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Title 50Chapter VIPart 697 → Subpart B


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 697—ATLANTIC COASTAL FISHERIES COOPERATIVE MANAGEMENT


Subpart B—Management Measures


Contents
§697.17   Non-trap harvest restrictions.
§697.18   Lobster management areas.
§697.19   Trap limits and trap tag requirements for vessels fishing with lobster traps.
§697.20   Size, harvesting and landing requirements.
§697.21   Gear identification and marking, escape vent, maximum trap size, and ghost panel requirements.
§697.22   Exempted fishing.
§697.23   Restricted gear areas.
§697.24   Exempted waters for Maine State American lobster permits.
§697.25   Adjustment to management measures.
§697.26   EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5 Trap Waiver.
§697.27   Trap transferability.
§697.28   Atlantic migratory group cobia.
Table 1 to Part 697—Area 3 Trap Reduction Schedule

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§697.17   Non-trap harvest restrictions.

(a) Non-trap lobster landing limits. In addition to the prohibitions set forth in §600.725 of this chapter, it is unlawful for a vessel with any non-trap gear on board capable of catching lobsters, or, that fishes for, takes, catches, or harvests lobster on a fishing trip in or from the EEZ by a method other than traps, to possess, retain on board, or land, in excess of 100 lobsters (or parts thereof), for each lobster day-at-sea or part of a lobster day-at-sea, up to a maximum of 500 lobsters (or parts thereof) for any one trip, unless otherwise restricted by §648.80(a)(3)(i), (a)(4)(i)(A), (a)(8)(i), (a)(9)(i)(D), (a)(12)(i)(A), (a)(13)(i)(A), or (b)(3)(ii) of this chapter or §697.7(c)(2)(i)(C).

(b) Trap prohibition for non-trap lobster harvesters. All persons that fish for, take, catch, or harvest lobsters on a fishing trip in or from the EEZ are prohibited from transferring or attempting to transfer American lobster from one vessel to another vessel.

(c) Trap prohibition for non-trap lobster vessels. Any vessel on a fishing trip in the EEZ that fishes for, takes, catches, or harvests lobster by a method other than traps may not possess on board, deploy, fish with, or haul back traps.

(d) Non-trap Jonah crab landing limits. In addition to the prohibitions set forth in §600.725 of this chapter, it is unlawful for a vessel with any non-trap gear on board that fishes for, takes, catches, or harvests Jonah crabs on a fishing trip in or from the EEZ by a method other than traps, to possess, retain on board, or land, in excess of up to 1,000 Jonah crabs (or parts thereof), for each trip, unless otherwise restricted by §697.7.

(e) Restrictions on fishing for, possessing, or landing fish other than Jonah crabs. Vessels are prohibited from possessing or landing Jonah crabs in excess of 50 percent, by weight, of all other species on board.

(f) Trap prohibition for non-trap Jonah crab harvesters. All persons that fish for, take, catch, or harvest Jonah crabs on a fishing trip in or from the EEZ are prohibited from transferring or attempting to transfer Jonah crabs from one vessel to another vessel.

[84 FR 61581, Nov. 13, 2019]

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§697.18   Lobster management areas.

The following lobster management areas are established for purposes of implementing the management measures specified in this part. (A copy of a chart showing the American lobster EEZ management areas is available upon request to the Office of the Regional Administrator, NMFS, 1 Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930.)

(a) EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1. EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 is defined by the area, including state and Federal waters that are nearshore in the Gulf of Maine, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated, and the coastline of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts to the northernmost point of Cape Cod:

PointLatitudeLongitude
A43°58 N.67°22 W.
B43°41 N.68°00 N.
C43°12 N.69°00 W.
D42°49 N.69°40 W.
E42°15.5 N.70°40 W.
F42°10 N.69°56 W.
G42°05.5 N.70°14 W.
G142°04.25 N.70°17.22 W.
G242°02.84 N.70°16.1 W.
G342°03.35 N.70°14.2 W.

(1) From point “G3” along the coastline of Massachusetts, including the southwestern end of the Cape Cod Canal, continuing along the coastlines of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and the seaward EEZ boundary back to Point A.

(2) [Reserved]

(b) EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2. EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2 is defined by the area, including state and Federal waters that are nearshore in Southern New England, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated:

PointLatitudeLongitude
H41°40 N.70°05 W.
I41°15 N.70°05 N.
J41°21.5 N.69°16.5 W.
K41°10 N.69°06.5 W.
L40°55 N.68°54 W.
M40°27.5 N.71°14 W.
N40°45.5 N.71°34 W.
O41°07 N.71°43 W.
P41°06.5 N.71°47 W.
Q41°11.5 N.71°47.25 W.
R41°18.5 N.71°54.5 W

(1) From point “R” along the maritime boundary between Connecticut and Rhode Island to the coastal Connecticut/Rhode Island boundary and then back to point “H” along the Rhode Island and Massachusetts coast, including the northeastern end of the Cape Cod Canal.

(2) [Reserved]

(c) Area 2/3 Overlap. The Area 2/3 Overlap is defined by the area, comprised entirely of Federal waters, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated:

PointLatitudeLongitude
K41°10 N.69°06.5 W.
L40°55 N.68°54 W.
M40°27.5 N.72°14 W.
N40°45.5 N.71°34 W.

(d) EEZ Offshore Management Area 3. EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 is defined by the area, comprised entirely of Federal waters, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated:

PointLatitudeLongitude
A43°58 N.67°22 W.
B43°41 N.68°00 W.
C43°12 N.69°00 W.
D42°49 N.69°40 W.
E42°15.5 N.69°40 W.
F42°10 N.69°56 W.
K41°10 N.69°06.5 W.
N40°45.5 N.71°34 W.
M40°27.5 N.72°14 W.
U40°12.5 N.72°48.5 W.
V39°50 N.73°01 W.
X38°39.5 N.73°40 W.
Y38°12 N.73°55 W.
Z37°12 N.74°44 W.
ZA35°34 N.74°51 W.
ZB35°14.5 N.75°31 W.
ZC35°14.5 N.71°24 W.
From point “ZC” along the seaward EEZ boundary to point “A”.

(e) EEZ Nearshore Management Area 4. EEZ Nearshore Management Area 4 is defined by the area, including state and Federal waters that are near-shore in the northern Mid-Atlantic, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated:

PointLatitudeLongitude
M40°27.5 N.72°14 W.
N40°45.5 N.71°34 W.
O41°07 N.71°43 W.
P41°06.5 N.71°47 W.
S40°58 N.72°00 W.
T41°00.5 N.72°00 W.
From Point “T”, along the New York/New Jersey coast to Point “W”
W39°50 N.74°09 W.
V39°50 N.73°01 W.
U40°12.5 N.72°48.5 W.
From Point “U” back to Point “M”.

(f) EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5. EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5 is defined by the area, including state and Federal waters that are near-shore in the southern Mid-Atlantic, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated:

PointLatitudeLongitude
W39°50 N.74°09 W.
V139°50 N.72°55 W.
X138°38.2 N.73°33.8 W.
Y138°10.4 N.73°49 W.
Z137°10.6 N.74°38 W.
ZA135°31.9 N.74°45.5 W.
ZB135°14.5 N.75°19.3 W.
ZB35°14.5 N.75°31 W.

From Point “ZB”, along the coasts of North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey back to Point “W”.

(g) Nearshore Management Area 6. The Nearshore Management Area 6 is defined by the area, including New York and Connecticut state waters, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated:

PointLatitudeLongitude
T41°00.5 N.72°00 W.
S40°58 N.72°00 W.
From Point “S”, boundary follows the 3 mile limit of New York as it curves around Montauk Point to Point “P”
P41°06.5 N.71°47 W.
Q41°1130 N.71°4715 W.
R41°1830 N.71°530 W.
From point “R”, along the maritime boundary between Connecticut and Rhode Island to the coast; then west along the coast of Connecticut to the western entrance of Long Island Sound; then east along the New York coast of Long Island Sound and back to Point “T”.

(h) EEZ Nearshore Outer Cape Lobster Management Area. EEZ Nearshore Outer Cape Lobster Management Area is defined by the area, including state and Federal waters off Cape Cod, bounded by straight lines connecting the following points, in the order stated:

PointLatitudeLongitude
F42°10 N.69°56 W.
G42°05.5 N.70°14 W.
G142°04.25 N.70°17.22 W.
G242°02.84 N.70°16.1 W.
G441°52. N.70°07.49 W.
G541°54.46 N.70°03.99 W.

(1) From Point “G5” along the outer Cape Cod coast to Point “H”:

PointLatitudeLongitude
H41°40 N.70°05 W.
H141°18 N.70°05 W.

(2) From Point “H1” along the eastern coast of Nantucket Island to Point “I”:

PointLatitudeLongitude
I41°15 N.70°00 W.
J41°21.5 N.69°16 W.

(3) From Point “J” back to Point “F”.

(i) NMFS may, consistent with §697.25, implement management measures necessary for each management area, in order to end overfishing and rebuild stocks of American lobster.

[64 FR 68248, Dec. 6, 1999, as amended at 68 FR 14930, Mar. 27, 2003; 71 FR 13037, Mar. 14, 2006]

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§697.19   Trap limits and trap tag requirements for vessels fishing with lobster traps.

(a) Area 1 trap limits. The Area 1 trap limit is 800 traps. Federally permitted lobster fishing vessels shall not fish with, deploy in, possess in, or haul back more than 800 lobster traps in Area 1.

(b) Area 2 trap limits. The Area 2 trap limit is 800 traps. Federally permitted lobster fishing vessels may only fish with traps that have been previously qualified and allocated into Area 2 by the Regional Administrator, as part of the Federal Area 2 Limited Access Program. This allocation may be modified by trap cuts and/or trap transfers, but in no case shall the allocation exceed the trap limit.

(c) Area 3 trap limits. The Area 3 trap limit is 1,945 traps. Federally permitted lobster fishing vessels may only fish with traps that have been previously qualified and allocated into Area 3 by the Regional Administrator, as part of the Federal Area 3 Limited Access Program. This allocation may be modified by trap cuts and/or trap transfers, but in no case shall the allocation exceed the trap limit.

(d) Area 4 trap limits. The Area 4 trap limit is 1,440 traps. Federally permitted lobster fishing vessels may only fish with traps that have been previously qualified and allocated into Area 4 by the Regional Administrator, as part of the Federal Area 4 Limited Access Program. This allocation may be modified by trap cuts and/or trap transfers, but in no case shall the allocation exceed the trap limit.

(e) Area 5 trap limits. The Area 5 trap limit is 1,440 traps, unless the vessel is operating under an Area 5 Trap Waiver permit issued under §697.26. Federally permitted lobster fishing vessels may only fish with traps that have been previously qualified and allocated into Area 5 by the Regional Administrator, as part of the Federal Area 5 Limited Access Program. This allocation may be modified by trap cuts and/or trap transfers, but in no case shall the allocation exceed the trap limit.

(f) Outer Cape Area. The Outer Cape Area trap limit is 800 traps. Federally permitted lobster fishing vessels may only fish with traps that have been previously qualified and allocated into the Outer Cape Area by the Regional Administrator, as part of the Federal Outer Cape Cod Area Limited Access Program. This allocation may be modified by trap cuts and/or trap transfers, but in no case shall the allocation exceed the trap limit.

(g) Trap cuts. Trap allocations shall be reduced in the following Areas as set forth below:

(1) Area 2 allocations shall be reduced according to the following schedule:

Effective year of
trap reduction
Area 2
reductions
(percent)
April 30, 2016, 11:59 p.m.25
April 30, 2017, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2019, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2020, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2021, 11:59 p.m.5

(2) Area 3 allocations shall be reduced according to the following schedule:

Effective year of
trap reduction
Area 3
reductions
(percent)
April 30, 2016, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2017, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2018, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2019, 11:59 p.m.5
April 30, 2020, 11:59 p.m.5

(h) Lobster trap limits for vessels fishing or authorized to fish in more than one EEZ management area. A vessel owner who elects to fish in more than one EEZ Management Area is restricted to the lowest trap cap and/or trap allocation of all the areas designated on the permit and may not fish with, deploy in, possess in, or haul back from any of those elected management areas more lobster traps than the lowest number of lobster traps allocated to that vessel for any one elected management area.

(i) Conservation equivalent trap limits in New Hampshire state waters. Notwithstanding any other provision, any vessel with a Federal lobster permit and a New Hampshire Full Commercial Lobster license may fish up to a maximum of 1,200 lobster traps in New Hampshire state waters, to the extent authorized by New Hampshire lobster fishery regulations. However, such vessel may not fish, possess, deploy, or haul back more than 800 lobster traps in the Federal waters of EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1, and may not fish more than a combined total of 1,200 lobster traps in the Federal and New Hampshire state waters portions of EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1.

(j) Trap Tag Requirements for vessels fishing with lobster traps. All lobster traps in Federal waters must have a valid Federal lobster trap tag permanently attached to the trap bridge or central cross-member. Federal lobster permit holders are eligible to receive Area 1 trap tags only if the Regional Administrator has qualified the permit to fish in Area 1 as part of the Federal Area 1 Limited Entry Program. Federal lobster permit holders are eligible to receive Area 2, 3, 4, 5, and/or Outer Cape Area trap tags only if the Regional Administrator has allocated those traps as part of the Federal Area 2, 3, 4, 5, and/or Outer Cape Area Limited Access Program. Any vessel with a Federal lobster permit may not possess, deploy, or haul back lobster traps in any portion of any lobster management area that do not have a valid, federally recognized trap tag permanently attached to the trap bridge or central cross-member.

(k) Maximum lobster trap tags authorized for direct purchase. In any fishing year, the maximum number of tags authorized for direct purchase by each permit holder is the applicable trap limit specified in paragraphs (a) through (f) of this section plus an additional 10 percent to cover trap loss.

(l) EEZ Management Area 5 trap waiver exemption. Any vessel issued an Area 5 Trap Waiver permit under §697.4(p) is exempt from the provisions of this section.

[79 FR 19025, Apr. 7, 2014, as amended at 80 FR 2035, Jan. 15, 2015]

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§697.20   Size, harvesting and landing requirements.

(a) Minimum lobster carapace length. (1) The minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 or the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 6 is 314 inches (8.26 cm).

(2) The minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters landed, harvested, or possessed by vessels issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in the Nearshore Management Area 1 or the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 6 is 3 314 inches (8.26 cm).

(3) The minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2, 4, 5 and the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area is 338 inches (8.57 cm).

(4) The minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters landed, harvested or possessed by vessels issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2, 4, 5 and the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area is 338 inches (8.57 cm).

(5) Through April 30, 2015, the minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters harvested in or from the Offshore Management Area 3 is 312 inches (8.89 cm).

(6) Through April 30, 2015, the minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters landed, harvested or possessed by vessels issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 is 312 inches (8.89 cm).

(7) Effective May 1, 2015, the minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters harvested in or from the Offshore Management Area 3 is 31732 inches (8.97 cm).

(8) Effective May 1, 2015, the minimum lobster carapace length for all American lobsters landed, harvested, or possessed by vessels issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 is 31732 inches (8.97 cm).

(9) No person may ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, any whole live American lobster that is smaller than the minimum size specified in paragraph (a) of this section.

(b) Maximum lobster carapace length. (1) The maximum lobster carapace length for all American lobster harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 is 5 inches (12.7 cm).

(2) The maximum lobster carapace length for all American lobster landed, harvested, or possessed by vessels issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 is 5 inches (12.7 cm).

(3) The maximum lobster carapace length for all American lobster harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Areas 2, 4, 5, and 6 is 514 inches (13.34 cm).

(4) The maximum lobster carapace length for all American lobster landed, harvested, or possessed by vessels issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in one or more of EEZ Nearshore Management Areas 2, 4, 5, and 6 is 514 inches (13.34 cm).

(5) The maximum lobster carapace length for all American lobster harvested in or from EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 or the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area is 634 inches (17.15 cm).

(6) The maximum lobster carapace length for all American lobster landed, harvested, or possessed by vessels issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 or the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area is 634 inches (17.15 cm).

(c) Mutilation. (1) Subject to the rebuttable presumption in §697.7(c)(3), no person may remove meat or any body appendage from any American lobster harvested in or from the EEZ before, or at the time of landing, or have in possession any American lobster part other than whole lobsters, up to the time when a dealer first receives or possesses American lobster.

(2) Subject to the rebuttable presumption in §697.7(c)(3), no owner, operator or person aboard a vessel issued a Federal American lobster permit may remove meat or any body appendage from any American lobster before or at the time of landing, or have in possession any American lobster part other than whole lobsters, up to the time when a dealer first receives or possesses American lobster.

(d) Berried female lobsters. (1) Any berried female lobster harvested in or from the EEZ must be returned to the sea immediately. If any berried female lobster is harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Areas 1, 2, 4, or 5, or in or from the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3, north of42° 30 North latitude, it must be v-notched before being returned to sea immediately.

(2) Any berried female lobster harvested or possessed by a vessel issued a Federal limited access lobster permit must be returned to the sea immediately. If any berried female lobster is harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Areas 1, 2, 4, or 5, or in or from the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3, north of 42° 30 North latitude, it must be v-notched before being returned to sea immediately.

(3) No vessel, or owner, operator or person aboard a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit may possess any berried female lobster.

(4) No person may possess, ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, any berried female lobster as specified in paragraph (d) of this section.

(e) Removal of eggs. (1) No person may remove, including, but not limited to, the forcible removal and removal by chemicals or other substances or liquids, extruded eggs attached to the abdominal appendages from any female American lobster.

(2) No owner, operator or person aboard a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit may remove, including but not limited to, the forcible removal, and removal by chemicals or other substances or liquids, extruded eggs attached to the abdominal appendages from any female American lobster.

(3) No person may possess, ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, any whole live American lobster that bears evidence of the removal of extruded eggs from its abdominal appendages as specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

(f) Spearing. (1) No person may spear any American lobster in the EEZ.

(2) No person on a vessel issued a Federal lobster license may spear a lobster.

(3) No person may harvest or possess any American lobster which has been speared in the EEZ.

(4) No person on a vessel issued a Federal lobster license may harvest or possess any American lobster which has been speared.

(5) No person may possess, ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, any American lobster which has been speared.

(g) V-notched females. (1) No person may possess any female lobster possessing a zero tolerance v-shaped notch harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1.

(2) No vessel, owner, or operator issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 may land, harvest, or possess any female lobster possessing a zero tolerance v-shaped notch.

(3) No person may possess any female lobster possessing a standard v-shaped notch harvested in or from the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2, 4, 5, 6, Outer Cape Area, or the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3.

(4) No vessel, owner, or operator issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2, 4, 5, 6, Outer Cape Area, or the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 may land, harvest or possess any female lobster possessing a standard v-shaped notch.

(h) Jonah crabs—(1) Minimum Jonah crab carapace width. The minimum Jonah crab carapace width for all Jonah crabs harvested in or from the EEZ 434 inches (12.065 inches).

(2) Berried female Jonah crabs. (i) Any berried female Jonah crab harvested in or from the EEZ must be returned to the sea immediately.

(ii) No vessel, or owner, operator or person aboard a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit may possess any berried female Jonah crab.

(iii) No person may possess, ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, any berried female Jonah crab as specified in paragraph (d) of this section.

(3) Removal of eggs. (i) No person may remove, including, but not limited to, the forcible removal and removal by chemicals or other substances or liquids, extruded eggs attached to the abdominal appendages from any female Jonah crab.

(ii) No owner, operator or person aboard a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit may remove, including but not limited to, the forcible removal, and removal by chemicals or other substances or liquids, extruded eggs attached to the abdominal appendages from any female Jonah crab.

(iii) No person may possess, ship, transport, offer for sale, sell, or purchase, in interstate or foreign commerce, any whole live Jonah crab that bears evidence of the removal of extruded eggs from its abdominal appendages as specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

[71 FR 13038, Mar. 14, 2006, as amended at 72 FR 56942, Oct. 5, 2007; 74 FR 37551, July 29, 2009; 80 FR 2036, Jan. 15, 2015; 84 FR 61581, Nov. 13, 2019]

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§697.21   Gear identification and marking, escape vent, maximum trap size, and ghost panel requirements.

(a) Gear identification and marking. All lobster gear deployed or possessed in the EEZ, or, deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit, and not permanently attached to the vessel must be legibly and indelibly marked with the following:

(1) Identification. Effective through April 30, 2000, all lobster gear must be marked with the following code of identification:

(i) A number assigned by the Regional Administrator; or

(ii) Whatever positive identification marking is required by the vessel's home-port state.

(2) Identification and trap tagging. Beginning May 1, 2000, lobster gear must be marked with a trap tag (as specified in §697.19) with the following code of identification:

(i) A number assigned by the Regional Administrator; or

(ii) Whatever positive identification marking is required by the vessel's home-port state.

(b) Deployment and gear configuration. In the areas of the EEZ described in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, lobster trap trawls are to be displayed and configured as follows:

(1) Lobster trap trawls of three or fewer traps deployed in the EEZ must be attached to and marked with a single buoy.

(2) Lobster trap trawls consisting of more than three traps must have a radar reflector and a single flag or pennant on the westernmost end (marking the half compass circle from magnetic south through west, to and including north), while the easternmost end (meaning the half compass circle from magnetic north through east, to and including south) of an American lobster trap trawl must be configured with a radar reflector only. Standard tetrahedral corner radar reflectors of at least 8 inches (20.32 cm) (both in height and width, and made from metal) must be employed. (A copy of a diagram showing a standard tetrahedral corner radar reflector is available upon request to the Office of the Regional Administrator.)

(3) No American lobster trap trawl shall exceed 1.5 nautical miles (2.78 km) in length, as measured from radar reflector to radar reflector.

(4) Gear deployment and configuration requirements specified in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this section apply in the following areas:

(i) Gulf of Maine gear area. Gulf of Maine gear area is defined as all waters of the EEZ north of 42°20 N. lat. seaward of a line drawn 12 nautical miles (22.2 km) from the baseline of the territorial sea;

(ii) Georges Bank gear area. Georges Bank gear area is defined as all waters of the EEZ south of 42°20 N. lat. and east of 70°00 W. long. or the outer boundary of the territorial sea, whichever lies farther east;

(iii) Southern New England gear area. Southern New England gear area is defined as all waters of the EEZ west of 70°00 W. long., east of 71°30 W. long. at a depth greater than 25 fathoms (45.72 m); and

(iv) Mid-Atlantic gear area. Mid-Atlantic gear area is defined as all waters of the EEZ, west of 71°30 W. long. and north of 36°33 N. lat. at a depth greater than 40 fathoms (73.15 m).

(c) Escape vents. (1) All American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 or the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 6 or, deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 or the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 6, must include either of the following escape vents in the parlor section of the trap, located in such a manner that it will not be blocked or obstructed by any portion of the trap, associated gear, or the sea floor in normal use:

(i) A rectangular portal with an unobstructed opening not less than 11516 inches (4.92 cm) by 534 inches (14.61 cm);

(ii) Two circular portals with unobstructed openings not less than 2716 inches (6.19 cm) in diameter.

(2) All American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2, 4, 5, and the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area, or, deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in the EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2, 4, 5, and the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area, must include either of the following escape vents in the parlor section of the trap, located in such a manner that it will not be blocked or obstructed by any portion of the trap, associated gear, or the sea floor in normal use:

(i) A rectangular portal with an unobstructed opening not less than 2 inches (5.08 cm) 534 inches (14.61 cm);

(ii) Two circular portals with unobstructed openings not less than 258 inches (6.67 cm) in diameter.

(3) Effective through June 30, 2010, all American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3, or deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3, must include either of the following escape vents in the parlor section of the trap, located in such a manner that it will not be blocked or obstructed by any portion of the trap, associated gear, or the sea floor in normal use:

(i) A rectangular portal with an unobstructed opening not less than 2 inches (5.08 cm) 534 inches (14.61 cm);

(ii) Two circular portals with unobstructed openings not less than 258 inches (6.67 cm) in diameter.

(4) Effective July 1, 2010, all American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3, or deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit fishing in or electing to fish in the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3, must include either of the following escape vents in the parlor section of the trap, located in such a manner that it will not be blocked or obstructed by any portion of the trap, associated gear, or the sea floor in normal use:

(i) A rectangular portal with an unobstructed opening not less than 2116 inches (5.24 cm) × 534 inches (14.61 cm);

(ii) Two circular portals with unobstructed openings not less than 21116 inches (6.82 cm) in diameter.

(5) The Regional Administrator may, at the request of, or after consultation with, the Commission, approve and specify, through a technical amendment of this final rule, any other type of acceptable escape vent that the Regional Administrator finds to be consistent with paragraph (c) of this section.

(d) Ghost panel. (1) Lobster traps not constructed entirely of wood (excluding heading or parlor twine and the escape vent) must contain a ghost panel located in the outer parlor(s) of the trap and not in the bottom of the trap constructed of, or fastened to the trap with, one of the following untreated materials: Wood lath, cotton, hemp, sisal or jute twine not greater than 316 inch (0.48 cm) in diameter, or non-stainless, uncoated ferrous metal not greater than 332 inch (0.24 cm) in diameter and covering a rectangular opening not less than 334 inches (9.53 cm) by 334 inches (9.53 cm). The door of the trap may serve as the ghost panel, if fastened with one of these materials.

(2) The Regional Administrator may, at the request of, or after consultation with, the Commission, approve and specify, through a technical amendment of this rule, any other design, mechanism, material, or other parameter that serves to create an escape portal not less than 334 inches (9.53 cm) by 334 inches (9.53 cm).

(e) Maximum trap size—(1) EEZ Nearshore Management Area maximum trap size. (i) Beginning January 5, 2000, American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ, or, deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit as specified under §697.4, if deployed or possessed by a person or vessel permitted to fish in any EEZ Nearshore Management Area (Area 1, Outer Cape, Area 2, Area 4, Area 5, or Area 6) and the Area 2/3 Overlap, or only in the Area 2/3 Overlap shall not exceed 25,245 cubic inches (413,690 cubic centimeters) in volume, as measured on the outside portion of the trap, exclusive of the runners;

(ii) Beginning May 1, 2003, American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ, or, deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit as specified under §697.4, if deployed or possessed by a person or vessel permitted to fish in any EEZ Nearshore Management Area (Area 1, Outer Cape, Area 2, Area 4, Area 5, or Area 6) and the Area 2/3 Overlap, or only in the Area 2/3 Overlap, shall not exceed 22,950 cubic inches (376,081 cubic centimeters) in volume as measured on the outside portion of the trap, exclusive of the runners.

(2) EEZ Offshore Management Area maximum trap size. (i) Beginning January 5, 2000, American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ, or, deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit as specified under §697.4, if deployed or possessed by a person or vessel permitted to fish only in EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 or only in EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 and the Area 2/3 Overlap, shall not exceed 33,110 cubic inches (542,573 cubic centimeters) in volume as measured on the outside portion of the trap, exclusive of the runners;

(ii) Beginning May 1, 2003, American lobster traps deployed or possessed in the EEZ, or, deployed or possessed by a person on or from a vessel issued a Federal limited access American lobster permit as specified under §697.4, if deployed or possessed by a person or vessel permitted to fish only in EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 or only in EEZ Offshore Management Area 3 and the Area 2/3 Overlap, shall not exceed 30,100 cubic inches (493,249 cubic centimeters) in volume as measured on the outside portion of the trap, exclusive of the runners.

(f) Enforcement action. Unidentified, unmarked, unvented, improperly vented American lobster traps, or, beginning May 1, 2000, any untagged American lobster traps, or any lobster traps subject to the requirements and specifications of §697.21, which fail to meet such requirements and specifications may be seized and disposed of in accordance with the provisions of 15 CFR part 904.

(g) Exemption. Any vessel issued an Area 5 Trap Waiver permit under §697.4(p) is exempt from the provisions of this section.

[64 FR 68248, Dec. 6, 1999, as amended at 66 FR 14502, Mar. 13, 2001; 71 FR 13039, Mar. 14, 2006; 72 FR 56942, Oct. 5, 2007]

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§697.22   Exempted fishing.

The Regional Administrator or Director may exempt any person or vessel from the requirements of this part for the conduct of exempted fishing beneficial to the management of the American lobster, weakfish, Atlantic red drum, Atlantic striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, or horseshoe crab resource or fishery, pursuant to the provisions of §600.745 of this chapter.

(a) The Regional Administrator or Director may not grant such exemption unless it is determined that the purpose, design, and administration of the exemption is consistent with the objectives of any applicable stock rebuilding program, the provisions of the Atlantic Coastal Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, and that granting the exemption will not:

(1) Have a detrimental effect on the American lobster, weakfish, Atlantic red drum, Atlantic striped bass, Atlantic sturgeon, or horseshoe crab resource or fishery; or

(2) Create significant enforcement problems.

(b) Each vessel participating in any exempted fishing activity is subject to all provisions of this part, except those explicitly relating to the purpose and nature of the exemption. The exemption will be specified in a letter issued by the Regional Administrator or Director to each vessel participating in the exempted activity. This letter must be carried aboard the vessel seeking the benefit of such exemption. Exempted fishing activity shall be authorized pursuant to and consistent with §600.745 of this chapter.

(c) The Regional Administrator, or the Director, as appropriate, may authorize a substitute vessel to haul ashore the lobster trap gear of an inoperable or mechanically-impaired federally permitted lobster vessel without having to engage in the exempted fishing process as specified in this section.

[68 FR 56791, Oct. 2, 2003, as amended at 71 FR 13039, Mar. 14, 2006; 73 FR 58061, Oct. 6, 2008]

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§697.23   Restricted gear areas.

(a) Resolution of lobster gear conflicts with fisheries managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Act shall be done under provisions of §648.55 of this chapter.

(b) Restricted Gear Area I—(1) Duration—(i) Mobile Gear. From October 1 through June 15 of each fishing year, no fishing vessel with mobile gear or person on a fishing vessel with mobile gear may fish, or be, in Restricted Gear Area I, as defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, unless transiting only, provided that all mobile gear is on board the vessel while inside the area.

(ii) Lobster trap gear. From June 16 through September 30 of each fishing year, no fishing vessel with lobster trap gear or person on a fishing vessel with lobster trap gear may fish, and no lobster trap gear may be deployed or remain, in Restricted Gear Area I as defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(2) Definition of Restricted Gear Area I. Restricted Gear Area I is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

Inshore Boundary

Point toLatitudeLongitude
12040°06.4 N.68°35.8 W.
  6940°07.9 N.68°36.0 W.
  7040°07.2 N.68°38.4 W.
  7140°06.9 N.68°46.5 W.
  7240°08.7 N.68°49.6 W.
  7340°08.1 N.68°51.0 W.
  7440°05.7 N.68°52.4 W.
  7540°03.6 N.68°57.2 W.
  7640°03.65 N.69°00.0 W.
  7740°04.35 N.69°00.5 W.
  7840°05.2 N.69°00.5 W.
  7940°05.3 N.69°01.1 W.
  8040°08.9 N.69°01.75 W.
  8140°11.0 N.69°03.8 W.
  8240°11.6 N.69°05.4 W.
  8340°10.25 N.69°04.4 W.
  8440°09.75 N.69°04.15 W.
  8540°08.45 N.69°03.6 W.
  8640°05.65 N.69°03.55 W.
  8740°04.1 N.69°03.9 W.
  8840°02.65 N.69°05.6 W.
  8940°02.00 N.69°08.35 W.
  9040°02.65 N.69°11.15 W.
  9140°00.05 N.69°14.6 W.
  9239°57.8 N.69°20.35 W.
  9339°56.65 N.69°24.4 W.
  9439°56.1 N.69°26.35 W.
  9539°56.55 N.69°34.1 W.
  9639°57.85 N.69°35.5 W.
  9740°00.65 N.69°36.5 W.
  9840°00.9 N.69°37.3 W.
  9939°59.15 N.69°37.3 W.
10039°58.8 N.69°38.45 W.
10239°56.2 N.69°40.2 W.
10339°55.75 N.69°41.4 W.
10439°56.7 N.69°53.6 W.
10539°57.55 N.69°54.05 W.
10639°57.4 N.69°55.9 W.
10739°56.9 N.69°57.45 W.
10839°58.25 N.70°03.0 W.
11039°59.2 N.70°04.9 W.
11140°00.7 N.70°08.7 W.
11240°03.75 N.70°10.15 W.
11540°05.2 N.70°10.9 W.
11640°02.45 N.70°14.1 W.
11940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.
to 18139°59.3 N.70°14.0 W.

Offshore Boundary

Point toLatitudeLongitude
  6940°07.9 N.68°36.0 W.
12040°06.4 N.68°35.8 W.
12140°05.25 N.68°39.3 W.
12240°05.4 N.68°44.5 W.
12340°06.0 N.68°46.5 W.
12440°07.4 N.68°49.6 W.
12540°05.55 N.68°49.8 W.
12640°03.9 N.68°51.7 W.
12740°02.25 N.68°55.4 W.
12840°02.6 N.69°00.0 W.
12940°02.75 N.69°00.75 W.
13040°04.2 N.69°01.75 W.
13140°06.15 N.69°01.95 W.
13240°07.25 N.69°02.0 W.
13340°08.5 N.69°02.25 W.
13440°09.2 N.69°02.95 W.
13540°09.75 N.69°03.3 W.
13640°09.55 N.69°03.85 W.
13740°08.4 N.69°03.4 W.
13840°07.2 N.69°03.3 W.
13940°06.0 N.69°03.1 W.
14040°05.4 N.69°03.05 W.
14140°04.8 N.69°03.05 W.
14240°03.55 N.69°03.55 W.
14340°01.9 N.69°03.95 W.
14440°01.0 N.69°04.4 W.
14639°59.9 N.69°06.25 W.
14740°00.6 N.69°10.05 W.
14839°59.25 N.69°11.15 W.
14939°57.45 N.69°16.05 W.
15039°56.1 N.69°20.1 W.
15139°54.6 N.69°25.65 W.
15239°54.65 N.69°26.9 W.
15339°54.8 N.69°30.95 W.
15439°54.35 N.69°33.4 W.
15539°55.0 N.69°34.9 W.
15639°56.55 N.69°36.0 W.
15739°57.95 N.69°36.45 W.
15839°58.75 N.69°36.3 W.
15939°58.8 N.69°36.95 W.
16039°57.95 N.69°38.1 W.
16139°54.5 N.69°38.25 W.
16239°53.6 N.69°46.5 W.
16339°54.7 N.69°50.0 W.
16439°55.25 N.69°51.4 W.
16539°55.2 N.69°53.1 W.
16639°54.85 N.69°53.9 W.
16739°55.7 N.69°54.9 W.
16839°56.15 N.69°55.35 W.
16939°56.05 N.69°56.25 W.
17039°55.3 N.69°57.1 W.
17139°54.8 N.69°58.6 W.
17239°56.05 N.70°00.65 W.
17339°55.3 N.70°02.95 W.
17439°56.9 N.70°11.3 W.
17539°58.9 N.70°11.5 W.
17639°59.6 N.70°11.1 W.
17740°01.35 N.70°11.2 W.
17840°02.6 N.70°12.0 W.
17940°00.4 N.70°12.3 W.
18039°59.7 N.70°13.05 W.
18139°59.3 N.70°14.0 W. to
11940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.

(c) Restricted Gear Area II—(1) Duration—(i) Mobile Gear. From November 27 through June 15 of each fishing year, no fishing vessel with mobile gear or person on a fishing vessel with mobile gear may fish, or be, in Restricted Gear Area II (as defined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section) unless transiting only, provided that all mobile gear is on board the vessel while inside the area.

(ii) Lobster trap gear. From June 16 through November 26 of each fishing year, no fishing vessel with lobster trap gear or person on a fishing vessel with lobster trap gear may fish, and no lobster trap gear may be deployed or remain, in Restricted Gear Area II as defined in paragraph (c)(2) of this section.

(2) Definition of Restricted Gear Area II. Restricted Gear Area II is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

Inshore Boundary

Point toLatitudeLongitude
  139°59.3 N.70°14.0 W.
4940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.
5040°00.7 N.70°18.6 W.
5139°59.8 N.70°21.75 W.
5239°59.75 N.70°25.5 W.
5340°03.85 N.70°28.75 W.
5440°00.55 N.70°32.1 W.
5539°59.15 N.70°34.45 W.
5639°58.9 N.70°38.65 W.
5740°00.1 N.70°45.1 W.
5840°00.5 N.70°57.6 W.
5940°02.0 N.71°01.3 W.
6039°59.3 N.71°18.4 W.
6140°00.7 N.71°19.8 W.
6239°57.5 N.71°20.6 W.
6339°53.1 N.71°36.1 W.
6439°52.6 N.71°40.35 W.
6539°53.1 N.71°42.7 W.
6639°46.95 N.71°49.0 W.
6739°41.15 N.71°57.1 W.
6839°35.45 N.72°02.0 W.
6939°32.65 N.72°06.1 W.
7039°29.75 N.72°09.8 W.
to 4839°29.0 N.72°09.25 W.

Offshore Boundary

Point toLatitudeLongitude
4940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.
  139°59.3 N.70°14.0 W.
  239°58.85 N.70°15.2 W.
  339°59.3 N.70°18.4 W.
  439°58.1 N.70°19.4 W.
  539°57.0 N.70°19.85 W.
  639°57.55 N.70°21.25 W.
  739°57.5 N.70°22.8 W.
  839°57.1 N.70°25.4 W.
  939°57.65 N.70°27.05 W.
1039°58.58 N.70°27.7 W.
1140°00.65 N.70°28.8 W.
1240°02.2 N.70°29.15 W.
1340°01.0 N.70°30.2 W.
1439°58.58 N.70°31.85 W.
1539°57.05 N.70°34.35 W.
1639°56.42 N.70°36.8 W.
2139°58.15 N.70°48.0 W.
2439°58.3 N.70°51.1 W.
2539°58.1 N.70°52.25 W.
2639°58.05 N.70°53.55 W.
2739°58.4 N.70°59.6 W.
2839°59.8 N.71°01.05 W.
2939°58.2 N.71°05.85 W.
3039°57.45 N.71°12.15 W.
3139°57.2 N.71°15.0 W.
3239°56.3 N.71°18.95 W.
3339°51.4 N.71°36.1 W.
3439°51.75 N.71°41.5 W.
3539°50.05 N.71°42.5 W.
3639°50.0 N.71°45.0 W.
3739°48.95 N.71°46.05 W.
3839°46.6 N.71°46.1 W.
3939°43.5 N.71°49.4 W.
4039°41.3 N.71°55.0 W.
4139°39.0 N.71°55.6 W.
4239°36.72 N.71°58.25 W.
4339°35.15 N.71°58.55 W.
4439°34.5 N.72°00.75 W.
4539°32.2 N.72°02.25 W.
4639°32.15 N.72°04.1 W.
4739°28.5 N.72°06.5 W.
4839°29.0 N.72°09.25 W.
to 7039°29.75 N.72°09.8 W.

(d) Restricted Gear Area III—(1) Duration—(i) Mobile Gear. From June 16 through November 26 of each fishing year, no fishing vessel with mobile gear or person on a fishing vessel with mobile gear may fish, or be, in Restricted Gear Area III (as defined in paragraph (d)(2) of this section) unless transiting only, provided that all mobile gear is on board the vessel while inside the area.

(ii) Lobster trap gear. From January 1 through April 30 of each fishing year, no fishing vessel with lobster trap gear or person on a fishing vessel with lobster trap gear may fish, and no lobster trap gear may be deployed or remain, in Restricted Gear Area III as defined in paragraph (d)(2) of this section.

(2) Definition of Restricted Gear Area III. Restricted Gear Area III is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

Inshore Boundary

Point toLatitudeLongitude
  4940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.
18240°05.6 N.70°17.7 W.
18340°06.5 N.70°40.05 W.
18440°11.05 N.70°45.8 W.
18540°12.75 N.70°55.05 W.
18640°10.7 N.71°10.25 W.
18739°57.9 N.71°28.7 W.
18839°55.6 N.71°41.2 W.
18939°55.85 N.71°45.0 W.
19039°53.75 N.71°52.25 W.
19139°47.2 N.72°01.6 W.
19239°33.65 N.72°15.0 W.
to 7039°29.75 N.72°09.8 W.

Offshore Boundary

Point toLatitudeLongitude
18240°05.6 N.70°17.7 W.
  4940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.
  5040°00.7 N.70°18.6 W.
  5139°59.8 N.70°21.75 W.
  5239°59.75 N.70°25.5 W.
  5340°03.85 N.70°28.75 W.
  5440°00.55 N.70°32.1 W.
  5539°59.15 N.70°34.45 W.
  5639°58.9 N.70°38.6 W.
  5740°00.1 N.70°45.1 W.
  5840°00.5 N.70°57.6 W.
  5940°02.0 N.71°01.3 W.
  6039°59.3 N.71°18.4 W.
  6140°00.7 N.71°19.8 W.
  6239°57.5 N.71°20.6 W.
  6339°53.1 N.71°36.1 W.
  6439°52.6 N.71°40.35 W.
  6539°53.1 N.71°42.7 W.
  6639°46.95 N.71°49.0 W.
  6739°41.15 N.71°57.1 W.
  6839°35.45 N.72°02.0 W.
  6939°32.65 N.72°06.1 W.
  7039°29.75 N.72°09.8 W.
to 19239°33.65 N.72°15.0 W.

(e) Restricted Gear Area IV—(1) Duration for Mobile Gear. From June 16 through September 30 of each fishing year, no fishing vessel with mobile gear or person on a fishing vessel with mobile gear may fish, or be, in Restricted Gear Area IV (as defined in paragraph (e)(2) of this section) unless transiting only, provided that all mobile gear is on board the vessel while inside the area.

(2) Definition of Restricted Gear Area IV. Restricted Gear Area IV is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

Inshore Boundary

PointLatitudeLongitude
19340°13.60 N.68°40.60 W.
19440°11.60 N.68°53.00 W.
19540°14.00 N.69°04.70 W.
19640°14.30 N.69°05.80 W.
19740°05.50 N.69°09.00 W.
19839°57.30 N.69°25.10 W.
19940°00.40 N.69°35.20 W.
20040°01.70 N.69°35.40 W.
20140°01.70 N.69°37.40 W.
20240°00.50 N.69°38.80 W.
20340°01.30 N.69°45.00 W.
20440°02.10 N.70°45.00 W.
20540°07.60 N.70°04.50 W.
20640°07.80 N.70°09.20 W.
to 11940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.

Offshore Boundary

Point toLatitudeLongitude
19340°13.60 N.68°40.60 W.
  6940°07.90 N.68°36.00 W.
  7040°07.20 N.68°38.40 W.
  7140°06.90 N.68°46.50 W.
  7240°08.70 N.68°49.60 W.
  7340°08.10 N.68°51.00 W.
  7440°05.70 N.68°52.40 W.
  7540°03.60 N.68°57.20 W.
  7640°03.65 N.69°00.00 W.
  7740°04.35 N.69°00.50 W.
  7840°05.20 N.69°00.50 W.
  7940°05.30 N.69°01.10 W.
  8040°08.90 N.69°01.75 W.
  8140°11.00 N.69°03.80 W.
  8240°11.60 N.69°05.40 W.
  8340°10.25 N.69°04.40 W.
  8440°09.75 N.69°04.15 W.
  8540°08.45 N.69°03.60 W.
  8640°05.65 N.69°03.55 W.
  8740°04.10 N.69°03.90 W.
  8840°02.65 N.69°05.60 W.
  8940°02.00 N.69°08.35 W.
  9040°02.65 N.69°11.15 W.
  9140°00.05 N.69°14.60 W.
  9239°57.80 N.69°20.35 W.
  9339°56.75 N.69°24.40 W.
  9439°56.50 N.69°26.35 W.
  9539°56.80 N.69°34.10 W.
  9639°57.85 N.69°35.05 W.
  9740°00.65 N.69°36.50 W.
  9840°00.90 N.69°37.30 W.
  9939°59.15 N.69°37.30 W.
10039°58.80 N.69°38.45 W.
10239°56.20 N.69°40.20 W.
10339°55.75 N.69°41.40 W.
10439°56.70 N.69°53.60 W.
10539°57.55 N.69°54.05 W.
10639°57.40 N.69°55.90 W.
10739°56.90 N.69°57.45 W.
10839°58.25 N.70°03.00 W.
11039°59.20 N.70°04.90 W.
11140°00.70 N.70°08.70 W.
11240°03.75 N.70°10.15 W.
11540°05.20 N.70°10.90 W.
11640°02.45 N.70°14.1 W.
11940°02.75 N.70°16.1 W.
to 20640°07.80 N.70°09.20 W.

(f) Carl N. Shuster Jr. Horseshoe Crab Reserve. (1) No vessel or person may fish for horseshoe crabs in the area known as the Carl N. Shuster Jr. Horseshoe Crab Reserve bounded as follows:

(i) On the north by a straight line connecting points 39°14.6 N. lat., 74°30.9 W. long. (3 nm off of Peck Beach, NJ) and 39°14.6 N lat., 74°22.5 W. long.

(ii) On the east by a straight line connecting points 39°14.6 N. lat., 74°22.5 W. long. and 38°22.0 N. lat., 74°22.5 W. long.

(iii) On the south by a straight line connecting points 38°22.0 N. lat., 74°22.5 W. long. and 38°22.0 N. lat., 75°00.4 W. long. (3 nm off of Ocean City, MD).

(iv) On the west by the outermost boundary of state waters.

(2) No vessel or person on a vessel with a trawl or dredge may possess horseshoe crabs in the area described in paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

(3) Horseshoe crabs caught in the area described in paragraph (f)(1) of this section must be returned immediately to the water without further harm.

[64 FR 68248, Dec. 6, 1999, as amended at 66 FR 8911, Feb. 5, 2001]

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§697.24   Exempted waters for Maine State American lobster permits.

A person or vessel holding a valid permit or license issued by the State of Maine that lawfully permits that person to engage in commercial fishing for American lobster may, with the approval of the State of Maine, engage in commercial fishing for American lobsters in the following areas designated as EEZ, if such fishing is conducted in such waters in accordance with all other applicable Federal and State regulations:

(a) West of Monhegan Island in the area located north of the line 43.5 deg.4208 N. lat., 69.5 deg.3418 W. long., and 43.5 deg.4215 N. lat., 69.5 deg.1918 W. long.

(b) East of Monhegan Island in the area located west of the line 43.5 deg.4400 N. lat., 69.5 deg.1505 W. long., and 43.5 deg.4810 N. lat., 69.5 deg.0801 W. long.

(c) South of Vinalhaven in the area located west of the line 43.5 deg.521 N. lat., 68.5 deg.3954 W. long., and 43.5 deg.4810 N. lat., 67.5 deg.4033 W. long.

(d) South of Boris Bubert Island in the area located north of the line 44.5 deg.1915 N. lat, 67.5 deg.4930 W. long. and 44.5 deg.2345 N. lat., 67.5 deg.4033 W. long.

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§697.25   Adjustment to management measures.

(a) On or before February 15, 2001, and annually on or before February 15, thereafter, NMFS may, after consultation with the Commission, publish a proposed rule to implement additional or different management measures for Federal waters in any of the management areas specified in §697.18 if it is determined such measures are necessary to achieve or be compatible with ISFMP objectives, or the ISFMP, to be consistent with the national standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or to meet overfishing and rebuilding requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. These management measures may include, but are not limited to, continued reductions of fishing effort or numbers of traps, increases in minimum or decreases in maximum size, increases in the escape vent size, decreases in the lobster trap size, closed areas, closed seasons, landing limits, trip limits and other management area-specific measures as may be identified and recommended by the Commission prior to December 1 of the previous year. After considering public comment, NMFS may publish a final rule to implement any such measures.

(b) Conservation equivalency measures. The Regional Administrator may consider future recommendations for modifications to Federal regulations based on conservation equivalency for American lobster that are formally submitted to him/her in writing by the ASMFC. These recommendations must, for consideration by the Regional Administrator, contain the following supporting information:

(1) A description of how Federal regulations should be modified;

(2) An explanation of how the recommended measure(s) would achieve a level of conservation benefits for the resource equivalent to the applicable Federal regulations;

(3) An explanation of how Federal implementation of the conservation equivalent measure(s) would achieve ISFMP objectives, be consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act national standards, and be compatible with the effective implementation of the ISFMP; and

(4) A detailed analysis of the biological, economic, and social impacts of the recommended conservation equivalent measure(s). After considering the recommendation and the necessary supporting information, NMFS may issue a proposed rule to implement the conservation equivalent measures. After considering public comment, NMFS may issue a final rule to implement such measures.

(c) At any other time, NMFS may publish a proposed rule, after consultation with the Commission, to implement any additional or different management measures in order to achieve ISFMP objectives or be compatible with Commission measures or recommendations or to be consistent with the national standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or to meet overfishing and rebuilding requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. After considering public comments, NMFS may publish a final rule to implement any such measures.

(d) Notwithstanding other provisions of this part, NMFS may publish any additional or different management measures as described herein without prior public comment, pursuant to and consistent with 5 U.S.C. 553.

[64 FR 68248, Dec. 6, 1999, as amended at 68 FR 14931, Mar. 27, 2003]

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§697.26   EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5 Trap Waiver.

(a) Eligibility. Vessels eligible for limited access lobster permits under §697.4(a)(1) and limited access black sea bass permits under §648.4(a)(7)(i) of this chapter may request an Area 5 Trap Waiver Permit, under the procedures described in §697.4.

(b) Restrictions. A vessel issued an Area 5 Trap Waiver permit under this section may engage in trap fishing for black sea bass in EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5 and is exempt from the provisions of §697.19 and §697.21 if such fishing is conducted in accordance with all other provisions of this section and all other Federal and state laws and regulations applicable to lobster and black sea bass fishing.

(1) A vessel issued a permit under this section may retain, land and sell an incidental allowance of lobster equal to the non-trap harvest restrictions specified in §697.17(a).

(2) A vessel issued a permit under this section may not possess on board or deploy bait or baited traps.

[66 FR 14502, Mar. 13, 2001]

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§697.27   Trap transferability.

(a) Federal lobster permit holders may elect to participate in a program that allows them to transfer trap allocation to other participating Federal lobster permit holders, subject to the following conditions:

(1) Participation requirements. To be eligible to participate in the Federal Trap Transfer Program:

(i) An individual must possess a valid Federal lobster permit; and

(ii) If the individual is dually permitted with both Federal and state lobster licenses, the individual must agree to synchronize his or her state and Federal allocations in each area for which there is an allocation. This synchronization shall be set at the lower of the state or Federal allocation in each area. This provision does not apply to Areas 1 and 6 as neither area have a Federal trap allocation.

(iii) Individuals participating in the Lobster Management Area 1 trap fishery may participate in the Trap Transfer Program, but doing so may result in forfeiture of future participation in the Area 1 trap fishery as follows:

(A) Area 1 fishers may accept, receive, or purchase trap allocations up to their Area 1 trap limit identified in §697.19 and fish with that allocation both in Area 1 and the other area or areas subject to the restrictive provisions of §697.3 and §697.4(a)(7)(v).

(B) Area 1 fishers with trap allocations in Areas 2, 3, and/or the Outer Cape Area may transfer away or sell any portion of that allocation, but, in so doing, the Area 1 fisher shall forfeit any right to fish in Area 1 with traps in the future.

(2) Trap allocation transfers. Trap allocation transfers will be allowed subject to the following conditions:

(i) State/Federal alignment. Participants with dual state and Federal permits may participate in the Trap Transfer Program each year, but their state and Federal trap allocations must be aligned as required in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section at the start and close of each trap transfer period.

(ii) Eligible traps. Buyers and sellers may only transfer trap allocations from Lobster Management Areas 2, 3, and the Outer Cape Area.

(iii) Debiting remaining allocation. The permit holder transferring trap allocations shall have his or her remaining Federal trap allocation in all Lobster Conservation Management Areas debited by the total amount of allocation transferred. This provision does not apply to Areas 1 and 6, as neither area have a Federal trap allocation. A seller may not transfer a trap allocation if, after the transfer is debited, the allocation in any remaining Lobster Conservation Management Area would be below zero.

(iv) Crediting allocations for partial trap transfers. In a partial trap transfer, where the transfer is occurring independent of a Federal lobster permit transfer, the permit holder receiving the transferred allocation shall have his or her allocation credited as follows:

(A) Trap retirement. All permit holders receiving trap allocation transfers shall retire 10 percent of that transferred allocation from the fishery for conservation. This provision does not pertain to full business transfers where the transfer includes the transfer of a Federal lobster permit and all traps associated with that permit.

(B) Multi-area trap allocation history. To the extent that transferred trap allocations have been granted access into multiple management areas, the recipient may elect any and all management areas for which the traps have demonstrated history.

(C) All trap allocation transfers are subject to whatever trap allocation cap exists in the involved lobster management area. No participant may receive a transfer that, when combined with existing allocation, would put that permit holder's trap allocation above the involved trap caps in §697.19.

(v) In all allocation transfers, the buyer's and seller's initial allocations shall be calculated as being the allocation that the buyer and seller would otherwise have on the last day of the fishing year.

(vi) Trap allocations may only be transferred in 10-trap increments.

(vii) Trap allocation transfers must be approved by the Regional Administrator before becoming effective. The Regional Administrator shall approve a transfer upon a showing by the involved permit holders of the following:

(A) The proposed transfer is documented in a legible written agreement signed and dated by the involved permit holders. The agreement must identify the amount of allocation being transferred as well as the Federal lobster permit number from which the allocation is being taken and the Federal lobster permit number that is receiving the allocation. If the transfer involves parties who also possess a state lobster license, the parties must identify the state lobster license number and state of issuance.

(B) That the transferring permit holder has sufficient allocation to transfer and that the permit holder's post-transfer allocation is clear and agreed to. In determining whether seller has sufficient allocation to transfer, the Regional Administrator will calculate the seller's pre-transfer and post-transfer allocations. The pre-transfer allocation shall be the amount of the seller's allocation as it would exist on the last day of the fishing year. The post-transfer allocation shall be the pre-transfer allocation minus the total amount of traps being transferred prior to application of the 10-percent trap retirement set forth in paragraph (a)(2)(iv)(A) of this section.

(C) That the permit holder receiving the transfer has sufficient room under any applicable trap cap identified in §697.19 to receive the transferred allocation and that the recipient's post-transfer allocation is clear and agreed to. In determining whether the buyer has sufficient room to receive allocation, the Regional Administrator will calculate the buyer's pre-transfer and post-transfer allocations. The pre-transfer allocation shall be the amount of the buyer's allocation as it would exist on the last day of the fishing year. The post-transfer allocation shall be the pre-transfer allocation plus the total amount of traps being transferred minus 10 percent of the transferred allocation that shall be retired pursuant to the provisions of (a)(2)(iv)(A) of this section.

(3) Trap transfer period. The timing of the Trap Transfer Program is as follows:

(i) Federal lobster permit holders must declare their election into the program in writing to the NMFS Permit Office. Electing into the Trap Transfer Program is a one-time declaration, and the permit holder may participate in the program in later years without needing to re-elect into the program year after year. Federal permit holders may elect into the program at any time in any year, but their ability to actively transfer traps will be limited by the timing restrictions identified in paragraphs (a)(3)(ii) and (iii) of this section.

(ii) All trap transfer requests must be made in writing before September 30 each year, and if approved, will become effective at the start of the next fishing year. The Regional Administrator shall attempt to review, reconcile and notify the transferring parties of the disposition of the requested transfer before December 31 each year. Transfers are not valid until approved by the Regional Administrator.

(iii) Year 1. Notwithstanding paragraph (a)(3)(ii) of this section, the timing of the first year of the Trap Transfer Program is linked to the completion of the Commission's Trap Tag Database. NMFS will analyze the Trap Tag Database and when NMFS finds that the database is capable of tracking transfers for multiple jurisdictions, then NMFS will file a notice alerting the public of the date of when the Trap Transfer Program will begin.

(b) [Reserved]

[79 FR 19026, Apr. 7, 2014]

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§697.28   Atlantic migratory group cobia.

(a) Fishing year. The fishing year for Atlantic migratory cobia is January 1 through December 31.

(b) Authorized gear. Subject to the prohibitions on gear/methods in §697.7, the following are the only fishing gears that may be used for cobia in the EEZ of the Atlantic migratory group—automatic reel, bandit gear, handline, rod and reel, pelagic longline, and spear (including powerheads).

(c) Size limits. All size limits in this section are minimum size limits. Atlantic migratory group cobia not in compliance with its size limit, as specified in this section, in or from the 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. If a size limit in paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section differs from a size limit from an Atlantic state(s), then any vessel operator in the EEZ must comply with the more restrictive requirement or measure when in the waters off that state.

(1) 33 inches (83.8), fork length, for cobia that are sold (commercial sector).

(2) 36 inches (91.4 cm), fork length, for cobia that are not sold (recreational sector).

(d) Landing fish intact. Atlantic migratory group cobia in the EEZ, must be maintained with head and fins intact. 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.

(e) Bag and possession limits. If a bag and/or possession limit in paragraph (e)(1) or (2) of this section differs from a bag and/or possession limit from an Atlantic state(s), then any vessel operator in the EEZ must comply with the more restrictive requirement or measure when in the waters off that state.

(1) Recreational bag and possession limits. Atlantic migratory group cobia that are not sold (recreational sector)—1, not to exceed 6 fish per vessel per day.

(2) Possession limits. A person who is on a trip that spans more than 24 hours may possess no more than two daily bag limits, provided such trip is on a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, the vessel has two licensed operators aboard, and each passenger is issued and has in possession a receipt issued on behalf of the vessel that verifies the length of the trip.

(f) Quotas. All weights are in round and eviscerated weight combined.

(1) Commercial quota. The following quota applies to persons who fish for cobia and sell their catch—50,000 lb (22,680 kg). If the sum of the cobia landings that are sold, as estimated by the SRD, reach or are projected to reach the quota specified in this paragraph (f)(1), the AA will file a notification with the Office of the Federal Register to prohibit the sale and purchase of cobia for the remainder of the fishing year.

(2) Restrictions applicable after a quota closure. (i) If the recreational sector for Atlantic migratory group cobia is open, the bag and possession specified in paragraph (e) of this section apply to all harvest or possession in or from the EEZ. If the recreational sector is closed, all applicable harvest or possession in or from the EEZ is prohibited.

(ii) The sale or purchase of Atlantic migratory group cobia in or from the EEZ during a closure is prohibited. The prohibition on the sale or purchase during a closure does not apply to Atlantic migratory group cobia that were harvested, landed ashore, and sold prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in cold storage by a dealer or processor.

(g) Commercial trip limits. Commercial trip limits are limits on the amount of Atlantic migratory group cobia 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. Atlantic migratory group cobia 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—Until the commercial quota specified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section is reached, 2 fish per person, not to exceed 6 fish per vessel.

[84 FR 4738, Feb. 19, 2019]

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Table 1 to Part 697—Area 3 Trap Reduction Schedule

HISTORIC Trap AllocationYear 2006 Trap AllocationYear 1 - 5% Trap Reduction Effective November 2007Year 2 - 5% Trap Reduction Effective July 1, 2008Year 3- 2.5% Trap Reduction Effective July 1, 2009Year 4 - 2.5% Trap Reduction Effective July 1, 2010
Column 1Column 2Column 3Column 4Column 5Column 6
200200190181176172
240240228217211206
250250238226220214
264264251238232226
300300285271264257
320320304289282275
325325309293286279
360360342325317309
370370352334326317
400400380361352343
450450428406396386
480480456433422412
500500475451440429
590590561532519506
600600570542528515
700700665632616601
720720684650634618
768768730693676659
800800760722704686
883883839797777758
900900855812792772
930930884839818798
10001000950903880858
10041004954906883861
10201020969921898875
110011001045993968944
11501150109310381012987
117011701112105610301004
1200-129912001140108310561030
1300-139912001140108310561030
1400-149912001140108310561030
1500-159912761212115211231095
1600-169913521284122011901160
1700-179914171346127912471216
1800-189914821408133813041271
1900-199915491472139813631329
2000-209916161535145814221386
2100-219916741590151114731436
2200-229917321645156315241486
2300-239917891700161515741535
2400-249918451845175316231583
2500-259918971802171216691628
2600-269919491852175917151672
2700-279920001900180517601716
2800-289920501948185018041759
2900-299921001995189518481802
3000-309921502043194018921845
3100-319922092099199419441895
>319922672154204619951945

[72 FR 56943, Oct. 5, 2007]

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