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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of March 26, 2020

Title 50Chapter VIPart 665 → Subpart B


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 665—FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC


Subpart B—American Samoa Fisheries


Contents
§665.98   Management area.
§665.99   Area restrictions.
§665.100   American Samoa bottomfish fisheries. [Reserved]
§665.101   Definitions.
§665.102   [Reserved]
§665.103   Prohibitions.
§665.104   Gear restrictions.
§665.105   At-sea observer coverage.
§§665.106-665.119   [Reserved]
§665.120   American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved]
§665.121   Definitions.
§665.122   [Reserved]
§665.123   Relation to other laws.
§665.124   Permits and fees.
§665.125   Prohibitions.
§665.126   Notifications.
§665.127   Allowable gear and gear restrictions.
§665.128   Gear identification.
§§665.129-665.139   [Reserved]
§665.140   American Samoa Crustacean Fisheries. [Reserved]
§665.141   Definitions.
§665.142   Permits.
§665.143   Prohibitions.
§665.144   Notifications.
§665.145   At-sea observer coverage.
§§665.146-665.159   [Reserved]
§665.160   American Samoa precious coral fisheries. [Reserved]
§665.161   Definitions.
§665.162   Permits.
§665.163   Prohibitions.
§665.164   Gear restrictions.
§665.165   Size restrictions.
§665.166   Closures.
§665.167   Quotas.
§665.168   Seasons.
§665.169   Gold coral harvest moratorium.

§665.98   Management area.

The American Samoa fishery management area is the EEZ seaward of the Territory of American Samoa with the inner boundary coterminous with the seaward boundaries of the Territory of American Samoa and the outer boundary designated as a line drawn in such a manner that each point on it is 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the territorial sea is measured, or is coterminous with adjacent international maritime boundaries.

§665.99   Area restrictions.

Fishing is prohibited in all no-take MPAs. The following U.S. EEZ waters around American Samoa are no-take MPAs: Landward of the 50 fm (91.5 m) curve around Rose Atoll, as depicted on National Ocean Survey Chart Number 83484.

§665.100   American Samoa bottomfish fisheries. [Reserved]

§665.101   Definitions.

As used in §§665.100 through 665.119:

American Samoa bottomfish ecosystem component species (American Samoa bottomfish ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP and not defined as American Samoa bottomfish MUS.

American Samoa bottomfish management unit species (American Samoa bottomfish MUS) means the following species:

Local nameCommon nameScientific name
palu-gutusilivared snapper, silvermouthAphareus rutilans.
asoamagray snapper, jobfishAprion virescens.
tafauliblack trevally, jackCaranx lugubris.
papa, velolunartail grouperVariola louti.
palu malaured snapperEtelis carbunculus.
palu-loared snapperEtelis coruscans.
filoa-paomumuredgill emperorLethrinus rubrioperculatus.
savaneblueline snapperLutjanus kasmira.
palu-ènaènapink snapperPristipomoides filamentosus.
palu-sinayelloweye snapperPristipomoides flavipinnis.
palu-ula, palu-segaSnapperPristipomoides zonatus.

[84 FR 2769, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.102   [Reserved]

§665.103   Prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in §600.725 of this chapter and §665.15, it is unlawful for any person to fish for American Samoa bottomfish MUS or ECS using gear prohibited under §665.104.

[84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.104   Gear restrictions.

(a) Bottom trawls and bottom set gillnets. Fishing for American Samoa bottomfish MUS or ECS with bottom trawls and bottom set gillnets is prohibited.

(b) Possession of gear. The possession of a bottom trawl or bottom set gillnet within the American Samoa fishery management area is prohibited.

(c) Poisons and explosives. The possession or use of any poisons, explosives, or intoxicating substances for the purpose of harvesting bottomfish is prohibited.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.105   At-sea observer coverage.

All fishing vessels subject to §§665.100 through 665.105 must carry an observer when directed to do so by the Regional Administrator.

§§665.106-665.119   [Reserved]

§665.120   American Samoa coral reef ecosystem fisheries. [Reserved]

§665.121   Definitions.

As used in §§665.120 through 665.139, American Samoa coral reef ecosystem component species (American Samoa coral reef ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP and not defined as MUS or another ECS in this subpart.

[84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.122   [Reserved]

§665.123   Relation to other laws.

To ensure consistency between the management regimes of different Federal agencies with shared management responsibilities of fishery resources within the American Samoa fishery management area, fishing for American Samoa coral reef ECS is not allowed within the boundary of a National Wildlife Refuge unless specifically authorized by the USFWS, regardless of whether that refuge was established by action of the President or the Secretary of the Interior.

[84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.124   Permits and fees.

(a) Applicability. Unless otherwise specified in this subpart, §665.13 applies to coral reef ecosystem permits.

(1) Special permit. Any person of the United States fishing for, taking or retaining American Samoa coral reef ECS must have a special permit if they fish, or if a vessel which they operate is used to fish, for any:

(i) American Samoa coral reef ECS in low-use MPAs as defined in §665.99;

(ii) American Samoa coral reef ECS in the coral reef ecosystem management area; or

(iii) American Samoa coral reef ECS in the coral reef ecosystem management area with any gear not specifically allowed in this subpart.

(2) Transshipment permit. A receiving vessel must be registered for use with a transshipment permit if that vessel is used in the American Samoa coral reef ecosystem management area to land or transship American Samoa coral reef ECS harvested within low-use MPAs.

(3) Exceptions. The following persons are not required to have a permit under this section:

(i) Any person issued a permit to fish under any FEP who incidentally catches American Samoa coral reef ECS while fishing for bottomfish MUS or ECS, crustacean ECS, western Pacific pelagic MUS, precious coral ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS;

(ii) Any person fishing for American Samoa coral reef ECS outside of an MPA, who does not retain any American Samoa coral reef ECS; and

(iii) Any person collecting marine organisms for scientific research as described in §665.17, or §600.745 of this chapter.

(b) Validity. Each permit will be valid for fishing only in the fishery management area specified on the permit.

(c) General requirements. General requirements governing application information, issuance, fees, expiration, replacement, transfer, alteration, display, sanctions, and appeals for permits are contained in §665.13.

(d) Special permit. The Regional Administrator shall issue a special permit in accordance with the criteria and procedures specified in this section.

(1) Application. An applicant for a special or transshipment permit issued under this section must complete and submit to the Regional Administrator, a Special Coral Reef Ecosystem Fishing Permit Application Form issued by NMFS. Information in the application form must include, but is not limited to, a statement describing the objectives of the fishing activity for which a special permit is needed, including a general description of the expected disposition of the resources harvested under the permit (i.e., stored live, fresh, frozen, preserved; sold for food, ornamental, research, or other use; and a description of the planned fishing operation, including location of fishing and gear operation, amount and species (directed and incidental) expected to be harvested and estimated habitat and protected species impacts).

(2) Incomplete applications. The Regional Administrator may request from an applicant additional information necessary to make the determinations required under this section. An applicant will be notified of an incomplete application within 10 working days of receipt of the application. An incomplete application will not be considered until corrected and completed in writing.

(3) Issuance. (i) If an application contains all of the required information, the Regional Administrator will forward copies of the application within 30 days to the Council, the USCG, the fishery management agency of the affected state, and other interested parties who have identified themselves to the Council, and the USFWS.

(ii) Within 60 days following receipt of a complete application, the Regional Administrator will consult with the Council through its Executive Director, USFWS, and the Director of the affected state fishery management agency concerning the permit application and will receive their recommendations for approval or disapproval of the application based on:

(A) Information provided by the applicant;

(B) The current domestic annual harvesting and processing capacity of the directed and incidental species for which a special permit is being requested;

(C) The current status of resources to be harvested in relation to the overfishing definition in the FEP;

(D) Estimated ecosystem, habitat, and protected species impacts of the proposed activity; and

(E) Other biological and ecological information relevant to the proposal. The applicant will be provided with an opportunity to appear in support of the application.

(iii) Following a review of the Council's recommendation and supporting rationale, the Regional Administrator may:

(A) Concur with the Council's recommendation and, after finding that it is consistent with the goals and objectives of the FEP, the national standards, the Endangered Species Act, and other applicable laws, approve or deny a special permit; or

(B) Reject the Council's recommendation, in which case, written reasons will be provided by the Regional Administrator to the Council for the rejection.

(iv) If the Regional Administrator does not receive a recommendation from the Council within 60 days of Council receipt of the permit application, the Regional Administrator can make a determination of approval or denial independently.

(v) Within 30 working days after the consultation in paragraph (d)(3)(ii) of this section, or as soon as practicable thereafter, NMFS will notify the applicant in writing of the decision to grant or deny the special permit and, if denied, the reasons for the denial. Grounds for denial of a special permit include the following:

(A) The applicant has failed to disclose material information required, or has made false statements as to any material fact, in connection with his or her application.

(B) According to the best scientific information available, the directed or incidental catch in the season or location specified under the permit would detrimentally affect any coral reef resource or coral reef ecosystem in a significant way, including, but not limited to issues related to, spawning grounds or seasons, protected species interactions, EFH, and habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC).

(C) Issuance of the special permit would inequitably allocate fishing privileges among domestic fishermen or would have economic allocation as its sole purpose.

(D) The method or amount of harvest in the season and/or location stated on the permit is considered inappropriate based on previous human or natural impacts in the given area.

(E) NMFS has determined that the maximum number of permits for a given area in a given season has been reached and allocating additional permits in the same area would be detrimental to the resource.

(F) The activity proposed under the special permit would create a significant enforcement problem.

(vi) The Regional Administrator may attach conditions to the special permit, if it is granted, consistent with the management objectives of the FEP, including, but not limited to: (A) The maximum amount of each resource that can be harvested and landed during the term of the special permit, including trip limits, where appropriate.

(B) The times and places where fishing may be conducted.

(C) The type, size, and amount of gear which may be used by each vessel operated under the special permit.

(D) Data reporting requirements.

(E) Such other conditions as may be necessary to ensure compliance with the purposes of the special permit consistent with the objectives of the FEP.

(4) Appeals of permit actions. (i) Except as provided in subpart D of 15 CFR part 904, any applicant for a permit or a permit holder may appeal the granting, denial, conditioning, or suspension of their permit or a permit affecting their interests to the Regional Administrator. In order to be considered by the Regional Administrator, such appeal must be in writing, must state the action(s) appealed, and the reasons therefore, and must be submitted within 30 days of the original action(s) by the Regional Administrator. The appellant may request an informal hearing on the appeal.

(ii) Upon receipt of an appeal authorized by this section, the Regional Administrator will notify the permit applicant, or permit holder, as appropriate, and will request such additional information and in such form as will allow action upon the appeal. Upon receipt of sufficient information, the Regional Administrator will rule on the appeal in accordance with the permit eligibility criteria set forth in this section and the FEP, as appropriate, based upon information relative to the application on file at NMFS and the Council and any additional information, the summary record kept of any hearing and the hearing officer's recommended decision, if any, and such other considerations as deemed appropriate. The Regional Administrator will notify all interested persons of the decision, and the reasons therefore, in writing, normally within 30 days of the receipt of sufficient information, unless additional time is needed for a hearing.

(iii) If a hearing is requested, or if the Regional Administrator determines that one is appropriate, the Regional Administrator may grant an informal hearing before a hearing officer designated for that purpose after first giving notice of the time, place, and subject matter of the hearing in the Federal Register. Such a hearing shall normally be held no later than 30 days following publication of the notice in the Federal Register, unless the hearing officer extends the time for reasons deemed equitable. The appellant, the applicant (if different), and, at the discretion of the hearing officer, other interested parties, may appear personally and/or be represented by counsel at the hearing and may submit information and present arguments as determined appropriate by the hearing officer. Within 30 days of the last day of the hearing, the hearing officer shall recommend in writing a decision to the Regional Administrator.

(iv) The Regional Administrator may adopt the hearing officer's recommended decision, in whole or in part, or may reject or modify it. In any event, the Regional Administrator will notify interested persons of the decision, and the reason(s) therefore, in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the hearing officer's recommended decision. The Regional Administrator's action constitutes final action for the agency for the purposes of the Administrative Procedure Act.

(5) The Regional Administrator may, for good cause, extend any time limit prescribed in this section for a period not to exceed 30 days either upon his or her own motion or upon written request from the Council, appellant or applicant stating the reason(s) therefore.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.125   Prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in §600.725 of this chapter and §665.15 of this part, it is unlawful for any person to do any of the following:

(a) Fish for, take, retain, possess or land any American Samoa coral reef ecosystem ECS in any low-use MPA as defined in §665.99 unless:

(1) A valid permit has been issued for the hand harvester or the fishing vessel operator that specifies the applicable area of harvest;

(2) A permit is not required, as outlined in §665.124; or

(3) The American Samoa coral reef ECS possessed on board the vessel originated outside the management area, and this can be demonstrated through receipts of purchase, invoices, fishing logbooks or other documentation.

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any American Samoa coral reef ECS:

(1) That is determined overfished with subsequent rulemaking by the Regional Administrator;

(2) By means of gear or methods prohibited under §665.127;

(3) In a low-use MPA without a valid special permit; or

(4) In violation of any permit issued under §§665.13, 665.123, or 665.124.

(c) Fish for, take, or retain any wild live rock or live hard coral except under a valid special permit for scientific research, aquaculture seed stock collection or traditional and ceremonial purposes by indigenous people.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.126   Notifications.

Any special permit holder subject to the requirements of this subpart must contact the appropriate NMFS enforcement agent in American Samoa, Guam, or Hawaii at least 24 hours before landing any American Samoa coral reef ECS harvested under a special permit and report the port and the approximate date and time at which the catch will be landed.

[84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.127   Allowable gear and gear restrictions.

(a) American Samoa coral reef ECS may be taken only with the following allowable gear and methods:

(1) Hand harvest;

(2) Spear;

(3) Slurp gun;

(4) Hand net/dip net;

(5) Hoop net for Kona crab;

(6) Throw net;

(7) Barrier net;

(8) Surround/purse net that is attended at all times;

(9) Hook-and-line (includes handline (powered or not), rod-and-reel, and trolling);

(10) Crab and fish traps with vessel ID number affixed; and (11) Remote-operating vehicles/submersibles.

(b) American Samoa coral reef ECS may not be taken by means of poisons, explosives, or intoxicating substances. Possession or use of these materials by any permit holder under this subpart who is established to be fishing for coral reef ECS in the management area is prohibited.

(c) Existing FEP fisheries shall follow the allowable gear and methods outlined in their respective plans.

(d) Any person who intends to fish with new gear not included in this section must describe the new gear and its method of deployment in the special permit application. A decision on the permissibility of this gear type will be made by the Regional Administrator after consultation with the Council and the director of the affected state fishery management agency.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.128   Gear identification.

(a) Gear marking. The vessel number must be affixed to all fish and crab traps on board the vessel or deployed in the water by any vessel or person holding a permit under §665.13 or §665.124 or that is otherwise established to be fishing for American Samoa coral reef ecosystem ECS in the management area.

(b) Enforcement action. (1) Traps not marked in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section and found deployed in the coral reef ecosystem management area will be considered unclaimed or abandoned property, and may be disposed of in any manner considered appropriate by NMFS or an authorized officer.

(2) Unattended surround nets or bait seine nets found deployed in the coral reef ecosystem management area will be considered unclaimed or abandoned property, and may be disposed of in any manner considered appropriate by NMFS or an authorized officer.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§§665.129-665.139   [Reserved]

§665.140   American Samoa Crustacean Fisheries. [Reserved]

§665.141   Definitions.

As used in §§665.140 through 665.159:

American Samoa crustacean ecosystem component species (American Samoa crustacean ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP.

Crustacean Permit Area 3 (Permit Area 3) includes the EEZ around American Samoa.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2770, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.142   Permits.

(a) Applicability. (1) The owner of any vessel used to fish for lobster in Permit Area 3 must have a permit issued for that vessel.

(2) The owner of any vessel used to fish for deepwater shrimp in Crustacean Permit Area 3 must have a permit issued for that vessel.

(b) General requirements. General requirements governing application information, issuance, fees, expiration, replacement, transfer, alteration, display, sanctions, and appeals for permits issued under this section, as applicable, are contained in §665.13.

(c) Application. An application for a permit required under this section will be submitted to PIRO as described in §665.13. If the application for a limited access permit is submitted on behalf of a partnership or corporation, the application must be accompanied by a supplementary information sheet obtained from PIRO and contain the names and mailing addresses of all partners or shareholders and their respective percentage of ownership in the partnership or corporation.

§665.143   Prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in §600.725 of this chapter and §665.15, in Crustacean Permit Area 3, it is unlawful for any person to fish for, take, or retain deepwater shrimp without a permit issued under §665.142.

§665.144   Notifications.

(a) The operator of any vessel fishing subject to the requirements of this subpart must:

(1) Report, not less than 24 hours, but not more than 36 hours, before landing, the port, the approximate date and the approximate time at which spiny and slipper lobsters will be landed.

(2) Report, not less than 6 hours and not more than 12 hours before offloading, the location and time that offloading of spiny and slipper lobsters will begin.

(b) The Regional Administrator will notify permit holders of any change in the reporting method and schedule required in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section at least 30 days prior to the opening of the fishing season.

§665.145   At-sea observer coverage.

All fishing vessels subject to §§665.140 through 665.145 and subpart A of this part must carry an observer when requested to do so by the Regional Administrator.

§§665.146-665.159   [Reserved]

§665.160   American Samoa precious coral fisheries. [Reserved]

§665.161   Definitions.

As used in §§665.160 through 665.169:

American Samoa precious coral ecosystem component species (American Samoa precious coral ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP.

American Samoa precious coral permit area means the area encompassing the precious coral beds within the U.S. EEZ around American Samoa. Each bed is designated by a permit area code and assigned to one of the following four categories:

(1) Established beds. [Reserved]

(2) Conditional beds. [Reserved]

(3) Refugia. [Reserved]

(4) Exploratory Area. Permit Area X-P-AS includes all coral beds, other than established beds, conditional beds, or refugia, in the EEZ seaward of American Samoa.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2771, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.162   Permits.

(a) Any vessel of the United States fishing for, taking, or retaining American Samoa precious coral ECS in any American Samoa precious coral permit area must have a permit issued under §665.13.

(b) Each permit will be valid for fishing only in the permit area specified on the permit. Precious Coral Permit Areas are defined in §665.161.

(c) No more than one permit will be valid for any one vessel at any one time.

(d) No more than one permit will be valid for any one person at any one time.

(e) The holder of a valid permit to fish one permit area may obtain a permit to fish another permit area only upon surrendering to the Regional Administrator any current permit for the precious coral fishery issued under §665.13.

(f) General requirements governing application information, issuance, fees, expiration, replacement, transfer, alteration, display, sanctions, and appeals for permits for the precious coral fishery are contained in §665.13.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2771, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.163   Prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in §600.725 of this chapter and in §665.15, it is unlawful for any person to:

(a) Use any vessel to fish for, take, retain, possess or land precious coral in any precious coral permit area, unless a permit has been issued for that vessel and area as specified in §665.13 and that permit is on board the vessel.

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any species of American Samoa precious coral ECS in any precious coral permit area:

(1) By means of gear or methods prohibited by §665.164.

(2) In refugia specified in §665.161.

(3) In a bed for which the quota specified in §665.167 has been attained.

(4) In violation of any permit issued under §665.13 or §665.17.

(5) In a bed that has been closed pursuant to §§665.166 or 665.169.

(c) Take and retain, possess, or land any live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, Corallium sp., or live black coral from any precious coral permit area that is less than the minimum height specified in §665.165 unless:

(1) A valid EFP was issued under §665.17 for the vessel and the vessel was operating under the terms of the permit; or

(2) The coral originated outside coral beds listed in this paragraph, and this can be demonstrated through receipts of purchase, invoices, or other documentation.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2771, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.164   Gear restrictions.

Only selective gear may be used to harvest coral from any precious coral permit area.

§665.165   Size restrictions.

The height of a live coral specimen shall be determined by a straight line measurement taken from its base to its most distal extremity. The stem diameter of a living coral specimen shall be determined by measuring the greatest diameter of the stem at a point no less than 1 inch (2.54 cm) from the top surface of the living holdfast.

(a) Live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, or Corallium sp. harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained a minimum height of 10 inches (25.4 cm).

(b) Live black coral harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained either a minimum stem diameter of 1 inch (2.54 cm), or a minimum height of 48 inches (122 cm).

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2771, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.166   Closures.

(a) If the Regional Administrator determines that the harvest quota for any coral bed will be reached prior to the end of the fishing year, NMFS shall publish a notice to that effect in the Federal Register and shall use other means to notify permit holders. Any such notice must indicate the reason for the closure, the bed being closed, and the effective date of the closure.

(b) A closure is also effective for a permit holder upon the permit holder's actual harvest of the applicable quota.

§665.167   Quotas.

(a) General. The quotas limiting the amount of precious coral that may be taken in any precious coral permit area during the fishing year are listed in §665.167(d). Only live coral is counted toward the quota. The accounting period for all quotas begins July 1, 1983.

(b) Conditional bed closure. A conditional bed will be closed to all nonselective coral harvesting after the quota for one species of coral has been taken.

(c) Reserves and reserve release. The quotas for exploratory area X-P-AS will be held in reserve for harvest by vessels of the United States in the following manner:

(1) At the start of the fishing year, the reserve for the American Samoa exploratory area will equal the quota minus the estimated domestic annual harvest for that year.

(2) As soon as practicable after December 31 each year, the Regional Administrator will determine the amount harvested by vessels of the United States between July 1 and December 31 of the year that just ended on December 31.

(3) NMFS will release to TALFF an amount of precious coral for each exploratory area equal to the quota minus two times the amount harvested by vessels of the United States in that July 1-December 31 period.

(4) NMFS will publish in the Federal Register a notification of the Regional Administrator's determination and a summary of the information on which it is based as soon as practicable after the determination is made.

(d) Exploratory areas. The American Samoa exploratory permit area X-P-AS has an annual quota of 1,000 kg for all American Samoa precious coral ECS combined with the exception of black corals.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 84 FR 2771, Feb. 8, 2019]

§665.168   Seasons.

The fishing year for precious coral begins on July 1 and ends on June 30 the following year.

§665.169   Gold coral harvest moratorium.

Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral in any precious coral permit area is prohibited through June 30, 2023.

[83 FR 27717, June 14, 2018]

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