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Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

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Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby elhewman » Sun Apr 19, 2015 9:47 pm

Not that it pertains to most trollers but according to the Coast Guard Safety/Navigation it does not matter if the DEC approves your filleting operation on your boat. It is not legal to fillet and freeze any commercially caught fish off any boat under 65' :x :x In a day and age where is nice to try to find niche markets for small family operations, I found this regulation very disappointing.

I talked to DEC in Sitka and I cannot proceed getting my boat approved for filleting due to this rule. The coast guard official I chatted with said it is an unfortunate rule based of Bering Sea operations and nothing to do SE AK or other fisheries. HE says he is pushing to change it but not to hold my breath.

It is of course legal to head and gut and freeze. I would ask anyone apposed to this rule to Call the coast Guard safety and navigation and let them know your concerns.

Thanks
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby Salty » Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:22 pm

Bummer, I know a couple of guys have tried it here.
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby Kelper » Tue Apr 21, 2015 5:39 am

Is there a permit that would allow you to tie up to the dock, fillet a few salmon, and sell fillets by the pound from the dock? Locals are grumbling they can't buy fresh fish locally, but they don't want to buy the whole fish.
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby kjwelder » Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:17 pm

elhewman
can you post a link to the rule? I though that there was a portioning option the last time I filled out the processing paperwork.
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby elhewman » Wed Apr 22, 2015 5:24 pm

I guess I should look up the rule myself. I talked to Steve Ramp of the Sitka Coast Guard marine safety (907-966-5620) . Also, Greg Johnston of the DEC said he would not permit because it would be problematic w/the Coast Guard regulations. That said, I talked to several other DEC employees around who said they were personally un aware of the rule. But I am positive it exists after my discussion with the Coast Guard.

Kelper, There regulations I have read said the fish must be processed on the fishing grounds (do to waste). I know land based processors must dump the waste 1/2 mile off shore. Perhaps, there is a way to work with the DEC but again it is the Coast Guard that is the big hurdle.
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby ata » Thu Apr 23, 2015 2:49 pm

Hi All:

Well, this is one big can of worms, so I'll just hit a couple quick things and hopefully will get it right. The regulations for processing at sea and onshore seem to change every couple of years, so never assume you know the rules - call and find someone at the proper agencies who does before you do anything. You'll need to check in with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation, FDA, and sounds like the USCG as well. Freezer boats and direct marketers should chime in, since they have the most experience maneuvering the system.

As a troller, you may NOT fillet your fish at sea, or on the dock, unless you have the proper licensing. Freezer boats are licensed by DEC and for each processing activity they must have an approved Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. For instance, if you just head fish on your freezer boat, there's one plan. If you want to fillet, that's another. And, for species like Chinook and halibut, you have to land the fish onshore before filleting, so they can be properly measured. If a freezer operator wants to maintain an onshore facility for the fillet process, then s/he has to secure another set of licenses and HACCP plans to be able to do so.

Here are a few links that should help with your research, and I'll also add a couple attachments. One is a general overview of processing on a fishing vessel and the other talks about HACCP and shellfish, but is similar for fish.


DEC

http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/fss/seafood/Seafood_Home.html
http://dec.alaska.gov/eh/fss/forms/seaf ... ctions.pdf[/url]

FDA
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/Seafood/ucm2018426.htm
http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/HACCP/ucm2006764.htm

Not sure what to make of the comments already in this thread concerning the USCG. However, waste discharge is a whole other mess right now and might be what they're referring to. I've spent many years trying to defend the fleet against unreasonable (and kinda crazy) discharge requirements. One issue deals with bilge water, grey water and deckwash. The other involves grinding requirements for freezer boats. Then again, USCG might be dealing with some other rules, which vary between DEC, USCG, and NMFS. It's all quite confusing and it's been a tough battle at times just protecting the entire troll fleet from having to become licensed processors. We continue to push back against those types of moves, and encourage you to be meticulous about checking the requirements from all agencies and the USCG prior to doing anything different than your normal gill n gut operation.

Hope this helps more than confuses...

Dale
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Attachments
Shell_Ship_HACCP_SSOP.pdf
(779.72 KiB) Downloaded 346 times
Factsheet-Permitting_Vessels.pdf
(252.32 KiB) Downloaded 348 times
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby Salty » Fri Apr 24, 2015 5:40 am

image.jpg
But, we can still kiss em?
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby Once and Future » Fri Apr 24, 2015 9:27 am

Kissing is OK, but by rule, human's tongue must remain 1/32 of an inch behind lips. Please inform your colleague!
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby curmudgeon » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:36 am

Dale is on the right track with what she says above. I also asked Kathy and Ed at SEAFA and they additionally pointed to the USCG rules around what is defined to be 'Processing', and the Vessel Classification requirements for at-sea processors...
I had to do a bunch of further digging to tease out the issues. There is little that explains why the USCG would have anything to do with "processing".
But basically...
You can blame it on accidents with the Bearing Sea fleet back in 2001 and 2002... An overview is available here: https://www.uscg.mil/d13/cfvs/acsa/ACSA ... edACSA.pdf

There is more about Classification here:
http://www.fishsafe.info/Update%20on%20 ... ar2013.pdf
http://www.fishermensnews.com/story/201 ... s/297.html

Basically, any vessel that "processes" must be Classed.
Processing is "commercially prepares fish or fish products other than by gutting, heading, gilling, skinning, shucking, icing, freezing, or brine chilling."
No Classification Society will certify a non-classed vessel that is more than 20 years old.

Whew!
(and coming soon... Expect to start seeing ghastly-looking new-build "limit-seiners" that are 50-feet or less and maybe 30-feet wide to get around the Class requirement... Nice, eh?)
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby ata » Fri Apr 24, 2015 11:51 am

Thanks, Curmudgeon....

And I was so hoping to avoid the 'processing' definition thing. I mean, you want a real mind-warp, try getting your head around that one! Suffice it to say that there are (at least) three different definitions by agency, and they are used in different ways. Many hours have been spent by a few of us out here trying to develop one common definition - no can do, at least without doing more harm than good. So, again, whatever you plan to do that's different than traditional troll dressing, be sure to check out all the details - twice.

Cheers!

Dale
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby tkbluefin » Sat Apr 25, 2015 7:45 pm

The USCG rules you are referring to pertain to Longliners and Trawlers NOT to the troll fleet. Filleting is legal and allowed in the troll fleet. However, there are many requirements with labeling, etc.
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby elhewman » Sun May 03, 2015 3:22 pm

tkbluefin wrote:The USCG rules you are referring to pertain to Longliners and Trawlers NOT to the troll fleet. Filleting is legal and allowed in the troll fleet. However, there are many requirements with labeling, etc.


Unfortunately it will be hard for me to convince the local Coast guard marine safety and DEC this but it sounds hopeful. is there a reference somewhere or anything to go off of? I am happy to do the searching myself thank you so much!
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby Disperser » Mon Jun 22, 2015 2:40 pm

Sell the whole fish, then offer to filet it. zyou are not in violation of the law because you sold the fish. You are providing a service upon customer-owned property. You have satisfied the law with your middle finger proudly erected high in the face of the government...
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby ata » Thu Jul 16, 2015 11:34 am

Hi All:

The USCG has clarified for us that under federal law it is illegal to fillet fish onboard a troll vessel, unless you meet USCG requirements for processors. Here is the message I received:

46 CFR 28.50, the federal definition of a Fish Processing Vessel "means a vessel that commercially prepares fish or fish products other than by gutting, decapitating, gilling, skinning, shucking, icing, freezing, or brine chilling."

So, any vessel that fillets onboard is a Fish Processing Vessel regardless of vessel size or species being filleted and has to meet the requirements in 46CFR 28.700, .710 and .720.

These laws were passed as part of the Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Act of 1988 and effective since 1990.


The regulations referenced above can be found here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2008-title46-vol1/pdf/CFR-2008-title46-vol1-sec28-50.pdf

DEC rules are different. Based on a conversation with them today, it still appears that you can fillet fish onboard as long as you have the proper HACCP permit for each species, and you first follow landing requirements for species like Chinook, halibut, etc. There are also some labeling requirements for food safety. See my first email above for links to DEC and be sure to get clarification for yourself before doing anything.

But regardless what DEC allows, unless you go all the way to meet the USCG's processing requirements, trollers still can't legally fillet fish onboard. Please note that the USCG language on processing is written, in part, to ensure that trollers can gill/gut and head fish without having to obtain USCG processing licenses.

Remember... double and triple check anything that you plan to do differently than traditional troll dressing!

Fish on...

Dale
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby Salty » Sun Jul 26, 2015 3:37 pm

Thanks Dale.
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby 1norcoast » Thu Dec 01, 2016 2:36 pm

I have a bit of new information on this subject, after being asked by a couple of fleet members to do so.

As ATA previously stated, according to 46 CFR 28.50, a Fish Processing Vessel is defined as "...a vessel that commercially prepares fish or fish products other than by gutting, decapitating, gilling, skinning, shucking, icing, freezing or brine chilling."

There is a process (See C46 CFR § 28.710 Examination and certification of compliance.) that involves a vessel inspection that is essentially equal to a courtesy exam, when successfully completed is followed by issuance of a Certificate of Compliance, which can only be provided by a third party vessel inspector such as myself or Greg Cushing. I turn in the signed COC to the Coast Guard, and that part seems pretty straightforward since most of you should already have the sticker. This process appears to take care of the Coast Guard requirement for filleting at sea and should open the door to applying for the DEC permit FOR MOST OF YOU.

There is a complication, as pointed out to me by Steve Ramp at the Sitka MSD. It is 46 CFR § 28.720 Survey and classification.
"(a) Each vessel which is built after or which undergoes a major conversion completed after July 27, 1990, must be classed by the ABS, or a similarly qualified organization.
(b) Each vessel which is classed under paragraph (a) of this section must:
(1) Have on board a certificate of class issued by the organization that classed the vessel.
(2) Meet all survey and classification requirements prescribed by the organization that classed the vessel."

So if your vessel falls under these criterion, it looks like you must file for an exemption. Coast Guard District 17 is aware of this anomaly, and is not adverse to granting exemptions; they just have not been asked to address this yet. D17 is also aware that filleting at sea does not appear to substantially alter the fishing operation in the small boat fleet, thereby causing a safety issue.

I think the exemption process described in 46 CFR 28.60 might be the way to start the process for those of you wanting to fillet at sea on boats newer than or substantially converted after 7/27/1990.

Stef Steffen
Norcoast Marine Surveyors
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Re: Direct Market Filletting at sea ILLEGAL.

Postby Hayduke » Tue Aug 29, 2017 2:59 pm

Hello,
I'm new to the forum. Great info Stef, thanks!
My fiance and I are planned in the next couple years of entering a fishery either gillnetting or troll and Direct marketing/processing at least a portion of our fish appeals to us. I just want to clarify a few things that have been discussed.
- this process is not just for trollers but gillnetters and all other boats as well?
- it is possible for boat to fillet at sea if they; 1) receive a COC, 2) have a proper HACCP plan, 3) their facilities and plan licensed by DEC?
-By your explanation of 46 CFR § 28.720 Survey and classification, boats older than 1990 do not need a class to achieve a COC, only if they have received a major conversion?
- What qualifies at a major conversion? More specifically; If you converted a dry/RSW gillnetter or small dry/RSW seiner to a Freezer processing gillnetter, would you then have to obtain classification?

Any recent updates to this coat guard rule?

Thanks,
Nick
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