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Title 50

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Editorial codification of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register.

PART 622 - FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC
Authority:

16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Source:

78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A - General Provisions
§ 622.1 Purpose and scope.

(a) The purpose of this part is to implement the FMPs prepared under the Magnuson-Stevens Act by the CFMC, GMFMC, and/or SAFMC listed in Table 1 of this section.

(b) This part governs conservation and management of species included in the FMPs in or from the Caribbean, Gulf, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, or Atlantic EEZ, unless otherwise specified, as indicated in Table 1 of this section. For the FMPs noted in the following table, conservation and management extends to adjoining state waters for the purposes of data collection and monitoring.

(c) This part also governs importation of Caribbean spiny lobster into Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(d) This part also governs importation of spiny lobster into any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.

Table 1 to § 622.1 - FMPs Implemented Under Part 622

FMP title Responsible fishery
management
council(s)
Geographical area
FMP for Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources GMFMC/SAFMC Gulf1 9, Mid-Atlantic1 9, South Atlantic1 9.
FMP for Coral, Coral Reefs, and Live/Hard Bottom Habitats of the South Atlantic Region SAFMC South Atlantic.5
FMP for Coral and Coral reefs of the Gulf of Mexico GMFMC Gulf.
FMP for Corals and Reef Associated Plants and Invertebrates of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands CFMC Caribbean.
FMP for the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery of the Atlantic SAFMC Atlantic.
FMP for the Golden Crab Fishery of the South Atlantic Region SAFMC South Atlantic.
FMP for Pelagic Sargassum Habitat of the South Atlantic Region SAFMC South Atlantic.
FMP for Queen Conch Resources of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands CFMC Caribbean.
FMP for the Red Drum Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico GMFMC Gulf.1
FMP for the Reef Fish Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands CFMC Caribbean.
FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico GMFMC Gulf.1 3 4 7 10
FMP for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf GMFMC Gulf.
FMP for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico GMFMC Gulf.1
FMP for the Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region SAFMC South Atlantic.
FMP for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region SAFMC South Atlantic.1 2 6 8
FMP for the Spiny Lobster Fishery of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands CFMC Caribbean.
FMP for the Spiny Lobster Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic GMFMC/SAFMC Gulf1, South Atlantic.1

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 78775, Dec. 27, 2013; 81 FR 1792, Jan. 13, 2016; 82 FR 34580, 34594 July 25, 2017; 82 FR 40075, Aug. 24, 2017; 84 FR 4736, Feb. 19, 2019; 85 FR 6823, Feb. 6, 2020; 85 FR 10339, Feb. 24, 2020]

§ 622.2 Definitions and acronyms.

In addition to the definitions in the Magnuson Act and in § 600.10 of this chapter, and the acronyms in § 600.15 of this chapter, the terms and acronyms used in this part have the following meanings:

Accountability measure means a management control implemented such that overfishing is prevented, where possible, and mitigated if it occurs.

Actual ex-vessel price means the total monetary sale amount a fisherman receives per pound of fish for IFQ landings from a registered IFQ dealer before any deductions are made for transferred (leased) allocation and goods and services (e.g. bait, ice, fuel, repairs, machinery replacement, etc.).

Allowable chemical means a substance, generally used to immobilize marine life so that it can be captured alive, that, when introduced into the water, does not take Gulf and South Atlantic prohibited coral and is allowed by Florida for the harvest of tropical fish (e.g., quinaldine, quinaldine compounds, or similar substances).

Allowable octocoral means an erect, nonencrusting species of the subclass Octocorallia, except the seafans Gorgonia flabellum and G. ventalina, plus the attached substrate within 1 inch (2.54 cm) of an allowable octocoral. (Note: An erect, nonencrusting species of the subclass Octocorallia, except the seafans Gorgonia flabellum and G. ventalina, with attached substrate exceeding 1 inch (2.54 cm) is considered to be live rock and not allowable octocoral.)

Annual catch limit (ACL) means the level of catch that serves as the basis for invoking accountability measures.

Annual catch target (ACT) means an amount of annual catch of a stock or stock complex that is the management target of the fishery, and accounts for management uncertainty in controlling the actual catch at or below the ACL.

Aquaculture means all activities, including the operation of an aquaculture facility, involved in the propagation or rearing, or attempted propagation or rearing, of allowable aquaculture species in the Gulf EEZ.

Aquaculture facility means an installation or structure, including any aquaculture system(s) (including moorings), hatcheries, equipment, and associated infrastructure used to hold, propagate, or rear allowable aquaculture species in the Gulf EEZ under authority of a Gulf aquaculture permit.

Aquaculture system means any cage, net pen, enclosure, structure, or gear deployed in waters of the Gulf EEZ for holding and producing allowable aquaculture species.

Aquacultured live rock means live rock that is harvested under a Federal aquacultured live rock permit, as required under § 622.70(a)(2).

Aquatic animal health expert means a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine or a person who is certified by the American Fisheries Society, Fish Health Section, as a “Fish Pathologist” or “Fish Health Inspector.”

Atlantic means the North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic.

Authorized statistical reporting agent means:

(1) Any person so designated by the SRD; or

(2) Any person so designated by the head of any Federal or State agency that has entered into an agreement with the Assistant Administrator to collect fishery data.

Automatic reel means a reel that remains attached to a vessel when in use from which a line and attached hook(s) are deployed. The line is payed out from and retrieved on the reel electrically or hydraulically.

Bandit gear means a rod and reel that remain attached to a vessel when in use from which a line and attached hook(s) are deployed. The line is payed out from and retrieved on the reel manually, electrically, or hydraulically.

Bottom longline means a longline that is deployed, or in combination with gear aboard the vessel, e.g., weights or anchors, is capable of being deployed to maintain contact with the ocean bottom.

BRD means bycatch reduction device.

Bully net means a circular frame attached at right angles to the end of a pole and supporting a conical bag of webbing. The webbing is usually held up by means of a cord which is released when the net is dropped over a lobster.

Buoy gear means fishing gear that fishes vertically in the water column that consists of a single drop line suspended from a float, from which no more than 10 hooks can be connected between the buoy and the terminal end, and the terminal end contains a weight that is no more than 10 lb (4.5 kg). The drop line can be rope (hemp, manila, cotton or other natural fibers; nylon, polypropylene, spectra or other synthetic material) or monofilament, but must not be cable or wire. The gear is free-floating and not connected to other gear or the vessel. The drop line must be no greater than 2 times the depth of the water being fished. All hooks must be attached to the drop line no more than 30 ft (9.1 m) from the weighted terminal end. These hooks may be attached directly to the drop line; attached as snoods (defined as an offshoot line that is directly spliced, tied or otherwise connected to the drop line), where each snood has a single terminal hook; or as gangions (defined as an offshoot line connected to the drop line with some type of detachable clip), where each gangion has a single terminal hook.

Carapace length means the measurement of the carapace (head, body, or front section) of a spiny lobster from the anteriormost edge (front) of the groove between the horns directly above the eyes, along the middorsal line (middle of the back), to the rear edge of the top part of the carapace, excluding any translucent membrane. (See Figure 1 in Appendix C of this part.)

Caribbean means the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean seaward of Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and possessions of the United States in the Caribbean Sea.

Caribbean coral reef resource means one or more of the species, or a part thereof, listed in Table 1 in Appendix A of this part, whether living or dead.

Caribbean prohibited coral means, in the Caribbean; a gorgonian, that is, a Caribbean coral reef resource of the Class Anthozoa, Subclass Octocorallia, Order Gorgonacea; a live rock; or a stony coral, that is, a Caribbean coral reef resource of the Class Hydrozoa (fire corals and hydrocorals) or of the Class Anthozoa, Subclass Hexacorallia, Orders Scleractinia (stony corals) and Antipatharia (black corals); or a part thereof.

Caribbean queen conch or queen conch means the species, Strombus gigas, or a part thereof.

Caribbean reef fish means one or more of the species, or a part thereof, listed in Table 2 in Appendix A of this part.

Caribbean spiny lobster or spiny lobster means the species Panulirus argus, or a part thereof.

CFMC means the Caribbean Fishery Management Council.

Charter vessel means a vessel less than 100 gross tons (90.8 mt) that is subject to the requirements of the USCG to carry six or fewer passengers for hire and that engages in charter fishing at any time during the calendar year. A charter vessel with a commercial permit, as required under this part, is considered to be operating as a charter vessel when it carries a passenger who pays a fee or when there are more than three persons aboard, including operator and crew, except for a charter vessel with a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish or South Atlantic snapper-grouper. A charter vessel that has a charter vessel permit for Gulf reef fish and a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish or a charter vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper and a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper (either a South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit or a 225-lb (102.1-kg) trip limited permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper) is considered to be operating as a charter vessel when it carries a passenger who pays a fee or when there are more than four persons aboard, including operator and crew. A charter vessel that has a charter vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, and a valid Certificate of Inspection (COI) issued by the USCG to carry passengers for hire will not be considered to be operating as a charter vessel provided -

(1) It is not carrying a passenger who pays a fee; and

(2) When underway for more than 12 hours, that vessel meets, but does not exceed the minimum manning requirements outlined in its COI for vessels underway over 12 hours; or when underway for not more than 12 hours, that vessel meets the minimum manning requirements outlined in its COI for vessels underway for not more than 12-hours (if any), and does not exceed the minimum manning requirements outlined in its COI for vessels that are underway for more than 12 hours.

Circle hook means a fishing hook designed and manufactured so that the point is turned perpendicularly back to the shank to form a generally circular, or oval, shape.

Coastal migratory pelagic fish means a whole fish, or a part thereof, of one or more of the following species:

(1) Cobia, Rachycentron canadum.

(2) King mackerel, Scomberomorus cavalla.

(3) Spanish mackerel, Scomberomorus maculatus.

Commercial fishing means, for the purpose of subpart R of this part only, any fishing or fishing activities which result in the harvest of any marine or freshwater organisms, one or more of which (or parts thereof) is sold, traded, or bartered.

Coral area means marine habitat in the Gulf or South Atlantic EEZ where coral growth abounds, including patch reefs, outer bank reefs, deep water banks, and hard bottoms.

Cultured animals means animals which are propagated and/or reared by humans.

Dealer, in addition to the definition specified in § 600.10 of this chapter, means the person who first receives rock shrimp harvested from the EEZ or dolphin or wahoo harvested from the Atlantic EEZ upon transfer ashore.

Deep-water grouper (DWG) means, in the Gulf, yellowedge grouper, warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, and speckled hind. In addition, for the purposes of the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes in § 622.22, scamp are also included as DWG as specified in § 622.22(a)(7).

Deep-water snapper-grouper (DWSG) means, in the South Atlantic, yellowedge grouper, misty grouper, warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, speckled hind, blueline tilefish, queen snapper, and silk snapper.

Dehooking device means a device intended to remove a hook embedded in a fish to release the fish with minimum damage.

Dolphin means a whole fish, or a part there of, of the species Coryphaena equiselis or C. hippurus.

Drift gillnet, for the purposes of this part, means a gillnet, other than a long gillnet or a run-around gillnet, that is unattached to the ocean bottom, regardless of whether attached to a vessel.

Fish trap means -

(1) In the Caribbean EEZ, a trap and its component parts (including the lines and buoys), regardless of the construction material, used for or capable of taking finfish.

(2) In the Gulf EEZ, a trap and its component parts (including the lines and buoys), regardless of the construction material, used for or capable of taking finfish, except a trap historically used in the directed fishery for crustaceans (that is, blue crab, stone crab, and spiny lobster).

(3) In the South Atlantic EEZ, a trap and its component parts (including the lines and buoys), regardless of the construction material, used for or capable of taking fish, except a sea bass pot, a golden crab trap, or a crustacean trap (that is, a type of trap historically used in the directed fishery for blue crab, stone crab, red crab, jonah crab, or spiny lobster and that contains at any time not more than 25 percent, by number, of fish other than blue crab, stone crab, red crab, jonah crab, and spiny lobster).

Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish means hogfish occurring in the Gulf EEZ from 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida and south to the jurisdictional boundary between the Gulf and South Atlantic Councils, as defined at 50 CFR 600.105(c), and continuing in the South Atlantic EEZ from the jurisdictional boundary between the Gulf and South Atlantic Councils to the state boundary between Florida and Georgia.

Fork length means the straight-line distance from the tip of the head (snout) to the rear center edge of the tail (caudal fin). (See Figure 2 in Appendix C of this part.)

Genetically engineered animal means an animal modified by rDNA techniques, including the entire lineage of animals that contain the modification. The term genetically engineered animal can refer to both animals with heritable rDNA constructs and animals with non-heritable rDNA constructs (e.g., those modifications intended to be used as gene therapy).

Golden crab means the species Chaceon fenneri, or a part thereof.

Golden crab trap means any trap used or possessed in association with a directed fishery for golden crab in the South Atlantic EEZ, including any trap that contains a golden crab in or from the South Atlantic EEZ or any trap on board a vessel that possesses golden crab in or from the South Atlantic EEZ.

GMFMC means the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

Gulf means the Gulf of Mexico. The line of demarcation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico is specified in § 600.105(c) of this chapter.

Gulf reef fish means one or more of the species, or a part thereof, listed in Table 3 in Appendix A of this part.

Gulf and South Atlantic prohibited coral means, in the Gulf and South Atlantic, one or more of the following, or a part thereof:

(1) Coral belonging to the Class Hydrozoa (fire corals and hydrocorals).

(2) Coral belonging to the Class Anthozoa, Subclass Hexacorallia, Orders Scleractinia (stony corals) and Antipatharia (black corals).

(3) A seafan, Gorgonia flabellum or G. ventalina.

(4) Coral in a coral reef, except for allowable octocoral.

(5) Coral in an HAPC, including allowable octocoral.

Handline means a line with attached hook(s) that is tended directly by hand.

HAPC means habitat area of particular concern.

Headboat means a vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection (COI) issued by the USCG to carry more than six passengers for hire.

(1) A headboat with a commercial vessel permit, as required under this part, is considered to be operating as a headboat when it carries a passenger who pays a fee or -

(i) In the case of persons aboard fishing for or possessing South Atlantic snapper-grouper, when there are more persons aboard than the number of crew specified in the vessel's COI; or

(ii) In the case of persons aboard fishing for or possessing coastal migratory pelagic fish, when there are more than three persons aboard, including operator and crew.

(2) However a vessel that has a headboat permit for Gulf reef fish, a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, and a valid COI issued by the USCG to carry passengers for hire will not be considered to be operating as a headboat provided--

(i) It is not carrying a passenger who pays a fee; and

(ii) When underway for more than 12 hours, that vessel meets, but does not exceed the minimum manning requirements outlined in its COI for vessels underway over 12 hours; or when underway for not more than 12 hours, that vessel meets the minimum manning requirements outlined in its COI for vessels underway for not more than 12-hours (if any), and does not exceed the minimum manning requirements outlined in its COI for vessels that are underway for more than 12 hours.

Headrope length means the distance, measured along the forwardmost webbing of a trawl net, between the points at which the upper lip (top edge) of the mouth of the net are attached to sleds, doors, or other devices that spread the net.

Hook-and-line gear means automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, longline, and rod and reel.

Hoop net means a frame, circular or otherwise, supporting a shallow bag of webbing and suspended by a line and bridles. The net is baited and lowered to the ocean bottom, to be raised rapidly at a later time to prevent the escape of lobster.

IFQ means individual fishing quota.

Import means -

(1) For the purpose of § 622.1(c) and subpart T of this part only - To land on, bring into, or introduce into, or attempt to land on, bring into, or introduce into, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, whether or not such landing, bringing, or introduction constitutes an importation within the meaning of the customs laws of the United States;

(2) For the purpose of § 622.1(d) and subpart R of this part only - To land on, bring into, or introduce into, or attempt to land on, bring into, or introduce into, any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether or not such landing, bringing, or introduction constitutes an importation within the meaning of the customs laws of the United States;

(3) But does not include any activity described in paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition with respect to fish caught in the U.S. exclusive economic zone by a vessel of the United States.

Live rock means living marine organisms, or an assemblage thereof, attached to a hard substrate, including dead coral or rock (excluding individual mollusk shells).

Live well means a shaded container used for holding live lobsters aboard a vessel in which aerated seawater is continuously circulated from the sea. Circulation of seawater at a rate that replaces the water at least every 8 minutes meets the requirement for aeration.

Long gillnet means a gillnet that has a float line that is more than 1,000 yd (914 m) in length.

Longline means a line that is deployed horizontally to which gangions and hooks are attached. A longline may be a bottom longline, i.e., designed for use on the bottom, or a pelagic longline, i.e., designed for use off the bottom. The longline hauler may be manually, electrically, or hydraulically operated.

MAFMC means the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Mid-Atlantic means the Atlantic Ocean off the Atlantic coastal states from the boundary between the New England Fishery Management Council and the MAFMC, as specified in § 600.105(a) of this chapter, to the boundary between the MAFMC and the SAFMC, as specified in § 600.105(b) of this chapter.

Migratory group, for king mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia, means a group of fish that may or may not be a separate genetic stock, but that is treated as a separate stock for management purposes. King mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and cobia are divided into migratory groups - the boundaries between these groups are specified in § 622.369.

MPA means marine protected area.

North Atlantic means the Atlantic Ocean off the Atlantic coastal states from the boundary between the United States and Canada to the boundary between the New England Fishery Management Council and the MAFMC, as specified in § 600.105(a) of this chapter.

Off Alabama means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 87°31.1′ W long., which is a line directly south from the Alabama/Florida boundary, to a rhumb line at 88°23.1′ W long., which is a line directly south from the Mississippi/Alabama boundary.

Off Florida means the waters in the Gulf and South Atlantic from 30°42′45.6″ N. lat., which is a line directly east from the seaward terminus of the Georgia/Florida boundary, to 87°31′06″ W. long., which is a line directly south from the Alabama/Florida boundary.

Off Georgia means the waters in the South Atlantic from a line extending in a direction of 104° from true north from the seaward terminus of the South Carolina/Georgia boundary to 30°42′45.6″ N. lat., which is a line directly east from the seaward terminus of the Georgia/Florida boundary.

Off Louisiana means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 89°10.0′ W long., which is a line extending directly south from South Pass Light, to a rhumb line beginning at 29°32.1′ N lat., 93°47.7′ W long. and extending to 26°11.4′ N lat., 92°53.0′ W long., which line is an extension of the boundary between Louisiana and Texas.

Off Mississippi means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line at 88°23.1′ W long., which is a line directly south from the Mississippi/Alabama boundary, to a rhumb line at 89°10.0′ W long., which is a line extending directly south from South Pass Light.

Off Monroe County, Florida means the area from the Florida coast to the outer limit of the EEZ between a line extending directly east from the Dade/Monroe County, Florida boundary (25°20.4′ N. latitude) and a line extending directly west from the Monroe/Collier County, Florida boundary (25°48.0′ N. latitude).

Off North Carolina means the waters in the South Atlantic from 36°34′55″ N. lat., which is a line directly east from the Virginia/North Carolina boundary, to a line extending in a direction of 135°34′55″ from true north from the North Carolina/South Carolina boundary, as marked by the border station on Bird Island at 33°51′07.9″ N. lat., 78°32′32.6″ W. long.

Off South Carolina means the waters in the South Atlantic from a line extending in a direction of 135°34′55″ from true north from the North Carolina/South Carolina boundary, as marked by the border station on Bird Island at 33°51′07.9″ N. lat., 78°32′32.6″ W. long., to a line extending in a direction of 104° from true north from the seaward terminus of the South Carolina/Georgia boundary.

Off Texas means the waters in the Gulf west of a rhumb line from 29°32.1′ N. lat., 93°47.7′ W. long. to 26°11.4′ N. lat., 92°53′ W. long., which line is an extension of the boundary between Louisiana and Texas.

Off the Gulf states, other than Florida means the area from the coast to the outer limit of the EEZ between the Texas/Mexico border to the Alabama/Florida boundary (87°31′06″ W. long.).

Off the southern Atlantic states, other than Florida means the area from the coast to the outer limit of the EEZ between the Virginia/North Carolina boundary (36°34′55″ N. lat.) to the Georgia/Florida boundary (30°42′45.6″ N. lat.).

Official sunrise or official sunset means the time of sunrise or sunset as determined for the date and location in The Nautical Almanac, prepared by the U.S. Naval Observatory.

Pelagic longline means a longline that is suspended by floats in the water column and that is not fixed to or in contact with the ocean bottom.

Pelagic sargassum means the species Sargassum natans or S. fluitans, or a part thereof.

Penaeid shrimp means one or more of the following species, or a part thereof:

(1) Brown shrimp, Farfantepenaeus aztecus.

(2) Pink shrimp, Farfantepenaeus duorarum.

(3) White shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus.

Penaeid shrimp trawler means any vessel that is equipped with one or more trawl nets whose on-board or landed catch of penaeid shrimp is more than 1 percent, by weight, of all fish comprising its on-board or landed catch.

Powerhead means any device with an explosive charge, usually attached to a speargun, spear, pole, or stick, that fires a projectile upon contact.

Processor means a person who processes fish or fish products, or parts thereof, for commercial use or consumption.

Purchase means the act or activity of buying, trading, or bartering, or attempting to buy, trade, or barter.

Recreational fishing means, for the purpose of subpart R of this part only, fishing or fishing activities which result in the harvest of fish, none of which (or parts thereof) is sold, traded, or bartered.

Red drum, also called redfish, means Sciaenops ocellatus, or a part thereof.

Red snapper means Lutjanus campechanus, or a part thereof, one of the Gulf reef fish species.

Regional Administrator (RA), for the purposes of this part, means the Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, or a designee.

Reporting week means the period of time beginning at 12:01 a.m., local time, on Sunday and ending at 11:59 p.m., local time, the following Saturday.

Rod and reel means a rod and reel unit that is not attached to a vessel, or, if attached, is readily removable, from which a line and attached hook(s) are deployed. The line is payed out from and retrieved on the reel manually, electrically, or hydraulically.

Run-around gillnet means a gillnet, other than a long gillnet, that, when used, encloses an area of water.

SAFMC means the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council.

Sale or sell means the act or activity of transferring property for money or credit, trading, or bartering, or attempting to so transfer, trade, or barter.

Science and Research Director (SRD), for the purposes of this part, means the Science and Research Director, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, NMFS (see Table 1 of § 600.502 of this chapter).

Sea bass pot means a trap has six rectangular sides and does not exceed 25 inches (63.5 cm) in height, width, or depth.

Shallow-water grouper (SWG) means, in the Gulf, gag, red grouper, black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper. Other shallow-water grouper (Other SWG) means, in the Gulf, SWG excluding gag and red grouper (i.e., black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper). In addition, for the purposes of the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes in § 622.22, speckled hind and warsaw grouper are also included as Other SWG as specified in § 622.22(a)(6).

Shrimp means one or more of the following species, or a part thereof:

(1) Brown shrimp, Farfantepenaeus aztecus.

(2) White shrimp, Litopenaeus setiferus.

(3) Pink shrimp, Farfantepenaeus duorarum.

(4) Royal red shrimp, Hymenopenaeus robustus.

(5) Rock shrimp, Sicyonia brevirostris.

Shrimp trawler means any vessel that is equipped with one or more trawl nets whose on-board or landed catch of shrimp is more than 1 percent, by weight, of all fish comprising its on-board or landed catch.

Significant risk means likely to adversely affect endangered or threatened species or their critical habitat; is likely to seriously injure or kill marine mammals; is likely to result in un-mitigated adverse effects on essential fish habitat; is likely to adversely affect wild fish stocks and cause them to become overfished or undergo overfishing; or otherwise may result in harm to public health or safety, as determined by the RA.

Smalltooth sawfish means the species Pristis pectinata, or a part thereof.

SMZ means special management zone.

South Atlantic means the Atlantic Ocean off the Atlantic coastal states from the boundary between the MAFMC and the SAFMC, as specified in § 600.105(b) of this chapter, to the line of demarcation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, as specified in § 600.105(c) of this chapter.

South Atlantic shallow-water grouper (SASWG) means, in the South Atlantic, gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney.

South Atlantic snapper-grouper means one or more of the species, or a part thereof, listed in Table 4 in Appendix A of this part.

Stab net means a gillnet, other than a long gillnet, or trammel net whose weight line sinks to the bottom and submerges the float line.

Tail length means the lengthwise measurement of the entire tail (segmented portion), not including any protruding muscle tissue, of a spiny lobster along the top middorsal line (middle of the back) to the rearmost extremity. The measurement is made with the tail in a flat, straight position with the tip of the tail closed.

Total length (TL), for the purposes of this part, means the straight-line distance from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail (caudal fin), excluding any caudal filament, while the fish is lying on its side. The mouth of the fish may be closed and/or the tail may be squeezed together to give the greatest overall measurement. (See Figure 2 in appendix C of this part.)

Toxic chemical means any substance, other than an allowable chemical, that, when introduced into the water, can stun, immobilize, or take marine life.

Trammel net means two or more panels of netting, suspended vertically in the water by a common float line and a common weight line, with one panel having a larger mesh size than the other(s), to entrap fish in a pocket of netting.

Transgenic animal means an animal whose genome contains a nucleotide sequence that has been intentionally modified in vitro, and the progeny of such an animal.

Trip means a fishing trip, regardless of number of days duration, that begins with departure from a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp and that terminates with return to a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp.

Try net, also called test net, means a net pulled for brief periods by a shrimp trawler to test for shrimp concentrations or determine fishing conditions (e.g., presence or absence of bottom debris, jellyfish, bycatch, sea grasses).

Venting device means a device intended to deflate the abdominal cavity of a fish to release the fish with minimum damage.

Wahoo means the species Acanthocybium solandri, or a part thereof, in the Atlantic.

Wild fish means fish that are not propagated or reared by humans.

Wild live rock means live rock other than aquacultured live rock.

Wreckfish means the species Polyprion americanus, or a part thereof, one of the South Atlantic snapper-grouper species.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 78775, Dec. 27, 2013; 79 FR 19493, Apr. 9, 2014; 80 FR 4218, Jan. 27, 2015; 81 FR 1792, Jan. 13, 2016; 82 FR 34580, July 25, 2017; 85 FR 6823, Feb. 6, 2020]

§ 622.3 Relation to other laws and regulations.

(a) The relation of this part to other laws is set forth in § 600.705 of this chapter and paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section.

(b) Except for regulations on allowable octocoral, Gulf and South Atlantic prohibited coral, and live rock, this part is intended to apply within the EEZ portions of applicable National Marine Sanctuaries and National Parks, unless the regulations governing such sanctuaries or parks prohibit their application. Regulations on allowable octocoral, Gulf and South Atlantic prohibited coral, and live rock do not apply within the EEZ portions of the following National Marine Sanctuaries and National Parks:

(1) Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (15 CFR part 922, subpart P).

(2) Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary (15 CFR part 922, subpart I).

(3) Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (15 CFR part 922, subpart F).

(4) Everglades National Park (36 CFR 7.45).

(5) Biscayne National Park (16 U.S.C. 410gg).

(6) Fort Jefferson National Monument (36 CFR 7.27).

(c) For allowable octocoral, if a state has a catch, landing, or gear regulation that is more restrictive than a catch, landing, or gear regulation in this part, a person landing in such state allowable octocoral taken from the South Atlantic EEZ must comply with the more restrictive state regulation.

(d) General provisions on facilitation of enforcement, penalties, and enforcement policy applicable to all domestic fisheries are set forth in §§ 600.730, 600.735, and 600.740 of this chapter, respectively.

(e) An activity that is otherwise prohibited by this part may be conducted if authorized as scientific research activity, exempted fishing, or exempted educational activity, as specified in § 600.745 of this chapter.

(f) Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas are delegated the authority to specify certain management measures related to the harvest and possession of red snapper by the private angling component in the Gulf EEZ. See § 622.23 for the Gulf recreational red snapper management measures that have been delegated.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 85 FR 6823, Feb. 6, 2020]

§ 622.4 Permits and fees - general.

This section contains general information about procedures related to permits. See also §§ 622.70, 622.220, and 622.470 regarding certain permit procedures unique to coral permits in the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic Region, and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, respectively. See subpart F of this part for permit requirements related to aquaculture of species other than live rock. Permit requirements for specific fisheries, as applicable, are contained in subparts B through V of this part.

(a) Applications for permits. Application forms for all permits are available from the RA. Completed application forms and all required supporting documents must be submitted to the RA at least 30 days prior to the date on which the applicant desires to have the permit made effective. All vessel permits are mailed to owners, whether the applicant is an owner or an operator.

(1) Vessel permits.

(i) The application for a commercial vessel permit, other than for wreckfish, or for a charter vessel/headboat permit must be submitted by the owner (in the case of a corporation, an officer or shareholder; in the case of a partnership, a general partner) or operator of the vessel. A commercial vessel permit that is issued based on the earned income qualification of an operator is valid only when that person is the operator of the vessel. The applicant for a commercial vessel permit for wreckfish must be a wreckfish shareholder.

(ii) An applicant must provide the following:

(A) A copy of the vessel's valid USCG certificate of documentation or, if not documented, a copy of its valid state registration certificate.

(B) Vessel name and official number.

(C) Name, address, telephone number, and other identifying information of the vessel owner and of the applicant, if other than the owner.

(D) Any other information concerning the vessel, gear characteristics, principal fisheries engaged in, or fishing areas, as specified on the application form.

(E) Any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit, as specified on the application form.

(F) If applying for a commercial vessel permit, documentation, as specified in the instructions accompanying each application form, showing that applicable eligibility requirements of this part have been met.

(G) If a sea bass pot will be used, the number, dimensions, and estimated cubic volume of the pots that will be used and the applicant's desired color code for use in identifying his or her vessel and buoys (white is not an acceptable color code).

(2) Operator permits. An applicant for an operator permit must provide the following:

(i) Name, address, telephone number, and other identifying information specified on the application.

(ii) Two recent (no more than 1-yr old), color, passport-size photographs.

(iii) Any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit, as specified on the application form.

(3) Dealer permits.

(i) The application for a dealer permit must be submitted by the owner (in the case of a corporation, an officer or shareholder; in the case of a partnership, a general partner).

(ii) An applicant must provide the following:

(A) A copy of each state wholesaler's license held by the dealer.

(B) Name, address, telephone number, date the business was formed, and other identifying information of the business.

(C) The address of each physical facility at a fixed location where the business receives fish.

(D) Name, address, telephone number, other identifying information, and official capacity in the business of the applicant.

(E) Any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit, as specified on the application form.

(b) Change in application information. The owner or operator of a vessel with a permit, a person with a coral permit, a person with an operator permit, or a dealer with a permit must notify the RA within 30 days after any change in the application information specified in paragraph (a) of this section or in §§ 622.70(b), 622.220(b), 622.400(b), or 622.470(b). The permit is void if any change in the information is not reported within 30 days.

(c) Fees. Unless specified otherwise, a fee is charged for each application for a permit, license, or endorsement submitted under this part, for each request for transfer or replacement of such permit, license, or endorsement, and for each sea bass pot identification tag required under § 622.177(a)(1). The amount of each fee is calculated in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook, available from the RA, for determining the administrative costs of each special product or service. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified with each application form. The appropriate fee must accompany each application, request for transfer or replacement, or request for sea bass pot identification tags.

(d) Initial issuance.

(1) The RA will issue an initial permit at any time to an applicant if the application is complete and the specific requirements for the requested permit have been met. An application is complete when all requested forms, information, and documentation have been received.

(2) Upon receipt of an incomplete application, the RA will notify the applicant of the deficiency. If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 30 days of the date of the RA's letter of notification, the application will be considered abandoned.

(e) Duration. A permit remains valid for the period specified on it unless it is revoked, suspended, or modified pursuant to subpart D of 15 CFR part 904 or, in the case of a vessel or dealer permit, the vessel or dealership is sold.

(f) Transfer -

(1) Vessel permits, licenses, and endorsements and dealer permits. A vessel permit, license, or endorsement or a dealer permit or endorsement issued under this part 622 is not transferable or assignable, except as provided in the permits sections of subparts B through V of this part, where applicable. A person who acquires a vessel or dealership who desires to conduct activities for which a permit, license, or endorsement is required must apply for a permit, license, or endorsement in accordance with the provisions of this section and other applicable sections of this part. If the acquired vessel or dealership is currently permitted, the application must be accompanied by the original permit and a copy of a signed bill of sale or equivalent acquisition papers. In those cases where a permit, license, or endorsement is transferable, the seller must sign the back of the permit, license, or endorsement and have the signed transfer document notarized.

(2) Operator permits. An operator permit is not transferable.

(g) Renewal -

(1) Vessel permits, licenses, and endorsements, and dealer permits. Unless specified otherwise, a vessel or dealer permit holder who has been issued a permit, license, or endorsement under this part must renew such permit, license, or endorsement on an annual basis. The RA will notify a vessel or dealer permit holder whose permit, license, or endorsement is expiring approximately 2 months prior to the expiration date. A vessel or dealer permit holder who does not receive a notification is still required to submit an application form as specified below. The applicant must submit a completed renewal application form and all required supporting documents to the RA prior to the applicable deadline for renewal of the permit, license, or endorsement, and at least 30 calendar days prior to the date on which the applicant desires to have the permit made effective. Application forms and instructions for renewal are available online at sero.nmfs.noaa.gov or from the RA (Southeast Permits Office) at 1-877-376-4877, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., eastern time. If the RA receives an incomplete application, the RA will notify the applicant of the deficiency. If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 30 calendar days of the notification date by the RA, the application will be considered abandoned. A permit, license, or endorsement that is not renewed within the applicable deadline will not be reissued.

(2) Operator permits. An operator permit required by this part 622 is issued for a period not longer than 3 years. A permit not renewed immediately upon its expiration would expire at the end of the operator's birth month that is between 2 and 3 years after issuance. For renewal, a new application must be submitted in accordance with paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(h) Display. A vessel permit, license, or endorsement issued under this part 622 must be carried on board the vessel. A dealer permit issued under this part 622, or a copy thereof, must be available on the dealer's premises. In addition, a copy of the dealer's permit must accompany each vehicle that is used to pick up from a fishing vessel fish harvested from the EEZ. A Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement must accompany each vehicle that is used to pick up Gulf IFQ red snapper and/or Gulf IFQ groupers and tilefishes. The operator of a vessel must present the vessel permit, license, or endorsement for inspection upon the request of an authorized officer. A dealer or a vehicle operator must present the permit or a copy for inspection upon the request of an authorized officer. An operator of a vessel in a fishery in which an operator permit is required must present his/her operator permit and one other form of personal identification that includes a picture (driver's license, passport, etc.) for inspection upon the request of an authorized officer.

(i) Sanctions and denials.

(1) A permit, license, or endorsement issued pursuant to this part 622 may be revoked, suspended, or modified, and a permit, license, or endorsement application may be denied, in accordance with the procedures governing enforcement-related permit sanctions and denials found at subpart D of 15 CFR part 904.

(2) A person whose operator permit is suspended, revoked, or modified may not be aboard any fishing vessel subject to Federal fishing regulations in any capacity, if so sanctioned by NOAA, while the vessel is at sea or offloading. The vessel's owner and operator are responsible for compliance with this measure. A list of operators whose permits are revoked or suspended may be obtained from the RA.

(j) Alteration. A permit, license, or endorsement that is altered, erased, or mutilated is invalid.

(k) Replacement. A replacement permit, license, or endorsement may be issued. An application for a replacement permit, license, or endorsement is not considered a new application. An application for a replacement operator permit must include two new photographs, as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19493, Apr. 9, 2014; 81 FR 1792, Jan. 13, 2016; 83 FR 64034, Dec. 13, 2018]

§ 622.5 Recordkeeping and reporting - general.

This section contains recordkeeping and reporting requirements that are broadly applicable, as specified, to most or all fisheries governed by this part. Additional recordkeeping and reporting requirements specific to each fishery are contained in the respective subparts B through V of this part.

(a) Collection of additional data and fish inspection. In addition to data required to be reported as specified in subparts B through V of this part, additional data will be collected by authorized statistical reporting agents and by authorized officers. A person who fishes for or possesses species in or from the EEZ governed in this part is required to make the applicable fish or parts thereof available for inspection by the SRD or an authorized officer on request.

(b) Commercial vessel, charter vessel, and headboat inventory. The owner or operator of a commercial vessel, charter vessel, or headboat operating in a fishery governed in this part who is not selected to report by the SRD under the recordkeeping and reporting requirements in subparts B through V of this part must provide the following information when interviewed by the SRD:

(1) Name and official number of vessel and permit number, if applicable.

(2) Length and tonnage.

(3) Current home port.

(4) Fishing areas.

(5) Ports where fish were offloaded during the last year.

(6) Type and quantity of gear.

(7) Number of full- and part-time fishermen or crew members.

(c) Dealers -

(1) Permitted Gulf and South Atlantic dealers.

(i) A person issued a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit must submit a detailed electronic report of all fish first received for a commercial purpose within the time period specified in this paragraph via the dealer electronic trip ticket reporting system. These electronic reports must be submitted at weekly intervals via the dealer electronic trip ticket reporting system by 11:59 p.m., local time, the Tuesday following a reporting week. If no fish were received during a reporting week, an electronic report so stating must be submitted for that reporting week. In addition, during the open season, dealers must submit daily reports for Gulf migratory group king mackerel harvested by the run-around gillnet component in the Florida west coast southern subzone via the port agents, telephone, internet, or other similar means determined by NMFS. From the beginning of the open season until the commercial ACL (commercial quota) for the run-around gillnet sector for Gulf migratory group king mackerel is reached, dealers must submit a daily report if no king mackerel were received during the previous day. NMFS will provide written notice to dealers that first receive Gulf king mackerel harvested by the run-around gillnet component prior to the beginning of each fishing year if the reporting methods or deadline change from the previous year.

(ii) Dealers must retain either the paper forms or electronic reports for at least 1 year after the submittal date and must provide such records for inspection upon the request of an authorized officer or the SRD.

(iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the ACL monitoring program provides for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a backup. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper-based components for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. The paper forms will be available from NMFS. During catastrophic conditions, the RA has the authority to waive or modify reporting time requirements.

(iv) Gulf and South Atlantic dealers are not authorized to first receive Gulf reef fish, Gulf red drum, South Atlantic golden crab, South Atlantic snapper-grouper, South Atlantic wreckfish, South Atlantic rock shrimp, coastal migratory pelagic fish, spiny lobster, or Atlantic dolphin or wahoo from a federally permitted vessel if the required reports have not been submitted and received by NMFS according to the reporting requirements under this section. Delinquent reports automatically result in a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer becoming ineligible to first receive such fish, regardless of any notification to dealers by NMFS. Gulf and South Atlantic dealers who become ineligible to receive such fish due to delinquent reports are authorized to first receive such fish only after all required and delinquent reports have been submitted and received by NMFS according to the reporting requirements under this section.

(2) Non-permitted dealers. See § 622.51 for a person who purchases Gulf shrimp from a vessel, or person, that fishes for shrimp in the Gulf EEZ or in adjoining state waters, or that lands shrimp in an adjoining state.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19493, Apr. 9, 2014; 80 FR 78674, Dec. 17, 2015]

§ 622.6 Vessel identification.

This section does not apply to subpart R of this part, which has its own specific vessel identification requirements in § 622.402.

(a) Applicability -

(1) Official number. A vessel for which a permit has been issued under subparts B through V of this part except for subpart R, and a vessel that fishes for or possesses pelagic sargassum in the South Atlantic EEZ, must display its official number -

(i) On the port and starboard sides of the deckhouse or hull and, for vessels over 25 ft (7.6 m) long, on an appropriate weather deck, so as to be clearly visible from an enforcement vessel or aircraft.

(ii) In block arabic numerals permanently affixed to or painted on the vessel in contrasting color to the background.

(iii) At least 18 inches (45.7 cm) in height for vessels over 65 ft (19.8 m) long; at least 10 inches (25.4 cm) in height for vessels over 25 ft (7.6 m) long; and at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) in height for vessels 25 ft (7.6 m) long or less.

(2) Official number and color code. The following vessels must display their official number as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section and, in addition, must display their assigned color code: A vessel for which a permit has been issued to fish with a sea bass pot, as required under § 622.170(a)(1); a vessel in the commercial Caribbean reef fish fishery fishing with traps; and a vessel in the Caribbean spiny lobster fishery. Color codes required for the Caribbean reef fish fishery and Caribbean spiny lobster fishery are assigned by Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, whichever is applicable; color codes required in all other fisheries are assigned by the RA. The color code must be displayed -

(i) On the port and starboard sides of the deckhouse or hull and, for vessels over 25 ft (7.6 m) long, on an appropriate weather deck, so as to be clearly visible from an enforcement vessel or aircraft.

(ii) In the form of a circle permanently affixed to or painted on the vessel.

(iii) At least 18 inches (45.7 cm) in diameter for vessels over 65 ft (19.8 m) long; at least 10 inches (25.4 cm) in diameter for vessels over 25 ft (7.6 m) long; and at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) in diameter for vessels 25 ft (7.6 m) long or less.

(b) Duties of operator. The operator of a vessel specified in paragraph (a) of this section must keep the official number and the color code, if applicable, clearly legible and in good repair and must ensure that no part of the fishing vessel, its rigging, fishing gear, or any other material on board obstructs the view of the official number or the color code, if applicable, from an enforcement vessel or aircraft.

§ 622.7 Fishing years.

The fishing year for species or species groups governed in this part is January 1 through December 31 except for the following:

(a) Allowable octocoral - October 1 through September 30.

(b) King and Spanish mackerel. The fishing year for the king and Spanish mackerel bag limits specified in § 622.382 is January 1 through December 31. The following fishing years apply only for the king and Spanish mackerel quotas specified in § 622.384:

(1) Gulf migratory group king mackerel -

(i) Southern zone - July 1 through June 30.

(ii) Northern zone - October 1 through September 30.

(iii) Western zone - July 1 through June 30.

(2) Gulf migratory group Spanish mackerel - April through March.

(3) South Atlantic migratory group king and Spanish mackerel - March through February.

(c) Wreckfish - April 16 through April 15.

(d) South Atlantic greater amberjack - March 1 through the end of February.

(e) South Atlantic black sea bass recreational sector - April 1 through March 31. (Note: The fishing year for the commercial sector for black sea bass is January 1 through December 31).

(f) South Atlantic yellowtail snapper - August 1 through July 31.

(g) Gulf of Mexico yellowtail snapper - August 1 through July 31.

(h) Gulf of Mexico greater amberjack recreational sector - August 1 through July 31. (Note: The fishing year for the commercial sector for greater amberjack is January 1 through December 31).

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 66322, Nov. 7, 2014; 80 FR 4218, Jan. 27, 2015; 81 FR 45248, July 13, 2016; 81 FR 10311, Feb. 10, 2017; 82 FR 17394, Apr. 11, 2017; 83 FR 13428, Mar. 29, 2018]

§ 622.8 Quotas - general.

(a) Quotas apply for the fishing year for each species, species group, sector or component, unless accountability measures are implemented during the fishing year pursuant to the applicable annual catch limits and accountability measures sections of subparts B through V of this part due to a quota overage occurring the previous year, in which case a reduced quota will be specified through notification in the Federal Register. Annual quota increases are contingent on the total allowable catch for the applicable species not being exceeded in the previous fishing year. If the total allowable catch is exceeded in the previous fishing year, the RA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to maintain the quota for the applicable species, sector or component from the previous fishing year for following fishing years, unless NMFS determines based upon the best scientific information available that maintaining the quota from the previous year is unnecessary. Except for the quotas for Gulf and South Atlantic coral, the quotas include species harvested from state waters adjoining the EEZ.

(b) Quota closures. When a quota specified in this part is reached, or is projected to be reached, the Assistant Administrator will file a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. On and after the effective date of such notification, for the remainder of the fishing year, the applicable closure restrictions for such a quota, as specified in this part apply. (See the applicable annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs) sections of subparts B through V of this part for closure provisions when an applicable ACL or ACT is reached or projected to be reached).

(c) Reopening. When a species, sector or component has been closed based on a projection of the quota specified in this part, or the ACL specified in the applicable annual catch limits and accountability measures sections of subparts B through V of this part being reached and subsequent data indicate that the quota or ACL was not reached, the Assistant Administrator may file a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register. Such notification may reopen the species, sector or component to provide an opportunity for the quota or ACL to be harvested.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 80 FR 22429, Apr. 22, 2015]

§ 622.9 Prohibited gear and methods - general.

This section contains prohibitions on use of gear and methods that are of general applicability, as specified. Additional prohibitions on use of gear and methods applicable to specific species or species groups are contained in subparts B through V of this part.

(a) Explosives. An explosive (except an explosive in a powerhead) may not be used to fish in the Caribbean, Gulf, or South Atlantic EEZ. A vessel fishing in the EEZ for a species governed in this part, or a vessel for which a permit has been issued under this part, may not have on board any dynamite or similar explosive substance.

(b) Chemicals and plants. A toxic chemical may not be used or possessed in a coral area, and a chemical, plant, or plant-derived toxin may not be used to harvest a Caribbean coral reef resource in the Caribbean EEZ.

(c) Fish traps. A fish trap may not be used or possessed in the Gulf or South Atlantic EEZ. A fish trap deployed in the Gulf or South Atlantic EEZ may be disposed of in any appropriate manner by the Assistant Administrator or an authorized officer.

(d) Weak link. A bottom trawl that does not have a weak link in the tickler chain may not be used to fish in the Gulf EEZ. For the purposes of this paragraph, a weak link is defined as a length or section of the tickler chain that has a breaking strength less than the chain itself and is easily seen as such when visually inspected.

(e) Use of Gulf reef fish as bait prohibited. Gulf reef fish may not be used as bait in any fishery, except that, when purchased from a fish processor, the filleted carcasses and offal of Gulf reef fish may be used as bait in trap fisheries for blue crab, stone crab, deep-water crab, and spiny lobster.

§ 622.10 Landing fish intact - -general.

This section contains requirements for landing fish intact that are broadly applicable to finfish in the Gulf EEZ and Caribbean EEZ, as specified. See subparts B through V, as applicable, for additional species specific requirements for landing fish intact.

(a) Finfish in or from the Gulf EEZ or Caribbean EEZ, except as specified in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section, must be maintained with head and fins intact.

(b) Shark, swordfish, and tuna species are exempt from the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) In the Gulf EEZ or Caribbean EEZ:

(1) Bait is exempt from the requirement to be maintained with head and fins intact.

(i) For the purpose of this paragraph (c)(1), “bait” means -

(A) Packaged, headless fish fillets that have the skin attached and are frozen or refrigerated;

(B) Headless fish fillets that have the skin attached and are held in brine; or

(C) Small pieces no larger than 3 in3 (7.6 cm3) or strips no larger than 3 inches by 9 inches (7.6 cm by 22.9 cm) that have the skin attached and are frozen, refrigerated, or held in brine.

(ii) Paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section notwithstanding, a finfish or part thereof possessed in or landed from the Gulf EEZ or Caribbean EEZ that is subsequently sold or purchased as a finfish species, rather than as bait, is not bait.

(2) Legal-sized finfish possessed for consumption at sea on the harvesting vessel are exempt from the requirement to have head and fins intact, provided -

(i) Such finfish do not exceed any applicable bag limit;

(ii) Such finfish do not exceed 1.5 lb (680 g) of finfish parts per person aboard; and

(iii) The vessel is equipped to cook such finfish on board.

(d) The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that fish on that vessel in the EEZ are maintained intact and, if taken from the EEZ, are maintained intact through offloading ashore, as specified in this section.

§ 622.11 Bag and possession limits - general applicability.

This section describes the general applicability provisions for bag and possession limits specified in subparts B through V of this part.

(a) Applicability.

(1) The bag and possession limits apply for species/species groups in or from the EEZ. Unless specified otherwise, bag limits apply to a person on a daily basis, regardless of the number of trips in a day. Unless specified otherwise, a person is limited to a single bag limit for a trip lasting longer than one calendar day. Unless specified otherwise, possession limits apply to a person on a trip after the first 24 hours of that trip. The bag and possession limits apply to a person who fishes in the EEZ in any manner, except a person aboard a vessel in the EEZ that has on board the commercial vessel permit required under this part for the appropriate species/species group. The possession of a commercial vessel permit notwithstanding, the bag and possession limits apply when the vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat. A person who fishes in the EEZ may not combine a bag limit specified in subparts B through V of this part with a bag or possession limit applicable to state waters. A species/species group subject to a bag limit specified in subparts B through V of this part taken in the EEZ by a person subject to the bag limits may not be transferred at sea, regardless of where such transfer takes place, and such fish may not be transferred in the EEZ. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that the bag and possession limits specified in subparts B through V of this part are not exceeded.

(2) [Reserved]

(b) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014]

§ 622.12 Annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs) for Caribbean island management areas/Caribbean EEZ.

(a) Puerto Rico management area. See appendix E of this part for specification of the Puerto Rico management area.

(1) Queen conch. See § 622.491 regarding seasonal and area closure provisions and ACL closure provisions applicable to queen conch.

(i) Commercial ACL. For the EEZ only, 0 lb (0 kg), round weight.

(ii) Recreational ACL. For the EEZ only, 0 lb (0 kg), round weight.

(2) Reef fish. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. With the exceptions of goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, midnight parrotfish, blue parrotfish, and rainbow parrotfish, ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the Puerto Rico management area. As described in the FMP, for each species or species group in this paragraph (a)(2), any fishing season reduction required under paragraph (a)(2)(i) or (ii) of this section will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year.

(i) Commercial sector. If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable species or species group commercial ACL, as specified in this paragraph (a)(2)(i), and the combined commercial and recreational landings have exceeded the applicable combined commercial and recreational sector ACL (total ACL), as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species groups for the commercial sector that year by the amount necessary to ensure that commercial landings do not exceed the applicable commercial ACL for the species or species group. If NMFS determines that either the applicable commercial ACL or total ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the commercial fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. The commercial ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

(A) Parrotfishes - 52,737 lb (23,915 kg).

(B) Snapper Unit 1 - 284,685 lb (129,131 kg).

(C) Snapper Unit 2 - 145,916 lb (66,186 kg).

(D) Snapper Unit 3 - 345,775 lb (156,841 kg).

(E) Snapper Unit 4 - 373,295 lb (169,324 kg).

(F) Groupers - 177,513 lb (80,519 kg).

(G) Angelfish - 8,984 lb (4,075 kg).

(H) Boxfish - 86,115 lb (39,061 kg).

(I) Goatfishes - 17,565 lb (7,967 kg).

(J) Grunts - 182,396 lb (82,733 kg).

(K) Wrasses - 54,147 lb (24,561 kg).

(L) Jacks - 86,059 lb (39,036 kg).

(M) Scups and porgies, combined - 24,739 lb (11,221 kg).

(N) Squirrelfish - 16,663 lb (7,558 kg).

(O) Surgeonfish - 7,179 lb (3,256 kg).

(P) Triggerfish and filefish, combined - 58,475 lb (26,524 kg).

(ii) Recreational sector. If recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable species or species group recreational ACL, as specified in this paragraph (a)(2)(ii), and the combined commercial and recreational landings have exceeded the applicable combined commercial and recreational sector ACL (total ACL), as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species groups for the recreational sector that year by the amount necessary to ensure that recreational landings do not exceed the applicable species or species group recreational ACL. If NMFS determines that either the applicable recreational ACL or total ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. The recreational ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

(A) Parrotfishes - 15,263 lb (6,921 kg).

(B) Snapper Unit 1 - 95,526 lb (43,330 kg).

(C) Snapper Unit 2 - 34,810 lb (15,790 kg).

(D) Snapper Unit 3 - 83,158 lb (37,720 kg).

(E) Snapper Unit 4 - 28,509 lb (12,931 kg).

(F) Groupers - 77,213 lb (35,023 kg).

(G) Angelfish - 4,492 lb (2,038 kg).

(H) Boxfish - 4,616 lb (2,094 kg).

(I) Goatfishes - 362 lb (164 kg).

(J) Grunts - 5,028 lb (2,281 kg).

(K) Wrasses - 5,050 lb (2,291 kg).

(L) Jacks - 51,001 lb (23,134 kg).

(M) Scups and porgies, combined - 2,577 lb (1,169 kg).

(N) Squirrelfish - 3,891 lb (1,765 kg).

(O) Surgeonfish - 3,590 lb (1,628 kg).

(P) Triggerfish and filefish, combined - 21,929 lb (9,947 kg).

(iii) Total ACLs. The total ACLs (combined commercial and recreational ACL), in round weight, are as follows:

(A) Parrotfishes - 68,000 lb (30,844 kg).

(B) Snapper Unit 1 - 380,211 lb (172,461 kg).

(C) Snapper Unit 2 - 180,726 lb (81,976 kg).

(D) Snapper Unit 3 - 428,933 lb (194,561 kg).

(E) Snapper Unit 4 - 401,804 lb (182,255 kg).

(F) Groupers - 254,726 lb (115,542 kg).

(G) Angelfish - 13,476 lb (6,113 kg).

(H) Boxfish - 90,731 lb (41,155 kg).

(I) Goatfishes - 17,927 lb (8,132 kg).

(J) Grunts - 187,424 lb (85,014 kg).

(K) Wrasses - 59,197 lb (26,851 kg).

(L) Jacks - 137,060 lb (62,169 kg).

(M) Scups and porgies, combined - 27,316 lb (kg).

(N) Squirrelfish - 20,554 lb (9,323 kg).

(O) Surgeonfish - 10,769 lb (4,885 kg).

(P) Triggerfish and filefish, combined - 80,404 lb (36,471 kg).

(3) Spiny lobster. Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. The ACL is based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the Puerto Rico management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the ACL, as specified in this paragraph (a)(3), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for spiny lobster that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (a)(3) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACL is 327,920 lb (148,742 kg), round weight.

(b) St. Croix management area. See appendix E of this part for specification of the St. Croix management area.

(1) Queen conch. See § 622.491 regarding seasonal and area closure provisions and ACL closure provisions applicable to queen conch. The ACL is 50,000 lb (22,680 kg), round weight.

(2) Reef fish. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. With the exception of goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, midnight parrotfish, blue parrotfish, and rainbow parrotfish, ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the St. Croix management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable ACL for a species or species group, as specified in this paragraph (b)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the applicable ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, for each species or species group in this paragraph (b)(2), any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (b)(2) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

(i) Parrotfishes - 240,000 lb (108,863 kg).

(ii) Snappers - 102,946 lb (46,696 kg).

(iii) Groupers - 30,435 lb (13,805 kg).

(iv) Angelfish - 305 lb (138 kg).

(v) Boxfish - 8,433 lb (3,825 kg).

(vi) Goatfishes - 3,766 lb (1,708 kg).

(vii) Grunts - 36,881 lb (16,729 kg).

(viii) Wrasses - 7 lb (3 kg).

(ix) Jacks - 15,489 lb (7,076 kg).

(x) Scups and porgies, combined - 4,638 lb (2,104 kg).

(xi) Squirrelfish - 121 lb (55 kg).

(xii) Surgeonfish - 33,603 lb (15,242 kg).

(xiii) Triggerfish and filefish, combined - 24,980 lb (11,331 kg).

(3) Spiny lobster. Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. The ACL is based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the St. Croix management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the ACL, as specified in this paragraph (b)(3), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (b)(3) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACL is 107,307 lb (48,674 kg), round weight.

(c) St. Thomas/St. John management area. See appendix E of this part for specification of the St. Thomas/St. John management area.

(1) Queen conch. See § 622.491 regarding seasonal and area closure provisions and ACL closure provisions applicable to queen conch. The ACL is 0 lb (0 kg), round weight, for the EEZ only.

(2) Reef fish. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. With the exception of goliath grouper, Nassau grouper, midnight parrotfish, blue parrotfish, and rainbow parrotfish, ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for St. Thomas/St. John management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable ACL for a species or species group, as specified in this paragraph (c)(2), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the applicable ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL for a particular species or species group was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch of the species or species group, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species group the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, for each species or species group in this paragraph (c)(2), any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (c)(2) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

(i) Parrotfishes - 42,500 lb (19,278 kg).

(ii) Snappers - 133,775 lb (60,679 kg).

(iii) Groupers - 51,849 lb (23,518 kg).

(iv) Angelfish - 7,897 lb (3,582 kg).

(v) Boxfish - 27,880 lb (12,646 kg).

(vi) Goatfishes - 320 lb (145 kg).

(vii) Grunts - 37,617 lb (17,063 kg).

(viii) Wrasses - 585 lb (265 kg).

(ix) Jacks - 52,907 lb (23,998 kg).

(x) Scups and porgies, combined - 21,819 lb (9,897 kg).

(xi) Squirrelfish - 4,241 lb (1,924 kg).

(xii) Surgeonfish - 29,249 lb (13,267 kg).

(xiii) Triggerfish and filefish, combined - 74,447 lb (33,769 kg).

(3) Spiny lobster. Landings will be evaluated relative to the ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMP. The ACL is based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings for the St. Thomas/St. John management area. If landings, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the ACL, as specified in this paragraph (c)(3), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the ACL. If NMFS determines the ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the following fishing year. As described in the FMP, any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (c)(3) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACL is 104,199 lb (47,264 kg), round weight.

(d) Caribbean EEZ. Landings will be evaluated relative to the applicable ACL based on a moving multi-year average of landings, as described in the FMPs. The ACLs are based on the combined Caribbean EEZ and territorial landings, throughout the Caribbean EEZ. If landings from the Caribbean EEZ for tilefish and aquarium trade species, as estimated by the SRD, have exceeded the applicable ACL, as specified in this paragraph (d), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the length of the fishing season for the applicable species or species groups that year by the amount necessary to ensure landings do not exceed the applicable ACL. If NMFS determines the applicable ACL was exceeded because of enhanced data collection and monitoring efforts instead of an increase in total catch, NMFS will not reduce the length of the fishing season for the following fishing year. As described in the FMPs, for each species or species group in this paragraph (d), any fishing season reduction required as a result of this paragraph (d) will be applied from September 30 backward, toward the beginning of the fishing year. If the length of the required fishing season reduction exceeds the time period of January 1 through September 30, any additional fishing season reduction will be applied from October 1 forward, toward the end of the fishing year. The ACLs, in round weight, are as follows:

(1) Tilefish - 14,642 lb (6,641 kg).

(2) Aquarium trade species - 8,155 lb (3,699 kg).

(e) Closure provisions -

(1) Restrictions applicable after a Puerto Rico closure.

(i) Restrictions applicable after a Puerto Rico commercial closure for reef fish species or species groups. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section, the commercial sector for species or species groups included in the notification is closed and such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area may not be purchased or sold. Harvest or possession of such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area is limited to the recreational bag and possession limits unless the recreational sector for the species or species group is closed and the restrictions specified in paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section apply.

(ii) Restrictions applicable after a Puerto Rico recreational closure for reef fish species or species groups. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, the recreational sector for species or species groups included in the notification is closed and the recreational bag and possession limits for such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area are zero. If the seasons for both the commercial and recreational sectors for such species or species groups are closed, the restrictions specified in paragraph (e)(1)(iii) of this section apply.

(iii) Restrictions applicable when both Puerto Rico commercial and Puerto Rico recreational sectors for reef fish species or species groups are closed. If the seasons for both the commercial and recreational sectors for a species or species group are closed, such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area may not be harvested, possessed, purchased, or sold, and the bag and possession limits for such species or species groups in or from the Puerto Rico management area are zero.

(iv) Restrictions applicable after a spiny lobster closure in Puerto Rico. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section, both the commercial and recreational sectors are closed. Spiny lobster in or from the Puerto Rico management area may not be harvested, possessed, purchased, or sold, and the bag and possession limits for spiny lobster in or from the Puerto Rico management area are zero.

(2) Restrictions applicable after a St. Croix, St. Thomas/St. John, or Caribbean EEZ closure. During the closure period announced in the notification filed pursuant to paragraph (b), (c), or (d) of this section, such species or species groups in or from the applicable management area of the Caribbean EEZ may not be harvested, possessed, purchased, or sold, and the bag and possession limits for such species or species groups in or from the applicable management area of the Caribbean EEZ are zero.

[82 FR 56918, Dec. 1, 2017]

§ 622.13 Prohibitions - general.

In addition to the general prohibitions in § 600.725 of this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to do any of the following:

(a) Engage in an activity for which a valid Federal permit, license, or endorsement is required under this part without such permit, license, or endorsement.

(b) Falsify information on an application for a permit, license, or endorsement or submitted in support of such application, as specified in this part.

(c) Fail to display a permit, license, or endorsement, or other required identification, as specified in this part.

(d) Falsify or fail to maintain, submit, or provide information or fail to comply with inspection requirements or restrictions, as specified in this part.

(e) Fail to make a fish, or parts thereof, available for inspection, as specified in this part.

(f) Falsify or fail to display and maintain vessel and gear identification, as specified in this part.

(g) Harvest or possess fish if the required charter vessel or headboat reports have not been submitted in accordance with this part.

(h) First receive fish from federally permitted vessels if the required reports have not been submitted in accordance with § 622.5(c).

(i) Fail to comply with any requirement or restriction regarding ITQ coupons, as specified in § 622.172.

(j) Possess wreckfish as specified in § 622.172, receive wreckfish except as specified in § 622.172, or offload a wreckfish except as specified in § 622.172.

(k) Transfer -

(1) A wreckfish, as specified in § 622.172;

(2) A limited-harvest species, as specified in this part;

(3) A species/species group subject to a bag limit, as specified in this part;

(4) South Atlantic snapper-grouper from a vessel with unauthorized gear on board, as specified in § 622.188; or

(5) A species subject to a commercial trip limit, as specified in this part.

(l) Use or possess prohibited gear or methods or possess fish in association with possession or use of prohibited gear, as specified in this part.

(m) Fish for, harvest, or possess a prohibited species, or a limited-harvest species in excess of its limitation, sell or purchase such species, fail to comply with release requirements, molest or strip eggs from a lobster, or possess a lobster, or part thereof, from which eggs, swimmerettes, or pleopids have been removed or stripped, as specified in this part.

(n) Fish in violation of the prohibitions, restrictions, and requirements applicable to seasonal and/or area closures, including but not limited to: Prohibition of all fishing, gear restrictions, restrictions on take or retention of fish, fish release requirements, and restrictions on use of an anchor or grapple, as specified in this part or as may be specified under this part.

(o) Harvest, possess, offload, sell, or purchase fish in excess of the seasonal harvest limitations, as specified in this part.

(p) Except as allowed for king and Spanish mackerel and Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic spiny lobster, possess undersized fish, fail to release undersized fish, or sell or purchase undersized fish, as specified in this part.

(q) Fail to maintain a fish intact through offloading ashore, as specified in this part.

(r) Exceed a bag or possession limit, as specified in this part.

(s) Fail to comply with the limitations on traps and pots, including but not limited to: Tending requirements, constructions requirements, and area specific restrictions, as specified in this part.

(t) Fail to comply with the species-specific limitations, as specified in this part.

(u) Fail to comply with the restrictions that apply after closure of a fishery, sector, or component of a fishery, as specified in this part.

(v) Possess on board a vessel or land, purchase, or sell fish in excess of the commercial trip limits, as specified in this part.

(w) Fail to comply with the restrictions on sale/purchase, as specified in this part.

(x) Interfere with fishing or obstruct or damage fishing gear or the fishing vessel of another, as specified in this part.

(y) Fail to comply with the requirements for observer coverage as specified in this part.

(z) Assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, or interfere with a NMFS-approved observer aboard a vessel.

(aa) Prohibit or bar by command, impediment, threat, coercion, or refusal of reasonable assistance, an observer from conducting his or her duties aboard a vessel.

(bb) Fish for or possess golden crab in or from a fishing zone or sub-zone of the South Atlantic EEZ other than the zone or sub-zone for which the vessel is permitted or authorized, as specified in § 622.241.

(cc) Falsify information submitted regarding an application for testing a BRD or regarding testing of a BRD, as specified in §§ 622.53 and 622.207.

(dd) Make a false statement, oral or written, to an authorized officer regarding the installation, use, operation, or maintenance of a vessel monitoring system (VMS) unit or communication service provider.

(ee) Operate or own a vessel that is required to have a permitted operator aboard when the vessel is at sea or offloading without such operator aboard, as specified in this part.

(ff) When a vessel that is subject to Federal fishing regulations is at sea or offloading, own or operate such vessel with a person aboard whose operator permit is revoked, suspended, or modified.

(gg) Fail to comply with any provision related to a vessel monitoring system (VMS) as specified in this part, including but not limited to, requirements for use, installation, activation, access to data, procedures related to interruption of VMS operation, and prohibitions on interference with the VMS.

(hh) Fail to comply with the protected species conservation measure as specified in this part.

(ii) Fail to comply with any provision related to the IFQ program for Gulf red snapper as specified in § 622.21, or the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes as specified in § 622.22.

(jj) Falsify any information required to be submitted regarding the IFQ program for Gulf red snapper as specified in § 622.21, or the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes as specified in § 622.22.

(kk) Fail to comply with the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic spiny lobster import prohibitions, as specified in this part.

(ll) Possess a Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic spiny lobster trap in the EEZ at a time not authorized, as specified in subpart R.

(mm) Harvest or attempt to harvest a Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic spiny lobster by diving without having and using in the water a measuring device, as specified in subpart R.

(nn) Possess Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic spiny lobsters aboard a vessel that uses or has on board a net or trawl in an amount exceeding the limits, as specified in subpart R.

(oo) Operate a vessel that fishes for or possesses Gulf of Mexico or South Atlantic spiny lobster in or from the EEZ with spiny lobster aboard in an amount exceeding the cumulative bag and possession limit, as specified in subpart R.

(pp) Fail to comply with any provision related to the Offshore Marine Aquaculture program in the Gulf of Mexico as specified in this part.

(qq) Falsify any information required to be submitted regarding the Offshore Marine Aquaculture program in the Gulf of Mexico as specified in this part.

(rr) Land allowable aquaculture species cultured in the Gulf at non-U.S. ports, unless first landed at a U.S. port.

(ss) Fail to comply with any other requirement or restriction specified in this part or violate any provision(s) in this part.

[78 FR 57535, Sept. 19, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 78781, Dec. 27, 2013; 79 FR 6099, Feb. 3, 2014; 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014; 81 FR 1792, Jan. 13, 2016; 85 FR 10339, Feb. 24, 2020]

§ 622.14 [Reserved]
§ 622.15 Notice regarding area closures to protect corals.

See §§ 622.74 and 622.224, respectively, regarding coral protective restrictions in the Gulf EEZ and South Atlantic EEZ that apply broadly to multiple fisheries and gear types.

§ 622.16 Notice regarding South Atlantic special management zones (SMZs).

See §§ 622.182(a) and 622.382(a)(1)(v), respectively, regarding fishing and gear restrictions in South Atlantic SMZs that apply to snapper-grouper and coastal migratory pelagic fisheries and broadly to gear types of multiple fisheries.

§ 622.17 Notice regarding seasonal/area closures to protect Gulf reef fish.

See § 622.34, paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(3) through (6), regarding Gulf reef fish protective restrictions in the Gulf EEZ that apply broadly to multiple Gulf fisheries and gear types.

Subpart B - Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico
§ 622.20 Permits and endorsements.

(a) Commercial vessels -

(1) Commercial vessel permits. For a person aboard a vessel to be eligible for exemption from the bag limits, to fish under a quota, as specified in § 622.39, or to sell Gulf reef fish or Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish in or from the Gulf EEZ, a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. If Federal regulations for Gulf reef fish in subparts A or B of this part are more restrictive than state regulations, a person aboard a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must comply with such Federal regulations regardless of where the fish are harvested. See paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section regarding a limited access system for commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish. See §§ 622.21(b)(1) and 622.22(b)(1), respectively, regarding an IFQ vessel account required to fish for, possess, or land Gulf red snapper or Gulf groupers and tilefishes, and paragraph (a)(2) of this section regarding an additional bottom longline endorsement required to fish for Gulf reef fish with bottom longline gear in a portion of the eastern Gulf.

(i) Limited access system for commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish.

(A) No applications for additional commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish will be accepted. Existing vessel permits may be renewed, are subject to the restriction on transfer in paragraph (a)(1)(i)(B) of this section, and are subject to the requirement for timely renewal in paragraph (a)(1)(i)(C) of this section. An application for renewal or transfer of a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish will not be considered complete until proof of purchase, installation, activation, and operational status of an approved VMS for the vessel receiving the permit has been verified by NMFS VMS personnel.

(B) An owner of a permitted vessel may transfer the commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish to another vessel owned by the same entity. A permit holder may also transfer the commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish to the owner of another vessel or to a new vessel owner when he or she transfers ownership of the permitted vessel.

(C) A commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish that is not renewed or that is revoked will not be reissued. A permit is considered to be not renewed when an application for renewal is not received by the RA within 1 year of the expiration date of the permit.

(ii) Option to consolidate commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish. A person who has been issued multiple commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish and wants to consolidate some or all of those permits, and the landings histories associated with those permits, into one permit must submit a completed permit consolidation application to the RA. The permits consolidated must be valid, non-expired permits and must be issued to the same entity. The application form and instructions are available online at sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. After consolidation, such a person would have a single permit, and the permits that were consolidated into that permit will be permanently terminated.

(2) Commercial vessel endorsements -

(i) Eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement. For a person aboard a vessel, for which a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, to use a bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the Gulf EEZ east of 85°30′ W. long., a valid eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. A permit or endorsement that has expired is not valid. This endorsement must be renewed annually and may only be renewed if the associated vessel has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish or if the endorsement and associated permit are being concurrently renewed. The RA will not reissue this endorsement if the endorsement is revoked or if the RA does not receive a complete application for renewal of the endorsement within 1 year after the endorsement's expiration date.

(A) Transferability. An owner of a vessel with a valid eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement may transfer that endorsement to an owner of a vessel that has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish.

(B) Fees. A fee is charged for each renewal, transfer, or replacement of an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement. The amount of each fee is calculated in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook, available from the RA, for determining the administrative costs of each special product or service. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified with each application form. The appropriate fee must accompany each application for renewal, transfer, or replacement.

(ii) [Reserved]

(b) Charter vessel/headboat permits. For a person aboard a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat to fish for or possess Gulf reef fish, in or from the EEZ, a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. For a person aboard a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat to fish for or possess Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish in or from the Gulf EEZ, a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board.

(1) Limited access system for charter vessel/headboat permits for Gulf reef fish. No applications for additional charter vessel/headboat permits for Gulf reef fish will be accepted. Existing permits may be renewed, are subject to the restrictions on transfer in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, and are subject to the renewal requirements in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. An eligible charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement may be converted to a charter vessel/headboat permit without a historical captain endorsement, per the procedure in paragraph (b)(1)(v) of this section.

(i) Transfer of permits -

(A) Permits without a historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish that does not have a historical captain endorsement is fully transferable, with or without sale of the permitted vessel.

(B) Permits with a historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish that has a historical captain endorsement may only be transferred to a vessel operated by the historical captain and is not otherwise transferable.

(C) Procedure for permit transfer. To request that the RA transfer a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish, the owner of the vessel who is transferring the permit and the owner of the vessel that is to receive the transferred permit must complete the transfer information on the reverse side of the permit and return the permit and a completed application for transfer to the RA. See § 622.4(f) for additional transfer-related requirements applicable to all permits issued under this part.

(ii) Renewal.

(A) Renewal of a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish is contingent upon the permitted vessel and/or captain, as appropriate, being included in an active survey frame for, and, if selected to report, providing the information required in one of the approved fishing data surveys. Surveys include, but are not limited to -

(1) NMFS' Marine Recreational Fishing Vessel Directory Telephone Survey (conducted by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission);

(2) Charter vessel and headboat recordkeeping and reporting requirements specified in § 622.26(b);

(3) Texas Parks and Wildlife Marine Recreational Fishing Survey; or

(4) A data collection system that replaces one or more of the surveys in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A),(1),(2), or (3) of this section.

(B) A charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish that is not renewed or that is revoked will not be reissued. A permit is considered to be not renewed when an application for renewal, as required, is not received by the RA within 1 year of the expiration date of the permit.

(iii) Requirement to display a vessel decal. Upon renewal or transfer of a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish, the RA will issue the owner of the permitted vessel a vessel decal for Gulf reef fish. The vessel decal must be displayed on the port side of the deckhouse or hull and must be maintained so that it is clearly visible.

(iv) Passenger capacity compliance requirement. A vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat with a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish, which is carrying more passengers on board the vessel than is specified on the permit, is prohibited from harvesting or possessing the species identified on the permit.

(v) Procedure for conversion of permit with historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement that was valid or renewable on October 25, 2018, may be converted to a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish without a historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement that is converted to a charter vessel/headboat permit without a historical captain endorsement will retain the same vessel permit maximum passenger capacity as the permit it replaces. To convert an eligible charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement, the permit holder must submit a permit application to the RA by May 23, 2022. If no application to convert an eligible charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement is submitted by May 23, 2022, the permit holder will retain a charter vessel/headboat permit with the historical captain endorsement that is subject to the restrictions described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) of this section.

(2) A charter vessel or headboat may have both a charter vessel/headboat permit and a commercial vessel permit. However, when a vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, a person aboard must adhere to the bag limits. See the definitions of “Charter vessel” and “Headboat” in § 622.2 for an explanation of when vessels are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat, respectively.

(3) If Federal regulations for Gulf reef fish in subparts A or B of this part are more restrictive than state regulations, a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must comply with such Federal regulations regardless of where the fish are harvested.

(c) Dealer permits and conditions -

(1) Permits. For a dealer to first receive Gulf reef fish harvested in or from the EEZ, a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit must be issued to the dealer.

(2) State license and facility requirements. To obtain a dealer permit or endorsement, the applicant must have a valid state wholesaler's license in the state(s) where the dealer operates, if required by such state(s), and must have a physical facility at a fixed location in such state(s).

(d) Permit procedures. See § 622.4 for information regarding general permit procedures including, but not limited to application, fees, duration, transfer, renewal, display, sanctions and denials, and replacement.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended 78 FR 46293, July 31, 2013; 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014; 82 FR 34580, July 25, 2017; 85 FR 22045, Apr. 21, 2020; 85 FR 44017, July 21, 2020]

§ 622.21 Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf red snapper.

(a) General. This section establishes an IFQ program for the commercial red snapper component of the Gulf reef fish fishery. Shares determine the amount of Gulf red snapper IFQ allocation, in pounds gutted weight, a shareholder is initially authorized to possess, land, or sell in a given calendar year. As of January 1, 2012, IFQ shares and allocation can only be transferred to U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens. See paragraph (b)(11) of this section regarding eligibility to participate in the Gulf red snapper IFQ program as of January 1, 2012. Shares and annual IFQ allocation are transferable. See paragraph (b)(1) of this section regarding a requirement for a vessel landing red snapper subject to this IFQ program to have a Gulf red snapper IFQ vessel account. See paragraph (b)(2) of this section regarding a requirement for a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement. Details regarding eligibility, applicable landings history, account setup and transaction requirements, constraints on transferability, and other provisions of this IFQ system are provided in the following paragraphs of this section.

(1) Scope. The provisions of this section regarding the harvest and possession of Gulf IFQ red snapper apply to Gulf red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ and, for a person aboard a vessel with a Gulf red snapper IFQ vessel account as required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section or for a person with a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement as required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section, these provisions apply to Gulf red snapper regardless of where harvested or possessed.

(2) Duration. The IFQ program established by this section will remain in effect until it is modified or terminated; however, the program will be evaluated by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council every 5 years.

(3) Electronic system requirements.

(i) The administrative functions associated with this IFQ program, e.g., registration and account setup, landing transactions, and transfers, are designed to be accomplished online; therefore, a participant must have access to a computer and Internet access and must set up an appropriate IFQ account to participate. The computer must have browser software installed, e.g., Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox; as well as the software Adobe Flash Player version 9.0 or greater, which may be downloaded from the Internet for free. Assistance with online functions is available from IFQ Customer Service by calling 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time.

(ii) The RA mailed initial shareholders and dealers with Gulf reef fish dealer permits information and instructions pertinent to setting up an IFQ account. Other eligible persons who desire to become IFQ participants by purchasing IFQ shares or allocation or by obtaining a Gulf red snapper IFQ dealer endorsement must first contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 to obtain information necessary to set up the required IFQ account. As of January 1, 2012, all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens are eligible to establish an IFQ account. As of January 1, 2012, all current IFQ participants must complete and submit the application for an IFQ Account to certify their citizenship status and ensure their account information (e.g., mailing address, corporate shareholdings, etc.) is up to date. See § 622.21(b)(11) regarding requirements for the application for an IFQ Account. Each IFQ participant must monitor his/her online account and all associated messages and comply with all IFQ online reporting requirements.

(iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the IFQ program provides for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a backup. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper-based components for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. NMFS will provide each IFQ dealer the necessary paper forms and instructions for submission of the forms to the RA. The paper forms will also be available from the RA. The program functions available to participants or geographic areas deemed affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during catastrophic conditions. Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via IFQ Customer Service 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time.

(4) IFQ allocation. IFQ allocation is the amount of Gulf red snapper, in pounds gutted weight, an IFQ shareholder or allocation holder is authorized to possess, land, or sell during a given fishing year. IFQ allocation is derived at the beginning of each year by multiplying a shareholder's IFQ share times the annual commercial quota for Gulf red snapper. If the quota is increased after the beginning of the fishing year, then IFQ allocation is derived by multiplying a shareholder's IFQ share at the time of the quota increase by the amount the annual commercial quota for red snapper is increased. If a reduction in the commercial quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(i) is expected to occur after January 1, the beginning of the fishing year, but before June 1 in that same fishing year, NMFS will withhold distribution of IFQ allocation on January 1 in the amount equal to that reduction. If a final rule to implement the commercial quota reduction is not published in the Federal Register and effective by June 1, NMFS will distribute withheld IFQ allocation of red snapper commercial quota to current shareholders based on shareholdings on the date the withheld IFQ allocation is distributed.

(5) Closing an IFQ account. IFQ account holders may close an IFQ account by completing and submitting a Close IFQ Account Request Form to NMFS. This form must be signed by an account holder named on the IFQ account. If the request to close an IFQ account is being made because the sole account holder is deceased, the person requesting the closure must sign the Close IFQ Account Request Form, indicating the relationship to the deceased, provide a death certificate, and provide any additional information NMFS determines is necessary to complete the request. IFQ shareholder accounts may not be closed until all shares and allocation have been transferred from the account to another IFQ account holder. Dealer accounts may not be closed until all cost recovery fees have been received by NMFS. NMFS' IFQ Customer Service staff may close an IFQ account if all shares and allocation have been transferred from the account, all cost recovery fees have been received by NMFS, and no landing transactions or IFQ transfers have been completed by the IFQ account holder in at least 1 year. If an account is closed by NMFS' IFQ Customer Service staff, it may be reopened at the request of the IFQ account holder by contacting IFQ Customer Service.

(6) Returning IFQ shares. Any shares contained in IFQ accounts that have never been activated since January 1, 2010, in the IFQ program are returned permanently to NMFS on July 12, 2018.

(b) IFQ operations and requirements -

(1) IFQ vessel accounts for Gulf red snapper. For a person aboard a vessel, for which a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, to fish for, possess, or land Gulf red snapper, regardless of where harvested or possessed, a Gulf IFQ vessel account for Gulf red snapper must have been established. As a condition of the IFQ vessel account, a person aboard such vessel must comply with the requirements of this section, § 622.21, when fishing for red snapper regardless of where the fish are harvested or possessed. An owner of a vessel with a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, who has established an IFQ account for Gulf red snapper as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, online via the NMFS IFQ Web site https://portal.southeast.fisheries.noaa.gov/cs/main.html, may establish a vessel account through that IFQ account for that permitted vessel. If such owner does not have an online IFQ account, the owner must first contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 to obtain information necessary to access the IFQ Web site and establish an online IFQ account. There is no fee to set-up an IFQ account or a vessel account. Only one vessel account may be established per vessel under each IFQ program. An owner with multiple vessels may establish multiple vessel accounts under each IFQ account. The purpose of the vessel account is to hold IFQ allocation that is required to land the applicable IFQ species. A vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, must hold sufficient IFQ allocation, at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of the red snapper on board at the time of advance notice of landing. Allocation must be transferred to the vessel account, so that the vessel account holds sufficient IFQ allocation at the time of the landing transaction (except for any overage allowed as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section). The vessel account remains valid as long as the vessel permit remains valid; the vessel has not been sold or transferred; and the vessel owner is in compliance with all Gulf reef fish and IFQ reporting requirements, has paid all applicable IFQ fees, and is not subject to sanctions under 15 CFR part 904. The vessel account is not transferable to another vessel. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to fishing for or possession of Gulf red snapper under the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)3).

(2) Gulf IFQ dealer endorsements. In addition to the requirement for a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit as specified in § 622.20(c)(1), for a dealer to first receive red snapper subject to the IFQ program for Gulf red snapper, as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or for a person aboard a vessel with a Gulf IFQ vessel account to sell such red snapper directly to an entity other than a dealer, such persons must also have a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement. A dealer with a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit can download a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement from the NMFS IFQ Web site. If such persons do not have an IFQ account, they must first contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 to obtain information necessary to access the IFQ Web site and establish an IFQ account. There is no fee for obtaining this endorsement. The endorsement remains valid as long as the Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit remains valid and the dealer is in compliance with all Gulf reef fish and IFQ reporting requirements, has paid all IFQ fees required, and is not subject to any sanctions under 15 CFR part 904. The endorsement is not transferable.

(3) IFQ Landing and transaction requirements.

(i) At the time of advance notice of landing, the IFQ vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, must contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of red snapper to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. At the time of the landing transaction, the IFQ vessel account must contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of red snapper to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. Such red snapper must be sold and can be received only by a dealer who has a valid Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement and an active IFQ dealer account (i.e., not in delinquent status). All IFQ landings and their actual ex-vessel prices must be reported via the IFQ Web site.

(ii) A person on board a vessel with an IFQ vessel account landing the shareholder's only remaining allocation, can legally exceed, by up to 10 percent, the shareholder's allocation remaining on that last fishing trip of the fishing year, i.e., a one-time per fishing year overage. Any such overage will be deducted from the shareholder's applicable allocation for the subsequent fishing year. From the time of the overage until January 1 of the subsequent fishing year, the IFQ shareholder must retain sufficient shares to account for the allocation that will be deducted the subsequent fishing year. Share transfers that would violate this requirement will be prohibited.

(iii) The dealer must complete a landing transaction report for each landing of Gulf red snapper via the IFQ Web site on the day of offload, except if the fish are being trailered for transport to a dealer as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(iv) of this section (in which case the landing transaction report may be completed prior to the day of offload), and within 96 hours from the time of landing reported on the most recent landing notification, in accordance with the reporting form(s) and instructions provided on the Web site. This report includes date, time, and location of transaction; weight and actual ex-vessel price of red snapper landed and sold (when calculating the weight of IFQ red snapper during a landing transaction, ice and water weight may not be deducted from the weight of the fish unless the actual weight of the ice and water can be determined); and information necessary to identify the fisherman, vessel, and dealer involved in the transaction. The fisherman must validate the dealer transaction report by entering his unique PIN when the transaction report is submitted. After the dealer submits the report and the information has been verified, the Web site will send a transaction approval code to the dealer and the allocation holder.

(iv) If there is a discrepancy regarding the landing transaction report after approval, the dealer or vessel account holder (or his or her authorized agent) must initiate a landing transaction correction form to correct the landing transaction. This form is available via the IFQ Web site. The dealer must then print out the form, both parties must sign it, and the form must be mailed to NMFS. The form must be received by NMFS no later than 15 days after the date of the initial landing transaction.

(4) IFQ cost recovery fees. As required by section 304(d)(2)(A)(i) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the RA will collect a fee to recover the actual costs directly related to the management and enforcement of the Gulf red snapper IFQ program. The fee cannot exceed 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of Gulf red snapper landed under the IFQ program as described in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Such fees will be deposited in the Limited Access System Administration Fund (LASAF). Initially, the fee will be 3 percent of the actual ex-vessel price of Gulf red snapper landed per trip under the IFQ program, as documented in each landings transaction report. The RA will review the cost recovery fee annually to determine if adjustment is warranted. Factors considered in the review include the catch subject to the IFQ cost recovery, projected ex-vessel value of the catch, costs directly related to the management and enforcement of the IFQ program, the projected IFQ balance in the LASAF, and expected non-payment of fee liabilities. If the RA determines that a fee adjustment is warranted, the RA will publish a notification of the fee adjustment in the Federal Register.

(i) Payment responsibility. The IFQ allocation holder specified in the documented red snapper IFQ landing transaction report is responsible for payment of the applicable cost recovery fees.

(ii) Collection and submission responsibility. A dealer who receives Gulf red snapper subject to the IFQ program is responsible for collecting the applicable cost recovery fee for each IFQ landing from the IFQ allocation holder specified in the IFQ landing transaction report. Such dealer is responsible for submitting all applicable cost recovery fees to NMFS on a quarterly basis. The fees are due and must be submitted, using pay.gov via the IFQ system at the end of each calendar-year quarter, but no later than 30 days after the end of each calendar-year quarter. Fees not received by the deadline are delinquent.

(iii) Fee payment procedure. For each IFQ dealer, the IFQ system will post, on individual message boards, an end-of-quarter statement of cost recovery fees that are due. The dealer is responsible for submitting the cost recovery fee payments using pay.gov via the IFQ system. Authorized payments methods are credit card, debit card, or automated clearing house (ACH). Payment by check will be authorized only if the RA has determined that the geographical area or an individual(s) is affected by catastrophic conditions.

(iv) Fee reconciliation process - delinquent fees. The following procedures apply to an IFQ dealer whose cost recovery fees are delinquent.

(A) On or about the 31st day after the end of each calendar-year quarter, the RA will send the dealer an electronic message via the IFQ Web site and official notice via mail indicating the applicable fees are delinquent, and the dealer's IFQ account has been suspended pending payment of the applicable fees.

(B) On or about the 91st day after the end of each calendar-year quarter, the RA will refer any delinquent IFQ dealer cost recovery fees to the appropriate authorities for collection of payment.

(5) Measures to enhance IFQ program enforceability -

(i) Advance notice of landing -

(A) General requirement. For the purpose of this paragraph, landing means to arrive at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp. The owner or operator of a vessel landing IFQ red snapper is responsible for ensuring that NMFS is contacted at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, in advance of landing to report the time and location of landing, estimated red snapper landings in pounds gutted weight, vessel identification number (Coast Guard registration number or state registration number), and the name and address of the IFQ dealer(s) where the red snapper are to be received. The vessel must land within 1 hour after the time given in the landing notification except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section. The vessel landing red snapper must have sufficient IFQ allocation in the IFQ vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of all red snapper on board (except for any overage up to the 10 percent allowed on the last fishing trip) at the time of the advance notice of landing.

(B) Submitting an advanced landing notification. Authorized methods for contacting NMFS and submitting the report include calling IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627, completing and submitting to NMFS a landing notification provided through the VMS unit, or providing the required information to NMFS through the web-based form available on the IFQ Web site.

(C) Landing prior to the notification time. The owner or operator of a vessel that has completed a landing notification and submitted it to NMFS may land prior to the notification time, only if an authorized officer is present at the landing site, is available to meet the vessel, and has authorized the owner or operator of the vessel to land early.

(D) Changes to a landing notification. The owner or operator of a vessel who has submitted a landing notification to NMFS may make changes to the notification by submitting a superseding notification. If the initial superseding notification makes changes to one or more of the following: the time of landing (if landing more than 1 hour after the time on the notification), the dealer(s), or the estimated weights of fish to be landed, the vessel does not need to wait an additional 3 hours to land. If the initial superseding notification makes changes to the landing location, the time of landing is earlier than previously specified, or more than one superseding notification is submitted on a trip, the vessel must wait an additional 3 hours to land, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section.

(ii) Time restriction on offloading. For the purpose of this paragraph, offloading means to remove IFQ red snapper from a vessel. IFQ red snapper may be offloaded only between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., local time, unless an authorized officer is present at the offloading at 6 p.m., is available to remain at the site while offloading continues, and authorizes the owner or operator of the vessel to continue offloading after 6 p.m., local time.

(iii) Restrictions on transfer of IFQ red snapper. At-sea or dockside transfer of IFQ red snapper from one vessel to another vessel is prohibited.

(iv) Requirement for transaction approval code. If IFQ red snapper are offloaded to a vehicle for transport or are on a vessel that is trailered for transport, on-site capability to accurately weigh the fish and to connect electronically to the online IFQ system to complete the transaction and obtain the transaction approval code is required. After a landing transaction has been completed, a transaction approval code verifying a legal transaction of the amount of IFQ red snapper in possession and a copy of the dealer endorsement must accompany any IFQ red snapper from the landing location through possession by a dealer. This requirement also applies to IFQ red snapper possessed on a vessel that is trailered for transport. A dealer may only receive IFQ red snapper transported by a vehicle or a trailered vessel that has a corresponding transaction approval code.

(v) Approved landing locations. IFQ red snapper must be landed at an approved landing location. Landing locations must be approved by NMFS Office for Law Enforcement prior to a vessel landing IFQ red snapper at these sites. Proposed landing locations may be submitted online via the IFQ Web site, or by calling IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627, at any time; however, new landing locations will be approved only at the end of each calendar-year quarter. To have a landing location approved by the end of the calendar-year quarter, it must be submitted at least 45 days before the end of the calendar-year quarter. NMFS will evaluate the proposed sites based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

(A) Landing locations must have a street address. If there is no street address on record for a particular landing location, global positioning system (GPS) coordinates for an identifiable geographic location must be provided.

(B) Landing locations must be publicly accessible by land and water, and must satisfy the following criteria:

(1) Vehicles must have access to the site via public roads;

(2) Vessels must have access to the site via navigable waters;

(3) No other condition may impede free and immediate access to the site by an authorized law enforcement officer. Examples of such conditions include, but are not limited to: A locked gate, fence, wall, or other barrier preventing 24-hour access to the site; a gated community entry point; a guard animal; a posted sign restricting access to the site; or any other physical deterrent.

(6) Transfer of IFQ shares and allocation. Until January 1, 2012, IFQ shares and allocations can be transferred only to a person who holds a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish; thereafter, IFQ shares and allocations can be transferred only to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. However, a valid commercial permit for Gulf reef fish, a Gulf red snapper IFQ vessel account, and Gulf red snapper IFQ allocation are required to possess (at and after the time of the advance notice of landing), land or sell Gulf red snapper subject to this IFQ program.

(i) Share transfers. Share transfers are permanent, i.e., they remain in effect until subsequently transferred. Transfer of shares will result in the corresponding allocation being automatically transferred to the person receiving the transferred share beginning with the fishing year following the year the transfer occurred. However, within the fishing year the share transfer occurs, transfer of shares and associated allocation are independent - unless the associated allocation is transferred separately, it remains with the transferor for the duration of that fishing year. A share transfer transaction that remains in pending status, i.e., has not been completed and verified with a transaction approval code, after 30 days from the date the shareholder initiated the transfer will be cancelled, and the pending shares will be re-credited to the shareholder who initiated the transfer.

(ii) Share transfer procedures. Share transfers must be accomplished online via the IFQ Web site. An IFQ shareholder must initiate a share transfer request by logging onto the IFQ Web site. Following the instructions provided on the IFQ Web site, the shareholder must enter pertinent information regarding the transfer request including, but not limited to, amount of shares to be transferred, which must be a minimum of 0.000001 percent; name of the eligible transferee; and the value of the transferred shares. An IFQ shareholder who is subject to a sanction under 15 CFR part 904 is prohibited from initiating a share transfer. An IFQ shareholder who is subject to a pending sanction under 15 CFR part 904 must disclose in writing to the prospective transferee the existence of any pending sanction at the time of the transfer. For the first 5 years this IFQ program is in effect, an eligible transferee is a person who has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish; is in compliance with all reporting requirements for the Gulf reef fish fishery and the red snapper IFQ program; is not subject to sanctions under 15 CFR part 904; and who would not be in violation of the share cap as specified in paragraph (b)(8) of this section. Thereafter, share transferee eligibility will only include U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens who are otherwise in compliance with the provisions of this section. The online system will verify the transfer information entered. If the information is not accepted, the online system will send the shareholder an electronic message explaining the reason(s) why the transfer request cannot be completed. If the information is accepted, the online system will send the transferee an electronic message of the pending transfer. The transferee must approve the share transfer by electronic signature. If the transferee approves the share transfer, the online system will send a transaction approval code to both the transferor and transferee confirming the transaction. All share transfers must be completed and the transaction approval code received prior to December 31 at 6 p.m. eastern time each year.

(iii) Allocation transfers. An allocation transfer is valid only for the remainder of the fishing year in which it occurs; it does not carry over to the subsequent fishing year. Any allocation that is unused at the end of the fishing year is void. Allocation may be transferred to a vessel account from any IFQ account. Allocation held in a vessel account, however, may only be transferred back to the IFQ account through which the vessel account was established.

(iv) Allocation transfer procedures. Allocation transfers must be accomplished online via the IFQ Web site. An IFQ account holder must initiate an allocation transfer by logging onto the IFQ Web site, entering the required information, including but not limited to, name of an eligible transferee and amount of IFQ allocation to be transferred and price, and submitting the transfer electronically. An IFQ allocation holder who is subject to a sanction under 15 CFR part 904 is prohibited from initiating an allocation transfer. An IFQ allocation holder who is subject to a pending sanction under 15 CFR part 904 must disclose in writing to the prospective transferee the existence of any pending sanction at the time of the transfer. If the transfer is approved, the online system will provide a transaction approval code to the transferor and transferee confirming the transaction.

(7) Restricted transactions during the 20-hour online maintenance window. All electronic IFQ transactions must be completed by December 31 at 6 p.m. eastern time each year. Electronic IFQ functions will resume again on January 1 at 2 p.m. eastern time the following fishing year. The remaining 6 hours prior to the end of the fishing year, and the 14 hours at the beginning of the next fishing year, are necessary to provide NMFS time to reconcile IFQ accounts, adjust allocations for the upcoming year if the commercial quotas for Gulf red snapper have changed, and update shares and allocations for the upcoming fishing year. No electronic IFQ transactions will be available during these 20 hours. An advance notice of landing may still be submitted during the 20-hour maintenance window by using the vessel's VMS unit or calling IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627.

(8) IFQ share cap. No person, including a corporation or other entity, may individually or collectively hold IFQ shares in excess of 6.0203 percent of the total shares. For the purposes of considering the share cap, a corporation's total IFQ share is determined by adding the applicable IFQ shares held by the corporation and any other IFQ shares held by a corporation(s) owned by the original corporation prorated based on the level of ownership. An individual's total IFQ share is determined by adding the applicable IFQ shares held by the individual and the applicable IFQ shares equivalent to the corporate share the individual holds in a corporation. Initially, a corporation must provide the RA the identity of the shareholders of the corporation and their percent of shares in the corporation, and provide updated information to the RA within 30 days of when changes occur. This information must also be provided to the RA any time a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish is renewed or transferred and at the time of renewal of the application for an IFQ Account.

(9) Redistribution of shares resulting from permanent revocation. If a shareholder's IFQ shares have been permanently revoked, the RA will redistribute the IFQ shares held by that shareholder proportionately among remaining shareholders (subject to cap restrictions) based upon the amount of shares each held just prior to the redistribution. During December of each year, the RA will determine the amount of revoked shares, if any, to be redistributed, and the shares will be distributed at the beginning of the subsequent fishing year.

(10) Annual recalculation and notification of IFQ shares and allocation. On or about January 1 each year, IFQ shareholders will be notified, via the IFQ Web site, of their IFQ share and allocation for the upcoming fishing year. These updated share values will reflect the results of applicable share transfers and any redistribution of shares (subject to cap restrictions) resulting from permanent revocation of applicable shares. Updated allocation values will reflect any change in IFQ share, any change in the annual commercial quota for Gulf red snapper, and any debits required as a result of prior fishing year overages as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. IFQ participants can monitor the status of their shares and allocation throughout the year via the IFQ Web site.

(11) Eligibility to participate in the Gulf red snapper IFQ program as of January 1, 2012. The provisions of paragraph (b)(11) of this section apply to all eligible participants for the Gulf red snapper IFQ program beginning January 1, 2012. In addition to eligible participants who already participate in the Gulf red snapper IFQ program, as of January 1, 2012, all U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens who are in compliance with the provisions of this section are eligible and may participate in the Gulf red snapper IFQ program as shareholders and allocation holders. The requirements to meet the definition of a U.S. citizen are described in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended, and permanent resident aliens are those individuals who have been lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the U.S. in accordance with U.S. immigration laws. In order to harvest and possess Gulf IFQ red snapper, the requirements for a Gulf red snapper IFQ vessel account, as specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, or a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement, as specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section apply.

(i) Gulf red snapper IFQ program participation for current red snapper IFQ account holders. A current participant in the red snapper IFQ program must complete and submit the application for an IFQ Account that is available on the Web site sero.nmfs.noaa.gov, to certify status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. The IFQ account holder must also complete and submit any other information on this form that may be necessary for the administration of the IFQ account. A person with an established IFQ account must update and confirm the account information every 2 years. IFQ accounts are updated through the submission of the application for an IFQ Account. Accounts must be updated prior to the account validity date (expiration date of the account) that is displayed on each account holder's IFQ account page. The RA will provide each participant who has established an online account, with an application approximately 2 months prior to the account validity date. A participant who is not provided an application at least 45 days prior to the account validity date must contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 and request an application. Failure to submit a completed application prior to the account validity date will lead to the suspension of the participant's IFQ account until a completed application is submitted. After January 1, 2012, participants who certify that they are either not U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens will be ineligible to receive shares or allocation through transfer.

(ii) Gulf red snapper IFQ program participation for entities that do not currently possess an IFQ account. The following procedures apply to U.S citizens or permanent resident aliens who are not otherwise described in either paragraphs (a) or (b)(11)(i) of this section.

(A) To establish an IFQ account, a person must first complete the application for an IFQ Account that is available on the Web site sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. An applicant for an IFQ account under this paragraph must provide the following;

(1) Name; address; telephone number; date of birth; tax identification number; certification of status as either a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien; and if a corporation, a list of all officers, directors, shareholders, and registered agents of the business; and other identifying information as specified on the application.

(2) Any other information that may be necessary for the establishment or administration of the IFQ account.

(B) Completed applications and all required supporting documentation must be submitted to the RA. There is no fee to access the Web site or establish an IFQ account. An applicant that submits an incomplete application will be contacted by the RA to correct any deficiencies. If an applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 30 days of being notified of the deficient application, the application will be considered abandoned.

(C) After an applicant submits a completed application for an IFQ account, the RA will mail the applicant general instructions regarding procedures related to the IFQ online system, including how to set up an online account and a user identification number - the personal identification number (PIN) will be provided in a subsequent letter.

(D) A participant who has established an IFQ account must notify the RA within 30 days after there is any change in the information submitted through the application for an IFQ Account. The IFQ account is void if any change in the application information is not reported within 30 days.

(E) A person who has established an IFQ account must update and confirm the account information every 2 years. IFQ accounts are updated through the submission of the application for an IFQ Account. Accounts must be updated prior to the account validity date (expiration date of the account) that is displayed on each account holder's IFQ account page. The RA will mail each participant who has established an online account an application approximately 2 months prior to the Account Validity Date. A participant who does not receive an application at least 45 days prior to the Account Validity Date must contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 and request an application. Failure to submit a completed application prior to the account validity date will lead to the suspension of the IFQ account until a completed application is submitted.

(F) For information regarding transfer of IFQ shares and allocation, the IFQ share cap, and the annual recalculation and notification of IFQ shares and allocation, see paragraphs (b)(6), (b)(8), and (b)(10) of this section, respectively.

(G) Participation in the Gulf red snapper IFQ program beyond transferring IFQ shares and allocation is explained in paragraphs (a) through (b)(10) of this section.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014; 79 FR 57834, Sept. 26, 2014; 80 FR 24834, May 1, 2015; 83 FR 27299, June 12, 2018; 86 FR 11154, Feb. 24, 2021]

§ 622.22 Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes.

(a) General. This section establishes an IFQ program for the commercial sectors of the Gulf reef fish fishery for groupers (including DWG, red grouper, gag, and Other SWG) and tilefishes (including goldface tilefish, blueline tilefish, and tilefish). For the purposes of this IFQ program, DWG includes yellowedge grouper, warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, speckled hind, and scamp, but only as specified in paragraph (a)(7) of this section. For the purposes of this IFQ program, Other SWG includes black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, warsaw grouper, and speckled hind, but only as specified in paragraph (a)(6) of this section. Under the IFQ program, the RA initially will assign eligible participants IFQ shares, in five share categories. These IFQ shares are equivalent to a percentage of the annual commercial quotas for DWG, red grouper, gag, Other SWG, and tilefishes, based on their applicable historical landings. Shares determine the amount of IFQ allocation for Gulf groupers and tilefishes, in pounds gutted weight, a shareholder is initially authorized to possess, land, or sell in a given calendar year. Shares and annual IFQ allocation are transferable. See paragraph (b)(1) of this section regarding a requirement for a vessel landing groupers or tilefishes subject to this IFQ program to have an IFQ vessel account for Gulf groupers and tilefishes. See paragraph (b)(2) of this section regarding a requirement for a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement. Details regarding eligibility, applicable landings history, account setup and transaction requirements, constraints on transferability, and other provisions of this IFQ system are provided in the following paragraphs of this section.

(1) Scope. The provisions of this section apply to Gulf groupers and tilefishes in or from the Gulf EEZ and, for a person aboard a vessel with an IFQ vessel account for Gulf groupers and tilefishes as required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section or for a person with a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement as required by paragraph (b)(2) of this section, these provisions apply to Gulf groupers and tilefishes regardless of where harvested or possessed.

(2) Duration. The IFQ program established by this section will remain in effect until it is modified or terminated; however, the program will be evaluated by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council every 5 years.

(3) Electronic system requirements.

(i) The administrative functions associated with this IFQ program, e.g., registration and account setup, landing transactions, and transfers, are designed to be accomplished online; therefore, a participant must have access to a computer and Internet access and must set up an appropriate IFQ account to participate. The computer must have browser software installed, e.g. Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox; as well as the software Adobe Flash Player version 9.0 or greater, which may be downloaded from the Internet for free. Assistance with online functions is available from IFQ Customer Service by calling 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time.

(ii) The RA will mail initial shareholders and dealers with Gulf reef fish dealer permits information and instructions pertinent to setting up an IFQ account. Other eligible persons who desire to become IFQ participants by purchasing IFQ shares or allocation or by obtaining a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement must first contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 to obtain information necessary to set up the required IFQ account. All current IFQ participants must complete and submit the application for an IFQ Account to certify their citizenship status and ensure their account information (e.g., mailing address, corporate shareholdings, etc.) is up to date. See paragraph (b)(11) of this section regarding requirements for the application for an IFQ Account. Each IFQ participant must monitor his/her online account and all associated messages and comply with all IFQ online reporting requirements.

(iii) During catastrophic conditions only, the IFQ program provides for use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a backup. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper-based components for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. NMFS will provide each IFQ dealer the necessary paper forms and instructions for submission of the forms to the RA. The paper forms will also be available from the RA. The program functions available to participants or geographic areas deemed affected by catastrophic conditions will be limited under the paper-based system. There will be no mechanism for transfers of IFQ shares or allocation under the paper-based system in effect during catastrophic conditions. Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via IFQ Customer Service 1-866-425-7627 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time.

(4) IFQ allocation. IFQ allocation is the amount of Gulf groupers and tilefishes, in pounds gutted weight, an IFQ shareholder or allocation holder is authorized to possess, land, or sell during a given fishing year. IFQ allocation is derived at the beginning of each year by multiplying a shareholder's IFQ share times the annual commercial quota for Gulf groupers and tilefishes. If the quota is increased after the beginning of the fishing year, then IFQ allocation is derived by multiplying a shareholder's IFQ share at the time of the quota increase by the amount the annual commercial quota for groupers and tilefishes is increased. If a reduction in the applicable commercial quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1) is expected to occur after January 1, the beginning of the fishing year, but before June 1 in that same fishing year, NMFS will withhold distribution of IFQ allocation of the applicable groupers and tilefishes commercial quota on January 1 in the amount equal to that reduction. If a final rule to implement the commercial quota reduction is not published in the Federal Register and effective by June 1, NMFS will distribute withheld IFQ allocation of the applicable groupers and tilefishes commercial quota to current shareholders based on the date the withheld IFQ allocation is distributed.

(5) Red grouper and gag multi-use allocation -

(i) Red grouper multi-use allocation.

(A) At the time the commercial quota for red grouper is distributed to IFQ shareholders, a percentage of each shareholder's initial red grouper allocation will be converted to red grouper multi-use allocation. Red grouper multi-use allocation, determined annually, will be based on the following formula:

Red Grouper multi-use allocation (in percent) = 100 * [Gag ACL − Gag commercial quota]/Red grouper commercial quota

(B) Red grouper multi-use allocation may be used to possess, land, or sell either red grouper or gag under certain conditions. Red grouper multi-use allocation may be used to possess, land, or sell red grouper only after an IFQ account holder's (shareholder or allocation holder's) red grouper allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred; and to possess, land, or sell gag, only after both gag and gag multi-use allocation have been landed and sold, or transferred. However, if gag is under a rebuilding plan, the percentage of red grouper multi-use allocation is equal to zero.

(ii) Gag multi-use allocation.

(A) At the time the commercial quota for gag is distributed to IFQ shareholders, a percentage of each shareholder's initial gag allocation will be converted to gag multi-use allocation. Gag multi-use allocation, determined annually, will be based on the following formula:

Gag multi-use allocation (in percent) = 100 * [Red grouper ACL − Red grouper commercial quota]/Gag commercial quota

(B) Gag multi-use allocation may be used to possess, land, or sell either gag or red grouper under certain conditions. Gag multi-use allocation may be used to possess, land, or sell gag only after an IFQ account holder's (shareholder or allocation holder's) gag allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred; and to possess, land, or sell red grouper, only after both red grouper and red grouper multi-use allocation have been landed and sold, or transferred. Multi-use allocation transfer procedures and restrictions are specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv) of this section. However, if red grouper is under a rebuilding plan, the percentage of gag multi-use allocation is equal to zero.

(6) Warsaw grouper and speckled hind classification. Warsaw grouper and speckled hind are considered DWG species and under certain circumstances SWG species. For the purposes of the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes, after all of an IFQ account holder's DWG allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred, or if an IFQ account holder has no DWG allocation, then Other SWG allocation may be used to land and sell warsaw grouper and speckled hind.

(7) Scamp classification. Scamp is considered a SWG species and under certain circumstances a DWG. For the purposes of the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes, after all of an IFQ account holder's Other SWG allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred, or if an IFQ account holder has no SWG allocation, then DWG allocation may be used to land and sell scamp.

(8) Closing an IFQ account. IFQ account holders may close an IFQ account by completing and submitting a Close IFQ Account Request Form to NMFS. This form must be signed by an account holder named on the IFQ account. If the request to close an IFQ account is being made because the sole account holder is deceased, the person requesting the closure must sign the Close IFQ Account Request Form, indicating the relationship to the deceased, provide a death certificate, and provide any additional information NMFS determines is necessary to complete the request. IFQ shareholder accounts may not be closed until all shares and allocation have been transferred from the account to another IFQ account holder. Dealer accounts may not be closed until all cost recovery fees have been received by NMFS. NMFS' IFQ Customer Service staff may close an IFQ account if all shares and allocation have been transferred from the account, all cost recovery fees have been received by NMFS, and no landing transactions or IFQ transfers have been completed by the IFQ account holder in at least 1 year. If an account is closed by NMFS' IFQ Customer Service staff, it may be reopened at the request of the IFQ account holder by contacting IFQ Customer Service.

(9) Returning IFQ shares. Any shares contained in IFQ accounts that have never been activated since January 1, 2010, in the IFQ program are returned permanently to NMFS on July 12, 2018.

(b) IFQ operations and requirements -

(1) IFQ vessel accounts for Gulf groupers and tilefishes. For a person aboard a vessel, for which a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, to fish for, possess, or land Gulf groupers (including DWG and SWG, as specified in paragraph (a) of this section or tilefishes (including goldface tilefish, blueline tilefish, and tilefish), regardless of where harvested or possessed, a Gulf IFQ vessel account for the applicable species or species groups must have been established. As a condition of the IFQ vessel account, a person aboard such vessel must comply with the requirements of this section, § 622.22, when fishing for groupers or tilefishes regardless of where the fish are harvested or possessed. An owner of a vessel with a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, who has established an IFQ account for the applicable species, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(i) of this section, online via the NMFS IFQ Web site https://portal.southeast.fisheries.noaa.gov/cs/main.html, may establish a vessel account through that IFQ account for that permitted vessel. If such owner does not have an online IFQ account, the owner must first contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 to obtain information necessary to access the IFQ Web site and establish an online IFQ account. There is no fee to set-up an IFQ account or a vessel account. Only one vessel account may be established per vessel under each IFQ program. An owner with multiple vessels may establish multiple vessel accounts under each IFQ account. The purpose of the vessel account is to hold IFQ allocation that is required to land the applicable IFQ species. A vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, must hold sufficient IFQ allocation in the appropriate share category, at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of the groupers and tilefishes on board at the time of advance notice of landing. Allocation must be transferred to the vessel account, so that the vessel account holds sufficient IFQ allocation at the time of the landing transaction (except for any overage allowed as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) for groupers and tilefishes). The vessel account remains valid as long as the vessel permit remains valid; the vessel has not been sold or transferred; and the vessel owner is in compliance with all Gulf reef fish and IFQ reporting requirements, has paid all applicable IFQ fees, and is not subject to sanctions under 15 CFR part 904. The vessel account is not transferable to another vessel. The provisions of this paragraph do not apply to fishing for or possession of Gulf groupers and tilefishes under the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(2) and (5) respectively.

(2) Gulf IFQ dealer endorsements. In addition to the requirement for a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit as specified in § 622.20(c)(1), for a dealer to first receive groupers and tilefishes subject to the IFQ program for groupers and tilefishes, as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or for a person aboard a vessel with a Gulf IFQ vessel account to sell such groupers and tilefishes directly to an entity other than a dealer, such persons must also have a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement. A dealer with a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit can download a Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement from the NMFS IFQ Web site. If such persons do not have an IFQ account, they must first contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 to obtain information necessary to access the IFQ Web site and establish an IFQ account. There is no fee for obtaining this endorsement. The endorsement remains valid as long as the Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit remains valid and the dealer is in compliance with all Gulf reef fish and IFQ reporting requirements, has paid all IFQ fees required, and is not subject to any sanctions under 15 CFR part 904. The endorsement is not transferable.

(3) IFQ Landing and transaction requirements.

(i) At the time of advance notice of landing, the IFQ vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, must contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of grouper or tilefish species to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. At the time of the landing transaction, the IFQ vessel account must contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of grouper or tilefish species to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. Such groupers and tilefishes must be sold and can be received only by a dealer who has a valid Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement and an active IFQ dealer account (i.e., not in delinquent status). All IFQ landings and their actual ex-vessel prices must be reported via the IFQ Web site.

(ii) A person on board a vessel with an IFQ vessel account landing the shareholder's only remaining allocation from among any of the grouper or tilefish share categories, can legally exceed, by up to 10 percent, the shareholder's allocation remaining on that last fishing trip of the fishing year, i.e. a one-time per fishing year overage. Any such overage will be deducted from the shareholder's applicable allocation for the subsequent fishing year. From the time of the overage until January 1 of the subsequent fishing year, the IFQ shareholder must retain sufficient shares to account for the allocation that will be deducted the subsequent fishing year. Share transfers that would violate this requirement will be prohibited.

(iii) The dealer must complete a landing transaction report for each landing of Gulf groupers or tilefishes via the IFQ Web site on the day of offload, except if the fish are being trailered for transport to a dealer as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(iv) of this section (in which case the landing transaction report may be completed prior to the day of offload), and within 96 hours from the time of landing reported on the most recent landing notification, in accordance with the reporting form(s) and instructions provided on the Web site. This report includes date, time, and location of transaction; weight and actual ex-vessel price of groupers and tilefishes landed and sold (when calculating the weight of IFQ groupers and tilefishes during a landing transaction, ice and water weight may not be deducted from the weight of the fish unless the actual weight of the ice and water can be determined); and information necessary to identify the fisherman, vessel, and dealer involved in the transaction. The fisherman must validate the dealer transaction report by entering the unique PIN for the vessel account when the transaction report is submitted. After the dealer submits the report and the information has been verified by NMFS, the online system will send a transaction approval code to the dealer and the allocation holder.

(iv) If there is a discrepancy regarding the landing transaction report after approval, the dealer or vessel account holder (or his or her authorized agent) must initiate a landing transaction correction form to correct the landing transaction. This form is available via the IFQ Web site. The dealer must then print out the form, both parties must sign it, and the form must be mailed to NMFS. The form must be received by NMFS no later than 15 days after the date of the initial landing transaction.

(4) IFQ cost recovery fees. As required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the RA will collect a fee to recover the actual costs directly related to the management and enforcement of the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes. The fee cannot exceed 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of Gulf groupers and tilefishes landed under the IFQ program as described in the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Such fees will be deposited in the Limited Access System Administration Fund (LASAF). Initially, the fee will be 3 percent of the actual ex-vessel price of Gulf groupers and tilefishes landed per trip under the IFQ program, as documented in each landings transaction report. The RA will review the cost recovery fee annually to determine if adjustment is warranted. Factors considered in the review include the catch subject to the IFQ cost recovery, projected ex-vessel value of the catch, costs directly related to the management and enforcement of the IFQ program, the projected IFQ balance in the LASAF, and expected non-payment of fee liabilities. If the RA determines that a fee adjustment is warranted, the RA will publish a notification of the fee adjustment in the Federal Register.

(i) Payment responsibility. The IFQ account holder specified in the documented IFQ landing transaction report for Gulf groupers and tilefishes is responsible for payment of the applicable cost recovery fees.

(ii) Collection and submission responsibility. A dealer who receives Gulf groupers or tilefishes subject to the IFQ program is responsible for collecting the applicable cost recovery fee for each IFQ landing from the IFQ account holder specified in the IFQ landing transaction report. Such dealer is responsible for submitting all applicable cost recovery fees to NMFS on a quarterly basis. The fees are due and must be submitted, using pay.gov via the IFQ system, at the end of each calendar-year quarter, but no later than 30 days after the end of each calendar-year quarter. Fees not received by the deadline are delinquent.

(iii) Fee payment procedure. For each IFQ dealer, the IFQ system will post, in individual IFQ dealer accounts, an end-of-quarter statement of cost recovery fees that are due. The dealer is responsible for submitting the cost recovery fee payments using pay.gov via the IFQ system. Authorized payment methods are credit card, debit card, or automated clearing house (ACH). Payment by check will be authorized only if the RA has determined that the geographical area or an individual(s) is affected by catastrophic conditions.

(iv) Fee reconciliation process - delinquent fees. The following procedures apply to an IFQ dealer whose cost recovery fees are delinquent.

(A) On or about the 31st day after the end of each calendar-year quarter, the RA will send the dealer an electronic message via the IFQ Web site and official notice via mail indicating the applicable fees are delinquent, and the dealer's IFQ account has been suspended pending payment of the applicable fees.

(B) On or about the 91st day after the end of each calendar-year quarter, the RA will refer any delinquent IFQ dealer cost recovery fees to the appropriate authorities for collection of payment.

(5) Measures to enhance IFQ program enforceability -

(i) Advance notice of landing -

(A) General requirement. For the purpose of this paragraph, landing means to arrive at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp. The owner or operator of a vessel landing IFQ groupers or tilefishes is responsible for ensuring that NMFS is contacted at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, in advance of landing to report the time and location of landing, estimated grouper and tilefish landings in pounds gutted weight for each share category (gag, red grouper, DWG, Other SWG, tilefishes), vessel identification number (Coast Guard registration number or state registration number), and the name and address of the IFQ dealer(s) where the groupers or tilefishes are to be received. The vessel must land within 1 hour after the time given in the landing notification except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section. The vessel landing groupers or tilefishes must have sufficient IFQ allocation in the IFQ vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, and in the appropriate share category or categories, at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of all groupers and tilefishes on board (except for any overage up to the 10 percent allowed on the last fishing trip) at the time of the advance notice of landing.

(B) Submitting an advanced landing notification. Authorized methods for contacting NMFS and submitting the report include calling IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627, completing and submitting to NMFS a landing notification provided through the VMS unit, or providing the required information to NMFS through the web-based form available on the IFQ Web site.

(C) Landing prior to the notification time. The owner or operator of a vessel that has completed a landing notification and submitted it to NMFS may land prior to the notification time, only if an authorized officer is present at the landing site, is available to meet the vessel, and has authorized the owner or operator of the vessel to land early.

(D) Changes to a landing notification. The owner or operator of a vessel who has submitted a landing notification to NMFS may make changes to the notification by submitting a superseding notification. If the initial superseding notification makes changes to one or more of the following: the time of landing (if landing more than 1 hour after the time on the notification), the dealer(s), or the estimated weights of fish to be landed, the vessel does not need to wait an additional 3 hours to land. If the initial superseding notification makes changes to the landing location, the time of landing is earlier than previously specified, or more than one superseding notification is submitted on a trip, the vessel must wait an additional 3 hours to land, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section.

(ii) Time restriction on offloading. For the purpose of this paragraph, offloading means to remove IFQ groupers and tilefishes from a vessel. IFQ groupers or tilefishes may be offloaded only between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., local time, unless an authorized officer is present at the offloading at 6 p.m., is available to remain at the site while offloading continues, and authorizes the owner or operator of the vessel to continue offloading after 6 p.m.

(iii) Restrictions on transfer of IFQ groupers and tilefishes. At-sea or dockside transfer of IFQ groupers or tilefishes from one vessel to another vessel is prohibited.

(iv) Requirement for transaction approval code. If IFQ groupers or tilefishes are offloaded to a vehicle for transport or are on a vessel that is trailered for transport, on-site capability to accurately weigh the fish and to connect electronically to the online IFQ system to complete the transaction and obtain the transaction approval code is required. After a landing transaction has been completed, a transaction approval code verifying a legal transaction of the amount of IFQ groupers and tilefishes in possession and a copy of the dealer endorsement must accompany any IFQ groupers or tilefishes from the landing location through possession by a dealer. This requirement also applies to IFQ groupers and tilefishes possessed on a vessel that is trailered for transport. A dealer may only receive IFQ groupers and tilefishes transported by a vehicle or a trailered vessel that has a corresponding transaction approval code.

(v) Approved landing locations. IFQ groupers and tilefishes must be landed at an approved landing location. Landing locations must be approved by NMFS Office for Law Enforcement prior to a vessel landing IFQ groupers or tilefishes at these sites. Proposed landing locations may be submitted online via the IFQ Web site, or by calling IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627, at any time; however, new landing locations will be approved only at the end of each calendar-year quarter. To have your landing location approved by the end of the calendar-year quarter, it must be submitted at least 45 days before the end of the calendar-year quarter. NMFS will evaluate the proposed sites based on, but not limited to, the following criteria:

(A) Landing locations must have a street address. If there is no street address on record for a particular landing location, global positioning system (GPS) coordinates for an identifiable geographic location must be provided.

(B) Landing locations must be publicly accessible by land and water, and must satisfy the following criteria:

(1) Vehicles must have access to the site via public roads;

(2) Vessels must have access to the site via navigable water;

(3) No other condition may impede free and immediate access to the site by an authorized law enforcement officer. Examples of such conditions include, but are not limited to: A locked gate, fence, wall, or other barrier preventing 24-hour access to the site; a gated community entry point; a guard; animal; a posted sign restricting access to the site; or any other physical deterrent.

(6) Transfer of IFQ shares and allocation. Until January 1, 2015, IFQ shares and allocations can be transferred only to a person who holds a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish; thereafter, IFQ shares and allocations can be transferred only to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. However, a valid commercial permit for Gulf reef fish, an IFQ vessel account for Gulf groupers and tilefishes, and IFQ allocation for Gulf groupers or tilefishes are required to possess (at and after the time of the advance notice of landing), land or sell Gulf groupers or tilefishes subject to this IFQ program.

(i) Share transfers. Share transfers are permanent, i.e., they remain in effect until subsequently transferred. Transfer of shares will result in the corresponding allocation being automatically transferred to the person receiving the transferred share beginning with the fishing year following the year the transfer occurred. However, within the fishing year the share transfer occurs, transfer of shares and associated allocation are independent - unless the associated allocation is transferred separately, it remains with the transferor for the duration of that fishing year. A share transfer transaction that remains in pending status, i.e., has not been completed and verified with a transaction approval code, after 30 days from the date the shareholder initiated the transfer will be cancelled, and the pending shares will be re-credited to the shareholder who initiated the transfer.

(ii) Share transfer procedures. Share transfers must be accomplished online via the IFQ Web site. An IFQ shareholder must initiate a share transfer request by logging onto the IFQ Web site. An IFQ shareholder who is subject to a sanction under 15 CFR part 904 is prohibited from initiating a share transfer. An IFQ shareholder who is subject to a pending sanction under 15 CFR part 904 must disclose in writing to the prospective transferee the existence of any pending sanction at the time of the transfer. Following the instructions provided on the Web site, the shareholder must enter pertinent information regarding the transfer request including, but not limited to: amount of shares to be transferred, which must be a minimum of 0.000001 percent; name of the eligible transferee; and the value of the transferred shares. For the first 5 years this IFQ program is in effect, an eligible transferee is a person who has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish; is in compliance with all reporting requirements for the Gulf reef fish fishery and the IFQ program for Gulf groupers and tilefishes; is not subject to sanctions under 15 CFR part 904; and who would not be in violation of the share or allocation caps as specified in paragraph (b)(8) of this section. Thereafter, share transferee eligibility will only include U.S. citizens and permanent resident aliens who are otherwise in compliance with the provisions of this section. The online system will verify the information entered. If the information is not accepted, the online system will send the shareholder an electronic message explaining the reason(s). If the information is accepted, the online system will send the transferee an electronic message of the pending transfer. The transferee must approve the share transfer by electronic signature. If the transferee approves the share transfer, the online system will send a transfer approval code to both the shareholder and transferee confirming the transaction. All share transfers must be completed and the transaction approval code received prior to December 31 at 6 p.m. eastern time each year.

(iii) Allocation transfers. An allocation transfer is valid only for the remainder of the fishing year in which it occurs; it does not carry over to the subsequent fishing year. Any allocation that is unused at the end of the fishing year is void. Allocation may be transferred to a vessel account from any IFQ account. Allocation held in a vessel account, however, may only be transferred back to the IFQ account through which the vessel account was established.

(iv) Allocation transfer procedures and restrictions -

(A) Allocation transfer procedures. Allocation transfers must be accomplished online via the IFQ Web site. An IFQ account holder must initiate an allocation transfer by logging onto the IFQ Web site, entering the required information, including but not limited to, the name of an eligible transferee and amount of IFQ allocation to be transferred and price, and submitting the transfer electronically. An IFQ allocation holder who is subject to a sanction under 15 CFR part 904 is prohibited from initiating an allocation transfer. An IFQ allocation holder who is subject to a pending sanction under 15 CFR part 904 must disclose in writing to the prospective transferee the existence of any pending sanction at the time of the transfer. If the transfer is approved, the Web site will provide a transfer approval code to the transferor and transferee confirming the transaction.

(B) Multi-use allocation transfer restrictions -

(1) Red grouper multi-use allocation. Red grouper multi-use allocation may only be transferred after all an IFQ account holder's red grouper allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred.

(2) Gag multi-use allocation. Gag multi-use allocation may only be transferred after all an IFQ account holder's gag allocation has been landed and sold, or transferred.

(7) Restricted transactions during the 20-hour online maintenance window. All electronic IFQ transactions must be completed by December 31 at 6 p.m. eastern time each year. Electronic IFQ functions will resume again on January 1 at 2 p.m. eastern time the following fishing year. The remaining 6 hours prior to the end of the fishing year, and the 14 hours at the beginning of the next fishing year, are necessary to provide NMFS time to reconcile IFQ accounts, adjust allocations for the upcoming year if the commercial quotas or catch allowances for Gulf groupers and tilefishes have changed, and update shares and allocations for the upcoming fishing year. No electronic IFQ transactions will be available during these 20 hours. An advance notice of landing may still be submitted during the 20-hour maintenance window by using the vessel's VMS unit or calling IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627.

(8) IFQ share and allocation caps. A corporation's total IFQ share (or allocation) is determined by adding the applicable IFQ shares (or allocation) held by the corporation and any other IFQ shares (or allocation) held by a corporation(s) owned by the original corporation prorated based on the level of ownership. An individual's total IFQ share is determined by adding the applicable IFQ shares held by the individual and the applicable IFQ shares equivalent to the corporate share the individual holds in a corporation. An individual's total IFQ allocation is determined by adding the individual's total allocation to the allocation derived from the IFQ shares equivalent to the corporate share the individual holds in a corporation.

(i) IFQ share cap for each share category. No person, including a corporation or other entity, may individually or collectively hold IFQ shares in any share category (gag, red grouper, DWG, Other SWG, or tilefishes) in excess of the maximum share initially issued for the applicable share category to any person at the beginning of the IFQ program, as of the date appeals are resolved and shares are adjusted accordingly. A corporation must provide to the RA the identity of the shareholders of the corporation and their percent of shares in the corporation for initial issuance of IFQ shares and allocation, and provide updated information to the RA within 30 days of when changes occur. This information must also be provided to the RA any time a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish is renewed or transferred and at the time of renewal of the application for an IFQ Account.

(ii) Total allocation cap. No person, including a corporation or other entity, may individually or collectively hold, cumulatively during any fishing year, IFQ allocation in excess of the total allocation cap. The total allocation cap is the sum of the maximum allocations associated with the share caps for each individual share category and is calculated annually based on the applicable quotas or catch allowance associated with each share category.

(9) Redistribution of shares resulting from permanent revocation. If a shareholder's IFQ shares have been permanently revoked, the RA will redistribute the IFQ shares proportionately among remaining shareholders (subject to cap restrictions) based upon the amount of shares each held just prior to the redistribution. During December of each year, the RA will determine the amount of revoked shares, if any, to be redistributed, and the shares will be distributed at the beginning of the subsequent fishing year.

(10) Annual recalculation and notification of IFQ shares and allocation. On or about January 1 each year, IFQ shareholders will be notified, via the IFQ Web site, of their IFQ shares and allocations, for each of the five share categories, for the upcoming fishing year. These updated share values will reflect the results of applicable share transfers and any redistribution of shares (subject to cap restrictions) resulting from permanent revocation of IFQ shares. Allocation, for each share category, is calculated by multiplying IFQ share for that category times the annual commercial quota or commercial catch allowance for that share category. Updated allocation values will reflect any change in IFQ share for each share category, any change in the annual commercial quota or commercial catch allowance for the applicable categories; and any debits required as a result of prior fishing year overages as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. IFQ participants can monitor the status of their shares and allocation throughout the year via the IFQ Web site.

(11) Gulf grouper and tilefish IFQ program participation for current grouper and tilefish IFQ account holders.

(i) A current participant in the Gulf grouper and tilefish IFQ program must complete and submit the application for an IFQ Account that is available on the Web site sero.nmfs.noaa.gov, to certify status as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien. The account holder must also complete and submit any other information on this form that may be necessary for the administration of the IFQ account.

(ii) A person with an established IFQ account must update and confirm the account information every 2 years. IFQ accounts are updated through the submission of the application for an IFQ Account. Accounts must be updated prior to the account validity date (expiration date of the account) that is displayed on each account holder's IFQ account page. The RA will provide each participant who has established an online account an application approximately 2 months prior to the account validity date. A participant who is not provided an application at least 45 days prior to the account validity date must contact IFQ Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627 and request an application. Failure to submit a completed application prior to the participant's account validity date will lead to the suspension of the participant's access to his IFQ account until a completed application is submitted. Participants who certify that they are either not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien will be ineligible to receive shares or allocation through transfer.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014; 79 FR 57835, Sept. 26, 2014; 80 FR 18553, Apr. 7, 2015; 80 FR 24834, May 1, 2015; 83 FR 27300, June 12, 2018; 86 FR 11154, Feb. 24, 2021]

§ 622.23 State management of the red snapper recreational sector private angling component in the Gulf EEZ.

(a) Delegation. Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas (Gulf states) are delegated the authority to manage certain aspects of recreational red snapper harvest by the private angling component in the Gulf EEZ (i.e., delegation). All other management measures for recreational red snapper in the Gulf EEZ not specified in this section continue to apply during state management.

(1) Delegation of authority. As described in the FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, each Gulf state must specify the red snapper private angling component fishing season start and end dates to maintain harvest levels within the state's ACL, as stated in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section. Each state must also specify a recreational bag limit and a minimum size limit within the range of 14 to 18 inches (35.6 cm to 45.7 cm), total length. Each state may specify a maximum size limit. If NMFS determines that a state's red snapper private angling component regulations are inconsistent with the FMP and the state fails to correct the inconsistency after notice and an opportunity to do so, or a state does not specify the required management measures set forth above, i.e., fishing season start and end dates, a recreational bag limit, and a minimum size limit, then NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register stating that the default management measures for the red snapper private angling component, as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, apply in the EEZ off that state.

(i) State management areas. For purposes of the delegation of the authority to establish certain management measures for the red snapper private angling component, five areas in the Gulf EEZ have been established; one off each of the five Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The boundaries off each state are described in § 622.2.

(ii) State private angling component ACLs. All ACLs specified below are in round weight.

(A) Alabama regional management area - 1,122,662 lb (509,231 kg).

(B) Florida regional management area - 1,913,451 lb (867,927 kg).

(C) Louisiana regional management area - 816,233 lb (370,237 kg).

(D) Mississippi regional management area - 151,550 lb (68,742 kg).

(E) Texas regional management area - 265,105 lb (120,250 kg).

(2) Default management measures. If a state's delegation is suspended, the Federal management measures for the private angling season, recreational bag limit, and minimum size limit as described in §§ 622.34(b) (seasonal closure), 622.37(a)(1) (size limit), 622.38(b)(3) (bag limit), and 622.41(q)(2)(i) (season length) apply in the EEZ off that state. All other management measures not specified in this section remain in effect.

(b) Post-season ACL adjustments for states with an active delegation. If a state's red snapper private angling component landings exceed the applicable state's component ACL specified in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, reducing that state's private angling ACL by the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year, unless the best scientific information available determines that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary.

(c) Area closures. As described in the FMP, for the red snapper private angling component, a state with an active delegation may request that NMFS establish an area closure in the EEZ off that state that prohibits the private angling component from harvesting or possessing red snapper. If NMFS determines that the request is within the scope of the analysis in the FMP, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register to implement the requested closure for the fishing year.

[85 FR 6823, Feb. 6, 2020]

§ 622.24 [Reserved]
§ 622.25 Exemptions for Gulf groundfish trawling.

Gulf groundfish trawling means fishing in the Gulf EEZ by a vessel that uses a bottom trawl, the unsorted catch of which is ground up for animal feed or industrial products.

(a) Other provisions of this part notwithstanding, the owner or operator of a vessel trawling for Gulf groundfish is exempt from the following requirements and limitations for the vessel's unsorted catch of Gulf reef fish:

(1) The requirement for a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish in order to sell Gulf reef fish.

(2) Minimum size limits for Gulf reef fish.

(3) Bag limits for Gulf reef fish.

(4) The prohibition on sale of Gulf reef fish after a quota or ACL closure.

(b) Other provisions of this part notwithstanding, a dealer in a Gulf state is exempt from the requirement for a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit to receive Gulf reef fish harvested from the Gulf EEZ by a vessel trawling for Gulf groundfish.

[79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014]

§ 622.26 Recordkeeping and reporting.

(a) Commercial vessel owners and operators.

(1) The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, as required under § 622.20(a)(1), or whose vessel fishes for or lands reef fish in or from state waters adjoining the Gulf EEZ, who is selected to report by the SRD must maintain a fishing record on a form available from the SRD. These completed fishing records must be submitted to the SRD postmarked no later than 7 days after the end of each fishing trip. If no fishing occurred during a calendar month, a report so stating must be submitted on one of the forms postmarked no later than 7 days after the end of that month. Information to be reported is indicated on the form and its accompanying instructions.

(2) Advance notice of landing -

(i) General requirement. For the purpose of this paragraph (a)(2), landing means to arrive at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp. The owner or operator of a vessel landing Gulf reef fish not managed under an IFQ program or Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish harvested in the Gulf is responsible for ensuring that NMFS is contacted at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, in advance of landing to report the time, date, and location of landing, and the vessel identification number (e.g., Coast Guard registration number or state registration number). The vessel must land at an approved landing location and within 1 hour after the time given in the landing notification, except as provided in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section. A vessel landing Gulf reef fish managed under an IFQ program must also comply with the requirements in §§ 622.21 and 622.22, as applicable.

(ii) Submitting an advance landing notification. Authorized methods for contacting NMFS and submitting a completed landing notification include the VMS unit, or another contact method approved by NMFS.

(iii) Landing prior to the notification time. The owner or operator of a vessel that has completed a landing notification and submitted it to NMFS may land prior to the notification time, only if an authorized officer is present at the landing site, is available to meet the vessel, and has authorized the owner or operator of the vessel to land prior to the notification time.

(iv) Changes to a landing notification. The owner or operator of a vessel who has submitted a landing notification to NMFS may make changes to the notification by submitting a superseding notification. If the initial superseding notification makes changes to the time of landing that is later than the original time in the notification, the vessel does not need to wait an additional 3 hours to land. If the initial superseding notification makes changes to the landing location, the time of landing is earlier than previously specified, or more than one superseding notification is submitted on a trip, the vessel must wait an additional 3 hours to land, except as provided in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section.

(v) Approved landing locations. Gulf reef fish not managed under an IFQ program, and Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish harvested in the Gulf, must be landed at an approved landing location. Landing locations must be approved by the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement prior to a vessel landing these species at these sites. Proposed landing locations may be submitted to NMFS; however, new landing locations will be approved only at the end of each calendar-year quarter. To have a landing location approved by the end of the calendar-year quarter, it must be submitted at least 45 days before the end of the calendar-year quarter. NMFS will evaluate the proposed sites based on, but not limited to, the criteria at §§ 622.21(b)(5)(v) and 622.22(b)(5)(v).

(b) Charter vessel/headboat owners and operators -

(1) General reporting requirement. The owner or operator of a charter vessel or headboat for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, as required under § 622.20(b), and whose vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, regardless of fishing location, must submit an electronic fishing report of all fish harvested and discarded, and any other information requested by the SRD for each trip within the time period specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The electronic fishing report must be submitted to the SRD via NMFS approved hardware and software, as posted on the NMFS Southeast Region website. If selected by the SRD, the owner or operator of a vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must report via the NMFS approved software for the Southeast Region Headboat Survey.

(2) Reporting deadlines. Completed electronic fishing reports required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section must be submitted to the SRD prior to removing any fish from the vessel. If no fish were retained by any person on the vessel during a trip, the completed electronic fishing report must be submitted to the SRD within 30 minutes of the completion of the trip, e.g., arrival at the dock.

(3) Catastrophic conditions. During catastrophic conditions only, NMFS provides for use of paper forms for basic required functions as a backup to the electronic reports required by paragraph (b) of this section. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, and other appropriate means, such as fishery bulletins or NOAA weather radio, and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper forms for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. The paper forms will be available from NMFS. During catastrophic conditions, the RA has the authority to waive or modify reporting time requirements.

(4) Compliance requirement. Electronic reports required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section must be submitted and received by NMFS according to the reporting requirements under this section. A report not received within the applicable time specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section is delinquent. A delinquent report automatically results in the owner and operator of a charter vessel or headboat for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued being prohibited from harvesting or possessing such species, regardless of any additional notification to the delinquent owner and operator by NMFS. The owner and operator who are prohibited from harvesting or possessing such species due to delinquent reports are authorized to harvest or possess such species only after all required and delinquent reports have been submitted and received by NMFS according to the reporting requirements under this section.

(5) Hardware and software requirements for vessel location tracking. An owner or operator of a vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must ensure that the vessel is equipped with NMFS-approved hardware and software with a minimum capability of archiving GPS locations as posted on the NMFS Southeast Region website. The vessel location tracking device can be either a cellular or satellite VMS unit, and must be permanently affixed to the vessel and have uninterrupted operation.

(i) Use of a NMFS-approved satellite VMS. An owner or operator of a vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, and who uses a NMFS-approved satellite VMS to comply with the reporting and recordkeeping requirements of this section, must adhere to the VMS requirements specified in § 622.28, except for the trip declaration requirements specified in § 622.28(e). For trip declaration requirements, see paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

(ii) Use of NMFS-approved cellular VMS. An owner or operator of a vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, and who uses NMFS-approved cellular VMS to comply with the reporting and recordkeeping requirements of this section must comply with the following -

(A) Cellular VMS unit operation and replacement. Ensure that such vessel has an operating cellular VMS unit approved by NMFS on board at all times whether or not the vessel is underway, unless exempted by NMFS under the power-down exemption specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(D) of this section. An operating cellular VMS unit includes an operating mobile transmitting unit on the vessel and a functioning communication link between the unit and NMFS as provided by a NMFS-approved communication service provider. NMFS maintains a current list of approved cellular VMS units and communication providers, which is available at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/about-us/sustainable-fisheries-division-gulf-mexico-branch. If NMFS OLE removes a cellular VMS unit from the approved list, a vessel owner who purchased and installed such a unit prior to its removal from the approved list will still comply with the requirement to have an approved unit, unless otherwise notified by NMFS OLE. At the end of a cellular VMS unit's service life, it must be replaced with a currently approved unit.

(B) Hourly position reporting requirement. An owner or operator of a vessel using a NMFS-approved cellular VMS unit as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(A) of this section must ensure that the required cellular VMS unit archives the vessel's accurate position at least once per hour, 24 hours a day, every day of the year, unless exempted from this requirement under paragraphs (b)(5)(ii)(C) or (D) of this section.

(C) In-port exemption. While in port, an owner or operator of a vessel with a NMFS-approved cellular VMS unit configured with the 4-hour position reporting feature may utilize the 4-hour reporting feature rather than comply with the hourly position reporting requirement specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(B) of this section. Once the vessel is no longer in port, the hourly position reporting requirement specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(B) of this section applies. For the purposes of this section, “in port” means secured at a land-based facility, or moored or anchored after the return to a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp.

(D) Power-down exemption. An owner or operator of a vessel subject to the requirement to have a cellular VMS unit operating at all times as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(A) of this section can be exempted from that requirement and may power down the required cellular VMS unit if -

(1) The vessel will be continuously out of the water or in port, as defined in paragraph (b)(5)(ii)(C) of this section, for more than 72 consecutive hours;

(2) The owner or operator of the vessel applies for and obtains a valid letter of exemption from NMFS. The letter of exemption must be maintained on board the vessel and remains valid for the period specified in the letter for all subsequent power-down requests conducted for the vessel consistent with the provisions of paragraphs (b)(5)(ii)(D)(3) and (4) of this section.

(3) Prior to each power down, the owner or operator of the vessel files a report using a NMFS-approved form that includes the name of the person filing the report, vessel name, U.S. Coast Guard vessel documentation number or state vessel registration number, charter vessel/headboat reef fish permit number, vessel port location during cellular VMS power down, estimated duration of the power-down exemption, and reason for power down; and

(4) Prior to powering down the cellular VMS unit, the owner or operator of the vessel receives a confirmation from NMFS that the information was successfully delivered.

(E) Installation and activation of a cellular VMS unit. Only a cellular VMS unit that has been approved by NMFS for the Gulf reef fish fishery may be used, and the cellular VMS unit must be installed by a qualified marine electrician. When installing and activating or when reinstalling and reactivating the NMFS-approved cellular VMS unit, the vessel owner or operator must -

(1) Follow procedures indicated on the VMS installation and activation form, which is available from NMFS; and

(2) Submit a completed and signed VMS installation and activation form to NMFS as specified on the form.

(F) Interference with the cellular VMS. No person may interfere with, tamper with, alter, damage, disable, or impede the operation of the cellular VMS, or attempt any of the same.

(G) Interruption of operation of the cellular VMS. If a vessel's GPS is not operating properly, the vessel owner or operator must immediately contact NMFS and follow NMFS' instructions. If notified by NMFS that a vessel's cellular VMS is not operating properly, the vessel owner or operator must follow NMFS' instructions. In either event, such instructions may include, but are not limited to, manually communicating to a location designated by NMFS the vessel's positions, or returning to port until the cellular VMS is operable.

(iii) Access to position data. As a condition of authorized fishing for or possession of Gulf reef fish subject to the reporting and recordkeeping requirements in this section, a vessel owner or operator subject to the hardware and software requirements in this section must allow NMFS, the U.S. Coast Guard, and their authorized officers and designees access to the vessel's position data obtained from the cellular VMS.

(6) Trip declaration requirements. For purposes of this paragraph (b)(6), a trip begins anytime the vessel departs from a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp, and terminates with return to a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp, regardless of the duration or purpose, including non-fishing activities. Prior to departure for each trip, the owner or operator of a vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must notify NMFS and report the type of trip, the U.S. Coast Guard vessel documentation number or state vessel registration number, and whether the vessel will be operating as a charter vessel or headboat, or is departing on another type of trip, such as a commercial trip. If the vessel will be operating as a charter vessel or headboat during the trip, the owner or operator must also report the expected trip completion date, time, and landing location.

(c) Dealers.

(1) A dealer who first receives Gulf reef fish must maintain records and submit information as specified in § 622.5(c).

(2) The operator of a vehicle that is used to pick up from a fishing vessel Gulf reef fish must maintain a record containing the name of each fishing vessel from which reef fish on the vehicle have been received. The vehicle operator must provide such record for inspection upon the request of an authorized officer.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 6099, Feb. 3, 2014; 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014; 83 FR 27300, June 12, 2018; 85 FR 44017, July 21, 2020]

§ 622.27 At-sea observer coverage.

(a) Required coverage. A vessel for which a Federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish or a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must carry a NMFS-approved observer, if the vessel's trip is selected by the SRD for observer coverage. Vessel permit renewal is contingent upon compliance with this paragraph (a).

(b) Notification to the SRD. When observer coverage is required, an owner or operator must advise the SRD in writing not less than 5 days in advance of each trip of the following:

(1) Departure information (port, dock, date, and time).

(2) Expected landing information (port, dock, and date).

(c) Observer accommodations and access. An owner or operator of a vessel on which a NMFS-approved observer is embarked must:

(1) Provide accommodations and food that are equivalent to those provided to the crew.

(2) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's communications equipment and personnel upon request for the transmission and receipt of messages related to the observer's duties.

(3) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel upon request to determine the vessel's position.

(4) Allow the observer free and unobstructed access to the vessel's bridge, working decks, holding bins, weight scales, holds, and any other space used to hold, process, weigh, or store fish.

(5) Allow the observer to inspect and copy the vessel's log, communications logs, and any records associated with the catch and distribution of fish for that trip.

§ 622.28 Vessel monitoring systems (VMSs).

The VMS requirements of this section apply throughout the Gulf of Mexico and adjacent states.

(a) General VMS requirement. An owner or operator of a vessel that has been issued a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, including a charter vessel/headboat issued such a permit even when under charter, must ensure that such vessel has an operating VMS approved by NMFS for use in the Gulf reef fish fishery on board at all times whether or not the vessel is underway, unless exempted by NMFS under the power-down exemptions specified in paragraph (d) of this section and in the NOAA Enforcement Vessel Monitoring System Requirements for the Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico. This NOAA Enforcement Vessel Monitoring System Requirements document is available from NMFS Office for Law Enforcement (OLE), Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; phone: 800-758-4833. An operating VMS includes an operating mobile transmitting unit on the vessel and a functioning communication link between the unit and NMFS as provided by a NMFS-approved communication service provider. NMFS OLE maintains a current list of approved VMS units and communication providers which is available from the VMS Support Center, NMFS OLE, 8484 Georgia Avenue, Suite 415, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or by calling toll free: 888-219-9228. If a VMS unit approved for the Gulf reef fish fishery is removed from the approved list by NMFS OLE, a vessel owner who purchased and installed such a VMS unit prior to its removal from the approved list will be considered to be in compliance with the requirement to have an approved unit, unless otherwise notified by NMFS OLE. At the end of a VMS unit's service life, it must be replaced with a currently approved unit for the fishery.

(b) Hourly reporting requirement. An owner or operator of a vessel subject to the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section must ensure that the required VMS unit transmits a signal indicating the vessel's accurate position at least once an hour, 24 hours a day every day unless exempted under paragraphs (c) or (d) of this section.

(c) In-port exemption. While in port, an owner or operator of a vessel with a type-approved VMS unit configured with the 4-hour reporting feature may utilize the 4-hour reporting feature rather than comply with the hourly reporting requirement specified in paragraph (b) of this section. Once the vessel is no longer in port, the hourly reporting requirement specified in paragraph (b) of this section applies. For the purposes of this section, “in port” means secured at a land-based facility, or moored or anchored after the return to a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp.

(d) Power-down exemptions. An owner or operator of a vessel subject to the requirement to have a VMS operating at all times as specified in paragraph (a) of this section can be exempted from that requirement and may power down the required VMS unit if -

(1) The vessel will be continuously out of the water or in port, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, for more than 72 consecutive hours;

(2) The owner or operator of the vessel applies for and obtains a valid letter of exemption from NMFS OLE VMS personnel as specified in the NOAA Enforcement Vessel Monitoring System Requirements for the Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico. This is a one-time requirement. The letter of exemption must be maintained on board the vessel and remains valid for all subsequent power-down requests conducted consistent with the provisions of paragraphs (d)(3) and (4) of this section.

(3) Prior to each power-down, the owner or operator of the vessel files a report to NMFS OLE VMS program personnel, using the VMS unit's email, that includes the name of the person filing the report, vessel name, vessel U.S. Coast Guard documentation number or state registration number, commercial vessel reef fish permit number, vessel port location during VMS power down, estimated duration of the power down exemption, and reason for power down; and

(4) The owner or operator enters the power-down code through the use of the VMS Declaration form on the terminal and, prior to powering down the VMS, receives a confirmation, through the VMS terminal, that the form was successfully delivered.

(e) Declaration of fishing trip and gear. Prior to departure for each trip, a vessel owner or operator must report to NMFS any fishery the vessel will participate in on that trip and the specific type(s) of fishing gear, using NMFS-defined gear codes, that will be on board the vessel. This information may be reported to NMFS using the toll-free number, 888-219-9228, or via an attached VMS terminal.

(f) Installation and activation of a VMS. Only a VMS that has been approved by NMFS for the Gulf reef fish fishery may be used, and the VMS must be installed by a qualified marine electrician. When installing and activating the NMFS-approved VMS, or when reinstalling and reactivating such VMS, the vessel owner or operator must -

(1) Follow procedures indicated on a NMFS-approved installation and activation checklist for the applicable fishery, which is available from NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; phone: 800-758-4833; and

(2) Submit to NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, a statement certifying compliance with the checklist, as prescribed on the checklist.

(3) Submit to NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, a vendor-completed installation certification checklist, which is available from NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; phone: 800-758-4833.

(g) Interference with the VMS. No person may interfere with, tamper with, alter, damage, disable, or impede the operation of the VMS, or attempt any of the same.

(h) Interruption of operation of the VMS. When a vessel's VMS is not operating properly, the owner or operator must immediately contact NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, phone: 800-758-4833, and follow instructions from that office. If notified by NMFS that a vessel's VMS is not operating properly, the owner and operator must follow instructions from that office. In either event, such instructions may include, but are not limited to, manually communicating to a location designated by NMFS the vessel's positions or returning to port until the VMS is operable.

(i) Access to position data. As a condition of authorized fishing for or possession of fish in a fishery subject to VMS requirements in this section, a vessel owner or operator subject to the requirements for a VMS in this section must allow NMFS, the USCG, and their authorized officers and designees access to the vessel's position data obtained from the VMS.

§ 622.29 Conservation measures for protected resources.

(a) Gulf reef fish commercial vessels and charter vessels/headboats -

(1) Sea turtle conservation measures.

(i) The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish or a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, as required under § 622.20(a)(1) and (b), respectively, must have the 2019 version of the NMFS document titled, “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury” available for reference on board electronically or have a paper copy on board inside the wheelhouse, or within a waterproof case if there is no wheelhouse. In addition, the NMFS sea turtle handling and release guidelines placard must be posted inside the wheelhouse or an easily viewable area on the vessel if there is no wheelhouse.

(ii) Such owner or operator must also comply with the sea turtle interaction mitigation measures, including the release gear and handling requirements specified in appendix F of this part.

(iii) Those permitted vessels with a freeboard height of 4 ft (1.2 m) or less must have on board a net or hoist, tire or other support device, short-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, long-nose or needle-nose pliers, bolt cutters, monofilament line cutters, and at least two types of mouth openers or mouth gags. This equipment must meet the specifications described in appendix F to this part.

(iv) Those permitted vessels with a freeboard height of greater than 4 ft (1.2 m) must have on board a net or hoist, tire or other support device, long-handled line clipper or cutter, short-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, long-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, a long-handled device to pull an inverted “V” in the fishing line, long-nose or needle-nose pliers, bolt cutters, monofilament line cutters, and at least two types of mouth openers or mouth gags. This equipment must meet the specifications described in appendix F to this part.

(2) Smalltooth sawfish conservation measures. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish or a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, as required under §§ 622.20(a)(1) and 622.20(b), respectively, that incidentally catches a smalltooth sawfish must -

(i) Keep the sawfish in the water at all times;

(ii) If it can be done safely, untangle the line if it is wrapped around the saw;

(iii) Cut the line as close to the hook as possible; and

(iv) Not handle the animal or attempt to remove any hooks on the saw, except for with a long-handled dehooker.

(b) Incorporation by reference. The standards required in paragraph (a)(1) of this section are incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for inspection at the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, phone: 727-824-5301, website: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/endangered-species-conservation/sea-turtle-and-smalltooth-sawfish-release-gear-protocols.html, and is available from the sources listed in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, call 202-741-6030 or go to www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

(1) U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149.

(i) Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-735, Stokes, L., and Bergmann, C. (Editors), 2019.

(ii) [Reserved]

(2) U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

(i) Sea Turtle Handling/Release Guidelines: Quick Reference for Hook and Line Fisheries, English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Revised April 2019.

(ii) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 84 FR 22385, May 17, 2019; 84 FR 67238, Dec. 9, 2019]

§ 622.30 Required fishing gear.

For a person on board a vessel to fish for Gulf reef fish in the Gulf EEZ, the vessel must possess on board and such person must use the gear as specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section.

(a) Non-stainless steel circle hooks. Non-stainless steel circle hooks are required when fishing with natural baits, except that other non-stainless steel hook types may be used when commercial fishing for yellowtail snapper with natural baits in an area south of a line extending due west from 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Monroe County, Florida, to the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic inter-council boundary, specified in § 600.105(c).

(b) Dehooking device. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used to remove hooks embedded in Gulf reef fish with minimum damage. The hook removal device must be constructed to allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the removal process. The dehooking end must be blunt, and all edges rounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the Gulf reef fish fishery.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 46822, Aug. 2, 2013; 81 FR 10311, Feb. 10, 2017]

§ 622.31 Buoy gear identification.

(a) Buoy gear. In the Gulf EEZ, if buoy gear is used or possessed, each buoy must display the official number of the vessel. See § 622.2 for the definition of buoy gear.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.32 Prohibited gear and methods.

Also see § 622.9 for additional prohibited gear and methods that apply more broadly to multiple fisheries or in some cases all fisheries.

(a) Poisons. A poison may not be used to take Gulf reef fish in the Gulf EEZ.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.33 Prohibited species.

(a) General. The harvest and possession restrictions of this section apply without regard to whether the species is harvested by a vessel operating under a commercial vessel permit. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for the limit applicable to that vessel. (Note: Nassau grouper in the Gulf EEZ may not be harvested or possessed, as specified in § 622.181(b)(1).)

(b) Goliath grouper. Goliath grouper may not be harvested or possessed in or from the Gulf EEZ.

(c) [Reserved]

(d) Gulf reef fish exhibiting trap rash. Possession of Gulf reef fish in or from the Gulf EEZ that exhibit trap rash is prima facie evidence of illegal trap use and is prohibited. For the purpose of this paragraph, trap rash is defined as physical damage to fish that characteristically results from contact with wire fish traps. Such damage includes, but is not limited to, broken fin spines, fin rays, or teeth; visually obvious loss of scales; and cuts or abrasions on the body of the fish, particularly on the head, snout, or mouth.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 78775, Dec. 27, 2013]

§ 622.34 Seasonal and area closures designed to protect Gulf reef fish.

(a) Closure provisions applicable to the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps, and the Edges -

(1) Descriptions of Areas.

(i) The Madison and Swanson sites are bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°17′ 85°50′
B 29°17′ 85°38′
C 29°06′ 85°38′
D 29°06′ 85°50′
A 29°17′ 85°50′

(ii) Steamboat Lumps is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
B 28°14′ 84°37′
C 28°03′ 84°37′
D 28°03′ 84°48′
A 28°14′ 84°48′

(iii) The Edges is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 28°51′ 85°16′
B 28°51′ 85°04′
C 28°14′ 84°42′
D 28°14′ 84°54′
A 28°51′ 85°16′

(2) Within the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps, possession of Gulf reef fish is prohibited, except for such possession aboard a vessel in transit with fishing gear stowed as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(3) Within the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps during November through April, and within the Edges during January through April, all fishing is prohibited, and possession of any fish species is prohibited, except for such possession aboard a vessel in transit with fishing gear stowed as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section. The provisions of this paragraph, (a)(3), do not apply to highly migratory species.

(4) For the purpose of paragraph (a) of this section, transit means non-stop progression through the area; fishing gear appropriately stowed means -

(i) A longline may be left on the drum if all gangions and hooks are disconnected and stowed below deck. Hooks cannot be baited. All buoys must be disconnected from the gear; however, buoys may remain on deck.

(ii) A trawl net may remain on deck, but trawl doors must be disconnected from the trawl gear and must be secured.

(iii) A gillnet must be left on the drum. Any additional gillnets not attached to the drum must be stowed below deck.

(iv) A rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and stowed securely on or below deck. Terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) must be disconnected and stowed separately from the rod and reel. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.

(5) Within the Madison and Swanson sites and Steamboat Lumps, during May through October, surface trolling is the only allowable fishing activity. For the purpose of this paragraph (a)(5), surface trolling is defined as fishing with lines trailing behind a vessel which is in constant motion at speeds in excess of four knots with a visible wake. Such trolling may not involve the use of down riggers, wire lines, planers, or similar devices.

(6) For the purpose of this paragraph (a), fish means finfish, mollusks, crustaceans, and all other forms of marine animal and plant life other than marine mammals and birds. Highly migratory species means tuna species, marlin (Tetrapturus spp. and Makaira spp.), oceanic sharks, sailfishes (Istiophorus spp.), and swordfish (Xiphias gladius).

(b) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for red snapper. The recreational sector for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through May 31, each year. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the fishing season for states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess red snapper in the Gulf EEZ when that state season is closed.

(c) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for greater amberjack. The recreational sector for greater amberjack in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through April 30, June 1 through July 31, and November 1 through December 31, each year. During the closure, the bag and possession limit for greater amberjack in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero.

(d) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for shallow-water grouper (SWG). The recreational sector for SWG in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed each year from February 1 through March 31 in the portion of the Gulf EEZ seaward of rhumb lines connecting the following points in order. During the closure, the bag and possession limits for SWG in or from the Gulf EEZ seaward of the following rhumb lines are zero.

Table 4 to Paragraph (d)

Point North lat. West long.
1 24°48.0′ 82°48.0′
2 25°07.5′ 82°34.0′
3 26°26.0′ 82°59.0′
4 27°30.0′ 83°21.5′
5 28°10.0′ 83°45.0′
6 28°11.0′ 84°00.0′
7 28°11.0′ 84°07.0′
8 28°26.6′ 84°24.8′
9 28°42.5′ 84°24.8′
10 29°05.0′ 84°47.0′
11 29°02.5′ 85°09.0′
12 29°21.0′ 85°30.0′
13 29°27.9′ 85°51.7′
14 29°45.8′ 85°51.0′
15 30°05.6′ 86°18.5′
16 30°07.5′ 86°56.5′
17 29°43.9′ 87°33.8′
18 29°43.0′ 88°18.5′
19 29°18.9′ 88°50.7′ at State and Federal Reef Fish Management Boundary, follow Reef Fish Management Boundary to point 20
20 28°58.98′ 89°35.1′ at State and Federal Reef Fish Management Boundary
21 29°02.0′ 89°45.5′
22 28°32.7′ 90°21.5′
23 28°24.8′ 90°52.7′
24 28°42.3′ 92°14.4′
25 28°34.2′ 92°30.4′
26 28°27.6′ 95°00.0′
27 28°20.0′ 95°06.9′
28 28°02.2′ 96°11.1′
29 27°46.5′ 96°38.1′
30 27°15.0′ 97°00.0′
31 26°45.5′ 97°01.4′
32 At EEZ boundary 96°51.0′

(e) Seasonal closure of the recreational sector for gag. The recreational sector for gag, in or from the Gulf EEZ, is closed from January 1 through May 31. During the closure, the bag and possession limits for gag in or from the Gulf EEZ are zero.

(f) Seasonal closures for gray triggerfish. The recreational sector for gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from January 1 through the end of February, and from June 1 through July 31, each year. During a recreational closure, the bag and possession limits for gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ are zero. The commercial sector for gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ is closed from June 1 through July 31, each year. During the period of both the commercial and recreational closure, all harvest or possession in or from the Gulf EEZ of gray triggerfish is prohibited and the sale and purchase of gray triggerfish taken from the Gulf EEZ is prohibited.

(g) Recreational sector for hogfish in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida. See § 622.183(b)(4) for the applicable seasonal closures.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 27087, May 9, 2013; 78 FR 33261, June 4, 2013; 81 FR 24039, Apr. 25, 2016; 82 FR 34580, July 25, 2017; 82 FR 59525, Dec. 15, 2017; 82 FR 61487, Dec. 28, 2017; 83 FR 13428, Mar. 29, 2018; 85 FR 6823, Feb. 6, 2020; 85 FR 20613, Apr. 14, 2020]

§ 622.35 Gear restricted areas.

(a) Reef fish stressed area. The stressed area is that part of the Gulf EEZ shoreward of rhumb lines connecting, in order, the points listed in Table 2 in Appendix B of this part.

(1) A powerhead may not be used in the stressed area to take Gulf reef fish. Possession of a powerhead and a mutilated Gulf reef fish in the stressed area or after having fished in the stressed area constitutes prima facie evidence that such reef fish was taken with a powerhead in the stressed area.

(2) A roller trawl may not be used in the stressed area. Roller trawl means a trawl net equipped with a series of large, solid rollers separated by several smaller spacer rollers on a separate cable or line (sweep) connected to the footrope, which makes it possible to fish the gear over rough bottom, that is, in areas unsuitable for fishing conventional shrimp trawls. Rigid framed trawls adapted for shrimping over uneven bottom, in wide use along the west coast of Florida, and shrimp trawls with hollow plastic rollers for fishing on soft bottoms, are not considered roller trawls.

(b) Seasonal prohibitions applicable to bottom longline fishing for Gulf reef fish.

(1) From June through August each year, bottom longlining for Gulf reef fish is prohibited in the portion of the Gulf EEZ east of 85°30' W. long. that is shoreward of rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 28°58.70′ 85°30.00′
B 28°59.25′ 85°26.70′
C 28°57.00′ 85°13.80′
D 28°47.40′ 85°3.90′
E 28°19.50′ 84°43.00′
F 28°0.80′ 84°20.00′
G 26°48.80′ 83°40.00′
H 25°17.00′ 83°19.00′
I 24°54.00′ 83°21.00′
J 24°29.50′ 83°12.30′
K 24°26.50′ 83°00.00′

(2) Within the prohibited area and time period specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, a vessel with bottom longline gear on board may not possess Gulf reef fish unless the bottom longline gear is appropriately stowed, and a vessel that is using bottom longline gear to fish for species other than Gulf reef fish may not possess Gulf reef fish. For the purposes of paragraph (b) of this section, appropriately stowed means that a longline may be left on the drum if all gangions and hooks are disconnected and stowed below deck; hooks cannot be baited; and all buoys must be disconnected from the gear but may remain on deck.

(3) Within the Gulf EEZ east of 85°30′ W long., a vessel for which a valid eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement has been issued that is fishing bottom longline gear or has bottom longline gear on board cannot possess more than 750 hooks rigged for fishing at any given time. For the purpose of this paragraph, “hooks rigged for fishing” means hooks attached to a line or other device capable of attaching to the mainline of the longline.

(c) Reef fish longline and buoy gear restricted area. A person aboard a vessel that uses, on any trip, longline or buoy gear in the longline and buoy gear restricted area is limited on that trip to the bag limits for Gulf reef fish specified in § 622.38(b) and, for Gulf reef fish for which no bag limit is specified in § 622.38(b), the vessel is limited to 5 percent, by weight, of all fish on board or landed. The longline and buoy gear restricted area is that part of the Gulf EEZ shoreward of rhumb lines connecting, in order, the points listed in Table 1 in Appendix B of this part.

(d) Alabama SMZ. The Alabama SMZ consists of artificial reefs and surrounding areas. In the Alabama SMZ, fishing by a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, a vessel that does not have a commercial permit for Gulf reef fish, as required under § 622.20(a)(1), or a vessel with such a permit fishing for Gulf reef fish is limited to hook-and-line gear with three or fewer hooks per line and spearfishing gear. A person aboard a vessel that uses on any trip gear other than hook-and-line gear with three or fewer hooks per line and spearfishing gear in the Alabama SMZ is limited on that trip to the bag limits for Gulf reef fish specified in § 622.38(b) and, for Gulf reef fish for which no bag limit is specified in § 622.38(b), the vessel is limited to 5 percent, by weight, of all fish on board or landed. The Alabama SMZ is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 30°02.5′ 88°07.7′
B 30°02.6′ 87°59.3′
C 29°55.0′ 87°55.5′
D 29°54.5′ 88°07.5′
A 30°02.5′ 88°07.7′

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 82 FR 34580, July 25, 2017; 83 FR 5212, Feb. 6, 2018]

§ 622.36 Seasonal harvest limitations.

(a) Greater amberjack. During March, April, and May, each year, the possession of greater amberjack in or from the Gulf EEZ and in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a commercial permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, as required under § 622.20(a)(1), without regard to where such greater amberjack were harvested, is limited to the bag and possession limits, as specified in § 622.38(b)(1) and (c), respectively, and such greater amberjack are subject to the prohibition on sale or purchase of greater amberjack possessed under the bag limit, as specified in § 622.40(a). Also note that if commercial quantities of Gulf reef fish, i.e., Gulf reef fish in excess of applicable bag/possession limits, are on board the vessel, no bag limit of Gulf reef fish may be possessed, as specified in § 622.38(a)(2).

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.37 Size limits.

All size limits in this section are minimum size limits unless specified otherwise. A fish not in compliance with its size limit, as specified in this section, in or from the Gulf EEZ, may not be possessed, sold, or purchased. A fish not in compliance with its size limit must be released immediately with a minimum of harm. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that fish on board are in compliance with the size limits specified in this section. See § 622.10 regarding requirements for landing fish intact.

(a) Snapper -

(1) Red snapper - 16 inches (40.6 cm), TL, for a fish taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(3) and 13 inches (33.0 cm), TL, for a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit. See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the minimum size limit for states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess red snapper in the Gulf EEZ that are smaller than may be possessed in that state. Additionally, fish taken by persons subject to the private angling component bag limit under state management may not be less than 14 inches (35.6 cm), TL, in the Gulf EEZ.

(2) Lane snapper - 8 inches (20.3 cm), TL.

(3) Vermilion snapper - 10 inches (25.4 cm), TL.

(4) Cubera, gray, and yellowtail snappers - 12 inches (30.5 cm), TL.

(5) Mutton snapper - 18 inches (45.7 cm), TL.

(b) Grouper -

(1) Gag - 24 inches (61.0 cm), TL.

(2) Red grouper -

(i) For a person not subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38 (b)(2) - 18 inches (45.7 cm), TL.

(ii) For a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(2) - 20 inches (50.8 cm), TL.

(3) Scamp - 16 inches (40.6 cm), TL.

(4) Yellowfin grouper - 20 inches (50.8 cm), TL.

(5) Black grouper -

(i) For a person not subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(2) - 24 inches (61.0 cm), TL.

(ii) For a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(2) - 24 inches (61.0 cm), TL.

(c) Other Gulf reef fish species -

(1) Gray triggerfish.

(i) For a person not subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(5) - 14 inches (35.6 cm), fork length.

(ii) For a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(5) - 15 inches (38.1 cm), fork length.

(2) Hogfish in the Gulf EEZ except south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida - 14 inches (40.6 cm), fork length. See § 622.185(c)(3)(ii) for the hogfish size limit in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida.

(3) Banded rudderfish and lesser amberjack - 14 inches (35.6 cm), fork length (minimum size); 22 inches (55.9 cm), fork length (maximum size).

(4) Greater amberjack - 34 inches (86.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.38(b)(1) and 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit.

(d) A person aboard a vessel that has a Federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish and commercial quantities of Gulf reef fish, i.e., Gulf reef fish in excess of applicable bag/possession limits, may not possess any Gulf reef fish that do not comply with the applicable commercial minimum size limit.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 80 FR 75436, Dec. 2, 2015; 81 FR 24040, Apr. 25, 2016; 82 FR 34581, July 25, 2017; 82 FR 59526, Dec. 15, 2017; 83 FR 29044, June 22, 2018; 85 FR 6824, Feb. 6, 2020]

§ 622.38 Bag and possession limits.

(a) Additional applicability provisions for Gulf reef fish.

(1) Section 622.11(a) provides the general applicability for bag and possession limits. However, § 622.11(a) notwithstanding, bag and possession limits also apply for Gulf reef fish in or from the EEZ to a person aboard a vessel that has on board a commercial permit for Gulf reef fish -

(i) When trawl gear or entangling net gear is on board. A vessel is considered to have trawl gear on board when trawl doors and a net are on board. Removal from the vessel of all trawl doors or all nets constitutes removal of trawl gear.

(ii) When a longline or buoy gear is on board and the vessel is fishing or has fished on a trip in the reef fish longline and buoy gear restricted area specified in § 622.35(c). A vessel is considered to have a longline on board when a power-operated longline hauler, a cable of diameter and length suitable for use in the longline fishery, and gangions are on board. Removal of any one of these three elements, in its entirety, constitutes removal of a longline.

(iii) For a species/species group when its quota has been reached and closure has been effected, provided that no commercial quantities of Gulf reef fish, i.e., Gulf reef fish in excess of applicable bag/possession limits, are on board as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(iv) When the vessel has on board or is tending any trap other than a stone crab trap or a spiny lobster trap.

(2) A person aboard a vessel that has a Federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish and commercial quantities of Gulf reef fish, i.e., Gulf reef fish in excess of applicable bag/possession limits, may not possess Gulf reef fish caught under a bag limit.

(b) Bag limits -

(1) Greater amberjack - 1. However, no greater amberjack may be retained by the captain or crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. The bag limit for such captain and crew is zero.

(2) Groupers, combined, excluding goliath grouper - 4 per person per day, but not to exceed 1 speckled hind or 1 warsaw grouper per vessel per day, or 2 gag or 2 red grouper per person per day. However, no grouper may be retained by the captain or crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. The bag limit for such captain and crew is zero. (Note: Nassau grouper in the Gulf EEZ may not be harvested or possessed, as specified in § 622.181(b)(4).)

(3) Red snapper - 2. However, no red snapper may be retained by the captain or crew of a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat. The bag limit for such captain and crew is zero. See § 622.23(a)(1) regarding the bag limit applicability for states with an active delegation of state management of the red snapper private angling component. A person subject to the private angling component bag limit under an active delegation of state management must be in compliance with the fishing license (permit) requirements of the state in which they intend to land the fish and may not possess more red snapper in the Gulf EEZ than may be possessed in that state.

(4) Snappers, combined, excluding red, lane, and vermilion snapper - 10. In addition, within the 10-fish aggregate snapper bag limit, no more than 5 fish may be mutton snapper.

(5) Gulf reef fish, combined, excluding those specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (4) and paragraphs (b)(6) and (7) of this section - 20. In addition, within the 20-fish aggregate reef fish bag limit, no more than 1 fish may be gray triggerfish and no more than 10 fish may be vermilion snapper.

(6) Banded rudderfish and lesser amberjack, combined - 5.

(7) Hogfish in the Gulf EEZ except south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida - 5. See § 622.187(b)(3)(ii) for the hogfish bag and possession limits in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida.

(c) Possession limits for vessels with a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for reef fish. A person, or a vessel in the case of speckled hind or Warsaw grouper, on a trip that spans more than 30 hours may possess, at any time during the trip, no more than two daily bag limits, provided such trip is on a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, the vessel has two licensed operators aboard, each passenger is issued and has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the date and time of departure and length of the trip, and the entire trip occurs on days when the harvest and possession of the applicable reef fish species are allowed.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 27087, May 9, 2013; 78 FR 46822, Aug. 2, 2013; 78 FR 78775, Dec. 27, 2013; 80 FR 18553, Apr. 7, 2015; 82 FR 34581, July 25, 2017; 82 FR 59526, Dec. 15, 2017; 83 FR 29044, June 22, 2018; 85 FR 6824, Feb. 6, 2020; 86 FR 11155, Feb. 24, 2021]

§ 622.39 Quotas.

See § 622.8 for general provisions regarding quota applicability and closure and reopening procedures. This section, provides quotas and specific quota closure restrictions for Gulf reef fish.

(a) Gulf reef fish -

(1) Commercial quotas. The following quotas apply to persons who fish under commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish, as required under § 622.20(a)(1).

(i) Commercial quota for red snapper - 7.701 million lb (3.493 million kg), round weight.

(ii) Deep-water groupers (DWG) have a combined quota, as specified in paragraphs (a)(1)(ii)(A) through (C) of this section. These quotas are specified in gutted weight, that is eviscerated, but otherwise whole.

(A) For fishing year 2014 - 1.110 million lb (0.503 million kg).

(B) For fishing year 2015 - 1.101 million lb (0.499 million kg).

(C) For fishing year 2016 and subsequent fishing years - 1.024 million lb (0.464 million kg).

(iii) Shallow-water groupers (SWG) have separate quotas for gag and red grouper and a combined quota for other shallow-water grouper (Other SWG) species (including black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper), as specified in paragraphs (a)(1)(iii)(A) through (C) of this section. These quotas are specified in gutted weight, that is, eviscerated but otherwise whole.

(A) Other SWG combined.

(1) For fishing year 2014 - 523,000 lb (237,229 kg).

(2) For fishing year 2015 and subsequent fishing years - 525,000 lb (238,136 kg).

(B) Gag.

(1) For fishing year 2012 - 0.567 million lb (0.257 million kg).

(2) For fishing year 2013 - 0.708 million lb (0.321 million kg).

(3) For fishing year 2014 - 0.835 million lb (0.378 million kg).

(4) For fishing year 2015 and subsequent fishing years - 0.939 million lb (0.426 million kg).

(C) Red grouper - 3.00 million lb (1.36 million kg).

(iv) Tilefishes (including goldface tilefish, blueline tilefish, and tilefish) - 582,000 lb (263,991 kg), gutted weight, that is, eviscerated but otherwise whole.

(v) Greater amberjack -

(A) For fishing year 2018 - 277,651 lb (125,940.38 kg), round weight.

(B) For fishing year 2019 - 349,766 lb (158,651 kg), round weight.

(C) For fishing year 2020 and subsequent years - 421,411 lb (191,149 kg), round weight.

(vi) Gray triggerfish - 88,273 lb (40,040 kg), round weight.

(2) Recreational quotas. The following quotas apply to persons who fish for Gulf reef fish other than under commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish and the applicable commercial quotas specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(i) Recreational quota for red snapper -

(A) Total recreational. The total recreational quota is 7.399 million lb (3.356 million kg), round weight.

(B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota. The Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota applies to vessels that have been issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. A person aboard a vessel that has been issued a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year may not harvest or possess red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ when the Federal charter vessel/headboat component is closed. The Federal charter vessel/headboat component quota is 3.130 million lb (1.420 million kg), round weight.

(C) Private angling component quota. The private angling component quota applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not been issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. The private angling component quota is 4.269 million lb (1.936 million kg), round weight.

(ii) Recreational quota for greater amberjack.

(A) For the 2017-2018 fishing year - 716,173 lb (324,851 kg).

(B) For the 2018-2019 fishing year - 902,185 lb (409,224 kg).

(C) For the 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years - 1,086,985 lb (493,048 kg).

(b) Restrictions applicable after a commercial quota closure.

(1) If the recreational fishery for the indicated species is open, the bag and possession limits specified in § 622.38(b) and (c) apply to all harvest or possession in or from the Gulf EEZ of the indicated species, and the sale or purchase of the indicated species taken from the Gulf EEZ is prohibited. In addition, the bag and possession limits for red snapper, when applicable, apply on board a vessel for which a commercial permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, as required under § 622.20(a)(1), without regard to where such red snapper were harvested. The application of bag limits described in this paragraph (b)(1) notwithstanding, bag limits of Gulf reef fish may not be possessed on board a vessel with commercial quantities of Gulf reef fish, i.e., Gulf reef fish in excess of applicable bag/possession limits, on board, as specified in § 622.38(a)(2). The prohibition on sale/purchase during a closure for Gulf reef fish does not apply to Gulf reef fish that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

(2) If the recreational fishery for the indicated species is closed, all harvest or possession in or from the Gulf EEZ of the indicated species is prohibited.

(c) Restrictions applicable after a recreational quota closure or recreational component quota closure. The bag limit for the applicable species for the recreational sector or recreational sector component in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. When the Federal charter vessel/headboat component is closed or the entire recreational sector is closed, this bag and possession limit applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e., in state or Federal waters.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013]

§ 622.40 Restrictions on sale/purchase.

The restrictions in this section are in addition to the restrictions on sale/purchase related to quota closures as specified in § 622.39(b) and (c).

(a) A Gulf reef fish harvested in the EEZ on board a vessel that does not have a valid commercial permit for Gulf reef fish, as required under § 622.20(a)(1), or a Gulf reef fish possessed under the bag limits specified in § 622.38(b), may not be sold or purchased.

(b) A Gulf reef fish harvested in or from the EEZ or adjoining state waters by a vessel that has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish may be sold or transferred only to a dealer who has a valid Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit, as required under § 622.20(c)(1).

(c) A Gulf reef fish harvested in or from the EEZ may be first received by a dealer who has a valid Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit, as required under § 622.20(c)(1), only from a vessel that has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014]

§ 622.41 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs).

(a) Greater amberjack -

(1) Commercial sector.

(i) If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the annual catch target (ACT) specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(v)(commercial quota), the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, (AA) will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for the remainder of the fishing year.

(ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, if commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the commercial ACL, as specified in (a)(1)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the commercial ACT (commercial quota) and the commercial ACL for that following year by the amount of any commercial ACL overage in the prior fishing year.

(iii) The commercial ACL for greater amberjack, in round weight, is 319,140 lb (144,759 kg), for 2018, 402,030 lb (182,358 kg), for 2019, and 484,380 lb (219,711 kg), for 2020 and subsequent fishing years.

(2) Recreational sector.

(i) If recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the ACT specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(ii) (recreational quota), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the recreational sector for the remainder of the fishing year.

(ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section, if recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the recreational ACL, as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the recreational ACT (recreational quota) and the recreational ACL for that following year by the amount of any recreational overage in the prior fishing year.

(iii) The applicable recreational ACL for greater amberjack, in round weight, is 862,860 lb (391,387 kg) for the 2017-2018 fishing year, 1,086,970 lb (493,041 kg) for the 2018-2019 fishing year, and 1,309,620 lb (594,034 kg) for 2019-2020 fishing year and subsequent fishing years.

(b) Gray triggerfish -

(1) Commercial sector. If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the commercial ACT (commercial quota) specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(vi), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for the remainder of the fishing year. In addition, if despite such closure, commercial landings exceed the commercial ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the commercial ACL and ACT (commercial quota) for that following year by the amount the prior-year ACL was exceeded. The commercial ACL is 95,949 lb (43,522 kg), round weight.

(2) Recreational sector.

(i) Without regard to overfished status, if gray triggerfish recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the applicable ACT specified in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, to close the recreational sector for the remainder of the fishing year. On and after the effective date of such a notification, the bag and possession limit of gray triggerfish in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. This bag and possession limit applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e. in state or Federal waters.

(ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraphs (b)(2)(i) of this section, if gray triggerfish recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, and gray triggerfish are overfished, based on the most recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the ACL and the ACT for that following year by the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year, unless the best scientific information available determines that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary.

(iii) The recreational ACL for gray triggerfish is 360,951 lb (163,725 kg), round weight. The recreational ACT for gray triggerfish is 274,323 lb (124,431 kg), round weight.

(c) Other shallow-water grouper (Other SWG) combined (including black grouper, scamp, yellowfin grouper, and yellowmouth grouper) -

(1) Commercial sector. The IFQ program for groupers and tilefishes in the Gulf of Mexico serves as the accountability measure for commercial Other SWG. The commercial ACT for Other SWG is equal to the applicable quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(iii)(A). The commercial ACL for Other SWG, in gutted weight, is 545,000 lb (247,208 kg) for 2014, and 547,000 lb (248,115 kg) for 2015 and subsequent fishing years.

(2) Recreational sector. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock complex ACL specified in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of the commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the recreational sector for the remainder of that fishing year.

(3) The stock complex ACLs for Other SWG, in gutted weight, are 688,000 lb (312,072 kg) for 2012, 700,000 lb (317,515 kg) for 2013, 707,000 lb (320,690 kg) for 2014, and 710,000 lb (322,051 kg) for 2015 and subsequent years.

(d) Gag -

(1) Commercial sector. The IFQ program for groupers and tilefishes in the Gulf of Mexico serves as the accountability measure for commercial gag. The applicable commercial ACLs for gag, in gutted weight, are 0.788 million lb (0.357 million kg) for 2012, 0.956 million lb (0.434 million kg) for 2013, 1.100 million lb (0.499 million kg) for 2014, and 1.217 million lb (0.552 million kg) for 2015 and subsequent fishing years.

(2) Recreational sector.

(i) Without regard to overfished status, if gag recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the applicable ACLs specified in paragraph (d)(2)(iv) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, to close the recreational sector for the remainder of the fishing year. On and after the effective date of such a notification, the bag and possession limit of gag in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. This bag and possession limit applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e. in state or Federal waters.

(ii) Without regard to overfished status, and in addition to the measures specified in paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section, if gag recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the applicable ACLs specified in paragraph (d)(2)(iv) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to maintain the gag ACT, specified in paragraph (d)(2)(iv) of this section, for that following fishing year at the level of the prior year's ACT, unless the best scientific information available determines that maintaining the prior year's ACT is unnecessary. In addition, the notification will reduce the length of the recreational gag fishing season the following fishing year by the amount necessary to ensure gag recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACT in the following fishing year.

(iii) If gag are overfished, based on the most recent status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, and gag recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (d)(2)(iv) of this section, the following measures will apply. In addition to the measures specified in paragraphs (d)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the ACL for that following year by the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year, and reduce the ACT, as determined in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section, by the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year, unless the best scientific information available determines that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary.

(iv) The applicable recreational ACLs for gag, in gutted weight, are 1.232 million lb (0.559 million kg) for 2012, 1.495 million lb (0.678 million kg) for 2013, 1.720 million lb (0.780 million kg) for 2014, and 1.903 million lb (0.863 million kg) for 2015 and subsequent fishing years. The recreational ACTs for gag, in gutted weight, are 1.031 million lb (0.468 million kg) for 2012, 1.287 million lb (0.584 million kg) for 2013, 1.519 million lb (0.689 million kg) for 2014, and 1.708 million lb (0.775 million kg) for 2015 and subsequent fishing years.

(e) Red grouper -

(1) Commercial sector. The IFQ program for groupers and tilefishes in the Gulf of Mexico serves as the accountability measure for commercial red grouper. The commercial ACT for red grouper is equal to the applicable quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(iii)(C). The applicable commercial ACL for red grouper, in gutted weight, is 3.16 million lb (1.43 million kg).

(2) Recreational sector.

(i) Without regard to overfished status, if red grouper recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, to close the recreational sector for the remainder of the fishing year. On and after the effective date of such a notification, the bag and possession limit of red grouper in or from the Gulf EEZ is zero. This bag and possession limit applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e. in state or Federal waters.

(ii) Without regard to overfished status, and in addition to the measures specified in paragraph (e)(2)(i) of this section, if red grouper recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to maintain the red grouper ACT, specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of this section, for that following fishing year at the level of the prior year's ACT, unless the best scientific information available determines that maintaining the prior year's ACT is unnecessary. In addition, the notification will reduce the length of the recreational red grouper fishing season the following fishing year by the amount necessary to ensure red grouper recreational landings do not exceed the recreational ACT in the following fishing year.

(iii) If red grouper are overfished, based on the most recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, and red grouper recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (e)(2)(iv) of this section, the following measures will apply. In addition to the measures specified in paragraphs (e)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year to reduce the ACL for that following year by the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year, and reduce the ACT, as determined in paragraph (e)(2)(ii) of this section, by the amount of the ACL overage in the prior fishing year, unless the best scientific information available determines that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary.

(iv) The recreational ACL for red grouper, in gutted weight, is 1.00 million lb (0.45 million kg). The recreational ACT for red grouper, in gutted weight, is 0.92 million lb (0.42 million kg).

(f) Deep-water grouper (DWG) combined (including yellowedge grouper, warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, and speckled hind) -

(1) Commercial sector. The IFQ program for groupers and tilefishes in the Gulf of Mexico serves as the accountability measure for commercial DWG. The commercial ACT for DWG is equal to the applicable quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(ii). The commercial ACL for DWG, in gutted weight, is 1.160 million lb (0.526 million kg) for 2014, 1.150 million lb (0.522 million kg) for 2015, and 1.070 million lb (0.485 million kg) for 2016 and subsequent fishing years.

(2) Recreational sector. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock complex ACL specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the recreational sector for the remainder of that fishing year.

(3) The stock complex ACLs for DWG, in gutted weight, are 1.216 million lb (0.552 million kg) for 2012, 1.207 million lb (0.547 million kg) for 2013, 1.198 million lb (0.543 million kg) for 2014, 1.189 million lb (0.539 million kg) for 2015, and 1.105 million lb (0.501 million kg) for 2016 and subsequent years.

(g) Tilefishes combined (including goldface tilefish, blueline tilefish, and tilefish) -

(1) Commercial sector. The IFQ program for groupers and tilefishes in the Gulf of Mexico serves as the accountability measure for commercial tilefishes. The commercial ACT for tilefishes is equal to the quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(iv). The commercial ACL for tilefishes, in gutted weight, is 606,000 lb (274,877 kg).

(2) Recreational sector. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock complex ACL specified in paragraph (g)(3) of this section, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the applicable ACL specified in paragraph (g)(3) of this section, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the recreational sector for the remainder of that fishing year.

(3) The stock complex ACL for tilefishes is 608,000 lb (275,784 kg), gutted weight.

(h) Lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish, combined. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock complex ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock complex ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock complex ACL for lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish, is 312,000 lb (141,521 kg), round weight.

(i) Silk snapper, queen snapper, blackfin snapper, and wenchman, combined. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock complex ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock complex ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock complex ACL for silk snapper, queen snapper, blackfin snapper, and wenchman, is 166,000 lb (75,296 kg), round weight.

(j) Vermilion snapper. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, reaches or is projected to reach the stock ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of the fishing year. The stock ACL for vermilion snapper is 3.11 million lb (1.41 million kg), round weight.

(k) Lane snapper. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock ACL for lane snapper is 301,000 lb (136,531 kg), round weight.

(l) Gray snapper. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock ACL for gray snapper, in round weight, is 2.24 million lb (1.02 million kg) for the 2020 fishing year, and 2.23 million lb (1.01 million kg) for the 2021 and subsequent fishing years.

(m) Cubera snapper. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock ACL for cubera snapper is 5,065 lb (2,297 kg), round weight.

(n) Yellowtail snapper. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock ACL for yellowtail snapper is 901,125 lb (408,743 kg), round weight.

(o) Mutton snapper. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock ACL for mutton snapper, in round weight, is 134,424 lb (60,974 kg) for 2018, 139,392 lb (63,227 kg) for 2019, and 143,694 lb (65,179 kg) for 2020 and subsequent fishing years.

(p) Hogfish in the Gulf EEZ except south of 25°09′ N lat. off the west coast of Florida. If the sum of the commercial and recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceeds the stock ACL, then during the following fishing year, if the sum of commercial and recreational landings reaches or is projected to reach the stock ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial and recreational sectors for the remainder of that fishing year. The stock ACL for hogfish, in round weight, in the Gulf EEZ except south of 25°09′ N lat. off the west coast of Florida, is 129,500 lb (58,740 kg), for the 2019 fishing year, 141,300 lb (64,093 kg), for the 2020 fishing year, and 150,400 lb (68,220 kg) for the 2021 fishing year and subsequent fishing years. See § 622.193(u)(2) for the ACLs, ACT, and AMs for hogfish in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N lat. off the west coast of Florida.

(q) Red snapper -

(1) Commercial sector. The IFQ program for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico serves as the accountability measure for commercial red snapper. The commercial ACL for red snapper is equal to the applicable commercial quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(i).

(2) Recreational sector.

(i) The recreational ACL is equal to the total recreational quota specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(i)(A). The AA will determine the length of the red snapper recreational fishing season, or recreational fishing seasons for the Federal charter vessel/headboat and private angling components, based on when recreational landings are projected to reach the recreational ACT, or respective recreational component ACT specified in paragraph (q)(2)(iii) of this section, and announce the closure date(s) in the Federal Register. These seasons will serve as in-season accountability measures. On and after the effective date of the recreational closure or recreational component closure notifications, the bag and possession limit for red snapper or for the respective component is zero. When the recreational sector or Federal charter vessel/headboat component is closed, this bag and possession limit applies in the Gulf on board a vessel for which a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e., in state or Federal waters. See § 622.23 (a)(1) regarding the fishing season for the private angling component for states with an active delegation.

(ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (q)(2)(i) of this section, if red snapper recreational landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the total recreational quota specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(i)(A), and red snapper are overfished, based on the most recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to reduce the total recreational quota by the amount of the quota overage in the prior fishing year, and reduce the applicable recreational component quota(s) specified in § 622.39(a)(2)(i)(B) and (C) and the applicable recreational component ACT(s) specified in paragraph (q)(2)(iii) of this section (based on the buffer between the total recreational ACT and the total recreational quota specified in the FMP), unless NMFS determines based upon the best scientific information available that a greater, lesser, or no overage adjustment is necessary.

(iii) Recreational ACTs.

(A) [Reserved]

(B) Federal charter vessel/headboat component ACT. The Federal charter vessel/headboat component ACT applies to vessels that have been issued a valid Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. A person aboard a vessel that has been issued a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year may not harvest or possess red snapper in or from the Gulf EEZ when the Federal charter vessel/headboat component is closed. The component ACT is 2.848 million lb (1.292 million kg), round weight.

(C) Private angling component ACT. The private angling component ACT applies to vessels that fish under the bag limit and have not been issued a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish any time during the fishing year. The component ACT is 3.415 million lb (1.549 million kg), round weight.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013]

§ 622.42 Adjustment of management measures.

In accordance with the framework procedures of the FMP for the Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico, the RA may establish or modify the items specified in paragraph (a) of this section for Gulf reef fish, or paragraph (b) of this section for sea turtles and other protected species.

(a) For a species or species group: Reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, bag and possession limits (including a bag limit of zero), size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), quotas (including a quota of zero), accountability measures (AMs), MSY (or proxy), OY, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, acceptable biological catch (ABC) and ABC control rules, rebuilding plans, and restrictions relative to conditions of harvested fish (maintaining fish in whole condition, use as bait).

(b) Possession, specifications, and use of required release gear and handling requirements for sea turtles and other protected species.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 84 FR 22386, May 17, 2019]

§ 622.43 Commercial trip limits.

Commercial trip limits are limits on the amount of the applicable species that may be possessed on board or landed, purchased, or sold from a vessel per day. A person who fishes in the EEZ may not combine a trip limit specified in this section with any trip or possession limit applicable to state waters. A species subject to a trip limit specified in this section taken in the EEZ may not be transferred at sea, regardless of where such transfer takes place, and such species may not be transferred in the EEZ. Commercial trip limits apply as follows:

(a) Gulf greater amberjack.

(1) Until 75 percent of the quota specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(v) is reached, 1,000 lb (454 kg), gutted weight; 1,040 lb (472 kg), round weight.

(2) After 75 percent of the quota is reached or projected to be reached, 250 lb (113 kg), gutted weight; 260 lb (118 kg), round weight. See § 622.39(b) for the limitations regarding greater amberjack after the quota is reached. When the conditions in this paragraph (a)(2) have been reached, the Assistant Administrator will implement this trip limit change by filing a notification with the Office of the Federal Register.

(b) Gray triggerfish. Until the commercial ACT (commercial quota) specified in § 622.39(a)(1)(vi) is reached - 16 fish. See § 622.39(b) for the limitations regarding gray triggerfish after the commercial ACT (commercial quota) is reached.

(c) Hogfish in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida - see § 622.191(a)(12)(ii) for the commercial trip limit.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 27087, May 9, 2013; 80 FR 75436, Dec. 2, 2015; 82 FR 34581, July 25, 2017; 82 FR 59526, Dec. 15, 2017; 85 FR 20614, Apr. 14, 2020]

Subpart C - Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico
§ 622.50 Permits, permit moratorium, and endorsements.

(a) Gulf shrimp permit. For a person aboard a vessel to fish for shrimp in the Gulf EEZ or possess shrimp in or from the Gulf EEZ, a commercial vessel permit for Gulf shrimp must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. See paragraph (b) of this section regarding a moratorium on commercial vessel permits for Gulf shrimp and the associated provisions. See paragraph (c) of this section, regarding an additional endorsement requirement related to royal red shrimp.

(b) Moratorium on commercial vessel permits for Gulf shrimp. The provisions of this paragraph (b) are applicable through October 26, 2026.

(1) Moratorium permits are required. The only valid commercial vessel permits for Gulf shrimp are commercial vessel moratorium permits for Gulf shrimp. In accordance with the procedures specified in the Fishery Management Plan for the Shrimp Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf Shrimp FMP), all commercial vessel moratorium permits for Gulf shrimp have been issued. No additional permits will be issued.

(2) Permit transferability. Commercial vessel moratorium permits for Gulf shrimp are fully transferable, with or without the sale of the vessel. To request that the RA transfer a commercial vessel moratorium permit for Gulf shrimp, the owner of a vessel that is to receive the transferred permit must complete the transfer information on the reverse of the permit and return the permit and a completed application for transfer to the RA. Transfer documents must be notarized as specified in § 622.4(f)(1).

(3) Renewal.

(i) Renewal of a commercial vessel moratorium permit for Gulf shrimp is contingent upon compliance with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements for Gulf shrimp specified in § 622.51(a).

(ii) Except as provided for in paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section, a commercial vessel moratorium permit for Gulf shrimp that is not renewed will be terminated and will not be reissued during the moratorium. A permit is considered to be not renewed when an application for renewal, as required, is not received by the RA within 1 year of the expiration date of the permit.

(iii) When NMFS has determined that the number of commercial vessel moratorium permits for Gulf shrimp has reached the threshold number of permits as described in the FMP, then a commercial vessel moratorium permit for Gulf shrimp that is not renewed will be converted to a Gulf shrimp reserve pool permit and held by NMFS for possible reissuance. Gulf shrimp reserve pool permits will not be issued until eligibility requirements are developed and implemented through subsequent rulemaking.

(c) Gulf royal red shrimp endorsement. For a person aboard a vessel to fish for royal red shrimp in the Gulf EEZ or possess royal red shrimp in or from the Gulf EEZ, a commercial vessel permit for Gulf shrimp with a Gulf royal red shrimp endorsement must be issued to the vessel and must be on board.

(d) Permit procedures. See § 622.4 for information regarding general permit procedures including, but not limited to, application, fees, duration, transfer, renewal, display, sanctions and denials, and replacement.

(e) Gulf shrimp transit provision. A vessel that does not have a valid Gulf shrimp moratorium permit, as described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, may possess Gulf shrimp when in transit in the Gulf EEZ provided that the shrimp fishing gear is appropriately stowed. For the purposes of this paragraph, transit means non-stop progression through the Gulf EEZ. Fishing gear appropriately stowed means trawl doors and nets must be out of the water and the bag straps must be removed from the net.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 81 FR 47735, July 22, 2016; 82 FR 60567, Dec. 21, 2017]

§ 622.51 Recordkeeping and reporting.

(a) Commercial vessel owners and operators -

(1) General reporting requirement. The owner or operator of a vessel that fishes for shrimp in the Gulf EEZ or in adjoining state waters, or that lands shrimp in an adjoining state, must provide information for any fishing trip, as requested by the SRD, including, but not limited to, vessel identification, gear, effort, amount of shrimp caught by species, shrimp condition (heads on/heads off), fishing areas and depths, and person to whom sold.

(2) Electronic logbook reporting. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a Federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf shrimp has been issued and who is selected by the SRD must participate in the NMFS-sponsored electronic logbook reporting program as directed by the SRD. In addition, such owner or operator must provide information regarding the size and number of shrimp trawls deployed and the type of bycatch reduction device (BRD) and turtle excluder device used, as directed by the SRD. Compliance with the reporting requirements of this paragraph (a)(2) is required for permit renewal.

(3) Vessel and Gear Characterization Form. All owners or operators of vessels applying for or renewing a commercial vessel moratorium permit for Gulf shrimp must complete an annual Gulf Shrimp Vessel and Gear Characterization Form. The form will be provided by NMFS at the time of permit application and renewal. Compliance with this reporting requirement is required for permit issuance and renewal.

(4) Landings report. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a Federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf shrimp has been issued must annually report the permitted vessel's total annual landings of shrimp and value, by species, on a form provided by the SRD. Compliance with this reporting requirement is required for permit renewal.

(b) Gulf shrimp dealers. A person who purchases shrimp from a vessel, or person, that fishes for shrimp in the Gulf EEZ or in adjoining state waters, or that lands shrimp in an adjoining state, must provide the following information when requested by the SRD:

(1) Name and official number of the vessel from which shrimp were received or the name of the person from whom shrimp were received, if received from other than a vessel.

(2) Amount of shrimp received by species and size category for each receipt.

(3) Ex-vessel value, by species and size category, for each receipt.

§ 622.52 At-sea observer coverage.

(a) Required coverage. A vessel for which a Federal commercial vessel permit for Gulf shrimp has been issued must carry a NMFS-approved observer, if the vessel's trip is selected by the SRD for observer coverage. Vessel permit renewal is contingent upon compliance with this paragraph (a).

(b) Notification to the SRD. When observer coverage is required, an owner or operator must advise the SRD in writing not less than 5 days in advance of each trip of the following:

(1) Departure information (port, dock, date, and time).

(2) Expected landing information (port, dock, and date).

(c) Observer accommodations and access. An owner or operator of a vessel on which a NMFS-approved observer is embarked must:

(1) Provide accommodations and food that are equivalent to those provided to the crew.

(2) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's communications equipment and personnel upon request for the transmission and receipt of messages related to the observer's duties.

(3) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel upon request to determine the vessel's position.

(4) Allow the observer free and unobstructed access to the vessel's bridge, working decks, holding bins, weight scales, holds, and any other space used to hold, process, weigh, or store fish.

(5) Allow the observer to inspect and copy the vessel's log, communications logs, and any records associated with the catch and distribution of fish for that trip.

§ 622.53 Bycatch reduction device (BRD) requirements.

(a) BRD requirement for Gulf shrimp. On a shrimp trawler in the Gulf EEZ, each net that is rigged for fishing must have a BRD installed that is listed in paragraph (a)(3) of this section and is certified or provisionally certified for the area in which the shrimp trawler is located, unless exempted as specified in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (iv) of this section. A trawl net is rigged for fishing if it is in the water, or if it is shackled, tied, or otherwise connected to a sled, door, or other device that spreads the net, or to a tow rope, cable, pole, or extension, either on board or attached to a shrimp trawler.

(1) Exemptions from BRD requirement -

(i) Royal red shrimp exemption. A shrimp trawler is exempt from the requirement to have a certified or provisionally certified BRD installed in each net provided that at least 90 percent (by weight) of all shrimp on board or offloaded from such trawler are royal red shrimp.

(ii) Try net exemption. A shrimp trawler is exempt from the requirement to have a certified or provisionally certified BRD installed in a single try net with a headrope length of 16 ft (4.9 m) or less provided the single try net is either placed immediately in front of another net or is not connected to another net.

(iii) Roller trawl exemption. A shrimp trawler is exempt from the requirement to have a certified or provisionally certified BRD installed in up to two rigid-frame roller trawls that are 16 ft (4.9 m) or less in length used or possessed on board. A rigid-frame roller trawl is a trawl that has a mouth formed by a rigid frame and a grid of rigid vertical bars; has rollers on the lower horizontal part of the frame to allow the trawl to roll over the bottom and any obstruction while being towed; and has no doors, boards, or similar devices attached to keep the mouth of the trawl open.

(iv) BRD certification testing exemption. A shrimp trawler that is authorized by the RA to participate in the pre-certification testing phase or to test a BRD in the EEZ for possible certification, has such written authorization on board, and is conducting such test in accordance with the “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual” is granted a limited exemption from the BRD requirement specified in this section. The exemption from the BRD requirement is limited to those trawls that are being used in the certification trials. All other trawls rigged for fishing must be equipped with certified or provisionally certified BRDs.

(2) Procedures for certification and decertification of BRDs. The process for the certification of BRDs consists of two phases - an optional pre-certification phase and a required certification phase. The RA may also provisionally certify a BRD.

(i) Pre-certification. The pre-certification phase allows a person to test and evaluate a new BRD design for up to 60 days without being subject to the observer requirements and rigorous testing requirements specified for certification testing in the “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual.”

(A) A person who wants to conduct pre-certification phase testing must submit an application to the RA, as specified in the “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual.” The “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual,” which is available from the RA, upon request, contains the application forms.

(B) After reviewing the application, the RA will determine whether to issue a Gear Test Authorization (GTA) to conduct pre-certification trials upon the vessel specified in the application. If the RA authorizes pre-certification, the RA's GTA must be on board the vessel during any trip involving the BRD testing.

(ii) Certification. A person who proposes a BRD for certification for use in the Gulf EEZ must submit an application to test such BRD, conduct the testing, and submit the results of the test in accordance with the “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual.” The RA will issue a GTA to conduct certification trials upon the vessel specified in the application if the RA finds that: The operation plan submitted with the application meets the requirements of the “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual”; the observer identified in the application is qualified; and the results of any pre-certification trials conducted have been reviewed and deemed to indicate a reasonable scientific basis for conducting certification testing. If an application for a GTA is denied, the RA will provide a letter of explanation to the applicant, together with relevant recommendations to address the deficiencies that resulted in the denial. To be certified for use in the fishery, the BRD candidate must successfully demonstrate a 30 percent reduction in total weight of finfish bycatch. In addition, the BRD candidate must satisfy the following conditions: There is at least a 50-percent probability the true reduction rate of the BRD candidate meets the bycatch reduction criterion and there is no more than a 10-percent probability the true reduction rate of the BRD candidate is more than 5 percentage points less than the bycatch reduction criterion. If a BRD meets both conditions, consistent with the “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual,” NMFS, through appropriate rulemaking procedures, will add the BRD to the list of certified BRDs in paragraph (a)(3) of this section; and provide the specifications for the newly certified BRD, including any special conditions deemed appropriate based on the certification testing results.

(iii) Provisional certification. Based on data provided consistent with the “Bycatch Reduction Device Testing Manual,” the RA may provisionally certify a BRD if there is at least a 50-percent probability the true reduction rate of the BRD is no more than 5 percentage points less than the bycatch reduction criterion, i.e., 25 percent reduction in total weight of finfish bycatch. Through appropriate rulemaking procedures, NMFS will add the BRD to the list of provisionally certified BRDs in paragraph (a)(3) of this section; and provide the specifications for the BRD, including any special conditions deemed appropriate based on the certification testing results. A provisional certification is effective for 2 years from the date of publication of the notification in the Federal Register announcing the provisional certification.

(iv) Decertification. The RA will decertify a BRD if NMFS determines the BRD does not meet the requirements for certification or provisional certification. Before determining whether to decertify a BRD, the RA will notify the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council in writing, and the public will be provided an opportunity to comment on the advisability of any proposed decertification. The RA will consider any comments from the Council and public, and if the RA elects to decertify the BRD, the RA will proceed with decertification via appropriate rulemaking.

(3) Certified and provisionally certified BRDs -

(i) Certified BRDS. The following BRDs are certified for use in the Gulf EEZ. Specifications of these certified BRDs are contained in Appendix D to this part.

(A) Fisheye - see Appendix D to part 622 for separate specifications in the Gulf and South Atlantic EEZ.

(B) Jones-Davis.

(C) Modified Jones-Davis.

(D) Cone Fish Deflector Composite Panel.

(E) Square Mesh Panel (SMP) Composite Panel.

(ii) [Reserved]

(b) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 85 FR 6818, Feb. 6, 2020]

§ 622.54 Prohibited gear and methods.

Also see § 622.9 for additional prohibited gear and methods that apply more broadly to multiple fisheries or in some cases all fisheries.

(a) Traps for royal red shrimp in the Gulf EEZ and transfer at sea. A trap may not be used to fish for royal red shrimp in the Gulf EEZ. Possession of a trap and royal red shrimp on board a vessel is prohibited. A trap used to fish for royal red shrimp in the Gulf EEZ may be disposed of in any appropriate manner by the Assistant Administrator or an authorized officer. In addition, royal red shrimp cannot be transferred in the Gulf EEZ, and royal red shrimp taken in the Gulf EEZ cannot be transferred at sea regardless of where the transfer takes place.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.55 Closed areas.

(a) Texas closure.

(1) From 30 minutes after official sunset on May 15 to 30 minutes after official sunset on July 15, trawling, except trawling for royal red shrimp beyond the 100-fathom (183-m) depth contour, is prohibited in the Gulf EEZ off Texas.

(2) In accordance with the procedures and restrictions of the Gulf Shrimp FMP, the RA may adjust the closing and/or opening date of the Texas closure to provide an earlier, later, shorter, or longer closure, but the duration of the closure may not exceed 90 days or be less than 45 days. Notification of the adjustment of the closing or opening date will be published in the Federal Register.

(b) Southwest Florida seasonal trawl closure. From January 1 to 1 hour after official sunset on May 20, each year, trawling, including trawling for live bait, is prohibited in that part of the Gulf EEZ shoreward of rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Table 1 to Paragraph (b)

Point North lat. West long.
B1 26°16.0′ 81°58.5′
C 26°00.0′ 82°04.0′
D 25°09.0′ 81°47.6′
E 24°54.5′ 81°50.5′
M1 24°49.3′ 81°46.4′

(c) Tortugas shrimp sanctuary.

(1) The Tortugas shrimp sanctuary is closed to trawling. The Tortugas shrimp sanctuary is that part of the EEZ off Florida shoreward of rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Table 1 to Paragraph (c)(1)

Point North lat. West long.
N1 25°52′54″ 81°37′56″
F 24°50′42″ 81°51′18″
G2 24°40′00″ 82°26′39″
H3 24°34′44″ 82°35′27″
P4 24°35′00″ 82°08′00″

(2) The provisions of paragraph (c)(1) of this section notwithstanding -

(i) Effective from April 11 through September 30, each year, that part of the Tortugas shrimp sanctuary seaward of rhumb lines connecting the following points is open to trawling: From point T at 24°47.8′ N. lat., 82°01.0′ W. long. to point U at 24°43.83′ N. lat., 82°01.0′ W. long. (on the line denoting the seaward limit of Florida's waters); thence along the seaward limit of Florida's waters, as shown on the current edition of NOAA chart 11439, to point V at 24°42.55′ N. lat., 82°15.0′ W. long.; thence north to point W at 24°43.6′ N. lat., 82°15.0′ W. long.

(ii) Effective from April 11 through July 31, each year, that part of the Tortugas shrimp sanctuary seaward of rhumb lines connecting the following points is open to trawling: From point W to point V, both points as specified in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, to point G, as specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(iii) Effective from May 26 through July 31, each year, that part of the Tortugas shrimp sanctuary seaward of rhumb lines connecting the following points is open to trawling: From point F, as specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, to point Q at 24°46.7′ N lat., 81°52.2′ W long. (on the line denoting the seaward limit of Florida's waters); thence along the seaward limit of Florida's waters, as shown on the current edition of NOAA chart 11439, to point U and north to point T, both points as specified in paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section.

(d) Closures of the Gulf shrimp fishery to reduce red snapper bycatch. During a closure implemented in accordance with this paragraph (d), trawling is prohibited within the specified closed area(s).

(1) Procedure for determining need for and extent of closures. Each year, in accordance with the applicable framework procedure established by the Gulf Shrimp FMP, the RA will, if necessary, establish a seasonal area closure for the shrimp fishery in all or a portion of the areas of the Gulf EEZ specified in paragraphs (d)(2) through (4) of this section. The RA's determination of the need for such closure and its geographical scope and duration will be based on an annual assessment, by the Southeast Fisheries Science Center, of the shrimp effort and associated shrimp trawl bycatch mortality on red snapper in the 10-30 fathom area of statistical zones 10-21, compared to the 60-percent target reduction of shrimp trawl bycatch mortality on red snapper from the benchmark years of 2001-2003 established in the FMP (which corresponds in terms of annual shrimp effort to 33,124 days fished). The framework procedure provides for adjustment of this target reduction level, consistent with the red snapper stock rebuilding plan and the findings of subsequent stock assessments, via appropriate rulemaking. The assessment will use shrimp effort data for the most recent 12-month period available and will include a recommendation regarding the geographical scope and duration of the closure. The Southeast Fisheries Science Center's assessment will be provided to the RA on or about March 1 of each year. If the RA determines that a closure is necessary, the closure falls within the scope of the potential closures evaluated in the Gulf Shrimp FMP, and good cause exists to waive notice and comment, NMFS will implement the closure by publication of a final rule in the Federal Register. If such good cause waiver is not justified, NMFS will implement the closure via appropriate notice and comment rulemaking. NMFS intends that any closure implemented consistent with this paragraph (d)(l) will begin on the same date and time as the Texas closure, as described in paragraph (a) of this section, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.

(2) Eastern zone. The eastern zone is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Table 1 to Paragraph (d)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°14′ 88°57′
B 29°24′ 88°34′
C 29°34′ 87°38′
D 30°04′ 87°00′
E 30°04′ 88°41′
F 29°36′ 88°37′
G 29°21′ 88°59′
A 29°14′ 88°57′

(3) Louisiana zone. The Louisiana zone is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Table 2 to Paragraph (d)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°09.1′ 93°41.4′
B 29°09.25′ 92°36′
C 28°35′ 90°44′
D 29°09′ 89°48′
E 28°57′ 89°34′
F 28°40′ 90°09′
G 28°18′ 90°33′
H 28°25′ 91°37′
I 28°21.7′ 93°28.4′
A 29°09.1′ 93°41.4′

(4) Texas zone. The Texas zone is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Table 3 to Paragraph (d)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°09.1′ 93°41.4′
B 28°44′ 95°15′
C 28°11′ 96°17′
D 27°44′ 96°53′
E 27°02′ 97°11′
F 26°00.5′ 96°57.3′
G 26°00.5′ 96°35.85′
H 26°24′ 96°36′
I 26°49′ 96°52′
J 27°12′ 96°51′
K 27°39′ 96°33′
L 27°55′ 96°04′
M 28°21.7′ 93°28.4′
A 29°09.1′ 93°41.4′

(e) Shrimp/stone crab separation zones. Five zones are established in the Gulf EEZ and Florida's waters off Citrus and Hernando Counties for the separation of shrimp trawling and stone crab trapping. Although Zone II is entirely within Florida's waters, it is included in this paragraph (e) for the convenience of fishermen. Restrictions that apply to Zone II and those parts of the other zones that are in Florida's waters are contained in Rule 68B-38.001, Florida Administrative Code, in effect as of March 1, 2005 (incorporated by reference, see § 622.413). Geographical coordinates of the points referred to in this paragraph (e) are as follows:

Table 1 to Paragraph (e)

Point North lat. West long.
A 28°59′30″ 82°45′36″
B 28°59′30″ 83°00′10″
C 28°26′01″ 82°59′47″
D 28°26′01″ 82°56′54″
E 28°41′39″ 82°55′25″
F 28°41′39″ 82°56′09″
G 28°48′56″ 82°56′19″
H 28°53′51″ 82°51′19″
I1 28°54′43″ 82°44′52″
J2 28°51′09″ 82°44′00″
K 28°50′59″ 82°54′16″
L 28°41′39″ 82°53′56″
M3 28°41′39″ 82°38′46″
N 28°41′39″ 82°53′12″
O 28°30′51″ 82°55′11″
P 28°40′00″ 82°53′08″
Q 28°40′00″ 82°47′58″
R 28°35′14″ 82°47′47″
S 28°30′51″ 82°52′55″
T 28°27′46″ 82°55′09″
U 28°30′51″ 82°52′09″

(1) Zone I is enclosed by rhumb lines connecting, in order, points A, B, C, D, T, E, F, G, H, I, and J, plus the shoreline between points A and J. It is unlawful to trawl in that part of Zone I that is in the EEZ from October 5 through May 20, each year.

(2) Zone II is enclosed by rhumb lines connecting, in order, points J, I, H, K, L, and M, plus the shoreline between points J and M. Restrictions that apply to Zone II and those parts of the other zones that are in Florida's waters are contained in Rule 68B-38.001, Florida Administrative Code, in effect as of March 1, 2005 (incorporated by reference, see § 622.413).

(3) Zone III is enclosed by rhumb lines connecting, in order, points P, Q, R, U, S, and P. It is unlawful to trawl in that part of Zone III that is in the EEZ from October 5 through May 20, each year.

(4) Zone IV is enclosed by rhumb lines connecting, in order, points E, N, S, O, and E.

(i) It is unlawful to place a stone crab trap in that part of Zone IV that is in the EEZ from October 5 through December 1 and from April 2 through May 20, each year.

(ii) It is unlawful to trawl in that part of Zone IV that is in the EEZ from December 2 through April 1, each year.

(5) Zone V is enclosed by rhumb lines connecting, in order, points F, G, K, L, and F.

(i) It is unlawful to place a stone crab trap in that part of Zone V that is in the EEZ from October 5 through November 30 and from March 16 through May 20, each year.

(ii) It is unlawful to trawl in that part of Zone V that is in the EEZ from December 1 through March 15, each year.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 82 FR 60567, Dec. 21, 2017; 83 FR 29046, June 22, 2018; 85 FR 6818, Feb. 6, 2020]

§ 622.56 Size limits.

Shrimp not in compliance with the applicable size limit as specified in this section may not be possessed, sold, or purchased and must be released immediately with a minimum of harm. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that shrimp on board are in compliance with the size limit specified in this section.

(a) White shrimp. White shrimp harvested in the Gulf EEZ are subject to the minimum-size landing and possession limits of Louisiana when possessed within the jurisdiction of that State.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.57 [Reserved]
§ 622.58 Annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), and accountability measures (AMs).

(a) Royal red shrimp in the Gulf -

(1) Commercial sector. If commercial landings, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the commercial ACL, then during the following fishing year, if commercial landings reach or are projected to reach the commercial ACL, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for the remainder of that fishing year. When the commercial sector is closed, royal red shrimp in or from the Gulf EEZ may not be retained, and the sale or purchase of royal red shrimp taken from the Gulf EEZ is prohibited. This prohibition on sale or purchase during a closure for royal red shrimp does not apply to royal red shrimp that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor. The commercial ACL for royal red shrimp is 337,000 lb (152,861 kg), tail weight.

(2) [Reserved]

(b) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 80 FR 15692, Mar. 25, 2015]

§ 622.59 Prevention of gear conflicts.

(a) No person may knowingly place in the Gulf EEZ any article, including fishing gear, that interferes with fishing or obstructs or damages fishing gear or the fishing vessel of another; or knowingly use fishing gear in such a fashion that it obstructs or damages the fishing gear or fishing vessel of another.

(b) In accordance with the procedures and restrictions of the Gulf Shrimp FMP, the RA may modify or establish separation zones for shrimp trawling and the use of fixed gear to prevent gear conflicts. Necessary prohibitions or restrictions will be published in the Federal Register.

§ 622.60 Adjustment of management measures.

In accordance with the framework procedures of the Gulf Shrimp FMP, the RA may establish or modify the following:

(a) Gulf penaeid shrimp. For a species or species group: Reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, quotas (including a quota of zero), MSY (or proxy), OY, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, acceptable biological catch (ABC) and ABC control rules, rebuilding plans, restrictions relative to conditions of harvested shrimp (maintaining shrimp in whole condition, use as bait), target effort and fishing mortality reduction levels, bycatch reduction criteria, BRD certification and decertification criteria, BRD testing protocol and certified BRD specifications, and target effort reduction for juvenile red snapper mortality.

(b) Gulf royal red shrimp. Reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), quotas (including a quota of zero), accountability measures (AMs), MSY (or proxy), OY, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, ABC and ABC control rules, rebuilding plans, and restrictions relative to conditions of harvested shrimp (maintaining shrimp in whole condition, use as bait), and target effort reduction for juvenile red snapper mortality.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 80 FR 74712, Nov. 30, 2015; 85 FR 6819, Feb. 6, 2020]

Subpart D - Coral and Coral Reefs of the Gulf of Mexico
§ 622.70 Permits.

See § 622.4 for information regarding general permit procedures including, but not limited to fees, duration, transfer, renewal, display, sanctions and denials, and replacement.

(a) Required permits - -

(1) Allowable chemical. For an individual to take or possess fish or other marine organisms with an allowable chemical in a coral area, other than fish or other marine organisms that are landed in Florida, a Federal allowable chemical permit must have been issued to the individual. Such permit must be available when the permitted activity is being conducted and when such fish or other marine organisms are possessed, through landing ashore.

(2) Aquacultured live rock. For a person to take or possess aquacultured live rock in the Gulf EEZ, a Federal aquacultured live rock permit must have been issued for the specific harvest site. Such permit, or a copy, must be on board a vessel depositing or possessing material on an aquacultured live rock site or harvesting or possessing live rock from an aquacultured live rock site.

(3) Prohibited coral. A Federal permit may be issued to take or possess Gulf prohibited coral only as scientific research activity, exempted fishing, or exempted educational activity. See § 600.745 of this chapter for the procedures and limitations for such activities and fishing.

(4) Florida permits. Appropriate Florida permits and endorsements are required for the following activities, without regard to whether they involve activities in the EEZ or Florida's waters:

(i) Landing in Florida fish or other marine organisms taken with an allowable chemical in a coral area.

(ii) Landing allowable octocoral in Florida.

(iii) Landing live rock in Florida.

(b) Application.

(1) The applicant for a coral permit must be the individual who will be conducting the activity that requires the permit. In the case of a corporation or partnership that will be conducting live rock aquaculture activity, the applicant must be the principal shareholder or a general partner.

(2) An applicant must provide the following:

(i) Name, address, telephone number, and other identifying information of the applicant.

(ii) Name and address of any affiliated company, institution, or organization.

(iii) Information concerning vessels, harvesting gear/methods, or fishing areas, as specified on the application form.

(iv) Any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit.

(v) If applying for an aquacultured live rock permit, identification of each vessel that will be depositing material on or harvesting aquacultured live rock from the proposed aquacultured live rock site, specification of the port of landing of aquacultured live rock, and a site evaluation report prepared pursuant to generally accepted industry standards that -

(A) Provides accurate coordinates of the proposed harvesting site so that it can be located using LORAN or Global Positioning System equipment;

(B) Shows the site on a chart in sufficient detail to determine its size and allow for site inspection;

(C) Discusses possible hazards to safe navigation or hindrance to vessel traffic, traditional fishing operations, or other public access that may result from aquacultured live rock at the site;

(D) Describes the naturally occurring bottom habitat at the site; and

(E) Specifies the type and origin of material to be deposited on the site and how it will be distinguishable from the naturally occurring substrate.

§ 622.71 Recordkeeping and reporting.

(a) Individuals with aquacultured live rock permits.

(1) A person with a Federal aquacultured live rock permit must report to the RA each deposition of material on a site. Such reports must be postmarked not later than 7 days after deposition and must contain the following information:

(i) Permit number of site and date of deposit.

(ii) Geological origin of material deposited.

(iii) Amount of material deposited.

(iv) Source of material deposited, that is, where obtained, if removed from another habitat, or from whom purchased.

(2) A person who takes aquacultured live rock must submit a report of harvest to the RA. Specific reporting requirements will be provided with the permit. This reporting requirement is waived for aquacultured live rock that is landed in Florida.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.72 Prohibited gear and methods.

Also see § 622.9 for additional prohibited gear and methods that apply more broadly to multiple fisheries or in some cases all fisheries.

(a) Power-assisted tools. A power-assisted tool may not be used in the Gulf EEZ to take prohibited coral or live rock.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.73 Prohibited species.

(a) General. The harvest and possession restrictions of this section apply without regard to whether the species is harvested by a vessel operating under a commercial vessel permit. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for the limit applicable to that vessel.

(b) Prohibited coral. Gulf prohibited coral taken as incidental catch in the Gulf EEZ must be returned immediately to the sea in the general area of fishing. In fisheries where the entire catch is landed unsorted, such as the scallop and groundfish fisheries, unsorted prohibited coral may be landed ashore; however, no person may sell or purchase such prohibited coral.

(c) Wild live rock may not be harvested or possessed in or from the Gulf EEZ.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 82 FR 60567, Dec. 21, 2017]

§ 622.74 Area closures to protect Gulf corals.

For the purposes of this section, fishing gear is deployed if any part of the gear is in contact with the water.

(a) Florida Middle Grounds HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, dredge, pot, or trap is prohibited year-round in the area bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 1 to Paragraph (a)

Point North lat. West long.
A 28°42.500′ 84°24.800′
B 28°42.500′ 84°16.300′
C 28°11.000′ 84°00.000′
D 28°11.000′ 84°07.000′
E 28°26.600′ 84°24.800′
A 28°42.500′ 84°24.800′

(b) Tortugas marine reserves HAPC. Fishing for any species and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the areas of the HAPC.

(1) EEZ portion of Tortugas North HAPC. The area is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order: From point A at 24°40.000′ N lat., 83°06.000′ W long. to point B at 24°46.000′ N lat., 83°06.000′ W long. to point C at 24°46.000′ N lat., 83°00.000′ W long.; then along the line denoting the seaward limit of Florida state waters, as shown on the current edition of NOAA chart 11434, to point A at 24°40.000′ N lat., 83°06.000′ W long.

(2) Tortugas South HAPC. The area is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 2 to Paragraph (b)(2)

Point North lat. West long.
A 24°33.000′ 83°09.000′
B 24°33.000′ 83°05.000′
C 24°18.000′ 83°05.000′
D 24°18.000′ 83°09.000′
A 24°33.000′ 83°09.000′

(c) Pulley Ridge South HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 3 to Paragraph (c)

Point North lat. West long.
A 24°58.300′ 83°38.550′
B 24°58.300′ 83°37.000′
C 24°41.183′ 83°37.000′
D 24°40.000′ 83°41.367′
E 24°43.917′ 83°47.250′
A 24°58.300′ 83°38.550′

(d) Pulley Ridge South Portion A HAPC. Deployment of a bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 4 to Paragraph (d)

Point North lat. West long.
A 24°40.000′ 83°41.366′
B 24°39.666′ 83°42.648′
C 24°47.555′ 83°55.240′
D 24°57.065′ 83°48.405′
E 24°52.859′ 83°41.841′
F 24°43.917′ 83°47.250′
A 24°40.000′ 83°41.366′

(e) West Florida Wall HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 5 to Paragraph (e)

Point North lat. West long.
A 26°28.835′ 84°47.955′
B 26°28.816′ 84°46.754′
C 26°10.471′ 84°42.076′
D 26°10.528′ 84°44.577′
E 26°25.028′ 84°47.986′
F 26°25.100′ 84°47.980′
A 26°28.835′ 84°47.955′

(f) Alabama Alps Reef HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 6 to Paragraph (f)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°16.160′ 88°20.525′
B 29°15.427′ 88°18.990′
C 29°13.380′ 88°19.051′
D 29°14.140′ 88°20.533′
A 29°16.160′ 88°20.525′

(g) L & W Pinnacles and Scamp Reef HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 7 to Paragraph (g)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°18.595′ 87°48.757′
B 29°18.484′ 87°50.688′
C 29°19.754′ 87°52.484′
D 29°20.401′ 87°51.449′
E 29°20.095′ 87°50.933′
F 29°20.832′ 87°46.631′
G 29°21.473′ 87°46.326′
H 29°21.314′ 87°45.535′
I 29°22.518′ 87°43.465′
J 29°21.144′ 87°42.632′
K 29°19.269′ 87°45.525′
A 29°18.595′ 87°48.757′

(h) Mississippi Canyon 118 HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 8 to Paragraph (h)

Point North lat. West long.
A 28°53.183′ 88°30.789′
B 28°53.216′ 88°27.819′
C 28°50.602′ 88°27.782′
D 28°48.944′ 88°27.759′
E 28°48.962′ 88°30.727′
A 28°53.183′ 88°30.789′

(i) Roughtongue Reef HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 9 to Paragraph (i)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°27.596′ 87°37.527′
B 29°27.621′ 87°31.552′
C 29°25.007′ 87°31.539′
D 29°24.981′ 87°37.510′
A 29°27.596′ 87°37.527′

(j) Viosca Knoll 826 HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 10 to Paragraph (j)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°10.920′ 88°03.509′
B 29°10.877′ 87°59.460′
C 29°07.974′ 87°59.448′
D 29°08.017′ 88°03.532′
A 29°10.920′ 88°03.509′

(k) Viosca Knoll 862/906 HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the area of the HAPC. This prohibition does not apply to a fishing vessel issued a Gulf royal red shrimp endorsement, as specified in § 622.50(c), while the vessel is fishing for royal red shrimp. The HAPC is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 11 to Paragraph (k)

Point North lat. West long.
A 29°07.640′ 88°23.608′
B 29°07.603′ 88°20.590′
C 29°03.749′ 88°20.554′
D 29°03.734′ 88°22.016′
E 29°02.367′ 88°21.998′
F 29°02.281′ 88°24.972′
G 29°07.568′ 88°25.044′
H 29°07.592′ 88°25.044′
I 29°07.676′ 88°25.045′
A 29°07.640′ 88°23.608′

(l) McGrail Bank HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 12 to Paragraph (l)

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°59.100′ 92°37.320′
B 27°59.100′ 92°32.290′
C 27°55.925′ 92°32.290′
D 27°55.925′ 92°37.320′
A 27°59.100′ 92°37.320′

(m) AT 047 HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 13 to Paragraph (m)

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°54.426′ 89°49.404′
B 27°54.486′ 89°46.464′
C 27°51.874′ 89°46.397′
D 27°51.814′ 89°49.336′
A 27°54.426′ 89°49.404′

(n) AT 357 HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 14 to Paragraph (n)

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°36.259' 89°43.068'
B 27°36.315' 89°40.136'
C 27°33.703' 89°40.073'
D 27°33.646' 89°43.004'
A 27°36.259' 89°43.068'

(o) Green Canyon 852 HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 15 to Paragraph (o)

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°08.354′ 91°08.929′
B 27°05.740′ 91°08.963′
C 27°05.762′ 91°10.610′
D 27°08.376′ 91°10.567′
A 27°08.354′ 91°08.929′

(p) West Flower Garden Bank HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 16 to Paragraph (p)

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°55.380′ 93°53.160′
B 27°55.380′ 93°46.767′
C 27°49.050′ 93°46.767′
D 27°49.050′ 93°53.160′
A 27°55.380′ 93°53.160′

(q) East Flower Garden Bank HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 17 to Paragraph (q)

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°59.240′ 93°38.970′
B 27°59.240′ 93°34.058′
C 27°52.608′ 93°34.058′
D 27°52.608′ 93°38.970′
A 27°59.240′ 93°38.970′

(r) Stetson Bank HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 18 to Paragraph (r)

Point North lat. West long.
A 28°10.638′ 94°18.608′
B 28°10.638′ 94°17.105′
C 28°09.310′ 94°17.105′
D 28°09.310′ 94°18.608′
A 28°10.638′ 94°18.608′

(s) Harte Bank HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 19 to Paragraph (s)

Point North lat. West long.
A 26°40.826′ 96°36.590′
B 26°40.789′ 96°32.220′
C 26°37.992′ 96°32.308′
D 26°38.043′ 96°36.636′
A 26°40.826′ 96°36.590′

(t) Southern Bank HAPC. Deployment of a bottom longline, bottom trawl, buoy gear, dredge, pot, or trap, and bottom anchoring by fishing vessels are prohibited year-round in the HAPC, which is bounded by rhumb lines connecting the following points in order:

Table 20 to Paragraph (t)

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°26.923′ 96°31.902′
B 27°26.989′ 96°30.881′
C 27°25.958′ 96°31.134′
D 27°25.958′ 96°31.892′
A 27°26.923′ 96°31.902′

[85 FR 65746, Oct. 16, 2020]

§ 622.75 Harvest limitations.

(a) Aquacultured live rock. In the Gulf EEZ:

(1) Aquacultured live rock may be harvested only under a permit, as required under § 622.70(a)(2), and aquacultured live rock on a site may be harvested only by the person, or his or her employee, contractor, or agent, who has been issued the aquacultured live rock permit for the site. A person harvesting aquacultured live rock is exempt from the prohibition on taking prohibited coral for such prohibited coral as attaches to aquacultured live rock.

(2) The following restrictions apply to individual aquaculture activities:

(i) No aquaculture site may exceed 1 acre (0.4 ha) in size.

(ii) Material deposited on the aquaculture site -

(A) May not be placed over naturally occurring reef outcrops, limestone ledges, coral reefs, or vegetated areas.

(B) Must be free of contaminants.

(C) Must be nontoxic.

(D) Must be placed on the site by hand or lowered completely to the bottom under restraint, that is, not allowed to fall freely.

(E) Must be placed from a vessel that is anchored.

(F) Must be distinguishable, geologically or otherwise (for example, be indelibly marked or tagged), from the naturally occurring substrate.

(iii) A minimum setback of at least 50 ft (15.2 m) must be maintained from natural vegetated or hard bottom habitats.

(3) Mechanically dredging or drilling, or otherwise disturbing, aquacultured live rock is prohibited, and aquacultured live rock may be harvested only by hand.

(4) Not less than 24 hours prior to harvest of aquacultured live rock, the owner or operator of the harvesting vessel must provide the following information to the NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, St. Petersburg, FL, by telephone (727-824-5344):

(i) Permit number of site to be harvested and date of harvest.

(ii) Name and official number of the vessel to be used in harvesting.

(iii) Date, port, and facility at which aquacultured live rock will be landed.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.76 Restrictions on sale/purchase.

(a) Gulf wild live rock. Wild live rock in or from the Gulf EEZ may not be sold or purchased. The prohibition on sale or purchase does not apply to wild live rock from the Gulf EEZ that was harvested and landed prior to January 1, 1997.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.77 Adjustment of management measures.

In accordance with the framework procedures of the FMP for Coral and Coral Reefs of the Gulf of Mexico, the RA may establish or modify the following:

(a) Gulf coral resources. For a species or species group: reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, bag and possession limits (including a bag limit of zero), size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), quotas (including a quota of zero), accountability measures (AMs), MSY (or proxy), OY, TAC, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, acceptable biological catch (ABC) and ABC control rules, rebuilding plans, sale and purchase restrictions, transfer at sea provisions, and restrictions relative to conditions of harvested corals.

(b) [Reserved]

Subpart E - Red Drum Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico
Source:

79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014, unless otherwise noted.

§ 622.90 Permits.

(a) Dealer permits and conditions -

(1) Permits. For a dealer to first receive Gulf red drum harvested in or from the EEZ, a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit must be issued to the dealer.

(2) State license and facility requirements. To obtain a dealer permit, the applicant must have a valid state wholesaler's license in the state(s) where the dealer operates, if required by such state(s), and must have a physical facility at a fixed location in such state(s).

(b) Permit procedures. See § 622.4 for information regarding general permit procedures including, but not limited to application, fees, duration, transfer, renewal, display, sanctions and denials, and replacement.

§ 622.91 Recordkeeping and reporting.

(a) Dealers. A dealer who first receives Gulf red drum must maintain records and submit information as specified in § 622.5(c).

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.92 Prohibited species.

(a) General. The harvest and possession restrictions of this section apply without regard to whether the species is harvested by a vessel operating under a commercial vessel permit. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for the limit applicable to that vessel.

(b) Red drum. Red drum may not be harvested or possessed in or from the Gulf EEZ. Such fish caught in the Gulf EEZ must be released immediately with a minimum of harm.

§ 622.93 Adjustment of management measures.

In accordance with the framework procedures of the FMP for the Red Drum Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico, the RA may establish or modify the following items:

(a) Reporting and monitoring requirements, permitting requirements, bag and possession limits (including a bag limit of zero), size limits, vessel trip limits, closed seasons or areas and reopenings, annual catch limits (ACLs), annual catch targets (ACTs), quotas (including a quota of zero), accountability measures (AMs), MSY (or proxy), OY, TAC, management parameters such as overfished and overfishing definitions, gear restrictions (ranging from regulation to complete prohibition), gear markings and identification, vessel markings and identification, ABC and ABC control rules, rebuilding plans, sale and purchase restrictions, transfer at sea provisions, and restrictions relative to conditions of harvested fish (maintaining fish in whole condition, use as bait).

(b) [Reserved]

Subpart F - Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico
Source:

81 FR 1792, Jan. 13, 2016, unless otherwise noted.

§ 622.100 General.

This subpart provides the regulatory structure for enabling environmentally sound and economically sustainable aquaculture in the Gulf EEZ. Offshore marine aquaculture activities are authorized by a Gulf aquaculture permit or Gulf aquaculture dealer permit issued under § 622.101 and are conducted in compliance with the provisions of this subpart. Aquaculture of live rock is addressed elsewhere in this part and is exempt from the provisions of this subpart.

(a) Electronic system requirements.

(1) The administrative functions associated with this aquaculture program, e.g., registration and account setup, landing transactions and most reporting requirements, are intended to be accomplished online via the Southeast Regional Office's Web site at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_fisheries/aquaculture/ therefore, a participant must have access to a computer and Internet access and must set up an appropriate online aquaculture account to participate. Assistance with online functions is available from the Permits Office, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. eastern time; telephone: 1 (877) 376-4877. If some online reporting functions are not available at the time of initial implementation of this aquaculture program, this will be indicated on the Web site and participants may comply by submitting the required information via email using the appropriate forms that are available on the Web site. Once online functions are available, participants must comply by using the online system unless alternative methods are specified.

(2) The RA will mail each person who is issued a Gulf aquaculture permit or a Gulf aquaculture dealer permit information and instructions pertinent to using the online system and setting up an online aquaculture account. The RA also will mail each permittee a user identification number and will provide each permittee a personal identification number (PIN) in a subsequent letter. Each permittee must monitor his/her online account and all associated messages and comply with all online reporting requirements.

(3) During catastrophic conditions only, the RA may authorize use of paper-based components for basic required functions as a backup to what would normally be reported electronically. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper-based components for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. NMFS will provide each aquaculture permittee the necessary paper forms, sequentially coded, and instructions for submission of the forms to the RA. The paper forms also will be available from the RA. The program functions available to participants or geographic areas deemed affected by catastrophic conditions may be limited under the paper-based system. Assistance in complying with the requirements of the paper-based system will be available via the Permits Office, Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., eastern time; telephone: 1 (877) 376-4877.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.101 Permits.

(a) Gulf aquaculture permit. For a person to deploy or operate an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ or sell or attempt to sell, at the first point of sale, an allowable aquaculture species cultured in the Gulf EEZ, a Gulf aquaculture permit must have been issued to that person for that aquaculture facility, and the permit must be prominently displayed and available for inspection at the aquaculture facility. The permit number should also be included on the buoys or other floating devices used to mark the restricted access zone of the operation as specified in § 622.104(c).

(1) Eligibility requirement for a Gulf aquaculture permit. Eligibility for a Gulf aquaculture permit is limited to U.S. citizens as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, as amended, and permanent resident aliens lawfully accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the U.S. in accordance with U.S. immigration laws.

(2) Application for a Gulf aquaculture permit. Application forms are available from the RA. A completed application form and all required supporting documents must be submitted by the applicant (in the case of a corporation, an officer; in the case of a partnership, a general partner) to the RA at least 180 days prior to the date the applicant desires the permit to be effective. An applicant must provide all information indicated on the application form including:

(i) Applicant's name, address, and telephone number.

(ii) Business name, address, telephone number, date the business was formed, and, if the applicant is a corporation, corporate structure and shareholder information.

(iii) Information sufficient to document eligibility as a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien.

(iv) Description of the exact location (i.e., global positioning system (GPS) coordinates) and dimensions of the proposed aquaculture facility and proposed site, including a map of the site to scale.

(v) A baseline environmental survey of the proposed aquaculture site. The assessment must be conducted, and the data, analyses, and results must be summarized and presented, consistent with the guidelines specified by NMFS. NMFS' guidelines will include methods and procedures for conducting diver and video surveys, measuring hydrographic conditions, collecting and analyzing benthic sediments and infauna, and measuring water quality characteristics. The guidelines will be available on the Web site and from the RA upon request.

(vi) A list of allowable aquaculture species to be cultured; estimated start up production level by species; and the estimated maximum total annual poundage of each species to be harvested from the aquaculture facility.

(vii) Name and address or specific location of each hatchery that would provide juvenile animals for grow-out at the proposed aquaculture facility located within the Gulf EEZ and a copy of all relevant, valid state or Federal aquaculture permits issued to the hatchery.

(viii) A description of the aquaculture system(s) to be used, including the number, size and dimensions of the aquaculture system(s), a description of the mooring system(s) used to secure the aquaculture system(s), and documentation of the aquaculture system's ability to withstand physical stress, such as hurricanes, wave energy, etc., including a copy of any available engineering analysis.

(ix) A description of the equipment and methods to be used for feeding, transporting, maintaining, and removing cultured species from aquaculture systems.

(x) A copy of the valid USCG certificate of documentation or, if not documented, a copy of the valid state registration certificate for each vessel involved in the aquaculture operation; and documentation or identification numbers for any aircraft or vehicles involved.

(xi) Documentation certifying that:

(A) the applicant agrees to immediately remove cultured animals remaining in approved aquaculture systems from the Gulf EEZ as ordered by the RA if it is discovered that the animals are genetically engineered or transgenic;

(B) the applicant agrees to immediately remove cultured animals remaining in approved aquaculture systems from the Gulf EEZ as ordered by the RA if fish are discovered to be infected with a World Organization of Animal Health (OIE) reportable pathogen that represents a new detection in the Gulf or a new detection for that cultured species in the U.S. is found at the facility, or additional pathogens that are subsequently identified as reportable pathogens in the National Aquatic Animal Health Plan (NAAHP), or any other pathogen determined by NMFS and APHIS to pose a significant threat to the health of wild aquatic organisms; and,

(C) the applicant agrees to immediately remove all components of the aquaculture system and cultured animals remaining in approved aquaculture systems from the Gulf EEZ as ordered by the RA if there are any other violations of the permit conditions or regulations other than those listed in paragraphs (a)(2)(xi)(A) and (B) of this section which causes the RA to order such removal.

(xii) Documentation certifying the applicant has obtained an assurance bond sufficient to cover the costs of removal of all components of the aquaculture facility, including cultured animals remaining in approved aquaculture systems, from the Gulf EEZ. The assurance bond would not be required to cover the costs of removing an oil and gas platform. The RA will provide applicants a form and associated guidance for complying with the assurance bond requirement. The applicant must also provide documentation certifying the applicant has established a standby trust fund into which any payments made towards the assurance bond can be deposited. The trustee of the standby trust may not be the same entity as the permittee. The assurance bond is payable at the discretion of the RA to a designee as specified in the bond or to a standby trust. When the RA directs the payment into a standby trust, all amounts paid by the assurance bond provider must be deposited directly into the standby trust fund for distribution by the trustee in accordance with the RA's instructions. A permittee will be deemed to be without the required financial assurance in the event of bankruptcy of the trustee or issuing institution, or a suspension or revocation of the authority of the trustee institution to act as trustee or of the institution issuing the assurance bond. The permittee must establish other financial assurance within 60 days after such an event.

(xiii) Certification by the applicant that all broodstock, or progeny of such wild broodstock, used to provide juveniles to the aquaculture facility will be or were originally harvested from U.S. waters of the Gulf, and will be or were from the same population or subpopulation (based on the best scientific information available) where the facility is located, and that each individual broodstock was marked or tagged at the hatchery to allow for identification of those individuals used in spawning.

(xiv) Certification by the applicant that no genetically engineered or transgenic animals are used or possessed for culture purposes at the aquaculture facility.

(xv) Copy of a contractual arrangement with an identified aquatic animal health expert to provide services to the aquaculture facility has been obtained. A copy of the license or certification also must be provided to NMFS.

(xvi) A copy of an emergency disaster plan, developed for and to be used by the operator of the aquaculture facility, that includes, procedures for preparing or if necessary removing aquaculture systems, aquaculture equipment, and cultured animals in the event of a disaster (e.g., hurricane, tsunami, harmful algal bloom, chemical or oil spill, etc.);

(xvii) Any other information concerning the aquaculture facility or its operations or equipment, as specified on the application form.

(xviii) Any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the Gulf aquaculture permit, as specified on the application form.

(b) Gulf aquaculture dealer permit. For a dealer to receive fish cultured by an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ, that dealer must first obtain a Gulf aquaculture dealer permit. However, an owner or operator of an aquaculture facility with a Gulf aquaculture permit may purchase juvenile fish for grow-out from a hatchery located in the Gulf EEZ without obtaining a dealer permit. To obtain a dealer permit, the applicant must have a valid state wholesaler's license in the state(s) where the dealer operates, if required by such state(s), and must have a physical facility at a fixed location in such state(s).

(1) Application for a Gulf aquaculture dealer permit. Application forms are available from the RA. The application must be submitted by the owner (in the case of a corporation, an officer; in the case of a partnership, a general partner). Completed application forms and all required supporting documents must be submitted to the RA at least 30 days prior to the date on which the applicant desires to have the permit made effective. An applicant must provide the following:

(i) A copy of each state wholesaler's license held by the dealer.

(ii) Name, address, telephone number, date the business was formed, and other identifying information of the business.

(iii) The address of each physical facility at a fixed location where the business receives fish from an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ.

(iv) Name, address, telephone number, other identifying information, and official capacity in the business of the applicant.

(v) Any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit, as specified on the application form.

(2) [Reserved]

(c) Permit requirements for other aquaculture-related activities. For a person to do any of the following, such person must have in his/her possession and make available upon request by NMFS or an authorized officer, a copy of a valid Gulf aquaculture permit with an original (not copied) signature of the permit owner or owner's agent:

(1) Possess or transport fish in or from the Gulf EEZ to be cultured at an aquaculture facility (e.g., brood stock, fingerlings) or possess or transport fish from an aquaculture facility for landing ashore and sale.

(2) Operate, in support of aquaculture related activities, any vessel, vehicle, or aircraft authorized for use in operations related to an aquaculture facility, i.e., those registered for aquaculture operation use.

(3) Harvest and retain on board a vessel live wild broodstock for use in an aquaculture facility regardless of where the broodstock is harvested or possessed.

(d) Permit-related procedures -

(1) Fees. A fee is charged for each application for a permit submitted under this section and for each request for renewal, transfer or replacement of such permit. The amount of each fee is calculated in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook, available from the RA, for determining the administrative costs of each special product or service. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified with each application form. The appropriate fee must accompany each application or request for renewal, transfer or replacement.

(2) Review and notifications regarding a Gulf aquaculture permit.

(i) The RA will review each application and make a preliminary determination whether the application is complete. An application is complete when all requested forms, information, and documentation have been received. If the RA determines that an application is complete, notification of receipt of the application will be published in the Federal Register with a brief description of the proposal and specifying the intent of NMFS to issue a Gulf aquaculture permit. The public will be given up to 45 days to comment, and comments will be requested during public testimony at a Council meeting. The RA will consult with other Federal agencies, as appropriate, and the Council concerning the permit application during the period in which public comments have been requested. The RA will notify the applicant in advance of any Council meeting at which the application will be considered, and offer the applicant the opportunity to appear in support of the application. The RA may consider revisions to the application made by the applicant in response to public comment before approving or denying it.

(ii) As soon as practicable after the opportunity for public comment ends, the RA will notify the applicant and the Council in writing of the decision to grant or deny the Gulf aquaculture permit. If the RA grants the permit, the RA will publish a notification of the permit approval in the Federal Register. If the RA denies the permit, the RA will advise the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for the denial and publish a notification in the Federal Register announcing the denial and the basis for it. Grounds for denial of a Gulf aquaculture permit include the following:

(A) The applicant has failed to disclose material information or has made false statements with respect to any material fact, in connection with the Gulf aquaculture permit application;

(B) Based on the best scientific information available, issuance of the permit would pose significant risk to wild fish stocks, marine mammals, threatened or endangered species, essential fish habitat, public health, or safety; or,

(C) Activities proposed to be conducted under the Gulf aquaculture permit are inconsistent with aquaculture regulations in this section, the management objectives of the FMP, or the Magnuson-Stevens Act or other applicable law.

(D) Use of the proposed site is denied based on the criteria set forth in § 622.103(a)(4).

(3) Initial issuance.

(i) Upon receipt of an incomplete application, the RA will notify the applicant of the deficiency. If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 60 days of the date of the RA's letter of notification or request an extension of time by contacting the NMFS Southeast Regional Office before the end of the 60-day timeframe, the application will be considered abandoned.

(ii) Prior to issuance of a Gulf aquaculture permit, a copy of currently valid Federal permits (e.g., ACOE Section 10 permit, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit) applicable to the proposed aquaculture site, facilities, or operations, must be submitted to NMFS.

(iii) The RA will issue an initial permit to an applicant after the review and notification procedures set forth in paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section are complete and the decision to grant the permit is made under paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section. The initial permit will be issued 30 days after the RA notifies the applicant of the decision to grant the permit, unless NMFS receives a written request from the applicant before the end of the 30 day period to defer issuance of the permit. If the applicant requests a deferral, NMFS will include this information in the notification of permit approval published in the Federal Register as specified in paragraph (d)(2)(ii) of this section and will publish a Federal Register notice upon permit issuance. Permit issuance will be deferred for two years from the date of the RA notification unless the applicant sends a written request to NMFS to issue the permit at an earlier date. This written request must be received by NMFS at least 30 days prior to the date the applicant desires the permit to be effective.

(4) Duration. A Gulf aquaculture permit will initially be issued for a 10-year period and may be renewed in 5-year increments thereafter. An aquaculture dealer permit is an annual permit and must be renewed annually. A permit remains valid for the period specified on it unless it is revoked, suspended, or modified pursuant to subpart D of 15 CFR part 904 or the aquaculture facility is sold and the permit has not been transferred or the dealership is sold. Once the aquaculture permit is no longer valid, all components of the aquaculture facility, including cultured animals remaining in approved aquaculture systems, must be removed immediately from the Gulf EEZ.

(5) Transfer.

(i) A Gulf aquaculture permit is transferable to an eligible person, i.e., a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien if the geographic location of the aquaculture site remains unchanged. An eligible person who acquires an aquaculture facility that is currently permitted and who desires to conduct activities for which a permit is required may request that the RA transfer the permit to him/her. At least 30 days prior to the desired effective date of the transfer, such a person must complete and submit to the RA or via the Web site a permit transfer request form that is available from the RA. The permit transfer request form must be accompanied by the original Gulf aquaculture permit, a copy of a signed bill of sale or equivalent acquisition papers, and a written agreement between the transferor and transferee specifying who is assuming the responsibilities and liabilities associated with the Gulf aquaculture permit and the aquaculture facility, including all the terms and conditions associated with the original issuance of the Gulf aquaculture permit. All applicable permit requirements and conditions must be satisfied prior to a permit transfer, including any necessary updates, e.g., updates regarding required certifications, legal responsibility for assurance bond, other required permits, etc. The seller must sign the back of the Gulf aquaculture permit, and have the signed transfer document notarized. Final transfer of a Gulf aquaculture permit will occur only after the RA provides official notice to both parties that the transferee is eligible to receive the permit and that the transfer is otherwise valid.

(ii) An aquaculture dealer permit is not transferable.

(6) Renewal. An aquaculture facility owner or aquaculture dealer who has been issued a permit under this subpart must renew such permit consistent with the applicable duration of the permit specified in paragraph (d)(4) of this section. The RA will mail an aquaculture facility owner or aquaculture dealer whose permit is expiring an application for renewal at least 6 months prior to the expiration date of a Gulf aquaculture facility permit and approximately 2 months prior to the expiration date of an aquaculture dealer permit. An aquaculture facility owner or aquaculture dealer who does not receive a renewal application from the RA within the time frames indicated in this paragraph must contact the RA and request a renewal application. The applicant must submit a completed renewal application form and all required supporting documents to the RA at least 120 days prior to the date on which the applicant desires to have a Gulf aquaculture permit made effective and at least 30 days prior to the date on which the applicant desires to have an aquaculture dealer permit made effective. If the RA receives an incomplete application, the RA will notify the applicant of the deficiency. If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 60 days of the date of the RA's letter of notification or request an extension of time by contacting the NMFS Southeast Regional Office before the end of the 60 day timeframe, the application will be considered abandoned.

(7) Display. A Gulf aquaculture permit issued under this section must be prominently displayed and available for inspection at the aquaculture facility. The permit number should also be included on the buoys or other floating devices used to mark the restricted access zone of the operation as specified in § 622.104(c). An aquaculture dealer permit issued under this section, or a copy thereof, must be prominently displayed and available on the dealer's premises. In addition, a copy of the dealer's permit, or the aquaculture facility's permit (if the fish have not yet been purchased by a dealer), must accompany each vehicle that is used to receive fish harvested from an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ. A vehicle operator must present the permit or a copy for inspection upon the request of an authorized officer.

(8) Sanctions and denials. A Gulf aquaculture permit or aquaculture dealer permit issued pursuant to this section may be revoked, suspended, or modified, and such permit applications may be denied, in accordance with the procedures governing enforcement-related permit sanctions and denials found at subpart D of 15 CFR part 904.

(9) Alteration. A Gulf aquaculture permit or aquaculture dealer permit that is altered, erased, or mutilated is invalid.

(10) Replacement. A replacement Gulf aquaculture permit or aquaculture dealer permit may be issued. An application for a replacement permit is not considered a new application.

(11) Change in application information. An aquaculture facility owner or aquaculture dealer who has been issued a permit under this subpart must notify the RA within 30 days after any change in the applicable application information specified in paragraphs (a) or (b) of this section. If any change in the information is not reported within 30 days aquaculture operations may no longer be conducted under the permit.

§ 622.102 Recordkeeping and reporting.

(a) Participants in Gulf aquaculture activities addressed in this subpart must keep records and report as specified in this section. Unless otherwise specified, required reporting must be accomplished electronically via the Web site. See § 622.100(a)(3) regarding provisions for paper-based reporting in lieu of electronic reporting during catastrophic conditions as determined by the RA. Recordkeeping (i.e., maintaining records versus submitting reports) may, to the extent feasible, be maintained electronically; however, paper-based recordkeeping also is acceptable.

(1) Aquaculture facility owners or operators. An aquaculture facility owner or operator must comply with the following requirements:

(i) Reporting requirements -

(A) Transport of fingerlings/juvenile fish to an aquaculture facility. Report the time, date, species and number of cultured fingerlings or other juvenile animals that will be transported from a hatchery to an aquaculture facility at least 72 hours prior to transport. This information may be submitted electronically via the Web site or via phone. In addition, permittees are to maintain and make available to NMFS or an authorized officer upon request a written or electronic daily record of the number of cultured animals introduced into and the total pounds and average weight of fish removed from each approved aquaculture system, including mortalities, for the most recent 3 years.

(B) Major escapement. Report any major escapement or suspected major escapement within 24 hours of the event. Major escapement is defined as the escape, within a 24-hour period, of 10 percent of the fish from a single approved aquaculture system (e.g., one cage or one net pen) or 5 percent or more of the fish from all approved aquaculture systems combined, or the escape, within any 30-day period, of 10 percent or more of the fish from all approved aquaculture systems combined. The report must include the items in paragraphs (a)(1)(i)(B)(1) through (6) of this section and may be submitted electronically via the Web site. If no major escapement occurs during a given year, an annual report must be submitted via the Web site on or before January 31 each year indicating no major escapement occurred.

(1) Gulf aquaculture permit number;

(2) Name and phone number of a contact person;

(3) Duration and specific location of escapement, including the number of cages or net pens involved;

(4) Cause(s) of escapement;

(5) Number, size, and percent of fish, by species, that escaped; and

(6) Actions being taken to address the escapement.

(C) Pathogens. Report, within 24 hours of diagnosis, all findings or suspected findings of any OIE-reportable pathogen episodes or pathogens that are identified as reportable pathogens in the NAAHP, as implemented by the USDA and U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior, that are known to infect the cultured species. The report must include the items in paragraphs (a)(1)(i)(C)(1) through (6) of this section and may be submitted electronically via the Web site. If no finding or suspected finding of an OIE-reportable pathogen episode occurs during a given year, an annual report must be submitted via the Web site on or before January 31 each year indicating no finding or suspected finding of an OIE-reportable pathogen episode occurred. See § 622.108(a)(1) regarding actions NMFS may take to address a pathogen episode.

(1) OIE-reportable pathogen;

(2) Percent of cultured animals infected;

(3) Findings of the aquatic animal health expert;

(4) Plans for submission of specimens for confirmatory testing (as required by the USDA);

(5) Testing results (when available); and

(6) Actions being taken to address the reportable pathogen episode.

(D) Harvest notification. Report the time, date, and weight of fish to be harvested from an aquaculture facility at least 72 hours prior to harvest. This information may be submitted electronically via the Web site or via phone.

(E) Landing information. Report the intended time, date, and port of landing for any vessel landing fish harvested from an aquaculture facility at least 72 hours prior to landing. This information may be submitted electronically via the Web site or via phone. The person landing the cultured animals must validate the dealer transaction report required in paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section by entering the unique PIN number of the Gulf aquaculture permit holder from whom the fish were received when the transaction report is submitted.

(F) Change of hatchery. Report any change in hatcheries used for obtaining fingerlings or other juvenile animals and provide updated names and addresses or specific locations (if no address is available) for the applicable hatcheries no later than 30 days after any such change occurs. This information may be submitted electronically via the Web site.

(G) Entanglements or interactions with marine mammals, endangered species, or migratory birds. Report any entanglement or interaction with marine mammals, endangered species, or migratory birds within 24 hours of the event. The report must include the items included in paragraphs (a)(1)(i)(G)(1) through (5) of this section and may be submitted electronically via the Web site. If no entanglement or interaction with marine mammals, endangered species, or migratory birds occurs during a given year, an annual report must be submitted via the Web site on or before January 31 each year indicating no entanglement or interaction occurred.

(1) Date, time, and location of entanglement or interaction.

(2) Species entangled or involved in interactions and number of individuals affected;

(3) Number of mortalities and acute injuries observed;

(4) Cause of entanglement or interaction; and

(5) Actions being taken to prevent future entanglements or interactions.

(H) Feed invoices. The permittee must keep the original purchase invoices for feed or copies of purchase invoices for feed, make them available to NMFS or an authorized officer upon request, and be maintained for a period of 3 years.

(I) Any other reporting requirements specified by the RA for evaluating and assessing the environmental impacts of an aquaculture operation.

(ii) Other reporting requirements. In addition to the reporting requirements in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, an aquaculture facility owner or operator must comply with the following reporting requirements:

(A) Provide NMFS with current copies of all valid state and Federal permits (e.g., ACOE Section 10 permit, EPA NPDES permit) required for conducting offshore aquaculture and report any changes applicable to those permits.

(B) Provide NMFS with current copies of all valid state and Federal aquaculture permits for each hatchery from which fingerlings or other juvenile animals are obtained and report any changes applicable to those permits within 30 days.

(iii) Recordkeeping requirements. An aquaculture facility owner or operator must comply with the following recordkeeping requirements:

(A) Maintain for the most recent 3 years and make available to NMFS or an authorized officer, upon request, monitoring reports related to aquaculture activities required by all other state and Federal permits (e.g., EPA NPDES permit) required for conducting offshore aquaculture.

(B) Maintain records of all sales of fish for the most recent 3 years and make that information available to NMFS or an authorized officer upon request. Sale records must include the species and quantity of fish sold in pounds round weight; estimated average weight of fish sold to the nearest tenth of a pound by species; date sold; and the name of the entity to whom fish were sold.

(2) Aquaculture dealer recordkeeping and reporting requirements. A dealer who purchases fish from an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ must:

(i) Complete a landing transaction report for each landing and sale of cultured animals via the Web site at the time of the transaction in accordance with reporting form and instructions provided on the Web site. This report includes date, time, and location of transaction; information necessary to identify the Gulf aquaculture permit holder, vessel, and dealer involved in the transaction; quantity, in pounds round weight, and estimated average weight of each species landed to the nearest tenth of a pound; and average price paid for cultured animals landed and sold by market category. A dealer must maintain such record for at least 3 years after the receipt date and must make such record available for inspection upon request to NMFS or an authorized officer.

(ii) After the dealer submits the report and the information has been verified, the Web site will send a transaction approval code to the dealer and the aquaculture permit holder.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.103 Aquaculture facilities.

(a) Siting requirements and conditions.

(1) No aquaculture facility may be sited in the Gulf EEZ within a marine protected area, marine reserve, Habitat Area of Particular Concern, Special Management Zone, permitted artificial reef area specified in this part or a coral area as defined in § 622.2.

(2) No aquaculture facility may be sited within 1.6 nautical miles (3 km) of another aquaculture facility and all structures associated with the facility must remain within the sited boundaries.

(3) To allow fallowing and rotation of approved aquaculture systems within a site permitted by the ACOE and approved by NMFS, the permitted site for the aquaculture facility must be at least twice as large as the combined area of the aquaculture systems.

(4) The RA will evaluate siting criteria for proposed offshore aquaculture operations on a case-by-case basis. Criteria considered by the RA during case-by-case review include data, analyses, and results of the required baseline environmental survey as specified in § 622.101(a)(2)(v); depth of the site; the frequency of harmful algal blooms or hypoxia at the proposed site; marine mammal migratory pathways; the location of the site relative to commercial and recreational fishing grounds and important natural fishery habitats (e.g., seagrasses). The RA may deny use of a proposed aquaculture site based on a determination by the RA that such a site poses significant risks to wild fish stocks, essential fish habitat, endangered or threatened species, marine mammals, will result in user conflicts with commercial or recreational fishermen or other marine resource users, will result in user conflicts with the OCS energy program, the depth of the site is not sufficient for the approved aquaculture system, substrate and currents at the site will inhibit the dispersal of wastes and effluents, the site is prone to low dissolved oxygen or harmful algal blooms, or other grounds inconsistent with FMP objectives or applicable Federal laws. The information used for siting a facility with regard to proximity to commercial and recreational fishing grounds includes electronic logbooks from the shrimp fishery, logbook reported fishing locations, siting information from previously proposed or permitted aquaculture facilities, and other data that would provide information regarding how the site would interact with other fisheries. The RA's determination will be based on consultations with appropriate NMFS and NOAA offices and programs, public comment, as well as siting and other information submitted by the permit applicant. If a proposed site is denied, the RA will deny the Gulf Aquaculture Permit and provide this determination as required by § 622.101(d)(2)(ii).

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.104 Restricted access zones.

(a) Establishment of restricted access zones. NMFS will establish a restricted access zone for each aquaculture facility. The boundaries of the restricted access zone will correspond with the coordinates listed on the approved ACOE Section 10 permit associated with the aquaculture facility.

(b) Prohibited activities within a restricted access zone. No recreational fishing or commercial fishing, other than aquaculture, may occur in the restricted access zone. No fishing vessel may operate in or transit through the restricted access zone unless the vessel has on board a copy of the aquaculture facility's permit with an original signature, i.e., not a copy of the signature, of the permittee.

(c) Marking requirement. The permittee must mark the restricted access zone with a floating device such as a buoy at each corner of the zone, as authorized by the USCG. Each floating device must clearly display the aquaculture facility's permit number and the words “RESTRICTED ACCESS” in block characters at least 6 inches (15.2 cm) in height and in a color that contrasts with the color of the floating device.

§ 622.105 Allowable aquaculture systems and species.

(a) Allowable aquaculture systems. The RA will evaluate each proposed aquaculture system on a case-by-case basis and approve or deny use of the proposed system for offshore marine aquaculture in the Gulf EEZ. Proposed aquaculture systems may consist of cages, net pens, enclosures or other structures and gear which are used to culture marine species. The RA will evaluate the structural integrity of a proposed aquaculture system based, in part, on the required documentation (e.g., engineering analyses, computer and physical oceanographic model results) submitted by the applicant to assess the ability of the aquaculture system(s) (including moorings) to withstand physical stresses associated with major storm events, e.g. hurricanes, storm surge. The RA also will evaluate the proposed aquaculture system and its operations based on the potential to pose significant risks to essential fish habitat, endangered or threatened species, marine mammals, wild fish stocks, public health, or safety. The RA may deny use of a proposed aquaculture system or specify conditions for using an aquaculture system based on a determination of such significant risks. The RA's evaluation will be based on information provided by the applicant as well as consultations with appropriate NMFS and NOAA offices and programs. If the RA denies use of a proposed aquaculture system or specifies conditions for its use, the RA will deny the Gulf Aquaculture Permit and provide this determination as required by § 622.101(d)(2)(ii).

(b) Allowable aquaculture species. Only the following federally managed species that are native to the Gulf and are not genetically engineered or transgenic, may be cultured in an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ:

(1) Species of coastal migratory pelagic fish, as defined in § 622.2.

(2) Species of Gulf reef fish, as listed in appendix A to this part.

(3) Red drum, Sciaenops ocellatus.

(4) Spiny lobster, Panulirus argus.

§ 622.106 Aquaculture operations.

(a) Operational requirements and restrictions. An owner or operator of an aquaculture facility for which a Gulf aquaculture permit has been issued must comply with the following operational requirements and restrictions.

(1) Minimum start-up requirement. At least 25 percent of aquaculture systems approved for use at a specific aquaculture facility at the time of permit issuance must be placed in the water at the permitted aquaculture site within 2 years of issuance of the Gulf aquaculture permit, and allowable species for aquaculture must be placed in the aquaculture system(s) within 3 years of issuance of the permit. Failure to comply with these requirements will be grounds for revocation of the permit. A permittee may request a 1-year extension to the above time schedules in the event of a catastrophe (e.g., hurricane). Requests must be made in writing and submitted to the RA. The RA will approve or deny the request after determining if catastrophic conditions directly caused or significantly contributed to the permittee's failure to meet the required time schedules. The RA will provide the determination and the basis for it, in writing, to the permittee.

(2) Marking requirement. The permittee must maintain a minimum of one properly functioning electronic locating device (e.g., GPS device, pinger with radio signal) on each approved aquaculture system placed in the water at the aquaculture facility.

(3) Restriction on allowable hatcheries. A permittee may only obtain juvenile animals for grow-out at an aquaculture facility from a hatchery located in the U.S.

(4) Hatchery certifications.

(i) The permittee must obtain and submit to NMFS a signed certification from the owner(s) of the hatchery, from which fingerlings or other juvenile animals are obtained, indicating the broodstock have been individually marked or tagged (e.g., via a Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT), coded wire, dart, or internal anchor tag) to allow for identification of those individuals used in spawning.

(ii) The permittee also must obtain and submit to NMFS signed certification from the owner(s) of the hatchery indicating that fin clips or other genetic materials were collected and submitted for each individual brood animal in accordance with procedures specified by NMFS.

(iii) The certifications required in paragraphs (a)(4)(i) and (ii) of this section must be provided to NMFS by the permittee each time broodstock are acquired by the hatchery or used for spawning.

(5) Health certification. Prior to stocking fish in an approved aquaculture system at an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ, the permittee must provide NMFS a copy of a health certificate (suggested form is USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) VS 17-141, OMB 0579-0278) signed by an aquatic animal health expert, as defined in § 622.101(a)(2)(xv), certifying that the fish have been inspected and are visibly healthy and the source population is test negative for OIE pathogens specific to the cultured species and pathogens identified as reportable pathogens in the NAAHP as implemented by the USDA and U.S. Departments of Commerce and Interior.

(6) Use of drugs and other chemicals or agents. Use of drugs, pesticides, and biologics must comply with all applicable Food and Drug Administration (FDA), EPA, and USDA requirements (e.g., Federal, Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.; Clean Water Act, 40 CFR part 122; 9 CFR parts 101 through 124; 21 CFR parts 500 through 599; and 40 CFR parts 150 through 189).

(7) Feed practices and monitoring. The permittee must conduct feed monitoring and management practices in compliance with EPA regulations at 40 CFR 451.21, if applicable to the facility.

(8) Monitoring and reporting compliance. The permittee must monitor and report the environmental survey parameters at the aquaculture facility consistent with NMFS' guidelines that will be available on the Web site and from the RA upon request. The permittee also must comply with all applicable monitoring and reporting requirements specified in their valid ACOE Section 10 permit and valid EPA NPDES permit.

(9) Inspection for protected species. The permittee must regularly inspect approved aquaculture systems, including mooring and anchor lines, for entanglements or interactions with marine mammals, protected species, and migratory birds. The frequency of inspections will be specified by NMFS as a condition of the permit. If entanglements or interactions are observed, they must be reported as specified in § 622.102(a)(1)(i)(G).

(10) Fishing gear stowage requirement. Any vessel transporting cultured animals to or from an aquaculture facility must stow fishing gear as follows:

(i) A longline may be left on the drum if all gangions and hooks are disconnected and stowed below deck. Hooks cannot be baited. All buoys must be disconnected from the gear; however, buoys may remain on deck.

(ii) A trawl net may remain on deck, but trawl doors must be disconnected from the trawl gear and must be secured.

(iii) A gillnet must be left on the drum. Any additional gillnets not attached to the drum must be stowed below deck.

(iv) A rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and stowed securely on or below deck. Terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) must be disconnected and stowed separately from the rod and reel. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.

(v) All other fishing gear must be stored below deck or in an area where it is not normally used or readily available for fishing.

(11) Prohibition of possession of wild fish in restricted access zone. Except for broodstock, authorized pursuant to paragraph (a)(16) of this section, possession of any wild fish at or within the boundaries of an aquaculture facility's restricted access zone is prohibited.

(12) Prohibition of possession of wild fish aboard vessels, vehicles, or aircraft associated with aquaculture operations. Possession and transport of any wild fish aboard an aquaculture operation's transport or service vessels, vehicles, or aircraft is prohibited while engaged in aquaculture related activities, except when harvesting broodstock as authorized by NMFS.

(13) Maintaining fish intact prior to landing. Cultured finfish must be maintained whole with heads and fins intact until landed on shore. Such fish may be eviscerated, gilled, and scaled, but must otherwise be maintained in a whole condition. Spiny lobster must be maintained whole with the tail intact until landed on shore.

(14) Restriction on offloading. For the purpose of this paragraph, offload means to remove cultured animals from a vessel following harvest from an offshore aquaculture facility. Cultured animals may only be offloaded between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., local time.

(15) Bill of lading requirement. Any cultured animals harvested from an aquaculture facility and being transported must be accompanied by the applicable bill of lading through landing ashore and the first point of sale. The bill of lading must include species name, quantity in numbers or pounds by species, date and location of landing, Gulf aquaculture permit number of the aquaculture facility from which the fish were harvested, and name and address of purchaser.

(16) Request to harvest broodstock.

(i) At least 30 days prior to each time a permittee or their designee intends to harvest broodstock from the Gulf, including from state waters, that would be used to produce juvenile fish for an aquaculture facility in the Gulf EEZ, the permittee must submit a request to the RA via the Web site using a Web-based form. The information submitted on the form must include the number, species, and size of fish to be harvested; methods, gear, and vessels (including USCG documentation or state registration number) to be used for capturing, holding, and transporting broodstock; date and specific location of intended harvest; and the location to which broodstock would be delivered.

(ii) Allowable methods or gear used for broodstock capture in the EEZ include those identified for each respective fishery in § 600.725, except red drum, which may be harvested only with handline or rod and reel.

(iii) The RA may deny or modify a request for broodstock harvest if allowable methods or gear are not proposed for use, the number of fish harvested for broodstock is more than necessary for purposes of spawning and rearing activities, or the harvest will be inconsistent with FMP objectives or other Federal laws. If a broodstock collection request is denied or modified, the RA will provide the determination and the basis for it, in writing to the permittee. If a broodstock collection request is approved, the permittee must submit a report to the RA including the number and species of broodstock harvested, their size (length and weight), and the geographic location where the broodstock were captured. The report must be submitted on a Web-based form available on the Web site no later than 15 days after the date of harvest.

(iv) Notwithstanding the requirements in § 622.106(a)(16), all proposed harvest of broodstock from state waters also must comply with all state laws applicable to the harvest of such species.

(17) Authorized access to aquaculture facilities. A permittee must provide NMFS employees and authorized officers access to an aquaculture facility to conduct inspections or sampling necessary to determine compliance with the applicable regulations relating to aquaculture in the Gulf EEZ. In conducting the inspections, NMFS may enter into cooperative agreements with States, may delegate the inspection authority to any State, or may contract with any non-Federal Government entities. As a condition of the permit, NMFS may also require the permittee to contract a non-Federal Government third party approved by the RA if the RA agrees to accept the third party inspection results. The non-Federal Government third party may not be the same entity as the permittee.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.107 Limitation on aquaculture production.

No individual, corporation, or other entity will be authorized to produce more than 12.8 million lb (5.8 million kg), round weight, of cultured species annually from permitted aquaculture facilities in the Gulf EEZ. Production of juvenile fish by a hatchery in the Gulf EEZ will not be counted toward this limitation because those fish would be accounted for subsequently via reported harvest at the aquaculture facility where grow out occurs.

§ 622.108 Remedial actions.

(a) Potential remedial actions by NMFS. In addition to potential permit sanctions and denials in accordance with subpart D of 15 CFR part 904, NMFS may take the following actions, as warranted, to avoid or mitigate adverse impacts associated with aquaculture in the Gulf EEZ.

(1) Actions to address pathogen episodes. NMFS, in cooperation with USDA's APHIS, may order movement restrictions and/or the removal of all cultured animals from an approved aquaculture system upon confirmation by a USDA's APHIS reference laboratory that an OIE-reportable pathogen, or additional pathogens that are subsequently identified as reportable pathogens in the NAAHP exists and USDA's APHIS and NMFS determine the pathogen poses a significant threat to the health of wild or cultured aquatic organisms.

(2) Actions to address genetic issues. NMFS may sample cultured animals to determine genetic lineage and, upon a determination that genetically engineered or transgenic animals were used or possessed at an aquaculture facility, will order the removal of all cultured animals of the species for which such determination was made. In conducting the genetic testing to determine that all broodstock or progeny of such broodstock will be or were originally harvested from U.S. waters of the Gulf, will be or were from the same population or sub-population that occurs where the facility is located, and that juveniles stocked in offshore aquaculture systems are the progeny of wild broodstock, or other genetic testing necessary to carry out the requirements of the FMP, NMFS may enter into cooperative agreements with States, may delegate the testing authority to any State, or may contract with any non-Federal Government entities. As a condition of the permit, NMFS may also require the permittee to contract a non-Federal Government third party approved by the RA if the RA agrees to accept the third party testing results. The non-Federal Government third party may not be the same entity as the permittee.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.109 Adjustment of management measures.

In accordance with the framework procedures of the FMP for Regulating Offshore Marine Aquaculture in the Gulf of Mexico, the RA may establish or modify the items in paragraph (a) of this section for offshore marine aquaculture.

(a) For the entire aquaculture fishery: MSY, OY, permit application requirements, operational requirements and restrictions, including monitoring requirements, aquaculture system requirements, siting requirements for aquaculture facilities, and recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

(b) [Reserved]

Subparts G-H [Reserved]
Subpart I - Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region
§ 622.170 Permits and endorsements.

(a) Commercial vessel permits -

(1) South Atlantic snapper-grouper. For a person aboard a vessel to be eligible for exemption from the bag limits for South Atlantic snapper-grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, to sell South Atlantic snapper-grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, to engage in the directed fishery for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic EEZ, to use a longline to fish for South Atlantic snapper-grouper in the South Atlantic EEZ, or to use a sea bass pot in the South Atlantic EEZ between 35°15.19′ N. lat. (due east of Cape Hatteras Light, NC) and 28°35.1′ N. lat. (due east of the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, Cape Canaveral, FL), either a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit or a trip-limited permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. A vessel with a trip-limited commercial permit is limited on any trip to 225 lb (102.1 kg) of snapper-grouper. See § 622.171 for limitations on the use, transfer, and renewal of a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper.

(2) Wreckfish. For a person aboard a vessel to be eligible for exemption from the bag limit for wreckfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, to fish under a quota for wreckfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, or to sell wreckfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, a commercial vessel permit for wreckfish and a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. To obtain a commercial vessel permit for wreckfish, the applicant must be a wreckfish shareholder; and either the shareholder must be the vessel owner or the owner or operator must be an employee, contractor, or agent of the shareholder. (See § 622.172 for information on wreckfish shareholders.)

(b) Charter vessel/headboat permits -

(1) South Atlantic snapper-grouper. For a person aboard a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat to fish for or possess, in or from the EEZ, South Atlantic snapper-grouper, a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. A charter vessel or headboat may have both a charter vessel/headboat permit and a commercial vessel permit. However, when a vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, a person aboard must adhere to the bag limits. See the definitions of “Charter vessel” and “Headboat” in § 622.2 for an explanation of when vessels are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat, respectively.

(2) [Reserved]

(c) Dealer permits and conditions -

(1) Permits. For a dealer to first receive South Atlantic snapper-grouper (including wreckfish) harvested in or from the EEZ, a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit must be issued to the dealer.

(2) State license and facility requirements. To obtain a dealer permit or endorsement, the applicant must have a valid state wholesaler's license in the state(s) where the dealer operates, if required by such state(s), and must have a physical facility at a fixed location in such state(s).

(d) Permit procedures. See § 622.4 for information regarding general permit procedures including, but not limited to application, fees, duration, transfer, renewal, display, sanctions and denials, and replacement.

(e) South Atlantic black sea bass pot endorsement. For a person aboard a vessel, for which a valid commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited has been issued, to use a black sea bass pot in the South Atlantic EEZ, a valid South Atlantic black sea bass pot endorsement must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. A permit or endorsement that has expired is not valid. This endorsement must be renewed annually and may only be renewed if the associated vessel has a valid commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited or if the endorsement and associated permit are being concurrently renewed. The RA will not reissue this endorsement if the endorsement is revoked or if the RA does not receive a complete application for renewal of the endorsement within 1 year after the endorsement's expiration date.

(1) Initial eligibility. To be eligible for an initial South Atlantic black sea bass pot endorsement, a person must have been issued and must possess a valid or renewable commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper that has black sea bass landings using black sea bass pot gear averaging at least 2,500 lb (1,134 kg), round weight, annually during the period January 1, 1999 through December 31, 2010. Excluded from this eligibility, are trip-limited permits (South Atlantic snapper-grouper permits that have a 225-lb (102.1-kg) limit of snapper-grouper) and valid or renewable commercial vessel permits for South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited that have no reported landings of black sea bass using black sea bass pots from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2010. NMFS will attribute all applicable black sea bass landings associated with a current snapper-grouper permit for the applicable landings history, including those reported by a person(s) who held the permit prior to the current permit owner, to the current permit owner. Only legal landings reported in compliance with applicable state and Federal regulations are acceptable.

(2) Initial issuance. On or about June 1, 2012, the RA will mail each eligible permittee a black sea bass pot endorsement via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the permittee's address of record as listed in NMFS' permit files. An eligible permittee who does not receive an endorsement from the RA, must contact the RA no later than July 1, 2012, to clarify his/her endorsement status. A permittee denied an endorsement based on the RA's initial determination of eligibility and who disagrees with that determination may appeal to the RA.

(3) Procedure for appealing black sea bass pot endorsement eligibility and/or landings information. The only items subject to appeal are initial eligibility for a black sea bass pot endorsement based on ownership of a qualifying snapper-grouper permit, the accuracy of the amount of landings, and correct assignment of landings to the permittee. Appeals based on hardship factors will not be considered. Appeals must be submitted to the RA postmarked no later than October 1, 2012, and must contain documentation supporting the basis for the appeal. The RA will review all appeals, render final decisions on the appeals, and advise the appellant of the final NMFS decision.

(i) Eligibility appeals. NMFS' records of snapper-grouper permits are the sole basis for determining ownership of such permits. A person who believes he/she meets the permit eligibility criteria based on ownership of a vessel under a different name, for example, as a result of ownership changes from individual to corporate or vice versa, must document his/her continuity of ownership.

(ii) Landings appeals. Determinations of appeals regarding landings data for 1999 through 2010 will be based on NMFS' logbook records. If NMFS' logbooks are not available, the RA may use state landings records or data for the period 1999 through 2010 that were submitted in compliance with applicable Federal and state regulations on or before December 31, 2011.

(4) Transferability. A valid or renewable black sea bass pot endorsement may be transferred between any two entities that hold, or simultaneously obtain, a valid South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit. Endorsements may be transferred independently from the South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit. NMFS will attribute black sea bass landings to the associated South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit regardless of whether the landings occurred before or after the endorsement was issued. Only legal landings reported in compliance with applicable state and Federal regulations are acceptable.

(5) Fees. No fee applies to initial issuance of a black sea bass pot endorsement. NMFS charges a fee for each renewal or replacement of such endorsement and calculates the amount of each fee in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook for determining the administrative costs of each special product or service. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified with each application form. The handbook is available from the RA. The appropriate fee must accompany each application for renewal or replacement.

(f) South Atlantic golden tilefish longline endorsement. For a person aboard a vessel, for which a valid commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited has been issued, to fish for or possess golden tilefish in the South Atlantic EEZ using longline gear, a South Atlantic golden tilefish longline endorsement must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. A permit or endorsement that has expired is not valid. This endorsement must be renewed annually and may only be renewed if the associated vessel has a valid commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited or if the endorsement and associated permit are being concurrently renewed. The RA will not reissue this endorsement if the endorsement is revoked or if the RA does not receive a complete application for renewal of the endorsement within 1 year after the endorsement's expiration date.

(1) Initial eligibility. To be eligible for an initial South Atlantic golden tilefish longline endorsement, a person must have been issued and must possess a valid or renewable commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper that has golden tilefish landings using longline gear averaging at least 5,000 lb (2,268 kg), gutted weight, over the best 3 years within the period 2006-2011. NMFS will attribute all applicable golden tilefish landings associated with a current South Atlantic snapper-grouper permit for the applicable landings history, to the current permit owner, including golden tilefish landings reported by a person(s) who held the permit prior to the current permit owner. Only legal landings reported in compliance with applicable state and Federal regulations are acceptable.

(2) Initial issuance. On or about April 23, 2013, the RA will mail each eligible permittee a golden tilefish longline endorsement via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the permittee's address of record as listed in NMFS' permit files. An eligible permittee who does not receive an endorsement from the RA, must contact the RA no later than May 23, 2013, to clarify his/her endorsement status. A permittee who is denied an endorsement based on the RA's initial determination of eligibility and who disagrees with that determination may appeal to the RA.

(3) Procedure for appealing golden tilefish longline endorsement eligibility and/or landings information. The only items subject to appeal are initial eligibility for a golden tilefish longline endorsement based on ownership of a qualifying snapper-grouper permit, the accuracy of the amount of landings, and the correct assignment of landings to the permittee. Appeals based on hardship factors will not be considered. Appeals must be submitted to the RA postmarked no later than August 21, 2013, and must contain documentation supporting the basis for the appeal. The National Appeals Office will review, evaluate, and render recommendations on appeals to the RA. The RA will then review each appeal, render a final decision on each appeal, and advise the appellant of the final NMFS decision.

(i) Eligibility appeals. NMFS' records of snapper-grouper permits are the sole basis for determining ownership of such permits. A person who believes he/she meets the permit eligibility criteria based on ownership of a vessel under a different name, for example, as a result of ownership changes from individual to corporate or vice versa, must document his or her continuity of ownership and must submit that information with their appeal.

(ii) Landings appeals. Determinations of appeals regarding landings data for 2006 through 2011 will be based on NMFS' logbook records, submitted on or before October 31, 2012. If NMFS' logbooks are not available, the RA may use state landings records or data for the period 2006 through 2011 that were submitted in compliance with applicable Federal and state regulations on or before October 31, 2012.

(4) Transferability. A valid or renewable golden tilefish endorsement may be transferred between any two entities that hold, or simultaneously obtain, a valid South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit. An endorsement may be transferred independently from the South Atlantic snapper-grouper unlimited permit. NMFS will attribute golden tilefish landings to the associated South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit regardless of whether the landings occurred before or after the endorsement was issued. Only legal landings reported in compliance with applicable state and Federal regulations are acceptable.

(5) Fees. No fee applies to the initial issuance of a golden tilefish longline endorsement. NMFS charges a fee for each renewal or replacement or transfer of such endorsement and calculates the amount of each fee in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook for determining the administrative costs of each special product or service. The handbook is available from the RA. The appropriate fee must accompany each application for renewal or replacement or transfer.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 23862, Apr. 23, 2013; 79 FR 19495, Apr. 9, 2014]

§ 622.171 South Atlantic snapper-grouper limited access.

(a) General. The only valid commercial vessel permits for South Atlantic snapper-grouper are those that have been issued under the limited access criteria specified in the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region. A commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper is either a transferable commercial permit or a trip-limited commercial permit.

(b) Transfers of permits. A snapper-grouper limited access permit is valid only for the vessel and owner named on the permit. To change either the vessel or the owner, an application for transfer must be submitted to the RA.

(1) Transferable permits.

(i) An owner of a vessel with a transferable permit may request that the RA transfer the permit to another vessel owned by the same entity.

(ii) A transferable permit may be transferred upon a change of ownership of a permitted vessel with such permit -

(A) From one to another of the following: husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, or father; or

(B) From an individual to a corporation whose shares are all held by the individual or by the individual and one or more of the following: husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, or father. The application for transfer of a permit under this paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(B) and each application for renewal of such permit must be accompanied by a current annual report of the corporation that specifies all shareholders of the corporation. A permit will not be renewed if the annual report shows a new shareholder other than a husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, mother, or father.

(iii) Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, a person desiring to acquire a limited access, transferable permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper must obtain and exchange two such permits for one new permit.

(iv) A transfer of a permit that is undertaken under paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section will constitute a transfer of the vessel's entire catch history to the new owner.

(2) Trip-limited permits. An owner of a vessel with a trip-limited permit may request that the RA transfer the permit to another vessel owned by the same entity.

(c) Renewal. NMFS will not reissue a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper if the permit is revoked or if the RA does not receive an application for renewal within one year of the permit's expiration date.

§ 622.172 Wreckfish individual transferable quota (ITQ) system.

The provisions of this section apply to wreckfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ.

(a) General -

(1) Percentage shares -

(i) Initial ITQ shares. In accordance with the procedure specified in the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region, percentage shares of the quota for wreckfish were assigned at the beginning of the program. Each person was notified by the RA of his or her percentage share and shareholder certificate number.

(ii) Reverted ITQ shares. Any shares determined by NMFS to be inactive, will be redistributed proportionately among remaining shareholders (subject to cap restrictions) based on shareholder landings history. Inactive shares are, for purposes of this section, those shares held by ITQ shareholders who have not reported any wreckfish landings between April 16, 2006, and January 14, 2011.

(iii) Percentage share set-aside to accommodate resolution of appeals. During the 2012-2013 fishing year, the RA will reserve 1.401 percent of wreckfish ITQ shares prior to redistributing shares (see paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section) to accommodate resolution of appeals, if necessary. NMFS will distribute any portion of the 1.401-percent share remaining after the appeals process as soon as possible among the remaining shareholders.

(iv) Procedure for appealing wreckfish quota share status and landings information. Appeals must be submitted to the RA postmarked no later than January 24, 2013, and must contain documentation supporting the basis for the appeal. The only items subject to appeal are the status of wreckfish quota shares, as active or inactive, and the accuracy of the amount of landings. The RA will review and evaluate all appeals, render final decisions on the appeals, and advise the appellant of the final decision. Appeals based on hardship factors will not be considered. The RA will determine the outcome of appeals based on NMFS' logbooks. If NMFS' logbooks are not available, the RA may use state landings records. Appellants must submit NMFS' logbooks or state landings records, as appropriate, to support their appeal.

(2) Share transfers. All or a portion of a person's percentage shares are transferrable. Transfer of shares must be reported on a form available from the RA. The RA will confirm, in writing, each transfer of shares. The effective date of each transfer is the confirmation date provided by the RA. NMFS charges a fee for each transfer of shares and calculates the amount in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook. The handbook is available from the RA. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified with each transfer form. The appropriate fee must accompany each transfer form.

(3) ITQ share cap. No person, including a corporation or other entity, may individually or collectively hold ITQ shares in excess of 49 percent of the total shares. For the purposes of considering the share cap, a corporation's total ITQ share is determined by adding the corporation's ITQ shares to any other ITQ shares the corporation owns in another corporation. If an individual ITQ shareholder is also a shareholder in a corporation that holds ITQ shares, an individual's total ITQ share is determined by adding the applicable ITQ shares held by the individual to the applicable ITQ shares equivalent to the corporate share the individual holds in a corporation. A corporation must provide the RA the identity of the shareholders of the corporation and their percent of shares in the corporation, and provide updated information to the RA within 30 days of when a change occurs. This information must also be provided to the RA any time a commercial vessel permit for wreckfish is renewed or transferred.

(b) List of wreckfish shareholders. Annually, on or about March 1, the RA will provide each wreckfish shareholder with a list of all wreckfish shareholders and their percentage shares, reflecting share transactions on forms received through February 15.

(c) ITQs.

(1) Annually, as soon after March 1 as the TAC for wreckfish for the fishing year that commences April 16 is known, the RA will calculate each wreckfish shareholder's ITQ. Each ITQ is the product of the wreckfish TAC, in round weight, for the ensuing fishing year, the factor for converting round weight to eviscerated weight, and each wreckfish shareholder's percentage share, reflecting share transactions reported on forms received by the RA through February 15. Thus, the ITQs will be in terms of eviscerated weight of wreckfish.

(2) The RA will provide each wreckfish shareholder with ITQ coupons in various denominations, the total of which equals his or her ITQ, and a copy of the calculations used in determining his or her ITQ. Each coupon will be coded to indicate the initial recipient.

(3) An ITQ coupon may be transferred from one wreckfish shareholder to another by completing the sale endorsement thereon (that is, the signature and shareholder certificate number of the buyer). An ITQ coupon may be possessed only by the shareholder to whom it has been issued, or by the shareholder's employee, contractor, or agent, unless the ITQ coupon has been transferred to another shareholder. An ITQ coupon that has been transferred to another shareholder may be possessed only by the shareholder whose signature appears on the coupon as the buyer, or by the shareholder's employee, contractor, or agent, and with all required sale endorsements properly completed.

(4) Wreckfish may not be possessed on board a fishing vessel that has been issued a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper and a commercial vessel permit for wreckfish -

(i) In an amount exceeding the total of the ITQ coupons on board the vessel; or

(ii) That does not have on board logbook forms for that fishing trip, as required under § 622.176(a)(3)(i).

(5) Prior to termination of a trip, a signature and date signed must be affixed in ink to the “Fisherman” part of ITQ coupons in denominations equal to the eviscerated weight of the wreckfish on board. The “Fisherman” part of each such coupon must be separated from the coupon and submitted with the logbook forms required by § 622.176(a)(3)(i) for that fishing trip.

(6) The “Fish House” part of each such coupon must be given to the dealer to whom the wreckfish are transferred in amounts totaling the eviscerated weight of the wreckfish transferred to that dealer. Wreckfish may be transferred only to a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit holder, as required under § 622.170(c)(1).

(7) A dealer may first receive wreckfish only from a vessel for which a commercial permit for wreckfish has been issued, as required under § 622.170(a)(2). A dealer must receive the “Fish House” part of ITQ coupons in amounts totaling the eviscerated weight of the wreckfish received; enter the permit number of the vessel from which the wreckfish were received, enter the date the wreckfish were received, enter the dealer's permit number, and sign each such “Fish House” part; and submit all such parts with the electronic dealer reports required by § 622.5(c).

(8) An owner or operator of a vessel and a dealer must make available to an authorized officer all ITQ coupons in his or her possession upon request.

(d) Wreckfish limitations.

(1) A wreckfish taken in the South Atlantic EEZ may not be transferred at sea, regardless of where the transfer takes place; and a wreckfish may not be transferred in the South Atlantic EEZ.

(2) A wreckfish possessed by a fisherman or dealer shoreward of the outer boundary of the South Atlantic EEZ or in a South Atlantic coastal state will be presumed to have been harvested from the South Atlantic EEZ unless accompanied by documentation that it was harvested from other than the South Atlantic EEZ.

(3) A wreckfish harvested by a vessel that has been issued a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper and a commercial vessel permit for wreckfish may be offloaded from a fishing vessel only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., local time.

(4) If a wreckfish harvested by a vessel that has been issued a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper and a commercial vessel permit for wreckfish is to be offloaded at a location other than a fixed facility of a dealer who holds a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit, as required under § 622.170(c)(1), the wreckfish shareholder or the vessel operator must advise the NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, St. Petersburg, FL, by telephone (727-824-5344), of the location not less than 24 hours prior to offloading.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19495, Apr. 9, 2014]

§§ 622.173-622.175 [Reserved]
§ 622.176 Recordkeeping and reporting.

(a) Commercial vessel owners and operators -

(1) General reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under § 622.170(a)(1), or whose vessel fishes for or lands South Atlantic snapper-grouper in or from state waters adjoining the South Atlantic EEZ, who is selected to report by the SRD must maintain a fishing record on a form available from the SRD and must submit such record as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(2) Electronic logbook/video monitoring reporting. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under § 622.170(a)(1), who is selected to report by the SRD must participate in the NMFS-sponsored electronic logbook and/or video monitoring reporting program as directed by the SRD. Compliance with the reporting requirements of this paragraph (a)(2) is required for permit renewal.

(3) Wreckfish reporting. The wreckfish shareholder under § 622.172, or operator of a vessel for which a commercial permit for wreckfish has been issued, as required under § 622.170(a)(2), must -

(i) Maintain a fishing record on a form available from the SRD and must submit such record as specified in paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(ii) Make available to an authorized officer upon request all records of commercial offloadings, purchases, or sales of wreckfish.

(4) Reporting deadlines. Completed fishing records required by this paragraph (a) must be submitted to the SRD postmarked not later than 7 days after the end of each fishing trip. If no fishing occurred during a calendar month, a report so stating must be submitted on one of the forms postmarked not later than 7 days after the end of that month. Information to be reported is indicated on the form and its accompanying instructions.

(b) Charter vessel/headboat owners and operators -

(1) General reporting requirement -

(i) Charter vessels. The owner or operator of a charter vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under § 622.170(b)(1), and whose vessel is operating as a charter vessel, must record all fish harvested and discarded, and any other information requested by the SRD for each trip, and submit an electronic fishing report within the time period specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section. The electronic fishing report must be submitted to the SRD via NMFS-approved hardware and software, as specified in paragraph (b)(5) of this section. If the owner or operator subject to this paragraph (b)(1)(i) has been issued a Federal permit that requires more restrictive reporting requirements, as determined by NMFS and posted on the NMFS Southeast Region website, reporting under those more restrictive regulations will meet the requirements of this paragraph (b)(1)(i).

(ii) Headboats. The owner or operator of a headboat for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under § 622.170(b)(1), and whose vessel is operating as a headboat in state or Federal waters, must record all fish harvested and discarded, and any other information requested by the SRD for each trip in state or Federal waters, and submit an electronic fishing report within the time period specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section. The electronic fishing report must be submitted to the SRD via NMFS-approved hardware and software, as specified in paragraph (b)(5) of this section.

(iii) Electronic logbook/video monitoring reporting. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under § 622.170(b)(1), and whose vessel fishes for or lands such snapper-grouper in or from state or Federal waters, who is selected to report by the SRD must participate in the NMFS-sponsored electronic logbook and/or video monitoring program as directed by the SRD. Compliance with the reporting requirements of paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section is required for permit renewal.

(2) Reporting deadlines for charter vessels and headboats.

(i) Completed electronic fishing reports required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section must be submitted to the SRD by the Tuesday following each previous reporting week of Monday through Sunday, or at shorter intervals if notified by the SRD. If no fishing activity as a charter vessel or headboat occurred during a reporting week, an electronic report so stating must be submitted by the Tuesday following that reporting week, or at a shorter interval if notified by the SRD.

(ii) Completed fishing reports required by paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section for charter vessels or headboats may be required weekly or daily, as directed by the SRD. Information to be reported is indicated on the form and its accompanying instructions.

(3) Catastrophic conditions. During catastrophic conditions only, NMFS provides for use of paper forms for basic required functions as a backup to the electronic reports required by paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, and other appropriate means such as fishery bulletins or NOAA weather radio, and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper forms for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. The paper forms will be available from NMFS. During catastrophic conditions, the RA has the authority to modify or waive reporting time requirements.

(4) Compliance requirement. Electronic reports required by paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section must be submitted and received by NMFS according to the reporting requirements under this section. A report not received within the applicable time specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section is delinquent. A delinquent report results in the owner and operator of a charter vessel or headboat for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued being prohibited from harvesting or possessing such species automatically, with no additional requirement for NMFS to provide notice to the owner and operator of their delinquency. The owner and operator who are prohibited from harvesting or possessing such species due to delinquent reports are authorized to harvest or possess such species only after all required and delinquent reports have been submitted and received by NMFS according to the reporting requirements under this section.

(5) Hardware and software requirements for electronic reporting. Owners and operators must submit electronic reports using NMFS-approved hardware and software as posted on the NMFS Southeast Region website.

(c) Dealers.

(1) A dealer who first receives South Atlantic snapper-grouper (including wreckfish) must maintain records and submit information as specified in § 622.5(c).

(2) On demand, a dealer who has been issued a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit, as required under § 622.170(c)(1), must make available to an authorized officer all records of offloadings, purchases, or sales of South Atlantic snapper-grouper (including wreckfish).

(d) Private recreational vessels in the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery. The owner or operator of a vessel that fishes for or lands South Atlantic snapper-grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ who is selected to report by the SRD must -

(1) Maintain a fishing record for each trip, or a portion of such trips as specified by the SRD, on forms provided by the SRD. Completed fishing records must be submitted to the SRD monthly and must either be made available to an authorized statistical reporting agent or be postmarked not later than 7 days after the end of each month. Information to be reported is indicated on the form and its accompanying instructions.

(2) Participate in the NMFS-sponsored electronic logbook and/or video monitoring reporting program as directed by the SRD.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 78781, Dec. 27, 2013; 79 FR 19495, Apr. 9, 2014; 85 FR 10339, Feb. 24, 2020]

§ 622.177 Gear identification.

(a) Sea bass pots and associated buoys -

(1) Sea bass pots. A sea bass pot used or possessed in the South Atlantic EEZ between 35°15.19′ N. lat. (due east of Cape Hatteras Light, NC) and 28°35.1′ N. lat. (due east of the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, Cape Canaveral, FL), or a sea bass pot on board a vessel with a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper, must have a valid identification tag issued by the RA attached.

(2) Associated buoys. In the South Atlantic EEZ, buoys are not required to be used, but, if used, each buoy must display the official number and color code assigned by the RA so as to be easily distinguished, located, and identified.

(3) Presumption of ownership. A sea bass pot in the EEZ will be presumed to be the property of the most recently documented owner. This presumption will not apply with respect to such pots that are lost or sold if the owner reports the loss or sale within 15 days to the RA.

(4) Unmarked sea bass pots or buoys. An unmarked sea bass pot or a buoy deployed in the EEZ where such pot or buoy is required to be marked is illegal and may be disposed of in any appropriate manner by the Assistant Administrator or an authorized officer.

(b) [Reserved]

§ 622.178 At-sea observer coverage.

(a) Required coverage.

(1) A vessel for which a Federal commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper or a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued must carry a NMFS-approved observer, if the vessel's trip is selected by the SRD for observer coverage. Vessel permit renewal is contingent upon compliance with this paragraph (a)(1).

(2) Any other vessel that fishes for South Atlantic snapper-grouper in the South Atlantic EEZ must carry a NMFS-approved observer, if the vessel's trip is selected by the SRD for observer coverage.

(b) Notification to the SRD. When observer coverage is required, an owner or operator must advise the SRD in writing not less than 5 days in advance of each trip of the following:

(1) Departure information (port, dock, date, and time).

(2) Expected landing information (port, dock, and date).

(c) Observer accommodations and access. An owner or operator of a vessel on which a NMFS-approved observer is embarked must:

(1) Provide accommodations and food that are equivalent to those provided to the crew.

(2) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's communications equipment and personnel upon request for the transmission and receipt of messages related to the observer's duties.

(3) Allow the observer access to and use of the vessel's navigation equipment and personnel upon request to determine the vessel's position.

(4) Allow the observer free and unobstructed access to the vessel's bridge, working decks, holding bins, weight scales, holds, and any other space used to hold, process, weigh, or store fish.

(5) Allow the observer to inspect and copy the vessel's log, communications logs, and any records associated with the catch and distribution of fish for that trip.

§ 622.179 Conservation measures for protected resources.

(a) South Atlantic snapper-grouper commercial vessels and charter vessels/headboats -

(1) Sea turtle conservation measures.

(i) The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper or a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under § 622.170(a)(1) and (b)(1), respectively, and whose vessel has on board any hook-and-line gear, must have the 2019 version of the NMFS document titled, “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury” available for reference on board electronically or have a paper copy on board inside the wheelhouse, or within a waterproof case if there is no wheelhouse. In addition, the NMFS sea turtle handling and release guidelines placard must be posted inside the wheelhouse or an easily viewable area on the vessel if there is no wheelhouse.

(ii) Such owner or operator must also comply with the sea turtle interaction mitigation measures, including the release gear and handling requirements specified in appendix F of this part.

(iii) Those permitted vessels with a freeboard height of 4 ft (1.2 m) or less must have on board a net or hoist, tire or other support device, short-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, long-nose or needle-nose pliers, bolt cutters, monofilament line cutters, and at least two types of mouth openers or mouth gags. This equipment must meet the specifications described in appendix F of this part.

(iv) Those permitted vessels with a freeboard height of greater than 4 ft (1.2 m) must have on board a net or hoist, tire or other support device, long-handled line clipper or cutter, short-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, long-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, a long-handled device to pull an inverted “V” in the fishing line, long-nose or needle-nose pliers, bolt cutters, monofilament line cutters, and at least two types of mouth openers or mouth gags. This equipment must meet the specifications described in appendix F of this part.

(2) Smalltooth sawfish conservation measures. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper or a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under §§ 622.170(a)(1) and 622.170(b)(1), respectively, that incidentally catches a smalltooth sawfish must -

(i) Keep the sawfish in the water at all times;

(ii) If it can be done safely, untangle the line if it is wrapped around the saw;

(iii) Cut the line as close to the hook as possible; and

(iv) Not handle the animal or attempt to remove any hooks on the saw, except with a long-handled dehooker.

(b) Incorporation by reference. The standards required in paragraph (a)(1) of this section are incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for inspection at the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, phone: 727-824-5301, website: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/endangered-species-conservation/sea-turtle-and-smalltooth-sawfish-release-gear-protocols, and is available from the sources listed in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, email or go to www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

(1) U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149.

(i) Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-735, Stokes, L., and Bergmann, C. (Editors), 2019.

(ii) [Reserved]

(2) U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

(i) Sea Turtle Handling/Release Guidelines: Quick Reference for Hook and Line Fisheries, English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Revised April 2019.

(ii) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 84 FR 67238, Dec. 9, 2019]

§ 622.180 Prohibited gear and methods.

Also see § 622.9 for additional prohibited gear and methods that apply more broadly to multiple fisheries or in some cases all fisheries.

(a) Poisons. A poison may not be used to fish for South Atlantic snapper-grouper in the South Atlantic EEZ.

(b) Rebreathers and spearfishing gear. In the South Atlantic EEZ, a person using a rebreather may not harvest South Atlantic snapper-grouper with spearfishing gear. The possession of such snapper-grouper while in the water with a rebreather is prima facie evidence that such fish was harvested with spearfishing gear while using a rebreather.

(c) Longlines for wreckfish. A bottom longline may not be used to fish for wreckfish in the South Atlantic EEZ. A person aboard a vessel that has a longline on board may not retain a wreckfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. For the purposes of this paragraph, a vessel is considered to have a longline on board when a power-operated longline hauler, a cable of diameter suitable for use in the longline fishery longer than 1.5 mi (2.4 km) on any reel, and gangions are on board. Removal of any one of these three elements constitutes removal of a longline.

§ 622.181 Prohibited and limited-harvest species.

(a) General. The harvest and possession restrictions of this section apply without regard to whether the species is harvested by a vessel operating under a commercial vessel permit. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for the limit applicable to that vessel.

(b) Prohibited species.

(1) Goliath grouper may not be harvested or possessed in the South Atlantic EEZ. Goliath grouper taken in the South Atlantic EEZ incidentally by hook-and-line must be released immediately by cutting the line without removing the fish from the water.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) Speckled hind and warsaw grouper. Speckled hind and warsaw grouper may not be harvested or possessed in or from the South Atlantic EEZ. Such fish caught in the South Atlantic EEZ must be released immediately with a minimum of harm. These restrictions also apply in the South Atlantic on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, i.e., in state or Federal waters.

(4) Nassau grouper may not be harvested or possessed in the South Atlantic EEZ or the Gulf EEZ. Nassau grouper taken in the South Atlantic EEZ or the Gulf EEZ incidentally by hook-and-line must be released immediately by cutting the line without removing the fish from the water.

(c) Limited-harvest species. A person who fishes in the EEZ may not combine a harvest limitation specified in this paragraph (c) with a harvest limitation applicable to state waters. A species subject to a harvest limitation specified in this paragraph (c) taken in the EEZ may not be transferred at sea, regardless of where such transfer takes place, and such species may not be transferred in the EEZ.

(1) Cubera snapper. No person may harvest more than two cubera snapper measuring 30 inches (76.2 cm), TL, or larger, per day in the South Atlantic EEZ off Florida and no more than two such cubera snapper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ off Florida may be possessed on board a vessel at any time.

(2) Red snapper. Red snapper may only be harvested or possessed in or from the South Atlantic EEZ during the commercial and recreational seasons as specified in §§ 622.183(b)(5) and 622.193(y). Any red snapper caught in the South Atlantic EEZ during a time other than the specified commercial or recreational seasons specified in § 622.193(y) must be released immediately with a minimum of harm. In addition, for a person on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, the prohibition on the harvest or possession of red snapper applies in the South Atlantic, regardless of where such fish are harvested or possessed, i.e., in state or Federal waters.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 44464, July 24, 2013; 78 FR 78775, Dec. 27, 2013; 83 FR 35434, July 26, 2018]

§ 622.182 Gear-restricted areas.

(a) Special management zones (SMZs).

(1) The SMZs consist of artificial reefs and surrounding areas as follows:

(i) Paradise Reef is bounded on the north by 33°31.59′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°30.51′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°57.55′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°58.85′ W. long.

(ii) Ten Mile Reef is bounded on the north by 33°26.65′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°24.80′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°51.08′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°52.97′ W. long.

(iii) Pawleys Island Reef is bounded on the north by 33°26.58′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°25.76′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°00.29′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°01.24′ W. long.

(iv) Georgetown Reef is bounded on the north by 33°14.90′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°13.85′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°59.45′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°00.65′ W. long.

(v) Capers Reef is bounded on the north by 32°45.45′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°43.91′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°33.81′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°35.10′ W. long.

(vi) Kiawah Reef is bounded on the north by 32°29.78′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°28.25′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°59.00′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°00.95′ W. long.

(vii) Edisto Offshore Reef is bounded on the north by 32°15.30′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°13.90′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°50.25′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°51.45′ W. long.

(viii) Hunting Island Reef is bounded on the north by 32°13.72′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°12.30′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°19.23′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°21.00′ W. long.

(ix) Fripp Island Reef is bounded on the north by 32°15.92′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°14.75′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°21.62′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°22.90′ W. long.

(x) Betsy Ross Reef is bounded on the north by 32°03.60′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°02.88′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°24.57′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°25.50′ W. long.

(xi) Hilton Head Reef/Artificial Reef - T is bounded on the north by 32°00.71′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°59.42′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°35.23′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°36.37′ W. long.

(xii) Artificial Reef - A is bounded on the north by 30°57.4′ N. lat.; on the south by 30°55.4′ N. lat.; on the east by 81°13.9′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°16.3′ W. long.

(xiii) Artificial Reef - C is bounded on the north by 30°52.0′ N. lat.; on the south by 30°50.0′ N. lat.; on the east by 81°08.5′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°10.9′ W. long.

(xiv) Artificial Reef - G is bounded on the north by 31°00.0′ N. lat.; on the south by 30°58.0′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°56.8′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°59.2′ W. long.

(xv) Artificial Reef - F is bounded on the north by 31°06.8′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°04.8′ N. lat.; on the east by 81°10.5′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°13.4′ W. long.

(xvi) Artificial Reef - J is bounded on the north by 31°36.7′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°34.7′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°47.3′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°50.1′ W. long.

(xvii) Artificial Reef - L is bounded on the north by 31°46.0′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°44.0′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°34.7′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°37.1′ W. long.

(xviii) Artificial Reef - KC is bounded on the north by 31°51.2′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°49.2′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°45.3′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°47.7′ W. long.

(xix) Ft. Pierce Inshore Reef is bounded on the north by 27°26.8′ N. lat.; on the south by 27°25.8′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°09.24′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°10.36′ W. long.

(xx) Ft. Pierce Offshore Reef is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 27°23.68′ 80°03.95′
B 27°22.80′ 80°03.60′
C 27°23.94′ 80°00.02′
D 27°24.85′ 80°00.33′
A 27°23.68′ 80°03.95′

(xxi) Key Biscayne/Artificial Reef - H is bounded on the north by 25°42.82′ N. lat.; on the south by 25°41.32′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°04.22′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°05.53′ W. long.

(xxii) Little River Offshore Reef is bounded on the north by 33°42.10′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°41.10′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°26.40′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°27.10′ W. long.

(xxiii) BP-25 Reef is bounded on the north by 33°21.70′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°20.70′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°24.80′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°25.60′ W. long.

(xxiv) Vermilion Reef is bounded on the north by 32°57.80′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°57.30′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°39.30′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°40.10′ W. long.

(xxv) Cape Romaine Reef is bounded on the north by 33°00.00′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°59.50′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°02.01′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°02.62′ W. long.

(xxvi) Y-73 Reef is bounded on the north by 32°33.20′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°32.70′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°19.10′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°19.70′ W. long.

(xxvii) Eagles Nest Reef is bounded on the north by 32°01.48′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°00.98′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°30.00′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°30.65′ W. long.

(xxviii) Bill Perry Jr. Reef is bounded on the north by 33°26.20′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°25.20′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°32.70′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°33.80′ W. long.

(xxix) Comanche Reef is bounded on the north by 32°27.40′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°26.90′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°18.80′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°19.60′ W. long.

(xxx) Murrel's Inlet 60 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 33°17.50′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°16.50′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°44.67′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°45.98′ W. long.

(xxxi) Georgetown 95 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 33°11.75′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°10.75′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°24.10′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°25.63′ W. long.

(xxxii) New Georgetown 60 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 33°09.25′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°07.75′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°49.95′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°51.45′ W. long.

(xxxiii) North Inlet 45 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 33°21.03′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°20.03′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°00.31′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°01.51′ W. long.

(xxxiv) CJ Davidson Reef is bounded on the north by 33°06.48′ N. lat.; on the south by 33°05.48′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°00.27′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°01.39′ W. long.

(xxxv) Greenville Reef is bounded on the north by 32°57.25′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°56.25′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°54.25′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°55.25′ W. long.

(xxxvi) Charleston 60 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 32°33.60′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°32.60′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°39.70′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°40.90′ W. long.

(xxxvii) Edisto 60 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 32°21.75′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°20.75′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°04.10′ W. longitude; and on the west by 80°05.70′ W. long.

(xxxviii) Edisto 40 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 32°25.78′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°24.78′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°11.24′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°12.32′ W. long.

(xxxix) Beaufort 45 Foot Reef is bounded on the north by 32°07.65′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°06.65′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°28.80′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°29.80′ W. long.

(xl) Artificial Reef - ALT is bounded on the north by 31°18.6′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°16.6′ N. lat.; on the east by 81°07.0′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°09.4′ W. long.

(xli) Artificial Reef - CAT is bounded on the north by 31°40.2′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°38.2′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°56.2′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°58.6′ W. long.

(xlii) Artificial Reef - CCA is bounded on the north by 31°43.7′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°41.7′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°40.0′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°42.3′ W. long.

(xliii) Artificial Reef - DRH is bounded on the north by 31°18.0′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°16.0′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°56.6′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°59.0′ W. long.

(xliv) Artificial Reef - DUA is bounded on the north by 31°47.8′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°45.8′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°52.1′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°54.5′ W. long.

(xlv) Artificial Reef - DW is bounded on the north by 31°22.8′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°20.3′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°49.8′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°51.1′ W. long.

(xlvi) Artificial Reef - KBY is bounded on the north by 30°48.6′ N. lat.; on the south by 30°46.6′ N. lat.; on the east by 81°15.0′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°17.4′ W. long.

(xlvii) Artificial Reef - KTK is bounded on the north by 31°31.3′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°29.3′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°59.1′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°01.5′ W. long.

(xlviii) Artificial Reef - MRY is bounded on the north by 30°47.5′ N. lat.; on the south by 30°45.5′ N. lat.; on the east by 81°05.5′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°07.8′ W. long.

(xlix) Artificial Reef - SAV is bounded on the north by 31°55.4′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°53.4′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°45.2′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°47.6′ W. long.

(l) Artificial Reef - SFC is bounded on the north by 31°00.8′ N. lat.; on the south by 30°59.8′ N. lat.; on the east by 81°02.2′ W. long.; and on the west by 81°03.4′ W. long.

(li) Artificial Reef - WW is bounded on the north by 31°43.5′ N. lat.; on the south by 31°42.2′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°57.7′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°59.3′ W. long.

(2) To determine what restrictions apply in the SMZs listed in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, follow this table:

In SMZs specified in the following paragraphs of this section These restrictions apply
(a)(1)(i) through (x), (a)(1)(xx), and (a)(1)(xxii) through (xxxix) Use of a powerhead to take South Atlantic snapper-grouper is prohibited.
Possession of a powerhead and a mutilated South Atlantic snapper-grouper in, or after having fished in, one of these SMZs constitutes prima facie evidence that such fish was taken with a powerhead in the SMZ. Harvest and possession of a South Atlantic snapper-grouper is limited to the bag-limits specified § 622.187(b).
(a)(1)(i) through (xviii) and (a)(1)(xxii) through (li) Fishing may only be conducted with handline, rod and reel, and spearfishing gear.
(a)(1)(i) through (li) Use of a sea bass pot or bottom longline is prohibited.
(a)(1)(xii) through (xviii) and (a)(1)(xl) through (li) Possession of South Atlantic snapper-grouper taken with a powerhead is limited to the bag limits specified in § 622.187(b).
(a)(1)(xix) and (a)(1)(xx) A hydraulic or electric reel that is permanently affixed to the vessel is prohibited when fishing for South Atlantic snapper-grouper.
(a)(1)(xix) and (a)(1)(xxi) Use of spearfishing gear is prohibited.

(b) Longline prohibited areas. A longline may not be used to fish in the EEZ for South Atlantic snapper-grouper south of 27°10′ N. lat. (due east of the entrance to St. Lucie Inlet, FL); or north of 27°10′ N. lat. where the charted depth is less than 50 fathoms (91.4 m), as shown on the latest edition of the largest scale NOAA chart of the location. A person aboard a vessel with a longline on board that fishes on a trip in the South Atlantic EEZ south of 27°10′ N. lat., or north of 27°10′ N. lat. where the charted depth is less than 50 fathoms (91.4 m), is limited on that trip to the bag limit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper for which a bag limit is specified in § 622.187(b), and to zero for all other South Atlantic snapper-grouper. For the purpose of this paragraph, a vessel is considered to have a longline on board when a power-operated longline hauler, a cable or monofilament of diameter and length suitable for use in the longline fishery, and gangions are on board. Removal of any one of these three elements constitutes removal of a longline.

(c) [Reserved]

(d) Sea bass pot prohibited area. A sea bass pot may not be used in the South Atlantic EEZ south of 28°35.1′ N. lat. (due east of the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, Cape Canaveral, FL). A sea bass pot deployed in the EEZ south of 28°35.1′ N. lat. may be disposed of in any appropriate manner by the Assistant Administrator or an authorized officer.

(d) [Reserved]

(e) SMZs off North Carolina.

(1) The center of each SMZ in Table 3 to this paragraph (e) is located at the given point with a radius extending the applicable distance in every direction laterally from that point to form a circle around the center point.

(2) Harvest of South Atlantic snapper-grouper while in the SMZs in this paragraph (e) is permitted only by handline, rod and reel, and spearfishing gear. All harvest of South Atlantic snapper-grouper by spearfishing gear in the SMZs in this paragraph (e) is limited to the applicable recreational bag and possession limits in § 622.187.

Table 3 to Paragraph (e)

Reef name North lat. West long. Radius in ft
(m)
AR-130 36°00.296′ 75°31.957′ 1,500 (457)
AR-140 35°56.718′ 75°31.965′ 1,500 (457)
AR-145 35°54.017′ 75°23.883′ 1,500 (457)
AR-220 35°08.117′ 75°40.633′ 3,000 (914)
AR-225 35°06.768′ 75°39.322′ 1,500 (457)
AR-230 35°06.133′ 75°42.933′ 1,500 (457)
AR-250 34°56.900′ 75°54.860′ 1,500 (457)
AR-255 34°55.483′ 75°57.910′ 1,500 (457)
AR-285 34°33.383′ 76°26.350′ 1,500 (457)
AR-300 34°18.517′ 76°24.133′ 1,500 (457)
AR-302 34°10.265′ 76°13.703′ 1,500 (457)
AR-305 34°16.683′ 76°38.650′ 1,500 (457)
AR-330 34°33.634′ 76°51.267′ 3,000 (914)
AR-340 34°34.319′ 76°58.345′ 1,500 (457)
AR-345 34°32.266′ 76°58.508′ 1,500 (457)
AR-355 34°21.318′ 77°19.877′ 1,500 (457)
AR-362 34°15.657′ 77°30.392′ 1,500 (457)
AR-366 34°12.950′ 77°25.250′ 1,500 (457)
AR-368 34°09.514′ 77°25.782′ 1,500 (457)
AR-372 34°06.295′ 77°44.917′ 1,500 (457)
AR-376 34°03.283′ 77°39.633′ 1,500 (457)
AR-382 33°58.581′ 77°41.172′ 1,500 (457)
AR-386 33°57.517′ 77°33.400′ 1,500 (457)
AR-400 33°29.267′ 77°35.227′ 1,500 (457)
AR-420 33°51.050′ 78°06.710′ 1,500 (457)
AR-440 33°49.800′ 78°13.083′ 1,500 (457)
AR-445 33°44.783′ 78°14.100′ 1,500 (457)
AR-455 33°47.033′ 78°17.883′ 1,500 (457)
AR-460 33°50.089′ 78°22.022′ 1,500 (457)
AR-465 33°23.423′ 78°11.052′ 1,500 (457)

(f) Additional SMZs off South Carolina.

(1) The center of each SMZ in Table 4 to this paragraph (f) is located at the given point with a radius extending the applicable distance in every direction laterally from that point to form a circle around the center point.

(2) Harvest of South Atlantic snapper-grouper while in the SMZs in this paragraph (f) is permitted only by handline, rod and reel, and spearfishing gear (excludes a powerhead). All harvest of South Atlantic snapper-grouper by the allowable gear in the SMZs in this paragraph (f) is limited to the applicable recreational bag and possession limits in § 622.187.

(3) PA-04 - Ron McManus Memorial Reef. This SMZ is bounded by lines connecting the following corner points: northwest corner point at 33°46.400′ N, 78°36.200′ W; northeast corner point at 33°46.400′ N, 78°35.600′ W; southeast corner point at 33°45.900′ N, 78°35.600′ W; and southwest corner point at 33°45.900′ N, 78°36.200′ W.

Table 4 to Paragraph (f)

Reef name North lat. West long. Radius in ft
(m)
PA-07 Pop Nash 33°34.510′ 78°51.000′ 600 (183)
PA-28 Lowcountry Anglers 32°34.300′ 79°55.100′ 600 (183)
PA-34 CCA-McClellanville 32°51.800′ 79°22.500′ 600 (183)

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 85 FR 36171, June 15, 2020]

§ 622.183 Area and seasonal closures.

(a) Area closures -

(1) Marine protected areas (MPAs).

(i) No person may fish for a South Atlantic snapper-grouper in an MPA, and no person may possess a South Atlantic snapper-grouper in an MPA. However, the prohibition on possession does not apply to a person aboard a vessel that is in transit with fishing gear appropriately stowed as specified in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section. In addition to these restrictions, see § 635.21(d)(1)(iii) of this chapter regarding restrictions applicable within these MPAs for any vessel issued a permit under part 635 of this chapter that has longline gear on board. MPAs consist of deepwater areas as follows:

(A) Snowy Grouper Wreck MPA is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 33°25′ 77°04.75′
B 33°34.75′ 76°51.3′
C 33°25.5′ 76°46.5′
D 33°15.75′ 77°00.0′
A 33°25′ 77°04.75′

(B) Northern South Carolina MPA is bounded on the north by 32°53.5′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°48.5′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°04.75′ W. long.; and on the west by 78°16.75′ W. long.

(C) Edisto MPA is bounded on the north by 32°24′ N. lat.; on the south by 32°18.5′ N. lat.; on the east by 78°54.0′ W. long.; and on the west by 79°06.0′ W. long.

(D) Charleston Deep Artificial Reef MPA is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 32°05.04′ 79°13.575′
B 32°09.65′ 79°09.2′
C 32°07.155′ 79°05.595′
D 32°02.36′ 79°09.975′
A 32°05.04′ 79°13.575′

(E) Georgia MPA is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 31°43′ 79°31′
B 31°43′ 79°21′
C 31°34′ 79°29′
D 31°34′ 79°39′
A 31°43′ 79°31′

(F) North Florida MPA is bounded on the north by 30°29′ N. lat.; on the south by 30°19′ N. lat.; on the east by 80°02′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°14′ W. long.

(G) St. Lucie Hump MPA is bounded on the north by 27°08′ N. lat.; on the south by 27°04′ N. lat.; on the east by 79°58′ W. long.; and on the west by 80°00′ W. long.

(H) East Hump MPA is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 24°36.5′ 80°45.5′
B 24°32′ 80°36′
C 24°27.5′ 80°38.5′
D 24°32.5′ 80°48′
A 24°36.5′ 80°45.5′

(ii) For the purpose of paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, transit means direct, non-stop progression through the MPA. Fishing gear appropriately stowed means -

(A) A longline may be left on the drum if all gangions and hooks are disconnected and stowed below deck. Hooks cannot be baited. All buoys must be disconnected from the gear; however, buoys may remain on deck.

(B) A trawl or try net may remain on deck, but trawl doors must be disconnected from such net and must be secured.

(C) A gillnet, stab net, or trammel net must be left on the drum. Any additional such nets not attached to the drum must be stowed below deck.

(D) Terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. A rod and reel must be removed from the rod holder and stowed securely on or below deck.

(E) A crustacean trap, golden crab trap, or sea bass pot cannot be baited. All buoys must be disconnected from the gear; however, buoys may remain on deck.

(2) Spawning SMZs.

(i) Any fishing vessel in a spawning SMZ is prohibited to fish for or harvest species in the snapper-grouper fishery management unit year-round. For a fishing vessel to possess snapper-grouper species on board while in a spawning SMZ, the vessel must be in transit and fishing gear must be appropriately stowed, as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(vii) of this section. Except for spawning SMZs of Area 51 and Area 53, the spawning SMZs in this paragraph are effective until August 2, 2027. A person on board a fishing vessel may not anchor, use an anchor and chain, or use a grapple and chain while in the spawning SMZs specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. The anchoring prohibition does not apply to fishing vessels in the spawning SMZs of Area 51 and Area 53.

(ii) South Cape Lookout Spawning SMZ is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 33°53.040′ 76°28.617′
B 33°52.019′ 76°27.798′
C 33°49.946′ 76°30.627′
D 33°51.041′ 76°31.424′
A 33°53.040′ 76°28.617′

(iii) Devil's Hole/Georgetown Hole Spawning SMZ is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 32°34.311′ 78°34.996′
B 32°34.311′ 78°33.220′
C 32°32.748′ 78°33.220′
D 32°32.748′ 78°34.996′
A 32°34.311′ 78°34.996′

(iv) Area 51 Spawning SMZ is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 32°35.25′ 79°28.6′
B 32°35.25′ 79°27′
C 32°33.75′ 79°27′
D 32°33.75′ 79°28.6′
A 32°35.25′ 79°28.6′

(v) Area 53 Spawning SMZ is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 32°22.65′ 79°22.25′
B 32°22.65′ 79°20.5′
C 32°21.15′ 79°20.5′
D 32°21.15′ 79°22.25′
A 32°22.65′ 79°22.25′

(vi) Warsaw Hole/50 Fathom Hole Spawning SMZ is bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
A 24°22.277′ 82°20.417′
B 24°22.277′ 82°18.215′
C 24°20.932′ 82°18.215′
D 24°20.932′ 82°20.417′
A 24°22.277′ 82°20.417′

(vii) For the purpose of paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section, transit means direct, non-stop progression through the spawning SMZ. Fishing gear appropriately stowed means -

(A) A longline may be left on the drum if all gangions and hooks are disconnected and stowed below deck. Hooks cannot be baited. All buoys must be disconnected from the gear; however, buoys may remain on deck.

(B) Trawl doors and nets must be out of the water, but the doors are not required to be on deck or secured on or below deck.

(C) A gillnet, stab net, or trammel net must be left on the drum. Any additional such nets not attached to the drum must be stowed below deck.

(D) Terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.

(E) A crustacean trap, golden crab trap, or sea bass pot cannot be baited. All buoys must be disconnected from the gear; however, buoys may remain on deck.

(b) Seasonal closures -

(1) Seasonal closure of the commercial and recreational sectors for gag and associated grouper species. During January through April each year, no person may fish for, harvest, or possess in or from the South Atlantic EEZ any South Atlantic shallow-water grouper (SASWG): Gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney. For a person on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, these prohibitions against fishing, harvesting, or possessing apply in the South Atlantic, i.e., in state or Federal waters. Additionally, in the month of May, no person may fish for, harvest, or possess any South Atlantic red grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ off North Carolina or off South Carolina. For a person on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, these prohibitions against fishing, harvesting, or possessing red grouper in May apply in state waters off North Carolina and off South Carolina.

(2) Wreckfish spawning-season closure. From January 15 through April 15, each year, no person may harvest or possess on a fishing vessel wreckfish in or from the EEZ; offload wreckfish from the EEZ; or sell or purchase wreckfish in or from the EEZ. The prohibition on sale or purchase of wreckfish does not apply to trade in wreckfish that were harvested, offloaded, and sold or purchased prior to January 15 and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

(3) Wreckfish recreational sector closures. The recreational sector for wreckfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ is closed from January 1 through June 30, and September 1 through December 31, each year. During a closure, the bag and possession limit for wreckfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ is zero.

(4) Hogfish recreational sector off the Florida Keys and east coast of Florida. From January through April and from November through December each year, the recreational harvest or possession of hogfish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ off the Florida Keys and east coast of Florida, and in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida is prohibited, and the bag and possession limits are zero.

(5) Closures of the commercial and recreational sectors for red snapper -

(i) The commercial and recreational sectors for red snapper are closed (i.e., red snapper may not be harvested or possessed, or sold or purchased) in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, except as specified in § 622.193(y). Each year, NMFS will announce the season opening dates in the Federal Register. The commercial season will begin on the second Monday in July, unless otherwise specified. The recreational season, which consists of weekends only (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) begins on the second Friday in July, unless otherwise specified. NMFS will project the length of the recreational fishing season and announce the recreational fishing season end date in the Federal Register. See § 622.193(y), for establishing the end date of the commercial fishing season.

(ii) If the RA determines tropical storm or hurricane conditions exist, or are projected to exist, in the South Atlantic, during a commercial or recreational fishing season, the RA may modify the opening and closing dates of the fishing season by filing a notification to that effect with the Office of the Federal Register, and announcing via NOAA Weather Radio and a Fishery Bulletin any change in the dates of the red snapper commercial or recreational fishing season.

(6) Seasonal closure of the commercial black sea bass pot component of the snapper-grouper fishery. The closed area is that area and time period described in paragraphs (b)(6)(i) and (b)(6)(ii) of this section, respectively. During the applicable closure, no person may harvest or possess black sea bass in or from the closed area within the South Atlantic EEZ either with sea bass pots or from a vessel with sea bass pots on board, except that a vessel with a valid commercial permit for snapper-grouper with a sea bass pot endorsement that is in transit and with black sea bass pot gear appropriately stowed as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iii) of this section may possess black sea bass. In addition, sea bass pots must be removed from the water in the applicable closed area within the South Atlantic EEZ before the applicable time period, and may not be on board a vessel in the closed area within the South Atlantic EEZ during the applicable closure, except for such sea bass pot gear appropriately stowed on board a vessel in transit through the closed area. See paragraph (b)(6)(iii) of this section for black sea bass pot transit and gear stowage requirements through the closed areas.

(i) From November 1 through November 30 and from April 1 through April 30, no person may harvest or possess black sea bass in or from the closed area within the South Atlantic EEZ either with sea bass pots or from a vessel with sea bass pots on board in the South Atlantic EEZ inshore of the rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
1 35°15′ State/EEZ boundary.
2 35°15′ 75°09′.
3 35°06′ 75°22′.
4 35°06′ 75°39′.
5 35°01′ 75°47′.
6 34°54′ 75°46′.
7 34°52′ 76°04′.
8 34°33′ 76°22′.
9 34°23′ 76°18′.
10 34°21′ 76°27′.
11 34°25′ 76°51′.
12 34°09′ 77°19′.
13 33°44′ 77°38′.
14 33°25′ 77°27′.
15 33°22′ 77°40′.
16 33°28′ 77°41′.
17 33°32′ 77°53′.
18 33°22′ 78°26′.
19 33°06′ 78°31′.
20 33°05′ 78°40′.
21 33°01′ 78°43′.
22 32°56′ 78°57′.
23 32°44′ 79°04′.
24 32°42′ 79°13′.
25 32°34′ 79°23′.
26 32°25′ 79°25′.
27 32°23′ 79°37′.
28 31°53′ 80°09′.
29 31°31′ 80°33′.
30 30°43′ 80°49′.
31 30°30′ 81°01′.
32 29°45′ 81°01′.
33 29°31′ 80°58′.
34 29°13′ 80°52′.
35 29°13′ State/EEZ boundary.

(ii) From December 1 through March 31, no person may harvest or possess black sea bass in or from the closed area within the South Atlantic EEZ either with sea bass pots or from a vessel with sea bass pots on board in the South Atlantic EEZ inshore of the rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

Point North lat. West long.
1 35°15′ State/EEZ boundary.
2 35°15′ 75°08′.
3 34°58′ 75°41′.
4 34°49′ 75°50′.
5 34°47′ 76°05′.
6 34°31′ 76°18′.
7 34°20′ 76°13′.
8 34°12′ 77°00′.
9 33°43′ 77°30′.
10 33°21′ 77°21′.
11 33°18′ 77°41′.
12 33°22′ 77°56′.
13 33°12′ 78°20′.
14 33°05′ 78°22′.
15 33°01′ 78°38′.
16 32°40′ 79°01′.
17 32°36′ 79°18′.
18 32°19′ 79°22′.
19 32°16′ 79°37′.
20 32°03′ 79°48′.
21 31°39′ 80°27′.
22 30°58′ 80°47′.
23 30°13′ 81°01′.
24 29°32′ 80°39′.
25 29°22′ 80°44′.
26 28°50′ 80°22′.
27 28°21′ 80°18′.
28 28°21′ State/EEZ boundary.

(iii) For the purpose of paragraph (b)(6) of this section, transit means non-stop progression through the area; fishing gear appropriately stowed means all black sea bass pot gear must be out of the water and on board the deck of the vessel. All buoys must either be disconnected from the gear or stowed within the sea bass pot. Disconnected buoys may remain on deck.

(7) Blueline tilefish recreational sector closure. The recreational sector for blueline tilefish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ is closed from January 1 through April 30, and September 1 through December 31, each year. During a closure, the bag and possession limit for blueline tilefish in or from the South Atlantic EEZ is zero.

(8) Snowy grouper recreational sector closure. The recreational sector for snowy grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ is closed from January 1 through April 30, and September 1 through December 31, each year. During a closure, the bag and possession limit for snowy grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ is zero.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 44464, July 24, 2013; 78 FR 47579, Aug. 6, 2013; 78 FR 49184, Aug. 13, 2013; 78 FR 58253, Sept. 23, 2013; 80 FR 16587, Mar. 30, 2015; 80 FR 43038, July 21, 2015; 81 FR 95902, Dec. 29, 2016; 82 FR 29775, June 30, 2017; 82 FR 34594, July 25, 2017; 83 FR 35435, July 26, 2018; 85 FR 6827, Feb. 6, 2020; 85 FR 64980, Oct. 14, 2020]

§ 622.184 Seasonal harvest limitations.

(a) Greater amberjack spawning season. During April, each year, the possession of greater amberjack in or from the South Atlantic EEZ and in the South Atlantic on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, without regard to where such greater amberjack were harvested, is limited to one per person per day or one per person per trip, whichever is more restrictive. Such greater amberjack are subject to the prohibition on sale or purchase, as specified in § 622.192(g).

(b) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 83 FR 1309, Jan. 11, 2018; 85 FR 4594, Jan. 27, 2020]

§ 622.185 Size limits.

All size limits in this section are minimum size limits unless specified otherwise. A fish not in compliance with its size limit, as specified in this section, in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, may not be possessed, sold, or purchased. A fish not in compliance with its size limit must be released immediately with a minimum of harm. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that fish on board are in compliance with the size limits specified in this section.

(a) Snapper -

(1) [Reserved]

(2) Vermilion snapper - 12 inches (30.5 cm), TL.

(3) Cubera, gray, and yellowtail snappers - 12 inches (30.5 cm), TL.

(4) Mutton snapper - 18 inches (45.7 cm), TL.

(5) Lane snapper - 8 inches (20.3 cm), TL.

(b) Grouper -

(1) Red, yellowfin, and yellowmouth grouper; and scamp - 20 inches (50.8 cm), TL.

(2) Black grouper and gag - 24 inches (61.0 cm), TL.

(c) Other snapper-grouper species -

(1) Black sea bass.

(i) For a fish taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.187(b)(7) - 13 inches (33 cm), TL.

(ii) For a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.187(b)(7) - 11 inches (28 cm), TL.

(2) Gray triggerfish - 12 inches (30.5 cm), FL.

(3) Hogfish.

(i) In the South Atlantic EEZ off Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina - 17 inches (43.2 cm), fork length.

(ii) In the South Atlantic EEZ off the Florida Keys and east coast of Florida, and in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida - 16 inches (40.6 cm), fork length.

(4) Red porgy - 14 inches (35.6 cm), TL.

(5) Greater amberjack - 28 inches (71.1 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.187(b)(1) and 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit.

(6) Almaco jack. For a fish taken by a person not subject to the bag limit specified in § 622.187(b)(8) - 20 inches (50.8 cm), FL.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 44465, July 24, 2013; 80 FR 30952, June 1, 2015; 81 FR 32253, May 23, 2016; 82 FR 34594, July 25, 2017; 83 FR 1309, Jan. 11, 2018; 85 FR 4594, Jan. 27, 2020; 85 FR 11309, Feb. 27, 2020]

§ 622.186 Landing fish intact.

(a) South Atlantic snapper-grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ must be maintained with head and fins intact, except as specified in paragraph (b) of this section. Such fish may be eviscerated, gilled, and scaled, but must otherwise be maintained in a whole condition. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that fish on that vessel in the EEZ are maintained intact and, if taken from the EEZ, are maintained intact through offloading ashore, as specified in this section.

(b) In the South Atlantic EEZ, snapper-grouper lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters are exempt from the requirement that they be maintained with head and fins intact, provided that the skin remains intact on the entire fillet of any snapper-grouper carcasses, valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are on board the vessel, each person on the vessel has a valid government passport with current stamps and dates from The Bahamas, and the vessel is in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ with fishing gear appropriately stowed. For the purpose of this paragraph, a vessel is in transit through the South Atlantic EEZ when it is on a direct and continuous course through the South Atlantic EEZ and no one aboard the vessel fishes in the EEZ. For the purpose of this paragraph, fishing gear appropriately stowed means that terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately. See § 622.187(a)(3) for the limit of snapper-grouper fillets lawfully harvested from Bahamian waters that may transit through the South Atlantic EEZ.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 80 FR 80688, Dec. 28, 2015]

§ 622.187 Bag and possession limits.

(a) Additional applicability provisions for South Atlantic snapper-grouper. Section 622.11(a) provides the general applicability for bag and possession limits. However, § 622.11(a) notwithstanding:

(1) The bag and other limits specified in § 622.182(b) apply for South Atlantic snapper-grouper in or from the EEZ to a person aboard a vessel for which a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued that has on board a longline in the longline closed area.

(2) A person aboard a vessel for which a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued must comply with the bag limits specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section for South Atlantic snapper-grouper taken with a powerhead, regardless of where taken, when such snapper-grouper are possessed in an SMZ specified in § 622.182(a)(1)(xii) through (a)(1)(xviii) or (a)(1)(xl) through (a)(1)(li).

(3) In the South Atlantic EEZ, a vessel that lawfully harvests snapper-grouper in Bahamian waters, as per § 622.186 (b), must comply with the bag and possession limits specified in this section. For determining how many snapper-grouper are on board a vessel in fillet form when harvested lawfully in Bahamian waters, two fillets of snapper-grouper, regardless of the length of each fillet, is equivalent to one snapper-grouper. The skin must remain intact on the entire fillet of any snapper-grouper carcass.

(b) Bag limits -

(1) Greater amberjack - 1.

(2) Grouper and tilefish, combined - 3. Within the 3-fish aggregate bag limit:

(i) No more than one fish may be gag or black grouper, combined;

(ii) No more than one fish per vessel may be a snowy grouper;

(iii) No more than one fish may be a golden tilefish; and

(iv) [Reserved]

(v) No goliath grouper or Nassau grouper may be retained.

(3) Hogfish.

(i) In the South Atlantic EEZ off Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina - 2.

(ii) In the South Atlantic EEZ off the Florida Keys and east coast of Florida, and in the Gulf EEZ south of 25°09′ N. lat. off the west coast of Florida - 1.

(4) Snappers, combined - 10.

(i) Within the 10-fish bag limit, no more than 5 fish may be mutton snapper.

(ii) Excluded from this 10-fish bag limit are cubera snapper, measuring 30 inches (76.2 cm), TL, or larger, in the South Atlantic off Florida, and red snapper and vermilion snapper. (See § 622.181(b)(2) for the prohibitions on harvest or possession of red snapper, except during a limited recreational fishing season, and § 622.181(c)(1) for limitations on cubera snapper measuring 30 inches (76.2 cm), TL, or larger, in or from the South Atlantic EEZ off Florida.)

(5) Vermilion snapper - 5.

(6) Red porgy - 3.

(7) Black sea bass - 7.

(8) South Atlantic snapper-grouper (whitebone porgy, jolthead porgy, knobbed porgy, saucereye porgy, scup, almaco jack, banded rudderfish, lesser amberjack, white grunt, margate, sailor's choice, Atlantic spadefish, gray triggerfish, bar jack), combined - 20. However, excluded from this 20-fish bag limit are tomtate, South Atlantic snapper-grouper ecosystem component species (specified in table 4 of appendix A to part 622), and those specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (7) and paragraphs (b)(9) and (10) of this section. Within the 20-fish bag limit, no more than 10 fish can be of any one of these single snapper-grouper species.

(9) Red snapper - 1.

(10) No more than one fish per vessel may be a wreckfish.

(11) Longline bag limits. Other provisions of this paragraph (b) notwithstanding, a person on a trip aboard a vessel for which the bag limits apply that has a longline on board is limited on that trip to the bag limit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper for which a bag limit is specified in this paragraph (b), and to zero for all other South Atlantic snapper-grouper. For the purposes of this paragraph (b)(11), a vessel is considered to have a longline on board when a power-operated longline hauler, a cable or monofilament of diameter and length suitable for use in the longline fishery, and gangions are on board. Removal of any one of these elements constitutes removal of a longline.

(c) Possession limits.

(1) Provided each passenger is issued and has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the duration of the trip -

(i) A person aboard a charter vessel or headboat on a trip that spans more than 24 hours may possess no more than two daily bag limits of species other than red porgy.

(ii) A person aboard a headboat on a trip that spans more than 48 hours and who can document that fishing was conducted on at least 3 days may possess no more than three daily bag limits of species other than red porgy.

(2) A person aboard a vessel may not possess red porgy in or from the EEZ in excess of three per day or three per trip, whichever is more restrictive.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 44465, July 24, 2013; 78 FR 78775, Dec. 27, 2013; 80 FR 16587, Mar. 30, 2015; 80 FR 80688, Dec. 28, 2015; 81 FR 45248, July 13, 2016; 82 FR 34594, July 25, 2017; 83 FR 1309, Jan. 11, 2018; 83 FR 35435, July 26, 2018; 85 FR 11309, Feb. 27, 2020]

§ 622.188 Required gear, authorized gear, and unauthorized gear.

(a) Required gear. For a person on board a vessel to harvest or possess South Atlantic snapper-grouper in or from the South Atlantic EEZ, the vessel must possess on board and such person must use the gear as specified in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section.

(1) Dehooking device. At least one dehooking device is required and must be used as needed to remove hooks embedded in South Atlantic snapper-grouper with minimum damage. The hook removal device must be constructed to allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the removal process. The dehooking end must be blunt, and all edges rounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery.

(2) Non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks. Non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks are required to be used when fishing for South Atlantic snapper-grouper with hook-and-line gear and natural baits north of 28° N lat.

(3) Non-stainless steel hooks. Non-stainless steel hooks are required to be used when fishing for South Atlantic snapper-grouper with hook-and-line gear and natural baits south of 28° N lat.

(4) Descending device. At least one descending device is required to be on board a vessel and be ready for use while fishing for or possessing South Atlantic snapper-grouper. Descending device means an instrument capable of releasing the fish at the depth from which the fish was caught, and to which is attached a minimum of a 16-ounce (454-gram) weight and a minimum of a 60-ft (15.2-m) length of line. The descending device may either attach to the fish's mouth or be a container that will retain the fish while it is lowered to depth. The device must be capable of releasing the fish automatically, by actions of the operator of the device, or by allowing the fish to escape on its own when at depth.

(b) Authorized gear. Subject to the gear restrictions specified in § 622.180, the following are the only gear types authorized in a directed fishery for snapper-grouper in the South Atlantic EEZ: Bandit gear, bottom longline, buoy gear, handline, rod and reel, sea bass pot, and spearfishing gear.

(c) Unauthorized gear. All gear types other than those specified in paragraph (b) of this section are unauthorized gear and the following possession and transfer limitations apply.

(1) A vessel with trawl gear on board that fishes in the EEZ on a trip may possess no more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of South Atlantic snapper-grouper, excluding wreckfish, in or from the EEZ on that trip. It is a rebuttable presumption that a vessel with more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of South Atlantic snapper-grouper, excluding wreckfish, on board harvested such fish in the EEZ.

(2) Except as specified in paragraphs (d) through (f) of this section, a person aboard a vessel with unauthorized gear on board, other than trawl gear, that fishes in the EEZ on a trip is limited on that trip to:

(i) South Atlantic snapper-grouper species for which a bag limit is specified in § 622.187 - the bag limit.

(ii) All other South Atlantic snapper-grouper - zero.

(3) South Atlantic snapper-grouper on board a vessel with unauthorized gear on board may not be transferred at sea, regardless of where such transfer takes place, and such snapper-grouper may not be transferred in the EEZ.

(4) No vessel may receive at sea any South Atlantic snapper-grouper from a vessel with unauthorized gear on board, as specified in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.

(d) Possession allowance regarding sink nets off North Carolina. A vessel that has on board a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper, excluding wreckfish, that fishes in the EEZ off North Carolina with a sink net on board, may retain, without regard to the limits specified in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, otherwise legal South Atlantic snapper-grouper taken with bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, rod and reel, or sea bass pot. For the purpose of this paragraph (d), a sink net is a gillnet with stretched mesh measurements of 3 to 4.75 inches (7.6 to 12.1 cm) that is attached to the vessel when deployed.

(e) Possession allowance regarding bait nets. A vessel that has on board a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper, excluding wreckfish, that fishes in the South Atlantic EEZ with no more than one bait net on board, may retain, without regard to the limits specified in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, otherwise legal South Atlantic snapper-grouper taken with bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, rod and reel, or sea bass pot. For the purpose of this paragraph (e), a bait net is a gillnet not exceeding 50 ft (15.2 m) in length or 10 ft (3.1 m) in height with stretched mesh measurements of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) or smaller that is attached to the vessel when deployed.

(f) Possession allowance regarding cast nets. A vessel that has on board a commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper, excluding wreckfish, that fishes in the South Atlantic EEZ with a cast net on board, may retain, without regard to the limits specified in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, otherwise legal South Atlantic snapper-grouper taken with bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, rod and reel, or sea bass pot. For the purpose of this paragraph (f), a cast net is a cone-shaped net thrown by hand and designed to spread out and capture fish as the weighted circumference sinks to the bottom and comes together when pulled by a line.

(g) Longline species limitation. A vessel that has on board a valid Federal commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper, excluding wreckfish, that fishes in the EEZ on a trip with a longline on board, may possess only the following South Atlantic snapper-grouper: snowy grouper, yellowedge grouper, misty grouper, golden tilefish, blueline tilefish, and sand tilefish. See § 622.170(f) for the requirement to possess a valid South Atlantic golden tilefish longline endorsement to fish for golden tilefish in the South Atlantic EEZ using longline gear. For the purpose of this paragraph, a vessel is considered to have a longline on board when a power-operated longline hauler, a cable of diameter suitable for use in the longline fishery on any reel, and gangions are on board. Removal of any one of these three elements constitutes removal of a longline.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 23863 Apr. 23, 2013; 85 FR 36171, June 15, 2020]

§ 622.189 Restrictions and requirements for sea bass pots.

(a) Tending restriction. A sea bass pot in the South Atlantic EEZ may be pulled or tended only by a person (other than an authorized officer) aboard the vessel permitted to fish such pot or aboard another vessel if such vessel has on board written consent of the owner or operator of the vessel so permitted.

(b) Configuration restriction. In the South Atlantic EEZ, sea bass pots may not be used or possessed in multiple configurations, that is, two or more pots may not be attached one to another so that their overall dimensions exceed those allowed for an individual sea bass pot. This does not preclude connecting individual pots to a line, such as a “trawl” or trot line.

(c) Requirement for escape mechanisms.

(1) A sea bass pot that is used or possessed in the South Atlantic EEZ between 35°15.19′ N. lat. (due east of Cape Hatteras Light, NC) and 28°35.1′ N. lat. (due east of the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, Cape Canaveral, FL) is required to have -

(i) On at least one side, excluding top and bottom, a panel or door with an opening equal to or larger than the interior end of the trap's throat (funnel). The hinges and fasteners of each panel or door must be made of one of the following degradable materials:

(A) Ungalvanized or uncoated iron wire with a diameter not exceeding 0.041 inches (1.0 mm), that is, 19 gauge wire.

(B) Galvanic timed-release mechanisms with a letter grade designation (degradability index) no higher than J.

(ii) An unobstructed escape vent opening on at least two opposite vertical sides, excluding top and bottom. The minimum dimensions of an escape vent opening (based on inside measurement) are:

(A) 11/8 by 53/4 inches (2.9 by 14.6 cm) for a rectangular vent.

(B) 1.75 by 1.75 inches (4.5 by 4.5 cm) for a square vent.

(C) 2.0-inch (5.1-cm) diameter for a round vent.

(2) [Reserved]

(d) Construction requirements and mesh sizes.

(1) A sea bass pot used or possessed in the South Atlantic EEZ must have mesh sizes as follows (based on centerline measurements between opposite, parallel wires or netting strands):

(i) For sides of the pot other than the back panel:

(A) Hexagonal mesh (chicken wire) - at least 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) between the wrapped sides;

(B) Square mesh - at least 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) between sides; or

(C) Rectangular mesh - at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) between the longer sides and 2 inches (5.1 cm) between the shorter sides.

(ii) For the entire back panel, i.e., the side of the pot opposite the side that contains the pot entrance, mesh that is at least 2 inches (5.1 cm) between sides.

(2) [Reserved]

(e) Requirements for pot removal.

(1) A sea bass pot must be removed from the water in the South Atlantic EEZ and the vessel must be returned to a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp at the conclusion of each trip. Sea bass pots may remain on the vessel at the conclusion of each trip.

(2) A sea bass pot must be removed from the water in the South Atlantic EEZ when the applicable quota specified in § 622.190(a)(5) is reached. After a closure is in effect, a black sea bass may not be retained by a vessel that has a sea bass pot on board.

(f)