50 CFR § 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.
(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.
(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).
(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).
(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).
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