IB 20-35: NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement Announces a Reminder of Amendment 91 Salmon Bycatch Requirements

April 24, 2020 - 02:30 p.m.

Notice of fishery management action

NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement (OLE), Alaska Division, has noticed an increase in the number of allegations of Amendment 91 Salmon Bycatch violations in 2018 and 2019.

Examples of salmon violations include salmon passing the last point of sorting, failure to place salmon in an approved container, and failure to secure catch after it has been made available for sampling by an observer.

This Information Bulletin serves as a reminder of regulatory requirements. Please take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the regulations to help minimize the need for future enforcement action.

Complete regulations may be accessed at the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) website.

SALMON BYCATCH MANAGEMENT (Pertinent Regulation Excerpts):

50 CFR 679.2 Salmon means the following species: Chinook (or king) salmon (Oncorhynchus
tshawytscha); Coho (or silver) salmon (O. kisutch); Pink (or humpback) salmon (O. gorbuscha);
Sockeye (or red) salmon (O. nerka); and Chum (or dog) salmon (O. keta).

50 CFR 679.21 Prohibited species bycatch management.

* * *

  • (f) Salmon Bycatch Management in the BS Pollock Fishery
  • (1) Applicability. This paragraph contains regulations governing the bycatch of salmon in the BS pollock fishery.

* * *

  • (15) Salmon handling. Regulations in this paragraph apply to vessels directed fishing for pollock in the BS, including pollock CDQ, and processors taking deliveries from these vessels.
    • (i) Salmon discard. The operator of a vessel and the manager of a shoreside processor or SFP must not discard any salmon or transfer or process any salmon under the PSD Program at § 679.26 if the salmon were taken incidental to a directed fishery for pollock in the BS until the number of salmon has been determined by the observer and the observer's collection of any scientific data or biological samples from the salmon has been completed.
    • (ii) Salmon retention and storage.
      • (A) Operators of catcher/processors or motherships must 
        • (1) Sort and transport all salmon bycatch from each haul to an approved storage container located adjacent to the observer sampling station that allows an observer free and unobstructed access to the salmon (see § 679.28(d)(2)(i) and (d)(7)). The salmon storage container must remain in view of the observer from the observer sampling station at all times during the sorting of the haul.
        • (2) If, at any point during sorting of a haul or delivery, the salmon are too numerous to be contained in the salmon storage container, cease all sorting and give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon in the storage container and collect scientific data or biological samples. Once the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for the counted salmon, the salmon must be removed by vessel personnel from the approved storage container and the observer sampling station, in the presence of the observer.
        • (3) Before sorting of the next haul may begin, give the observer the opportunity to complete the count of salmon and the collection of scientific data or biological samples from the previous haul. When the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for a haul or delivery, vessel personnel must remove the salmon, in the presence of the observer, from the salmon storage container and the observer sampling station.
        • (4) Ensure no salmon of any species pass the observer sample collection point, as identified in the scale drawing of the observer sampling station (see § 679.28(d)(2)(i) and (d)(7)).
      •  (B) Operators of vessels delivering to shoreside processors or stationary floating processors must –
        • (1) Retain all salmon taken incidental to a directed fishery for pollock in the BS until the salmon are delivered to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch.
        • (2) Notify the observer at least 15 minutes before handling catch on board the vessel, including, but not limited to, moving catch from one location to another, sorting, or discard of catch prior to the delivery of catch to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch. This notification requirement is in addition to the notification requirements in § 679.51(e).
        • (3) Secure all salmon and catch after the observer has completed the collection of scientific data and biological samples and after the vessel crew has completed handling the catch. All salmon and any other catch retained on board the vessel must be made unavailable for sorting and discard until the delivery of catch to the processor receiving the vessel's BS pollock catch. Methods to make salmon or retained catch unavailable for sorting or discard include but are not limited to securing the catch in a completely enclosed container above or below deck, securing the catch in an enclosed codend, or completely and securely covering the fish on deck.
        • (4) Comply with the requirements in paragraphs (f)(15)(ii)(B)(2) and (3) of this section, before handling the catch prior to delivery.
      • (C) Shoreside processors or stationary floating processors must –
        • (1) Comply with the requirements in § 679.28(g)(7)(vii) for the receipt, sorting, and storage of salmon from deliveries of catch from the BS pollock fishery.
        • (2) Ensure no salmon of any species pass beyond the last point where sorting of fish occurs, as identified in the scale drawing of the plant in the Catch Monitoring Control Plan (CMCP).
        • (3) Sort and transport all salmon of any species to the salmon storage container identified in the CMCP (see § 679.28 (g)(7)(vi)(C) and (g)(7)(x)(F)). The salmon must remain in that salmon storage container and within the view of the observer at all times during the offload.
        • (4) If, at any point during the offload, salmon are too numerous to be contained in the salmon storage container, cease the offload and all sorting and give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples. The counted salmon then must be removed from the area by plant personnel in the presence of the observer.
        • (5) At the completion of the offload, give the observer the opportunity to count the salmon and collect scientific data or biological samples.
        • (6) Before sorting of the next offload of catch from the BS pollock fishery may begin, give the observer the opportunity to complete the count of salmon and the collection of scientific data or biological samples from the previous offload of catch from the BS pollock fishery. When the observer has completed all counting and sampling duties for the offload, plant personnel must remove the salmon, in the presence of the observer, from the salmon storage container and location where salmon are counted and biological samples or scientific data are collected.
    • (iii) Assignment of crew to assist observer. Operators of vessels and managers of shoreside processors and SFPs that are required to retain salmon under paragraph (f)(15)(i) of this section must designate and identify to the observer aboard the vessel, or at the shoreside processor or SFP, a crew person or employee responsible for ensuring all sorting, retention, and storage of salmon occurs according to the requirements of (f)(15)(ii) of this section.
    • (iv) Discard of salmon. Except for salmon under the PSD Program at § 679.26, all salmon must be returned to the sea as soon as is practicable, following notification by an observer that the number of salmon has been determined and the collection of scientific data or biological samples has been completed.
       

Please take the opportunity to familiarize yourself with these regulations. If you have questions or would like to report a violation, you may contact the NOAA OLE Alaska Regional Office at 907-586-7225 or the NOAA OLE Alaska Enforcement Hotline at 907-586-7647.

This Notice serves as a reminder of the Amendment 91 Salmon Bycatch Requirements but does not provide a full list of all applicable federal regulations. Complete regulations may  be accessed at the eCFR.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on April 24, 2020

Bycatch Alaska Salmon Bycatch