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e-CFR data is current as of January 19, 2021

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter BPart 922Subpart L → §922.122


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 922—NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY PROGRAM REGULATIONS
Subpart L—Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary


§922.122   Prohibited or otherwise regulated activities.

Link to an amendment published at 86 FR 4954, Jan. 19, 2021.

(a) Except as specified in paragraphs (c) through (h) of this section, the following activities are prohibited and thus are unlawful for any person to conduct or to cause to be conducted:

(1) Exploring for, developing, or producing oil, gas, or minerals except outside of all no-activity zones and provided all drilling cuttings and drilling fluids are shunted to the seabed through a downpipe that terminates an appropriate distance, but no more than ten meters, from the seabed.

(2)(i) Anchoring any vessel within the Sanctuary.

(ii) Mooring any vessel within the Sanctuary, except that vessels 100 feet (30.48 meters) or less in registered length may moor to a Sanctuary mooring buoy.

(iii) Mooring a vessel in the Sanctuary without clearly displaying the blue and white International Code flag “A” (“alpha” dive flag) or the red and white “sports diver” flag whenever a SCUBA diver from that vessel is in the water and removing the “alpha” dive flag or “sports diver” flag after all SCUBA divers exit the water and return back on board the vessel, consistent with U.S. Coast Guard guidelines relating to sports diving as contained within “Special Notice to Mariners” (00-208) for the Gulf of Mexico.

(3)(i) Discharging or depositing from within or into the Sanctuary any material or other matter except:

(A) Fish, fish parts, chumming materials, or bait used in or resulting from fishing with conventional hook and line gear in the Sanctuary, provided that such discharge or deposit occurs during the conduct of such fishing within the Sanctuary;

(B) Clean effluent generated incidental to vessel use by an operable Type I or Type II marine sanitation device (U.S. Coast Guard classification) approved in accordance with section 312 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, as amended (FWPCA), 33 U.S.C. 1322. Vessel operators must lock marine sanitation devices in a manner that prevents discharge or deposit of untreated sewage;

(C) Clean vessel deck wash down, clean vessel engine cooling water, clean vessel generator cooling water, clean bilge water, or anchor wash;

(D) Engine exhaust;

(E) In areas of the Sanctuary outside the no-activity zones, drilling cuttings and drilling fluids necessarily discharged incidental to the exploration for, development of, or production of oil or gas in those areas and in accordance with the shunting requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section unless such discharge injures a Sanctuary resource or quality.

(ii) Discharging or depositing, from beyond the boundaries of the Sanctuary, any material or other matter, except those listed in paragraphs (a)(3)(i)(A) through (D) of this section, that subsequently enters the Sanctuary and injures a Sanctuary resource or quality.

(4) Drilling into, dredging, or otherwise altering the seabed of the Sanctuary (except as allowed under paragraph (c) of this section); or constructing, placing, or abandoning any structure, material, or other matter on the seabed of the Sanctuary.

(5) Injuring or removing, or attempting to injure or remove, any coral or other bottom formation, coralline algae or other plant, marine invertebrate, brine-seep biota, or carbonate rock within the Sanctuary.

(6) Taking any marine mammal or turtle within the Sanctuary, except as permitted by regulations, as amended, promulgated under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq., and the Endangered Species Act, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

(7) Killing, injuring, attracting, touching, or disturbing a ray or whale shark in the Sanctuary. Notwithstanding the above, the incidental and unintentional injury to a ray or whale shark as a result of fishing with conventional hook and line gear is exempted from this prohibition.

(8) Injuring, catching, harvesting, collecting, or feeding, or attempting to injure, catch, harvest, collect, or feed, any fish within the Sanctuary by use of bottom longlines, traps, nets, bottom trawls, or any other gear, device, equipment, or means except by use of conventional hook and line gear.

(9) Possessing within the Sanctuary (regardless of where collected, caught, harvested or removed), except for valid law enforcement purposes, any carbonate rock, coral or other bottom formation, coralline algae or other plant, marine invertebrate, brine-seep biota, or fish (except for fish caught by use of conventional hook and line gear).

(10) Possessing or using within the Sanctuary, except possessing while passing without interruption through it or for valid law enforcement purposes, any fishing gear, device, equipment or means except conventional hook and line gear.

(11) Possessing, except for valid law enforcement purposes, or using explosives or releasing electrical charges within the Sanctuary.

(b) If any valid regulation issued by any Federal authority of competent jurisdiction, regardless of when issued, conflicts with a Sanctuary regulation, the regulation deemed by the Director as more protective of Sanctuary resources and qualities shall govern.

(c) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(2)(i), (a)(4), and (a)(11) of this section do not apply to necessary activities conducted in areas of the Sanctuary outside the no-activity zones and incidental to exploration for, development of, or production of oil or gas in those areas.

(d) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(2) through (11) of this section do not apply to activities necessary to respond to emergencies threatening life, property, or the environment.

(e)(1) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(2) through (11) of this section do not apply to activities being carried out by the Department of Defense as of the effective date of Sanctuary designation (January 18, 1994). Such activities shall be carried out in a manner that minimizes any adverse impact on Sanctuary resources and qualities. The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(2) through (11) of this section do not apply to any new activities carried out by the Department of Defense that do not have the potential for any significant adverse impacts on Sanctuary resources or qualities. Such activities shall be carried out in a manner that minimizes any adverse impact on Sanctuary resources and qualities. New activities with the potential for significant adverse impacts on Sanctuary resources or qualities may be exempted from the prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(2) through (11) of this section by the Director after consultation between the Director and the Department of Defense. If it is determined that an activity may be carried out, such activity shall be carried out in a manner that minimizes any adverse impact on Sanctuary resources and qualities.

(2) In the event of threatened or actual destruction of, loss of, or injury to a Sanctuary resource or quality resulting from an untoward incident, including but not limited to spills and groundings, caused by a component of the Department of Defense, the cognizant component shall promptly coordinate with the Director for the purpose of taking appropriate actions to respond to and mitigate the harm and, if possible, restore or replace the Sanctuary resource or quality.

(f) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(2) through (11) of this section do not apply to any activity executed in accordance with the scope, purpose, terms, and conditions of a National Marine Sanctuary permit issued pursuant to §922.48 and §922.123 or a Special Use permit issued pursuant to section 310 of the Act.

(g) The prohibitions in paragraphs (a)(2) through (11) of this section do not apply to any activity authorized by any lease, permit, license, approval or other authorization issued after January 18, 1994, provided that the applicant complies with §922.49, the Director notifies the applicant and authorizing agency that he or she does not object to issuance of the authorization, and the applicant complies with any terms and conditions the Director deems necessary to protect Sanctuary resources and qualities.

(h) Notwithstanding paragraphs (f) and (g) of this section, in no event may the Director issue a National Marine Sanctuary permit under §922.48 and §922.123 or a Special Use permit under section 10 of the Act authorizing, or otherwise approve, the exploration for, development of, or production of oil, gas, or minerals in a no-activity zone. Any leases, permits, approvals, or other authorizations authorizing the exploration for, development of, or production of oil, gas, or minerals in a no-activity zone and issued after the January 18, 1994 shall be invalid.

[77 FR 25069, Apr. 27, 2012]

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