report it to the Observer Program at least four hours prior to the vessel's estimated embarking time.

(vi) Provide observer salaries and benefits. An observer provider must provide to its observer employees salaries and any other benefits and personnel services in accordance with the terms of each observer's contract.

(vii) Provide observer deployment logistics. An observer provider must provide to each of its observers under contract:

(A) All necessary transportation, including arrangements and logistics, to the initial location of deployment, to all subsequent vessel assignments during that deployment, and to and from the location designated for an observer to be interviewed by the Observer Program; and

(B) Lodging, per diem, and any other services necessary to observers assigned to fishing vessels.

(1) An observer under contract may be housed on a vessel to which he or she is assigned:

(i) Prior to their vessel's initial departure from port;

(ii) For a period not to exceed 24 hours following the completion of an offload when the observer has duties and is scheduled to disembark; or

(iii) For a period not to exceed 24 hours following the vessel's arrival in port when the observer is scheduled to disembark.

(2) [Reserved]

(C) An observer under contract who is between vessel assignments must be provided with shoreside accommodations in accordance with the contract between the observer and the observer provider. If the observer provider is providing accommodations, it must be at a licensed hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, or other shoreside accommodations for the duration of each period between vessel or shoreside assignments. Such accommodations must include an assigned bed for each observer and no other person may be assigned that bed for the duration of that observer's stay. Additionally, no more than four beds may be in any room housing observers at accommodations meeting the requirements of this section.

(viii) Observer deployment limitations. An observer provider must not exceed observer deployment limitations specified in this paragraph unless alternative arrangements are approved by the Observer Program Office. An observer provider must not:

(A) Deploy an observer on the same vessel for more than 90 days in a 12-month period;

(B) Deploy an observer for more than 90 days in a single deployment;

(C) Include more than four vessel assignments in a single deployment, or

(D) Disembark an observer from a vessel before that observer has completed his or her sampling or data transmission duties.

(ix) Verify vessel's Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Decal. An observer provider must ensure that the observer completes an observer vessel safety checklist, and verify that a vessel has a valid USCG Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety decal as required under paragraph (h)(2)(ii)(B) of this section prior to the observer embarking on the first trip and before an observer may get underway aboard the vessel. The provider must submit all vessel safety checklists to the Observer Program, as specified by Observer Program policy. One of the following acceptable means of verification must be used to verify the decal validity:

(A) The observer provider or employee of the observer provider, including the observer, visually inspects the decal aboard the vessel and confirms that the decal is valid according to the decal date of issuance; or

(B) The observer provider receives a hard copy of the USCG documentation of the decal issuance from the vessel owner or operator.

(x) Maintain communications with observers. An observer provider must have an employee responsible for observer activities on call 24 hours a day to handle emergencies involving observers or problems concerning observer logistics, whenever observers are at sea, in transit, or in port awaiting vessel reassignment.

(xi) Maintain communications with the Observer Program Office. An observer provider must provide all of the following information by electronic transmission (email), fax, or other method specified by NMFS.

(A) Observer training and briefing. Observer training and briefing registration materials must be submitted to the Observer Program Office at least 5 business days prior to the beginning of a scheduled observer at-sea hake training or briefing session. Registration materials consist of the following: The date of requested training or briefing with a list of observers including each observer's full name (i.e., first, middle and last names).

(B) Observer debriefing registration. The observer provider must contact the Observer Program within 5 business days after the completion of an observer's deployment to schedule a date, time and location for debriefing. Observer debriefing registration information must be provided at the time of debriefing scheduling and must include the observer's name, cruise number, vessel name(s) and code(s), and requested debriefing date.

(C) Observer provider contracts. If requested, observer providers must submit to the Observer Program Office a completed and unaltered copy of each type of signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract) between the observer provider and those entities requiring observer services under paragraph (g)(1) of this section. Observer providers must also submit to the Observer Program Office upon request, a completed and unaltered copy of the current or most recent signed and valid contract (including all attachments, appendices, addendums, and exhibits incorporated into the contract and any agreements or policies with regard to observer compensation or salary levels) between the observer provider and the particular entity identified by the Observer Program or with specific observers. The copies must be submitted to the Observer Program Office via fax or mail within 5 business days of the request. Signed and valid contracts include the contracts an observer provider has with:

(1) Vessels required to have observer coverage as specified at paragraph (g)(1) of this section; and

(2) Observers.

(D) Change in observer provider management and contact information. Observer providers must submit notification of any other change to provider contact information, including but not limited to, changes in contact name, phone number, email address, and address.

(E) Other reports. Reports of the following must be submitted in writing to the Observer Program Office by the observer provider via fax or email address designated by the Observer Program Office within 24 hours after the observer provider becomes aware of the information:

(1) Any information regarding possible observer harassment;

(2) Any information regarding any action prohibited under §§660.12(e), 660.112 or 600.725(o), (t) and (u) of this chapter;

(3) Any concerns about vessel safety or marine casualty under 46 CFR 4.05-1(a)(1) through (7);

(4) Any observer illness or injury that prevents the observer from completing any of his or her duties described in the observer manual; and

(5) Any information, allegations or reports regarding observer conflict of interest or breach of the standards of behavior described in observer provider policy.

(xii) Replace lost or damaged gear. Lost or damaged gear issued to an observer by NMFS must be replaced by the observer provider. All replacements must be provided to NMFS and be in accordance with requirements and procedures identified in writing by the Observer Program Office.

(xiii) Maintain confidentiality of information. An observer provider must ensure that all records on individual observer performance received from NMFS under the routine use provision of the Privacy Act 5 U.S.C. 552a or other applicable law remain confidential and are not further released to any person outside the employ of the observer provider company to whom the observer was contracted except with written permission of the observer.

(xiv) Limitations on conflict of interest. An observer provider must meet limitations on conflict of interest. Observer providers:

(A) Must not have a direct financial interest, other than the provision of observer, catch monitor or other biological sampling services, in any federal or state managed fisheries, including but not limited to:

(1) Any ownership, mortgage holder, or other secured interest in a vessel or shoreside processor facility involved in the catching, taking, harvesting or processing of fish,

(2) Any business involved with selling supplies or services to any vessel or shoreside processors participating in a fishery managed pursuant to an FMP in the waters off the coasts of Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington, or

(3) Any business involved with purchasing raw or processed products from any vessel or shoreside processor participating in a fishery managed pursuant to an FMP in the waters off the coasts of Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington.

(B) Must assign observers without regard to any preference by representatives of vessels other than when an observer will be deployed.

(C) Must not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gratuity, gift, favor, entertainment, loan, or anything of monetary value except for compensation for providing observer services from any person who conducts fishing or fish processing activities that are regulated by NMFS, or who has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the official duties of observer providers.

(xv) Observer conduct and behavior. An observer provider must develop and maintain a policy addressing observer conduct and behavior for their employees that serve as observers. The policy shall address the following behavior and conduct:

(A) Observer use of alcohol;

(B) Observer use, possession, or distribution of illegal drugs in violation of applicable law; and

(C) Sexual contact with personnel of the vessel or processing facility to which the observer is assigned, or with any vessel or processing plant personnel who may be substantially affected by the performance or non-performance of the observer's official duties.

(D) An observer provider shall provide a copy of its conduct and behavior policy by February 1 of each year, to observers, observer candidates, and the Observer Program Office.

(xvi) Refusal to deploy an observer. Observer providers may refuse to deploy an observer on a requesting vessel if the observer provider has determined that the requesting vessel is inadequate or unsafe pursuant to those regulations described at §600.746 of this chapter or U.S. Coast Guard and other applicable rules, regulations, statutes, or guidelines pertaining to safe operation of the vessel.

(5) Observer certification and responsibilities—(i) Applicability. Observer certification authorizes an individual to fulfill duties as specified in writing by the Observer Program Office while under the employ of an observer provider and according to certification endorsements as designated under paragraph (g)(5)(iii) of this section.

(ii) Observer certification official. The Regional Administrator will designate a NMFS observer certification official who will make decisions for the Observer Program Office on whether to issue or deny observer certifications and endorsements.

(iii) Certification requirements—(A) Initial certification. NMFS may certify individuals who, in addition to any other relevant considerations:

(1) Are employed by an observer provider company holding a valid North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program permit at the time of the issuance of the certification to the observer;

(2) Have provided, through their observer provider:

(i) Information set forth at §679.52(b) of this chapter regarding an observer candidate's health and physical fitness for the job;

(ii) Meet all observer education and health standards as specified in §679.52(b) of this chapter; and

(iii) Have successfully completed NMFS-approved training as prescribed by the Observer Program. Successful completion of training by an observer applicant consists of meeting all attendance and conduct standards issued in writing at the start of training; meeting all performance standards issued in writing at the start of training for assignments, tests, and other evaluation tools; and completing all other training requirements established by the Observer Program.

(iv) Have not been decertified under paragraph (g)(5)(ix) of this section, or pursuant to §679.53(c) of this chapter.

(B) [Reserved]

(iv) Denial of a certification. The NMFS observer certification official will issue a written determination denying observer certification if the candidate fails to successfully complete training, or does not meet the qualifications for certification for any other relevant reason.

(v) Issuance of an observer certification. An observer certification may be issued upon determination by the observer certification official that the candidate has successfully met all requirements for certification as specified in paragraph (g)(6)(iii) of this section. The following endorsements must be obtained, in addition to observer certification, in order for an observer to deploy.

(A) North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program certification training endorsement. A certification training endorsement signifies the successful completion of the training course required to obtain observer certification. This endorsement expires when the observer has not been deployed and performed sampling duties as required by the Observer Program Office for a period of time, specified by the Observer Program, after his or her most recent debriefing. The observer can renew the endorsement by successfully completing certification training once more.

(B) North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program annual general endorsements. Each observer must obtain an annual general endorsement to their certification prior to his or her first deployment within any calendar year subsequent to a year in which a certification training endorsement is obtained. To obtain an annual general endorsement, an observer must successfully complete the annual briefing, as specified by the Observer Program. All briefing attendance, performance, and conduct standards required by the Observer Program must be met.

(C) North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program deployment endorsements. Each observer who has completed an initial deployment after certification or annual briefing must receive a deployment endorsement to their certification prior to any subsequent deployments for the remainder of that year. An observer may obtain a deployment endorsement by successfully completing all pre-cruise briefing requirements. The type of briefing the observer must attend and successfully complete will be specified in writing by the Observer Program during the observer's most recent debriefing.

(D) At-Sea Hake Observer Program endorsements. A Pacific whiting fishery endorsement is required for purposes of performing observer duties aboard vessels that process groundfish at sea in the Pacific whiting fishery. A Pacific whiting fishery endorsement to an observer's certification may be obtained by meeting the following requirements:

(1) Have a valid North Pacific groundfish observer certification.

(2) Receive an evaluation by NMFS for his or her most recent deployment that indicated that the observer's performance met Observer Program expectations for that deployment;

(3) Successfully complete any required briefings as prescribed by the Observer Program; and

(4) Comply with all of the other requirements of this section.

(vi) Maintaining the validity of an observer certification. After initial issuance, an observer must keep their certification valid by meeting all of the following requirements specified below:

(A) Successfully perform their assigned duties as described in the observer manual or other written instructions from the Observer Program.

(B) Accurately record their sampling data, write complete reports, and report accurately any observations of suspected violations of regulations relevant to conservation of marine resources or their environment.

(C) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel or in the processing facility to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel or an authorized officer or NMFS.

(D) Successfully complete any required briefings as prescribed by the At-Sea Hake Observer Program.

(E) Successful completion of briefing by an observer applicant consists of meeting all attendance and conduct standards issued in writing at the start of training; meeting all performance standards issued in writing at the start of training for assignments, tests, and other evaluation tools; and completing all other briefing requirements established by the Observer Program.

(F) Successfully meet all debriefing expectations including meeting Observer Program performance standards reporting for assigned debriefings or interviews.

(G) Submit all data and information required by the Observer Program within the program's stated guidelines.

(vii) Limitations on conflict of interest. Observers:

(A) Must not have a direct financial interest, other than the provision of observer services or catch monitor services, in a North Pacific fishery managed pursuant to an FMP for the waters off the coast of Alaska, Alaska state waters, or in a Pacific Coast fishery managed by either the state or Federal Governments in waters off Washington, Oregon, or California, including but not limited to:

(1) Any ownership, mortgage holder, or other secured interest in a vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processor facility involved in the catching, taking, harvesting or processing of fish,

(2) Any business involved with selling supplies or services to any vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processing facility; or

(3) Any business involved with purchasing raw or processed products from any vessel, shore-based or floating stationary processing facilities.

(B) Must not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gratuity, gift, favor, entertainment, loan, or anything of monetary value from anyone who either conducts activities that are regulated by NMFS in the Pacific coast or North Pacific regions or has interests that may be substantially affected by the performance or nonperformance of the observers' official duties.

(C) May not serve as observers on any vessel or at any shore-based owned or operated by a person who employed the observer in the last two years.

(D) May not solicit or accept employment as a crew member or an employee of a vessel or shore-based processor while employed by an observer provider.

(E) Provisions for remuneration of observers under this section do not constitute a conflict of interest.

(viii) Standards of behavior. Observers must:

(A) Perform their assigned duties as described in the observer manual or other written instructions from the Observer Program Office.

(B) Accurately record their sampling data, write complete reports, and report accurately any observations of suspected violations of regulations relevant to conservation of marine resources or their environment.

(C) Not disclose collected data and observations made on board the vessel to any person except the owner or operator of the observed vessel, an authorized officer, or NMFS.

(ix) Suspension and decertification— (A) Suspension and decertification review official. The Regional Administrator (or a designee) will designate an observer suspension and decertification review official(s), who will have the authority to review observer certifications and issue IADs of observer certification suspension and/or decertification.

(B) Causes for suspension or decertification. The suspension/decertification official may initiate suspension or decertification proceedings against an observer:

(1) When it is alleged that the observer has committed any acts or omissions of any of the following: Failed to satisfactorily perform the duties of observers as specified in writing by the Observer Program; or failed to abide by the standards of conduct for observers (including conflicts of interest);

(2) Upon conviction of a crime or upon entry of a civil judgment for: Commission of fraud or other violation in connection with obtaining or attempting to obtain certification, or in performing the duties as specified in writing by the Observer Program; commission of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records, making false statements, or receiving stolen property; or commission of any other offense indicating a lack of integrity or honesty that seriously and directly affects the fitness of observers.

(C) Issuance of an IAD. Upon determination that suspension or decertification is warranted, the suspension/decertification official will issue a written IAD to the observer via certified mail at the observer's most current address provided to NMFS. The IAD will identify whether a certification is suspended or revoked and will identify the specific reasons for the action taken. Decertification is effective 30 calendar days after the date on the IAD, unless there is an appeal.

(D) Appeals. A certified observer who receives an IAD that suspends or revokes the observer certification may appeal the determination within 30 calendar days after the date on the IAD to the Office of Administrative Appeals pursuant to §660.19.

(h) C/P coop failure—(1) Conditions for determination of coop failure. The Regional Administrator will determine that a permitted C/P coop has failed if any one of the following occurs:

(i) Any current C/P-endorsed limited entry trawl permit is not identified as a C/P coop member in the coop agreement submitted to NMFS during the C/P coop permit application process;

(ii) Any current C/P-endorsed permit withdraws from the C/P coop agreement;

(iii) The coop members voluntarily dissolve the coop; or

(iv) The coop agreement is no longer valid.

(2) Notification of coop failure. If the permitted C/P coop dissolves, the designated coop manager must notify NMFS SFD in writing of the dissolution of the coop to allow the Regional Administrator to make a determination of coop failure. The Regional Administrator may also make an independent determination of a coop failure based on factual information collected by or provided to NMFS. NMFS will notify the designated coop manager in writing in the event the Regional Administrator determines the coop has failed.

(3) Coop permit no longer in effect. Upon determination of a coop failure, the C/P coop permit will no longer be in effect.

(4) Conversion to IFQ Fishery. The C/P sector will convert to an IFQ-based fishery beginning the following calendar year after a determination of a coop failure, or as soon as practicable thereafter. NMFS will develop additional regulations, as necessary to implement an IFQ-based fishery for the C/P sector. Each C/P-endorsed permit will receive an equal amount of QS from the total C/P sector allocation. That QS will not be transferable separate from the C/P-endorsed permit until a determination is made to allow such transfers, necessary regulations are implemented, and public notice is provided. Any use of QP or IBQ pounds associated with C/P endorsed permits is prohibited until the regulations for a C/P sector IFQ system are implemented.

(5) Accumulation limits. C/P Sector accumulation limits will take effect in the event that the C/P coop fails and converts to an IFQ-based fishery. If an IFQ fishery is implemented, any individual or entity may own or control a maximum of five C/P endorsed permits and QS allocations associated with those permits, as described in paragraph (e)(5)(iv) of this section. C/P endorsed permit accumulation limits will only take effect after determination of a coop failure is made and the following administrative process occurs:

(i) Divestiture Period. Upon determination of a coop failure, a divestiture period will occur starting with the date that co-op failure has been determined and running through the date on which an IFQ program is implemented for the C/P sector or another date specified in the IFQ program implementing regulations. During the divestiture period, an individual or entity may not acquire ownership or control over a total of more than five C/P-endorsed permits. Any entity that already owns or controls more than five C/P-endorsed permits may not acquire additional permits. During the divestiture period any entity who owns or controls C/P-endorsed permits may sell or trade any permits it owns. C/P-endorsed permits may be voluntarily abandoned to NMFS using the procedures provided under paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section.

(ii) Divestiture and redistribution process. After conversion to an IFQ fishery and completion of the divestiture period, any person owning or controlling C/P-endorsed permits must be in compliance with accumulation limits, even if that ownership is not reflected in the ownership records available to NMFS as specified at §660.140(e)(1)(iv). Permit owners found to exceed the five permit accumulation limit for C/P-endorsed permits after the divestiture period are in violation of the accumulation limits and required to completely divest of ownership or control of C/P-endorsed permits that exceed the accumulation limit. C/P-endorsed permits may be voluntarily abandoned to NMFS using the procedures provided under paragraph (h)(5)(iii) of this section. If NMFS finds that any entity owns or controls more than five C/P-endorsed permits, NMFS will make an Initial Administrative Determination (IAD) that the entity must divest of control or ownership of permits that exceed the accumulation limit within 30 days or NMFS will revoke the excess permits in accordance with §660.25(h)(2)(ii). The permit owner will have the opportunity to appeal the IAD through the National Appeals Office under the provisions established at 15 CFR part 906. All QS associated with revoked permits will be redistributed to all other C/P-endorsed permit owners in proportion to their QS holdings, based on current ownership records, on or about January 1 of the calendar year following the year in which the permits are revoked. This redistribution process will not allow any entity to receive more than 50 percent of the total QS allocations for the C/P sector.

(iii) Abandonment of C/P-endorsed permits. C/P-endorsed permits owners that own or control more than the five permit accumulation limit may voluntarily abandon C/P-endorsed permits if they notify NMFS in writing during the divestiture period specified at paragraph (h)(5)(i) of this section or within 30 days of conversion to an IFQ fishery. The written abandonment request must include the C/P endorsed permit number and the associated QS allocation percentage that will be abandoned. Either the C/P-endorsed permit owner or an authorized representative of the C/P-endorsed permit owner must sign the request. C/P-endorsed permit owners choosing to utilize the abandonment option will permanently relinquish to NMFS any right to the abandoned C/P-endorsed permit, and the QS associated with that permit will be redistributed as described under paragraph (h)(5)(ii) of this section. No compensation will be due for any abandoned permit, or associated QS or QP.

(iv) Review of C/P-permit ownership interest and accumulation limits. NMFS may request additional information from C/P-permit owners as necessary to verify compliance with accumulation limits in the event of C/P coop failure and conversion to IFQ fishery. If NMFS discovers through review of the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form that a person is not in compliance with accumulation limits, the person will be subject to divestiture provisions specified in paragraph (h)(5)(ii) of this section.

(v) Definition of Ownership or Control. For the purpose of determining ownership or control a person or entity has over a C/P endorsed permit, all of the following criteria apply:

(A) The person or entity has the right to direct, or does direct, in whole or in part, the business of the entity to which the permits are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (h)(5)(v)(C) and (G) of this section.

(B) The person or entity has the right to limit the actions of or replace, or does limit the actions of or replace, the chief executive officer, a majority of the board of directors, any general partner, or any person serving in a management capacity of the entity to which the C/P permits are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (h)(5)(v)(C) and (G) of this section.

(C) With the exception of banks and other financial institutions that rely on permits as collateral for loans as described under paragraphs (h)(5)(v)(G) of this section, the person or entity has the right to direct, or does direct, and/or the right to prevent or delay, or does prevent or delay, the transfer of the C/P permit associated QS, or the resulting QP.

(D) The person or entity, through loan covenants or any other means, has the right to restrict, or does restrict, and/or has a controlling influence over the day to day business activities or management policies of the entity to which the permits are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (h)(5)(v)(C) and (G) of this section.

(E) The person or entity has the right to restrict, or does restrict, any activity related to the C/P permit, associated QS or the resulting QP, including, but not limited to, use of permits, or associated QS, or disposition of fish harvested and processed under the resulting QP, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (h)(5)(v)(C) and (G) of this section.

(F) The person or entity has the right to control, or does control, the management of, or to be a controlling factor in, the entity to which the C/P permit, associated QS, or the resulting QP, are registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (h)(5)(v)(C) and (G) of this section.

(G) With the exception of banks and other financial institutions that rely on permits as collateral for loans, the person or entity has the right to cause or prevent, or does cause or prevent, the sale, lease or other disposition of C/P permits, associated QS, or the resulting QP.

(1) To qualify for this exception for banks and other financial institutions that rely on permits as collateral for loans, a bank or other financial institution must be regularly or primarily engaged in the business of lending, and must not be engaged in business with, or be controlled by, entities whose primary business is the harvesting, processing, or distribution of fish or fish products.

(2) Any state or federally chartered bank or financial institution that meets the requirement of paragraph (h)(5)(v)(G)(1) of this section does not need to submit additional information to NMFS.

(3) Any entity that is not a state or federally chartered bank or financial institution must submit a letter requesting the exception and disclose the identity and interest share of any shareholder with a 2 percent or more ownership interest in the lender through submission of the Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form (see paragraph (e)(1)(iv) of this section). The lender must make subsequent annual submissions of the letter and Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Form to maintain the exception. Letters requesting the exception and complete Trawl Identification of Ownership Interest Forms may be submitted to NMFS, West Coast Region, Permits Office, ATTN: Fisheries Permit Office, Bldg. 1, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. NMFS will only accept complete applications.

(H) The person or entity has the ability through any means whatsoever to control or have a controlling influence over the entity to which a permit associated QS is registered, with the exception of those activities allowed under paragraphs (h)(5)(v)(C) and (G) of this section.

[75 FR 60897, Oct. 1, 2010, as amended at 75 FR 78419, Dec. 15, 2010; 76 FR 27547, May 11, 2011; 76 FR 53838, Aug. 30, 2011; 76 FR 74746, Dec. 1, 2011; 77 FR 55158, Sept. 7, 2012; 78 FR 75282, Dec. 11, 2013; 80 FR 22297, Apr. 21, 2015; 81 FR 27011, May 5, 2016; 83 FR 763, Jan. 8, 2018; 83 FR 64004, Dec. 12, 2018; 84 FR 68812, Dec. 17, 2019]

Table 1 (North) to Part 660, Subpart D—Limited Entry Trawl Rockfish Conservation Areas and Landing Allowances for Non-IFQ Species and Pacific Whiting North of 40°10 N Lat.

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[85 FR 8201, Feb. 13, 2020]

Table 1 (South) to Part 660, Subpart D—Limited Entry Trawl Landing Allowances for Non-IFQ Species and Pacific Whiting South of 40°10 N Lat.

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[85 FR 8201, Feb. 13, 2020]

Figure 1 to Part 660, Subpart D—Diagram of Selective Flatfish Trawl

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