50 CFR 679.24 - Gear limitations.

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§ 679.24 Gear limitations.
Regulations pertaining to vessel and gear markings are set forth in this section and as prescribed in the annual management measures published in the Federal Register pursuant to § 300.62 of chapter III of this title.
(a) Marking of hook-and-line, longline pot, and pot-and-line gear.
(1) All hook-and-line, longline pot, and pot-and-line marker buoys carried on board or used by any vessel regulated under this part shall be marked with the following:
(i) The vessel's name; and
(ii) The vessel's Federal fisheries permit number; or
(iii) The vessel's ADF&G vessel registration number.
(2) Markings shall be in characters at least 4 inches (10.16 cm) in height and 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) in width in a contrasting color visible above the water line and shall be maintained so the markings are clearly visible.
(b) Gear restrictions—
(1) Pots—— Longline pot gear. Any person using longline pot gear must treat any catch of groundfish as a prohibited species, except:
(i) In the Aleutian Islands subarea.
(ii) While directed fishing for sablefish in the Bering Sea subarea.
(2) [Reserved]
(3) Trawl footrope. No person trawling in any GOA area limited to pelagic trawling under § 679.22 may allow the footrope of that trawl to be in contact with the seabed for more than 10 percent of the period of any tow.
(4) BSAI pollock nonpelagic trawl prohibition. No person may use nonpelagic trawl gear to engage in directed fishing for pollock in the BSAI.
(c) Gear restrictions for sablefish—
(1) Gear allocations. Gear allocations of sablefish TAC are set out under § 679.20.
(2) Eastern GOA regulatory area—
(i) General.
(A) No person may use any gear other than hook-and-line and trawl gear when fishing for sablefish in the Eastern GOA regulatory Area.
(B) No person may use any gear other than hook-and-line gear to engage in directed fishing for sablefish.
(ii) Sablefish as prohibited species—
(A) Trawl gear. When operators of vessels using trawl gear have harvested 5 percent of the TAC for sablefish in the Eastern GOA regulatory area during any year, further trawl catches of sablefish must be treated as prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(b).
(B) Other gear. Operators of vessels using gear types other than those specified in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section in the Eastern GOA regulatory area must treat any catch of sablefish as a prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(b).
(3) Central and Western GOA regulatory areas; sablefish as prohibited species. Operators of vessels using gear types other than hook-and-line and trawl gear in the Central and western GOA regulatory areas must treat any catch of sablefish in these areas as a prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(b).
(4) BSAI. Operators of vessels using gear types other than hook-and-line, longline pot, pot-and-line, or trawl gear in the BSAI must treat sablefish as a prohibited species as provided by § 679.21(b).
(d) Trawl gear test areas—
(1) General. For purposes of allowing pelagic and nonpelagic trawl fishermen to test trawl fishing gear, NMFS may establish, after consulting with the Council, locations for the testing of trawl fishing gear in areas that would otherwise be closed to trawling.
(2) Trawl gear testing. For the purposes of this section, “trawl gear testing” means deploying trawl gear in areas designated in this paragraph (d) and in Figure 7 to this part under the following conditions.
(i) The codend shall be unzipped while trawl gear testing.
(ii) Groundfish shall not be possessed on board when trawl gear testing.
(iii) Observers aboard vessels during the time spent trawl gear testing shall not fulfill observer requirements at subpart E of this part.
(3) Criteria. The establishment of test areas must comply with the following criteria:
(i) Depth and bottom type must be suitable for testing the particular gear type.
(ii) The areas must be outside State waters.
(iii) The areas must be in locations not normally closed to fishing with that gear type.
(iv) The areas must be in locations that are not usually fished heavily by that gear type.
(v) The areas must not be within a designated Steller sea lion protection area at any time of the year.
(4) Test areas. Trawl gear testing is allowed in the following areas (Figure 7 to this part) bounded by straight lines connecting the coordinates in the order listed, at all times:
(i) Kodiak Test Area.
57°37′ N. lat., 152°02′ W. long.
57°37′ N. lat., 151°25′ W. long.
57°23′ N. lat., 151°25′ W. long.
57°23′ N. lat., 152°02′ W. long.
57°37′ N. lat., 152°02′ W. long.
(ii) Sand Point Test Area.
54°50′ N. lat., 161°00′ W. long.
54°50′ N. lat., 160°30′ W. long.
54°35′ N. lat., 160°30′ W. long.
54°35′ N. lat., 161°00′ W. long.
54°50′ N. lat., 161°00′ W. long.
(iii) Bering Sea Test Area.
55°00′ N. lat., 167°00′ W. long.
55°00′ N. lat., 166°00′ W. long.
54°40′ N. lat., 166°00′ W. long.
54°40′ N. lat., 167°00′ W. long.
55°00′ N. lat., 167°00′ W. long.
(e) Seabird avoidance program for vessels fishing with hook-and-line gear—
(1) Applicability. The operator of a vessel that is longer than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA fishing with hook-and-line gear must comply with the seabird avoidance requirements as specified in paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) of this section while fishing for any of the following species:
(i) IFQ halibut or CDQ halibut.
(ii) IFQ sablefish.
(iii) Groundfish in the EEZ off Alaska.
(2) Seabird Avoidance Requirements. The operator of a vessel described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section must:
(i) Gear onboard. Have onboard the vessel the seabird avoidance gear as specified in paragraph (e)(3) of this section;
(ii) Gear inspection. Upon request by an authorized officer or observer, make the seabird avoidance gear available for inspection;
(iii) Gear use. Use seabird avoidance gear as specified in paragraph (e)(3) of this section that meets standards as specified in paragraph (e)(4) of this section, while hook-and-line gear is being deployed.
(iv) Sink baited hooks. Use hooks that when baited, sink as soon as they are put in the water.
(v) Offal discharge.
(A) If offal is discharged while gear is being set or hauled, discharge offal in a manner that distracts seabirds from baited hooks, to the extent practicable. The discharge site on board a vessel must be either aft of the hauling station or on the opposite side of the vessel from the hauling station.
(B) Remove hooks from any offal that is discharged.
(C) Eliminate directed discharge through chutes or pipes of residual bait or offal from the stern of the vessel while setting gear. This does not include baits falling off the hook or offal discharges from other locations that parallel the gear and subsequently drift into the wake zone well aft of the vessel.
(D) For vessels not deploying gear from the stern, eliminate directed discharge of residual bait or offal over sinking hook-and-line gear while gear is being deployed.
(vi) Safe release of seabirds. Make every reasonable effort to ensure birds brought on board alive are released alive and that, wherever possible, hooks are removed without jeopardizing the life of the birds.
(3) Seabird avoidance gear requirements. (See also Table 20 to this part.)
(i) The operator of a vessel identified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section must comply with paragraph (e)(3)(ii) or (e)(3)(iii) of this section while fishing with hook-and-line gear for groundfish, IFQ halibut, CDQ halibut, or IFQ sablefish in Federal waters (EEZ) and for IFQ halibut, CDQ halibut, or IFQ sablefish in the State of Alaska waters, excluding fishing in:
(A) NMFS Reporting Area 649 (Prince William Sound);
(B) State waters of Cook Inlet;
(C) NMFS Reporting Area 659 (Eastern GOA Regulatory Area; Southeast Inside District), but including waters in the areas south of a straight line at 56°17.25 N. lat. between Point Harris and Port Armstrong in Chatham Strait, State statistical areas 325431 and 325401, and west of a straight line at 136°21.17 E. long. from Point Wimbledon extending south through the Inian Islands to Point Lavinia; and
(D) Area 4E with a vessel less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA, but including fishing in waters south of 60°00.00 N. lat. and west of 160°00.00 W. long.
(ii) Using other than snap gear,
(A) A minimum of 1 buoy bag line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA without masts, poles, or rigging.
(B) A minimum of a single streamer line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(ii) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA with masts, poles, or rigging.
(C) A minimum of a paired streamer line of a standard as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(iii) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA.
(iii) Using snap gear,
(A) A minimum of 1 buoy bag line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(i) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA without masts, poles, or rigging.
(B) A minimum of a single streamer line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(iv) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA with masts, poles, or rigging.
(C) A minimum of a single streamer line as specified in paragraph (e)(4)(iv) of this section must be used by vessels greater than 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA.
(4) Seabird avoidance gear performance and material standards:
(i) Buoy bag line weather exception. In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of a buoy bag line is discretionary.
(ii) Single streamer standard.
(A) A single streamer line must:
(1) Be a minimum of 300 feet (91.4 m) in length;
(2) Have streamers spaced every 16.4 ft (5 m);
(3) Be deployed before the first hook is set in such a way that streamers are in the air for a minimum of 131.2 ft (40 m) aft of the stern and within 6.6 ft (2 m) horizontally of the point where the main groundline enters the water.
(4) Have individual streamers that hang attached to the mainline to 9.8 in (0.25 m) above the waterline in the absence of wind.
(5) Have streamers constructed of material that is brightly colored, UV-protected plastic tubing or 3/8 inch polyester line or material of an equivalent density.
(B) Weather exception: In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of a single streamer line is discretionary.
(iii) Paired streamer standard:
(A) At least one streamer line must be deployed before the first hook is set and two streamer lines must be fully deployed within 90 seconds.
(B) Weather exceptions: In conditions of wind speeds exceeding 30 knots (near gale or Beaufort 7 conditions), but less than or equal to 45 knots, a single streamer must be deployed from the windward side of the vessel. In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of streamer lines is discretionary.
(C) Streamer lines must:
(1) Be deployed in such a way that streamers are in the air for a minimum of 131.2 ft (40 m) aft of the stern for vessels under 100 ft (30.5 m) and 196.9 ft (60 m) aft of the stern for vessels 100 ft (30.5 m) or over;
(2) Be a minimum of 300 feet (91.4 m) in length;
(3) Have streamers spaced every 16.4 ft (5 m);
(4) For vessels deploying hook-and-line gear from the stern, the streamer lines must be deployed from the stern, one on each side of the main groundline.
(5) For vessels deploying gear from the side, the streamer lines must be deployed from the stern, one over the main groundline and the other on one side of the main groundline.
(6) Have individual streamers that hang attached to the mainline to 9.8 in (0.25 m) above the waterline in the absence of wind.
(7) Have streamers constructed of material that is brightly colored, UV-protected plastic tubing or 3/8 inch polyester line or material of an equivalent density.
(iv) Snap gear streamer standard:
(A) For vessels using snap gear, a single streamer line must:
(1) Be deployed before the first hook is set in such a way that streamers are in the air for 65.6 ft (20 m) aft of the stern and within 6.6 ft (2 m) horizontally of the point where the main groundline enters the water.
(2) Have a minimum length of 147.6 ft (45 m).
(B) Weather exception: In winds exceeding 45 knots (storm or Beaufort 9 conditions), the use of a single streamer line is discretionary.
(v) Weather safety standard. The use of seabird avoidance devices required by paragraph (e)(3) of this section is discretionary for vessels greater than 26 ft (7.9 m) LOA and less than or equal to 55 ft (16.8 m) LOA in conditions of wind speeds exceeding 30 knots (near gale or Beaufort 7 conditions).
(5) Other methods. Any of the following measures or methods must be accompanied by the applicable seabird avoidance gear requirements as specified in paragraph (e)(3) of this section:
(i) Night-setting.
(ii) Line shooter.
(iii) Lining tube.
(6) Seabird avoidance exemption.
Nothwithstanding any other paragraph in this part, operators of vessels 32 ft (9.8 m) LOA or less using hook-and-line gear in IPHC Area 4E in waters shoreward of the EEZ are exempt from seabird avoidance regulations.
(f) Modified nonpelagic trawl gear. Nonpelagic trawl gear modified as shown in Figure 26 to this part must be used by any vessel required to be federally permitted and that is used to directed fish for flatfish, as defined in § 679.2, in any reporting areas of the BS or directed fish for groundfish with nonpelagic trawl gear in the Modified Gear Trawl Zone specified in Table 51 to this part. Nonpelagic trawl gear used by these vessels must meet the following standards.
(1) Elevated section minimum clearance. Except as provided for in paragraph (f)(3)(iii) of this section, elevating devices must be installed on the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part to raise the elevated section at least 2.5 inches (6.4 cm), as measured adjacent to the elevating device contacting a hard, flat surface that is parallel to the elevated section, regardless of the elevating device orientation, and measured between the surface and the widest part of the line material. Elevating devices must be installed on each end of the elevated section, as shown in Figure 26 to this part. Measuring locations to determine compliance with this standard are shown in Figure 25 to this part.
(2) Elevating device spacing. Elevating devices must be secured along the entire length of the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part and spaced no less than 30 feet (9.1 m) apart; and either
(i) If the elevating devices raise the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) or less, the space between elevating devices must be no more than 65 feet (19.8 m); or
(ii) If the elevating devices raise the elevated section shown Figure 26 to this part more than 3.5 inches (8.9 cm), the space between elevating devices must be no more than 95 feet (29 m).
(3) Clearance measurements and line cross sections.
(i) The largest cross section of the line of the elevated section shown in Figure 26 to this part between elevating devices shall not be greater than the cross section of the material at the nearest measurement location, as selected based on the examples shown in Figure 25 to this part. The material at the measurement location must be—
(A) The same material as the line between elevating devices, as shown in Figures 25a and 25d to this part;
(B) Different material than the line between elevating devices and used to support the elevating device at a connection between line sections (e.g., on a metal spindle, on a chain), as shown in Figure 25b to this part; or
(C) Disks of a smaller cross section than the elevating device, which are strung continuously on a line between elevating devices, as shown in Figure 25c to this part.
(ii) Portions of the line between elevating devices that are braided or doubled for section terminations or used for line joining devices are not required to be a smaller cross section than the measuring location.
(iii) Required minimum clearance for supporting material of a larger cross section than the cross section of the line material. When the material supporting the elevating device has a larger cross section than the largest cross section of the line between elevating devices, except as provided for in paragraph (f)(3)(ii) of this section, based on measurements taken in locations shown in Figure 27 to this part, the required minimum clearance shall be as follows:
(A) For elevating devices spaced 30 feet (9.1 m) to 65 feet (19.8 m), the required minimum clearance is ≥ [2.5 inches − ((support material cross section − line material cross section)/2)], or
(B) For elevating devices spaced greater than 65 feet (19.8 m) to 95 feet (29 m), the required minimum clearance is ≥ [3.5 inches −((support material cross section − line material cross section)/2)].
[61 FR 31230, June 19, 1996]
Editorial Note:
For Federal Register citations affecting § 679.24, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

Title 50 published on 2013-10-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 50.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2014-05-21; vol. 79 # 98 - Wednesday, May 21, 2014
    1. 79 FR 29136 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Yellowfin Sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
      Temporary rule; closure.
      Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), May 18, 2014, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2014.
      50 CFR Part 679

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United States Code
Public Laws

Title 50 published on 2013-10-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 50 CFR 679 after this date.

  • 2014-05-21; vol. 79 # 98 - Wednesday, May 21, 2014
    1. 79 FR 29136 - Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Yellowfin Sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
      Temporary rule; closure.
      Effective 1200 hrs, Alaska local time (A.l.t.), May 18, 2014, through 2400 hrs, A.l.t., December 31, 2014.
      50 CFR Part 679