The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has approved an emergency interim rule that establishes additional observer coverage requirements for the 20 catcher/processor (C/P) vessels listed under section 208(e)(1)-(20) (listed C/Ps) of the American Fisheries Act, Public Law 105-277 (AFA) according to Steven Pennoyer, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS.
The emergency rule will be filed with the Office of the Federal Register and effective by January 20, 1999. The rule requires that two NMFS-certified observers must be aboard each of the 20 listed C/Ps at all times the vessel is used to fish for groundfish in the EEZ off Alaska. In addition to the requirement that each listed C/P carry two NMFS-certified observers, NMFS requires that at least one of the observers aboard each listed C/P must be certified to observe in the multi-species community development program fisheries. The emergency rule also establishes inseason authority to manage the non-pollock harvest limitations required under the AFA for these 20 vessels.
These actions are necessary to monitor and manage the harvest of the listed C/Ps. They are intended to promote the intent of the statutory provisions promulgated under the AFA for these vessels in 1999.
For further information contact the Sustainable Fisheries Division, NMFS, at 907-586-7228.