NMFS Intent for Short-Term Adjustment to Observer Coverage Requirements

September 16, 1999 - 1:35 p.m.

Notice of a fishery management action.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces its intent to enact under 50 CFR 679.50(e) a short-term adjustment to existing observer coverage requirements to respond to unanticipated events that have led to a shortage of NMFS-certified observers necessary to meet current regulatory requirements, according to Steven Pennoyer, Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS. Under the anticipated adjustment, existing observer coverage requirements set out at § 679.50(c)(v)-(vii), which are based on a calender quarter compliance period, would be adjusted to be based on a 6-month compliance period during the period of July 1, 1999, through December 31, 1999. This would allow vessel owners/operators to satisfy the coverage required by 679.50(c)(v)-(vii) at any time during this six month period instead of being constrained to meet these coverage requirements on a quarterly basis.

According to observer contractors, the current shortage of observers can be attributed to several factors, including increased observer coverage required by the Alaska State Board of Fisheries for trawl vessels intending to participate in the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery and unanticipated closure of other crab fisheries that has resulted in increased participation in the Pacific cod pot gear fishery by crab vessels. This short-term adjustment intended by NMFS would allow vessels requiring 30% coverage more flexibility in coordinating with observer contractor companies to obtain required observer coverage. It is the intent of NMFS that this short term adjustment would terminate at 0001 hours A.l.t. on January 1, 2000, and all vessels would again be required to meet the requirements of 679.50(c)(v)-(vii) on a quarterly basis.

Please contact the Sustainable Fisheries Division at the number listed above for more information.

Last updated by Alaska Regional Office on February 11, 2019