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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of August 20, 2014

Title 50Chapter VI → Part 635


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries


PART 635—ATLANTIC HIGHLY MIGRATORY SPECIES


Contents

Subpart A—General

§635.1   Purpose and scope.
§635.2   Definitions.
§635.3   Relation to other laws.
§635.4   Permits and fees.
§635.5   Recordkeeping and reporting.
§635.6   Vessel and gear identification.
§635.7   At-sea observer coverage.
§635.8   Workshops.

Subpart B—Limited Access

§635.16   [Reserved]

Subpart C—Management Measures

§635.20   Size limits.
§635.21   Gear operation and deployment restrictions.
§635.22   Recreational retention limits.
§635.23   Retention limits for BFT.
§635.24   Commercial retention limits for sharks, swordfish, and BAYS tunas.
§635.25   Fishing areas.
§635.26   Catch and release.
§635.27   Quotas.
§635.28   Fishery closures.
§635.29   Transfer at sea.
§635.30   Possession at sea and landing.
§635.31   Restrictions on sale and purchase.
§635.32   Specifically authorized activities.
§635.33   Archival tags.
§635.34   Adjustment of management measures.

Subpart D—Restrictions on Imports

§635.40   Restrictions to enhance conservation.
§635.41   Products denied entry.

Subpart E—International Port Inspection

§635.50   Basis and purpose.
§635.51   Authorized officer.
§635.52   Vessels subject to inspection.
§635.53   Reports.

Subpart F—Enforcement

§635.69   Vessel monitoring systems.
§635.70   Penalties.
§635.71   Prohibitions.
Appendix A to Part 635—Species Tables

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq.; 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Source: 64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General

§635.1   Purpose and scope.

(a) The regulations in this part govern the conservation and management of Atlantic tunas, Atlantic billfish, Atlantic sharks, and Atlantic swordfish under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA. They implement the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan and its amendments. The Atlantic tunas regulations govern conservation and management of Atlantic tunas in the management unit. The Atlantic billfish regulations govern conservation and management of Atlantic billfish in the management unit. The Atlantic swordfish regulations govern conservation and management of North and South Atlantic swordfish in the management unit. North Atlantic swordfish are managed under the authority of both ATCA and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. South Atlantic swordfish are managed under the sole authority of ATCA. The shark regulations govern conservation and management of sharks in the management unit, under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

(b) Under section 9(d) of ATCA, NMFS has determined that the regulations contained in this part with respect to Atlantic tunas are applicable within the territorial sea of the United States adjacent to, and within the boundaries of, the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, and the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NMFS will undertake a continuing review of State regulations to determine if regulations applicable to Atlantic tunas, swordfish or billfish are at least as restrictive as regulations contained in this part and if such regulations are effectively enforced. In such case, NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of the basis for the determination and of the specific regulations that shall or shall not apply in the territorial sea of the identified State.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 75 FR 30524, June 1, 2010]

§635.2   Definitions.

In addition to the definitions in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, ATCA, and §600.10 of this chapter, the terms used in this part have following meanings. If applicable, the terms used in this part supercede those used in §600.10:

Archival tag means a device that is implanted or affixed to a fish to electronically record scientific information about the migratory behavior of that fish.

ATCA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) means the certificate that must accompany any applicable shipment of fish pursuant to a finding under 16 U.S.C. 971d (c)(4) or (c)(5).

Atlantic Aggregated LCS means one of the following species, or parts thereof, as listed in table 1 of appendix A of this part: Atlantic blacktip, bull, lemon, nurse, silky, spinner, and tiger.

Atlantic HMS means Atlantic tunas, billfish, sharks, and swordfish.

Atlantic Ocean, as used in this part, includes the North and South Atlantic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean Sea.

Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate means the document issued by NMFS, or its designee, indicating that the person named on the certificate has successfully completed the Atlantic shark identification workshop.

BAYS means Atlantic bigeye, albacore, yellowfin, and skipjack tunas as defined in §600.10 of this part.

BFT landings quota means the portion of the ICCAT BFT catch quota allocated to the United States against which landings of BFT are counted.

Billfish Certificate of Eligibility (COE) means a certificate that accompanies a shipment of billfish indicating that the billfish or related species, or parts thereof, are not from the respective Atlantic Ocean management units.

Bottom longline means a longline that is deployed with enough weights and/or anchors to maintain contact with the ocean bottom.

BSD tag means a numbered tag affixed to a BFT issued by any country in conjunction with a catch statistics information program and recorded on a BSD.

Buoy gear means a fishing gear consisting of one or more floatation devices supporting a single mainline to which no more than two hooks or gangions are attached.

Caudal keel means the horizontal ridges along each side of a fish at the base of the tail fin.

CFL (curved fork length) means the length of a fish measured from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail along the contour of the body in a line that runs along the top of the pectoral fin and the top of the caudal keel.

Charleston Bump closed area means the Atlantic Ocean area seaward of the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ from a point intersecting the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ at 34°00 N. lat. near Wilmington Beach, NC, and proceeding due east to connect by straight lines the following coordinates in the order stated: 34°00 N. lat., 76°00 W. long.; 31°00 N. lat., 76°00 W. long.; then proceeding due west to intersect the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ at 31°00 N. lat. near Jekyll Island, GA.

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

CK means the length of a fish measured along the body contour, i.e., a curved measurement, from the point on the cleithrum that provides the shortest possible measurement along the body contour to the anterior portion of the caudal keel. The cleithrum is the semicircular bony structure at the posterior edge of the gill opening.

Convention means the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, signed at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on May 14, 1966, 20 U.S.T. 2887, TIAS 6767, including any amendments or protocols thereto, which are binding upon the United States.

Conventional tag means a numbered, flexible ribbon that is implanted or affixed to a fish that is released back into the ocean that allows for the identification of that fish in the event it is recaptured.

Corrodible Hook means a fishing hook composed of any material other than stainless steel.

Dealer tag means the numbered, flexible, self-locking ribbon issued by NMFS for the identification of BFT sold to a permitted dealer as required under §635.5(b)(2)(ii).

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

Designated by NMFS means the address or location indicated in a letter to permit holders or in a letter accompanying reporting forms.

DeSoto Canyon closed area means the area within the Gulf of Mexico bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order stated: 30°00 N. lat., 88°00 W. long.; 30°00 N. lat., 86°00 W. long.; 28°00 N. lat., 86°00 W. long.; 28°00 N. lat., 84°00 W. long.; 26°00 N. lat., 84°00 W. long.; 26°00 N. lat., 86°00 W. long.; 28°00 N. lat., 86°00 W. long.; 28°00 N. lat., 88°00 W. long.; 30°00 N. lat., 88°00 W. long.

Display permit means a permit issued in order to catch and land HMS for the purpose of public display pursuant to §635.32.

Division Chief means the Chief, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, NMFS (F/SF1), 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD, 20910; (301) 427-8503.

Downrigger means a piece of equipment attached to a vessel and with a weight on a cable that is in turn attached to hook-and-line gear to maintain lures or bait at depth while trolling. The downrigger has a release system to retrieve the weight by rod and reel or by manual, electric, or hydraulic winch after a fish strike on the hook-and-line gear.

Dress, for swordfish, tunas, and billfish, means to process a fish by removal of head, viscera, and fins, but does not include removal of the backbone, halving, quartering, or otherwise further reducing the carcass. For sharks, dress means to process a fish by removal of head and viscera, but does not include removal of the fins, backbone, halving, quartering, or otherwise further reducing the carcass.

Dressed weight (dw), for swordfish, tunas, and billfish, means the weight of a fish after it has been dressed. For sharks, dressed weight means the weight of a fish after it has been dressed and had its fins, including the tail, removed.

East Florida Coast closed area means the Atlantic Ocean area seaward of the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ from a point intersecting the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ at 31°00 N. lat. near Jekyll Island, GA, and proceeding due east to connect by straight lines the following coordinates in the order stated: 31°00 N. lat., 78°00 W. long.; 28°1710 N. lat., 79°1124 W. long.; then proceeding along the outer boundary of the EEZ to the intersection of the EEZ with 24°00 N. lat.; then proceeding due west to 24°00 N. lat., 81°47 W. long.; and then proceeding due north to intersect the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ at 81°47 W. long. near Key West, FL.

Edges 40 Fathom Contour closed area means a parallelogram-shaped area in the Gulf of Mexico bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order stated: 28° 51' N. lat., 85° 16' W. long.; 28° 51' N. lat., 85° 04' W. long.; 28° 14' N. lat., 84° 42' W. long.; 28° 14' N. lat., 84° 54' W. long.

EFP means an exempted fishing permit issued pursuant to §600.745 of this chapter or to §635.32.

Eviscerated means a fish that has only the alimentary organs removed.

Export, for purposes of this subpart, means to effect exportation.

Exportation has the same general meaning as 19 CFR 101.1 and generally refers to a severance of goods from the mass of things belonging to one country with the intention of uniting them to the mass of things belonging to some foreign country. For purposes of this subpart, a shipment between the United States and its insular possessions is not an export.

Exporter, for purposes of this subpart, is the principal party in interest, meaning the party that receives the primary benefit, monetary or otherwise, of the export transaction. For exports from the United States, the exporter is the U.S. principal party in interest, as identified in Part 30 of title 15 of the CFR. An exporter is subject to the requirements of this subpart, even if exports are exempt from statistical reporting requirements under Part 30 of title 15 of the CFR.

Federal Atlantic Commercial Shark Permit means any of the commercial shark permits issued pursuant to §635.4.

Finlet means one of the small individual fins on a tuna located behind the second dorsal and anal fins and forward of the tail fin.

First receive means to take possession for commercial purposes of any fish or any part thereof by purchasing, trading or bartering for it from the fishing vessel owner or operator once it is offloaded, where the vessel has been issued, or should have been issued, a valid permit under this part. First receive does not mean to take possession solely for transport.

First transaction in the United States means the time and place at which a fish is filleted, cut into steaks, or processed in any way that physically alters it after being landed in or imported into the United States.

Fishing record means all records of navigation and operations of a fishing vessel, as well as all records of catching, harvesting, transporting, landing, purchasing, or selling a fish.

Fishing vessel means any vessel engaged in fishing, processing, or transporting fish loaded on the high seas, or any vessel outfitted for such activities.

Fishing year means

(1) For Atlantic tunas and swordfish, before January 1, 2008 — June 1 through May 31. On or after January 1, 2008 — January 1 through December 31.

(2) For Atlantic billfish, On or after January 1, 2007 — January 1 through December 31.

(3) For sharks — January 1 through December 31.

FL (fork length) means the straight line measurement along the length of the fish from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail.

Floatation device means any positively buoyant object rigged to be attached to a fishing gear.

Floatline means a line attached to a buoyant object that is used to support the mainline of a longline at a specific target depth.

Florida Swordfish Management Area means the Atlantic Ocean area shoreward of the outer boundary of the U.S. EEZ from a point where latitude 28°1710 N. lat. intersects the U.S. mainland near Rockledge, Florida and proceeding due east across the barrier island near Cocoa Beach, Florida to connect by straight lines the following coordinates in the order stated: 28°1710 N. lat., 79°1124 W. long.; then proceeding along the outer boundary of the EEZ to the intersection of the EEZ with 24°00 N. lat.; then proceeding due west to 24°00 N. lat., 82°0 W. long, then proceeding due north to 25°48' N. lat., 82°0 W. long., then proceeding due east to the shore near Chokoloskee, Florida).

For-hire trip means a recreational fishing trip taken by a vessel with an Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat permit during which paying passenger(s) are aboard; or, for uninspected vessels, trips during which there are more than three persons aboard, including operator and crew; or, for vessels that have been issued a Certificate of Inspection by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire, trips during which there are more persons aboard than the number of crew specified on the vessel's Certificate of Inspection.

Freeboard is defined as the working distance between the top rail of the gunwale to the water's surface, and will vary based on the vessel design.

Gangion means a line that serves to attach a hook, suspended at a specific target depth, to the mainline of a longline.

Giant BFT means an Atlantic BFT measuring 81 inches (206 cm) CFL or greater.

Green-stick gear means an actively trolled mainline attached to a vessel and elevated or suspended above the surface of the water with no more than 10 hooks or gangions attached to the mainline. The suspended line, attached gangions and/or hooks, and catch may be retrieved collectively by hand or mechanical means. Green-stick does not constitute a pelagic longline or a bottom longline as defined in this section or as described at §635.21(c) or §635.21(d), respectively.

Gulf of Mexico Aggregated LCS means one of the following species, or parts thereof, as listed in Table 1 of appendix A of this part: bull, lemon, nurse, silky, spinner, and tiger.

Hammerhead Shark(s) means great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead shark species, or parts thereof, as listed in Table 1 in Appendix A of this part.

Handgear means handline, harpoon, rod and reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, or speargun gear.

Handline means fishing gear that is attached to, or in contact with, a vessel; that consists of a mainline to which no more than two hooks or gangions may be attached; and that is released and retrieved by hand rather than by mechanical means.

High-flyer means a flag, radar reflector or radio beacon transmitter, suitable for attachment to a longline to facilitate its location and retrieval.

Highly migratory species (HMS) means bluefin, bigeye, yellowfin, albacore, and skipjack tunas; swordfish; sharks (listed in appendix A to this part); white marlin; blue marlin; sailfish; longbill spearfish; and roundscale spearfish.

Importer, for purposes of this subpart, means the principal party responsible for the import of product into a country. For imports into the United States, and for purposes of this subpart, “importer” means the consignee as identified on entry documentation or any authorized, equivalent electronic medium required for release of shipments, or any authorized equivalent entry documentation from the customs authority of the United States or the separate customs territory of a U.S. insular possession. If a consignee is not declared, then the importer of record is considered to be the consignee.

LAP means a limited access permit issued pursuant to §635.4.

Large coastal shark (LCS) means one of the species, or a part thereof, listed in paragraph (a) of table 1 in appendix A to this part.

Large medium BFT means a BFT measuring at least 73 inches (185 cm) and less than 81 inches (206 cm) CFL.

Large school BFT means a BFT measuring at least 47 inches (119 cm) and less than 59 inches (150 cm) CFL.

LJFL (lower jaw-fork length) means the straight-line measurement of a fish from the anterior tip of the lower jaw to the fork of the caudal fin. The measurement is not made along the curve of the body.

Longline means fishing gear that is set horizontally, either anchored, floating, or attached to a vessel, and that consists of a mainline or groundline with three or more leaders (gangions) and hooks, whether retrieved by hand or mechanical means.

Madison-Swanson closed area means a rectangular-shaped area in the Gulf of Mexico bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order stated: 29°17 N. lat., 85°50 W. long.; 29°17 N. lat., 85°38 W. long.; 29°06 N. lat., 85°38 W. long.; 29°06 N. lat., 85°50 W. long.; and 29°17 N. lat., 85°50 W. long.

Management unit means in this part:

(1) For Atlantic tunas, longbill spearfish, roundscale spearfish, blue marlin, and white marlin, means all fish of these species in the Atlantic Ocean;

(2) For sailfish, means all fish of this species in the Atlantic Ocean west of 30° W. long.;

(3) For North Atlantic swordfish, means all fish of this species in the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat.;

(4) For South Atlantic swordfish, means all fish of this species in the Atlantic Ocean south of 5° N. lat.; and

(5) For sharks, means all fish of the species listed in Table 1 of Appendix A to this part, in the western north Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Mid-Atlantic Bight means the area bounded by straight lines connecting the mid-Atlantic states' internal waters and extending to 71° W. long. between 35° N. lat. and 43° N. lat.

Mid-Atlantic shark closed area means the Atlantic Ocean area seaward of the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ from a point intersecting the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ at 35°41 N. lat. just south of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina, and connecting by straight lines the following coordinates in the order stated: 35°41 N. lat., 75°25 W. long. proceeding due east to 35°41 N. lat., 74°51 W. long.; then proceeding southeast to 35°30 N. lat., 74°46 W. long.; then proceeding southwest, roughly following the 55 fathom mark, to 33°51 N. lat., 76°24 W. long.; then proceeding due west to intersect the inner boundary of the U.S. EEZ at 33°51 N. lat., 77°53 W. long. near Cape Fear, North Carolina.

Naturally attached, as it is used to describe shark fins, refers to shark fins that remain attached to the shark carcass via at least some portion of uncut skin. As used to describe the head of a swordfish, naturally attached refers to the whole head remaining fully attached to the carcass except for the bill, which may be removed provided it has been removed forward of the anterior tip of the lower jaw.

Net check refers to a visual inspection of a shark gillnet where the vessel operator transits the length of the gear and inspects it either with a spotlight or by pulling up the gear.

Non-blacknose SCS means one of the species, or part thereof, listed in section B of table 1 in appendix A to this part other than the blacknose shark (Carcharhinus acronotus).

North Atlantic swordfish or North Atlantic swordfish stock means those swordfish occurring in the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat.

Northeast Distant gear restricted area means the Atlantic Ocean area bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order stated: 35°00 N. lat., 60°00 W. long.; 55°00 N. lat., 60°00 W. long.; 55°00 N. lat., 20°00 W. long.; 35°00 N. lat., 20°00 W. long.; 35°00 N. lat., 60°00 W. long.

Northeastern United States closed area means the area bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order stated: 40°00 N. lat., 74°00 W. long.; 40°00 N. lat., 68°00 W. long.; 39°00 N. lat., 68°00 W. long.; and 39°00 N. lat., 74°00 W. long.

Offset circle hook means a circle hook originally designed and manufactured so that the barbed end of the hook is displaced relative to the parallel plane of the eyed-end, or shank, of the hook when laid on its side.

Operator, with respect to any vessel, means the master or other individual aboard and in charge of that vessel.

Pectoral fin means the fin located behind the gill cover on either side of a fish.

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 shark means one of the species, or a part thereof, listed in paragraph (c) of table 1 in appendix A to this part.

PFCFL (pectoral fin curved fork length) means the length of a beheaded fish from the dorsal insertion of the pectoral fin to the fork of the tail measured along the contour of the body in a line that runs along the top of the pectoral fin and the top of the caudal keel.

Prohibited shark means one of the species, or a part thereof, listed in paragraph (d) of table 1 in appendix A to this part.

Protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate means the document issued by NMFS, or its designee, indicating that the person named on the certificate has successfully completed the Atlantic HMS protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop.

Reporting week means the period of time beginning at 0001 local time on Sunday and ending at 2400 hours local time the following Saturday.

Research LCS means one of the species, or part thereof, listed under heading A of table 1 in appendix A of this part, other than sandbar sharks.

Restricted-fishing day (RFD) means a day, beginning at 0000 hours and ending at 2400 hours local time, during which a person aboard a vessel for which a General category permit for Atlantic Tunas has been issued may not fish for, possess, or retain a BFT.

Round wire stock means round metal wire, typically used in the manufacturing of fishing hooks, that has not been forged, or otherwise modified or treated in any way to increase the original factory tensile strength set by the hook manufacturer.

School BFT means a BFT measuring at least 27 inches (69 cm) and less than 47 inches (119 cm) CFL.

Shark means one of the oceanic species, or a part thereof, listed in Table 1 of Appendix A to this part.

Shark research permit means a permit issued to catch and land a limited number of sharks to maintain time series for stock assessments and for other scientific research purposes. These permits may be issued only to the owner of a vessel who has been issued either a directed or incidental shark LAP. The permit is specific to the commercial shark vessel and owner combination and is valid only per the terms and conditions listed on the permit.

Small coastal shark (SCS) means one of the species, or a part thereof, listed in paragraph (b) of table 1 in appendix A to this part.

Small medium BFT means a BFT measuring at least 59 inches (150 cm) and less than 73 inches (185 cm) CFL.

South Atlantic swordfish or south Atlantic swordfish stock means those swordfish occurring in the Atlantic Ocean south of 5° N. lat.

Speargun fishing gear means a muscle-powered speargun equipped with a trigger mechanism, a spear with a tip designed to penetrate and retain fish, and terminal gear. Terminal gear may include, but is not limited to, trailing lines, reels, and floats. The term “muscle-powered speargun” for the purposes of this part means a speargun that stores potential energy provided from the operator's muscles, and that releases only the amount of energy that the operator has provided to it from his or her own muscles. Common energy storing methods for muscle-powered spearguns include compressing air and springs, and the stretching of rubber bands.

Steamboat Lumps closed area means a rectangular-shaped area in the Gulf of Mexico bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order stated: 28°14 N. lat., 84°48 W. long.; 28°14 N. lat., 84°37 W. long.; 28°03 N. lat., 84°37 W. long.; 28°03 N. lat., 84°48 W. long.; and 28°14 N. lat., 84°48 W. long.

Tournament means any fishing competition involving Atlantic HMS in which participants must register or otherwise enter or in which a prize or award is offered for catching or landing such fish.

Tournament operator means a person or entity responsible for maintaining records of participants and results used for awarding tournament points or prizes, regardless of whether fish are retained.

Trip limit means the total allowable take from a single trip as defined in §600.10 of this chapter.

Tuna or tuna-like means the Scombriformes (with the exception of families Trichiuridae and Gempylidae and the genus Scomber) and such other species of fishes that are regulated by ICCAT in the Atlantic Ocean.

Weighout slip means a document provided to the owner or operator of the vessel by a person who weighs fish or parts thereof that are landed from a fishing vessel. A document, such as a “tally sheet,” “trip ticket,” or “sales receipt,” that contains such information is considered a weighout slip.

Young school BFT means an Atlantic BFT measuring less than 27 inches (69 cm) CFL.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §635.2, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

§635.3   Relation to other laws.

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

(b) In accordance with regulations issued under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended, it is unlawful for a commercial fishing vessel, a vessel owner, or a master or operator of a vessel to engage in fisheries for HMS in the Atlantic Ocean, unless the vessel owner or authorized representative has complied with specified requirements including, but not limited to, registration, exemption certificates, decals, and reports, as contained in part 229 of this title.

(c) 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.

(d) An activity that is otherwise prohibited by this part may be conducted if authorized as scientific research activity, exempted fishing or exempted educational activity, or for public display, as specified in §635.32.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 68 FR 74784, Dec. 24, 2003]

§635.4   Permits and fees.

Information on permits and permit requirements may be obtained from the Division Chief or where otherwise stated in this part.

(a) General—(1) Authorized activities. Each permit issued by NMFS authorizes certain activities, and persons may not conduct these activities without the appropriate permit, unless otherwise authorized by NMFS in accordance with this part. In certain cases, additional permits may be required to authorize these same or related activities under federal, state or local jurisdictions.

(2) Vessel permit inspection. The owner or operator of a vessel of the United States must have the appropriate valid permit on board the vessel to fish for, take, retain, or possess Atlantic HMS when engaged in recreational fishing and to fish for, take, retain or possess Atlantic tunas, swordfish, or sharks when engaged in commercial fishing. The vessel operator must make such permit available for inspection upon request by NMFS or by a person authorized by NMFS. The owner of the vessel is responsible for satisfying all of the requirements associated with obtaining, maintaining, and making available for inspection all required vessel permits.

(3) Property rights. Limited access vessel permits or any other permit issued pursuant to this part do not represent either an absolute right to the resource or any interest that is subject to the takings provision of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Rather, limited access vessel permits represent only a harvesting privilege that may be revoked, suspended, or amended subject to the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act or other applicable law.

(4) Dealer permit inspection. A dealer permit issued under this section, or a copy thereof, must be available at each of the dealer's places of business. A dealer must present the permit or a copy for inspection upon the request of a NMFS-authorized officer.

(5) Display upon offloading. Upon offloading of Atlantic HMS, the owner or operator of the harvesting vessel must present for inspection the vessel's HMS Charter/Headboat permit; Atlantic tunas, shark, or swordfish permit; Incidental HMS squid trawl; HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit; and/or the shark research permit to the first receiver. The permit(s) must be presented prior to completing any applicable landing report specified at §635.5(a)(1), (a)(2), and (b)(2)(i).

(6) Sanctions and denials. A permit issued under this section may be revoked, suspended, or modified, and a permit 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.

(7) Alteration. A vessel or dealer permit that is altered, erased, mutilated, or otherwise modified is invalid.

(8) Replacement. NMFS may issue a replacement permit upon the request of the permittee. An application for a replacement permit will not be considered a new application. An appropriate fee, consistent with paragraph (b) of this section, may be charged for issuance of the replacement permit.

(9) Fees. NMFS may charge a fee for each application for a permit or for each transfer or replacement of a permit. The amount of the fee is calculated in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook, available from NMFS, for determining administrative costs of each special product or service. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified in the instructions provided with each application form. Each applicant must include the appropriate fee with each application or request for transfer or replacement. A permit will not be issued to anyone who fails to pay the fee.

(10) Permit condition. An owner of a vessel with a valid swordfish, shark, HMS Angling, HMS Charter/Headboat, Incidental HMS squid trawl, or HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit issued pursuant to this part must agree, as a condition of such permit, that the vessel's HMS fishing, catch, and gear are subject to the requirements of this part during the period of validity of the permit, without regard to whether such fishing occurs in the U.S. EEZ, or outside the U.S. EEZ, and without regard to where such HMS, or gear, are possessed, taken, or landed. However, when a vessel fishes within the waters of a state that has more restrictive regulations pertaining to HMS, persons aboard the vessel must abide by the state's more restrictive regulations.

(b) HMS Charter/Headboat permits. (1) The owner of a charter boat or headboat used to fish for, take, retain, or possess any Atlantic HMS must obtain an HMS Charter/Headboat permit. A vessel issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit for a fishing year shall not be issued an HMS Angling permit, a Swordfish General Commercial permit, or an Atlantic Tunas permit in any category for that same fishing year, regardless of a change in the vessel's ownership.

(2) While persons aboard a vessel that has been issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit are fishing for or are in possession of Atlantic HMS, the operator of the vessel must have a valid Merchant Marine License or Uninspected Passenger Vessel License, as applicable, issued by the U.S. Coast Guard pursuant to regulations at 46 CFR part 10. Such Coast Guard license must be carried on board the vessel.

(c) HMS Angling permits. (1) The owner of any vessel used to fish recreationally for Atlantic HMS or on which Atlantic HMS are retained or possessed recreationally, must obtain an HMS Angling permit, except as provided in §635.4(c)(2). Atlantic HMS caught, retained, possessed, or landed by persons on board vessels with an HMS Angling permit may not be sold or transferred to any person for a commercial purpose. A vessel issued an HMS Angling permit for a fishing year shall not be issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit, a Swordfish General Commercial permit, or an Atlantic Tunas permit in any category for that same fishing year, regardless of a change in the vessel's ownership.

(2) A vessel with a valid Atlantic Tunas General category permit issued under paragraph (d) of this section or with a valid Swordfish General Commercial permit issued under paragraph (f) of this section, may fish in a recreational HMS fishing tournament if the vessel has registered for, paid an entry fee to, and is fishing under the rules of a tournament that has registered with NMFS' HMS Management Division as required under §635.5(d). When a vessel issued a valid Atlantic Tunas General category permit or a valid Swordfish General Commercial permit is fishing in such a tournament, such vessel must comply with HMS Angling category regulations, except as provided in paragraphs (c)(3) and (c)(4) of this section.

(3) A vessel issued an Atlantic Tunas General category permit fishing in a tournament, as authorized under §635.4(c)(2), shall comply with Atlantic Tunas General category regulations when fishing for, retaining, possessing, or landing Atlantic tunas.

(4) A vessel issued a Swordfish General Commercial permit fishing in a tournament, as authorized under §635.4(c)(2), shall comply with Swordfish General Commercial permit regulations when fishing for, retaining, possessing, or landing Atlantic swordfish.

(d) Atlantic Tunas vessel permits. (1) The owner of each vessel used to fish for or take Atlantic tunas commercially or on which Atlantic tunas are retained or possessed with the intention of sale must obtain an HMS Charter/Headboat permit issued under paragraph (b) of this section, an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit issued under paragraph (o) of this section, or an Atlantic tunas permit in one, and only one, of the following categories: General, Harpoon, Longline, Purse Seine, or Trap.

(2) Persons aboard a vessel with a valid Atlantic Tunas, HMS Angling, HMS Charter/Headboat, or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit may fish for, take, retain, or possess Atlantic tunas, but only in compliance with the quotas, catch limits, size classes, and gear applicable to the permit or permit category of the vessel from which he or she is fishing. Persons may sell Atlantic tunas only if the harvesting vessel has a valid permit in the General, Harpoon, Longline, Purse Seine, or Trap category of the Atlantic Tunas permit, a valid HMS Charter/Headboat, or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit.

(3) A vessel issued an Atlantic Tunas permit in any category for a fishing year shall not be issued an HMS Angling permit, HMS Charter/Headboat permit, or an Atlantic Tunas permit in any other category for that same fishing year, regardless of a change in the vessel's ownership. A vessel issued an Atlantic Tunas permit may be issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit, subject to restrictions set forth at §635.4(o), within that same fishing year; however, a vessel may not hold any other HMS fishing permit simultaneously with the HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit.

(4) A person can obtain a limited access Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit for a vessel only if the vessel has been issued both a limited access permit for shark and a limited access permit, other than handgear, for swordfish. Limited access Atlantic Tunas Longline category permits may only be obtained through transfer from current owners consistent with the provisions under paragraph (l)(2) of this section.

(5) An owner of a vessel with an Atlantic Tunas permit in the Purse Seine category may transfer the permit to another purse seine vessel that he or she owns. In either case, the owner must submit a written request for transfer to NMFS, to an address designated by NMFS, and attach an application for the new vessel and the existing permit. NMFS will issue no more than 5 Atlantic Tunas Purse Seine category permits.

(e) Shark vessel permits. (1) The owner of each vessel used to fish for or take Atlantic sharks or on which Atlantic sharks are retained, possessed with an intention to sell, or sold must obtain, in addition to any other required permits, at least one of the Federal Atlantic commercial shark permits described below or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit. A Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit or HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit is not required if the vessel is recreationally fishing and retains no more sharks than the recreational retention limit specified in §635.22(c), is operating pursuant to the conditions of a shark display or EFP issued pursuant to §635.32, or fishes exclusively within State waters. It is a rebuttable presumption that the owner or operator of a vessel without a permit issued pursuant to this part, on which sharks are possessed in excess of the recreational retention limits, intends to sell the sharks.

(2) The owner of vessels that fish for, take, retain, or possess the Atlantic oceanic sharks listed in sections A, B, or C of Table 1 of Appendix A with an intention to sell must obtain a Federal Atlantic commercial shark directed or incidental limited access permit or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit. The only valid Federal commercial shark directed and shark incidental limited access permits are those that have been issued under the limited access program consistent with the provisions under paragraphs (l) and (m) of this section.

(3) A vessel owner issued or required to be issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark directed or shark incidental limited access permit may harvest, consistent with the other regulations in this part, any shark species listed in sections A, B, or C of table 1 of appendix A.

(4) [Reserved]

(f) Swordfish vessel permits. The Swordfish General Commercial permit and the HMS Charter/Headboat permit provisions in paragraphs (f)(1) and (2) of this section will first become effective beginning with issuance of the 2014 fishing permit.

(1) Except as specified in paragraphs (n) and (o) of this section, the owner of a vessel of the United States used to fish for or take swordfish commercially from the management unit, or on which swordfish from the management unit are retained or possessed with an intention to sell, or sold must obtain, an HMS Charter/Headboat permit issued under paragraph (b) of this section, or one of the following swordfish permits: A swordfish directed limited access permit, swordfish incidental limited access permit, swordfish handgear limited access permit, or a Swordfish General Commercial permit. These permits cannot be held in combination with each other on the same vessel, except that an HMS Charter/Headboat permit may be held in combination with a swordfish handgear limited access permit on the same vessel. It is a rebuttable presumption that the owner or operator of a vessel on which swordfish are possessed in excess of the recreational retention limits intends to sell the swordfish.

(2) The only valid commercial Federal vessel permits for swordfish are the HMS Charter/Headboat permit issued under paragraph (b) of this section (and only when on a non for-hire trip), the Swordfish General Commercial permit issued under paragraph (f) of this section, a swordfish limited access permit issued consistent with paragraphs (l) and (m) of this section, or permits issued under paragraphs (n) and (o) of this section.

(3) A commercial Federal permit for swordfish is not required if the vessel is recreational fishing.

(4) A directed or incidental limited access permit for swordfish is valid only when the vessel has on board a valid limited access permit for shark and a valid Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit issued for such vessel.

(5) A Swordfish General Commercial permit may not be held on a vessel in conjunction with an HMS Charter/Headboat permit issued under paragraph (b) of this section, an HMS Angling category permit issued under paragraph (c), a swordfish limited access permit issued consistent with paragraphs (l) and (m), an Incidental HMS Squid Trawl permit issued under paragraph (n), or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit issued under paragraph (o). A vessel issued a Swordfish General Commercial open access permit for a fishing year shall not be issued an HMS Angling permit or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit for that same fishing year, regardless of a change in the vessel's ownership.

(g) Dealer permits—(1) Atlantic tunas. A dealer, as defined under §600.10 of this chapter, must possess a valid federal Atlantic tunas dealer permit to purchase, trade, or barter any Atlantic tunas except as noted under paragraph (o) of this section.

(2) Shark. A dealer, as defined in §600.10 of this chapter, must possess a valid federal Atlantic shark dealer permit to purchase, trade, or barter any Atlantic shark listed in Table 1 of Appendix A of this part except as noted under paragraph (o) of this section.

(3) Swordfish. A dealer, as defined under §600.10 of this chapter, must possess a valid federal Atlantic swordfish dealer permit to purchase, trade, or barter any Atlantic swordfish except as noted under paragraph (o) of this section.

(h) Applications for permits. An owner of a vessel or a dealer must submit to NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, a complete application and required supporting documents at least 30 days before the date on which the permit is to be made effective. Application forms and instructions for their completion are available from NMFS.

(1) Atlantic Tunas, HMS Angling, HMS Charter/Headboat, Swordfish General Commercial, Incidental HMS Squid Trawl, and HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat vessel permits. (i) An applicant must provide all information concerning his or her identification, vessel, gear used, fishing areas, fisheries participated in, the corporation or partnership owning the vessel, and income requirements requested by NMFS and included on the application form.

(ii) An applicant must also submit a copy of the vessel's valid U.S. Coast Guard documentation or, if not documented, a copy of its valid state registration and any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit as requested by NMFS. The owner must submit such information to an address designated by NMFS.

(iii) NMFS may require an applicant to provide documentation supporting the application before a permit is issued or to substantiate why such permit should not be revoked or otherwise sanctioned under paragraph (a)(7) of this section.

(iv) An applicant for an incidental HMS squid trawl permit must submit, in addition to all other information specified in §635.4(h)(1), a copy of a valid Illex squid moratorium permit, as described at §648.4(a)(5)(i) of this chapter.

(2) Limited access permits for swordfish and shark. See paragraph (l) of this section for transfers of LAPs for shark and swordfish. See paragraph (m) of this section for renewals of LAPs for shark and swordfish.

(3) Dealer permits. (i) An applicant for a dealer permit must provide all the information requested on the application form necessary to identify the company, its principal place of business, and mechanisms by which the company can be contacted.

(ii) An applicant must also submit a copy of each state wholesaler's license held by the dealer and, if a business is owned by a corporation or partnership, the corporate or partnership documents requested on the application form.

(iii) An applicant must also submit any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit, as requested by NMFS.

(i) Change in application information. A vessel owner or dealer must report any change in the information contained in an application for a permit within 30 days after such change. The report must be submitted in a manner and/or to a location designated by NMFS. For certain information changes, a new permit may be issued to incorporate the new information, subject to limited access provisions specified in paragraph (l)(2) of this section. NMFS may require supporting documentation before a new permit will be issued. If a change in the permit information is not reported within 30 days, the permit is void as of the 31st day after such change.

(j) Permit issuance. (1) NMFS will issue a permit within 30 days of receipt of a complete and qualifying application. An application is complete when all requested forms, information, and documentation have been received, including all reports and fishing or catch information required to be submitted under this part.

(2) NMFS will notify the applicant of any deficiency in the application, including failure to provide information or reports required to be submitted under this part. If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 30 days following the date of notification, the application will be considered abandoned.

(3) A vessel owner issued an Atlantic tunas permit in the General, Harpoon, or Trap category or an Atlantic HMS permit in the Angling or Charter/Headboat category under paragraph (b), (c), or (d) of this section may change the category of the vessel permit once within 10 calendar days of the date of issuance of the permit. After 10 calendar days from the date of issuance of the permit, the vessel owner may not change the permit category until the following fishing season.

(k) Duration. A permit issued under this section will be valid for the period specified on it unless it is revoked, suspended, or modified pursuant to subpart D of 15 CFR part 904, the vessel or dealership is sold, or any other information previously submitted on the application changes, as specified in paragraph (i) of this section.

(l) Transfer— 1) General. A permit issued under this section is not transferable or assignable to another vessel or owner or dealer; it is valid only for the vessel or owner or dealer to whom it is issued. If a person acquires a vessel or dealership and wants to conduct activities for which a permit is required, that person must apply for a permit in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (h) of this section or, if the acquired vessel is permitted in either the shark, swordfish, or tuna longline fishery, in accordance with paragraph (l)(2) of this section. If the acquired vessel or dealership is currently permitted, an application must be accompanied by the original permit, by a copy of a signed bill of sale or equivalent acquisition papers, and the appropriate workshop certificates as specified in §635.8.

(2) Shark, swordfish, and tuna longline LAPs. (i) Subject to the restrictions on upgrading the harvesting capacity of permitted vessels in paragraphs (l)(2)(ii) or (x) of this section, as applicable, and to the limitations on ownership of permitted vessels in paragraph (l)(2)(iii) of this section, an owner may transfer a shark or swordfish LAP or an Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit to another vessel that he or she owns or to another person. Directed handgear LAPs for swordfish may be transferred to another vessel but only for use with handgear and subject to the upgrading restrictions in paragraph (l)(2)(ii) of this section and the limitations on ownership of permitted vessels in paragraph (l)(2)(iii) of this section. Incidental catch LAPs are not subject to the requirements specified in paragraphs (l)(2)(ii),(iii), and (x) of this section.

(ii) Except as specified in paragraph (l)(2)(x) of this section, an owner may upgrade a vessel with a shark, swordfish, or tuna longline limited access permit, or transfer the limited access permit to another vessel, and be eligible to retain or renew a limited access permit only if the upgrade or transfer does not result in an increase in horsepower of more than 20 percent or an increase of more than 10 percent in length overall, gross registered tonnage, or net tonnage from the vessel baseline specifications.

(A) The vessel baseline specifications are the respective specifications (length overall, gross registered tonnage, net tonnage, horsepower) of the first vessel that was issued an initial limited access permit or, if applicable, of that vessel's replacement owned as of May 28, 1999.

(B) Subsequent to the issuance of a limited access permit, the vessel's horsepower may be increased, relative to the baseline specifications of the vessel initially issued the LAP, through refitting, replacement, or transfer. Such an increase may not exceed 20 percent of the baseline specifications of the vessel initially issued the LAP.

(C) Subsequent to the issuance of a limited access permit, the vessel's length overall, gross registered tonnage, and net tonnage may be increased, relative to the baseline specifications of the vessel initially issued the LAP, through refitting, replacement, or transfer. An increase in any of these three specifications of vessel size may not exceed 10 percent of the baseline specifications of the vessel initially issued the LAP. This type of upgrade may be done separately from an engine horsepower upgrade.

(iii) No person or entity may own or control more than 5 percent of the vessels for which swordfish directed, shark directed or tuna longline limited access permits have been issued.

(iv) In order to transfer a swordfish, shark or tuna longline limited access permit to a replacement vessel, the owner of the vessel issued the limited access permit must submit a request to NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, to transfer the limited access permit to another vessel, subject to requirements specified in paragraphs (l)(2)(ii) or (x) of this section, if applicable. The owner must return the current valid limited access permit to NMFS with a complete application for a limited access permit, as specified in paragraph (h) of this section, for the replacement vessel. Copies of both vessels' U.S. Coast Guard documentation or state registration must accompany the application.

(v) For swordfish, shark, and tuna longline limited access permit transfers to a different person, the transferee must submit a request to NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, to transfer the original limited access permit(s), subject to the requirements specified in paragraphs (l)(2)(ii), (iii), and (x) of this section, if applicable. The following must accompany the completed application: The original limited access permit(s) with signatures of both parties to the transaction on the back of the permit(s) and the bill of sale for the permit(s). A person must include copies of both vessels' U.S. Coast Guard documentation or state registration for limited access permit transfers involving vessels.

(vi) For limited access permit transfers in conjunction with the sale of the permitted vessel, the transferee of the vessel and limited access permit(s) issued to that vessel must submit a request to NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, to transfer the limited access permit(s), subject to the requirements specified in paragraphs (l)(2)(ii), (iii), and (x) of this section, if applicable. The following must accompany the completed application: The original limited access permit(s) with signatures of both parties to the transaction on the back of the permit(s), the bill of sale for the limited access permit(s) and the vessel, and a copy of the vessel's U.S. Coast Guard documentation or state registration.

(vii) The owner of a vessel issued a limited access permit(s) who sells the permitted vessel but retains the limited access permit(s) must notify NMFS within 30 days after the sale of the change in application information in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section. If the owner wishes to transfer the limited access permit(s) to a replacement vessel, he/she must apply according to the procedures in paragraph (l)(2)(iv) of this section.

(viii) As specified in paragraph (f)(4) of this section, a directed or incidental LAP for swordfish, a directed or an incidental catch LAP for shark, and an Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit are required to retain swordfish for commercial purposes. Accordingly, a LAP for swordfish obtained by transfer without either a directed or incidental catch shark LAP or an Atlantic tunas Longline category permit will not entitle an owner or operator to use a vessel to fish in the swordfish fishery.

(ix) As specified in paragraph (d)(4) of this section, a directed or incidental LAP for swordfish, a directed or an incidental catch LAP for shark, and an Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit are required to retain Atlantic tunas taken by pelagic longline gear. Accordingly, an Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit obtained by transfer without either a directed or incidental catch swordfish or shark LAP will not entitle an owner or operator to use the permitted vessel to fish in the Atlantic tunas fishery with pelagic longline gear.

(x) The owner of a vessel that, on August 6, 2007, concurrently possesses, or is eligible to renew, a directed or incidental swordfish limited access permit, a directed or incidental shark limited access permit, and an Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit is eligible to upgrade that vessel, or transfer its limited access permits to another vessel, subject to the following restrictions:

(A) For eligible vessels, as defined in paragraph (l)(2)(x), any increase in the three specifications of vessel size (length overall, gross registered tonnage, and net tonnage), whether through refitting, replacement, or transfer, may not exceed 35 percent of the vessel baseline specifications, as defined in paragraph (l)(2)(ii)(A) of this section. Horsepower for eligible vessels is not limited for purposes vessel upgrades or permit transfers under paragraph (l)(2)(x).

(B) If a vessel owner wants to request a transfer of limited access permits in order to be eligible for the upgrading restrictions under paragraph (l)(2)(x), the transferee must submit a complete application(s), as specified in paragraphs (h),(i),(j), and (l)(1) of this section, according to the procedures at paragraphs (l)(2)(iv), (v), or (vi) of this section, as applicable, to an address designated by NMFS, so that the completed application(s) are received by NMFS by August 6, 2007. Vessels will not be eligible for the upgrading restrictions under paragraph (l)(2)(x) if applications are incomplete or received after August 6, 2007.

(C) Owners of directed or incidental swordfish limited access permit(s), directed or incidental shark limited access permit(s), and Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit(s) that are not assigned to a specific vessel may request transfer of these permits to a vessel in order to be eligible for the upgrading restrictions under paragraph (l)(2)(x). The transferee must submit complete applications, as specified in paragraphs (h),(i),(j), and (l)(1) of this section, according to the procedures at paragraphs (l)(2)(iv), (v), or (vi) of this section, as applicable, to an address designated by NMFS, so that the completed applications are received by NMFS by August 6, 2007. Vessels will not be eligible for the upgrading restrictions under paragraph (l)(2)(x) if applications are incomplete or received by NMFS after August 6, 2007.

(m) Renewal—(1) General. Persons must apply annually for a dealer permit for Atlantic tunas, sharks, and swordfish, and for an Atlantic HMS Angling, HMS Charter/Headboat, tunas, shark, swordfish, Incidental HMS squid trawl, or HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat vessel permit. Except as specified in the instructions for automated renewals, persons must submit a renewal application to NMFS, along with a copy of the applicable valid workshop certificate or certificates, if required pursuant to §635.8, at an address designated by NMFS, at least 30 days before a permit's expiration to avoid a lapse of permitted status. NMFS will renew a permit if the specific requirements for the requested permit are met, including those described in paragraphs (h)(1)(iv) and (l)(2) of this section; all reports required under the Magnuson-Stevens Act and ATCA have been submitted, including those described in §§635.5 and 300.185 of this title; the applicant is not subject to a permit sanction or denial under paragraph (a)(6) of this section; and the workshop requirements specified in §635.8 are met.

(2) Shark and swordfish permits. A vessel owner must obtain the applicable limited access permit(s) issued pursuant to the requirements in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit issued under paragraph (o) of this section if: the vessel is used to fish for or take sharks commercially from the management unit; sharks from the management unit are retained or possessed on the vessel with an intention to sell; or sharks from the management unit are sold from the vessel. A vessel owner must obtain the applicable limited access permit(s) issued pursuant to the requirements in paragraphs (e) and (f) of this section, a Swordfish General Commercial permit issued under paragraph (f) of this section, an Incidental HMS Squid Trawl permit issued under paragraph (n) of this section, an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit issued under paragraph (o) of this section, or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit issued under paragraph (b) of this section which authorizes a Charter/Headboat to fish commercially for swordfish on a non for-hire trip subject to the retention limits at§635.24(b)(4) if: the vessel is used to fish for or take swordfish commercially from the management unit; swordfish from the management unit are retained or possessed on the vessel with an intention to sell; or swordfish from the management unit are sold from the vessel. The commercial retention and sale of swordfish from vessels issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit is permissible only when the vessel is on a non for-hire trip. Only persons holding non-expired shark and swordfish limited access permit(s) in the preceding year are eligible to renew those limited access permit(s). Transferors may not renew limited access permits that have been transferred according to the procedures in paragraph (l) of this section.

(n) Incidental HMS Squid Trawl permits.—(1) The owner of a vessel in the squid trawl fishery, as described at §635.24(b)(2), on which Atlantic swordfish are retained, or possessed with an intention to sell, or from which Atlantic swordfish are sold must obtain, in addition to any other required permits, an Incidental HMS squid trawl permit.

(2) An Incidental HMS squid trawl permit is valid only when the vessel has on board a valid Illex squid moratorium permit, as described at §648.4(a)(5)(i) of this chapter, and no commercial fishing gear other than trawl gear.

(o) HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permits. (1) The owner of a vessel who fishes in the U.S. Caribbean, as defined at §622.2 of this chapter, possesses handgear or green-stick gear and retains, with the intention to sell, any BAYS tunas, Atlantic swordfish, or Atlantic sharks may obtain an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit. An HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit is valid only within the U.S. Caribbean, as defined at §622.2 of this chapter.

(2) To be eligible for an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit, vessel owners must provide documentation that the vessel is less than or equal to 13.7 m (45 ft) in length overall.

(3) A vessel issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit may not be issued any other HMS fishing permit, except those issued under §635.32, as long as the HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit is valid.

(4) The owner of a vessel issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit may fish for, take, retain, or possess only BAYS tunas, Atlantic swordfish, and Atlantic sharks, subject to the trip limits specified at §635.24 and may possess unauthorized gears onboard as stated at §635.21(b).

(5) HMS landed under an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit may be sold by the owner or operator to individuals who do not possess a valid HMS dealer permit otherwise required under §635.4(g). HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit holders may not sell HMS harvested or landed by another vessel or purchase, barter, or trade for HMS harvested by other vessels with the intent to sell.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §635.4, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

§635.5   Recordkeeping and reporting.

Information on HMS vessel and dealer reporting requirements may be obtained from the Division Chief or where otherwise stated in this part.

(a) Vessels—(1) Logbooks. If an owner of an HMS charter/headboat vessel, an Atlantic tunas vessel, a shark vessel, a swordfish vessel, or a vessel in the squid trawl fishery for which a permit has been issued under §635.4(b), (d), (e), (f), or (n) is selected for logbook reporting in writing by NMFS, he or she must maintain and submit a fishing record on a logbook form specified by NMFS. Entries are required regarding the vessel's fishing effort and the number of fish landed and discarded. Entries on a day's fishing activities must be entered on the logbook form within 48 hours of completing that day's activities or before offloading, whichever is sooner. The owner or operator of the vessel must submit the logbook form(s) postmarked within 7 days of offloading all Atlantic HMS. If no fishing occurred during a calendar month, a no-fishing form so stating must be submitted postmarked no later than 7 days after the end of that month. If an owner of an HMS charter/headboat vessel, Atlantic tunas vessel, shark vessel, swordfish vessel, or a vessel in the squid trawl fishery permitted under §635.4(b), (d), (e), (f), or (n) is selected in writing by NMFS to complete the cost-earnings portion of the logbook(s), the owner or operator must maintain and submit the cost-earnings portion of the logbook postmarked no later than 30 days after completing the offloading for each trip fishing for Atlantic HMS during that calendar year, and submit the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Annual Expenditures form(s) postmarked no later than the date specified on the form of the following year.

(2) Weighout slips. If an owner of a permitted vessel is required to maintain and submit logbooks under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and Atlantic HMS harvested on a trip are sold, the owner or operator must obtain and submit copies of weighout slips for those fish. Each weighout slip must show the dealer to whom the fish were transferred, the date they were transferred, and the carcass weight of each fish for which individual weights are normally recorded. For fish that are not individually weighed, a weighout slip must record total weights by species and market category. A weighout slip for sharks prior to or as part of a commercial transaction involving shark carcasses or fins must record the weights of carcasses and any detached fins. The owner or operator must also submit copies of weighout slips with the logbook forms required to be submitted under paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(3) BFT not sold. If a person who catches and lands a large medium or giant BFT from a vessel issued a permit in any of the commercial categories for Atlantic tunas does not sell or otherwise transfer the BFT to a dealer who has a dealer permit for Atlantic tunas, the person must contact a NMFS enforcement agent, at a number designated by NMFS, immediately upon landing such BFT, provide the information needed for the reports required under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, and, if requested, make the tuna available so that a NMFS enforcement agent or authorized officer may inspect the fish and attach a tag to it. Alternatively, such reporting requirement may be fulfilled if a dealer who has a dealer permit for Atlantic tunas affixes a dealer tag as required under paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section and reports the BFT as being landed but not sold on the reports required under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section. If a vessel is placed on a trailer, the person must contact a NMFS enforcement agent, or the BFT must have a dealer tag affixed to it by a permitted Atlantic tunas dealer, immediately upon the vessel being removed from the water. All BFT landed but not sold will be applied to the quota category according to the permit category of the vessel from which it was landed.

(4) Chartering arrangements. (i) For the purposes of this section, a chartering arrangement means any contract, agreement, or commitment between a U.S. vessel owner and a foreign entity (e.g., government, company, person) by which the control, use, possession, or services of a vessel are secured, for a period of time for fishing targeting Atlantic HMS. Chartering arrangements under this part do not include bareboat charters under which a vessel enters into a fishing agreement with a foreign entity, changes registration to fish under another country's registration then, once the agreed-upon fishing is completed, reverts back to the vessel's original registration.

(ii) Before fishing under a chartering arrangement, the owner of a fishing vessel subject to U.S. jurisdiction must apply for, and obtain, a chartering permit as specified in §635.32 (e) and (f). If a chartering permit is obtained, the vessel owner must submit catch information as specified in the terms and conditions of that permit. All catches will be recorded and counted against the applicable quota of the Contracting Party to which the chartering foreign entity is a member and, unless otherwise provided in the chartering permit, must be offloaded in the ports of the chartering foreign entity or offloaded under the direct supervision of the chartering foreign entity.

(iii) If the chartering arrangement terminates before the expiration of the charter permit, the vessel owner must notify NMFS immediately and in writing, upon termination of the chartering arrangement. Such notification requirements shall also apply to situations where the chartering arrangement is temporarily suspended and during intermittent periods where the vessel may be fishing under U.S. quotas for Atlantic HMS.

(b) Dealers. Persons who have been issued a dealer permit under §635.4 must submit reports to NMFS, to an address designated by NMFS, and maintain records as follows:

(1) Atlantic HMS. (i) Dealers that have been issued or should have been issued a Federal Atlantic BAYS tunas, swordfish, and/or shark dealer permit under §635.4 must submit to NMFS all reports required under this section within the timeframe specified under paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. BAYS tunas, swordfish, and sharks commercially-harvested by a vessel can only be first received by dealers that have been issued or should have been issued an Atlantic tunas, swordfish, and/or shark dealer permit under §635.4. All federal Atlantic HMS dealers must provide a detailed report of all fish first received to NMFS within the period specified under paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. All reports must be species-specific and must include the required information about all, swordfish, and sharks received by the dealer, including the required vessel information, regardless of where the fish were harvested or whether the harvesting vessel is permitted under §635.4. For sharks, each report must specify the total weight of the carcass(es) without the fins for each species, and the total fin weight by grade for all sharks combined. Dealers are also required to submit “negative” reports, indicating no receipt of any species, within the timeframe specified under paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section if they did not first receive any fish during the reporting period . As stated in §635.4(a)(6), failure to comply with these recordkeeping and reporting requirements may result in existing dealer permit(s) being revoked, suspended, or modified, and in the denial of any permit applications.

(ii) Reports of any Atlantic BAYS tunas, sharks, and/or swordfish first received by dealers from a vessel must be submitted electronically on a weekly basis through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system by the dealer and received by NMFS no later than midnight, local time, of the first Tuesday following the end of the reporting week unless the dealer is otherwise notified by NMFS. Reports of BAYS tunas, sharks, and/or swordfish may be modified for not more than 30 days from when the dealer report is submitted to NMFS. NMFS will require BAYS tunas, swordfish, and shark dealers to submit dealer reports to NMFS on a weekly basis. Atlantic BAYS tunas, sharks, and swordfish dealers must submit electronic negative reports stating that no BAYS tunas, sharks, and/or swordfish were first received when they received no fish of these species, and no parts thereof, during the reporting period. Reporting requirements for bluefin tuna are specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The negative reporting requirement does not apply for bluefin tuna.

(iii) Atlantic HMS dealers are not authorized to first receive Atlantic swordfish, sharks, and/or BAYS tunas if the required reports have not been submitted and received by NMFS according to reporting requirements under this section. Delinquent reports automatically result in an Atlantic HMS dealer becoming ineligible to first receive Atlantic swordfish, sharks, and/or BAYS tunas. Atlantic HMS dealers who become ineligible to first receive Atlantic swordfish, sharks, and/or BAYS tunas due to delinquent reports are authorized to first receive Atlantic swordfish, sharks, and/or BAYS tunas only once all required and delinquent reports have been completed, submitted by the dealer, and received by NMFS.

(2) Requirements for bluefin tuna—(i) Dealer reports—(A) Landing reports. Each dealer with a valid Atlantic tunas permit issued under §635.4 must submit a completed landing report on a form available from NMFS for each BFT received from a U.S. fishing vessel. Such report must be submitted by electronic facsimile (fax) or, once available, via the Internet, to a number or a web address designated by NMFS not later than 24 hours after receipt of the BFT. A landing report must indicate the name and permit number of the vessel that landed the BFT and must be signed by the permitted vessel's owner or operator immediately upon transfer of the BFT. The dealer must inspect the vessel's permit to verify that the required vessel name and vessel permit number as listed on the permit are correctly recorded on the landing report and to verify that the vessel permit has not expired.

(B) Bi-weekly reports. Each dealer with a valid Atlantic tunas permit under §635.4 must submit a complete bi-weekly report on forms available from NMFS for BFT received from U.S. vessels. For BFT received from U.S. vessels on the 1st through the 15th of each month, the dealer must submit the bi-weekly report form to NMFS, to be received by NMFS, not later than the 25th of that month. Reports of BFT received on the 16th through the last day of each month must be received by NMFS not later than the 10th of the following month.

(ii) Dealer tags. NMFS will issue numbered dealer tags to each person issued a dealer permit for Atlantic tunas under §635.4. A dealer tag is not transferable and is usable only by the dealer to whom it is issued. Dealer tags may not be reused once affixed to a tuna or recorded on a package, container, or report.

(A) Affixing dealer tags. A dealer or a dealer's agent must affix a dealer tag to each BFT purchased or received from a U.S. vessel immediately upon offloading the BFT. If a vessel is placed on a trailer, the dealer or dealer's agent must affix the dealer tag to the BFT immediately upon the vessel being removed from the water. The dealer tag must be affixed to the BFT between the fifth dorsal finlet and the caudal keel.

(B) Removal of dealer tags. A dealer tag affixed to any BFT under paragraph (b)(2)(ii)(A) of this section or a BSD tag affixed to an imported bluefin tuna must remain on the fish until it is cut into portions. If the bluefin tuna or bluefin tuna parts subsequently are packaged for transport for domestic commercial use or for export, the number of the dealer tag or the BSD tag must be written legibly and indelibly on the outside of any package containing the tuna. Such tag number also must be recorded on any document accompanying the shipment of bluefin tuna for commercial use or export.

(3) Recordkeeping. Dealers must retain at their place of business a copy of each report required under paragraphs (b)(1)(i), (b)(1)(ii), and (b)(2)(i) of this section for a period of 2 years from the date on which each report was required to be submitted.

(c) Anglers. All bluefin tuna, billfish, and North Atlantic swordfish non-tournament landings must be reported as specified under paragraphs (c)(1) or (c)(2) of this section, unless an alternative recreational catch reporting system has been established as specified under paragraph (c)(3) of this section. Tournament landings must be reported as specified under paragraph (d) of this section.

(1) Bluefin tuna. The owner of a vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, in the Atlantic HMS Angling or Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat category must report all BFT caught under the Angling category quota designated at §635.27(a) through the NMFS automated catch reporting system within 24 hours of the landing. Such reports may be made by calling a phone number designated by NMFS or submitting the required information electronically in the method designated by NMFS.

(2) The owner, or the owner('s) designee, of a vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, in the Atlantic HMS Angling or Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat category must report all non-tournament landings of Atlantic blue marlin, Atlantic white marlin, roundscale spearfish, and Atlantic sailfish, and all non-tournament and non-commercial landings of North Atlantic swordfish to NMFS by telephone to a number designated by NMFS, or electronically via the internet to an internet website designated by NMFS, or by other means as specified by NMFS, within 24 hours of that landing. For telephone landing reports, the owner, or the owner(s designee, must provide a contact phone number so that a NMFS designee can call the vessel owner, or the owner(s designee, for follow up questions and to confirm the reported landing. Regardless of how submitted, landing reports submitted to NMFS are not complete unless the vessel owner, or the owner(s designee, has received a confirmation number from NMFS or a NMFS designee.

(3) Alternative recreational catch reporting. Alternative recreational catch reporting procedures may be established by NMFS with cooperation from states which may include such methodologies as telephone, dockside or mail surveys, mail in or phone-in reports, tagging programs, catch cards, or mandatory check-in stations. A census or a statistical sample of persons fishing under the recreational fishing regulations of this part may be used for these alternative reporting programs (after the programs have received Paperwork Reduction Act approval from OMB). Persons or vessel owners selected for reporting will be notified by NMFS or by the cooperating state agency of the requirements and procedures for reporting recreational catch. Each person so notified must comply with those requirements and procedures. Additionally, NMFS may determine that recreational landing reporting systems implemented by the states, if mandatory, at least as restrictive, and effectively enforced, are sufficient for recreational landing monitoring as required under this part. In such case, NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification indicating that compliance with the state system satisfies the reporting requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

(d) Tournament operators. For all tournaments that are conducted from a port in an Atlantic coastal state, including the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, a tournament operator must register with the NMFS' HMS Management Division, at least 4 weeks prior to commencement of the tournament by submitting information on the purpose, dates, and location of the tournament to NMFS. A tournament is not registered unless the tournament operator has received a confirmation number from the NMFS' HMS Management Division. NMFS will notify the tournament operator in writing when a tournament has been selected for reporting. Tournament operators that are selected to report must maintain and submit to NMFS a record of catch and effort on forms available from NMFS. Tournament operators must submit the completed forms to NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, postmarked no later than the 7th day after the conclusion of the tournament, and must attach a copy of the tournament rules.

(e) Inspection. Any person authorized to carry out enforcement activities under the regulations in this part has the authority, without warrant or other process, to inspect, at any reasonable time, catch on board a vessel or on the premises of a dealer, logbooks, catch reports, statistical records, sales receipts, or other records and reports required by this part to be made, kept, or furnished. An owner or operator of a fishing vessel that has been issued a permit under §635.4 or §635.32 must allow NMFS or an authorized person to inspect and copy any required reports and the records, in any form, on which the completed reports are based, wherever they exist. An agent of a person issued a permit under this part, or anyone responsible for offloading, storing, packing, or selling regulated HMS for such permittee, shall be subject to the inspection provisions of this section.

(f) Additional data and inspection. Additional data on fishing effort directed at Atlantic HMS or on catch of Atlantic HMS, regardless of whether retained, may be collected by contractors and statistical reporting agents, as designees of NMFS, and by authorized officers. A person issued a permit under §635.4 is required to provide requested information about fishing activity, and a person, regardless of whether issued a permit under §635.4, who possesses an Atlantic HMS is required to make such fish or parts thereof available for inspection by NMFS or its designees upon request.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §635.5, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

§635.6   Vessel and gear identification.

(a) Vessel number. For the purposes of this section, a vessel's number is the vessel's official number issued by either by the U.S. Coast Guard or by the appropriate state agency.

(b) Vessel identification. (1) An owner or operator of a vessel for which a permit has been issued under §635.4, other than an HMS Angling permit, must display the vessel number—

(i) On the port and starboard sides of the deckhouse or hull and 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) in length; at least 10 inches (25.4 cm) in height for all other vessels over 25 ft (7.6 m) in length; and at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) in height for vessels 25 ft (7.6 m) in length or less.

(2) The owner or operator of a vessel for which a permit has been issued under §635.4 must keep the vessel's number clearly legible and in good repair and ensure that no part of the vessel, its rigging, its fishing gear, or any other material on board obstructs the view of the vessel's number from an enforcement vessel or aircraft.

(c) Gear identification. (1) The owner or operator of a vessel for which a permit has been issued under §635.4 and that uses handline, buoy gear, harpoon, longline, or gillnet, must display the vessel's name, registration number or Atlantic Tunas, HMS Angling, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit number on each float attached to a handline, buoy gear, or harpoon, and on the terminal floats and high-flyers (if applicable) on a longline or gillnet used by the vessel. The vessel's name or number must be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) in height in block letters or arabic numerals in a color that contrasts with the background color of the float or high-flyer.

(2) An unmarked handline, buoy gear, harpoon, longline, or gillnet, is illegal and may be disposed of in an appropriate manner by NMFS or an authorized officer.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 66 FR 42804, Aug. 15, 2001; 67 FR 77437, Dec. 18, 2002; 71 FR 58166, Oct. 2, 2006]

§635.7   At-sea observer coverage.

(a) Applicability. NMFS may select for at-sea observer coverage any vessel that has an Atlantic HMS, tunas, shark or swordfish permit issued under §635.4 or §635.32. Vessels permitted in the HMS Charter/Headboat and Angling categories will be requested to take observers on a voluntary basis. When selected, vessels issued any other permit under §635.4 or §635.32 are required to take observers on a mandatory basis.

(b) Selection of vessels. NMFS will notify a vessel owner, in writing, when his or her vessel is selected for observer coverage. Vessels will be selected to provide information on catch, bycatch and other fishery data according to the need for representative samples.

(c) Notification of trips. The owner or operator of a vessel that is selected under paragraph (b) of this section must notify NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, before commencing any fishing trip that may result in the incidental catch or harvest of Atlantic HMS. Notification procedures and information requirements such as expected gear deployment, trip duration and fishing area will be specified in a selection letter sent by NMFS.

(d) Assignment of observers. Once notified of a trip, NMFS will assign an observer for that trip based on current information needs relative to the expected catch and bycatch likely to be associated with the indicated gear deployment, trip duration and fishing area. If an observer is not assigned for a fishing trip, NMFS will issue a waiver for that trip to the owner or operator of the selected vessel, so long as the waiver is consistent with other applicable laws. If an observer is assigned for a trip, the operator of the selected vessel must arrange to embark the observer and shall not fish for or retain any Atlantic HMS unless the NMFS-assigned observer is aboard.

(e) Requirements. The owner or operator of a vessel on which a NMFS-approved observer is embarked, regardless of whether required to carry the observer, must comply with §§600.725 and 600.746 of this chapter and—

(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.

(f) Vessel responsibilities. An owner or operator of a vessel required to carry one or more observer(s) must provide reasonable assistance to enable observer(s) to carry out their duties, including, but not limited to:

(1) Measuring decks, codends, and holding bins.

(2) Providing the observer(s) with a safe work area.

(3) Collecting bycatch when requested by the observer(s).

(4) Collecting and carrying baskets of fish when requested by the observer(s).

(5) Allowing the observer(s) to collect biological data and samples.

(6) Providing adequate space for storage of biological samples.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 37704, July 13, 1999; 66 FR 17372, Mar. 30, 2001; 68 FR 63741, Nov. 10, 2003; 74 FR 66586, Dec. 16, 2009]

§635.8   Workshops.

(a) Protected species release, disentanglement, and identification workshops. (1) Both the owner and operator of a vessel that fishes with longline or gillnet gear must be certified by NMFS, or its designee, as having completed a workshop on the safe handling, release, and identification of protected species before a shark or swordfish limited access vessel permit, pursuant to §635.4(e) and (f), is renewed in 2007. For the purposes of this section, it is a rebuttable presumption that a vessel fishes with longline or gillnet gear if: longline or gillnet gear is onboard the vessel; logbook reports indicate that longline or gillnet gear was used on at least one trip in the preceding year; or, in the case of a permit transfer to new owners that occurred less than a year ago, logbook reports indicate that longline or gillnet gear was used on at least one trip since the permit transfer.

(2) NMFS, or its designee, will issue a protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate to any person who completes a protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop. If an owner owns multiple vessels, NMFS will issue a certificate for each vessel that the owner owns upon successful completion of one workshop. An owner who is also an operator will be issued multiple certificates, one as the owner of the vessel and one as the operator.

(3) The owner of a vessel that fishes with longline or gillnet gear, as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, is required to possess on board the vessel a valid protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate issued to that vessel owner. A copy of a valid protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate issued to the vessel owner for a vessel that fishes with longline or gillnet gear must be included in the application package to renew or obtain a shark or swordfish limited access permit.

(4) An operator that fishes with longline or gillnet gear as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section must possess on board the vessel a valid protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate issued to that operator, in addition to a certificate issued to the vessel owner.

(5) All owners and operators that attended and successfully completed industry certification workshops, held on April 8, 2005, in Orlando, FL, and on June 27, 2005, in New Orleans, LA, as documented by workshop facilitators, will automatically receive valid protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificates issued by NMFS no later than December 31, 2006.

(b) Atlantic shark identification workshops. (1) As of December 31, 2007, all Federal Atlantic shark dealers permitted or required to be permitted pursuant to §635.4(g)(2), or a proxy for each place of business as specified in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, must be certified by NMFS, or its designee, as having completed an Atlantic shark identification workshop.

(2) NMFS, or its designee, will issue an Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate to any person who completes an Atlantic shark identification workshop.

(3) Dealers who own multiple businesses and who attend and successfully complete the workshop will be issued a certificate for each place of business that is permitted to receive sharks pursuant to §635.4(g)(2).

(4) Only dealers issued a valid shark dealer permit may send a proxy to the Atlantic shark identification workshops. If a dealer opts to send a proxy, the dealer must designate at least one proxy from each place of business listed on the dealer permit, issued pursuant to §635.4(g)(2), which first receives Atlantic shark. The proxy must be a person who is currently employed by a place of business covered by the dealer's permit; is a primary participant in the identification, weighing, and/or first receipt of fish as they are received; and fills out dealer reports as required under §635.5. Only one certificate will be issued to each proxy. If a proxy is no longer employed by a place of business covered by the dealer's permit, the dealer or another proxy must be certified as having completed a workshop pursuant to this section. At least one individual from each place of business listed on the dealer permit which first receives Atlantic sharks must possess a valid Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate.

(5) An Atlantic shark dealer issued or required to be issued a shark dealer permit pursuant to §635.4(g)(2) must possess and make available for inspection a valid dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued to the dealer or proxy at each place of business listed on the dealer permit which first receives Atlantic sharks. For the purposes of this part, trucks or other conveyances of a dealer's place of business are considered to be extensions of a dealer's place of business and must possess a copy of a valid dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued to a place of business covered by the dealer permit. A copy of a valid Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate must be included in the dealer's application package to obtain or renew an Atlantic shark dealer permit. If multiple businesses are authorized to first receive Atlantic sharks under the Atlantic shark dealer's permit, a copy of the Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate for each place of business listed on the Atlantic shark dealer permit which first receives Atlantic sharks must be included in the Atlantic shark dealer permit renewal application package.

(6) Persons holding an expired Atlantic shark dealer permit and persons who intend to apply for a new Atlantic shark dealer permit will be issued a participant certificate in their name upon successful completion of the Atlantic shark identification workshop. A participant certificate issued to such persons may be used only to apply for an Atlantic shark dealer permit. Pursuant to §635.8(c)(4), an Atlantic shark dealer may not first receive Atlantic shark without a valid dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued to the dealer or proxy. After an Atlantic shark dealer permit is issued to a person using an Atlantic shark identification workshop participant certificate, such person may obtain an Atlantic shark identification workshop dealer certificate for each location which first receives Atlantic sharks by contacting NMFS at an address designated by NMFS.

(c) Terms and conditions. (1) Certificates, as described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, are valid for three calendar years. All certificates must be renewed prior to the expiration date on the certificate.

(2) If a vessel fishes with longline or gillnet gear as described in paragraph (a) of this section, the vessel owner may not renew a shark or swordfish limited access permit, issued pursuant to §635.4(e) or (f), without submitting a valid protected species workshop certificate with the permit renewal application.

(3) A vessel that fishes with longline or gillnet gear as described in paragraph (a) of this section and that has been, or should be, issued a valid limited access permit pursuant to §635.4(e) or (f), may not fish unless a valid protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate has been issued to both the owner and operator of that vessel.

(4) An Atlantic shark dealer may not first receive Atlantic shark without a valid dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued to the dealer or proxy. A valid dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued to the dealer or proxy must be maintained on the premises of each place of business listed on the dealer permit which first receives Atlantic sharks. An Atlantic shark dealer may not renew a Federal dealer permit issued pursuant to §635.4(g)(2) unless a copy of a valid dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued to the dealer or proxy has been submitted with the permit renewal application. If the dealer is not certified and opts to send a proxy or proxies to a workshop, the dealer must submit a copy of a valid proxy certificate for each place of business listed on the dealer permit which first receives Atlantic sharks.

(5) A vessel owner, operator, shark dealer, proxy for a shark dealer, or participant who is issued either a protected species workshop certificate or an Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate may not transfer that certificate to another person.

(6) Vessel owners issued a valid protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate may request, in the application for permit transfer per §635.4(l)(2), additional protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificates for additional vessels that they own. Shark dealers may request from NMFS additional Atlantic shark identification workshop certificates for additional places of business authorized to receive sharks that they own as long as they, and not a proxy, were issued the certificate. All certificates must be renewed prior to the date of expiration on the certificate.

(7) To receive either the protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop certificate or Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate, persons required to attend the workshop must show a copy of their HMS permit, as well as proof of identification to NMFS or NMFS' designee at the workshop. If a permit holder is a corporation, partnership, association, or any other entity, the individual attending on behalf of the permit holder must show proof that he or she is the permit holder's agent and a copy of the HMS permit to NMFS or NMFS' designee at the workshop. For proxies attending on behalf of a shark dealer, the proxy must have documentation from the shark dealer acknowledging that the proxy is attending the workshop on behalf of the Atlantic shark dealer and must show a copy of the Atlantic shark dealer permit to NMFS or NMFS' designee at the workshop.

[71 FR 58166, Oct. 2, 2006, as amended at 73 FR 38153, July 3, 2008; 74 FR 66586, Dec. 16, 2009; 77 FR 47316, Aug. 8, 2012]

Subpart B—Limited Access

§635.16   [Reserved]

Subpart C—Management Measures

§635.20   Size limits.

(a) General. The CFL will be the sole criterion for determining the size and/or size class of whole (head on) Atlantic tunas.

(b) BFT size classes. The size class of a BFT found with the head removed shall be determined using pectoral fin curved fork length (PFCFL) multiplied by a conversion factor of 1.35. The CFL, as determined by conversion of the PFCFL, will be the sole criterion for determining the size class of a beheaded BFT. The conversion factor may be adjusted after consideration of additional scientific information and fish measurement data, and will be made effective by filing with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of the adjustment.

(c) BFT, bigeye tuna, and yellowfin tuna. (1) No person shall take, retain, or possess a BFT, bigeye tuna, or yellowfin tuna in the Atlantic Ocean that is less than 27 inches (69 cm) CFL;

(2) Applying the conversion factor from PFCFL to CFL for a beheaded BFT in §635.20(b) means that no person shall retain or possess a BFT, with the head removed, that is less than 20 inches (51 cm) PFCFL.

(3) No person shall remove the head of a bigeye tuna or yellowfin tuna if the remaining portion would be less than 27 inches (69 cm) from the fork of the tail to the forward edge of the cut.

(d) Billfish. (1) No person shall take, retain or possess a blue marlin taken from its management unit that is less than 99 inches (251 cm), LJFL.

(2) No person shall take, retain or possess a white marlin taken from its management unit that is less than 66 inches (168 cm), LJFL.

(3) No person shall take, retain or possess shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ a sailfish taken from its management unit that is less than 63 inches (160 cm), LJFL.

(4) No person shall take, retain or possess a roundscale spearfish taken from its management unit that is less than 66 inches (168 cm), LJFL.

(5) The Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish minimum size limits, specified in paragraphs (d)(1) and (d)(2) of this section, may be adjusted to sizes between 117 and 138 inches (297.2 and 350.5 cm) for blue marlin and 70 and 79 inches (177.8 and 200.7 cm) for white marlin and roundscale spearfish, to achieve, but not exceed, the annual Atlantic marlin landing limit specified in §635.27(d). Minimum size limit increases will be based upon a review of landings, the period of time remaining in the current fishing year, current and historical landing trends, and any other relevant factors. NMFS will adjust the minimum size limits specified in this section by filing an adjustment with the Office of the Federal Register for publication. In no case shall the adjustments be effective less than 14 calendar days after the date of publication. The adjusted minimum size limits will remain in effect through the end of the applicable fishing year or until otherwise adjusted.

(e) Sharks. The following size limits change depending on the species being caught and the retention limit under which they are being caught as specified under §635.22(c).

(1) All sharks landed under the recreational retention limits specified at §635.22(c) must have the head, tail, and fins naturally attached.

(2) All sharks, except those specified at §635.20(e)(4), landed under the recreational retention limits specified at §635.22(c)(2) must be at least 54 inches (137 cm) FL.

(3) There is no size limit for Atlantic sharpnose or bonnethead sharks taken under the recreational retention limits specified at §635.22(c)(3).

(4) All hammerhead sharks landed under the recreational retention limits specified at §635.22(c)(2) must be at least 78 inches (198.1 cm) FL.

(f) Swordfish. (1) For a swordfish that has its head naturally attached, the LJFL is the sole criterion for determining the size of a swordfish. No person shall take, retain, possess, or land a whole (head on) North or South Atlantic swordfish taken from its management unit that is not equal to or greater than 47 inches (119 cm) LJFL. A swordfish with the head naturally attached that is damaged by shark bites may be retained only if the length of the remainder of the fish is equal to or greater than 47 inches (119 cm) LJFL.

(2) If the head of a swordfish is no longer naturally attached, the CK measurement is the sole criterion for determining the size of a swordfish. No person shall take, retain, possess, or land a dressed North or South Atlantic swordfish taken from its management unit that is not equal to or greater than 25 inches (63 cm) CK length. A swordfish that is damaged by shark bites may be retained only if the length of the remainder of the carcass is equal to or greater than 25 inches (63 cm) CK length.

(3) No person shall import into the United States an Atlantic swordfish weighing less than 33 lb (15 kg) dressed weight, or a part derived from a swordfish that weighs less than 33 lb (15 kg) dressed weight.

(4) Except for a swordfish landed in a Pacific state and remaining in that Pacific state of landing, a swordfish, or part thereof, not meeting the minimum size measurements specified in §635.20(f)(1) or (2) will be deemed to be an Atlantic swordfish harvested by a vessel of the United States and to be in violation of the minimum size requirement of this section unless such swordfish, or part thereof, is accompanied by a swordfish statistical document attesting that the swordfish was lawfully imported. Refer to §300.186 of this title for the requirements related to the swordfish statistical document.

(5) A swordfish, or part thereof, will be monitored for compliance with the minimum size requirement of this section from the time it is landed in, or imported into, the United States up to, and including, the point of first transaction in the United States.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 37704, July 13, 1999; 66 FR 42804, Aug. 15, 2001; 68 FR 714, Jan. 7, 2003; 68 FR 74785, Dec. 24, 2003; 69 FR 67284, Nov. 17, 2004; 71 FR 58167, Oct. 2. 2006; 74 FR 66587, Dec. 19, 2009; 75 FR 30525, June 1, 2010; 75 FR 57701, Sept. 22, 2010; 76 FR 70066, Nov. 10, 2011; 77 FR 45280, July 31, 2012; 78 FR 40346, July 3, 2013]

§635.21   Gear operation and deployment restrictions.

(a) All Atlantic HMS fishing gears. (1) An Atlantic HMS harvested from its management unit that is not retained must be released in a manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival, but without removing the fish from the water.

(2) If a billfish is caught by a hook and not retained, the fish must be released by cutting the line near the hook or by using a dehooking device, in either case without removing the fish from the water.

(3) All vessels that have pelagic or bottom longline gear onboard and that have been issued, or are required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico must possess inside the wheelhouse the document provided by NMFS entitled “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury,” and must also post inside the wheelhouse the sea turtle handling and release guidelines provided by NMFS.

(4) Area closures for all Atlantic HMS fishing gears. (i) No person may fish for, catch, possess, or retain any Atlantic highly migratory species or anchor a fishing vessel that has been issued a permit or is required to be permitted under this part, in the areas designated at §622.34(d) of this chapter.

(ii) From November through April of each year, no vessel issued, or required to be issued, a permit under this part may fish or deploy any type of fishing gear in the Madison-Swanson closed area or the Steamboat Lumps closed area, as defined in §635.2.

(iii) From May through October of each year, no vessel issued, or required to be issued, a permit under this part may fish or deploy any type of fishing gear in the Madison-Swanson or the Steamboat Lumps closed areas except for surface trolling, as specified below under paragraph (a)(4)(iv) of this section.

(iv) For the purposes of paragraph (a)(4)(iii) of this section, 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.

(v) From January through April of each year, no vessel issued, or required to be issued, a permit under this part may fish or deploy any type of fishing gear in the Edges 40 Fathom Contour closed area, as defined in §635.2.

(vi) [Reserved]

(b) General. No person may fish for, catch, possess, or retain any Atlantic HMS with gears other than the primary gears specifically authorized in this part. Consistent with paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section, secondary gears may be used at boat side to aid and assist in subduing, or bringing on board a vessel, Atlantic HMS that have first been caught or captured using primary gears. For purposes of this part, secondary gears include, but are not limited to, dart harpoons, gaffs, flying gaffs, tail ropes, etc. Secondary gears may not be used to capture, or attempt to capture, free-swimming or undersized HMS. Except for vessels permitted under §635.4(o) or as specified in this paragraph (b), a vessel using or having onboard in the Atlantic Ocean any unauthorized gear may not possess an Atlantic HMS on board.

(c) Pelagic longlines. For purposes of this part, a vessel is considered to have pelagic longline gear on board when a power-operated longline hauler, a mainline, floats capable of supporting the mainline, and leaders (gangions) with hooks are on board. Removal of any one of these elements constitutes removal of pelagic longline gear. If a vessel issued a permit under this part is in a closed area designated under paragraph (c)(2) of this section with pelagic longline gear on board, it is a rebuttable presumption that fish on board such vessel were taken with pelagic longline gear in the closed area.

(1) If a vessel issued or required to be issued a permit under this part:

(i) Is in a closed area designated under paragraph (c)(2) of this section and has bottom longline gear onboard, the vessel may not, at any time, possess or land any pelagic species listed in table 2 of appendix A to this part in excess of 5 percent, by weight, of the total weight of pelagic and demersal species possessed or landed, that are listed in tables 2 and 3 of appendix A to this part.

(ii) Has pelagic longline gear on board, persons aboard that vessel may not possess, retain, transship, land, sell, or store silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, or scalloped, smooth, or great hammerhead sharks.

(2) If pelagic longline gear is on board a vessel issued a permit under this part, persons aboard that vessel may not fish or deploy any type of fishing gear in:

(i) The Northeastern United States closed area from June 1 through June 30 each calendar year;

(ii) In the Charleston Bump closed area from February 1 through April 30 each calendar year;

(iii) In the East Florida Coast closed area at any time;

(iv) In the Desoto Canyon closed area at any time;

(v) In the Northeast Distant gear restricted area at any time, unless persons onboard the vessel comply with the following:

(A) The vessel is limited to possessing onboard and/or using only 18/0 or larger circle hooks with an offset not to exceed 10 degrees. The outer diameter of the circle hook at its widest point must be no smaller than 2.16 inches (55 mm) when measured with the eye on the hook on the vertical axis (y-axis) and perpendicular to the horizontal axis (x-axis), and the distance between the circle hook point and the shank (i.e., the gap) must be no larger than 1.13 inches (28.8 mm). The allowable offset is measured from the barbed end of the hook and is relative to the parallel plane of the eyed-end, or shank, of the hook when laid on its side. The only allowable offset circle hooks are those that are offset by the hook manufacturer. If green-stick gear, as defined at §635.2, is onboard, a vessel may possess up to 20 J-hooks. J-hooks may be used only with green-stick gear, and no more than 10 hooks may be used at one time with each green-stick gear. J-hooks used with green-stick gear may be no smaller than 1.5 inch (38.1 mm) when measured in a straight line over the longest distance from the eye to any other part of the hook; and,

(B) The vessel is limited, at all times, to possessing onboard and/or using only whole Atlantic mackerel and/or squid bait, except that artificial bait may be possessed and used only with green-stick gear, as defined at §635.2, if green-stick gear is onboard; and,

(C) Vessels must possess, inside the wheelhouse, a document provided by NMFS entitled, “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury,” and must post, inside the wheelhouse, sea turtle handling and release guidelines provided by NMFS; and,

(D) Required sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, which NMFS has approved under paragraph (c)(5)(iv) of this section, on the initial list of “NMFS-Approved Models For Equipment Needed For The Careful Release of Sea Turtles Caught In Hook And Line Fisheries,” must be carried onboard, and must be used in accordance with the handling requirements specified in paragraphs (c)(2)(v)(E) through(G) of this section; and,

(E) Sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section, must be used to disengage any hooked or entangled sea turtles that cannot be brought on board, and to facilitate access, safe handling, disentanglement, and hook removal or hook cutting of sea turtles that can be brought on board, where feasible. Sea turtles must be handled, and bycatch mitigation gear must be used, in accordance with the careful release protocols and handling/release guidelines specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(C) of this section, and in accordance with the onboard handling and resuscitation requirements specified in §223.206(d)(1).

(F) Boated turtles. When practicable, active and comatose sea turtles must be brought on board, with a minimum of injury, using a dipnet approved on the initial list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section. All turtles less than 3 ft (.91 m) carapace length should be boated, if sea conditions permit. A boated turtle should be placed on a standard automobile tire, or cushioned surface, in an upright orientation to immobilize it and facilitate gear removal. Then, it should be determined if the hook can be removed without causing further injury. All externally embedded hooks should be removed, unless hook removal would result in further injury to the turtle. No attempt to remove a hook should be made if the hook has been swallowed and the insertion point is not visible, or if it is determined that removal would result in further injury. If a hook cannot be removed, as much line as possible should be removed from the turtle using approved monofilament line cutters from the initial list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section, and the hook should be cut as close as possible to the insertion point before releasing the turtle using bolt cutters from that list. If a hook can be removed, an effective technique may be to cut off either the barb, or the eye, of the hook using bolt cutters, and then to slide the hook out. When the hook is visible in the front of the mouth, an approved mouth-opener from the initial list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section may facilitate opening the turtle's mouth, and an approved gag from that list may facilitate keeping the mouth open. Short-handled dehookers for ingested hooks, long-nose pliers, or needle-nose pliers from the initial list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section should be used to remove visible hooks from the mouth that have not been swallowed on boated turtles, as appropriate. As much gear as possible must be removed from the turtle without causing further injury prior to its release. Refer to the careful release protocols and handling/release guidelines required in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(C) of this section, and the handling and resuscitation requirements specified in §223.206(d)(1) of this title, for additional information.

(G) Non-boated turtles. If a sea turtle is too large, or hooked in a manner that precludes safe boating without causing further damage or injury to the turtle, sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section, must be used to disentangle sea turtles from fishing gear and disengage any hooks, or to clip the line and remove as much line as possible from a hook that cannot be removed, prior to releasing the turtle, in accordance with the protocols specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(C) of this section. Non-boated turtles should be brought close to the boat and provided with time to calm down. Then, it must be determined whether or not the hook can be removed without causing further injury. A front flipper or flippers of the turtle must be secured, if possible, with an approved turtle control device from the list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section. All externally embedded hooks must be removed, unless hook removal would result in further injury to the turtle. No attempt should be made to remove a hook if it has been swallowed, or if it is determined that removal would result in further injury. If the hook cannot be removed and/or if the animal is entangled, as much line as possible must be removed prior to release, using an approved line cutter from the list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section. If the hook can be removed, it must be removed using a long-handled dehooker from the initial list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section. Without causing further injury, as much gear as possible must be removed from the turtle prior to its release. Refer to the careful release protocols and handling/release guidelines required in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(C) of this section, and the handling and resuscitation requirements specified in §223.206(d)(1) of this title, for additional information.

(3) When a marine mammal or sea turtle is hooked or entangled by pelagic longline gear, the operator of the vessel must immediately release the animal, retrieve the pelagic longline gear, and move at least 1 nm (2 km) from the location of the incident before resuming fishing. Reports of marine mammal entanglements must be submitted to NMFS consistent with regulations in §229.6 of this title.

(4) In the Gulf of Mexico: pelagic longline gear may not be fished or deployed from a vessel issued a permit under this part with live bait affixed to the hooks; and, a person aboard a vessel issued a permit under this part that has pelagic longline gear on board shall not maintain live baitfish in any tank or well on board the vessel and shall not possess live baitfish, and shall not set up or attach an aeration or water circulation device in or to any such tank or well. For the purposes of this section, the Gulf of Mexico includes all waters of the U.S. EEZ west and north of the boundary stipulated at 50 CFR 600.105(c).

(5) The operator of a vessel required to be permitted under this part and that has pelagic longline gear on board must undertake the following sea turtle bycatch mitigation measures:

(i) Possession and use of required mitigation gear. Required sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, which NMFS has approved under paragraph (c)(5)(iv) of this section as meeting the minimum design standards specified in paragraphs (c)(5)(i)(A) through (c)(5)(i)(M) of this section, must be carried onboard, and must be used to disengage any hooked or entangled sea turtles in accordance with the handling requirements specified in paragraph (c)(5)(ii) of this section.

(A) Long-handled line clipper or cutter. Line cutters are intended to cut high test monofilament line as close as possible to the hook, and assist in removing line from entangled sea turtles to minimize any remaining gear upon release. NMFS has established minimum design standards for the line cutters. The LaForce line cutter and the Arceneaux line clipper are models that meet these minimum design standards, and may be purchased or fabricated from readily available and low-cost materials. One long-handled line clipper or cutter and a set of replacement blades are required to be onboard. The minimum design standards for line cutters are as follows:

(1) A protected and secured cutting blade. The cutting blade(s) must be capable of cutting 2.0-2.1 mm (0.078 in.-0.083 in.) monofilament line (400-lb test) or polypropylene multistrand material, known as braided or tarred mainline, and must be maintained in working order. The cutting blade must be curved, recessed, contained in a holder, or otherwise designed to facilitate its safe use so that direct contact between the cutting surface and the sea turtle or the user is prevented. The cutting instrument must be securely attached to an extended reach handle and be easily replaceable. One extra set of replacement blades meeting these standards must also be carried on board to replace all cutting surfaces on the line cutter or clipper.

(2) An extended reach handle. The line cutter blade must be securely fastened to an extended reach handle or pole with a minimum length equal to, or greater than, 150 percent of the freeboard, or a minimum of 6 feet (1.83 m), whichever is greater. It is recommended, but not required, that the handle break down into sections. There is no restriction on the type of material used to construct this handle as long as it is sturdy and facilitates the secure attachment of the cutting blade.

(B) Long-handled dehooker for ingested hooks. A long-handled dehooking device is intended to remove ingested hooks from sea turtles that cannot be boated. It should also be used to engage a loose hook when a turtle is entangled but not hooked, and line is being removed. The design must shield the barb of the hook and prevent it from re-engaging during the removal process. One long-handled device to remove ingested hooks is required onboard. The minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) Hook removal device. The hook removal device must be constructed of 5/16-inch (7.94 mm) 316 L stainless steel and have a dehooking end no larger than 1 7/8-inches (4.76 cm) outside diameter. The device must securely engage and control the leader while shielding the barb to prevent the hook from re-engaging during removal. It may not have any unprotected terminal points (including blunt ones), as these could cause injury to the esophagus during hook removal. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the pelagic longline fishery targeting swordfish and tuna.

(2) Extended reach handle. The dehooking end must be securely fastened to an extended reach handle or pole with a minimum length equal to or greater than 150 percent of the freeboard, or a minimum of 6 ft (1.83 m), whichever is greater. It is recommended, but not required, that the handle break down into sections. The handle must be sturdy and strong enough to facilitate the secure attachment of the hook removal device.

(C) Long-handled dehooker for external hooks. A long-handled dehooker is required for use on externally-hooked sea turtles that cannot be boated. The long-handled dehooker for ingested hooks described in paragraph (c)(5)(i)(B) of this section would meet this requirement. The minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) Construction. A long-handled dehooker must be constructed of 5/16-inch (7.94 mm) 316 L stainless steel rod. A 5-inch (12.7-cm) tube T-handle of 1-inch (2.54 cm) outside diameter is recommended, but not required. The design should be such that a fish hook can be rotated out, without pulling it out at an angle. The dehooking end must be blunt with all edges rounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the pelagic longline fishery targeting swordfish and tuna.

(2) Extended reach handle. The handle must be a minimum length equal to the freeboard of the vessel or 6 ft (1.83 m), whichever is greater.

(D) Long-handled device to pull an “inverted V”. This tool is used to pull a “V” in the fishing line when implementing the “inverted V” dehooking technique, as described in the document entitled “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release With Minimal Injury,” required under paragraph (a)(3) of this section, for disentangling and dehooking entangled sea turtles. One long-handled device to pull an “inverted V” is required onboard. If a 6-ft (1.83 m) J-style dehooker is used to comply with paragraph (c)(5)(i)(C) of this section, it will also satisfy this requirement. Minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) Hook end. This device, such as a standard boat hook or gaff, must be constructed of stainless steel or aluminum. A sharp point, such as on a gaff hook, is to be used only for holding the monofilament fishing line and should never contact the sea turtle.

(2) Extended reach handle. The handle must have a minimum length equal to the freeboard of the vessel, or 6 ft (1.83 m), whichever is greater. The handle must be sturdy and strong enough to facilitate the secure attachment of the gaff hook.

(E) Dipnet. One dipnet is required onboard. Dipnets are to be used to facilitate safe handling of sea turtles by allowing them to be brought onboard for fishing gear removal, without causing further injury to the animal. Turtles must not be brought onboard without the use of a dipnet. The minimum design standards for dipnets are as follows:

(1) Size of dipnet. The dipnet must have a sturdy net hoop of at least 31 inches (78.74 cm) inside diameter and a bag depth of at least 38 inches (96.52 cm) to accommodate turtles below 3 ft (0.914 m)carapace length. The bag mesh openings may not exceed 3 inches (7.62 cm) 3 inches (7.62 cm). There must be no sharp edges or burrs on the hoop, or where it is attached to the handle.

(2) Extended reach handle. The dipnet hoop must be securely fastened to an extended reach handle or pole with a minimum length equal to, or greater than, 150 percent of the freeboard, or at least 6 ft (1.83 m), whichever is greater. The handle must made of a rigid material strong enough to facilitate the sturdy attachment of the net hoop and able to support a minimum of 100 lbs (34.1 kg) without breaking or significant bending or distortion. It is recommended, but not required, that the extended reach handle break down into sections.

(F) Tire. A minimum of one tire is required for supporting a turtle in an upright orientation while it is onboard, although an assortment of sizes is recommended to accommodate a range of turtle sizes. The required tire must be a standard passenger vehicle tire, and must be free of exposed steel belts.

(G) Short-handled dehooker for ingested hooks. One short-handled device for removing ingested hooks is required onboard. This dehooker is designed to remove ingested hooks from boated sea turtles. It can also be used on external hooks or hooks in the front of the mouth. Minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) Hook removal device. The hook removal device must be constructed of 1/4-inch (6.35 mm) 316 L stainless steel, and must allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the removal process. It must be no larger than 1516 inch (3.33 cm) outside diameter. It may not have any unprotected terminal points (including blunt ones), as this could cause injury to the esophagus during hook removal. A sliding PVC bite block must be used to protect the beak and facilitate hook removal if the turtle bites down on the dehooking device. The bite block should be constructed of a 34 -inch (1.91 cm) inside diameter high impact plastic cylinder (e.g., Schedule 80 PVC) that is 10 inches (25.4 cm) long to allow for 5 inches (12.7 cm) of slide along the shaft. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used in the pelagic longline fishery targeting swordfish and tuna.

(2) Handle length. The handle should be approximately 16-24 inches (40.64 cm-60.69 cm) in length, with approximately a 5-inch (12.7 cm) long tube T-handle of approximately 1 inch (2.54 cm) in diameter.

(H) Short-handled dehooker for external hooks. One short-handled dehooker for external hooks is required onboard. The short-handled dehooker for ingested hooks required to comply with paragraph (c)(5)(i)(G) of this section will also satisfy this requirement. Minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) Hook removal device. The dehooker must be constructed of 5/16-inch (7.94 cm) 316 L stainless steel, and the design must be such that a hook can be rotated out without pulling it out at an angle. 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 pelagic longline fishery targeting swordfish and tuna.

(2) Handle length. The handle should be approximately 16-24 inches (40.64 cm-60.69 cm) long with approximately a 5-inch (12.7 cm) long tube T-handle of approximately 1 inch (2.54 cm) in diameter.

(I) Long-nose or needle-nose pliers. One pair of long-nose or needle-nose pliers is required on board. Required long-nose or needle-nose pliers can be used to remove deeply embedded hooks from the turtle's flesh that must be twisted during removal. They can also hold PVC splice couplings, when used as mouth openers, in place. Minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) General. They must be approximately 12 inches (30.48 cm) in length, and should be constructed of stainless steel material.

(2) [Reserved]

(J) Bolt cutters. One pair of bolt cutters is required on board. Required bolt cutters may be used to cut hooks to facilitate their removal. They should be used to cut off the eye or barb of a hook, so that it can safely be pushed through a sea turtle without causing further injury. They should also be used to cut off as much of the hook as possible, when the remainder of the hook cannot be removed. Minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) General. They must be approximately 17 inches (43.18 cm) in total length, with 4-inch (10.16 cm) long blades that are 214 inches (5.72 cm) wide, when closed, and with 13-inch (33.02 cm) long handles. Required bolt cutters must be able to cut hard metals, such as stainless or carbon steel hooks, up to 1/4-inch (6.35 mm) diameter.

(2) [Reserved]

(K) Monofilament line cutters. One pair of monofilament line cutters is required on board. Required monofilament line cutters must be used to remove fishing line as close to the eye of the hook as possible, if the hook is swallowed or cannot be removed. Minimum design standards are as follows:

(1) General. Monofilament line cutters must be approximately 712 inches (19.05 cm) in length. The blades must be 1 in (4.45 cm) in length and 58 in (1.59 cm) wide, when closed, and are recommended to be coated with Teflon (a trademark owned by E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company Corp.).

(2) [Reserved]

(L) Mouth openers/mouth gags. Required mouth openers and mouth gags are used to open sea turtle mouths, and to keep them open when removing ingested hooks from boated turtles. They must allow access to the hook or line without causing further injury to the turtle. Design standards are included in the item descriptions. At least two of the seven different types of mouth openers/gags described below are required:

(1) A block of hard wood. Placed in the corner of the jaw, a block of hard wood may be used to gag open a turtle's mouth. A smooth block of hard wood of a type that does not splinter (e.g. maple) with rounded edges should be sanded smooth, if necessary, and soaked in water to soften the wood. The dimensions should be approximately 11 inches (27.94 cm) 1 inch (2.54 cm) 1 inch (2.54 cm). A long-handled, wire shoe brush with a wooden handle, and with the wires removed, is an inexpensive, effective and practical mouth-opening device that meets these requirements.

(2) A set of three canine mouth gags. Canine mouth gags are highly recommended to hold a turtle's mouth open, because the gag locks into an open position to allow for hands-free operation after it is in place. A set of canine mouth gags must include one of each of the following sizes: small (5 inches)(12.7 cm), medium (6 inches) (15.24 cm), and large (7 inches)(17.78 cm). They must be constructed of stainless steel. A 1 -inch (4.45 cm) piece of vinyl tubing (3/4-inch (1.91 cm) outside diameter and 5/8-inch (1.59 cm) inside diameter) must be placed over the ends to protect the turtle's beak.

(3) A set of two sturdy dog chew bones. Placed in the corner of a turtle's jaw, canine chew bones are used to gag open a sea turtle's mouth. Required canine chews must be constructed of durable nylon, zylene resin, or thermoplastic polymer, and strong enough to withstand biting without splintering. To accommodate a variety of turtle beak sizes, a set must include one large (512 -8 inches(13.97 cm-20.32 cm) in length), and one small (312 -412 inches (8.89 cm-11.43 cm) in length) canine chew bones.

(4) A set of two rope loops covered with hose. A set of two rope loops covered with a piece of hose can be used as a mouth opener, and to keep a turtle's mouth open during hook and/or line removal. A required set consists of two 3-foot (0.91 m) lengths of poly braid rope (3/8-inch (9.52 mm) diameter suggested), each covered with an 8-inch (20.32 cm) section of 12 inch (1.27 cm) or 34 inch (1.91 cm) light-duty garden hose, and each tied into a loop. The upper loop of rope covered with hose is secured on the upper beak to give control with one hand, and the second piece of rope covered with hose is secured on the lower beak to give control with the user's foot.

(5) A hank of rope. Placed in the corner of a turtle's jaw, a hank of rope can be used to gag open a sea turtle's mouth. A 6-foot (1.83 m) lanyard of approximately 3/16-inch (4.76 mm) braided nylon rope may be folded to create a hank, or looped bundle, of rope. Any size soft-braided nylon rope is allowed, however it must create a hank of approximately 2-4 inches (5.08 cm-10.16 cm) in thickness.

(6) A set of four PVC splice couplings. PVC splice couplings can be positioned inside a turtle's mouth to allow access to the back of the mouth for hook and line removal. They are to be held in place with the needle-nose pliers. To ensure proper fit and access, a required set must consist of the following Schedule 40 PVC splice coupling sizes: 1 inch (2.54 cm), 114 inch (3.18 cm), 112 inch (3.81 cm), and 2 inches (5.08 cm).

(7) A large avian oral speculum. A large avian oral speculum provides the ability to hold a turtle's mouth open and to control the head with one hand, while removing a hook with the other hand. The avian oral speculum must be 9-inches (22.86 cm) long, and constructed of 3/16-inch (4.76 mm) wire diameter surgical stainless steel (Type 304). It must be covered with 8 inches (20.32 cm) of clear vinyl tubing ( 516 -inch (7.9 mm) outside diameter, 3/16-inch (4.76 mm) inside diameter).

(M) Turtle control devices. Effective January 1, 2009, one turtle control device, as described in paragraph (c)(5)(i)(M)(1) or (2) of this section, is required onboard and must be used to secure a front flipper of the sea turtle so that the animal can be controlled at the side of the vessel. It is strongly recommended that a pair of turtle control devices be used to secure both front flippers when crew size and conditions allow. Minimum design standards consist of:

(1) Turtle tether and extended reach handle. Approximately 15-20 feet of 1/2-inch hard lay negative buoyance line is used to make an approximately 30-inch loop to slip over the flipper. The line is fed through a 3/4-inch fair lead, eyelet, or eyebolt at the working end of a pole and through a 3/4-inch eyelet or eyebolt in the midsection. A 1/2-inch quick release cleat holds the line in place near the end of the pole. A final 3/4-inch eyelet or eyebolt should be positioned approximately 7-inches behind the cleat to secure the line, while allowing a safe working distance to avoid injury when releasing the line from the cleat. The line must be securely fastened to an extended reach handle or pole with a minimum length equal to, or greater than, 150 percent of the freeboard, or a minimum of 6 feet (1.83 m), whichever is greater. There is no restriction on the type of material used to construct this handle, as long as it is sturdy. The handle must include a tag line to attach the tether to the vessel to prevent the turtle from breaking away with the tether still attached.

(2) T&G ninja sticks and extended reach handles. Approximately 30-35 feet of 1/2-inch to 5/8-inch soft lay polypropylene or nylon line or similar is fed through 2 PVC conduit, fiberglass, of similar sturdy poles and knotted using an overhand (recommended) knot at the end of both poles or otherwise secured. There should be approximately 18-24 inches of exposed rope between the poles to be used as a working surface to capture and secure the flipper. Knot the line at the ends of both poles to prevent line slippage if they are not otherwise secured. The remaining line is used to tether the apparatus to the boat unless an additional tag line is used. Two lengths of sunlight resistant 3/4-inch schedule 40 PVC electrical conduit, fiberglass, aluminum, or similar material should be used to construct the apparatus with a minimum length equal to, or greater than, 150 percent of the freeboard, or a minimum of 6 feet (1.83 m), whichever is greater.

(ii) Handling and release requirements. (A) Sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, as required by paragraphs (c)(5)(i)(A) through (D) of this section, must be used to disengage any hooked or entangled sea turtles that cannot be brought onboard. Sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, as required by paragraphs (c)(5)(i)(E) through (M) of this section, must be used to facilitate access, safe handling, disentanglement, and hook removal or hook cutting of sea turtles that can be brought onboard, where feasible. Sea turtles must be handled, and bycatch mitigation gear must be used, in accordance with the careful release protocols and handling/release guidelines specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, and in accordance with the onboard handling and resuscitation requirements specified in §223.206(d)(1)of this title.

(B) Boated turtles. When practicable, active and comatose sea turtles must be brought on board, with a minimum of injury, using a dipnet as required by paragraph (c)(5)(i)(E) of this section. All turtles less than 3 ft (.91 m) carapace length should be boated, if sea conditions permit.

(1) A boated turtle should be placed on a standard automobile tire, or cushioned surface, in an upright orientation to immobilize it and facilitate gear removal. Then, it should be determined if the hook can be removed without causing further injury. All externally embedded hooks should be removed, unless hook removal would result in further injury to the turtle. No attempt to remove a hook should be made if it has been swallowed and the insertion point is not visible, or if it is determined that removal would result in further injury. If a hook cannot be removed, as much line as possible should be removed from the turtle using monofilament cutters as required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section, and the hook should be cut as close as possible to the insertion point before releasing the turtle, using boltcutters as required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section. If a hook can be removed, an effective technique may be to cut off either the barb, or the eye, of the hook using bolt cutters, and then to slide the hook out. When the hook is visible in the front of the mouth, a mouth-opener, as required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section, may facilitate opening the turtle's mouth and a gag may facilitate keeping the mouth open. Short-handled dehookers for ingested hooks, long-nose pliers, or needle-nose pliers, as required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section, should be used to remove visible hooks from the mouth that have not been swallowed on boated turtles, as appropriate. As much gear as possible must be removed from the turtle without causing further injury prior to its release. Refer to the careful release protocols and handling/release guidelines required in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, and the handling and resuscitation requirements specified in §223.206(d)(1) of this title, for additional information.

(2) [Reserved]

(C) Non-boated turtles. If a sea turtle is too large, or hooked in a manner that precludes safe boating without causing further damage or injury to the turtle, sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear required by paragraphs (c)(5)(i)(A)-(D) of this section must be used to disentangle sea turtles from fishing gear and disengage any hooks, or to clip the line and remove as much line as possible from a hook that cannot be removed, prior to releasing the turtle, in accordance with the protocols specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.

(1) Non-boated turtles should be brought close to the boat and provided with time to calm down. Then, it must be determined whether or not the hook can be removed without causing further injury. A front flipper or flippers of the turtle must be secured with an approved turtle control device from the list specified in paragraph (c)(2)(v)(D) of this section. All externally embedded hooks must be removed, unless hook removal would result in further injury to the turtle. No attempt should be made to remove a hook if it has been swallowed, or if it is determined that removal would result in further injury. If the hook cannot be removed and/or if the animal is entangled, as much line as possible must be removed prior to release, using a line cutter as required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section. If the hook can be removed, it must be removed using a long-handled dehooker as required by paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section. Without causing further injury, as much gear as possible must be removed from the turtle prior to its release. Refer to the careful release protocols and handling/release guidelines required in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, and the handling and resuscitation requirements specified in §223.206(d)(1) for additional information.

(2) [Reserved]

(iii) Gear modifications. The following measures are required of vessel operators to reduce the incidental capture and mortality of sea turtles:

(A) Gangion length. The length of any gangion on vessels that have pelagic longline gear on board and that have been issued, or are required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico must be at least 10 percent longer than any floatline length if the total length of any gangion plus the total length of any floatline is less than 100 meters.

(B) Corrodible hooks. Vessels that have pelagic longline gear on board and that have been issued, or are required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico must only have corrodible hooks on board.

(C) Hook size, type, and bait. Vessels fishing outside of the Northeast Distant gear restricted area, as defined at §635.2, that have pelagic longline gear on board, and that have been issued, or are required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, are limited, at all times, to possessing on board and/or using only whole finfish and/or squid bait, and the following types and sizes of fishing hooks:

(1) 18/0 or larger circle hooks with an offset not to exceed 10°; and/or,

(2) 16/0 or larger non-offset circle hooks.

(i) For purposes of paragraphs (c)(5)(iii)(C)(1) and (c)(5)(iii)(C)(2) of this section, the outer diameter of an 18/0 circle hook at its widest point must be no smaller than 2.16 inches (55 mm), and the outer diameter of a 16/0 circle hook at its widest point must be no smaller than 1.74 inches (44.3 mm), when measured with the eye of the hook on the vertical axis (y-axis) and perpendicular to the horizontal axis (x-axis). The distance between the hook point and the shank (i.e., the gap) on an 18/0 circle hook must be no larger than 1.13 inches (28.8 mm), and the gap on a 16/0 circle hook must be no larger than 1.01 inches (25.8 mm). The allowable offset is measured from the barbed end of the hook, and is relative to the parallel plane of the eyed-end, or shank, of the hook when laid on its side. The only allowable offset circle hooks are those that are offset by the hook manufacturer. In the Gulf of Mexico, as described at §600.105(c), circle hooks also must be constructed of corrodible round wire stock that is no larger than 3.65 mm in diameter.

(ii) [Reserved]

(3) If green-stick gear, as defined at §635.2, is onboard, a vessel may possess up to 20 J-hooks. J-hooks may be used only with green-stick gear, and no more than 10 hooks may be used at one time with each green-stick gear. J-hooks used with green-stick gear may be no smaller than 1.5 inch (38.1 mm) when measured in a straight line over the longest distance from the eye to any other part of the hook. If green-stick gear is onboard, artificial bait may be possessed, but used only with green-stick gear.

(iv) Approval of sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication an initial list of required sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear that NMFS has approved as meeting the minimum design standards specified under paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section. Other devices proposed for use as line clippers or cutters or dehookers, as specified under paragraphs (c)(5)(i)(A), (B), (C), (G), (H), and (K) of this section, must be approved as meeting the minimum design standards before being used. NMFS will examine new devices, as they become available, to determine if they meet the minimum design standards, and will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of any new devices that are approved as meeting the standards.

(d) Bottom longlines. For the purposes of this part, a vessel is considered to have bottom longline gear on board when a power-operated longline hauler, a mainline, weights and/or anchors capable of maintaining contact between the mainline and the ocean bottom, and leaders (gangions) with hooks are on board. Removal of any one of these elements constitutes removal of bottom longline gear. Bottom longline vessels may have a limited number of floats and/or high flyers onboard for the purposes of marking the location of the gear but removal of these floats does not constitute removal of bottom longline gear. If a vessel issued a permit under this part is in a closed area designated under paragraph (d)(1) of this section with bottom longline gear on board, it is a rebuttable presumption that any fish on board such a vessel were taken with bottom longline in the closed area.

(1) If bottom longline gear is onboard a vessel issued a permit under this part, persons aboard that vessel may not fish or deploy any type of fishing gear in the following areas:

(i) The mid-Atlantic shark closed area from January 1 through July 31 each calendar year;

(ii) The areas designated at §622.33(a)(1) through (3) of this chapter, year-round; and

(iii) The areas described in paragraphs (d)(1)(iii)(A) through (H) of this section, year-round.

(A) Snowy Grouper Wreck. Bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

PointNorth lat.West long.
A33°2577°04.75
B33°34.7576°51.3
C33°25.576°46.5
D33°15.7577°00.0
A33°2577°04.75

(B) Northern South Carolina. 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. 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. Bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

PointNorth lat.West long.
A32°0479°12
B32°08.579°07.5
C32°0679°05
D32°01.579°09.3
A32°0479°12

(E) Georgia. Bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

PointNorth lat.West long.
A31°4379°31
B31°4379°21
C31°3479°29
D31°3479°39
A31°4379°31

(F) North Florida. 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. 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. Bounded by rhumb lines connecting, in order, the following points:

PointNorth lat.West long.
A24°36.580°45.5
B24°3280°36
C24°27.580°38.5
D24°32.580°48
A24°36.580°45.5

(2) When a marine mammal, sea turtle, or smalltooth sawfish is hooked or entangled by bottom longline gear, the operator of the vessel must immediately release the animal, retrieve the bottom longline gear, and move at least 1 nmi (2 km) from the location of the incident before resuming fishing. Reports of marine mammal entanglements must be submitted to NMFS consistent with regulations in §229.6 of this title.

(3) The operator of a vessel required to be permitted under this part and that has bottom longline gear on board must undertake the following bycatch mitigation measures to release sea turtles, prohibited sharks, or smalltooth sawfish, as appropriate.

(i) Possession and use of required mitigation gear. The equipment listed in paragraph (c)(5)(i) of this section must be carried on board and must be used to handle, release, and disentangle hooked or entangled sea turtles, prohibited sharks, or smalltooth sawfish in accordance with requirements specified in paragraph (d)(3)(ii) of this section.

(ii) Handling and release requirements. Sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, as required by paragraph (d)(3)(i) of this section, must be used to disengage any hooked or entangled sea turtle as stated in paragraph (c)(5)(ii) of this section. This mitigation gear should also be employed to disengage any hooked or entangled species of prohibited sharks as listed under heading D of Table 1 of appendix A of this part, any hooked or entangled species of sharks that exceed the retention limits as specified in §635.24(a), and any hooked or entangled smalltooth sawfish. In addition, if a smalltooth sawfish is caught, the fish should be kept in the water while maintaining water flow over the gills and the fish should be examined for research tags. All smalltooth sawfish must be released in a manner that will ensure maximum probability of survival, but without removing the fish from the water or any research tags from the fish.

(iii) Corrodible hooks. Vessels that have bottom longline gear on board and that have been issued, or required to have, a limited access shark permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, must only have corrodible hooks on board.

(4) If a vessel issued or required to be issued a permit under this part is in a closed area designated under paragraph (d)(1) of this section and has pelagic longline gear onboard, the vessel may not, at any time, possess or land any demersal species listed in Table 3 of Appendix A to this part in excess of 5 percent, by weight, of the total weight of pelagic and demersal species possessed or landed, that are listed in Tables 2 and 3 of Appendix A to this part.

(e) Authorized gear—(1) Atlantic tunas. A person that fishes for, retains, or possesses an Atlantic bluefin tuna (BFT) may not have on board a vessel or use on board a vessel any primary gear other than those authorized for the category for which the Atlantic tunas or HMS permit has been issued for such vessel. Primary gears are the gears specifically authorized in this section. When fishing for Atlantic tunas other than BFT, primary gear authorized for any Atlantic Tunas permit category may be used, except that purse seine gear may be used only on board vessels permitted in the Purse Seine category and pelagic longline gear may be used only on board vessels issued an Atlantic Tunas Longline category tuna permit, a LAP other than handgear for swordfish, and a LAP for sharks. A person issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit who fishes for, retains, or possesses BAYS tunas in the U.S. Caribbean, as defined at §622.2, may have on board and use handline, harpoon, rod and reel, bandit gear, green-stick gear, and buoy gear.

(i) Angling. Speargun (for BAYS tunas only), and rod and reel (including downriggers)and handline (for all tunas).

(ii) Charter/Headboat. Rod and reel (including downriggers), bandit gear, handline, and green-stick gear are authorized for all recreational and commercial Atlantic tuna fisheries. Speargun is authorized for recreational Atlantic BAYS tuna fisheries only.

(iii) General. Rod and reel (including downriggers), handline, harpoon, bandit gear, and green-stick.

(iv) Harpoon. Harpoon.

(v) Longline. Longline and green-stick.

(vi) Purse Seine. Purse seine.

(A) Mesh size. A purse seine used in directed fishing for BFT must have a mesh size equal to or smaller than 4.5 inches (11.4 cm) in the main body (stretched when wet) and must have at least 24-count thread throughout the net.

(B) Inspection of purse seine vessels. Persons that own or operate a purse seine vessel conducting a directed fishery for Atlantic tunas must have their fishing gear inspected for mesh size by an enforcement agent of NMFS prior to commencing fishing for the season in any fishery that may result in the harvest of Atlantic tunas. Such persons must request such inspection at least 24 hours before commencement of the first fishing trip of the season. If NMFS does not inspect the vessel within 24 hours of such notification, the inspection requirement is waived. In addition, at least 24 hours before commencement of offloading any BFT after a fishing trip, such persons must request an inspection of the vessel and catch by notifying NMFS. If, after notification by the vessel, NMFS does not arrange to inspect the vessel and catch at offloading, the inspection requirement is waived.

(vii) Trap. Pound net and fish weir.

(2) Billfish. (i) Only persons who have been issued a valid HMS Angling or valid Charter/Headboat permit, or who have been issued a valid Atlantic Tunas General category or Swordfish General Commercial permit and are participating in a tournament as provided in 635.4(c) of this part, may possess a blue marlin, white marlin, or roundscale spearfish in, or take a blue marlin, white marlin, or roundscale spearfish from, its management unit. Blue marlin, white marlin, or roundscale spearfish may only be harvested by rod and reel.

(ii) Only persons who have been issued a valid HMS Angling or valid Charter/Headboat permit, or who have been issued a valid Atlantic Tunas General category or Swordfish General Commercial permit and are participating in a tournament as provided in §635.4(c) of this part, may possess or take a sailfish shoreward of the outer boundary of the Atlantic EEZ. Sailfish may only be harvested by rod and reel.

(iii) After December 31, 2007, persons who have been issued or are required to be issued a permit under this part and who are participating in a “tournament”, as defined in §635.2, that bestows points, prizes, or awards for Atlantic billfish must deploy only non-offset circle hooks when using natural bait or natural bait/artificial lure combinations, and may not deploy a J-hook or an offset circle hook in combination with natural bait or a natural bait/artificial lure combination.

(3) Sharks. (i) No person may possess a shark in the EEZ taken from its management unit without a permit issued under §635.4. No person issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit under §635.4 may possess a shark taken by any gear other than rod and reel, handline, bandit gear, longline, or gillnet. No person issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit may possess a shark taken from the U.S. Caribbean, as defined at §622.2, by any gear other than with rod and reel, handline or bandit gear. No person issued an HMS Angling permit or an HMS Charter/headboat permit under §635.4 may possess a shark if the shark was taken from its management unit by any gear other than rod and reel or handline, except that persons on a vessel issued both an HMS Charter/Headboat permit and a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit may possess sharks taken with rod and reel, handline, bandit gear, longline, or gillnet if the vessel is not engaged in a for-hire fishing trip.

(iii) Persons fishing with gillnet gear must comply with the provisions implementing the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, the Bottlenose Dolphin Take Reduction Plan, the Harbor Porpoise Take Reduction Plan, and any other relevant Take Reduction Plan set forth in §§229.32 through 229.35 of this title. If a listed whale is taken, the vessel operator must cease fishing operations immediately and contact NOAA Fisheries as required under §229 of this title.

(iv) While fishing with a gillnet for or in possession of any of the large coastal, small coastal, and pelagic sharks listed in section A, B, and/or C of table 1 of appendix A of this part, the gillnet must remain attached to at least one vessel at one end, except during net checks.

(v) Vessel operators fishing with gillnet for or in possession of any of the large coastal, small coastal, and pelagic sharks listed in sections A, B, and/or C of table 1 of appendix A of this part are required to conduct net checks every 0.5 to 2 hours to look for and remove any sea turtles, marine mammals, or smalltooth sawfish. Smalltooth sawfish should not be removed from the water while being removed from the net.

(4) Swordfish. (i) No person may possess north Atlantic swordfish taken from its management unit by any gear other than handgear, green-stick, or longline, except that such swordfish taken incidentally while fishing with a squid trawl may be retained by a vessel issued a valid Incidental HMS squid trawl permit, subject to restrictions specified in §635.24(b)(2). No person may possess south Atlantic swordfish taken from its management unit by any gear other than longline.

(ii) An Atlantic swordfish may not be retained or possessed on board a vessel with a gillnet. A swordfish will be deemed to have been harvested by gillnet when it is onboard, or offloaded from a vessel using or having on board a gillnet.

(iii) A person aboard a vessel issued or required to be issued a valid directed handgear LAP for Atlantic swordfish or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit may not fish for swordfish with any gear other than handgear. A swordfish will be deemed to have been harvested by longline when the fish is on board or offloaded from a vessel using or having on board longline gear. Only vessels that have been issued, or that are required to have been issued, a valid directed or handgear swordfish LAP or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit under this part may utilize or possess buoy gear. Vessels utilizing buoy gear may not possess or deploy more than 35 floatation devices, and may not deploy more than 35 individual buoy gears per vessel. Buoy gear must be constructed and deployed so that the hooks and/or gangions are attached to the vertical portion of the mainline. Floatation devices may be attached to one but not both ends of the mainline, and no hooks or gangions may be attached to any floatation device or horizontal portion of the mainline. If more than one floatation device is attached to a buoy gear, no hook or gangion may be attached to the mainline between them. Individual buoy gears may not be linked, clipped, or connected together in any way. Buoy gears must be released and retrieved by hand. All deployed buoy gear must have some type of monitoring equipment affixed to it including, but not limited to, radar reflectors, beeper devices, lights, or reflective tape. If only reflective tape is affixed, the vessel deploying the buoy gear must possess on board an operable spotlight capable of illuminating deployed floatation devices. If a gear monitoring device is positively buoyant, and rigged to be attached to a fishing gear, it is included in the 35 floatation device vessel limit and must be marked appropriately.

(iv) Except for persons aboard a vessel that has been issued a directed, incidental, or handgear limited access swordfish permit, a Swordfish General Commercial permit, an Incidental HMS squid trawl permit, or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit under §635.4, no person may fish for North Atlantic swordfish with, or possess a North Atlantic swordfish taken by, any gear other than handline or rod and reel.

(v) A person aboard a vessel issued or required to be issued a valid Swordfish General Commercial permit may only possess North Atlantic swordfish taken from its management unit by rod and reel, handline, bandit gear, green-stick, or harpoon gear.

(f) Speargun fishing gear. Speargun fishing gear may only be utilized when recreational fishing for Atlantic BAYS tunas and only from vessels issued either a valid HMS Angling or valid HMS Charter/Headboat permit. Persons fishing for Atlantic BAYS tunas using speargun gear, as specified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section, must be physically in the water when the speargun is fired or discharged, and may freedive, use SCUBA, or other underwater breathing devices. Only free-swimming BAYS tunas, not those restricted by fishing lines or other means, may be taken by speargun fishing gear. “Powerheads”, as defined at §600.10 of this chapter, or any other explosive devices, may not be used to harvest or fish for BAYS tunas with speargun fishing gear.

(g) Green-stick gear. Green-stick gear may only be utilized when fishing from vessels issued a valid Atlantic Tunas General, Swordfish General Commercial, HMS Charter/Headboat, or Atlantic Tunas Longline category permit. The gear must be attached to the vessel, actively trolled with the mainline at or above the water's surface, and may not be deployed with more than 10 hooks or gangions attached.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §635.21, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

§635.22   Recreational retention limits.

(a) General. (1) Atlantic HMS caught, possessed, retained, or landed under these recreational limits may not be sold or transferred to any person for a commercial purpose. Recreational retention limits apply to a longbill spearfish taken or possessed shoreward of the outer boundary of the Atlantic EEZ, to a shark taken from or possessed in the Atlantic Ocean including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, to a North Atlantic swordfish taken from or possessed in the Atlantic Ocean, and to bluefin and yellowfin tuna taken from or possessed in the Atlantic Ocean. The operator of a vessel for which a retention limit applies is responsible for the vessel retention limit and for the cumulative retention limit based on the number of persons aboard. Federal recreational retention limits may not be combined with any recreational retention limit applicable in state waters.

(2) Vessels issued an HMS General Category permit under §635.4(d) that are participating in a HMS registered tournament, vessels issued a HMS Angling category permit under §635.4(c), or vessels issued a HMS Charter/Headboat permit under §635.4(b) may not retain, possess or land oceanic whitetip sharks or scalloped, smooth, or great hammerhead sharks if swordfish, tuna, or billfish are retained or possessed on board, or offloaded from, the vessel. Such vessels also may not retain, possess or land swordfish, tuna, or billfish if oceanic whitetip sharks, or scalloped, smooth, or great hammerhead sharks are retained or possessed on board, or offloaded from, the vessel.

(b) Billfish. No longbill spearfish from the management unit may be taken, retained, or possessed shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ.

(c) Sharks. (1) The recreational retention limit for sharks applies to any person who fishes in any manner, except to persons aboard a vessel that has been issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark vessel permit under §635.4. The retention limit can change depending on the species being caught and the size limit under which they are being caught as specified under §635.20(e). If a commercial Atlantic shark quota is closed under §635.28, the recreational retention limit for sharks and no sale provision in paragraph (a) of this section may be applied to persons aboard a vessel issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark vessel permit under §635.4, only if that vessel has also been issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit issued under §635.4 and is engaged in a for-hire fishing trip.

(2) Only one shark from the following list may be retained per vessel per trip, subject to the size limits described in §635.20(e)(2) and (4): Atlantic blacktip, Gulf of Mexico blacktip, bull, great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, lemon, nurse, spinner, tiger, blue, common thresher, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, shortfin mako, Atlantic sharpnose, finetooth, Atlantic blacknose, Gulf of Mexico blacknose, and bonnethead.

(3) In addition to the sharks listed under paragraph (c)(2) of this section, one Atlantic sharpnose shark and one bonnethead shark may be retained per person per trip, subject to the size limits described in §635.20(e)(3).

(4) No prohibited sharks, including parts or pieces of prohibited sharks, which are listed in section D of Table 1 of Appendix A to this part, may be retained regardless of where harvested.

(5) Sharks listed in Table 1 of Appendix A that are not listed in this section, must be released by persons aboard a vessel that has not been issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark vessel permit under §635.4.

(6) [Reserved]

(d) Yellowfin tuna. Three yellowfin tunas per person per day may be retained. Regardless of the length of a trip, no more than three yellowfin tuna per person may be possessed on board a vessel. The recreational retention limit for yellowfin tuna applies to a person who fishes in any manner, except to a person aboard a vessel issued an Atlantic Tunas vessel permit under §635.4. The recreational retention limit for yellowfin tuna applies to persons, including captain and crew, aboard a vessel that has been issued an Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat permit only when the vessel is engaged in a for-hire trip.

(e) Bluefin tuna. Refer to §635.23 for Atlantic bluefin tuna recreational retention limits.

(f) North Atlantic swordfish. The recreational retention limits for North Atlantic swordfish apply to persons who fish in any manner, except to persons aboard a vessel that has been issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit under §635.4(b) and only when on a non for-hire trip, a directed, incidental or handgear limited access swordfish permit under §635.4(e) and (f), a Swordfish General Commercial permit under §635.4(f), an Incidental HMS Squid Trawl permit under §635.4(n), or an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small boat permit under §635.4(o).

(1) When on a for-hire trip as defined at §635.2, vessels issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit under §635.4(b), that are charter boats as defined under §600.10 of this chapter, may retain, possess, or land no more than one North Atlantic swordfish per paying passenger and up to six North Atlantic swordfish per vessel per trip. When such vessels are on a non for-hire trip, they must comply with the commercial retention limits for swordfish specified at §635.24(b)(4).

(2) When on a for-hire trip as defined at §635.2, vessels issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit under §635.4(b), that are headboats as defined under §600.10 of this chapter, may retain, possess, or land no more than one North Atlantic swordfish per paying passenger and up to 15 North Atlantic swordfish per vessel per trip. When such vessels are on a non for-hire trip, they may land no more than the commercial retention limits for swordfish specified at §635.24(b)(4).

(3) Vessels issued an HMS Angling category permit under §635.4(c), may retain, possess, or land no more than one North Atlantic swordfish per person and up to four North Atlantic swordfish per vessel per trip.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 37704, July 13, 1999; 66 FR 8904, Feb. 5, 2001; 67 FR 77437, Dec. 18, 2002; 68 FR 714, Jan. 7, 2003; 68 FR 74785, Dec. 24, 2003; 71 FR 58169, Oct. 2, 2006; 72 FR 31709, June 7, 2007; 73 FR 40708, July 15, 2008; 75 FR 30525, June 1, 2010; 76 FR 53658, Aug. 29, 2011; 76 FR 70066, Nov. 10, 2011; 78 FR 40346, July 3, 2013; 78 FR 52030, Aug. 21, 2013]

§635.23   Retention limits for BFT.

The retention limits in this section are subject to the quotas and closure provisions in §§635.27 and 635.28.

(a) General category. (1) No person aboard a vessel that has a General category Atlantic Tunas permit may possess, retain, land, or sell a BFT in the school, large school, or small medium size class.

(2) On an RFD, no person aboard a vessel that has been issued a General category Atlantic Tunas permit may fish for, possess, retain, land, or sell a BFT of any size class, and catch-and-release or tag-and-release fishing for BFT under §635.26 is not authorized from such vessel. On days other than RFDs, and when the General category is open, one large medium or giant BFT may be caught and landed from such vessel per day. NMFS will annually publish a schedule of RFDs in the Federal Register.

(3) Regardless of the length of a trip, no more than a single day's retention limit of large medium or giant BFT may be possessed or retained aboard a vessel that has a General category Atlantic Tunas permit. On days other than RFDs, when the General category is open, no person aboard such vessel may continue to fish, and the vessel must immediately proceed to port once the applicable limit for large medium or giant BFT is retained.

(4) To provide for maximum utilization of the quota for BFT, NMFS may increase or decrease the daily retention limit of large medium and giant BFT over a range from zero (on RFDs) to a maximum of five per vessel. Such increase or decrease will be based on the criteria provided under §635.27(a)(8). NMFS will adjust the daily retention limit specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section by filing an adjustment with the Office of the Federal Register for publication. In no case shall such adjustment be effective less than 3 calendar days after the date of filing with the Office of the Federal Register, except that previously designated RFDs may be waived effective upon closure of the General category fishery so that persons aboard vessels permitted in the General category may conduct tag-and-release fishing for BFT under §635.26.

(b) Angling category. BFT may be retained and landed under the daily limits and quotas applicable to the Angling category by persons aboard vessels issued an HMS Angling permit as follows:

(1) Large medium and giant BFT. (i) No large medium or giant BFT may be retained, possessed, landed, or sold in the Gulf of Mexico, except one per vessel per year may be landed if caught incidentally to fishing for other species.

(ii) One per vessel per year may be retained, possessed, and landed outside the Gulf of Mexico.

(iii) When a large medium or giant BFT has been caught and retained under this paragraph (b)(1), no person aboard the vessel may continue to fish, the vessel must immediately proceed to port, and no such BFT may be sold or transferred to any person for a commercial purpose.

(2) School, large school, or small medium BFT. (i) No school, large school, or small medium BFT may be retained, possessed, landed, or sold in the Gulf of Mexico.

(ii) One school, large school, or small medium BFT per vessel per day may be retained, possessed, or landed outside the Gulf of Mexico. Regardless of the length of a trip, no more than a single day's allowable catch of school, large school, or small medium BFT may be possessed or retained.

(3) Changes to retention limits. To provide for maximum utilization of the quota for BFT over the longest period of time, NMFS may increase or decrease the retention limit for any size class of BFT, or change a vessel trip limit to an angler trip limit and vice versa. Such increase or decrease in retention limit will be based on the criteria provided under §635.27 (a)(8). The retention limits may be adjusted separately for persons aboard a specific vessel type, such as private vessels, headboats, or charter boats. NMFS will adjust the daily retention limit specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section by filing an adjustment with the Office of the Federal Register for publication. In no case shall such adjustment be effective less than 3 calendar days after the date of filing with the Office of the Federal Register.

(c) HMS Charter/Headboat. Persons aboard a vessel issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit may retain and land BFT under the daily limits and quotas applicable to the Angling category or the General category as follows:

(1) When fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, the restrictions applicable to the Angling category specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section apply.

(2) When fishing other than in the Gulf of Mexico when the fishery for the General category is closed, the restrictions applicable to the Angling category specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this section apply.

(3) When fishing other than in the Gulf of Mexico and when the fishery under the General category has not been closed under §635.28, a person aboard a vessel that has been issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit may fish under either the retention limits applicable to the General category specified in paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3) of this section or the retention limits applicable to the Angling category specified in paragraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3) of this section. The size category of the first BFT retained will determine the fishing category applicable to the vessel that day.

(d) Harpoon category. Persons aboard a vessel permitted in the Atlantic Tunas Harpoon category may retain, possess, or land an unlimited number of giant BFT per day. An incidental catch of only four large medium BFT per vessel per day may be retained, possessed, or landed.

(e) Purse Seine category. Persons aboard a vessel permitted in the Atlantic Tunas Purse Seine category,

(1) May retain, possess, land, or sell large medium BFT in amounts not exceeding 15 percent, by weight, of the total amount of giant BFT landed during that fishing year.

(2) May retain, possess or land BFT smaller than the large medium size class that are taken incidentally when fishing for skipjack tuna or yellowfin tuna in an amount not exceeding 1 percent, by weight, of the skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna landed on that trip. Landings of BFT smaller than the large medium size class may not be sold and are counted against the Purse Seine category BFT quota allocated to that vessel.

(f) Longline category. Persons aboard a vessel permitted in the Atlantic Tunas Longline category may retain, possess, land, and sell large medium and giant BFT taken incidentally when fishing for other species. For vessels fishing North or South of 31°00 N. lat., limits on retention, possession, landing and sale are as follows:

(1) One large medium or giant BFT per vessel per trip may be landed, provided that at least 2,000 lb (907 kg) of species other than BFT are legally caught, retained, and offloaded from the same trip and are recorded on the dealer weighout slip as sold. Two large medium or giant BFT per vessel per trip may be landed, provided that at least 6,000 lb (2,727 kg) of species other than BFT are legally caught, retained, and offloaded from the same trip and are recorded on the dealer weighout slip as sold. Three large medium or giant BFT per vessel per trip may be landed, provided that at least 30,000 lb (13,620 kg) of species other than BFT are legally caught, retained, and offloaded from the same trip and are recorded on the dealer weighout slip as sold.

(2) NMFS may increase or decrease the Longline category retention limit of large medium and giant BFT over a range from zero to a maximum of three per trip, or, for a given BFT retention limit, increase or decrease the target catch requirement by 25 percent from the level specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section. Such increase or decrease in the BFT retention limit or target catch requirement will be based on a review of dealer reports, observer reports, vessel logbooks, landing trends, availability of the species on the fishing grounds, and any other relevant factors, and will consider the likelihood of increasing dead discards of BFT and/or exceeding the incidental landings quota established for the pelagic longline fishery. Such adjustments may be made separately for vessels fishing North or South of 31°00 N. lat. NMFS will adjust the retention limits and target catch requirements specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section by filing the adjustment with the Office of the Federal Register for publication. In no case shall such adjustment be effective less than 21 calendar days after the adjustment is filed with the Office of the Federal Register for publication.

(g) Trap category. Persons aboard a vessel permitted in the Atlantic Tunas Trap category may retain, possess, land, and sell each fishing year only one large medium or giant BFT that is taken incidentally while fishing for other species with a pound net or fish weir. No other Atlantic tunas caught in a pound net or fish weir may be retained.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 65 FR 42887, July 12, 2000; 67 FR 77438, Dec. 18, 2002; 68 FR 32417, May 30, 2003; 68 FR 56788, Oct. 2, 2003; 68 FR 74511, Dec. 24, 2003; 69 FR 40758, July 6, 2004; 70 FR 10900, Mar. 7, 2005; 71 FR 58169, Oct. 2, 2006; 76 FR 39031, July 5, 2011; 76 FR 74009, Nov. 30, 2011]

§635.24   Commercial retention limits for sharks, swordfish, and BAYS tunas.

The retention limits in this section are subject to the quotas and closure provisions in §§635.27 and 635.28, and the gear operation and deployment restrictions in §635.21.

(a) Sharks. (1) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a valid shark research permit under §635.32(f) and who has a NMFS-approved observer on board may retain, possess, or land LCS, including sandbar sharks, in excess of the retention limits in paragraphs (a)(2) through (6) of this section. The amount of LCS that can be landed by such a person will vary as specified on the shark research permit. Only a person who owns or operates a vessel issued a valid shark research permit with a NMFS-approved observer on board may retain, possess, or land sandbar sharks.

(2) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a directed LAP for sharks and does not have a valid shark research permit, or a person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a directed LAP for sharks and that has been issued a shark research permit but does not have a NMFS-approved observer on board, may retain, possess, or land no more than 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip if the respective LCS management group(s) is open per §§635.27 and 635.28. Such persons may not retain, possess, or land sandbar sharks.

(3) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued an incidental LAP for sharks and does not have a valid shark research permit, or a person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued an incidental LAP for sharks and that has been issued a valid shark research permit but does not have a NMFS-approved observer on board, may retain, possess, or land no more than 3 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip if the respective LCS management group(s) is open per §§635.27 and 635.28. Such persons may not retain, possess, or land sandbar sharks.

(4)(i) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a directed shark LAP may retain, possess, or land pelagic sharks if the pelagic shark fishery is open per §§635.27 and 635.28.

(ii) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a directed shark LAP may retain, possess, or land blacknose and non-blacknose SCS if the respective blacknose and non-blacknose SCS management group is open per §§635.27 and 635.28.

(iii) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued an incidental shark LAP may retain, possess, or land no more than 16 SCS and pelagic sharks, combined, per trip, if the respective fishery is open per §§635.27 and 635.28.

(iv) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit may retain, possess, or land any LCS, SCS or pelagic sharks only when the HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit trip limit is set above zero. The current shark trip limit for HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit holders is set at zero.

(5) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit may not retain, possess, land, sell, or purchase prohibited sharks, including any parts or pieces of prohibited sharks, which are listed in section D of Table 1 of Appendix A to this part under prohibited sharks.

(6) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit, and who decides to retain sharks, must retain, subject to the trip limits, all dead, legal-sized, non-prohibited sharks that are brought onboard the vessel and cannot replace those sharks with sharks of higher quality or size that are caught later in the trip. Any fish that are to be released cannot be brought onboard the vessel and must be released in the water in a manner that maximizes survival.

(7) [Reserved]

(8) Inseason trip limit adjustment criteria. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of any inseason adjustments to trip limits. Before making any adjustment, NMFS will consider the following criteria and other relevant factors:

(i) The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area or region, to date, based on dealer reports;

(ii) The catch rates of the relevant shark species/complexes, to date, based on dealer reports;

(iii) Estimated date of fishery closure based on when the landings are projected to reach 80 percent of the quota given the realized catch rates;

(iv) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments;

(v) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migratory patterns of the relevant shark species based on scientific and fishery-based knowledge; and/or

(vi) Effects of catch rates in one part of a region precluding vessels in another part of that region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the relevant quota.

(9) Notwithstanding other provisions in this subsection, possession, retention, transshipment, landing, sale, or storage of silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, and scalloped, smooth, and great hammerhead sharks is prohibited on vessels issued a permit under this part that have pelagic longline gear on board or on vessels issued both an HMS Charter/Headboat permit and a commercial shark permit when tuna, swordfish or billfish are on board the vessel, offloaded from the vessel, or being offloaded from the vessel.

(b) Swordfish. (1) Persons aboard a vessel that has been issued an incidental LAP for swordfish may retain, possess, land, or sell no more than 30 swordfish per trip in or from the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat.

(2) Persons aboard a vessel in the squid trawl fishery that has been issued an Incidental HMS squid trawl permit may retain, possess, land, or sell no more than 15 swordfish per trip in or from the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat. A vessel is considered to be in the squid trawl fishery when it has no commercial fishing gear other than trawls on board and when squid constitute not less than 75 percent by weight of the total fish on board or offloaded from the vessel.

(3) Persons aboard a vessel that has been issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat vessel permit may retain, possess, land, or sell no more than 2 swordfish per trip in or from the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat.

(4) Persons aboard a vessel that has been issued a Swordfish General Commercial permit or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit (and only when on a non for-hire trip) are subject to the regional swordfish retention limits specified at paragraph (b)(4)(iii), which may be adjusted during the fishing year based upon the inseason regional retention limit adjustment criteria identified in paragraph (b)(4)(iv) below.

(i) Regions. Regional retention limits for swordfish apply in four regions. For purposes of this section, these regions are: the Florida Swordfish Management Area as defined in §635.2; the Northwest Atlantic region (federal waters along the entire Atlantic coast of the United States north of 28°1710 N. latitude); the Gulf of Mexico region (any water located in the EEZ in the entire Gulf of Mexico west of 82° W. longitude); and the Caribbean region (the U.S. territorial waters within the Caribbean as defined in §622.2 of this chapter).

(ii) Possession, retention, and landing restrictions. Vessels that have been issued a Swordfish General Commercial permit or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit (and only when on a non for-hire trip), as a condition of these permits, may not possess, retain, or land any more swordfish than is specified for the region in which the vessel is located.

(iii) Regional retention limits. The swordfish regional retention limits for each region will range between zero to six swordfish per vessel per trip. At the start of each fishing year, the default regional retention limits will apply. During the fishing year, NMFS may adjust the default retention limits per the inseason regional retention limit adjustment criteria listed in §635.24(b)(4)(iv), if necessary. The default retention limits for the regions set forth under paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section are:

(A) Zero swordfish per vessel per trip for the Florida Swordfish Management Area.

(B) Two swordfish per vessel per trip for the Caribbean region.

(C) Three swordfish per vessel per trip for the Northwest Atlantic region.

(D) Three swordfish per vessel per trip for the Gulf of Mexico region.

(iv) Inseason regional retention limit adjustment criteria. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of any inseason adjustments to the regional retention limits. Before making any inseason adjustments to regional retention limits, NMFS will consider the following criteria and other relevant factors:

(A) The usefulness of information obtained from biological sampling and monitoring of the North Atlantic swordfish stock;

(B) The estimated ability of vessels participating in the fishery to land the amount of swordfish quota available before the end of the fishing year;

(C) The estimated amounts by which quotas for other categories of the fishery might be exceeded;

(D) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan and its amendments;

(E) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of swordfish;

(F) Effects of catch rates in one region precluding vessels in another region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the overall swordfish quota; and

(G) Review of dealer reports, landing trends, and the availability of swordfish on the fishing grounds.

(c) BAYS tunas. Persons aboard a vessel that has been issued an HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit under §635.4 may retain, possess, land, or sell no more than 10 BAYS tunas per vessel per trip.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 71 FR 58169, Oct. 2, 2006; 72 FR 31709, June 7, 2007; 73 FR 40709, July 15, 2008; 75 FR 30526, June 1, 2010; 75 FR 76314, Dec. 8, 2010; 76 FR 49380, Aug. 10, 2011; 76 FR 53658, Aug. 29, 2011; 77 FR 60637, Oct. 4, 2012; 77 FR 59581, Oct. 1, 2012; 78 FR 40346, July 3, 2013l 78 FR 52030, Aug. 21, 2013]

§635.25   Fishing areas.

(a) General. Persons on board fishing vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States are authorized to fish for, catch, retain, or land species governed by an international catch sharing agreement implemented under this part only in or from those management areas for which the United States has received an allocation.

(b) Exemptions. Persons and vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States intending to fish for regulated species in fishing areas not otherwise authorized under this part, whether for the purposes of scientific research or commercial fishing under a chartering arrangement, must have a permit from NMFS issued under §635.32.

(c) Atlantic bluefin tuna. No person aboard a U.S. fishing vessel shall fish for bluefin tuna in, or possess on board that fishing vessel a bluefin tuna taken from, the Mediterranean Sea.

[67 FR 70026, Nov. 20, 2002]

§635.26   Catch and release.

(a) BFT. (1) Notwithstanding the other provisions of this part, a person aboard a vessel issued a permit under this part, other than a person aboard a vessel permitted in the General category on a designated RFD, may fish with rod and reel or handline gear for BFT under a catch-and-release or tag-and-release program. When fishing under a tag-and-release program, vessel owner/operators should use tags issued or approved by NMFS. If a BFT is tagged, the tag information, including information on any previously applied tag remaining on the fish, must be reported to NMFS. All BFT caught under the catch-and-release or tag-and-release programs must be returned to the sea immediately with a minimum of injury.

(2) Persons may obtain NMFS-issued conventional tags, reporting cards, and detailed instructions for their use from the NMFS Cooperative Tagging Center. Persons may use a conventional tag obtained from a source other than NMFS to tag BFT, provided the use of such tags is registered each year with the Cooperative Tagging Center and the NMFS program manager has approved the use of a conventional tag from that source. An angler using an alternative source of tags wishing to tag BFT may contact the NMFS Cooperative Tagging Center at the Southeast Fishery Science Center.

(3) An angler registering for the HMS tagging program is required to provide his or her name, address, phone number and, if applicable, the identity of the alternate source of tags.

(b) Billfish. NMFS is encouraging further catch and release of Atlantic billfish by establishing a recreational catch-and-release fishery management program, consistent with the guidance of §600.350(c).

(c) Sharks. Notwithstanding the other provisions of this part, a person may fish for white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) with rod and reel, provided the person releases such fish to the sea immediately with a minimum of injury, and that such fish may not be removed from the water.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 65 FR 42887, July 12, 2000; 70 FR 10900, Mar. 7, 2005]

§635.27   Quotas.

(a) BFT. Consistent with ICCAT recommendations, and with paragraph (a)(10)(iv) of this section, NMFS may subtract the most recent, complete, and available estimate of dead discards from the annual U.S. BFT quota, and make the remainder available to be retained, possessed, or landed by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction. The remaining baseline annual U.S. BFT quota will be allocated among the General, Angling, Harpoon, Purse Seine, Longline, Trap, and Reserve categories. BFT may be taken by persons aboard vessels issued Atlantic Tunas permits, HMS Angling permits, or HMS Charter/Headboat permits. The baseline annual U.S. BFT quota is 923.7 mt, not including an additional annual 25 mt allocation provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section. The baseline annual U.S. BFT quota is divided among the categories as follows: General—47.1 percent (435.1 mt); Angling—19.7 percent (182.0 mt), which includes the school BFT held in reserve as described under paragraph (a)(7)(ii) of this section; Harpoon—3.9 percent (36.0 mt); Purse Seine—18.6 percent (171.8 mt); Longline—8.1 percent (74.8 mt), which does not include the additional annual 25 mt allocation provided in paragraph (a)(3) of this section; and Trap—0.1 percent (0.9 mt). The remaining 2.5 percent (23.1 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota will be held in reserve for inseason or annual adjustments based on the criteria in paragraph (a)(8) of this section. NMFS may apportion a quota allocated to any category to specified fishing periods or to geographic areas and will make annual adjustments to quotas, as specified in paragraph (a)(10) of this section. BFT quotas are specified in whole weight.

(1) General category quota. In accordance with the framework procedures of the HMS FMP, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register, prior to the beginning of each fishing year or as early as feasible, the General category effort control schedule, including daily retention limits and restricted-fishing days.

(i) Catches from vessels for which General category Atlantic Tunas permits have been issued and certain catches from vessels for which an HMS Charter/Headboat permit has been issued are counted against the General category quota in accordance with §635.23(c)(3). The amount of large medium and giant BFT that may be caught, retained, possessed, landed, or sold under the General category quota is 47.1 percent (435.1 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota, and is apportioned as follows:

(A) January 1 through the effective date of a closure notice filed by NMFS announcing that the January subquota is reached, or projected to be reached under §635.28(a)(1), or until March 31, whichever comes first—5.3 percent (25.2 mt);

(B) June 1 through August 31—50 percent (217.6 mt);

(C) September 1 through September 30—26.5 percent (115.3 mt);

(D) October 1 through November 30—13 percent (56.6 mt); and

(E) December 1 through December 31—5.2 percent (22.6 mt).

(ii) NMFS will adjust each period's apportionment based on overharvest or underharvest in the prior period.

(iii) When the coastwide General category fishery has been closed in any quota period specified under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, NMFS will publish a closure action as specified in §635.28. The subsequent time-period subquota will automatically open in accordance with the dates specified under paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section.

(2) Angling category quota. In accordance with the framework procedures of the Consolidated HMS FMP, prior to each fishing year, or as early as feasible, NMFS will establish the Angling category daily retention limits. The total amount of BFT that may be caught, retained, possessed, and landed by anglers aboard vessels for which an HMS Angling permit or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit has been issued is 19.7 percent (182 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota. No more than 2.3 percent (4.2 mt) of the annual Angling category quota may be large medium or giant BFT. In addition, over each 2-consecutive-year period (starting in 2011, inclusive), no more than 10 percent of the annual U.S. BFT quota, inclusive of the allocation specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, may be school BFT. The Angling category quota includes the amount of school BFT held in reserve under paragraph (a)(7)(ii) of this section. The size class subquotas for BFT are further subdivided as follows:

(i) After adjustment for the school BFT quota held in reserve (under paragraph (a)(7)(ii) of this section), 52.8 percent (40.8 mt) of the school BFT Angling category quota may be caught, retained, possessed, or landed south of 39°18 N. lat. The remaining school BFT Angling category quota (36.5 mt) may be caught, retained, possessed or landed north of 39°18 N. lat.

(ii) An amount equal to 52.8 percent (43.8 mt) of the large school/small medium BFT Angling category quota may be caught, retained, possessed, or landed south of 39°18 N. lat. The remaining large school/small medium BFT Angling category quota (39.1 mt) may be caught, retained, possessed or landed north of 39°18 N. lat.

(iii) An amount equal to 66.7 percent (2.8 mt) of the large medium and giant BFT Angling category quota may be caught, retained, possessed, or landed south of 39°18 N. lat. The remaining large medium and giant BFT Angling category quota (1.4 mt) may be caught, retained, possessed or landed north of 39°18 N. lat.

(3) Longline category quota. The total amount of large medium and giant BFT that may be caught incidentally and retained, possessed, or landed by vessels that possess Longline category Atlantic Tunas permits is 8.1 percent (74.8 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota. No more than 60.0 percent (44.9 mt) of the Longline category quota may be allocated for landing in the area south of 31°00 N. lat. In addition, 25 mt shall be allocated for incidental catch by pelagic longline vessels fishing in the Northeast Distant gear restricted area.

(4) Purse Seine category quota. (i) The total amount of large medium and giant BFT that may be caught, retained, possessed, or landed by vessels that possess Purse Seine category Atlantic Tunas permits is 18.6 percent (171.8 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota. The directed purse seine fishery for BFT commences on July 15 of each year unless NMFS takes action to delay the season start date. Based on cumulative and projected landings in other commercial fishing categories, and the potential for gear conflicts on the fishing grounds or market impacts due to oversupply, NMFS may delay the BFT purse seine season start date from July 15 to no later than August 15 by filing an adjustment with the Office of the Federal Register prior to July 1. The Purse Seine category fishery closes on December 31 of each year.

(ii) An owner of a vessel for which a Purse Seine category Atlantic Tunas permit has been issued must apply in writing to NMFS at an address designated by NMFS, for an allocation of BFT from the Purse Seine category quota. The application must be postmarked no later than April 15 for an allocation of the quota that becomes available on June 1.

(iii) On or about May 1 of each year, NMFS will make equal allocations of the available size classes of BFT among purse seine vessel permit holders so requesting, adjusted as necessary to account for underharvest or overharvest by each participating vessel or the vessel it replaces from the previous fishing year, consistent with paragraph (a)(10)(i) of this section. Such allocations are freely transferable, in whole or in part, among vessels that have Purse Seine category Atlantic Tunas permits. Any purse seine vessel permit holder intending to land bluefin tuna under an allocation transferred from another purse seine vessel permit holder must provide written notice of such intent to NMFS, at an address designated by NMFS, 3 days before landing any such bluefin tuna. Such notification must include the transfer date, amount (in metric tons) transferred, and the permit numbers of vessels involved in the transfer. Trip or seasonal catch limits otherwise applicable under §635.23(e) are not affected by transfers of bluefin tuna allocation. Purse seine vessel permit holders who, through landing and/or transfer, have no remaining bluefin tuna allocation may not use their permitted vessels in any fishery in which Atlantic bluefin tuna might be caught, regardless of whether bluefin tuna are retained.

(iv) An owner of a vessel for which a Purse Seine category Atlantic Tunas permit has been issued may apply to NMFS to permanently consolidate Purse Seine category vessel permits issued under §635.4. Upon written approval of consolidation by NMFS, the Purse Seine Category Atlantic Tunas Permit of a transferring vessel will be canceled, and the receiving owner may apply for allocations of BFT commensurate with the number of consolidated permits. An owner of a purse seine vessel whose permit is canceled through consolidation may not use his or her vessel in any purse seine fishery in which BFT might be caught.

(5) Harpoon category quota. The total amount of large medium and giant BFT that may be caught, retained, possessed, landed, or sold by vessels that possess Harpoon category Atlantic Tunas permits is 3.9 percent (36.0 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota. The Harpoon category fishery commences on June 1 of each year, and closes on November 15 of each year.

(6) Trap category quota. The total amount of large medium and giant BFT that may be caught, retained, possessed, or landed by vessels that possess Trap category Atlantic Tunas permits is 0.1 percent (1.0 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota.

(7) Reserve. (i) The total amount of BFT that is held in reserve for inseason or annual adjustments and fishery-independent research using quotas or subquotas is 2.5 percent (23.1 mt) of the baseline annual U.S. BFT quota. Consistent with paragraph (a)(8) of this section, NMFS may allocate any portion of this reserve for inseason or annual adjustments to any category quota in the fishery.

(ii) The total amount of school BFT that is held in reserve for inseason or annual adjustments and fishery-independent research is 18.5 percent (17.6 mt) of the total school BFT Angling category quota as described under paragraph (a)(2) of this section. This amount is in addition to the amounts specified in paragraph (a)(7)(i) of this section. Consistent with paragraph (a)(8) of this section, NMFS may allocate any portion of the school BFT Angling category quota held in reserve for inseason or annual adjustments to the Angling category.

(8) Determination criteria. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of any inseason or annual adjustments. Before making any adjustment, NMFS will consider the following criteria and other relevant factors:

(i) The usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular category for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the stock.

(ii) The catches of the particular category quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made.

(iii) The projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular category quota to harvest the additional amount of BFT before the end of the fishing year.

(iv) The estimated amounts by which quotas for other gear categories of the fishery might be exceeded.

(v) Effects of the adjustment on BFT rebuilding and overfishing.

(vi) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan.

(vii) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT.

(viii) Effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in another area from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the category's quota.

(ix) Review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, and the availability of the BFT on the fishing grounds.

(9) Inseason adjustments. Within a fishing year, NMFS may transfer quotas among categories or, as appropriate, subcategories, based on the criteria in paragraph (a)(8) of this section. NMFS may transfer inseason any portion of the remaining quota of a fishing category to any other fishing category or to the reserve as specified in paragraph (a)(7) of this section.

(10) Annual adjustments. (i) If NMFS determines, based on landings statistics and other available information, that a BFT quota for any category or, as appropriate, subcategory has been exceeded or has not been reached, with the exception of the Purse Seine category, NMFS shall subtract the overharvest from, or add the underharvest to, that quota category for the following fishing year. These adjustments would be made provided that the underharvest being carried forward does not exceed 100 percent of each category's baseline allocation specified in paragraph (a) of this section, and the total of the adjusted category quotas and the reserve are consistent with ICCAT recommendations. For the Purse Seine category, if NMFS determines, based on landings statistics and other available information, that a purse seine vessel's allocation, as adjusted, has been exceeded or has not been reached, NMFS shall subtract the overharvest from, or add the underharvest to, that vessel's allocation for the following fishing year. Purse seine vessel adjustments would take place provided that the underharvest being carried forward does not exceed 100 percent of the purse seine category baseline allocation. Any of the unharvested quota amounts being carried forward, as described in this paragraph, that exceed the 100 percent limit will be transferred to the reserve, or another domestic quota category provided the transfers are consistent with paragraph (a)(8) of this section.

(ii) NMFS may allocate any quota remaining in the reserve at the end of a fishing year to any fishing category, provided such allocation is consistent with the criteria specified in paragraph (a)(8) of this section.

(iii) Regardless of the estimated landings in any year, NMFS may adjust the annual school BFT quota to ensure that the average take of school BFT over each 2-consecutive-year period beginning in the 2009 fishing year does not exceed 10 percent by weight of the total annual U.S. BFT quota, inclusive of the allocation specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, for that period.

(iv) NMFS may subtract the best available estimate of dead discards from the amount of BFT that can be landed in the subsequent fishing year by those categories accounting for the dead discards.

(v) NMFS will file any annual adjustment with the Office of the Federal Register for publication and specify the basis for any quota reductions or increases made pursuant to this paragraph (a)(10).

(b) Sharks—(1) Commercial quotas. The commercial quotas for sharks specified in this section apply to all sharks harvested from the management unit, regardless of where harvested. The base quotas listed below may be adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section. Sharks taken and landed commercially from state waters, even by fishermen without Federal shark permits, must be counted against the commercial quota. Any sharks landed commercially as “unclassified” will be counted against the appropriate quota based on the species composition calculated from data collected by observers on non-research trips and/or dealer data. No prohibited sharks, including parts or pieces of prohibited sharks, which are listed under heading D of Table 1 of Appendix A to this part, may be retained except as authorized under §635.32. For the purposes of this section, the boundary between the Gulf of Mexico region and the Atlantic region is defined as a line beginning on the east coast of Florida at the mainland at 25°20.4 N. lat, proceeding due east. Any water and land to the south and west of that boundary is considered, for the purposes of quota monitoring and setting of quotas, to be within the Gulf of Mexico region. Any water and land to the north and east of that boundary, for the purposes of quota monitoring and setting of quotas, is considered to be within the Atlantic region.

(i) Sandbar sharks. The base annual commercial quota for sandbar sharks is 116.6 mt dw. This quota, as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section, is available only to the owners of commercial shark vessels that have been issued a valid shark research permit and that have a NMFS-approved observer onboard.

(ii) Atlantic aggregated LCS. The base annual commercial quota for Atlantic aggregated LCS is 168.9 mt dw. The commercial quota for the Atlantic aggregated LCS, as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section, applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Atlantic region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(iii) Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS. The base annual commercial quota for Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS is 157.5 mt dw. The commercial quota for the Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS, as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2), applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Gulf of Mexico region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(iv) Research LCS. The base annual commercial quota for Research LCS is 50 mt dw. This quota, as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section, is available only to the owners of commercial shark vessels that have been issued a valid shark research permit and that have a NMFS-approved observer onboard.

(v) Hammerhead sharks. The base annual commercial quota for hammerhead sharks is 52.4 mt dw. This quota is split between the regions defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section as follows: Atlantic region receives 51.7% of the base quota, except as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section; Gulf of Mexico region receives 48.3% of the base quota, except as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The commercial quota for Atlantic hammerhead sharks applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Atlantic region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. The commercial quota for Gulf of Mexico hammerhead sharks applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Gulf of Mexico region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(vi) Gulf of Mexico blacktip sharks. The base annual commercial quota for Gulf of Mexico blacktip sharks is 256.6 mt dw. The commercial quota for Gulf of Mexico blacktip sharks, as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section, applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Gulf of Mexico region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(vii) Non-blacknose small coastal sharks. The base annual commercial quota for non-blacknose small coastal sharks across all regions is 221.6 mt dw. This quota is split between the regions defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section as follows: the Atlantic region receives 79.5% of the base quota, except as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section; the Gulf of Mexico region receives 20.5% of the base quota, except as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section. The commercial quota for Atlantic non-blacknose SCS applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Atlantic region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. The commercial quota for Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Gulf of Mexico region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(viii) Atlantic blacknose sharks. The base annual commercial quota for Atlantic blacknose sharks is 18.0 mt dw. The commercial quota for Atlantic blacknose sharks, as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section, applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Atlantic region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(ix) Gulf of Mexico blacknose sharks. The base annual commercial quota for Gulf of Mexico blacknose sharks is 2.0 mt dw. The commercial quota for Gulf of Mexico blacknose sharks, as adjusted per paragraph (b)(2) of this section, applies only to those species of sharks that were caught in the Gulf of Mexico region, as defined in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(x) Pelagic sharks. The base annual commercial quotas for pelagic sharks are 273.0 mt dw for blue sharks, 1.7 mt dw for porbeagle sharks, and 488.0 mt dw for pelagic sharks other than blue sharks or porbeagle sharks.

(2) Annual and inseason adjustments of commercial quotas. NMFS will publish in the Federal Register any annual or inseason adjustments to the base annual commercial quotas. The base annual quota will not be available, and the fishery will not open, until any adjustments are published in the Federal Register and effective. Within a fishing year or at the start of a fishing year, NMFS may transfer quotas between regions of the same species or management group, as appropriate, based on the criteria in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section.

(i) Annual overharvest adjustments. Except as noted in this paragraph, if any of the available commercial base or adjusted quotas as described in this section is exceeded in any fishing year, NMFS will deduct an amount equivalent to the overharvest(s) from the base quota the following fishing year or, depending on the level of overharvest(s), NMFS may deduct from the base quota an amount equivalent to the overharvest(s) spread over a number of subsequent fishing years to a maximum of five years. If the blue shark quota is exceeded, NMFS will reduce the annual commercial quota for pelagic sharks by the amount that the blue shark quota is exceeded prior to the start of the next fishing year or, depending on the level of overharvest(s), deduct an amount equivalent to the overharvest(s) spread over a number of subsequent fishing years to a maximum of five years.

(ii) Annual underharvest adjustments. If any of the annual base or adjusted quotas as described in this section is not harvested, NMFS may adjust the annual base quota depending on the status of the stock or management group. If a species or a specific species within a management group is declared to be overfished, to have overfishing occurring, or to have an unknown status, NMFS may not adjust the following fishing year's base quota for any underharvest, and the following fishing year's quota will be equal to the base annual quota. If the species or all species in a management group is not declared to be overfished, to have overfishing occurring, or to have an unknown status, NMFS may increase the following year's base annual quota by an equivalent amount of the underharvest up to 50 percent above the base annual quota. Except as noted in (b)(2)(iii) of this section, underharvests are not transferable between regions, species, and/or management groups.

(iii) Determination criteria for inseason and annual quota transfers between regions. Inseason and/or annual quota transfers of regional quotas between regions may be conducted only for species or management groups where the species are the same between regions and the quota is split between regions for management purposes and not as a result of a stock assessment. Before making any inseason or annual quota transfer between regions, NMFS will consider the following criteria and other relevant factors:

(A) The usefulness of information obtained from catches in the particular management group for biological sampling and monitoring of the status of the respective shark species and/or management group;

(B) The catches of the particular species and/or management group quota to date and the likelihood of closure of that segment of the fishery if no adjustment is made;

(C) The projected ability of the vessels fishing under the particular species and/or management group quota to harvest the additional amount of corresponding quota before the end of the fishing year;

(D) Effects of the adjustment on the status of all shark species;

(E) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the fishery management plan;

(F) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of the appropriate shark species and/or management group;

(G) Effects of catch rates in one area precluding vessels in another area from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the quota; and/or

(H) Review of dealer reports, daily landing trends, and the availability of the respective shark species and/or management group on the fishing grounds.

(3) Opening commercial fishing season criteria. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of the opening dates of the shark fishery for each species and management group. Before making any decisions, NMFS would consider the following criteria and other relevant factors in establishing the opening dates:

(i) The available annual quotas for the current fishing season for the different species/management groups based on any over- and/or underharvests experienced during the previous commercial shark fishing seasons;

(ii) Estimated season length based on available quota(s) and average weekly catch rates of different species and/or management group from the previous years;

(iii) Length of the season for the different species and/or management group in the previous years and whether fishermen were able to participate in the fishery in those years;

(iv) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migratory patterns of the different species/management groups based on scientific and fishery information;

(v) Effects of catch rates in one part of a region precluding vessels in another part of that region from having a reasonable opportunity to harvest a portion of the different species and/or management quotas;

(vi) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments; and/or,

(vii) Effects of a delayed opening with regard to fishing opportunities in other fisheries.

(4) Public display and non-specific research quotas. All sharks collected under the authority of a display permit or EFP, subject to restrictions at §635.32, will be counted against the following:

(i) The base annual quota for persons who collect LCS other than sandbar, SCS, pelagic sharks, blue sharks, porbeagle sharks, or prohibited species under a display permit or EFP is 57.2 mt ww (41.2 mt dw).

(ii) The base annual quota for persons who collect sandbar sharks under a display permit is 1.4 mt ww (1.0 mt dw) and under an EFP is 1.4 mt ww (1.0 mt dw).

(iii) No persons may collect dusky sharks under a display permit. Collection of dusky sharks for research under EFPs and/or SRPs may be considered on a case-by-case basis and any associated mortality would be deducted from the shark research and display quota.

(c) Swordfish—(1) Categories. Consistent with ICCAT recommendations, the fishing year's total amount of swordfish that may be caught, retained, possessed, or landed by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction is divided into quotas for the North Atlantic swordfish stock and the South Atlantic swordfish stock. The quota for the North Atlantic swordfish stock is further divided into equal semi-annual directed fishery quotas, an annual incidental catch quota for fishermen targeting other species or taking swordfish recreationally, and a reserve category.

(i) North Atlantic swordfish. (A) A swordfish from the North Atlantic stock caught prior to the directed fishery closure by a vessel for which a directed swordfish limited access permit, a swordfish handgear limited access permit, a HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit, a Swordfish General Commercial open access permit, or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit (and only when on a non for-hire trip) has been issued or is required to have been issued is counted against the directed fishery quota. The total baseline annual fishery quota, before any adjustments, is 2,937.6 mt dw for each fishing year. Consistent with applicable ICCAT recommendations, a portion of the total baseline annual fishery quota may be used for transfers to another ICCAT contracting party. The annual directed category quota is calculated by adjusting for over- or under harvests, dead discards, any applicable transfers, the incidental category quota, the reserve quota and other adjustments as needed, and is subdivided into two equal semi-annual periods: one for January 1 through June 30, and the other for July 1 through December 31.

(B) A swordfish from the North Atlantic swordfish stock landed by a vessel for which an incidental swordfish limited access permit, an incidental HMS Squid Trawl permit, an HMS Angling permit, or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit (and only when on a for-hire trip) has been issued, or a swordfish from the North Atlantic stock caught after the effective date of a closure of the directed fishery from a vessel for which a swordfish directed limited access permit, a swordfish handgear limited access permit, a HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit, a Swordfish General Commercial open access permit, or an HMS Charter/Headboat permit (when on a non for-hire trip) has been issued, is counted against the incidental category quota. The annual incidental category quota is 300 mt dw for each fishing year.

(C) All swordfish discarded dead from U.S. fishing vessels, regardless of whether such vessels are permitted under this part, shall be counted against the annual directed fishing quota.

(D) Fifty (50) mt of the annual fishery quota of North Atlantic swordfish may be held in reserve for inseason adjustments to fishing categories, to compensate for projected or actual overharvest in any category, for fishery research, or for other purposes consistent with management objectives.

(E) In the event of an overharvest of South Atlantic swordfish, up to 150.4 mt dw of swordfish landed between 5 degrees North and 5 degrees South latitude may be applied against the North Atlantic swordfish quota. Otherwise, swordfish landed from this area shall be applied against the South Atlantic swordfish quota. For example, if the South Atlantic swordfish quota were 100 mt dw, and 50 mt dw were landed between 5 degrees North and 5 degrees South latitude, and 75 mt dw were caught south of 5 degrees South latitude, then 25 mt dw of the swordfish caught between 5 degrees North and 5 degrees South latitude would be applied against the North Atlantic swordfish quota. If only 25 mt dw of swordfish were caught between 5 degrees North and 5 degrees South latitude, and 150 mt dw of swordfish were caught south of 5 degrees South latitude, 25 mt dw would be applied against the North Atlantic swordfish quota. The remaining 50 mt dw overharvest would be counted against the following year's South Atlantic swordfish quota.

(ii) South Atlantic Swordfish. The annual directed fishery quota for the South Atlantic swordfish stock is 75.2 mt dw. After December 31, 2007, the annual quota is subdivided into two equal semi-annual quotas of 37.6 mt dw: one for January 1 through June 30, and the other for July 1 through December 31. The entire quota for the South Atlantic swordfish stock is reserved for vessels with pelagic longline gear onboard and that have been issued a directed fishery permit for swordfish. No person may retain swordfish caught incidental to other fishing activities or with other fishing gear in the Atlantic Ocean south of 5 degrees North latitude.

(2) Inseason adjustments. (i) NMFS may adjust the July 1 through December 31 semiannual directed fishery quota or, as applicable, the reserve category, to reflect actual directed fishery and incidental fishing category catches during the January 1 through June 30 semiannual period.

(ii) If NMFS determines that the annual incidental catch quota will not be taken before the end of the fishing year, excess quota may be allocated to the directed fishery quota or to the reserve, as necessary. If NMFS determines that the annual directed catch quota will not be taken before the end of the fishing year, some of the excess quota may be allocated to the incidental fishery quota or to the reserve, as necessary.

(iii) If NMFS determines that it is necessary to close the directed swordfish fishery prior to the scheduled end of a semi-annual fishing season, any estimated overharvest or underharvest of the directed fishery quota for that semi-annual season will be used to adjust the annual incidental catch quota or the reserve as necessary to maintain landings and discards within the required annual limits.

(iv) NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication any inseason swordfish quota adjustment and its apportionment to fishing categories or to the reserve made under paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(3) Annual adjustments. (i) Except for the carryover provisions of paragraphs (c)(3)(ii) and (iii) of this section, NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of any adjustment to the annual quota necessary to meet the objectives of the Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan.

(ii) If consistent with applicable ICCAT recommendations, total landings above or below the specific North Atlantic or South Atlantic swordfish annual quota will be subtracted from, or added to, the following year's quota for that area. As necessary to meet management objectives, such carryover adjustments may be apportioned to fishing categories and/or to the reserve. Carryover adjustments for the North Atlantic shall be limited to 25 percent of the baseline quota allocation for that year. Carryover adjustments for the South Atlantic shall be limited to 100 mt ww (75.2 mt dw) for that year. Any adjustments to the 12-month directed fishery quota will be apportioned equally between the two semiannual fishing seasons. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication any adjustment or apportionment made under this paragraph.

(iii) The dressed weight equivalent of the amount by which dead discards exceed the allowance specified at paragraph (c)(1)(i)(C) of this section will be subtracted from the landings quota in the following fishing year or from the reserve category. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication any adjustment made under this paragraph (c)(3)(iii).

(d) Atlantic blue and white marlin. (1) Effective January 1, 2007, and consistent with ICCAT recommendations and domestic management objectives, NMFS will establish the annual landings limit of Atlantic blue and white marlin to be taken, retained, or possessed by persons and vessels subject to U.S. jurisdiction. For the year 2007 and thereafter, unless adjusted under paragraph (d)(2) of this section or by ICCAT recommendation, this annual landings limit is 250 Atlantic blue and white marlin, combined. Effective January 1, 2011, annual landings of roundscale spearfish are also included to the blue and white marlin annual landings limit. Should the U.S. recreational Atlantic marlin landing limit be adjusted by an ICCAT recommendation, NMFS will file a notice identifying the new landing limit with the Office of the Federal Register for publication prior to the start of the next fishing year or as early as possible.

(2) Consistent with ICCAT recommendations and domestic management objectives, and based on landings statistics and other information as appropriate, if NMFS determines that aggregate landings of Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish exceeded the annual landings limit for a given fishing year, as established in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, NMFS will subtract any overharvest from the landings limit for the following fishing year. Additionally, if NMFS determines that aggregate landings of Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish were below the annual landings limit for a given fishing year, as established in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, NMFS may add any underharvest, or portion thereof, to the landings limit for the following fishing year. Such adjustments to the annual recreational marlin landings limit, as specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, if necessary, will be filed with the Office of the Federal Register for publication prior to the start of the next fishing year or as early as possible.

(3) When the annual marlin landings limit specified in paragraph (d)(1) or, if adjusted, as specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section is reached or projected to be reached, based upon a review of landings, the period of time remaining in the current fishing year, current and historical landings trends, and any other relevant factors, NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register and action restricting fishing for Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish to catch-and-release fishing only. In no case shall such adjustment be effective less than 14 calendar days after the date of publication. From the effective date and time of such action until additional landings become available, no blue marlin, white marlin, or roundscale spearfish from the management unit may be taken, retained, or possessed.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §635.27, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

§635.28   Fishery closures.

(a) BFT. (1) When a BFT quota, other than the Purse Seine category quota specified in §635.27(a)(4), is reached, or is projected to be reached, NMFS will file a closure notice with the Office of the Federal Register for publication. On and after the effective date and time of such action, for the remainder of the fishing year or for a specified period as indicated in the notice, fishing for, retaining, possessing, or landing BFT under that quota is prohibited until the opening of the subsequent quota period or until such date as specified in the notice.

(2) From the commencement date of the directed BFT purse seine fishery, as provided under §635.27(a)(4)(i), through December 31, the owner or operator of a vessel that has been allocated a portion of the Purse Seine category quota under §635.27(a)(4) may fish for BFT. Such vessel may be used to fish for yellowfin, bigeye, albacore, or skipjack tuna at any time, however, landings of BFT taken incidental to fisheries targeting other Atlantic tunas or in any fishery in which BFT might be caught will be deducted from the individual vessel's quota for the following BFT fishing season. Upon reaching its individual vessel allocation of BFT, the vessel may not participate in a directed purse seine fishery for Atlantic tunas or in any fishery in which BFT might be caught for the remainder of the fishing year.

(3) If NMFS determines that variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migration patterns of BFT, or the catch rate in one area, precludes participants in another area from a reasonable opportunity to harvest any allocated domestic category quota, as stated in §635.27(a), NMFS may close all or part of the fishery under that category. NMFS may reopen the fishery at a later date if NMFS determines that reasonable fishing opportunities are available, e.g., BFT have migrated into the area or weather is conducive for fishing. In determining the need for any such interim closure or area closure, NMFS will also take into consideration the criteria specified in §635.27(a)(8).

(b) Sharks—(1) Non-linked quotas: The commercial fishery for a species or management group that is not linked to another species or management group will open as specified at §635.27(b). Except as noted in (b)(4) of this section, when NMFS calculates that the landings for the shark species management group, as specified in §635.27(b)(1), has reached or is projected to reach 80 percent of the available quota as specified in §635.27(b)(1), NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register a notice of closure for that shark species, shark management group, and/or region that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of filing. From the effective date and time of the closure until NMFS announces, via the publication of a notice in the Federal Register, that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, the fisheries for the shark species or management group are closed, even across fishing years.

(2) Linked Quotas: As specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, the quotas of some shark species and/or management groups are linked to the quotas of other shark species and/or management groups. The commercial fishery for all linked species and or management groups will open as specified at §635.27(b). When NMFS calculates that the landings for any species and/or management group of a linked group has reached or is projected to reach 80 percent of the available quota as specified in §635.27(b)(1), NMFS will file for publication with the Office of the Federal Register a notice of closure for all of the species and/or management groups in a linked group that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from date of filing. From the effective date and time of the closure until NMFS announces, via the publication of a notice in the Federal Register, that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, the fishery for all linked species and/or management groups is closed, even across fishing years.

(3) The quotas of the following species and/or management groups are linked:

(i) Atlantic hammerhead sharks and Atlantic aggregated LCS;

(ii) Gulf of Mexico hammerhead sharks and Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS;

(iii) Atlantic blacknose and Atlantic non-blacknose SCS; and,

(iv) Gulf of Mexico blacknose and Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS.

(4) NMFS may close the Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark management group before landings reach, or are expected to reach, 80 percent of the quota. Before taking any inseason action, NMFS will consider the following criteria and other relevant factors:

(i) Estimated Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark season length based on available quota and average weekly catch rates during the current fishing year and from previous years;

(ii) Variations in seasonal distribution, abundance, or migratory patterns of blacktip sharks, hammerhead sharks, and aggregated LCS based on scientific and fishery information;

(iii) Effects of the adjustment on accomplishing the objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments;

(iv) The amount of remaining shark quota in the relevant area or region, to date, based on dealer or other reports; and/or,

(v) The catch rates of the relevant shark species/management groups, to date, based on dealer or other reports.

(5) When the fishery for a shark species and/or management group is closed, a fishing vessel, issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit pursuant to §635.4, may not possess or sell a shark of that species and/or management group, except under the conditions specified in §635.22(a) and (c) or if the vessel possesses a valid shark research permit under §635.32, a NMFS-approved observer is onboard, and the sandbar and/or Research LCS fishery is open. A shark dealer, issued a permit pursuant to §635.4, may not purchase or receive a shark of that species and/or management group from a vessel issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit, except that a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess sharks that were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered, prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in storage. Under a closure for a shark management group, a shark dealer, issued a permit pursuant to §635.4 may, in accordance with State regulations, purchase or receive a shark of that species or management group if the sharks were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that fishes only in State waters and that has not been issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant to §635.4. Additionally, under a closure for a shark species and/or management group, a shark dealer, issued a permit pursuant to §635.4, may purchase or receive a shark of that species group if the sandbar and/or Research LCS fishery is open and the sharks were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel issued a valid shark research permit (per §635.32) that had a NMFS-approved observer on board during the trip sharks were collected.

(c) Swordfish—(1) Directed fishery closure. When the annual or semiannual directed fishery quota specified in §635.27(c)(1)(i) or (ii) is reached, or is projected to be reached, NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of closure at least 14 days before the effective date. From the effective date and time of the closure until additional directed fishery quota becomes available, the directed fishery for the appropriate stock is closed and the following catch limits apply:

(i) When the directed fishery for the North Atlantic swordfish stock is closed,

(A) No more than 15 swordfish per trip may be possessed in or from the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat. or landed in an Atlantic coastal state on a vessel using or having on board a pelagic longline, or issued an Incidental HMS squid trawl permit. However, North Atlantic swordfish legally taken prior to the effective date of the closure may be possessed in the Atlantic Ocean north of 5 N. lat. or landed in an Atlantic coastal state on a vessel with a pelagic longline on board, provided the harvesting vessel does no fishing after the closure in the Atlantic Ocean north of 5 N. lat., and reports positions with a vessel monitoring system, as specified in §635.69. Additionally, legally taken swordfish from the South Atlantic swordfish stock may be possessed or landed north of 5 N. lat. provided the harvesting vessel does no fishing on that trip north of 5 N. lat., and reports positions with a vessel monitoring system as specified in §635.69. NMFS may adjust the incidental catch retention limit by filing with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of the change at least 14 days before the effective date. Changes in the incidental catch limits will be based upon the length of the directed fishery closure and the estimated rate of catch by vessels fishing under the incidental catch quota.

(B) No more than 2 swordfish per trip may be possessed in or from the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat. or landed in an Atlantic coastal state on a vessel that has been issued a handgear permit under §635.4(f)(1) provided that such swordfish were not taken with a harpoon.

(C) No swordfish may be possessed, landed, or sold by vessels issued a Swordfish General Commercial open access permit.

(D) No swordfish may be sold by vessels issued an HMS Charter/Headboat permit

(ii) When the directed fishery for the South Atlantic swordfish stock is closed, swordfish from that stock taken incidental to fishing for other species may not be retained.

(2) Incidental catch closure. When the annual incidental catch quota specified in §635.27(c)(1)(i) is reached, or is projected to be reached, NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of closure. From the effective date and time of such notification until additional incidental catch quota becomes available, no swordfish may be landed in an Atlantic coastal state, or be possessed or sold in or from the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat. unless the directed fishery is open and the appropriate permits have been issued to the vessel. In the event of a directed and incidental North Atlantic swordfish category closure, South Atlantic swordfish may be possessed in the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat. and/or landed in an Atlantic coastal state on a vessel with longline gear onboard, provided that the harvesting vessel does not fish on that trip in the Atlantic Ocean north of 5° N. lat., the fish were taken legally from waters of the Atlantic Ocean south of 5° N. lat., and the harvesting vessel reports positions with a vessel monitoring system as specified in §635.69.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 37705, July 13, 1999; 66 FR 67121, Dec. 28, 2001; 67 FR 77438, Dec. 18, 2002; 68 FR 63741, Nov. 10, 2003; 68 FR 74511, 74786, Dec. 24, 2003; 71 FR 58172, Oct. 2, 2006; 72 FR 56933, Oct. 5, 2007; 73 FR 40710, July 15, 2008; 75 FR 30527, June 1, 2010; 75 FR 30527, June 1, 2010; 76 FR 49380, Aug. 10, 2011; 77 FR 47317, Aug. 8, 2012; 78 FR 40348, July 3, 2013; 78 FR 52031, Aug. 21, 2013]

§635.29   Transfer at sea.

(a) Persons may not transfer an Atlantic tuna, blue marlin, white marlin, roundscale spearfish, or swordfish at sea in the Atlantic Ocean, regardless of where the fish was harvested. Notwithstanding the definition of “harvest” at §600.10, for the purposes of this part, transfer includes, but is not limited to, moving or attempting to move an Atlantic tuna that is on fishing or other gear in the water from one vessel to another vessel. However, an owner or operator of a vessel for which a Purse Seine category Atlantic Tunas category permit has been issued under §635.4 may transfer large medium and giant BFT at sea from the net of the catching vessel to another vessel for which a Purse Seine category Atlantic Tunas permit has been issued, provided the amount transferred does not cause the receiving vessel to exceed its currently authorized vessel allocation, including incidental catch limits.

(b) Persons may not transfer a shark or a sailfish at sea shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ, regardless of where the shark was harvested, and persons may not transfer at sea a shark or a sailfish taken shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ, regardless of where the transfer takes place.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 75 FR 57701, Sept. 22, 2010; 76 FR 39032, July 5, 2011]

§635.30   Possession at sea and landing.

(a) Atlantic tunas. Persons that own or operate a fishing vessel that possesses an Atlantic tuna in the Atlantic Ocean or that lands an Atlantic tuna in an Atlantic coastal port must maintain such Atlantic tuna through offloading either in round form or eviscerated with the head and fins removed, provided one pectoral fin and the tail remain attached. The upper and lower lobes of the tuna tail may be removed for storage purposes as long as the fork of the tail remains intact.

(b) Billfish. Any person that possesses a blue marlin, white marlin, or roundscale spearfish taken from its management unit or a sailfish taken shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ or lands a blue marlin, white marlin, or roundscale spearfish in an Atlantic coastal port must maintain such billfish with its head, fins, and bill intact through offloading. Persons may eviscerate such billfish, but it must otherwise be maintained whole.

(c) Shark. (1) In addition to the regulations issued at part 600, subpart N, of this chapter, a person who owns or operates a vessel issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit under §635.4 must maintain all the shark fins including the tail naturally attached to the shark carcass until the shark has been offloaded from the vessel. While sharks are on board and when sharks are being offloaded, persons issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit under §635.4 are subject to the regulations at part 600, subpart N, of this chapter.

(2) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has a valid Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit may remove the head and viscera of the shark while on board the vessel. At any time when on the vessel, sharks must not have the backbone removed and must not be halved, quartered, filleted, or otherwise reduced. All fins, including the tail, must remain naturally attached to the shark through offloading. While on the vessel, fins may be sliced so that the fin can be folded along the carcass for storage purposes as long as the fin remains naturally attached to the carcass via at least a small portion of uncut skin. The fins and tail may only be removed from the carcass once the shark has been landed and offloaded.

(3) A person who owns or operates a vessel that has been issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit and who lands sharks in an Atlantic coastal port, including ports in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, must have all fins and carcasses weighed and recorded on the weighout slips specified in §635.5(a)(2) and in accordance with part 600, subpart N, of this chapter. Persons may not possess any shark fins not naturally attached to a shark carcass on board a fishing vessel at any time. Once landed and offloaded, sharks that have been halved, quartered, filleted, cut up, or reduced in any manner may not be brought back on board a vessel that has been or should have been issued a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit.

(4) Persons aboard a vessel that does not have a Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit must maintain a shark in or from the EEZ intact through landing with the head, tail, and all fins naturally attached. The shark may be bled and the viscera may be removed.

(d) Swordfish. Persons that own or operate a fishing vessel that possesses a swordfish in the Atlantic Ocean or lands a swordfish in an Atlantic coastal port must maintain such swordfish in round or dressed form through off-loading.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 67 FR 6201, Feb. 11, 2002; 69 FR 53362, Sept. 1, 2004; 71 FR 58173, Oct. 2, 2006; 73 FR 40711, July 15, 2008; 75 FR 30528, June 1, 2010; 75 FR 57702, Sept. 22, 2010; 76 FR 39032, July 5, 2011]

§635.31   Restrictions on sale and purchase.

(a) Atlantic tunas. (1) A person that owns or operates a vessel from which an Atlantic tuna is landed or offloaded may sell such Atlantic tuna only if that vessel has a valid HMS Charter/Headboat permit; a valid General, Harpoon, Longline, Purse Seine, or Trap category permit for Atlantic tunas; or a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit issued under this part. However, no person may sell a BFT smaller than the large medium size class. Also, no large medium or giant BFT taken by a person aboard a vessel with an Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat permit fishing in the Gulf of Mexico at any time, or fishing outside the Gulf of Mexico when the fishery under the General category has been closed, may be sold (see §635.23(c)). A person may sell Atlantic bluefin tuna only to a dealer that has a valid permit for purchasing Atlantic bluefin tuna issued under this part. A person may not sell or purchase Atlantic tunas harvested with speargun fishing gear.

(2) Dealers may purchase Atlantic tunas only from a vessel that has a valid commercial permit for Atlantic tunas issued under this part in the appropriate category.

(i) Dealers may purchase Atlantic bluefin tuna only from a vessel that has a valid Federal commercial permit for Atlantic tunas issued under this part in the appropriate category.

(ii) Dealers may first receive BAYS tunas only if they have submitted reports to NMFS according to reporting requirements of paragraphs §635.5(b)(1)(ii) and only from a vessel that has a valid Federal commercial permit for Atlantic tunas issued under this part in the appropriate category. Individuals issued a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit, and operating in the U.S. Caribbean as defined at §622.2, may sell their trip limits of BAYS tunas, codified at §635.24(c), to dealers and non-dealers.

(3) Dealers or seafood processors may not purchase or sell a BFT smaller than the large medium size class unless it is lawfully imported and is accompanied by a bluefin tuna statistical document, as specified in §300.185(a) of this title.

(4) A BFT in the possession of a dealer or seafood processor is deemed to be from the Atlantic Ocean. However, a BFT will not be deemed to be from the Atlantic Ocean if—

(i) It was landed in a Pacific state and remains in the state of landing, or

(ii) It is accompanied by a bluefin tuna statistical document, as specified in §300.185(a) of this title.

(b) Billfish. (1) Persons may not sell or purchase a billfish taken from its management unit.

(2) A billfish or a closely related species, namely, black marlin, Makaira indica, striped marlin, Tetrapturus audax, or shortbill spearfish, Tetrapturus angustirostris, or a part thereof, in the possession of a dealer or seafood processor is considered, for purposes of this part, to be a billfish from the Atlantic Ocean management unit. However, a billfish or a closely related species will not be considered to be from the Atlantic Ocean management unit if—

(i) It was landed in a Pacific state and remains in the state of landing, or

(ii) It is accompanied by a Billfish Certificate of Eligibility (COE) form, obtained from NMFS, or its equivalent that documents that the fish was harvested from other than the Atlantic Ocean management unit.

(A) The Billfish COE required under this section must indicate, in English, the name and homeport of the harvesting vessel, and the date and port of offloading. Only the purchaser of the billfish from the harvesting vessel must complete this information.

(B) The Billfish COE must be signed and dated by each dealer in possession of the product throughout the chain of custody up to but not including the consumer. This signature indicates a declaration that the billfish were not harvested from the management unit.

(C) A Billfish COE may refer to billfish taken from only one harvesting vessel. If a shipment contains billfish taken from more than one vessel, a separate billfish COE must accompany the shipment for each harvesting vessel.

(D) A model Billfish COE can be obtained by contacting the Division Chief. An equivalent form may be used provided it contains all of the information required under this section.

(3) For the purposes of this paragraph, a dealer or seafood processor means any individual, other than a consumer, who engages in any activity, other than fishing, of industry, trade, or commerce, including but not limited to the buying or selling of a regulated species or parts thereof and activities conducted for the purpose of facilitating such buying and selling.

(c) Shark. (1) Persons who own or operate a vessel that possesses a shark from the management unit may sell such shark only if the vessel has a valid commercial shark permit issued under this part. Persons may possess and sell a shark only when the fishery for that species, management group, and/or region has not been closed, as specified in §635.28(b).

(2) Persons that own or operate a vessel for which a valid Federal Atlantic commercial shark permit has been issued and on which a shark from the management unit is possessed, may sell, barter or trade such shark only to a dealer that has a valid permit for shark issued under this part.

(3) Regulations governing the harvest, possession, landing, purchase, and sale of shark fins are found at part 600, subpart N, of this chapter and in §635.30(c).

(4) Only dealers who have a valid shark dealer permit and who have submitted reports to NMFS according to reporting requirements of §635.5(b)(1)(ii) may first receive a shark from an owner or operator of a vessel that has, or is required to have, a valid federal Atlantic commercial shark permit issued under this part. Dealers may purchase a shark only from an owner or operator of a vessel who has a valid commercial shark permit issued under this part, except that dealers may purchase a shark from an owner or operator of a vessel who does not have a commercial permit for shark if that vessel fishes exclusively in state waters. Dealers may purchase a sandbar shark only from an owner or operator of a vessel who has a valid shark research permit and who had a NMFS-approved observer onboard the vessel for the trip in which the sandbar shark was collected. Dealers may purchase a shark from an owner or operator of fishing vessel who has a valid commercial shark permit issued under this part only when the fishery for that species, management group, and/or region has not been closed, as specified in §635.28(b).

(5) An Atlantic shark dealer issued a permit under this part may first receive shark fins from an owner or operator of a fishing vessel only if the shark fins were harvested in accordance with the regulations found at part 600, subpart N, of this chapter and in §635.30(c).

(6) A dealer issued a permit under this part may not first receive silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks or scalloped, smooth, or great hammerhead sharks from an owner or operator of a fishing vessel with pelagic longline gear on board, or from the owner of a fishing vessel issued both a HMS Charter/Headboat permit and a commercial shark permit when tuna, swordfish or billfish are on board the vessel, offloaded from the vessel, or being offloaded from the vessel.

(d) Swordfish. (1) Persons that own or operate a vessel on which a swordfish in or from the Atlantic Ocean is possessed may sell such swordfish only if the vessel has a valid commercial permit for swordfish issued under this part. Persons may offload such swordfish only to a dealer who has a valid permit for swordfish issued under this part; except that individuals issued a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit, and operating in the U.S. Caribbean as defined at §622.2, may sell swordfish, as codified at §635.24(b)(3), to non-dealers.

(2) Atlantic swordfish dealers may first receive a swordfish harvested from the Atlantic Ocean only from an owner or operator of a fishing vessel that has a valid commercial permit for swordfish issued under this part and only if the dealer has submitted reports to NMFS according to reporting requirements of §635.5(b)(1)(ii).

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 67 FR 6201, Feb. 11, 2002; 67 FR 77438, Dec. 18, 2002; 68 FR 715, Jan. 7, 2003; 69 FR 53362, Sept. 1, 2004; 69 FR 67284, Nov. 17, 2004; 71 FR 58173; Oct. 2, 2006; 73 FR 40711, July 15, 2008; 76 FR 53658, Aug. 29, 2011; 77 FR 60637, Oct. 4, 2012; 77 FR 47317, Aug. 8, 2012; 77 FR 59851, Oct. 1, 2012; 77 FR 72993, Dec. 7, 2012; 78 FR 40349, July 3, 2013]

§635.32   Specifically authorized activities.

(a) General. (1) Consistent with the provisions of §600.745 of this chapter, except as indicated in this section, NMFS may authorize activities otherwise prohibited by the regulations contained in this part for the conduct of scientific research, the acquisition of information and data, the enhancement of safety at sea, the purpose of collecting animals for public education or display, the investigation of bycatch, economic discard and regulatory discard, or for chartering arrangements.

(2) Activities subject to the provisions of this section include, but are not limited to: scientific research resulting in, or likely to result in, the take, harvest, or incidental mortality of Atlantic HMS; exempted fishing and educational activities; programs under which regulated species retained in contravention to otherwise applicable regulations may be donated through approved food bank networks; or chartering arrangements. Such activities must be authorized in writing and are subject to all conditions specified in any letter of acknowledgment, EFP, scientific research permit, display permit, chartering permit, or shark research permit issued in response to requests for authorization under this section.

(3) For the purposes of all regulated species covered under this part, NMFS has the sole authority to issue permits, authorizations, and acknowledgments. If a regulated species landed or retained under the authority of this section is subject to a quota, the fish shall be counted against the quota category as specified in the written authorization.

(4) Inspection requirements specified in §635.5(e) apply to the owner or operator of a fishing vessel that has been issued an exempted fishing permit, scientific research permit, display permit, or chartering permit.

(b) Scientific research activities. For the purposes of all species covered under this part regulated under the authority of ATCA, the provisions for research plans under §600.745(a) and reports under §600.745(c)(1) of this chapter are mandatory. In such cases of authorized scientific research activities, NMFS shall issue scientific research permits. For scientific research activities involving the capture of Atlantic sharks, research plans and reports are requested; letters of acknowledgment shall be issued by NMFS as indicated under §600.745(a) of this chapter.

(c) Exempted fishing permits. (1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section and §600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, other than scientific research conducted from a scientific research vessel, NMFS may issue exempted fishing permits.

(2) [Reserved]

(d) Display permits. (1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section and §600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, NMFS may issue display permits.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of §600.745 of this chapter and other provisions of this part, a valid display permit is required to fish for, take, retain, or possess an HMS in or from the Atlantic EEZ for the purposes of public display. A valid display permit must be on board the harvesting vessel, must be available when the fish is landed, must be available when the fish is transported to the display facility, and must be presented for inspection upon request of an authorized officer. A display permit is valid for the specific time, area, gear, and species specified on it. Species landed under a display permit shall be counted against the appropriate quota specified in §635.27 or as otherwise provided in the display permit.

(3) To be eligible for a display permit, a person must provide all information concerning his or her identification, numbers by species of HMS to be collected, when and where they will be collected, vessel(s) and gear to be used, description of the facility where they will be displayed, and any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit, as requested by NMFS.

(4) Collectors of HMS for public display must notify the local NMFS Office for Law Enforcement at least 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, prior to departing on a collection trip, regardless of whether the fishing activity will occur in or outside the EEZ, as to collection plans and location and the number of animals to be collected. In the event that a NMFS agent is not available, a message may be left.

(5) All live HMS collected for public display are required to have either a conventional dart tag or a microchip Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag applied by the collector at the time of the collection. Both types of tags will be supplied by NMFS. Conventional dart tags will be issued unless PIT tags are specifically requested in the permit application and their use approved by NMFS. Terms and conditions of the permit will address requirements associated with the use of the tags supplied on a case-by-case basis.

(e) Chartering permits. (1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section, §635.5(a), and §600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, NMFS may issue chartering permits for record keeping and reporting purposes. An application for a chartering permit must include all information required under §600.745(b)(2) of this chapter and, in addition, written notification of: the species of fish covered by the chartering arrangement and quota allocated to the Contracting Party of which the chartering foreign entity is a member; duration of the arrangement; measures adopted by the chartering Contracting Party of which the foreign entity is a member to implement ICCAT chartering provisions; copies of fishing licenses, permits, and/or other authorizations issued by the chartering Contracting Party of which the foreign entity is a member for the vessel to fish under the arrangement; a copy of the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act Permit pursuant to 50 CFR 300.10; documentation regarding interactions with protected resources; and documentation regarding the legal establishment of the chartering company. To be considered complete, an application for a chartering permit for a vessel must include all information specified in §600.745(b)(2) of this chapter and in §635.32(e) and (f).

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of §600.745 of this chapter and other provisions of this part, a valid chartering permit is required to fish for, take, retain, or possess ICCAT- regulated species under chartering arrangements as specified in §635.5(a)(6). A valid chartering permit must be on board the harvesting vessel, must be available when ICCAT-regulated species are landed, and must be presented for inspection upon request of an authorized officer. A chartering permit is valid for the duration of the chartering arrangement or until the expiration date specified on the permit, whichever comes first. Vessels issued a chartering permit shall not be authorized to fish under applicable Atlantic Highly Migratory Species quotas or entitlements of the United States until the chartering permit expires or is terminated.

(3) Charter permit holders must submit logbooks and comply with reporting requirements as specified in §635.5. NMFS will provide specific conditions and requirements in the chartering permit, so as to ensure consistency, to the extent possible, with laws of foreign countries, the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments, as well as ICCAT recommendations.

(4) Observers may be placed on board vessels issued chartering permits as specified under §635.7.

(5) NMFS will issue a chartering permit only if it determines that the chartering arrangement is in conformance with ICCAT's conservation and management programs.

(6) A vessel shall be authorized to fish under only one chartering arrangement at a time.

(7) All chartering permits are subject to sanctions and denials as indicated under §635.4(a)(6).

(f) Shark research permits. (1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section and §600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, NMFS may issue shark research permits.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of §600.745 of this chapter and other provisions of this part, a valid shark research permit is required to fish for, take, retain, or possess Atlantic sharks, including sandbar sharks, in excess of the retention limits described in §635.24(a). A valid shark research permit must be on board the harvesting vessel, must be available for inspection when the shark is landed, and must be presented for inspection upon request of an authorized officer. A shark research permit is only valid for the vessel and owner(s) combination specified and cannot be transferred to another vessel or owner(s). A shark research permit is only valid for the retention limits, time, area, gear specified, and other terms and conditions as listed on the permit and only when a NMFS-approved observer is onboard. Species landed under a shark research permit shall be counted against the appropriate quota specified in §635.27 or as otherwise provided in the shark research permit.

(3) Regardless of the number of applicants, NMFS will issue only a limited number of shark research permits depending on available quotas as described in §635.27, research needs for stock assessments and other scientific purposes, and the number of sharks expected to be harvested by vessels issued LAPs for sharks.

(4) In addition to the workshops required under §635.8, persons issued a shark research permit, and/or operators of vessels specified on the shark research permit, may be required to attend other workshops (e.g., shark identification workshops, captain's meeting, etc.) as deemed necessary by NMFS to ensure the collection of high quality data.

(5) Issuance of a shark research permit does not guarantee the permit holder that a NMFS-approved observer will be deployed on any particular trip. Rather, permit issuance indicates that a vessel is eligible for a NMFS-approved observer to be deployed on the vessel for a particular trip and that, on such observed trips, the vessel may be allowed to harvest Atlantic sharks, including sandbar sharks, in excess of the retention limits described in §635.24(a).

(6) The shark research permit may be revoked, limited, or modified at any time, does not confer any right to engage in activities beyond those authorized by the permit, and does not confer any right of compensation to the holder.

(g) Applications and renewals. (1) Application procedures shall be as indicated under §600.745(b)(2) of this chapter, except that NMFS may consolidate requests for the purpose of obtaining public comment. In such cases, NMFS may file with the Office of the Federal Register, on an annual or more frequent basis as necessary, notification of previously authorized exempted fishing, scientific research, public display, chartering, and shark research activities and to solicit public comment on anticipated EFP, scientific research permit, letter of acknowledgment, public display, chartering, or shark research permit activities. Applications for EFPs, scientific research permits, public display permits, chartering permits, or shark research permits are required to include all reports specified in the applicant's previous permit including, if applicable, the year-end report, all delinquent reports for permits issued in prior years, and all other specified information. In situations of delinquent reports, applications will be deemed incomplete and a permit will not be issued under this section.

(2) For the shark research permit, NMFS will publish annually, in a Federal Register notice(s), a description for the following fishing year of the expected research objectives. This description may include information such as the number of vessels needed, regions and seasons for which vessels are needed, the specific criteria for selection, and the application deadline. Complete applications, including all information requested in the applicable Federal Register notice(s) and on the application form and any previous reports required pursuant to this section and §635.5, must be received by NMFS by the application deadline in order for the vessel to be considered. Requested information could include, but is not limited to, applicant name and address, permit information, vessel information, availability of the vessel, past involvement in the shark fishery, and compliance with HMS regulations including observer regulations. NMFS will only review complete applications received by the published deadline to determine eligibility for participation in the shark research fishery. Qualified vessels will be chosen based on the information provided on the applications and their ability to meet the selection criteria as published in the Federal Register notice. A commercial shark permit holder whose vessel was selected to carry an observer in the previous two years for any HMS fishery but failed to comply with the observer regulations specified in §635.7 will not be considered. A commercial shark permit holder that has been charged criminally or civilly (i.e., issued a Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) or Notice of Permit Sanction) for any HMS related violation will not be considered for participation in the shark research fishery. Qualified vessels will be randomly selected to participate in the shark research fishery based on their availability and the temporal and spatial needs of the research objectives. If a vessel issued a shark research permit cannot conduct the shark research tasks, for whatever reason, that permit will be revoked and, depending on the status of the research and the fishing year, NMFS will randomly select another qualified vessel to be issued a shark research permit.

(h) Terms and conditions. (1) For EFPs, scientific research permits, and public display permits: Written reports on fishing activities, and disposition of all fish captured under a permit issued under this section must be submitted to NMFS within 5 days of return to port. NMFS will provide specific conditions and requirements as needed, consistent with the Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan, in the permit. If an individual issued a Federal permit under this section captures no HMS in any given month, either in or outside the EEZ, a “no-catch” report must be submitted to NMFS within 5 days of the last day of that month.

(2) For chartering permits, written reports of fishing activities must be submitted to NMFS by a date specified, and to an address designated, in the terms and conditions of each chartering permit.

(3) An annual written summary report of all fishing activities, and disposition of all fish captured, under the permit must be submitted to NMFS for all EFPs, scientific research permits, display permits, and chartering permits issued under this section within 30 days after the expiration date of the permit.

(4) For shark research permits, all owners and/or operators must comply with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements specified in §635.5 per the requirement of holding a LAP for sharks.

(5) As stated in §635.4(a)(6), failure to comply with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of this section could result in the EFP, scientific research permit, display permit, chartering permit, or shark research permit being revoked, suspended, or modified, and in the denial of any future applications.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 68 FR 63742, Nov. 10, 2003; 68 FR 74786, Dec. 24, 2003; 69 FR 70399, Dec. 6, 2004; 73 FR 40711, July 15, 2008; 75 FR 30528, June 1, 2010]

§635.33   Archival tags.

(a) Implantation report. Any person affixing or implanting an archival tag into a regulated species must obtain written authorization from NMFS pursuant to §635.32. Persons so authorized to conduct archival tag implantation must provide a written report to NMFS at an address designated by NMFS, indicating the type and number of tags, the species and approximate size of the fish as well as any additional information requested in the authorization.

(b) Landing. Notwithstanding other provisions of this part, persons may catch, possess, retain, and land an Atlantic HMS in which an archival tag has been implanted or affixed, provided such persons comply with the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

(c) Landing report. Persons that retain an Atlantic HMS that has an archival tag must contact NMFS, prior to or at the time of landing; furnish all requested information regarding the location and method of capture; and, as instructed, remove the archival tag and return it to NMFS or make the fish available for inspection and recovery of the tag by a NMFS scientist, enforcement agent, or other person designated in writing by NMFS.

(d) Quota monitoring. If an Atlantic HMS landed under the authority of paragraph (b) of this section is subject to a quota, the fish will be counted against the applicable quota for the species consistent with the fishing gear and activity which resulted in the catch. In the event such fishing gear or activity is otherwise prohibited under applicable provisions of this part, the fish shall be counted against the reserve quota established for that species.

§635.34   Adjustment of management measures.

(a) NMFS may adjust the catch limits for BFT, as specified in §635.23; the quotas for BFT, shark and swordfish, as specified in §635.27; the regional retention limits for Swordfish General Commercial permit holders, as specified at §635.24; the marlin landing limit, as specified in §635.27(d); and the minimum sizes for Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish as specified in §635.20.

(b) In accordance with the framework procedures in the Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, NMFS may establish or modify for species or species groups of Atlantic HMS the following management measures: maximum sustainable yield or optimum yield based on the latest stock assessment or updates in the SAFE report; domestic quotas; recreational and commercial retention limits, including target catch requirements; size limits; fishing years or fishing seasons; shark fishing regions or regional quotas; species in the management unit and the specification of the species groups to which they belong; species in the prohibited shark species group; classification system within shark species groups; permitting and reporting requirements; workshop requirements; Atlantic tunas Purse Seine category cap on bluefin tuna quota; time/area restrictions; allocations among user groups; gear prohibitions, modifications, or use restriction; effort restrictions; essential fish habitat; and actions to implement ICCAT recommendations, as appropriate.

(c) NMFS may add species to the prohibited shark species group specified in Table 1 of appendix A if, after considering the criteria in paragraphs (c)(1) through (4) of this section, the species is determined to meet at least two of the criteria. Alternatively, NMFS may remove species from the prohibited shark species group and place them in the appropriate shark species group in Table 1 of appendix A if, after considering the criteria in paragraphs (c)(1) through (4) of this section, NMFS determines the species only meets one criterion.

(1) Biological information indicates that the stock warrants protection.

(2) Information indicates that the species is rarely encountered or observed caught in HMS fisheries.

(3) Information indicates that the species is not commonly encountered or observed caught as bycatch in fishing operations for species other than HMS.

(4) The species is difficult to distinguish from other prohibited species.

(d) When considering a framework adjustment to add, change, or modify time/area closures, NMFS will consider, consistent with the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, but is not limited to, the following criteria: any Endangered Species Act related issues, concerns, or requirements, including applicable BiOps; bycatch rates of protected species, prohibited HMS, or non-target species both within the specified or potential closure area(s) and throughout the fishery; bycatch rates and post-release mortality rates of bycatch species associated with different gear types; new or updated landings, bycatch, and fishing effort data; evidence or research indicating that changes to fishing gear and/or fishing practices can significantly reduce bycatch; social and economic impacts; and the practicability of implementing new or modified closures compared to other bycatch reduction options. If the species is an ICCAT managed species, NMFS will also consider the overall effect of the U.S.'s catch on that species before implementing time/area closures.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 68 FR 74788, Dec. 24, 2003; 71 FR 58173, Oct. 2, 2006; 75 FR 57702, Sept. 22, 2010; 78 FR 52031, Aug. 21, 2013]

Subpart D—Restrictions on Imports

§635.40   Restrictions to enhance conservation.

(a) Determinations. Upon a determination by NMFS that species of fish subject to regulation or under investigation by ICCAT are ineligible for entry into the United States under 16 U.S.C. 971d (c)(4) or (c)(5), NMFS, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication a finding to that effect. Effective upon the date of filing of such finding, all shipments of fish in any form of the species found to be ineligible will be denied entry unless, with respect to a particular shipment, it is established by satisfactory proof pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section that the particular shipment of fish is eligible for entry. Entry will not be denied and no such proof will be required for any such shipment that, on the date of filing was in transit to the United States on board a vessel operating as a common carrier.

(b) Proof of admissibility. (1) For the purposes of paragraph (a) of this section and section 6(c) of ATCA, a shipment of fish in any form of the species under regulation or under investigation by ICCAT offered for entry, directly or indirectly, from a country named in a finding filed with the Office of the Federal Register for publication under paragraph (a) of this section is eligible for entry if the shipment is accompanied by a completed ATCA COE attached to the invoice certifying that the fish in the shipment:

(i) Are not of the species specified in the finding;

(ii) Are of the species named in the finding, but were not taken in the regulatory area; or

(iii) Are of the species named in the finding, but are products of an American fishery and were lawfully taken in conformity with applicable conservation laws and regulations and landed in the country named in the finding solely for transshipment.

(2) If the fish are offered for entry under paragraph (b)(1)(i) or (b)(1)(ii) of this section, the ATCA COE must be executed by a duly authorized official of the country named in the finding and the ATCA COE must be validated by a consular officer or consular agent of the United States. Such validation must be attached to the ATCA COE.

(3) If the fish are offered for entry under paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section, the ATCA COE must be executed by a consular officer or consular agent of the United States and be accompanied by the declaration(s) required by 19 CFR 10.79. The “Declaration of Master and Two Members of Crew on Entry of Products of American Fisheries” required by 19 CFR 10.79 must contain a further statement as follows: “We further declare that the said fish were caught by us in full compliance with part 635, title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, and such other conservation laws and regulations as were applicable at the time the fishing operation was in progress.”

(c) Removal of import restrictions. Upon a determination by NMFS that the conditions no longer exist that warranted the finding under paragraph (a) of this section, NMFS will remove the import restriction by filing with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification of removal effective on the date of filing. However, for 1 year from the date of filing every shipment of fish in any form that was subject to the finding under paragraph (a) of this section will continue to be denied entry, unless the shipment is accompanied by a certification executed by an authorized official of the country of export and authenticated by a consular officer or consular agent of the United States certifying that no portion of the shipment is composed of fish taken prior to or during the import restriction.

§635.41   Products denied entry.

(a) [Reserved]

(b) All shipments of tuna or tuna-like species, or their products, in any form, harvested in the ICCAT convention area by a fishing vessel that is required to be listed, but not listed on the ICCAT record of authorized vessels will be denied entry into the United States.

(c) All shipments of tuna or tuna-like species, or their products, in any form, harvested in the ICCAT convention area by a fishing vessel listed on the ICCAT record as engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing will be denied entry into the United States.

(d) All shipments of tuna or tuna-like species, placed in cages for farming and/or transshipment, harvested in the ICCAT convention area and caught by a fishing vessel included on the ICCAT list as engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing will be denied entry into the United States.

(e) For the purposes of this section, it is a rebuttable presumption that any shipment containing swordfish, bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, or their products offered for entry into the United States has been harvested by a vessel or vessels of the exporting nation.

[69 FR 70400, Dec. 6, 2004, as amended at 70 FR 28218, May 17, 2005; 77 FR 52261, Aug. 29, 2012]

Subpart E—International Port Inspection

§635.50   Basis and purpose.

The regulations in this subpart implement the ICCAT port inspection scheme. The text of the ICCAT port inspection scheme may be obtained from NMFS.

§635.51   Authorized officer.

For the purposes of this subpart, an authorized officer is a person appointed by an ICCAT contracting party to serve as an authorized inspector for ICCAT, and who possesses identification issued by the authorized officer's national government.

§635.52   Vessels subject to inspection.

(a) All U.S. fishing vessels or vessels carrying fish species subject to regulation pursuant to a recommendation of ICCAT, and their catch, gear, and relevant documents, including fishing logbooks and cargo manifests, are subject to inspection under this subpart to verify compliance with ICCAT measures by an authorized officer when landing or transshipping tuna or when making a port call at a port of any ICCAT contracting party.

(b) A vessel, or a vessel carrying fish species subject to regulation pursuant to a recommendation of ICCAT, that is registered by any of the ICCAT contracting parties, and the vessel's catch, gear, and relevant documents, including fishing logbooks and cargo manifests, are subject to inspection under this subpart to verify compliance with ICCAT measures when landing or transshipping regulated species or when making a port call in the United States.

(c) The master of a vessel, or a vessel carrying fish species subject to regulation pursuant to a recommendation of ICCAT, must cooperate with an authorized officer during the conduct of an inspection in national and foreign ports. Inspections will be carried out so that the vessel suffers minimum interference and inconvenience, and so that degradation of the quality of catch is avoided.

§635.53   Reports.

(a) Apparent violations shall be reported by the authorized officer on a standardized ICCAT form or form produced by the national government which collects the same quality of information. The authorized officer must sign the form in the presence of the master of the vessel, who is entitled to add or have added to the report any observations, and to add his own signature. The authorized officer should note in the vessel's log that the inspection has been made.

(b) Copies of the report form must be sent to the flag state of the vessel and to the ICCAT Secretariat within 10 days. Flag states will consider and act on reports of apparent violations by foreign inspectors on a similar basis as the reports of their national inspectors in accordance with their national legislation. The vessel's flag state will notify ICCAT of actions taken to address the violation.

Subpart F—Enforcement

§635.69   Vessel monitoring systems.

(a) Applicability. To facilitate enforcement of time/area and fishery closures, an owner or operator of a commercial vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, to fish for Atlantic HMS under §635.4 and that fishes with pelagic or bottom longline or gillnet gear, is required to install a NMFS-approved enhanced mobile transmitting unit (E-MTU) vessel monitoring system (VMS) on board the vessel and operate the VMS unit under the circumstances listed in paragraphs (a)(1) thorugh (a)(4) of this section. For purposes of this section, a NMFS-approved E-MTU VMS is one that has been approved by NMFS as satisfying its type approval listing for E-MTU VMS units. Those requirements are published in the Federal Register and may be updated periodically.

(1) Whenever the vessel has pelagic longline gear on board;

(2) Whenever a vessel issued a directed shark LAP, has bottom longline gear on board, is located between 33°00 N. lat. and 36°30 N. lat., and the mid-Atlantic shark closed area is closed as specified in §635.21(d)(1); or

(3) Whenever a vessel issued a directed shark LAP has gillnet gear on board from November 15-April 15.

(4) A vessel is considered to have pelagic longline gear on board, for the purposes of this section, when gear as specified at §635.21(c) is on board. A vessel is considered to have bottom longline gear on board, for the purposes of this section, when gear as specified at §635.21(d) is on board. A vessel is considered to have gillnet gear on board, for the purposes of this section, when gillnet, as defined in §600.10, is on board a vessel that has been issued a shark LAP.

(b) Hardware specifications. The VMS hardware must be approved by NMFS and must be able to perform all NMFS required functions. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification listing the specifications for approved VMS units. As necessary, NMFS will make additions and/or amendments to the VMS hardware type approval list to account for changes in specifications or new products offered by manufacturers. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification listing such additions and/or amendments.

(c) Communications specifications. The communications service provider must be approved by NMFS and must be able to provide all NMFS required functions. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification listing the specifications for approved VMS communications service providers. As necessary, NMFS will make additions and/or amendments to the VMS communications service providers type approval list to account for changes in specifications or new services offered by communications providers. NMFS will file with the Office of the Federal Register for publication notification listing such additions and/or amendments.

(d) Installation and activation. Only an E-MTU VMS that has been approved by NMFS for Atlantic HMS Fisheries may be used. Any VMS unit must be installed by a qualified marine electrician. When any NMFS-approved E-MTU VMS is installed and activated or reinstalled and reactivated, 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;

(2) Submit to NMFS a statement certifying compliance with the checklist, as prescribed on the checklist; and,

(3) Submit to NMFS the checklist, completed by a qualified marine electrician. Vessels fishing prior to NMFS' receipt of the completed checklist and compliance certification statement will be in violation of the VMS requirement.

(e) Operation.—(1) Owners or operators of vessels subject to requirements specified in paragraph (a) of this section must ensure the VMS unit is on so that it will submit automatic position reports every hour, 24 hours a day. Except as otherwise noted in this paragraph (e)(1), the VMS unit must always be on, operating and reporting without interruption, and NMFS enforcement must receive hourly position reports without interruption. No person may interfere with, tamper with, alter, damage, disable, or impede the operation of a VMS unit, or attempt any of the same. Vessels fishing outside the geographic area of operation of the installed VMS will be in violation of the VMS requirement. Owners of vessels may request a documented power down exemption from NMFS enforcement if the vessel will not be fishing for an extended period of time. The request must describe the reason an exemption is being requested; the location of the vessel during the time an exemption is sought; the exact time period for which an exemption is needed (i.e., the time the VMS signal will be turned off and turned on again); and sufficient information to determine that a power down exemption is appropriate. Approval of a power down must be documented and will be granted, at the discretion of NMFS enforcement, only in certain circumstances (e.g., when the vessel is going into dry dock for repairs, or will not be fishing for an extended period of time).

(2) Hailing out. Prior to departure for each trip, a vessel owner or operator must initially report to NMFS declaring any highly migratory species the vessel will target on that trip and the specific type(s) of fishing gear that will be on board the vessel, using NMFS-defined gear codes. If the vessel owner or operator participates in multiple HMS fisheries, or possesses multiple fishing gears on board the vessel, the vessel owner or operator must submit multiple electronic reports to NMFS. If, during the trip, the vessel switches to a gear type or species group not reported on the initial declaration, another declaration must be submitted before this fishing begins. This information must be reported to NMFS using an attached VMS terminal or using another method as instructed by NMFS enforcement.

(3) Hailing in. A vessel owner or operator must report advance notice of landing to NMFS. For the purposes of this paragraph (e)(3), landing means to arrive at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp. The vessel owner or operator is responsible for ensuring that NMFS is contacted at least 3 hours and no more than 12 hours in advance of landing regardless of trip duration. This information must be reported to NMFS using an attached VMS terminal and must include the date, approximate time, and location of landing.

(4) [Reserved]

(5) Vessel owners or operators that decide not to fish for or retain HMS for a period of time encompassing two or more trips may follow the requirements of this paragraph (e)(5) in lieu of paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) of this section.

(i) If a vessel owner or operator decides not to fish for or retain HMS for a period of time encompassing two or more trips, that owner or operator may choose to “declare out” of the fishery. To “declare out,” the vessel owner or operator must contact NMFS using an attached VMS terminal to indicate the operator does not plan to fish for or retain HMS. By “declaring out” of the HMS fishery, the vessel owner or operator is exempt from the requirements of paragraphs (e)(2) and (e)(3) of this section, unless the circumstances described in paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section apply, but must still comply with all other HMS regulations that are applicable to the vessel including area and gear closures.

(ii) If a vessel owner or operator has advised NMFS that it will not be fishing for or retaining HMS as described in paragraph (e)(5)(i) of this section, but incidentally catches and retains any HMS while fishing, the vessel owner is required to change the target species declaration and advise NMFS, as described in paragraph (e)(2) of this section while at sea before landing with any HMS. The vessel must also report advance notice of landing to NMFS as described in paragraph (e)(3) of this section.

(iii) Once the vessel owner or operator changes the declaration per paragraph (e)(5)(ii) of this section, that vessel is assumed to be fishing under the requirements of paragraphs (e)(1) through (e)(3) of this section until the vessel owner or operator makes another declaration under paragraph (e)(5) of this section.

(f) Interruption. When the vessel operator is aware that transmission of automatic position reports has been interrupted, or when notified by NMFS that automatic position reports are not being received, the vessel operator must contact NMFS and follow the instructions given. Such instructions may include but are not limited to manually communicating to a location designated by NMFS the vessel's position or returning to port until the VMS is operable.

(g) Repair and replacement. After a fishing trip during which interruption of automatic position reports has occurred, the vessel's owner or operator must have a qualified marine electrician replace or repair the VMS unit prior to the vessel's next trip. Repair or reinstallation of a VMS unit or installation of a replacement, including change of communications service provider, shall be in accordance with the installation and activation requirements specified at §635.69(d) of this part.

(h) Access. As a condition to obtaining a LAP for Atlantic swordfish, sharks, or tunas, all vessel owners or operators using pelagic or bottom longline or gillnet gear, subject to the VMS provisions of this section must allow NMFS, the USCG, and their authorized officers and designees access to the vessel's position data obtained from the VMS at the time of or after its transmission to the vendor or receiver, as the case may be.

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999, as amended at 64 FR 37705, July 13, 1999; 65 FR 47238, Aug. 1, 2000; 68 FR 45169, Aug. 1, 2003; 68 FR 74788, Dec. 24, 2003; 69 FR 51012, Aug. 17, 2004; 72 FR 57194, Oct. 5, 2007; 73 FR 40712, July 15, 2008; 75 FR 30528, June 1, 2010; 76 FR 75502, Dec. 2, 2011; 78 FR 68763, 687364, Nov. 15, 2013]

§635.70   Penalties.

(a) General. See §600.735 of this chapter.

(b) Civil procedures for Atlantic tuna. Because of the perishable nature of Atlantic tuna when it is not chilled or frozen, an authorized officer may cause to be sold, for not less than its reasonable market value, unchilled or unfrozen Atlantic tuna that may be seized and forfeited under ATCA and this part.

§635.71   Prohibitions.

In addition to the prohibitions specified in §600.725 of this chapter, it is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to violate any provision of this part, ATCA, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or any other rules promulgated under ATCA or the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

(a) General. It is unlawful for any person or vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to:

(1) Falsify information required on an application for a permit submitted under §635.4 or §635.32.

(2) Fish for, catch, possess, retain, or land Atlantic HMS without the appropriate valid vessel permit, LAP, EFP, scientific research permit, display permit, chartering permit, or shark research permit on board the vessel, as specified in §§635.4 and 635.32.

(3) Purchase, receive, or transfer or attempt to purchase, receive, or transfer, for commercial purposes, Atlantic bluefin tuna landed by owners of vessels not permitted to do so under §635.4, or purchase, receive, or transfer, or attempt to purchase, receive, or transfer Atlantic bluefin tuna without the appropriate valid Federal Atlantic tunas dealer permit issued under §635.4. Purchase, receive, or transfer or attempt to purchase, receive, or transfer, for commercial purposes, other than solely for transport, any BAYS tunas, swordfish, or sharks landed by owners of vessels not permitted to do so under §635.4, or purchase, receive, or transfer, or attempt to purchase, receive, or transfer, for commercial purposes, other than solely for transport, any BAYS tunas, swordfish, or sharks without the appropriate valid dealer permit issued under §635.4 or submission of reports by dealers to NMFS according to reporting requirements specified in §635.5. This prohibition does not apply to HMS harvested by HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat vessel permit holders operating in the U.S. Caribbean as defined at §622.2 or to a shark harvested from a vessel that has not been issued a permit under this part and that fishes exclusively within the waters under the jurisdiction of any state.

(4) Sell or transfer or attempt to sell or transfer, for commercial purposes, an Atlantic tuna, shark, or swordfish other than to a dealer that has a valid dealer permit issued under §635.4, except that this does not apply to HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat vessel permit holders operating in the U.S. Caribbean as defined at §622.2, or to a shark harvested by a vessel that has not been issued a permit under this part and that fishes exclusively within the waters under the jurisdiction of any state.

(5) Fail to possess and make available for inspection a vessel permit on board the permitted vessel or upon transfer of HMS to a dealer or a dealer permit at the dealer's place of business, or to alter any such permit as specified in §635.4(a).

(6) Falsify or fail to record, report, or maintain information required to be recorded, reported, or maintained, as specified in §§635.5 and 635.32 or in the terms and conditions of a permit issued under §635.4 or an EFP, scientific research permit, display permit, chartering permit, or shark research permit issued under §635.32.

(7) Fail to allow an authorized agent of NMFS to inspect and copy reports and records, as specified in §635.5(e) and (f) or §635.32.

(8) Fail to make available for inspection an Atlantic HMS or its area of custody, as specified in §635.5(e) and (f).

(9) Fail to report the catching of any Atlantic HMS to which a conventional tag has been affixed under a tag and release program.

(10) Falsify or fail to display and maintain vessel and gear identification, as specified in §635.6.

(11) Fail to comply with the requirements for at-sea observer coverage, as specified in §635.7 and §600.746.

(12) For any person to assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, interfere with, obstruct, delay, or prevent, by any means, any authorized officer in the conduct of any search, inspection, seizure or lawful investigation made in connection with enforcement of this part.

(13) Interfere with, delay, or prevent by any means, the apprehension of another person, knowing that such person has committed any act prohibited by this part.

(14) Fail to install, activate, repair, or replace a vessel monitoring system prior to leaving port with pelagic longline gear, bottom longline gear, or gillnet gear on board the vessel as specified in §635.69.

(15) Tamper with, or fail to operate and maintain a vessel monitoring system as specified in §635.69.

(16) Fail to contact NMFS or follow NMFS instructions when automatic position reporting has been interrupted as specified in §635.69.

(17) Fish for Atlantic tunas or swordfish with a gillnet or possess Atlantic tunas or swordfish on board a vessel with a gillnet on board, as specified in §635.21 (b), (e)(1), and (e)(4)(ii).

(18) Fail to retrieve fishing gear and move after an interaction with a protected species, as specified in §635.21 (c)(3) or (d)(2).

(19) Utilize secondary gears as specified in §635.21(b) to capture, or attempt to capture, any undersized or free swimming Atlantic HMS, or fail to release a captured Atlantic HMS in the manner specified in §635.21(a).

(20) Fail to report the retention of an Atlantic HMS that has an archival tag, as specified in §635.33.

(21) Fail to maintain an Atlantic HMS in the form specified in §635.30.

(22) Fish for, catch, retain, or possess an Atlantic HMS that is less than its minimum size limit specified in §635.20.

(23) Fail to comply with the restrictions on use of pelagic longline, bottom longline, gillnet, buoy gear, speargun gear, or green-stick gear as specified in §635.21(c), (d), (e)(1), (e)(3), (e)(4), (f), or (g).

(24) Import, or attempt to import, any fish or fish products regulated under this part in a manner contrary to any import requirements or import restrictions specified at §635.40 or 635.41.

(25) Dispose of fish or parts thereof or other matter in any manner after any communication or signal from an authorized officer, or after the approach of an authorized officer.

(26) Violate the terms and conditions or any provision of a permit issued under §§635.4 or 635.32.

(27) Operate a charterboat or headboat without a valid U.S. Coast Guard merchant marine or uninspected passenger vessel license on board the vessel when fishing for or possessing Atlantic HMS as specified at §635.4(b).

(28) Violate any provision of this part, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, ATCA, or any regulations or permits issued under the Magnuson-Stevens Act or ATCA.

(29) Land, transship, ship, transport, purchase, sell, offer for sale, import, export, or have in custody, possession, or control:

(i) Any fish that the person knows, or should have known, was taken, retained, possessed, or landed contrary to this part, without regard to the citizenship of the person or registry of the fishing vessel that harvested the fish.

(ii) Any fish of a species regulated pursuant to a recommendation of ICCAT that was harvested, retained, or possessed in a manner contrary to the regulations of another country.

(30) Deploy or fish with any fishing gear from a vessel or anchor a fishing vessel, permitted or required to be permitted under this part, in any closed area as specified at §635.21.

(31) Deploy or fish with any fishing gear from a vessel with a pelagic longline on board in any closed area during the time periods specified at §635.21(c)(2).

(32) In the Gulf of Mexico, deploy or fish a pelagic longline with live bait affixed to the hooks or to possess live bait, or set up a well or tank to maintain live bait, aboard a vessel with pelagic longline gear on board as specified at §635.21(c)(4).

(33) Deploy or fish with any fishing gear from a vessel with pelagic or bottom longline gear on board without carrying the required sea turtle bycatch mitigation gear, as specified at §635.21(c)(5)(i) for pelagic longline gear and §635.21(d)(3)(i) for bottom longline gear. This equipment must be utilized in accordance with §635.21(c)(5)(ii) and (d)(3)(ii) for pelagic and bottom longline gear, respectively.

(34) Fail to disengage any hooked or entangled sea turtle with the least harm possible to the sea turtle as specified at §635.21 (c)(5) or (d)(3).

(35) For any person to assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, interfere with, obstruct, delay, or prevent, by any means, NMFS personnel or anyone collecting information for NMFS, under an agreement or contract, relating to the scientific monitoring or management of Atlantic HMS.

(36) Fish with bottom or pelagic longline and shark gillnet gear for HMS without adhering to the gear operation and deployment restrictions required in 50 CFR 635.21.

(37) Fail to report to NMFS, at the number designated by NMFS, the incidental capture of listed whales with shark gillnet gear as required by §635.5.

(38) Fish for, or possess on board a fishing vessel, species regulated under this part in unauthorized fishing areas as specified in §635.25.

(39) Deploy or fish with any fishing gear, from a vessel with a bottom longline on board, in any closed area during the time periods specified at §635.21(d)(1).

(40) Deploy or fish with any fishing gear, from a vessel with bottom longline gear on board, without carrying a dipnet, line clipper, and dehooking device as specified at §635.21(d)(3).

(41) Fail to immediately notify NMFS upon the termination of a chartering arrangement as specified in §635.5(a)(5).

(42) Count chartering arrangement catches against quotas other than those defined as the Contracting Party of which the chartering foreign entity is a member as specified in §635.5(a)(5).

(43) Fail to submit catch information regarding fishing activities conducted under a chartering arrangement with a foreign entity, as specified in §635.5(a)(5).

(44) Offload charter arrangement catch in ports other than ports of the chartering Contracting Party of which the foreign entity is a member or offload catch without the direct supervision of the chartering foreign entity as specified in §635.5(a)(5).

(45) Import or attempt to import tuna or tuna-like species harvested from the ICCAT convention area by a fishing vessel that is not listed in the ICCAT record of authorized vessels as specified in §635.41(b).

(46) Import or attempt to import tuna or tuna-like species harvested by a fishing vessel on the ICCAT illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing list as specified in §635.41(c).

(47) Import or attempt to import tuna or tuna-like species, placed in cages for farming and/or transshipment, harvested in the ICCAT convention area and caught by a fishing vessel included on the ICCAT list as engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing as specified in §635.41(d).

(48) Purchase any HMS that was offloaded from an individual vessel in excess of the retention limits specified in §§635.23 and 635.24.

(49) Sell any HMS that was offloaded from an individual vessel in excess of the retention limits specified in §§635.23 and 635.24.

(50) Fish without being certified for completion of a NMFS protected species safe handling, release, and identification workshop, as required in §635.8.

(51) Fish without having a valid protected species workshop certificates issued to the vessel owner and operator on board the vessel as required in §635.8.

(52) Falsify a NMFS protected species workshop certificate or a NMFS Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate as specified at §635.8.

(53) Fish for, catch, possess, retain, or land an Atlantic swordfish using, or captured on, “buoy gear” as defined at §635.2, unless the vessel owner has been issued a swordfish directed limited access permit or a swordfish handgear limited access permit in accordance with §635.4(f) or a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit in accordance with §635.4(o).

(54) Possess, use, or deploy, in the Gulf of Mexico, any circle hook, other than as described at §635.21(c). Vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, with pelagic gear onboard, are prohibited from possessing, using, or deploying circle hooks that are constructed of round wire stock which is larger than 3.65 mm in diameter (See: §635.21(c)(5)(iii)(C)(2)(i)).

(55) Fail to electronically submit an Atlantic HMS dealer report through the HMS electronic dealer reporting system to report BAYS tunas, swordfish, and sharks to NMFS in accordance with §635.5, if issued, or required to be issued, a Federal Atlantic HMS dealer permit pursuant to §635.4.

(56) Have been issued a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit and to purchase, barter for, or trade for HMS harvested by other vessels with the intent to sell.

(b) Atlantic tunas. It is unlawful for any person or vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to:

(1) Engage in fishing with a vessel that has been issued an Atlantic Tunas or Atlantic HMS permit under §635.4, unless the vessel travels to and from the area where it will be fishing under its own power and the person operating that vessel brings any BFT under control (secured to the catching vessel and/or brought on board) with no assistance from another vessel, except as shown by the operator that the safety of the vessel or its crew was jeopardized or other circumstances existed that were beyond the control of the operator.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) Fish for, catch, retain, or possess a BFT less than the large medium size class by a person aboard a vessel other than one that has on board a valid HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permit, or an Atlantic tunas Purse Seine category permit as authorized under §635.23 (b), (c), and (e)(2).

(4) Fail to inspect a vessel's permit, fail to affix a dealer tag to a large medium or giant BFT, or fail to use such tag as specified in §635.5(b)(2).

(5) Fail to report a large medium or giant BFT that is not sold, as specified in §635.5(a)(3).

(6) As the owner of a vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, in the Atlantic HMS Angling or Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat category, fail to report a BFT, as specified in §635.5(c)(1) or (c)(3).

(7) Fish for, catch, retain, or possess a BFT with gear not authorized for the category permit issued to the vessel or to have such gear on board when in possession of a BFT, as specified in §635.21(e)(1).

(8) Fail to request an inspection of a purse seine vessel, as specified in §635.21(e)(1)(vi)(B).

(9) Fish for or catch BFT in a directed fishery with purse seine nets without an allocation made under §635.27(a)(4).

(10) Fish for or catch any Atlantic tunas in a directed fishery with purse seine nets if there is no remaining BFT allocation made under §635.27 (a)(4).

(11) Exceed the recreational catch limit for yellowfin tuna, as specified in §635.22(d).

(12) Exceed a catch limit for BFT specified for the appropriate permit category, as specified in §635.23.

(13) As a vessel with a General category Atlantic tuna permit, fail to immediately cease fishing and immediately return to port after catching a large medium or giant BFT on a commercial fishing day, as specified in §635.23(a)(3).

(14) As a person aboard a vessel issued an HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permit, fail to immediately cease fishing and immediately return to port after catching a large medium or giant BFT or fail to report such catch, as specified in §635.23(b)(1)(iii) and (c)(1) through (c)(3).

(15) As a person aboard a vessel issued an HMS Angling or HMS Charter/Headboat permit, sell, offer for sale, or attempt to sell a large medium or giant BFT retained when fishing under the circumstances specified in §635.23(b)(1)(iii) and (c)(1) through (c)(3).

(16) Retain a BFT caught under the catch and release program specified in §635.26.

(17) As a vessel with a Purse Seine category Atlantic tunas permit, catch, possess, retain, or land BFT in excess of its allocation of the Purse Seine category quota, or fish for BFT under that allocation prior to the commencement date of the directed BFT purse seine fishery, as specified in §635.27(a)(4).

(18) As a vessel with a Purse Seine category Atlantic tunas permit, land BFT smaller than the large medium size class except as specified under §635.23(e)(2).

(19) Fish for, retain, possess, or land a BFT when the fishery is closed, as specified in §635.28(a), except as may be authorized for catch and release under §635.26.

(20) Approach to within 100 yd (91.5 m) of the cork line of a purse seine net used by a vessel fishing for Atlantic tuna, or for a purse seine vessel to approach to within 100 yd (91.5 m) of a vessel actively fishing for Atlantic tuna, except that two vessels that have Purse Seine category Atlantic tuna permits may approach closer to each other.

(21) Transfer at sea an Atlantic tuna, except as may be authorized for the transfer of BFT between purse seine vessels, as specified in §635.29(a).

(22) As the owner or operator of a purse seine vessel, fail to comply with the requirement for possession at sea and landing of BFT under §635.30(a).

(23) Fish for, catch, possess, or retain a BFT from the Gulf of Mexico except as specified under §635.23(f)(1), or if taken incidental to recreational fishing for other species and retained in accordance with §635.23(b) and (c).

(24) Fail to comply with the restrictions on sale and purchase of an Atlantic tuna, as specified in §§635.5(b), 635.23, and 635.31(a).

(25) [Reserved]

(26) For any person to refuse to provide information requested by NMFS personnel or anyone collecting information for NMFS, under an agreement or contract, relating to the scientific monitoring or management of Atlantic tunas.

(27) Possess a large medium or giant BFT, after it has been landed, that does not have a dealer tag affixed to it as specified in §635.5(b)(2)(ii), unless the BFT is not to be sold and has been reported per the requirements specified in §§635.5(a)(3) or 635.5(c).

(28) Participate in any HMS recreational fishing activity aboard a vessel issued an Atlantic Tunas General category permit unless, as specified at §635.4(c)(2) and (3), the vessel has registered and paid an entry fee to, and is fishing under the rules of, a recreational HMS fishing tournament registered as required under §635.5(d)

(29) Import a bigeye tuna or bigeye tuna product into the United States from Bolivia or Georgia as specified in §635.41.

(30) Fish for any HMS, other than Atlantic BAYS tunas, with speargun fishing gear, as specified at §635.21(f).

(31) Harvest or fish for BAYS tunas using speargun gear with powerheads, or any other explosive devices, as specified in §635.21(f).

(32) Sell, purchase, barter for, or trade for an Atlantic BAYS tuna harvested with speargun fishing gear, as specified at §635.31(a)(1).

(33) Fire or discharge speargun gear without being physically in the water, as specified at §635.21(f).

(34) Use speargun gear to harvest a BAYS tuna restricted by fishing lines or other means, as specified at §635.21(f).

(35) Use speargun gear to fish for BAYS tunas from a vessel that does not possess either a valid HMS Angling or HMS Charter/Headboat permit, as specified at §635.21(f).

(36) Possess J-hooks onboard a vessel that has pelagic longline gear onboard, and that has been issued, or is required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, except when green-stick gear is onboard, as specified at §635.21(c)(2)(v)(A) and (c)(5)(iii)(C)(3).

(37) Use or deploy J-hooks with pelagic longline gear from a vessel that has been issued, or is required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

(38) Possess more than 20 J-hooks onboard a vessel that has been issued, or is required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, when possessing onboard both pelagic longline gear, as described at §635.21(c), and green-stick gear as defined at §635.2.

(39) Use or deploy more than 10 hooks at one time on any individual green-stick gear.

(40) Possess, use, or deploy J-hooks smaller than 1.5 inch (38.1 mm), when measured in a straight line over the longest distance from the eye to any other part of the hook, when fishing with or possessing green-stick gear onboard a vessel that has been issued, or is required to have, a limited access swordfish, shark, or tuna longline category permit for use in the Atlantic Ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.

(c) Billfish. It is unlawful for any person or vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to:

(1) As specified in §635.21(e)(2), retain a billfish harvested by gear other than rod and reel, or retain a billfish on board a vessel unless that vessel has been issued an Atlantic HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permit or has been issued an Atlantic Tunas General category permit and is participating in a tournament in compliance with §635.4(c).

(2) Transfer a billfish at sea, as specified in §635.29(a).

(3) Fail to maintain a billfish in the form specified in §635.30(b).

(4) Sell or purchase a billfish, as specified in §635.31(b).

(5) Retain onboard a vessel a longbill spearfish, or a blue marlin, white marlin, roundscale spearfish, or sailfish that is less than the minimum size specified in §635.20(d).

(6) As the owner of a vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, in the Atlantic HMS Angling or Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat category, fail to report a billfish, as specified in §635.5(c)(2) or (c)(3).

(7) Deploy a J-hook or an offset circle hook in combination with natural bait or a natural bait/artificial lure combination when participating in a tournament for, or including, Atlantic billfish, as specified in §635.21(e)(2).

(8) Take, retain, or possess an Atlantic blue marlin, white marlin, and roundscale spearfish when the fishery for these species has been restricted to catch and release fishing only, as specified in §635.27(d).

(d) Shark. It is unlawful for any person or vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to:

(1) Exceed a recreational retention limit for shark, as specified in §635.22(c).

(2) Exceed a commercial retention limit for shark, as specified in §635.24(a).

(3) Retain, possess, or land a shark of a species or management group when the fishery for that species, management group, and/or region is closed, as specified in §635.28(b).

(4) Sell or purchase a shark of a species or management group when the fishery for that species, management group, and/or region is closed, as specified in §635.28(b).

(5) Transfer a shark at sea, as specified in §635.29(b).

(6) Fail to maintain a shark in its proper form, as specified in §635.30(c). Fail to maintain naturally attached shark fins through offloading as specified in §635.30(c).

(7) Sell or purchase shark fins that are disproportionate to the weight of shark carcasses, as specified in §635.30(c) and §600.1204(e) and (l) of this chapter.

(8) Fail to have shark fins and carcasses weighed and recorded, as specified in §635.30(c).

(9) Fail to comply with the restrictions on sale and purchase of a shark, as specified in §635.31(c).

(10) Retain, possess, sell, or purchase a prohibited shark, including parts or pieces of prohibited sharks, as specified under §§635.22(c), 635.24(a), and 635.27(b), or fail to disengage any hooked or entangled prohibited shark with the least harm possible to the animal as specified at §635.21(d).

(11) First receive or attempt to first receive Atlantic sharks without a valid Federal Atlantic shark dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued to the dealer or proxy or fail to be certified for completion of a NMFS Atlantic shark identification workshop in violation of §635.8.

(12) Fish for Atlantic sharks with unauthorized gear or possess Atlantic sharks on board a vessel with unauthorized gear on board as specified in §635.21(e)(3).

(13) Fish for Atlantic sharks with a gillnet or possess Atlantic sharks on board a vessel with a gillnet on board, except as specified in §635.21(e)(3).

(14) First receive or attempt to first receive Atlantic sharks without making available for inspection, at each of the dealer's places of business listed on the dealer permit which first receives Atlantic sharks, an original, valid dealer or proxy Atlantic shark identification workshop certificate issued by NMFS to the dealer or proxy in violation of §635.8(b), except that trucks or other conveyances of the business must possess a copy of such certificate.

(15) Sell or transfer or attempt to sell or transfer a shark or sharks or part of a shark or sharks in excess of the retention limits specified in §635.24(a).

(16) First receive or attempt to first receive a shark or sharks or part of a shark or sharks landed in excess of the retention limits specified in §635.24(a).

(17) Replace sharks that are onboard the vessel for retention with sharks of higher quality or size that are caught later in a particular trip as specified in §635.24(a).

(18) [Reserved]

(19) Retain, possess, transship, land, store, sell or purchase silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, or scalloped, smooth, or great hammerhead sharks as specified in §635.21(c)(1)(ii), §635.22(a)(2), §635.24, and §635.31(c)(6).

(e) Swordfish. It is unlawful for any person or vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to:

(1) Purchase, barter for, or trade for a swordfish from the north or south Atlantic swordfish stock without a dealer permit as specified in §635.4(g), unless the harvesting vessel possesses a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit issued under §635.4 of this part and harvested the swordfish in the U.S. Caribbean as defined at §622.2.

(2) Fail to comply with the restrictions on use of a pelagic longline specified in §635.21(b) and (c).

(3) When the directed fishery for swordfish is closed, exceed the limits specified in §635.28(c)(1)(i) and (c)(1)(ii).

(4) When the incidental catch fishery for swordfish is closed, possess, land, sell, or purchase a swordfish, as specified in §635.28(c)(2).

(5) Transfer at sea a swordfish, as specified in §635.29(a).

(6) Fail to maintain a swordfish in the form specified in §635.30(d).

(7) Fail to comply with the restrictions on sale and purchase of a swordfish, as specified in §635.31(d).

(8) Fish for North Atlantic swordfish from, possess North Atlantic swordfish on board, or land North Atlantic swordfish from a vessel using or having on board gear other than pelagic longline, green-stick gear, or handgear, except as specified at §635.21(e)(4)(i).

(9) Fish for swordfish from the South Atlantic swordfish stock using any gear other than pelagic longline.

(10) Fish for, catch, possess, retain, or land an Atlantic swordfish using, or captured on, “buoy gear” as defined at §635.2, unless the vessel owner has been issued a swordfish directed limited access permit or a swordfish handgear limited access permit in accordance with §635.4(f) or a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit in accordance with §635.4(o).

(11) As the owner of a vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, in the swordfish directed, swordfish handgear limited access permit category, or issued a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit and utilizing buoy gear, to possess or deploy more than 35 individual floatation devices, to deploy more than 35 individual buoy gears per vessel, or to deploy buoy gear without affixed monitoring equipment, as specified at §635.21(e)(4)(iii).

(12) Fail to mark each buoy gear as required at §635.6(c)(1).

(13) Exceed the incidental catch retention limits specified at §635.24(b).

(14) Exceed the recreational catch limit for North Atlantic swordfish, as specified in §635.22(f).

(15) As the owner of a vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, in the Atlantic HMS Angling or the Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat category (and only when on a for-hire trip), fail to report a North Atlantic swordfish, as specified in §635.5(c)(2) or (c)(3).

(16) Possess any HMS, other than Atlantic swordfish, harvested with buoy gear as specified at §635.21(e) unless issued a valid HMS Commercial Caribbean Small Boat permit and operating within the U.S. Caribbean as defined at §622.2.

(17) Fail to construct, deploy, or retrieve buoy gear as specified at §635.21(e)(4)(iii).

(18) As the owner of a vessel permitted, or required to be permitted, in the Swordfish General Commercial permit category, possess North Atlantic swordfish taken from its management unit by any gear other than rod and reel, handline, bandit gear, green-stick, or harpoon gear, as specified in §635.21(e)(4)(v).

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §635.71, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.fdsys.gov.

Appendix A to Part 635—Species Tables

Table 1 of Appendix A to Part 635—Oceanic Sharks

A. Large Coastal Sharks
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico blacktip, Carcharhinus limbatus
Bull, Carcharhinus leucas
Great hammerhead, Sphyrna mokarran
Lemon, Negaprion brevirostris
Nurse, Ginglymostoma cirratum
Sandbar, Carcharhinus plumbeus
Scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini
Silky, Carcharhinus falciformis
Smooth hammerhead, Sphyrna zygaena
Spinner, Carcharhinus brevipinna
Tiger, Galeocerdo cuvier
B. Small Coastal Sharks
Atlantic sharpnose, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico blacknose, Carcharhinus acronotus
Bonnethead, Sphyrna tiburo
Finetooth, Carcharhinus isodon
C. Pelagic Sharks
Blue, Prionace glauca
Oceanic whitetip, Carcharhinus longimanus
Porbeagle, Lamna nasus
Shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus
Thresher, Alopias vulpinus
D. Prohibited Sharks
Atlantic angel, Squatina dumeril
Basking, Cetorhinus maximus
Bigeye sand tiger, Odontaspis noronhai
Bigeye sixgill, Hexanchus nakamurai
Bigeye thresher, Alopias superciliosus
Bignose, Carcharhinus altimus
Caribbean reef, Carcharhinus perezii
Caribbean sharpnose, Rhizoprionodon porosus
Dusky, Carcharhinus obscurus
Galapagos, Carcharhinus galapagensis
Longfin mako, Isurus paucus
Narrowtooth, Carcharhinus brachyurus
Night, Carcharhinus signatus
Sand tiger, Carcharias taurus
Sevengill, Heptranchias perlo
Sixgill, Hexanchus griseus
Smalltail, Carcharhinus porosus
Whale, Rhincodon typus
White, Carcharodon carcharias
E. [Reserved]

Table 2 of Appendix A to Part 635—Pelagic Species

Albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga

Bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus

Blue shark, Prionace glauca

Bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus

Dolphin fish, Coryphaena hippurus

Oceanic whitetip shark, Carcharhinus longimanus

Porbeagle shark, Lamna nasus

Shortfin mako shark, Isurus oxyrinchus

Skipjack tuna, Katsuwonus pelamis

Swordfish, Xiphias gladius

Thresher shark, Alopias vulpinus

Wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri

Yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares

Table 3 of Appendix A to Part 635—Demersal Species

Atlantic sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae

Black grouper, Mycteroperca bonaci

Blackfin snapper, Lutjanus buccanella

Blacknose shark, Carcharhinus acronotus

Blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus

Blueline tilefish, Caulolatilus microps

Bonnethead shark, Sphyrna tiburo

Bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas

Cubera snapper, Lutjanus cyanopterus

Dog snapper, Lutjanus jocu

Finetooth shark, Carcharhinus isodon

Gag grouper, Mycteroperca microlepis

Lane snapper, Lutjanus synagris

Lemon shark, Negaprion brevirostris

Mangrove snapper, Lutjanus griseus

Marbled grouper, Dermatolepis inermis

Misty grouper, Epinephelus mystacinus

Mutton snapper, Lutjanus analis

Nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum

Queen snapper, Etelis oculatus

Red grouper, Epinephelus morio

Red hind, Epinephelus guttatus

Red snapper, Lutjanus campechanus

Rock hind, Epinephelus adscensionis

Sand tilefish, Malacanthus plumieri

Sandbar shark, Carcharhinus plumbeus

Schoolmaster snapper, Lutjanus apodus

Silk snapper, Lutjanus vivanus

Snowy grouper, Epinephelus niveatus

Speckled hind, Epinephelus drummondhayi

Spinner shark, Carcharhinus brevipinna

Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvieri

Tilefish, Lopholatilus chamaeleonticeps

Vermilion snapper, Rhomboplites aurorubens

Warsaw grouper, Epinephelus nigritus

Yellowedge grouper, Epinephelus flavolimbatus

Yellowfin grouper, Mycteroperca venenosa

Yellowtail snapper, Ocyurus chrysurus

[64 FR 29135, May 28, 1999 as amended at 71 FR 58174, Oct. 2, 2006; 75 FR 30528, June 1, 2010; 76 FR 70066, Nov. 10, 2011; 78 FR 40349, July 3, 2013]



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