§ 229.31Pacific Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Plan.
(a)Purpose and scope. The purpose of this section is to implement the Pacific Offshore Cetacean Take Reduction Plan. Paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section apply to all U.S. drift gillnet fishing vessels operating in waters seaward of the coast of California or Oregon, including adjacent high seas waters. For purposes of this section, the fishing season is defined as beginning May 1 and ending on January 31 of the following year.
(b)Extenders. An extender is a line that attaches a buoy (float) to a drift gillnet's floatline. The floatline is attached to the top of the drift gillnet. All extenders (buoy lines) must be at least 6 fathoms (36 ft; 10.9 m) in length during all sets. Accordingly, all floatlines must be fished at a minimum of 36 feet (10.9 m) below the surface of the water.
(1) For the purposes of this paragraph (c), a pinger is an acoustic deterrent device which, when immersed in water, broadcasts a 10 kHz (±2 kHz) sound at 132 dB (±4 dB) re 1 micropascal at 1 m, lasting 300 milliseconds ( 15 milliseconds), and repeating every 4 seconds ( .2 seconds); and remains operational to a water depth of at least 100 fathoms (600 ft or 182.88 m).
(2) While at sea, operators of drift gillnet vessels with gillnets onboard must carry enough pingers on the vessel to meet the requirements set forth under paragraphs (c)(3) through(6) of this section.
(3)Floatline. Pingers shall be attached within 30 ft (9.14 m) of the floatline and spaced no more than 300 ft (91.44 m) apart.
(4)Leadline. Pingers shall be attached within 36 ft (10.97 m) of the leadline and spaced no more than 300 ft (91.44 m) apart.
(5)Staggered Configuration. Pingers attached within 30 ft (9.14 m) of the floatline and within 36 ft (10.97 m) of the leadline shall be staggered such that the horizontal distance between them is no more than 150 ft (45.5 m).
(6) Any materials used to weight pingers must not change its specifications set forth under paragraph (c)(1) of this section.
(7) The pingers must be operational and functioning at all times during deployment.
(8) If requested, NMFS may authorize the use of pingers with specifications or pinger configurations differing from those set forth in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(3) of this section for limited, experimental purposes within a single fishing season.
(d)Skipper education workshops. After notification from NMFS, vessel operators must attend a skipper education workshop before commencing fishing each fishing season. For the 1997/1998 fishing season, all vessel operators must have attended one skipper education workshop by October 30, 1997. NMFS may waive the requirement to attend these workshops by notice to all vessel operators.