50 CFR § 635.9 - Electronic monitoring.

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§ 635.9 Electronic monitoring.

(a) Applicability. An owner or operator of a commercial vessel permitted or required to be permitted in the Atlantic Tunas Longline category under § 635.4, and that has pelagic longline gear on board, is required to have installed, operate, and maintain an electronic monitoring (EM) system on the vessel, as specified in this section. Vessel owner or operators can contact NMFS or a NMFS-approved contractor for more details on procuring an EM system.

(b) EM Installation.

(1) NMFS or a NMFS-approved contractor will assess individual Atlantic Tunas Longline permitted vessels that are currently eligible for IBQ share, install and test all EM systems; provide training to vessel owners or operators or their designees; and develop in consultation with vessel owners or operators or their designees required operational plans (Vessel Monitoring Plan or VMP) for the EM systems, as described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section.

(2) Vessel owners or operators, as instructed by NMFS, will be required to coordinate with NMFS or a NMFS-approved contractor to schedule a date or range of dates for EM installation, and/or may be required to steam to a designated port for EM installation on NMFS-determined dates. NMFS may require vessel owners to make minor modifications to vessel equipment to facilitate installation and operation of the EM system, such as, but not limited to, installation of a fitting for the pressure side of the line of the drum hydraulic system, a power supply for the EM system and power switches/connections, additional lighting, and/or a mounting structure(s) for installation of the camera(s). EM installation must be completed by June 1, 2015 in order to fish with pelagic longline gear after that date.

(i) Certificate of Installation. After confirming that an EM system that meets the requirements of this section is properly installed, the system has been tested, and training and a required operational plan (VMP) are completed, NMFS or the NMFS-approved contractor will provide a Certificate of Installation to the vessel owner or operator.

(ii) Vessels described under paragraph (a) of this section may not depart on a fishing trip without having a valid Certificate of Installation and VMP on board.

(c) EM System Components. The EM system installed by the NMFS-approved contractor must be comprised of video camera(s), recording equipment, and other related equipment and must have the following components and capabilities:

(1) Video camera(s).

(i) Video cameras must be mounted and placed so as to provide clear, unobstructed views of the area(s) where the pelagic longline gear is retrieved and of catch being removed from hooks prior to being placed in the hold or discarded. There must be lighting sufficient to illuminate clearly individual fish.

(ii) Video camera(s) must be in sufficient numbers (a minimum of two and up to four), with sufficient resolution (no less than 720p (1280 × 720)) for NMFS, the USCG, and their authorized officers and designees, or any individual authorized by NMFS to determine the number and species of fish harvested. To obtain the views described in paragraph (c)(1)(i), at least one camera must be mounted to record close-up images of fish being retained on the deck at the haulback station, and at least one camera must be mounted to record activity at the waterline along the side of the vessel at the haul back station. NMFS or the NMFS-approved contractor will determine if more cameras are needed.

(iii) The EM system must be capable of initiating video recording at the time gear retrieval starts. It must record all periods of time when the gear is being retrieved and catch is removed from the hooks until it is placed in the hold or discarded.

(2) GPS receiver. A GPS receiver is required to produce output, which includes location coordinates, velocity, and heading data, and is directly logged continuously by the control box. The GPS receiver must be installed and remain in a location where it receives a strong signal continuously.

(3) Hydraulic and drum rotation sensors. Hydraulic sensors are required to continuously monitor the hydraulic pressure and a drum rotation sensor must continuously monitor drum rotations.

(4) EM control box. The system must include a control box that receives and stores the raw data provided by the sensors and cameras. The control box must contain removable hard drives and storage systems adequate for a trip lasting 30 days.

(5) EM systems monitor. A wheelhouse monitor must provide a graphical user interface for harvester to monitor the state and performance of the control box and provide information on the current date and time synchronized via GPS, GPS coordinates, current hydraulic pressure reading, presence of a data disk, percentage used of the data disk, and video recording status.

(6) The EM system must have software that enables the system to be tested for functionality and that records the outcome of the tests.

(d) Data maintenance, storage, and viewing. The EM system must have the capacity to allow NMFS, the USCG, and their authorized officers and designees, or any NMFS-approved contractor to observe the live video on the EM systems monitor as described in paragraph (c)(5) of this section. Vessel owner or operators must provide access to the system, including the data upon request.

(e) Operation.

(1) Unless otherwise authorized by NMFS in writing, a vessel described in paragraph (a) of this section must collect video and sensor data in accordance with the requirements in this section, in order to fish with pelagic longline gear.

(2) Vessel monitoring plan. The vessel owner or operator must have available onboard a written VMP for its system, which is an operational plan developed by the NMFS-approved contractor containing the standardized procedures relating to the vessel's EM system. VMPs may include, but are not limited to, information on the locations of EM system components; contact information for technical support; instructions on how to conduct a pre-trip system test; instructions on how to verify proper system functions; location(s) on deck where fish retrieval should occur to remain in view of the cameras; procedures for how to manage EM system hard drives; catch handling procedures; a size reference for facilitating determination of fish size; periodic checks of the monitor during the retrieval of gear to verify proper functioning; reporting procedures. The VMP should minimize to the extent practicable any impact on the current operating procedures of the vessel, and should help ensure the safety of the crew.

(3) Handling of fish and duties of care. The vessel owner or operator must ensure that all fish that are caught, even those that are released, are handled in a manner that enables the video system to record such fish, and must ensure that all handling and retention of bluefin tuna occurs in accordance with relevant regulations and the operational procedures outlined in the VMP. The vessel owner or operator is responsible for ensuring the proper continuous functioning of the EM system, including that the EM system must remain powered on for the duration of each fishing trip from the time of departure to time of return; cameras must be cleaned routinely; and EM system components must not be tampered with.

(4) Completion of trip. Within 48 hours of completing a fishing trip, the vessel owner or operator must mail the removable EM system hard drive(s) containing all data to NMFS or NMFS-approved contractor, according to instructions provided by NMFS. The vessel owner or operator is responsible for using shipping materials suitable to protect the hard drives (e.g., bubble wrap), tracking the package, and including a self-addressed mailing label for the next port of call so replacement hard drives can be mailed back to the vessel owner or operator. Prior to departing on a subsequent trip, the vessel owner or operator must install a replacement EM system hard drive(s) to enable data collection and video recording. The vessel owner or operator is responsible for contacting NMFS or NMFS-approved contractor if they have requested but not received a replacement hard drive(s) and for informing NMFS or NMFS-approved contractor of any lapse in the hard drive management procedures described in the VMP.

(f) Failure to adequately monitor the gear and catch. The vessel owner or operator must monitor and maintain the EM system in working condition, which includes ensuring the proper continuous functioning of the EM system, cameras provide clear unobstructed views, and video picture quality is clear. Prior to departing on a trip with pelagic longline gear on board, the vessel owner or operator must test the functionality of the system and contact NMFS or the NMFS-approved contractor if the system is not functioning properly. In that case, or if NMFS independently determines that an EM system fails to meet the requirements of this section, the vessel cannot leave port unless and until NMFS provides written authorization. NMFS may grant such authorization after confirming that an EM system is functioning properly or other circumstances as determined by NMFS warrant authorization.

(g) Repair and replacement. If the vessel owner or operator becomes aware that the EM system on the vessel is not functioning properly at sea, the vessel owner or operator must contact NMFS and follow the instructions given. Such instructions may include but are not limited to returning to port until the EM system is repaired. Once in port, an EM system must be functioning properly (e.g., repaired, reinstalled, or replaced) consistent with the installation requirements in this section before the vessel can fish with pelagic longline gear.

[79 FR 71588, Dec. 2, 2014, as amended at 83 FR 33154, July 17, 2018]

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