North Pacific Observer Program - Federal Register Rules and Notices
NOAA Fisheries issues regulations to modify specific provisions of the North Pacific Observer Program. The first two elements of this final rule implement requirements for an observer to obtain a non-trawl lead level 2 (LL2) deployment endorsement and implement a pre-cruise meeting requirement for vessels required to carry an observer with a non-trawl LL2 deployment endorsement. These two elements are intended to increase the number of observers that qualify for a non-trawl LL2 deployment endorsement and maintain observer safety and data quality. The third element of this final rule removes duplicative and unnecessary reporting requirements and makes minor changes to reduce observer requirements for specific vessels when participating in the Western Alaska Community Development Quota Program.
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.