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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of April 2, 2020

Title 50Chapter VIPart 648Subpart F → §648.85


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES
Subpart F—Management Measures for the NE Multispecies and Monkfish Fisheries


§648.85   Special management programs.

(a) U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding. No NE multispecies fishing vessel, or person on such vessel, may enter, fish in, or be in the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding Management Areas (U.S./Canada Management Areas), as defined in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, unless the vessel is fishing in accordance with the restrictions and conditions of this section. These restrictions do not preclude fishing under an approved Special Access Program specified under paragraph (b) of this section.

(1) U.S./Canada Management Areas. A vessel issued a NE multispecies permit that meets the requirements of paragraph (a)(3) of this section may fish in the U.S./Canada Management Areas described in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section.

(i) Western U.S./Canada Area. The Western U.S./Canada Area is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (a chart depicting this area is available from the Regional Administrator upon request):

Western U.S./Canada Area

Point N. lat.W. long.
USCA 142°2068°50
USCA 239°5068°50
USCA 339°5066°40
USCA 440°4066°40
USCA 540°4066°50
USCA 640°5066°50
USCA 740°5067°00
USCA 841°0067°00
USCA 941°0067°20
USCA 1041°1067°20
USCA 1141°1067°40
USCA 1242°2067°40
USCA 142°2068°50

(ii) Eastern U.S./Canada Area. The Eastern U.S./Canada Area is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (a chart depicting this area is available from the Regional Administrator upon request):

Eastern U.S./Canada Area

PointN. latitudeW. longitude
USCA 1242°2067°40
USCA 1141°1067°40
USCA 1041°1067°20
USCA 941°0067°20
USCA 841°0067°00
USCA 740°5067°00
USCA 640°5066°50
USCA 540°4066°50
USCA 440°4066°40
USCA 1540°3066°40
USCA 1440°3065°44.3
USCA 1342°2067°18.4
USCA 1242°2067°40

(2) TAC allocation—(i) Process for establishing TACs. The amount of GB cod and haddock TAC that may be harvested from the Eastern U.S./Canada Area described in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, and the amount of GB yellowtail flounder TAC that may be harvested from the Western U.S./Canada Area and the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, as described in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) and (ii) of this section, combined, shall be determined by the process specified in paragraphs (a)(2)(i)(A) through (D) of this section.

(A) To the extent practicable, by June 30 of each year, the Terms of Reference for the U.S./Canada shared resources for GB cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder shall be established by the Steering Committee and the Transboundary Management Guidance Committee (TMGC).

(B) To the extent practicable, by July 31 of each year, a Transboundary Resource Assessment Committee (TRAC) joint assessment of the U.S./Canada shared resources for GB cod, haddock and yellowtail flounder shall occur.

(C) To the extent practicable, by August 31 of each year, the TMGC shall recommend TACs for the U.S./Canada shared resources for GB cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder. Prior to October 31 of each year, the Council may refer any or all recommended TACs back to the TMGC and request changes to any or all TACs. The TMGC shall consider such recommendations and respond to the Council prior to October 31.

(D) To the extent practicable, by October 31 of each year, the Council shall review the TMGC recommended TACs for the U.S. portion of the U.S./Canada Management Area resources for GB cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder. Based on the TMGC recommendations, the Council shall recommend to the Regional Administrator the U.S. TACs for the shared stocks for the subsequent fishing year as a subset of the ACLs for these stocks available to the commercial fishery pursuant to §648.90(a)(4). NMFS shall review the Council's recommendations and shall publish the proposed TACs in the Federal Register and provide a 30-day public comment period. NMFS shall make a final determination concerning the TACs and publish notification of the approved TACs and responses to public comments in the Federal Register. The Council, at this time, may also consider modification of management measures in order to ensure compliance with the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding. Any changes to management measures will be modified pursuant to §648.90.

(ii) TAC Overages. Any overages of the overall Eastern GB cod, Eastern GB haddock, and GB yellowtail flounder U.S. TACs caused by an overage of the component of the U.S. TAC specified for either the common pool, individual sectors, the scallop fishery, or any other fishery, pursuant to this paragraph (a)(2) and §648.90(a)(4), that occur in a given fishing year shall be subtracted from the respective TAC component responsible for the overage in the following fishing year and may be subject to the overall groundfish AM provisions as specified in §648.90(a)(5)(ii) if the overall ACL for a particular stock in a given fishing year, specified pursuant to §648.90(a)(4), is exceeded.

(iii) Distribution of TACs. For stocks managed by the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding, as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, the TAC allocation determined pursuant to this paragraph (a)(2) shall be distributed between sectors approved pursuant to §648.87(c), common pool vessels, scallop vessels, and other applicable fisheries, as specified in §648.90(a)(4). Approved sectors will be allocated ACE for Eastern GB cod and Eastern GB haddock proportional to the sector's allocation of the overall ACL for these stocks, based upon the fishing histories of sector vessels, as specified in §648.87(b)(1)(i). Any ACE for Eastern GB cod and Eastern GB haddock allocated to an individual sector is considered a subset of the overall GB cod and GB haddock ACE allocated to that sector and may only be harvested from the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, while the remaining ACE for GB cod and GB haddock available to that sector may only be harvested outside of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area. For example, if a sector is allocated 10 percent of the GB haddock ACL, it will also be allocated 10 percent of the Eastern GB haddock TAC for that particular fishing year.

(iv) Inseason TAC Adjustments. For FY 2014 only, the Regional Administrator, in consultation with the Council, may adjust the FY 2014 TACs for the U.S./Canada shared resources inseason consistent with any quota trade recommendations made by the TMGC and/or Steering Committee, and approved by the Regional Administrator. Any such inseason adjustment to the FY 2014 TACs may only increase the TAC available to the U.S. fishery, and may not reduce the TAC amount distributed in FY 2014 to any fishery component as specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section. The revised FY 2014 TAC(s) shall be distributed consistent with the process specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section. For example, if the U.S. receives additional yellowtail flounder TAC in FY 2014, and trades away a portion of its FY 2015 haddock TAC, the Regional Administrator would increase the FY 2014 U.S. TAC for yellowtail flounder inseason consistent with the process specified in this paragraph (a)(2)(iv). The adjustment to the FY 2015 U.S. TAC for haddock would be made as part of the process for establishing TACs, as described in paragraph (a)(2)(i)(C) of this section.

(3) Requirements for vessels in U.S./Canada Management Areas. Any common pool or sector vessel, provided the sector to which a vessel belongs is allocated ACE for stocks caught in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section and §648.87(b)(1)(i), may fish in the U.S./Canada Management Areas, provided it complies with conditions and restrictions of this section. A vessel other than a NE multispecies vessel may fish in the U.S./Canada Management Area, subject to the restrictions specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E) of this section and all other applicable regulations for such vessels.

(i) VMS requirement. A NE multispecies vessel fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Areas described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section must have installed on board an operational VMS unit that meets the minimum performance criteria specified in §§648.9 and 648.10.

(ii) Declaration. To fish in the U.S./Canada Management Area under a NE multispecies DAS or on a sector trip, a NE multispecies vessel must declare through the VMS the specific area within the U.S./Canada Management Areas, as described in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) or (ii) of this section, or the specific SAP within the U.S./Canada Management Areas, as described in paragraph (b) of this section, the vessel will be fishing in prior to leaving the dock, in accordance with instructions to be provided by the Regional Administrator, and must comply with the restrictions and conditions in paragraphs (a)(3)(ii)(A) through (C) of this section. Vessels other than NE multispecies vessels are not required to declare into the U.S./Canada Management Areas.

(A) A common pool vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area may fish both inside and outside of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area on the same trip, provided it complies with the most restrictive DAS counting requirements specified in §648.10(e)(5), trip limits, and reporting requirements for the areas fished for the entire trip, and the restrictions specified in paragraphs (a)(3)(ii)(A)(1) through (4) of this section. A vessel on a sector trip may fish both inside and outside of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area on the same trip, provided it complies with the restrictions specified in paragraphs (a)(3)(ii)(A)(1) through (3) of this section. When a vessel operator elects to fish both inside and outside of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, all cod and haddock caught on that trip will be apportioned by area fished, as determined by all available data sources, and those portions of the catch taken inside the Eastern U.S./Canada Area shall count toward the applicable hard TAC specified for the U.S./Canada Management Area.

(1) The vessel operator must notify NMFS via VMS prior to leaving the Eastern U.S./Canada Area (including at the time of initial declaration into the Eastern U.S./Canada Area) that it is also electing to fish outside the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, as instructed by the Regional Administrator. With the exception of vessels participating in the Regular B DAS Program and fishing under a Regular B DAS and vessels on a sector trip that are not fishing under a NE multispecies DAS for the purposes of complying with the restrictions of other fisheries, once a vessel elects to fish outside of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, Category A DAS shall accrue from the time the vessel crosses the VMS Demarcation Line at the start of its fishing trip until the time the vessel crosses the VMS Demarcation Line on its return to port, in accordance with §648.10(e)(5)(iii).

(2) Unless otherwise exempted pursuant to this part, the vessel must comply with the reporting requirements of the U.S./Canada Management Area specified in §648.85(a)(3)(v) for the duration of the trip.

(3) [Reserved]

(4) If a common pool vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS possesses yellowtail flounder in excess of the trip limits for CC/GOM yellowtail flounder or SNE/MA yellowtail flounder, as specified in §648.86(g), the vessel may not fish in either the CC/GOM or SNE/MA yellowtail flounder stock area during that trip (i.e., may not fish outside of the U.S./Canada Management Area).

(B) A common pool vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS in the Western U.S./Canada Area may fish inside and outside the Western U.S./Canada Area on the same trip, provided it complies with the more restrictive regulations applicable to the area fished for the entire trip (e.g., the possession restrictions specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(C)(4) of this section), and the reporting requirements specified in §648.85(a)(3)(v). A vessel on a sector trip in the Western U.S./Canada Area may fish inside and outside the Western U.S./Canada Area on the same trip, provided it complies with the more restrictive reporting requirements specified in §648.85(a)(3)(v), unless otherwise exempted pursuant to this part.

(C) For the purposes of selecting vessels for observer deployment, a vessel fishing in either of the U.S./Canada Management Areas specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section must provide notice to NMFS of the vessel name; contact name for coordination of observer deployment; telephone number for contact; and the date, time, and port of departure, at least 48 hr prior to the beginning of any trip that it declares into the U.S./Canada Management Area as required under this paragraph (a)(3)(ii).

(iii) Gear requirements. A NE multispecies vessel fishing with trawl gear in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area defined in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, unless otherwise provided in paragraphs (b)(6) and (8) of this section, must fish with a Ruhle trawl, as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J)(1) of this section, or a haddock separator trawl, or a flounder trawl net, as described in paragraphs (a)(3)(iii)(A) and (B) of this section (all three nets may be onboard the fishing vessel simultaneously). Unless otherwise restricted by §648.80(n), gear other than the Ruhle trawl, haddock separator trawl, or the flounder trawl net, or gear authorized under paragraphs (b)(6) and (8) of this section, may be on board the vessel during a trip to the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, provided the gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2. The description of the haddock separator trawl and the flounder trawl net, and the description of the Ruhle trawl may be further specified by the Regional Administrator through publication of such specifications in the Federal Register, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act.

(A) Haddock Separator Trawl. A haddock separator trawl is defined as a groundfish trawl modified to a vertically-oriented trouser trawl configuration, with two extensions arranged one over the other, where a codend shall be attached only to the upper extension, and the bottom extension shall be left open and have no codend attached. A horizontal large-mesh separating panel constructed with a minimum of 6.0-inch (15.2-cm) diamond mesh must be installed between the selvedges joining the upper and lower panels, as described in paragraphs (a)(3)(iii)(A) and (B) of this section, extending forward from the front of the trouser junction to the aft edge of the first belly behind the fishing circle. The horizontal large-mesh separating panel must be constructed with mesh of a contrasting color to the upper and bottom extensions of the net that it separates.

(1) Two-seam bottom trawl nets. For two seam nets, the separator panel will be constructed such that the width of the forward edge of the panel is 80-85 percent of the width of the after edge of the first belly of the net where the panel is attached. For example, if the belly is 200 meshes wide (from selvedge to selvedge), the separator panel must be no wider than 160-170 meshes wide.

(2) Four-seam bottom trawl nets. For four seam nets, the separator panel will be constructed such that the width of the forward edge of the panel is 90-95 percent of the width of the after edge of the first belly of the net where the panel is attached. For example, if the belly is 200 meshes wide (from selvedge to selvedge), the separator panel must be no wider than 180-190 meshes wide. The separator panel will be attached to both of the side panels of the net along the midpoint of the side panels. For example, if the side panel is 100 meshes tall, the separator panel must be attached at the 50th mesh.

(B) Flounder Trawl Net. A flounder trawl net is defined as bottom trawl gear meeting one of the following two net descriptions:

(1) A two-seam, low-rise net constructed with mesh size in compliance with §648.80(a)(4), where the maximum footrope length is not greater than 105 ft (32.0 m) and the headrope is at least 30 percent longer than the footrope. The footrope and headrope lengths shall be measured from the forward wing end.

(2) A two-seam, low-rise net constructed with mesh size in compliance with §648.80(a)(4), with the exception that the top panel of the net contains a section of mesh at least 10 ft (3.05 m) long and stretching from selvedge to selvedge, composed of at least 12-in (30.5-cm) mesh that is inserted no farther than 4.5 meshes behind the headrope.

(iv) Harvest controls. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (a)(3)(iv), any NE multispecies vessel fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Areas is subject to the following restrictions. For common pool vessels, the trip limits specified in this paragraph (a)(3)(iv) are in addition to any other possession or landing limits applicable to vessels not fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Areas. A sector vessel is subject to the trip limits specified in §648.87(b)(1)(ix).

(A) Cod landing limit restrictions. Notwithstanding other applicable possession and landing restrictions under this part, a common pool vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area described in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section may not land more than 500 lb (226.8 kg) of cod per DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) per trip. A vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area may be further restricted by participation in other Special Management Programs, as required under this section.

(1) Initial cod landing limit. Unless modified pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, notwithstanding other applicable possession and landing restrictions under this part, a common pool vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area described in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section may not land more than 500 lb (226.8 kg) of cod per DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) per trip. A vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area may be further restricted by participation in other Special Management Programs, as required under this section.

(2) Possession restriction when 100 percent of TAC is harvested. When the Regional Administrator projects that 100 percent of the TAC allocation for cod specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section will be harvested, NMFS shall, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, close the Eastern U.S./Canada Area to all limited access NE multispecies DAS and sector vessels subject to that particular TAC allocation, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E) of this section, by prohibiting such vessels and all other vessels not issued a limited access NE multispecies permit from entering or being in this area and from harvesting, possessing, or landing cod in or from the Eastern U.S./Canada Area during the closure period.

(B) Haddock landing limit—(1) Initial haddock landing limit. The initial haddock landing limit for common pool vessels is specified in §648.86(a), unless adjusted pursuant to paragraphs (a)(3)(iv)(B)(2) and (3) of this section.

(2) Implementation of haddock landing limit for Eastern U.S./Canada Area. When the Regional Administrator projects that 70 percent of the haddock TAC allocation specified for common pool vessels, as described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, will be harvested, NMFS shall implement, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, a haddock trip limit for common pool vessels fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area of 1,500 lb (680.4 kg) per day, and 15,000 lb (6,804.1 kg) per trip.

(3) Possession restriction when 100 percent of TAC is harvested. When the Regional Administrator projects that 100 percent of the TAC allocation for haddock distributed to either common pool vessels or a particular sector, as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, will be harvested, NMFS shall, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, close the Eastern U.S./Canada Area to all limited access NE multispecies vessels subject to that particular TAC allocation, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E) of this section, and prohibit such vessels and all other vessels not issued a limited access NE multispecies permit from harvesting, possessing, or landing haddock in or from the Eastern U.S./Canada Area.

(C) Yellowtail flounder landing limit—(1) Initial yellowtail flounder landing limit. Unless further restricted under paragraphs (a)(3)(iv)(C)(2) or (D) of this section (gear performance incentives), or modified pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, there is no initial limit to the amount of yellowtail flounder that could be landed for each fishing year.

(2) Regional Administrator authority to adjust the yellowtail flounder landing limit mid-season. If, based upon available information, the Regional Administrator projects that the yellowtail flounder catch may exceed the yellowtail flounder TAC for a fishing year, the Regional Administrator may implement, adjust, or remove the yellowtail flounder landing limit at any time during that fishing year in order to prevent yellowtail flounder catch from exceeding the TAC, or to facilitate harvesting the TAC, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. If, based upon available information, the Regional Administrator projects that the yellowtail flounder catch is less than 90 percent of the TAC, the Regional Administrator may adjust or remove the yellowtail flounder landing limit at any time during the fishing year in order to facilitate the harvest of the TAC, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. The Regional Administrator may specify yellowtail flounder trip limits that apply to the entire U.S./Canada Management Area or to only the Western or Eastern Area.

(3) Possession restriction when 100 percent of TAC is harvested. When the Regional Administrator projects that 100 percent of the TAC allocation for yellowtail flounder distributed to either common pool vessels or a particular sector, as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, will be harvested, NMFS shall, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, close the Eastern U.S./Canada Area to all limited access NE multispecies vessels subject to that particular TAC allocation, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E) of this section, and prohibit such vessels and all other vessels not issued a limited access NE multispecies permit from harvesting, possessing, or landing yellowtail flounder from the U.S./Canada Management Area.

(4) Yellowtail flounder landing limit for vessels fishing both inside and outside the Western U.S./Canada Area on the same trip. A vessel fishing both inside and outside of the Western U.S./Canada Area on the same trip, as allowed under paragraph (a)(3)(ii)(B) of this section, is subject to the most restrictive landing limits that apply to any of the areas fished, for the entire trip.

(D) Other restrictions or inseason adjustments. In addition to the possession restrictions specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv) of this section, the Regional Administrator, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, may modify the gear requirements, modify or close access to the U.S./Canada Management Areas, or modify the total number of trips into the U.S./Canada Management Area, to prevent over-harvesting or to facilitate achieving the TAC specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. Such adjustments may be made at any time during the fishing year, or prior to the start of the fishing year. If necessary to give priority to using Category A DAS versus using Category B DAS, the Regional Administrator may implement different management measures for vessels using Category A DAS than for vessels using Category B DAS. If the Regional Administrator, under this authority, requires use of a particular gear type in order to reduce catches of stocks of concern, unless further restricted elsewhere in this part, the following gear performance incentives will apply: Possession of flounders (all species combined), monkfish, and skates is limited to 500 lb (226.8 kg) (whole weight) each (i.e., no more than 500 lb (226.8 kg) of all flounders, no more than 500 lb (226.8 kg) of monkfish, and no more than 500 lb (226.8 kg) of skates), and possession of lobsters is prohibited.

(E) Closure of Eastern U.S./Canada Area. Based upon available information, when the Regional Administrator projects that any individual TAC allocation for NE multispecies common pool or sectors specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section will be caught, NMFS shall close, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, the Eastern U.S./Canada Area to all vessels subject to that particular TAC allocation, unless otherwise allowed under this paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E). For example, if the Eastern GB cod TAC specified for common pool vessels is projected to be caught, NMFS shall close the Eastern U.S./Canada Area to all common pool vessels operating under a NE multispecies DAS. Should the Eastern U.S./Canada Area close as described in this paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E), common pool vessels fishing under a DAS may continue to fish in a SAP within the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, provided that the TAC for the target stock identified for that particular SAP (i.e., haddock for the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP or haddock or yellowtail flounder for the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP) has not been fully harvested. A vessel fishing on a sector trip may only fish in a SAP if that vessel's sector has ACE available for all stocks caught in that SAP. For example, should the GB cod TAC allocation specified for common pool vessels in paragraph (a)(2)(iii) of this section be attained, and the Eastern U.S./Canada Area closure implemented for common pool vessels, common pool vessels could continue to fish for yellowtail flounder within the SAP identified as the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP, described in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, in accordance with the requirements of that program. Upon closure of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, vessels may transit through this area as described in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, provided that its gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2, unless otherwise restricted under this part.

(v) Reporting. (A) The owner or operator of a common pool vessel must submit reports via VMS, in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day of the fishing trip when declared into either of the U.S./Canada Management Areas. The owner or operator of a sector vessel must submit daily reports via VMS, in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day of the fishing trip when declared into the Eastern U.S./Canada Area. Vessels subject to the daily reporting requirement must report daily for the entire fishing trip, regardless of what areas are fished. The reports must be submitted in 24-hr intervals for each day, beginning at 0000 hr and ending at 2359 hr, and must be submitted by 0900 hr of the following day, or as instructed by the Regional Administrator. The reports must include at least the following information:

(1) VTR serial number or other universal ID specified by the Regional Administrator;

(2) Date fish were caught and statistical area in which fish were caught; and

(3) Total pounds of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, ocean pout, Atlantic wolffish, and white hake kept (in pounds, live weight) in each statistical area, as instructed by the Regional Administrator.

(B) The Regional Administrator may remove or modify the reporting requirement for sector vessels in §648.85(a)(3)(v) in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act.

(vi) Withdrawal from U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding. At any time, the Regional Administrator, in consultation with the Council, may withdraw from the provisions of the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding described in this section, if the Understanding is determined to be inconsistent with the goals and objectives of the FMP, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or other applicable law. If the United States withdraws from the Understanding, the implementing measures, including TACs, remain in place until changed through the framework or FMP amendment process.

(vii) Transiting. A NE multispecies vessel that has declared into the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, and that is not fishing in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP described in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, may transit the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP Area, as described in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, provided all fishing gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2.

(b) Special Access Programs. A SAP is a narrowly defined fishery that results in increased access to a stock that, in the absence of such authorization, would not be allowed due to broadly applied regulations. A SAP authorizes specific fisheries targeting either NE multispecies stocks or non-multispecies stocks in order to allow an increased yield of the target stock(s) without undermining the achievement of the goals of the NE Multispecies FMP. A SAP should result in a harvest level that more closely approaches OY, without compromising efforts to rebuild overfished stocks, end overfishing, minimize bycatch, or minimize impact on EFH. Development of a SAP requires a relatively high level of fishery dependent and fishery independent information in order to be consistent with this rationale.

(1) SAPs harvesting NE multispecies. A SAP to harvest NE multispecies may be proposed by the Council and approved by NMFS through the framework process described under §648.90.

(2) SAPs harvesting stocks other than NE multispecies. A SAP to harvest stocks of fish other than NE multispecies (non-multispecies SAP) may be proposed by the Council and approved by NMFS through the framework process described under §648.90.

(3) Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP—(i) Eligibility. Any vessel issued a valid limited access NE multispecies permit fishing under a NE multispecies DAS or on a sector trip, provided the sector to which the vessel belongs has been allocated ACE for all stocks that may be caught within the Eastern U.S./Canada Area pursuant to §648.87(b)(1)(i), are eligible to participate in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP, and may fish in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock Access Area, as described in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, for the period specified in paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section, provided the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, as described in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, is not closed according to the provisions specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E) of this section, or that the sector to which a vessel belongs no longer has ACE available for all stocks caught within the Eastern U.S./Canada Area pursuant to §648.87(b)(1)(i). All eligible vessels must comply with the requirements of this section, unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(3).

(ii) Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP Area. The Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP Area is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP Area

PointN. latitudeW. longitude
Ytail 141°3067°20
Ytail 241°3066°34.8
G541°18.666°24.81
CII 241°0066°35.8
CII 141°0067°20
Ytail 141°3067°20

(iii) Season—(A) Season when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder. When the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section, eligible vessels may fish in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP from July 1 through December 31.

(B) Season when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open only to target haddock. When the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open only to target haddock, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section, eligible vessels may fish in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP from August 1 through January 31.

(iv) VMS requirement. All NE multispecies vessels fishing in the U.S./Canada Management Areas described in paragraph (a)(1) of this section must have installed on board an operational VMS unit that meets the minimum performance criteria specified in §§648.9 and 648.10.

(v) Declaration. For the purposes of selecting vessels for observer deployment, a vessel must provide notice to NMFS of the vessel name; contact name for coordination of observer deployment; telephone number for contact; date, time and port of departure; and special access program to be fished, at least 48 hr prior to the beginning of any trip that it declares into the SAP as required under this paragraph (b)(3)(v). To fish in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP, a vessel must declare into this area through the VMS prior to departure from port, in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator. A vessel declared into the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP may also fish in the area outside the Eastern U.S./Canada Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, on the same trip, provided the vessel also declares into this area prior to departure from port and fishes under the most restrictive DAS counting requirements specified in §648.10(e)(5), trip limits, and reporting requirements for the areas fished during the entire trip.

(vi) Number of trips per vessel—(A) Number of trips allowed when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder. When the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section, eligible common pool vessels are restricted to one trip per calendar month during the season described in paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section.

(B) Number of trips allowed when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open only to target haddock. When the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open only to target haddock, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section, there is no limit on the number of trips that can be taken by eligible vessels during the season described in paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section.

(vii) Opening criteria—(A) Opening the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP to target yellowtail flounder. Unless otherwise authorized by the Regional Administrator, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, the total number of allowed trips by common pool vessels that may be declared into the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP for each fishing year shall be as announced by the Regional Administrator on or about June 1, after consultation with the Council, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(vii)(B) of this section, the total number of trips by all common pool vessels that may be declared into this SAP when the SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder shall not exceed 320 per year. When determining the total number of trips, the Regional Administrator shall consider the available yellowtail flounder TAC under the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Understanding, the potential catch of GB yellowtail flounder by all vessels fishing outside of the SAP, recent discard estimates in all fisheries that catch yellowtail flounder, the expected number of SAP participants, and any other available information. If the Regional Administrator determines that the available catch, as determined by subtracting the potential catch of GB yellowtail flounder by all vessels outside of the SAP from the GB yellowtail flounder TAC allocation specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, is insufficient to allow for at least 150 trips with a possession limit of 15,000 lb (6,804 kg) of yellowtail flounder per trip, the Regional Administrator may choose not to authorize any trips into the SAP during a fishing year.

(B) Opening the CA II Yellowtail/Haddock SAP to only target haddock. If the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is not open to targeting yellowtail flounder due to an insufficient amount of yellowtail flounder TAC, or because the maximum number of trips allowed into the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP to target yellowtail flounder has been achieved pursuant to paragraph (b)(3)(vii)(A) of this section, eligible vessels may target haddock in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock Access Area, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, provided the Eastern GB haddock TAC specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section has not been caught, the Eastern U.S./Canada Area is not closed pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section; and, for vessels on a sector trip, the sector to which the sector vessel belongs has ACE remaining for the stocks caught in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area.

(viii) Trip limits. Vessels subject to the provisions of the common pool that are fishing in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP are subject to the following trip limits, unless otherwise restricted in this part. Vessels subject to the restrictions and conditions of an approved sector operations plan fishing in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP are subject to the trip limits specified in §648.87(b)(1)(ix).

(A) Yellowtail flounder trip limit—(1) Trip limits when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder. Unless otherwise authorized by the Regional Administrator as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section, a vessel subject to the provisions of the common pool that is fishing in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP may fish for, possess, and land up to 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) of yellowtail flounder per trip. The Regional Administrator may adjust this limit to a maximum of 30,000 lb (13,608 kg) per trip after considering the factors listed in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section for the maximum number of trips.

(2) Trip limits when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target haddock. Unless otherwise specified by the Regional Administrator pursuant to paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, when the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is only open to target haddock, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section, the trip limit for yellowtail flounder is specified in paragraph (b)(3)(viii)(C) of this section.

(B) Cod and haddock trip limit. Unless otherwise restricted, a common pool vessel fishing any portion of a trip in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP on a NE multispecies DAS may not fish for, possess, or land more than 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) of cod per trip, regardless of trip length. A common pool vessel fishing on a NE multispecies DAS in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is subject to the haddock requirements described in §648.86(a), unless further restricted under paragraph (a)(3)(iv) of this section.

(C) Other species trip limits. A common pool vessel fishing on a NE multispecies DAS in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP using a haddock separator trawl, a Ruhle trawl, or any other gear specified pursuant to paragraph (b)(3)(x)(B) must comply with the trip limits specified in §648.86, unless further restricted by the trip limits specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

(ix) Area fished. Eligible vessels that have declared a trip into the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP, and other areas as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(v) of this section, may not fish for, possess, or land fish in or from outside of the declared area during the same trip.

(x) Gear requirements—(A) Approved gear. When the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP is open to target yellowtail flounder, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(vii) of this section, NE multispecies vessels fishing with trawl gear must use a haddock separator trawl or a flounder trawl net, as described in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section, or the Ruhle trawl, as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J)(3) of this section (all three nets may be onboard the fishing vessel simultaneously). When this SAP is only open to target haddock, NE multispecies vessels must use a haddock separator trawl, a Ruhle trawl, or hook gear. Gear other than the haddock separator trawl, the flounder trawl, or the Ruhle trawl may be on board the vessel during a trip to the Eastern U.S./Canada Area outside of the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP, provided the gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2.

(B) Approval of additional gear. The Regional Administrator may authorize additional gear for use in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP in accordance with the standards and requirements specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J)(2) of this section.

(xi) No-discard provision and DAS flips. A vessel fishing in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP under a NE multispecies DAS or on a sector trip may not discard legal-sized regulated NE multispecies, unless the possession of the species is prohibited pursuant to §648.86, or unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(3)(xi). A vessel may discard Atlantic halibut exceeding the one fish per trip possession limit. If a vessel fishing in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP exceeds an applicable trip limit, the vessel must exit the SAP. If a common pool vessel operator fishing in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP under a Category B DAS harvests and brings on board more legal-sized regulated NE multispecies or Atlantic halibut than the maximum landing limits allowed per trip, as specified in paragraph (b)(3)(iv) or (viii) of this section, or in §648.86, the vessel operator must immediately notify NMFS via VMS to initiate a DAS flip (from a Category B DAS to a Category A DAS). Once this notification has been received by NMFS, the vessel's entire trip will accrue as a Category A DAS trip. For a vessel that notifies NMFS of a DAS flip, the Category B DAS that have accrued between the time the vessel started accruing Category B DAS (i.e., either at the beginning of the trip, or at the time the vessel crossed into the Eastern U.S./Canada Area) and the time the vessel declared its DAS flip shall be accrued as Category A DAS, and not Category B DAS.

(xii) Minimum Category A DAS. For vessels fishing under a Category B DAS, the number of Category B DAS that can be used on a trip cannot exceed the number of available Category A DAS the vessel has at the start of the trip.

(xiii) Catch distribution. All catch of GB haddock from vessels declared into the CA II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP shall be applied against the Eastern GB haddock TAC, as specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, for either common pool vessels or individual approved sectors.

(4) [Reserved]

(5) Incidental Catch TACs. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(5), Incidental Catch TACs shall be based upon the portion of the ACL for a stock specified for the common pool vessels pursuant to §648.90(a)(4), and allocated as described in this paragraph (b)(5), for each of the following stocks: GOM cod, GB cod, GB yellowtail flounder, CC/GOM yellowtail flounder, American plaice, SNE/MA winter flounder, and witch flounder. Because GB yellowtail flounder and GB cod are transboundary stocks, the incidental catch TACs for these stocks shall be based upon the common pool portion of the ACL available to U.S. vessels. NMFS shall send letters to limited access NE multispecies permit holders notifying them of such TACs.

(i) Stocks other than GB cod and GB yellowtail flounder. With the exception of GB cod and GB yellowtail flounder, 100 percent of the Incidental Catch TACs specified in this paragraph (b)(5) shall be allocated to the Regular B DAS Program described in paragraph (b)(6) of this section.

(ii) GB cod. The Incidental Catch TAC for GB cod specified in this paragraph (b)(5) shall be subdivided as follows: 50 percent to the Regular B DAS Program described in paragraph (b)(6) of this section; 16 percent to the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP described in paragraph (b)(7) of this section; and 34 percent to the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP described in paragraph (b)(8) of this section.

(iii) GB yellowtail flounder. The Incidental Catch TAC for GB yellowtail flounder specified in this paragraph (b)(5) shall be subdivided as follows: 50 percent to the Regular B DAS Program described in paragraph (b)(6) of this section and 50 percent to the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP described in paragraph (b)(8) of this section.

(6) Regular B DAS Pilot Program—(i) Eligibility. Vessels issued a valid limited access NE multispecies DAS permit and allocated Regular B DAS are eligible to participate in the Regular B DAS Program, and may elect to fish under a Regular B DAS, provided they comply with the requirements and restrictions of this paragraph (b)(6), and provided the use of Regular B DAS is not restricted according to paragraphs (b)(6)(iv)(G) or (H), or paragraph (b)(6)(vi) of this section. Vessels are required to comply with the no discarding and DAS flip requirements specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(E) of this section, and the DAS balance and accrual requirements specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(F) of this section. Vessels may fish under the B Regular DAS Program and in the U.S./Canada Management Area on the same trip, but may not fish under the Regular B DAS Program and in a SAP on the same trip.

(ii) [Reserved]

(iii) Quarterly Incidental Catch TACs. The Incidental Catch TACs specified in accordance with paragraph (b)(5) of this section shall be divided into quarterly catch TACs as follows: The first quarter shall receive 13 percent of the Incidental Catch TACs and the remaining quarters shall each receive 29 percent of the Incidental Catch TACs. NMFS shall send letters to all limited access NE multispecies permit holders notifying them of such TACs.

(iv) Program requirements—(A) VMS requirement. A NE multispecies DAS vessel fishing in the Regular B DAS Program described in paragraph (b)(6)(i) of this section must have installed on board an operational VMS unit that meets the minimum performance criteria specified in §§648.9 and 648.10.

(B) Observer notification. For the purposes of selecting vessels for observer deployment, a vessel must provide notice to NMFS of the vessel name; contact name for coordination of observer deployment; telephone number for contact; the date, time, and port of departure; and the planned fishing area or areas (GOM, GB, or SNE/MA) at least 48 hr prior to the beginning of any trip declared into the Regular B DAS Program as required by paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(C) of this section, and in accordance with the Regional Administrator's instructions. Providing notice of the area that the vessel intends to fish does not restrict the vessel's activity on that trip to that area only (i.e., the vessel operator may change his/her plans regarding planned fishing areas).

(C) VMS declaration. To participate in the Regular B DAS Program under a Regular B DAS, a vessel must declare into the Program via VMS prior to departure from port, in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator. A vessel declared into the Regular B DAS Program cannot fish in an approved SAP described under this section on the same trip. Mere declaration of a Regular B DAS Program trip does not reserve a vessel's right to fish under the Program, if the vessel has not crossed the VMS demarcation line.

(D) Landing limits. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(D), or restricted pursuant to §648.86, a NE multispecies vessel fishing in the Regular B DAS Program described in this paragraph (b)(6), and fishing under a Regular B DAS, may not land more than 100 lb (45.5 kg) per DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to a maximum of 1,000 lb (454 kg) per trip, of any of the following species/stocks from the areas specified in paragraph (b)(6)(v) of this section: Cod (both GOM and GB), American plaice, witch flounder, SNE/MA winter flounder, and GB yellowtail flounder; and may not land more than 25 lb (11.3 kg) per DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to a maximum of 250 lb (113 kg) per trip of CC/GOM yellowtail flounder. In addition, trawl vessels, which are required to fish with a haddock separator trawl, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(A) of this section, or a Ruhle trawl, as specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J) of this section, and other gear that may be required in order to reduce catches of stocks of concern as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J) of this section, are restricted to the trip limits specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

(E) No-discard provision and DAS flips. A vessel fishing in the Regular B DAS Program under a Regular B DAS may not discard legal-sized regulated species, ocean pout, or monkfish. This prohibition on discarding does not apply in areas or times where the possession or landing of regulated species or ocean pout is prohibited, as specified in §§648.85 and 648.86. If such a vessel harvests and brings on board legal-sized regulated species or ocean pout in excess of the allowable landing limits specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(D) of this section or §648.86, the vessel operator must notify NMFS immediately via VMS to initiate a DAS flip from a B DAS to an A DAS. Once this notification has been received by NMFS, the vessel shall automatically be switched by NMFS to fishing under a Category A DAS for its entire fishing trip. Thus, any Category B DAS that accrued between the time the vessel declared into the Regular B DAS Program at the beginning of the trip (i.e., at the time the vessel crossed the demarcation line at the beginning of the trip) and the time the vessel declared its DAS flip shall be accrued as Category A DAS, and not Regular B DAS. After flipping to a Category A DAS, the vessel is subject to the applicable trip limits specified in §648.85(a) or §648.86 and may discard fish in excess of the applicable trip limits.

(F) Minimum Category A DAS and B DAS accrual. For a vessel fishing under the Regular B DAS Program, the number of Regular B DAS that may be used on a trip cannot exceed the number of Category A DAS that the vessel has at the start of the trip. If a vessel is fishing in an area subject to differential DAS counting pursuant to §648.82(n)(1), the number of Regular B DAS that may be used on a trip cannot exceed the number of Category A DAS that the vessel has at the start of the trip divided by the applicable differential DAS counting factor specified in §648.82(n)(1)(ii). For example, if a vessel plans a trip under the Regular B DAS Program in the Inshore GOM Differential DAS Area during a fishing year in which the area is subject to a differential DAS counting factor of 1.2, and the vessel has 10 Category A DAS available at the start of the trip, the maximum number of Regular B DAS that the vessel may fish under the Regular B Program is 8 (10 divided by 1.2 = 8.33, but since Regular B DAS are charged in 24-hr intervals, 8 Regular B DAS is the maximum that can be used for this trip). A vessel fishing in the Regular B DAS Program for its entire trip shall accrue DAS in accordance with §648.82(e)(1).

(G) Restrictions when 100 percent of the incidental catch TAC is harvested. With the exception of white hake, when the Regional Administrator provides notification through rulemaking consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, that 100 percent of one or more of quarterly incidental TACs specified under paragraph (b)(6)(iii) of this section has projected to have been harvested, the use of Regular B DAS shall be prohibited in the pertinent stock area(s) as defined under paragraph (b)(6)(v) of this section for the duration of the calendar quarter. The closure of a stock area to all Regular B DAS use will occur even if the quarterly incidental catch TACs for other stocks in that stock area have not been completely harvested. When the Regional Administrator projects that 100 percent of the quarterly white hake incidental catch TAC specified under paragraph (b)(6)(iii) of this section has been harvested, vessels fishing under a Regular B DAS, or that complete a trip under a Regular B DAS, will be prohibited from retaining white hake.

(H) Closure of Regular B DAS Program and quarterly DAS limits. Unless otherwise closed as a result of the harvest of an Incidental Catch TAC as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(G) of this section, or as a result of an action by the Regional Administrator under paragraph (b)(6)(vi) of this section, the use of Regular B DAS shall, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, be prohibited when 500 Regular B DAS have been used during the first quarter of the fishing year (May-July), or when 1,000 Regular B DAS have been used during any of the remaining quarters of the fishing year, in accordance with §648.82(e)(1).

(I) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a NE multispecies DAS vessel must submit catch reports via VMS in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day fished when declared into the Regular B DAS Program. The reports must be submitted in 24-hr intervals for each day, beginning at 0000 hr and ending at 2359 hr. The reports must be submitted by 0900 hr of the following day. For vessels that have declared into the Regular B DAS Program in accordance with paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(C) of this section, the reports must include at least the following information: VTR serial number or other universal ID specified by the Regional Administrator; date fish were caught; statistical area fished; and the total pounds of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, and white hake kept in each statistical area (in pounds, live weight), as instructed by the Regional Administrator. Daily reporting must continue even if the vessel operator is required to flip, as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(E) of this section.

(J) Gear requirement. (1) Vessels fishing with trawl gear in the Regular B DAS Program must use the haddock separator trawl or Ruhle trawl, as described in paragraphs (a)(3)(iii)(A) and (b)(6)(iv)(J)(3) of this section, respectively, or other type of gear if approved as described in this paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J). When the vessel is fishing under the Regular B DAS Program other gear may be on board provided it is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2.

(2) Approval of additional gear. At the request of the Council or the Council's Executive Committee, the Regional Administrator may authorize additional gear for use in the Regular B DAS Program, through notice consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. The proposed gear must satisfy standards specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J)(2)(i) or (ii) of this section in a completed experiment that has been reviewed according to the standards established by the Council's research policy before the gear can be considered and approved by the Regional Administrator. Comparisons of the criteria specified in this paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J)(2) will be made to an appropriately selected control gear.

(i) The gear must show a statistically significant reduction in catch of at least 50 percent (by weight, on a trip-by-trip basis) of each regulated species stock of concern, unless otherwise allowed in this paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J)(2)(i), or other non-groundfish stocks that are overfished or subject to overfishing identified by the Council. This requirement does not apply to regulated species identified by the Council as not being subject to gear performance standards; or

(ii) The catch of each regulated species stock of concern, unless otherwise allowed in this paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J)(2)(ii), or other non-groundfish stocks that are overfished or subject to overfishing identified by the Council, must be less than 5 percent of the total catch of regulated groundfish (by weight, on a trip-by-trip basis). This requirement does not apply to regulated species identified by the Council as not being subject to gear performance standards.

(3) Ruhle Trawl. The Ruhle Trawl is a four-seam bottom groundfish trawl designed to reduce the bycatch of cod while retaining or increasing the catch of haddock, when compared to traditional groundfish trawls. A Ruhle Trawl must be constructed in accordance with the standards described and referenced in this paragraph §648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(3). The mesh size of a particular section of the Ruhle Trawl is measured in accordance with §648.80(f)(2), unless insufficient numbers of mesh exist, in which case the maximum total number of meshes in the section will be measured (between 2 and 20 meshes).

(i) The net must be constructed with four seams (i.e., a net with a top and bottom panel and two side panels), and include at least the following net sections as depicted in Figure 1 of this part (this figure is also available from the Administrator, Northeast Region): Top jib, bottom jib, jib side panels ( × 2), top wing, bottom wing, wing side panels ( × 2), bunt, square, square side panels ( × 2), first top belly, first bottom belly, first belly side panels ( × 2), and second bottom belly.

(ii) The top and bottom jibs, jib side panels, top and bottom wings, and wing side panels, bunt, and first bottom belly (the first bottom belly and all portions of the net in front of the first bottom belly, with the exception of the square and the square side panels) must be at least two meshes long in the fore and aft direction. For these net sections, the stretched length of any single mesh must be at least 7.9 ft (240 cm), measured in a straight line from knot to knot.

(iii) Mesh size in all other sections must be consistent with mesh size requirements specified under §648.80 and meet the following minimum specifications: Each mesh in the square, square side panels, and second bottom belly must be 31.5 inches (80 cm); each mesh in the first top belly, and first belly side panels must be at least 7.9 inches (20 cm); and 6 inches (15.24 cm) or larger in sections following the first top belly and second bottom belly sections, all the way to the codend. The mesh size requirements of the top sections apply to the side panel sections.

(iv) The trawl must have at least 15 meshes (240 cm each) at the wide end of the first bottom belly, excluding the gore.

(v) The trawl must have a single or multiple kite panels with a total surface area of at least 19.3 sq. ft. (1.8 sq. m) on the forward end of the square to help maximize headrope height, for the purpose of capturing rising fish. A kite panel is a flat structure, usually semi-flexible, used to modify the shape of trawl and mesh openings by providing lift when a trawl is moving through the water.

(4) Mesh size. An eligible vessel fishing in the Regular B DAS Program within the GB Cod Stock Area as defined in paragraph (b)(6)(v)(B) of this section pursuant to paragraph (b)(6) of this section must use trawl gear described in this paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J) with a minimum codend mesh size of 6-inch (15.24-cm) square or diamond mesh.

(v) Definition of stock areas. The species stock areas associated with the incidental catch TACs for the Regular B DAS Program are defined in paragraphs (b)(6)(v)(A) through (K) of this section. Where specified, these areas also identify stock areas applicable for trip limits specified in §648.86 and for determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b). Copies of a chart depicting these areas are available from the Regional Administrator upon request.

(A) GOM cod stock area. The GOM cod stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is defined as the area bounded on the north and west by the coastline of the United States, on the east by the U.S./Canadian maritime boundary, and on the south by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

GOM Cod Stock Area

Point N. latitude W. longitude
GOM1(1)70°00
GOM242°2070°00
GOM342°2067°40
GOM4(2)67°40
GOM5(3)67°40
GOM643°5067°40
GOM743°50(4)
GOM8(4)67°00
GOM9(5)67°00

1Intersection of the north-facing coastline of Cape Cod, MA, and 70°00 W. long.

2U.S./Canada maritime boundary (southern intersection with 67°40 W. long.).

3U.S./Canada maritime boundary (northern intersection with 67°40 W. long.).

4U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

5Intersection of the south-facing ME coastline and 67°00 W. long.

(B) GB cod stock area. The GB cod stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

GB Cod Stock Area

Point N. latitude W. longitude
GB1(1)70°00
GB242°2070°00
GB342°20(2)
GB435°00(2)
GB535°00(3)

1Intersection of the north-facing coastline of Cape Cod, MA, and 70°00 W. long.

2U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

3Intersection of the east-facing coastline of Outer Banks, NC, and 35°00 N. lat.

(C) CC/GOM yellowtail flounder stock area. For the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program, the CC/GOM yellowtail flounder stock area is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

CC/GOM Yellowtail Flounder Stock Area

PointN. latitudeW. longitude
CCGOM 143°00(1)
CCGOM 243°0070°00
CCGOM 342°3070°00
CCGOM 442°3069°30
CCGOM 541°3069°30
CCGOM 641°3069°00
CCGOM 741°0069°00
CCGOM 841°0069°30
CCGOM 541°3069°30
CCGOM 941°3070°00
CCGOM 10(2)70°00
CCGOM 1142°0070°00
CCGOM 1242°00(3)
CCGOM 1342°00(4)
CCGOM 1442°00(5)

1Intersection with the NH coastline.

2Intersection of the south-facing shoreline of Cape Cod, MA.

3Intersection with the east-facing shoreline of Cape Cod, MA.

4Intersection with the west-facing shoreline of Cape Cod, MA.

5Intersection with the east-facing shoreline of Massachusetts.

(D) American plaice stock area. The American plaice stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

American Plaice Stock Area

Point N. latitude W. longitude
AMP1(1)67°00
AMP2(2)67°00
AMP343°50(2)
AMP443°5067°40
AMP5(3)67°40
AMP6(4)67°40
AMP742°3067°40
AMP842°30(2)
AMP935°00(2)
AMP1035°00(5)

1Intersection of south-facing ME coastline and 67°00 W. long.

2U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

3U.S./Canada maritime boundary (northern intersection with 67°40 N. lat.).

4U.S./Canada maritime boundary (southern intersection with 67°40 N. lat.)

5Intersection of east-facing coastline of Outer Banks, NC, and 35°00 N. lat.

(E) SNE/MA yellowtail flounder stock area. For the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program, the SNE/MA stock area is the area bounded on the north, east, and south by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

SNE/MA Yellowtail Flounder Stock Area

PointN. latitudeW. longitude
SNEMA140°0074°00
SNEMA240°0072°00
SNEMA340°3072°00
SNEMA440°3069°30
SNEMA541°1069°30
SNEMA641°1069°50
SNEMA741°2069°50
SNEMA841°20(1)
SNEMA9(2)70°00
SNEMA1041°0070°00
SNEMA1141°0070°30
SNEMA12(3)70°30
SNEMA13(4)72°00
SNEMA14(5)72°00
SNEMA15(6)73°00
SNEMA1640°3073°00
SNEMA1740°3074°00
SNEMA140°0074°00

1East-facing shoreline of Nantucket, MA.

2South-facing shoreline of Nantucket, MA.

3Intersection of the south-facing shoreline of Cape Cod, MA.

4South-facing shoreline of CT.

5North-facing shoreline of Long Island, NY.

6South-facing shoreline of Long Island, NY.

(F) SNE/MA winter flounder stock area. The SNE winter flounder stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program and identifying stock areas for trip limits specified in §§648.86 and 648.89 is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

SNE/MA Winter Flounder Stock Area

Point N. latitude W. longitude
1(1)70°00
242°2070°00
342°2068°50
439°5068°50
539°5069°00
639°0069°00
739°00(2)
835°00(2)
935°00(3)

1Intersection of the north-facing Coastline of Cape Cod, MA, and 70°00 W. long.

2U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

3The intersection of the east-facing coastline of Outer Banks, NC, and 35°00 N. lat.

(G) Witch flounder stock area. The witch flounder stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is the area bounded on the north and west by the coastline of the United States, bounded on the south and east by a line running east from the intersection of the east-facing coastline of Outer Banks, NC, at 35°00 N. lat. to the boundary of the EEZ, and running northward to the U.S.-Canada border.

(H) GB yellowtail flounder stock area. The GB yellowtail flounder stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program, identifying stock areas for trip limits specified in §648.86, and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is the area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

GB Yellowtail Flounder Stock Area

Point N. latitude W. longitude
USCA142°2068°50
USCA1642°20(1)
USCA539°00(1)
USCA1739°0069°00
USCA1839°5069°00
USCA239°5068°50
USCA142°2068°50

1U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

(I) GB winter flounder stock area. The GB winter flounder stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program, identifying stock areas for trip limits specified in §648.86, and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is the area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

GB Winter Flounder Stock Area

Point N. latitude W. longitude
USCA142°2068°50
USCA1642°20(1)
USCA539°00(1)
USCA1739°0069°00
USCA1839°5069°00
USCA239°5068°50
USCA142°2068°50

1U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

(J) White hake stock area. The white hake stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program, identifying stock areas for trip limits specified in §648.86, and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is the area bounded on the north and west by the coastline of the United States, bounded on the south and east by a line running east from the intersection of the east-facing coastline of Outer Banks, NC, at 35°00 N. lat. to the boundary of the EEZ, and running northward to the U.S.-Canada border.

(K) Pollock stock area. The pollock stock area, for the purposes of the Regular B DAS Program and determining areas applicable to sector allocations of ACE pursuant to §648.87(b), is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

Pollock Stock Area

Point N. latitude W. longitude
P1(1)67°00
P2(2)67°00
P343°50(2)
P443°5067°40
P5(3)67°40
P6(4)67°40
P742°3067°40
P842°30(2)
P935°00(2)
P1035°00(5)

1Intersection of south-facing ME coastline and 67°00 W. long.

2U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

3U.S./Canada maritime boundary (northern intersection with 67°40 N. lat.).

4U.S./Canada maritime boundary (southern intersection with 67°40 N. lat.).

5Intersection of east-facing coastline of Outer Banks, NC, and 35°00 N. lat.

(vi) Closure of the Regular B DAS Program. The Regional Administrator, based upon information required under §§648.7, 648.9, 648.10, or 648.85, and any other relevant information may, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, prohibit the use of Regular B DAS for the duration of a quarter or fishing year, if it is projected that continuation of the Regular B DAS Program would undermine the achievement of the objectives of the FMP or Regular B DAS Program. Reasons for terminating the program include, but are not limited to the following: Inability to constrain catches to the Incidental Catch TACs; evidence of excessive discarding; a significant difference in flipping rates between observed and unobserved trips; or insufficient observer coverage to adequately monitor the program.

(7) CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP—(i) Eligibility. A vessel issued a valid limited access NE multispecies permit operating under a NE multispecies DAS or on a sector trip, provided the sector to which the vessel belongs has been allocated ACE for all stocks caught within the CA I Hook Gear Haddock Access Area pursuant to §648.87(b)(1)(i), is eligible to participate in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP and may fish in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock Access Area, as described in paragraph (b)(7)(ii) of this section, for the season specified in paragraph (b)(7)(iii) of this section, provided any such vessel complies with the requirements of this section, the SAP is not closed according to the provisions specified in paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(H) or (b)(7)(vi)(F) of this section, or the sector in which the vessel is participating no longer has ACE available for all stocks caught within the CA I Hook Gear Haddock Access Area pursuant to §648.87(b)(1)(i). Copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request.

(ii) CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area. The CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area

PointN. latitudeW. longitude
Hook 141°0968°30
CI441°3068°30
CI141°3069°23
Hook 241°0469°01.1

(iii) Season. The season for the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP is May 1 through January 31.

(iv) General program restrictions. General program restrictions specified in this paragraph (b)(7)(iv) apply to all eligible vessels, as specified in paragraph (b)(7)(i) of this section. Further program restrictions specific to sector and common pool vessels are specified in paragraphs (b)(7)(v) and (vi) of this section, respectively.

(A) DAS use restrictions. A vessel fishing in the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP under a NE multispecies DAS may not initiate a DAS flip. A vessel is prohibited from fishing in the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP while making a trip under the Regular B DAS Program described in paragraph (b)(6) of this section. DAS will be charged as described in §648.10.

(B) VMS requirement. An eligible NE multispecies vessel fishing in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP specified in this paragraph (b)(7) must have installed on board an operational VMS unit that meets the minimum performance criteria specified in §§648.9 and 648.10.

(C) Observer notifications. For the purpose of selecting vessels for observer deployment, a vessel must provide notice to NMFS of the vessel name; contact name for coordination of observer deployment; telephone number for contact; and date, time, and port of departure at least 48 hr prior to the beginning of any trip that it declares into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, as required in paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(C) of this section, and in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator.

(D) VMS declaration. To fish in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP prior to departure from port, a vessel must declare into the SAP via VMS, and, for a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS, indicate the type of DAS that it intends to fish, prior to departure from port, as instructed by the Regional Administrator. A vessel declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP may fish only in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock Special Access Area described in paragraph (b)(7)(ii) of this section on a declared trip.

(E) Gear restrictions. A vessel declared into, and fishing in, the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP may fish with and possess on board demersal longline gear or tub trawl gear only, unless further restricted as specified in paragraphs (b)(7)(v)(A) and (vi)(B) of this section.

(F) Haddock TAC. The maximum total amount of haddock that may be caught (landings and discards) in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area in any fishing year is based upon the size of the TAC allocated for the 2004 fishing year (1,130 mt live weight), adjusted according to the growth or decline of the western GB (WGB) haddock exploitable biomass (in relationship to its size in 2004), according to the following formula: BiomassYEAR X = (1,130 mt live weight) × (Projected WGB Haddock ExploitableBiomassYEAR X/WGB Haddock Exploitable Biomass2004). The size of the western component of the stock is considered to be 35 percent of the total stock size, unless modified by a stock assessment. The Regional Administrator shall specify the haddock TAC for the SAP, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act.

(G) Trip restrictions. A vessel is prohibited from deploying fishing gear outside of the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area on the same fishing trip on which it is declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP. A vessel operating under a NE multispecies DAS must end the trip if the vessel exceeds the applicable landing limits described in paragraphs (b)(7)(v)(B) and (b)(7)(vi)(C) of this section.

(H) Landing limits. For all vessels legally declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP described in paragraph (b)(7)(i) of this section, landing limits for NE multispecies are specified in paragraphs (b)(7)(v)(B) and (b)(7)(vi)(C) of this section, respectively. Unless otherwise restricted by §648.86, such vessels are prohibited from discarding legal-sized regulated species and ocean pout, and must exit the SAP and cease fishing if any trip limit is achieved or exceeded.

(I) Mandatory closure of CA I Hook Gear Haddock Access Area. When the Regional Administrator determines that the haddock TAC specified in paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(F) of this section has been caught, NMFS shall close, in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area as specified in paragraph (b)(7)(ii) of this section, to all eligible vessels, including both common pool and sector vessels.

(v) Sector vessel program restrictions. In addition to the general program restrictions specified in paragraph (b)(7)(iv) of this section, a sector vessel declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP is also required to comply with the restrictions specified in this paragraph (b)(7)(v).

(A) Gear restrictions. A sector vessel is subject to the gear requirements of the sector Operations Plan as approved under §648.87(c) and those specified under paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(E) of this section.

(B) Landing limits. A sector vessel declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP described in paragraph (b)(7)(i) of this section is subject to the landing limits for regulated species in effect under the sector's Operations Plan, as approved under §648.87(c).

(C) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a sector vessel declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP must submit reports to the sector Manager, consistent with instructions to be provided by the sector Manager, for each day fished in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area. The sector Manager shall provide daily reports to NMFS, including at least the following information: Total pounds of haddock, cod, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, ocean pout, Atlantic halibut, Atlantic wolffish, and white hake kept; total pounds of haddock, cod, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, ocean pout, Atlantic halibut, Atlantic wolffish, and white hake discarded; date fish were caught; and VTR serial numbers for each trip declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP, as instructed by the Regional Administrator. Daily reporting must continue even if the vessel operator is required to exit the SAP as required under paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(G) or (H) of this section.

(D) Incidental catch TACs. There are no incidental catch TACs specified for regulated species or ocean pout for sector vessels declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP. All regulated species or ocean pout caught by sector vessels fishing in the SAP count toward the sector's annual ACE for each stock, as specified in §648.87(b)(1)(i).

(vi) Common pool vessel program restrictions. In addition to the general program restrictions specified in paragraph (b)(7)(iv) of this section, a common pool vessel declared into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP is also required to comply with the restrictions specified in this paragraph (b)(7)(vi).

(A) DAS use restrictions. A common pool vessel may only use Regular B or Reserve B DAS, in accordance with §648.82(d)(2)(i)(A) and (d)(2)(ii)(A). A common pool vessel is prohibited from using Category A DAS and may not initiate a DAS flip when declared into the SAP. A common pool vessel is prohibited from fishing in the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP while making a trip under the Regular B DAS Program described under paragraph (b)(6) of this section. DAS will be charged as described in §648.10.

(B) Gear restrictions. A common pool vessel is exempt from the maximum number of hooks restriction specified in §648.80(a)(4)(v), but must comply with the gear restrictions in paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(E) of this section. Such vessels are prohibited from using as bait, or possessing on board, squid or mackerel during a trip into the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP.

(C) Landing limits. A common pool vessel may not land, fish for, or possess on board more than 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) of cod per trip. A common pool vessel is not permitted to discard legal-sized cod prior to reaching the landing limit, and is required to end its trip if the cod trip limit is achieved or exceeded.

(D) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a common pool vessel must submit reports via VMS, in accordance with instructions to be provided by the Regional Administrator, for each day fished in the Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area. The reports must be submitted in 24-hr intervals for each day fished, beginning at 0000 hr local time and ending at 2359 hr local time. The reports must be submitted by 0900 hr local time of the day following fishing. The reports must include at least the following information: VTR serial number or other universal ID specified by the Regional Administrator; date fish were caught; statistical area fished; and the total pounds of cod, haddock, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, witch flounder, pollock, American plaice, redfish, Atlantic halibut, and white hake kept in each statistical area (in pounds, live weight), specified in §648.10(k)(3), as instructed by the Regional Administrator. Daily reporting must continue even if the vessel operator is required to exit the SAP as required under paragraph (b)(7)(iv)(G) of this section.

(E) Incidental catch TACs. The maximum amount of GB cod and pollock (landings and discards) that may be cumulatively caught by a common pool vessel from the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area in a fishing year is the amount specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of this section.

(F) Mandatory closure of CA I Hook Gear Haddock Access Area due to catch of any incidental catch TAC. When the Regional Administrator determines that either the GB cod or pollock incidental catch TAC specified in paragraph (b)(7)(vi)(E) of this section has been caught, the CA I Hook Gear Haddock SAP Area shall be closed to all common pool vessels in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act.

(8) Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP—(i) Eligibility. A vessel issued a valid limited access NE multispecies permit and fishing with trawl gear as specified in paragraph (b)(8)(v)(E) of this section while operating under a NE multispecies DAS or on a sector trip, provided the sector to which the vessel belongs has been allocated ACE for all stocks caught within the Eastern U.S./Canada Area pursuant to §648.87(b)(1)(i), is eligible to participate in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP and may fish in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Area, as described in paragraph (b)(8)(ii) of this section, during the season specified in paragraph (b)(8)(iv) of this section, provided such vessel complies with the requirements of this section and provided the SAP is not closed according to the provisions specified in paragraph (b)(8)(v)(K) or (L) of this section, the Eastern U.S./Canada Area is not closed as described under paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E) of this section, or the sector to which the vessel belongs no longer has ACE available for all stocks caught within the Eastern U.S./Canada Area pursuant to §648.87(b)(1)(i).

(ii) Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Area. The Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Area is the area defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated:

Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Area

PointN. Lat.W. Long.
CAII342° 2267° 20(1)
SAP142° 2067° 20
SAP242° 2067° 40
SAP341° 1067° 40
SAP441° 1067° 20
SAP542° 1067° 20
SAP642° 1067° 10
CAII342° 2267° 20(1)

(1) U.S./Canada maritime boundary.

(iii) [Reserved]

(iv) Season. An eligible vessel may fish in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP from August 1 through December 31.

(v) Program restrictions—(A) Area and DAS use restrictions. A common pool vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP may elect to fish under a Category A or Category B DAS in accordance with §648.82(d)(2), or in multiple areas in accordance with the restrictions of this paragraph (b)(8)(v)(A). A vessel on a sector trip in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP may elect to fish in multiple areas in accordance with the restrictions of this paragraph (b)(8)(v)(A).

(1) If fishing under a Category B DAS, a vessel is required to comply with the no discarding and DAS flip requirements specified in paragraph (b)(8)(v)(I) of this section, and the minimum Category A DAS requirements of paragraph (b)(8)(v)(J) of this section.

(2) A vessel that is declared into the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP described in paragraph (b)(8)(i) of this section may fish, on the same trip, in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Area and in the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP Area, as described in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section, and, for common pool vessels fishing a NE multispecies DAS, while under either a Category A DAS or a Category B DAS.

(3) A vessel may choose, on the same trip, to fish in either/both the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Program and the Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder/Haddock SAP Area, and in the portion of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area described in paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section that lies outside of these two SAPs, provided a common pool vessel fishes under a Category A DAS and all eligible vessels comply with the VMS restrictions of paragraph (b)(8)(v)(D) of this section. Such a vessel may also elect to fish outside of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area on the same trip, in accordance with the restrictions of paragraph (a)(3)(ii)(A) of this section.

(4) A common pool vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS that elects to fish in multiple areas, as described in this paragraph (b)(8)(v)(A), must fish under the most restrictive DAS counting requirements specified in §648.10(e)(5), trip limits, and reporting requirements of the areas fished for the entire trip. A vessel on a sector trip that elects to fish in multiple areas, as described in this paragraph (b)(8)(v)(A), must comply with the most restrictive reporting requirements of the areas fished for the entire trip, unless otherwise specified by the Regional Administrator in a manner consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act.

(B) VMS requirement. A vessel issued a limited access NE multispecies permit fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Program specified in paragraph (b)(8)(i) of this section must have installed on board an operational VMS unit that meets the minimum performance criteria specified in §§648.9 and 648.10.

(C) Observer notifications. For the purpose of selecting vessels for observer deployment, a vessel must provide notice to NMFS of the vessel name; contact name for coordination of observer deployment; telephone number for contact; areas to be fished; and date, time, and port of departure at least 48 hours prior to the beginning of any trip that it declares into the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Program specified in paragraph (b)(8)(i) of this section, as required under paragraph (b)(8)(v)(D) of this section, and in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator.

(D) VMS declaration. To fish in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP, a vessel issued a limited access NE multispecies permit must declare into the SAP via VMS and provide information on the areas within the Eastern U.S./Canada Area that it intends to fish and the type of DAS (Category A, Regular B, or Reserve B) that it intends to fish, if operating under the provisions of the common pool, prior to departure from port, in accordance with paragraph (b)(8)(v)(A) of this section and any instructions provided by the Regional Administrator.

(E) Gear requirement—(1) Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(8)(v)(E)(1), a vessel issued a limited access NE multispecies permit fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP must use the haddock separator trawl or the Ruhle Trawl, as described in paragraphs (a)(3)(iii)(A) and (b)(6)(iv)(J)(3) of this section, respectively, or another type of gear, if approved as described in this paragraph (b)(8)(v)(E). A vessel on a sector trip in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP is not restricted to only using the haddock separator trawl or the Ruhle trawl, but may use any gear authorized in paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section, unless otherwise restricted by a sector operations plan approved pursuant to §648.87(c). Other gear may be on board the vessel when on a trip in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP, provided that the gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2.

(2) Approval of additional gear. The Regional Administrator may authorize additional gear for use in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP in accordance with the standards and requirements specified at §648.85(b)(6)(iv)(J)(2).

(F) Landing limits. Unless otherwise restricted under this part, a vessel fishing any portion of a trip in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP under a NE multispecies DAS may not fish for, possess, or land more than 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) of cod, per trip, regardless of trip length. A common pool vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP under a NE multispecies DAS is subject to the haddock requirements described in §648.86(a), unless further restricted under paragraph (a)(3)(iv) of this section. A common pool vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP may not land more than 100 lb (45.5 kg) per DAS, or any part of a DAS, of GB yellowtail flounder, up to a maximum of 500 lb (227 kg) of all flatfish species, combined. Possession of monkfish (whole weight) and skates (whole weight) is limited to 500 lb (227 kg) each, unless otherwise restricted by §648.94(b)(3), and possession of lobsters is prohibited. Possession limits for all other stocks are as specified in §648.86.

(G) Reporting requirements. The owner or operator of a vessel declared into the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP, as described in paragraph (b)(8) of this section, must submit reports in accordance with the reporting requirements described in paragraph (a)(3)(v) of this section.

(H) Incidental TACs. The maximum amount of GB cod and GB yellowtail flounder, both landings and discards, that may be caught when fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Program in a fishing year by vessels fishing under a Category B DAS, as authorized in paragraph (b)(8)(v)(A) of this section, is the amount specified in paragraphs (b)(5)(ii) and (iii) of this section. All regulated species and ocean pout caught by a vessel on a sector trip will be applied against the ACE for each stock that is specified for the sector in which the vessel participates.

(I) No discard provision and DAS flips. A vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Program may not discard legal-sized regulated or ocean pout unless otherwise required due to a prohibition of the possession of such species specified in this part. If a common pool vessel fishing in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP under a Category B DAS exceeds the applicable maximum landing limit per trip specified in paragraph (b)(8)(v)(F) of this section, or in §648.86, the vessel operator must retain the fish and immediately notify NMFS via VMS to initiate a DAS flip (from a Category B DAS to a Category A DAS). After flipping to a Category A DAS, the vessel is subject to all applicable landing limits specified in §648.85(a) or §648.86. If a common pool vessel fishing in this SAP while under a Category B DAS or a Category A DAS exceeds a trip limit specified in paragraph (b)(8)(v)(F) of this section or §648.86, or other applicable trip limit, the vessel must immediately exit the SAP area defined in paragraph (b)(8)(ii) of this section for the remainder of the trip. For a common pool vessel that notifies NMFS of a DAS flip, the Category B DAS that have accrued between the time the vessel started accruing Category B DAS and the time the vessel declared its DAS flip will be accrued as Category A DAS pursuant to §648.82(e)(1), and not Category B DAS.

(J) Minimum Category A DAS. To fish under a Category B DAS, the number of Category B DAS that can be used on a trip cannot exceed the number of available Category A DAS the vessel has at the start of the trip.

(K) Mandatory closure of Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP. When the Regional Administrator projects that one or more of the TAC allocations specified in paragraph (b)(8)(v)(H) of this section has been caught by vessels fishing under Category B DAS, NMFS shall prohibit the use of Category B DAS in the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP, through publication in the Federal Register consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act. In addition, the closure regulations described in paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(E) of this section shall apply to the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Program.

(L) General closure of the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Area. The Regional Administrator, based upon information required under §648.7, 648.9, 648.10, or 648.85, and any other relevant information may, through rulemaking consistent with the Administrative Procedure Act, close the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Pilot Program for the duration of the season, if it is determined that continuation of the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Pilot Program would undermine the achievement of the objectives of the FMP or the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Pilot Program.

(c) Scallop fishery closed area access program. Limited access scallop vessels operating under the Sea Scallop Area Access Program, as defined in §648.59, and fishing in accordance with the regulations at §648.60 may possess and land up to 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) of all NE multispecies combined, as provided in §648.60(a)(5)(ii), unless otherwise restricted in this section.

(d) Authorized gear performance standards. Unless otherwise restricted in this part, in areas and times when a special management program, as specified in this section, requires the use of gear authorized by that program to reduce catches of stocks of concern, participating vessels are restricted to the following trip limits: 500 lb (227 kg) of all flatfish species (American plaice, witch flounder, winter flounder, windowpane flounder, and GB yellowtail flounder), combined; 500 lb (227 kg) of monkfish (whole weight); 500 lb (227 kg) of skates (whole weight); and zero possession of lobsters, unless otherwise restricted by §648.94(b)(3).

[69 FR 22975, Apr. 27, 2004]

Editorial Note: For Federal Register citations affecting §648.85, see the List of CFR Sections Affected, which appears in the Finding Aids section of the printed volume and at www.govinfo.gov.

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