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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 14, 2019

Title 50Chapter VIPart 622 → Subpart M


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 622—FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH ATLANTIC


Subpart M—Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery Off the Atlantic States


Contents
§622.270   Permits.
§622.271   Recordkeeping and reporting.
§622.272   Authorized gear.
§622.273   Conservation measures for protected species.
§622.274   Pelagic longline closed areas.
§622.275   Size limits.
§622.276   Landing fish intact.
§622.277   Bag and possession limits.
§622.278   Commercial trip limits.
§622.279   Restrictions on sale/purchase.
§622.280   Annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs).
§622.281   Adjustment of management measures.

§622.270   Permits.

(a) Commercial vessel permits. (1) For a person aboard a vessel to be eligible for exemption from the bag and possession limits for dolphin or wahoo in or from the Atlantic EEZ or to sell such dolphin or wahoo, a commercial vessel permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo must be issued to the vessel and must be on board, except as provided in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. (See paragraph (c)(1) of this section for the requirements for operator permits in the Atlantic dolphin and wahoo fishery).

(2) The provisions of paragraph (a)(1) of this section notwithstanding, a fishing vessel, except a vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat, that does not have a commercial vessel permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo but has a Federal commercial vessel permit in any other fishery, is exempt from the bag and possession limits for dolphin and wahoo and may sell dolphin and wahoo, subject to the trip and geographical limits specified in §622.278(a)(2). (A charter vessel/headboat permit is not a commercial vessel permit.)

(b) Charter vessel/headboat permits. (1) For a person aboard a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat to fish for or possess Atlantic dolphin or wahoo, in or from the Atlantic EEZ, a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. (See paragraph (c)(1) of this section for the requirements for operator permits in the dolphin and wahoo fishery.)

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

(c) Operator permits. (1) An operator of a vessel that has or is required to have a charter vessel/headboat or commercial permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo issued under this section is required to have an operator permit.

(2) A person required to have an operator permit under paragraph (c)(1) of this section must carry on board such permit and one other form of personal identification that includes a picture (driver's license, passport, etc.).

(3) An owner of a vessel that is required to have a permitted operator under paragraph (c)(1) of this section must ensure that at least one person with a valid operator permit is aboard while the vessel is at sea or offloading.

(4) An owner of a vessel that is required to have a permitted operator under paragraph (c)(1) of this section and the operator of such vessel are responsible for ensuring that a person whose operator permit is suspended, revoked, or modified pursuant to subpart D of 15 CFR part 904 is not aboard that vessel.

(d) Dealer permits and conditions—(1) Permits. For a dealer to first receive Atlantic dolphin or wahoo harvested in or from the EEZ, a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit must be issued to the dealer.

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

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

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 19496, Apr. 9, 2014]

§622.271   Recordkeeping and reporting.

(a) Commercial vessel owners and operators—(1) Reporting requirement. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo has been issued, as required under §622.270(a)(1), or whose vessel fishes for or lands Atlantic dolphin or wahoo in or from state waters adjoining the Atlantic EEZ, who is selected to report by the SRD must maintain a fishing record on a form available from the SRD and must submit such record as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(2) Reporting deadlines. Completed fishing records required by paragraph (a)(1) of this section must be submitted to the SRD postmarked not later than 7 days after the end of each fishing trip. If no fishing occurred during a calendar month, a report so stating must be submitted on one of the forms postmarked not later than 7 days after the end of that month. Information to be reported is indicated on the form and its accompanying instructions.

(b) Charter vessel/headboat owners and operators—(1) General reporting requirement—(i) Charter vessels. The owner or operator of a charter vessel for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo has been issued, as required under §622.270(b)(1), or whose vessel fishes for or lands Atlantic dolphin or wahoo in or from state waters adjoining the Atlantic EEZ, who is selected to report by the SRD must maintain a fishing record for each trip, or a portion of such trips as specified by the SRD, on forms provided by the SRD and must submit such record as specified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(ii) Headboats. The owner or operator of a headboat for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo has been issued, as required under §622.270(b)(1), or whose vessel fishes for or lands Atlantic dolphin or wahoo in or from state waters adjoining the South Atlantic EEZ, who is selected to report by the SRD must submit an electronic fishing record for each trip of all fish harvested within the time period specified in paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section, via the Southeast Region Headboat Survey.

(2) Reporting deadlines—(i) Charter vessels. Completed fishing records required by paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section for charter vessels must be submitted to the SRD weekly, postmarked no later than 7 days after the end of each week (Sunday). Information to be reported is indicated on the form and its accompanying instructions.

(ii) Headboats. Electronic fishing records required by paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section for headboats must be submitted at weekly intervals (or intervals shorter than a week if notified by the SRD) by 11:59 p.m., local time, the Sunday following a reporting week. If no fishing activity occurred during a reporting week, an electronic report so stating must be submitted for that reporting week by 11:59 p.m., local time, the Sunday following a reporting week.

(3) Catastrophic conditions. During catastrophic conditions only, NMFS provides for use of paper forms for basic required functions as a backup to the electronic fishing records required by paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. The RA will determine when catastrophic conditions exist, the duration of the catastrophic conditions, and which participants or geographic areas are deemed affected by the catastrophic conditions. The RA will provide timely notice to affected participants via publication of notification in the Federal Register, NOAA weather radio, fishery bulletins, and other appropriate means and will authorize the affected participants' use of paper forms for the duration of the catastrophic conditions. The paper forms will be available from NMFS. During catastrophic conditions, the RA has the authority to waive or modify reporting time requirements.

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

(c) Dealers. (1) A dealer who first receives Atlantic dolphin or wahoo must maintain records and submit information as specified in §622.5(c).

(2) Alternate SRD. For the purpose of §622.5(c), in the states from Maine through Virginia, or in the waters off those states, “SRD” means the Science and Research Director, Northeast Fisheries Science Center, NMFS, or a designee.

(3) On demand, a dealer who has been issued a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit, as required under §622.270(d)(1), must make available to an authorized officer all records of offloadings, purchases, or sales of Atlantic dolphin or wahoo.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 78 FR 78781, Dec. 27, 2013; 79 FR 19496, Apr. 9, 2014]

§622.272   Authorized gear.

(a) Atlantic dolphin and wahoo—(1) Authorized gear. The following are the only authorized gear types in the fisheries for dolphin and wahoo in the Atlantic EEZ: Automatic reel, bandit gear, handline, pelagic longline, rod and reel, and spearfishing gear (including powerheads). A person aboard a vessel in the Atlantic EEZ that has on board gear types other than authorized gear types may not possess a dolphin or wahoo.

(2) [Reserved]

(b) [Reserved]

§622.273   Conservation measures for protected species.

(a) Atlantic dolphin and wahoo pelagic longliners. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo has been issued, as required under §622.270(a)(1), and that has on board a pelagic longline must post inside the wheelhouse the sea turtle handling and release guidelines provided by NMFS. Such owner or operator must also comply with the sea turtle bycatch mitigation measures, including gear requirements and sea turtle handling requirements, as specified in §635.21(c)(5)(i) and (ii) of this chapter, respectively. For the purpose of this paragraph, 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.

(b) [Reserved]

§622.274   Pelagic longline closed areas.

(a) If pelagic longline gear is on board a vessel, a person aboard such vessel may not fish for or retain a dolphin or wahoo—

(1) In the Northeastern United States closed area from June 1 through June 30 each year. The Northeastern United States closed area is that portion of the EEZ between 40° N. lat. and 39° N. lat. from 68° W. long. to 74° W. long.

(2) In the Charleston Bump closed area from February 1 through April 30 each year. The Charleston Bump closed area is that portion of the EEZ off North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia between 34° N. lat. and 31° N. lat. and west of 76° W. long.

(3) In the East Florida Coast closed area year round. The East Florida Coast closed area is that portion of the EEZ off Georgia and the east coast of Florida from the inner boundary of the EEZ at 31° N. lat.; thence due east to 78° W. long.; thence by a rhumb line to 28°17 N. lat., 79°12 W. long.; thence proceeding in a southerly direction along the outer boundary of the EEZ to 24° N. lat.; thence due west to 24° N. lat., 81°47 W. long.; thence due north to the innermost boundary of the EEZ at 81°47 W. long.

(b) 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 gangions with hooks are on board. Removal of any one of these elements constitutes removal of pelagic longline gear.

(c) If a vessel is in a closed area during a time specified in paragraph (a) 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.

§622.275   Size limits.

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

(a) Dolphin in the Atlantic off Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina—20 inches (50.8 cm), fork length.

(b) [Reserved]

§622.276   Landing fish intact.

(a) Dolphin or wahoo in or from the Atlantic EEZ must be maintained with head and fins intact, except as specified in paragraph (b) of this section. Such fish may be eviscerated, gilled, and scaled, but must otherwise be maintained in a whole condition. The operator of a vessel that fishes in the EEZ is responsible for ensuring that fish on that vessel in the EEZ are maintained intact and, if taken from the EEZ, are maintained intact through offloading ashore, as specified in this section.

(b) In the Atlantic EEZ, dolphin or wahoo lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters are exempt from the requirement that they be maintained with head and fins intact, provided that the skin remains intact on the entire fillet of any dolphin or wahoo carcasses, valid Bahamian fishing and cruising permits are on board the vessel, each person on the vessel has a valid government passport with current stamps and dates from The Bahamas, and the vessel is in transit through the Atlantic EEZ with fishing gear appropriately stowed. For the purpose of this paragraph, a vessel is in transit through the Atlantic EEZ when it is on a direct and continuous course through the Atlantic EEZ and no one aboard the vessel fishes in the EEZ. For the purpose of this paragraph, fishing gear appropriately stowed means that terminal gear (i.e., hook, leader, sinker, flasher, or bait) used with an automatic reel, bandit gear, buoy gear, handline, or rod and reel must be disconnected and stowed separately from such fishing gear. Sinkers must be disconnected from the down rigger and stowed separately.

[80 FR 80689, Dec. 28, 2015]

§622.277   Bag and possession limits.

Section 622.11(a) provides the general applicability for bag and possession limits.

(a) Atlantic dolphin and wahoo. Bag and possession limits are as follows:

(1) Dolphin. (i) In the Atlantic EEZ—10, not to exceed 60 per vessel, whichever is less, except on board a headboat, 10 per paying passenger.

(ii) In the Atlantic EEZ and lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters (as per §622.276(b))—10, not to exceed 60 per vessel, whichever is less, except on board a headboat, 10 per paying passenger. For the purposes of this paragraph, for determining how many dolphin are on board a vessel in fillet form when harvested lawfully in Bahamian waters, two fillets of dolphin, regardless of the length of each fillet, is equivalent to one dolphin. The skin must remain intact on the entire fillet of any dolphin carcass.

(2) Wahoo. (i) In the Atlantic EEZ—2.

(ii) In the Atlantic EEZ and lawfully harvested in Bahamian waters (as per §622.276(b))—2. For the purposes of this paragraph, for determining how many wahoo are on board a vessel in fillet form when harvested lawfully in Bahamian waters, two fillets of wahoo, regardless of the length of each fillet, is equivalent to one wahoo. The skin must remain intact on the entire fillet of any wahoo carcass.

(b) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 80 FR 80689, Dec. 28, 2015]

§622.278   Commercial trip limits.

Commercial trip limits are limits on the amount of Atlantic dolphin and wahoo that may be possessed on board or landed, purchased, or sold from a vessel per day. A person who fishes in the EEZ may not combine a trip limit specified in this section with any trip or possession limit applicable to state waters. A species subject to a trip limit specified in this section taken in the EEZ may not be transferred at sea, regardless of where such transfer takes place, and such species may not be transferred in the EEZ. Commercial trip limits apply as follows (all weights are round or eviscerated weights unless specified otherwise):

(a) Trip-limited permits—(1) Atlantic wahoo. (i) The trip limit for wahoo in or from the Atlantic EEZ is 500 lb (227 kg). This trip limit applies to a vessel that has a Federal commercial permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, provided that the vessel is not operating as a charter vessel or headboat.

(ii) See §622.280(b)(1) for the limitations regarding wahoo after the ACL is reached.

(2) The trip limit for a vessel that does not have a Federal commercial vessel permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo but has a Federal commercial vessel permit in any other fishery is 200 lb (91 kg) of dolphin and wahoo, combined, provided that all fishing on and landings from that trip are north of 39° N. lat. (A charter vessel/headboat permit is not a commercial vessel permit.)

(3) Atlantic dolphin. (i) Once 75 percent of the ACL specified in §622.280(a)(1)(i) is reached, the trip limit is 4,000 lb (1,814 kg), round weight. When the conditions in this paragraph (a)(3)(i) have been met, the Assistant Administrator will implement this trip limit by filing a notification with the Office of the Federal Register. This trip limit applies to a vessel that has a Federal commercial permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, provided that the vessel is not operating as a charter vessel or headboat.

(ii) See §622.280(a)(1) for the limitations regarding dolphin after the ACL is reached.

(b) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 81 FR 96930, Dec. 30, 2016]

§622.279   Restrictions on sale/purchase.

(a) Dolphin or wahoo harvested in or from the Atlantic EEZ or adjoining state waters by a vessel that has a valid commercial vessel permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, as required under §622.270(a)(1), or by a vessel authorized a 200-lb (91-kg) trip limit for dolphin or wahoo, as specified in §622.278(a)(2), may be sold or transferred only to a dealer who has a valid Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit, as required under §622.270(d)(1).

(b) In addition to the provisions of paragraph (a)(1) of this section, a person may not sell dolphin or wahoo possessed under the recreational bag limit harvested in the Atlantic EEZ or adjoining state waters by a vessel while it is operating as a charter vessel or headboat. A dolphin or wahoo harvested or possessed by a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat with a Federal charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo may not be purchased or sold if harvested in or from the Atlantic EEZ or adjoining state waters.

(c) Dolphin or wahoo harvested in or from the Atlantic EEZ may be first received only by a dealer who has a valid Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit, as required under §622.270(d)(1), and only from a vessel authorized to sell dolphin and wahoo under paragraph (a)(1) of this section.

(d) Dolphin or wahoo possessed pursuant to the bag and possession limits specified in §622.277(a)(1)(ii) and (a)(2)(ii) may not be sold or purchased.

[79 FR 19496, Apr. 9, 2014, as amended at 80 FR 80689, Dec. 28, 2015]

§622.280   Annual catch limits (ACLs) and accountability measures (AMs).

(a) Atlantic dolphin—(1) Commercial sector. (i) If commercial landings for Atlantic dolphin, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the commercial ACL of 1,534,485 lb (696,031 kg), round weight, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for the remainder of the fishing year. On and after the effective date of such a notification, all sale or purchase of Atlantic dolphin is prohibited and harvest or possession of Atlantic dolphin in or from the Atlantic EEZ is limited to the bag and possession limits. These bag and possession limits apply in the Atlantic on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e., in state or Federal waters.

(ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section, if the combined Atlantic dolphin commercial and recreational landings exceed the combined commercial and recreational ACLs specified in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i) of this section, and Atlantic dolphin are overfished, based on the most recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the commercial ACL for that following year by the amount of the commercial overage in the prior fishing year.

(2) Recreational sector. (i) If recreational landings for Atlantic dolphin, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the recreational ACL of 13,810,361 lb (6,264,274 kg), round weight, then during the following fishing year recreational landings will be monitored for a persistence in increased landings.

(ii) If the combined Atlantic dolphin commercial and recreational landings exceed the combined commercial and recreational ACLs specified in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (a)(2)(i) of this section, and Atlantic dolphin are overfished, based on the most recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the recreational ACL for that following year by the amount of the recreational overage in the prior fishing year, and reduce the recreational fishing season by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the reduced ACL. However, the recreational ACL and the length of the recreational fishing season will not be reduced during the following fishing year if the RA determines, using the best scientific information available, that a reduced recreational ACL and a reduction in the length of the following fishing season is unnecessary.

(b) Atlantic wahoo—(1) Commercial sector. (i) If commercial landings for Atlantic wahoo, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the commercial ACL of 70,542 lb (31,997 kg), round weight, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to close the commercial sector for the remainder of the fishing year. On and after the effective date of such a notification, all sale or purchase of Atlantic wahoo is prohibited and harvest or possession of Atlantic wahoo in or from the Atlantic EEZ is limited to the bag and possession limits. These bag and possession limits apply in the Atlantic on board a vessel for which a valid Federal commercial or charter vessel/headboat permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo has been issued, without regard to where such species were harvested, i.e., in state or Federal waters.

(ii) In addition to the measures specified in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, if the combined Atlantic wahoo commercial and recreational landings exceed the combined commercial and recreational ACLs specified in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (b)(2)(i) of this section, and Atlantic wahoo are overfished, based on the most recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the commercial ACL for that following year by the amount of the commercial overage in the prior fishing year.

(2) Recreational sector. (i) If recreational landings for Atlantic wahoo, as estimated by the SRD, exceed the recreational ACL of 1,724,418 lb (782,183 kg), round weight, then during the following fishing year, recreational landings will be monitored for a persistence in increased landings.

(ii) If the combined Atlantic wahoo commercial and recreational landings exceed the combined commercial and recreational ACLs specified in paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (b)(2)(i) of this section, and Atlantic wahoo are overfished, based on the most recent Status of U.S. Fisheries Report to Congress, the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register, at or near the beginning of the following fishing year, to reduce the recreational ACL for that following year by the amount necessary to ensure recreational landings do not exceed the reduced ACL. However, the recreational ACL and the length of the recreational fishing season will not be reduced during the following year if the RA determines, using the best scientific information available, that a reduced recreational ACL and a reduction in the length of the following fishing season is unnecessary.

[79 FR 32879, June 9, 2014, as amended at 81 FR 3746, Jan. 22, 2016]

§622.281   Adjustment of management measures.

In accordance with the framework procedures of the FMP for the Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery off the Atlantic States, the RA may establish or modify the following items specified in paragraph (a) of this section for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo.

(a) Atlantic dolphin and wahoo. Biomass levels, age-structured analyses, MSY, OY, OFL, TAC, ABC, ABC Control Rule, ACLs, ACTs, AMs, trip limits, minimum sizes, gear regulations and restrictions, permit requirements, seasonal or area closures, sub-zones and their management measures, overfishing definitions and other status determination criteria, time frame for recovery of Atlantic dolphin or wahoo if overfished, fishing year (adjustment not to exceed 2 months), authority for the RA to close a fishery when a quota is reached or is projected to be reached or reopen a fishery when additional quota becomes available, definitions of essential fish habitat, and essential fish habitat HAPCs or Coral HAPCs.

(b) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 79 FR 32880, June 9, 2014]

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