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Notice of Emergency Action to Temporarily Remove 2021 Seasonal Processing Limitations for Whiting Motherships and Catcher-Processors

May 13, 2021

For more information, contact Groundfish Branch: Colin Sayre, (206) 526-4656.

On May 14, 2021, NOAA Fisheries published an Emergency Rule (86 FR 26439) in the Federal Register to temporarily allow at-sea Pacific whiting processing vessels to operate as both a mothership (MS) and a catcher-processor (C/P) during the 2021 Pacific whiting fishery. This rule is effective immediately upon publication.

This emergency rule temporarily (for 180 days) allows eligible at-sea pacific whiting MS and C/P vessels to operate as both types of processing vessels during the 2021 Pacific whiting season, but not on the same fishing trip. In the event a processing vessel must cease or change operations resulting from, or to avoid, a COVID-19 outbreak onboard, these emergency measures will provide flexibility to allow other vessels to process catch that at-sea whiting catcher-vessels would not otherwise be able to deliver as a result. This action would help promote health and human safety by allowing processing vessels to quarantine while minimizing economic harm to at-sea whiting catcher-vessels while they operate under continued risk and economic uncertainty during the ongoing pandemic. This action does not change any other elements of the at-sea Pacific whiting fishery.

These emergency measures may be extended for an additional 186 days if warranted. The public has an opportunity to comment on this initial emergency action for 30 days. After considering public comments, NMFS may renew emergency measures before expiration.

To view and provide public comment on these measures, this emergency rule can be found in the Federal Register.

Last updated by West Coast Regional Office on May 14, 2021