North Pacific Observer Program - Federal Register Rules and Notices
Regulations to implement catch handling and monitoring requirements to allow Pacific halibut (halibut) bycatch to be sorted on the deck of trawl catcher/processors (C/Ps) and motherships participating in the non-pollock groundfish fisheries off Alaska. Halibut bycatch must be discarded and returned to the sea with a minimum of injury in the directed groundfish fisheries in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) and Gulf of Alaska (GOA) management areas. This final action includes additional minor regulatory changes that improve consistency and clarity of existing regulations, removes unnecessary and outdated regulations, and updates cross references to reflect these new regulations.
Regulations at subpart E of 50 CFR part 679 require that most vessels fishing for groundfish or halibut must carry an observer for some or all fishing activities to ensure the collection of data necessary to manage the groundfish and halibut fisheries.
The Observer Program is an integral component in the management of North Pacific fisheries. The Observer Program has two observer coverage categories: Partial and full. Regulations at 50 CFR 679.51 require vessels and processors in the full coverage category to carry an observer at all times when fish are caught or processed.