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

Title 50Chapter VIPart 648 → Subpart B


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES


Subpart B—Management Measures for the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries


Contents
§648.20   Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) control rules.
§648.21   Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council risk policy.
§648.22   Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish specifications.
§648.23   Mackerel, squid, and butterfish gear restrictions.
§648.24   Fishery closures and accountability measures.
§648.25   Atlantic Mackerel, squid, and butterfish framework adjustments to management measures.
§648.26   Mackerel, squid, and butterfish possession restrictions.

§648.20   Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) control rules.

The SSC shall review the following criteria, and any additional relevant information, to assign managed stocks to one of four types of control rules based on the species' assessments and its treatment of uncertainty when developing ABC recommendations. The SSC shall review the ABC control rule assignment for stocks each time an ABC is recommended. ABCs may be recommended for up to three years for all stocks, with the exception of five years for spiny dogfish. The SCC may specify constant, multi-year ABCs, derived from the average of ABCs (or average risk of overfishing) if the average probability of overfishing remains between zero and 40 percent, and does not exceed a 50-percent probability in any given year. The average ABCs may remain constant for up to three years for all stocks, with the exception of five years for spiny dogfish. The SSC may deviate from the control rule methods and recommend an ABC that differs from the result of the ABC control rule application; however, any such deviation must include the following: A description of why the deviation is warranted; description of the methods used to derive the alternative ABC; and an explanation of how the deviation is consistent with National Standard 2. The four types of ABC control rules are described below.

(a) ABC control rule for a stock with an OFL probability distribution that is analytically-derived and accepted by the SSC. (1) The SSC determines that the assessment OFL and the assessment's treatment of uncertainty are acceptable, based on the following:

(i) All important sources of scientific uncertainty are captured in the stock assessment model;

(ii) The probability distribution of the OFL is calculated within the stock assessment and adequately describes the OFL uncertainty;

(iii) The stock assessment model structure and treatment of the data prior to use in the model include relevant details of the biology of the stock, fisheries that exploit the stock, and data collection methods;

(iv) The stock assessment provides the following estimates: Fishing mortality rate (F) at MSY or an acceptable proxy maximum fishing mortality threshold (MFMT) to define OFL, biomass, biological reference points, stock status, OFL, and the respective uncertainties associated with each value; and

(v) No substantial retrospective patterns exist in the stock assessment estimates of fishing mortality, biomass, and recruitment.

(2) An ABC for stocks with an accepted OFL probability distribution that is analytically-derived will be determined by applying the acceptable probability of overfishing from the MAFMC's risk policy found in §648.21(a) through (d) to the probability distribution of the OFL.

(b) ABC control rule for a stock with an OFL probability distribution that is modified by the assessment team and accepted by the SSC. (1) The SSC determines the assessment OFL is acceptable and the SSC accepts the assessment team's modifications to the analytically-derived OFL probability distribution, based on the following:

(i) Key features of the stock biology, the fisheries that exploit it, and/or the data collection methods for stock information are missing from, or poorly estimated in, the stock assessment;

(ii) The stock assessment provides reference points (which may be proxies), stock status, and uncertainties associated with each; however, the uncertainty is not fully promulgated through the stock assessment model and/or some important sources of uncertainty may be lacking;

(iii) The stock assessment provides estimates of the precision of biomass, fishing mortality, and reference points;

(iv) The accuracy of the minimum fishing mortality threshold and projected future biomass is estimated in the stock assessment using ad hoc methods; and

(v) The modified OFL probability distribution provided by the assessment team acceptably addresses the uncertainty of the assessment.

(2) An ABC for stocks with an OFL probability distribution that is modified by the assessment team and accepted by the SSC will be determined by applying the acceptable probability of overfishing from the MAFMC's risk policy found in §648.21(a) through (d) to the probability distribution of the OFL as modified by the assessment team.

(c) ABC control rule for a stock with an OFL probability distribution that is modified by the SSC. (1) The SSC determines the assessment OFL is acceptable but the SSC derives the appropriate uncertainty for OFL based on meta-analysis and other considerations. This requires the SSC to determine that the stock assessment does not contain an estimated probability distribution of OFL or the OFL probability distribution in the stock assessment is judged by the SSC to not adequately reflect uncertainty in the OFL estimate.

(2) An ABC for stocks with an OFL probability distribution that is modified by the SSC will be determined by either:

(i) Applying the acceptable probability of overfishing from the MAFMC's risk policy found in §648.21(a) through (d) to the SSC-adjusted OFL probability distribution. The SSC will use default assignments of uncertainty in the adjusted OFL probability distribution based on literature review and valuation of control rule performance; or,

(ii) If the SSC cannot develop an OFL probability distribution, a default control rule of 75 percent of the FMSY value will be applied to derive ABC.

(d) ABC control rule for when an OFL cannot be specified. (1) The SSC determines that the OFL cannot be specified given the available information.

(2) An ABC for stocks with an OFL that cannot be specified will be determined by using control rules based on biomass and catch history and application of the MAFMC's risk policy found in §648.21(a) through (d).

[83 FR 15512, Apr. 11, 2018]

§648.21   Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council risk policy.

The risk policy shall be used by the SSC in conjunction with the ABC control rules in §648.20(a) through (d) to ensure the MAFMC's preferred tolerance for the risk of overfishing is addressed in the ABC development and recommendation process.

(a) Stocks under a rebuilding plan. The probability of not exceeding the F necessary to rebuild the stock within the specified time frame (rebuilding F or FREBUILD) must be at least 50 percent, unless the default level is modified to a higher probability for not exceeding the rebuilding F through the formal stock rebuilding plan. A higher probability of not exceeding the rebuilding F would be expressed as a value greater than 50 percent (e.g., 75-percent probability of not exceeding rebuilding F, which corresponds to a 25-percent probability of exceeding rebuilding F).

(b) Stocks not subject to a rebuilding plan. (1) For stocks determined by the SSC to have an atypical life history, the maximum probability of overfishing as informed by the OFL distribution will be 35 percent for stocks with a ratio of biomass (B) to biomass at MSY (BMSY) of 1.0 or higher (i.e., the stock is at BMSY or higher). The maximum probability of overfishing shall decrease linearly from the maximum value of 35 percent as the B/BMSY ratio becomes less than 1.0 (i.e., the stock biomass less than BMSY) until the probability of overfishing becomes zero at a B/BMSY ratio of 0.10. An atypical life history is generally defined as one that has greater vulnerability to exploitation and whose characteristics have not been fully addressed through the stock assessment and biological reference point development process.

(2) For stocks determined by the SSC to have a typical life history, the maximum probability of overfishing as informed by the OFL distribution will be 40 percent for stocks with a ratio of B to BMSY of 1.0 or higher (i.e., the stock is at BMSY or higher). The maximum probability of overfishing shall decrease linearly from the maximum value of 40 percent as the B/BMSY ratio becomes less 1.0 (stock biomass less than BMSY) until the probability of overfishing becomes zero at a B/BMSY ratio of 0.10. Stocks with typical life history are those not meeting the criteria in paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(c) Most restrictive ABC recommendation. (1) Unless otherwise allowed in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, for instances in which the application of the risk policy approaches in either paragraph (b)(1) or (2) of this section using OFL distribution, as applicable given life history determination, results in a more restrictive ABC recommendation than the calculation of ABC derived from the use of FREBUILD at the MAFMC-specified overfishing risk level as outlined in paragraph (a) of this section, the SSC shall recommend to the MAFMC the lower of the ABC values.

(2) The SSC may specify higher 2019-2023 ABCs for Atlantic mackerel based on FREBUILD instead of the methods outlined in paragraph (a) of this section to implement a rebuilding program that would rebuild this stock by 2023.

(d) Stock without an OFL or OFL proxy. (1) If an OFL cannot be determined from the stock assessment, or if a proxy is not provided by the SSC during the ABC recommendation process, ABC levels may not be increased until such time that an OFL has been identified.

(2) The SSC may deviate from paragraph (d)(1) of this section, provided that the following two criteria are met: Biomass-based reference points indicate that the stock is greater than BMSY and stock biomass is stable or increasing, or if biomass based reference points are not available, best available science indicates that stock biomass is stable or increasing; and the SSC provides a determination that, based on best available science, the recommended increase to the ABC is not expected to result in overfishing. Any such deviation must include a description of why the increase is warranted, description of the methods used to derive the alternative ABC, and a certification that the ABC is not likely to result in overfishing on the stock.

[76 FR 60616, Sept. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 51857, Aug. 27, 2012; 84 FR 58058, Oct. 30, 2019]

§648.22   Atlantic mackerel, squid, and butterfish specifications.

(a) Initial recommended annual specifications. The Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Monitoring Committee (Monitoring Committee) shall meet annually to develop and recommend the following specifications for consideration by the Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Committee of the MAFMC:

(1) Illex squid—Initial OY (IOY), including Research Set-Aside (RSA), domestic annual harvest (DAH), and domestic annual processing (DAP) for Illex squid, which, subject to annual review, may be specified for a period of up to 3 years;

(2) Butterfish—ACL; ACT including RSA, DAH, DAP; bycatch level of the total allowable level of foreign fishing (TALFF), if any; and butterfish mortality cap for the longfin squid fishery for butterfish; which, subject to annual review, may be specified for a period of up to 3 years;

(3) Atlantic mackerel—ACL; commercial ACT, including RSA, DAH, mackerel Tier 3 allocation (up to 7 percent of the DAH), DAP; joint venture processing (JVP) if any; TALFF, if any; and recreational ACT, including RSA for mackerel; which, subject to annual review, may be specified for a period of up to 3 years. The Monitoring Committee may also recommend that certain ratios of TALFF, if any, for mackerel to purchases of domestic harvested fish and/or domestic processed fish be established in relation to the initial annual amounts.

(4) Longfin squid

(i) IOY, including RSA, DAH, and DAP for longfin squid, which, subject to annual review, may be specified for a period of up to 3 years; and

(ii) Inseason adjustment, upward or downward, to the specifications for longfin squid, as specified in paragraph (e) of this section.

(b) Guidelines. As the basis for its recommendations under paragraph (a) of this section, the Monitoring Committee shall review the best available data to recommend specifications consistent with the following:

(1) Longfin and/or Illex squid. (i) The ABC for any fishing year must be either the maximum OY, or a lower amount, if stock assessments indicate that the potential yield is less than the maximum OY. The OYs specified during a fishing year may not exceed the following amounts:

(A) Longfin squid—The catch associated with a fishing mortality rate of FThreshold.

(B) Illex squid—Catch associated with a fishing mortality rate of FMSY.

(ii) IOY is a modification of ABC based on social and economic factors. The IOY is composed of RSA and DAH. RSA will be based on requests for research quota as described in paragraph (g) of this section. DAH will be set after deduction for RSA, if applicable.

(2) Mackerel—(i) ABC. The MAFMC's SSC shall recommend a stock-wide ABC to the MAFMC, as described in §648.20. The stock-wide mackerel ABC is reduced from the OFL based on an adjustment for scientific uncertainty; the stock-wide ABC must be less than or equal to the OFL.

(ii) ACL. The ACL or Domestic ABC is calculated using the formula ACL/Domestic ABC = stock-wide ABC − C, where C is the estimated catch of mackerel in Canadian waters for the upcoming fishing year.

(iii) OY. OY may not exceed the ACL, and must take into account the need to prevent overfishing while allowing the fishery to achieve OY on a continuing basis. OY is prescribed on the basis of MSY, as reduced by social, economic, and ecological factors.

(iv) ACT. The Monitoring Committee shall identify and review relevant sources of management uncertainty to recommend ACTs for the commercial and recreational fishing sectors as part of the specifications process.

(A) Commercial sector ACT. Commercial ACT is composed of RSA, DAH, Tier 3 allocation (up to 7 percent of DAH), dead discards, and TALFF, if any. RSA will be based on requests for research quota as described in paragraph (g) of this section. DAH, Tier 3 allocation (up to 7 of the DAH), DAP, and JVP will be set after deduction for RSA, if applicable, and must be projected by reviewing data from sources specified in paragraph (b) of this section and other relevant data, including past domestic landings, projected amounts of mackerel necessary for domestic processing and for joint ventures during the fishing year, projected recreational landings, and other data pertinent for such a projection. The JVP component of DAH is the portion of DAH that domestic processors either cannot or will not use. Economic considerations for the establishment of JVP and TALFF include:

(1) Total world export potential of mackerel producing countries.

(2) Total world import demand of mackerel consuming countries.

(3) U.S. export potential based on expected U.S. harvests, expected U.S. consumption, relative prices, exchange rates, and foreign trade barriers.

(4) Increased/decreased revenues to the U.S. from foreign fees.

(5) Increased/decreased revenues to U.S. harvesters (with/without joint ventures).

(6) Increased/decreased revenues to U.S. processors and exporters.

(7) Increases/decreases in U.S. harvesting productivity due to decreases/increases in foreign harvest.

(8) Increases/decreases in U.S. processing productivity.

(9) Potential impact of increased/decreased TALFF on foreign purchases of U.S. products and services and U.S.-caught fish, changes in trade barriers, technology transfer, and other considerations.

(B) Recreational sector ACT. Recreational ACT is composed of RSA, dead discards, and the Recreational Harvest Limit (RHL).

(v) Performance review. The Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Committee shall conduct a detailed review of fishery performance relative to the mackerel ACL at least every 5 years.

(A) If the ACL is exceeded with a frequency greater than 25 percent (i.e., more than once in 4 years or any two consecutive years), the Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Monitoring Committee will review fishery performance information and make recommendations to the MAFMC for changes in measures intended to ensure ACLs are not exceeded as frequently.

(B) The MAFMC may specify more frequent or more specific ACL performance review criteria as part of a stock rebuilding plan following a determination that a stock has become overfished.

(C) Performance reviews shall not substitute for annual reviews that occur to ascertain if prior year ACLs have been exceeded, but may be conducted in conjunction with such reviews.

(vi) River herring and shad catch cap. The Monitoring Committee shall provide recommendations regarding a cap on the catch of river herring (alewife and blueback) and shad (American and hickory) in the Atlantic mackerel fishery based on best available scientific information, as well as measures (seasonal or regional quotas, closure thresholds) necessary for implementation.

(3) Butterfish—(i) ABC. The MAFMC's SSC shall recommend an ABC to the MAFMC, as described in §648.20. The butterfish ABC is reduced from the OFL based on an adjustment for scientific uncertainty; the ABC must be less than or equal to the OFL.

(ii) ACL. The butterfish ACL will be set equal to the butterfish ABC.

(iii) OY. OY may not exceed the ACL, and must take into account the need to prevent overfishing while allowing the fishery to achieve OY on a continuing basis. OY is prescribed on the basis of MSY, as reduced by social, economic, and ecological factors.

(iv) ACT. The Monitoring Committee shall identify and review relevant sources of management uncertainty to recommend the butterfish ACT as part of the specifications process. The ACT is composed of RSA, DAH, dead discards, and bycatch TALFF that is equal to 0.08 percent of the allocated portion of the mackerel TALFF. RSA will be based on requests for research quota as described in paragraph (g) of this section. DAH and bycatch TALFF will be set after deduction for RSA, if applicable.

(v) The butterfish mortality cap will be based on a portion of the ACT (set annually during specifications) and the specified cap amount will be allocated to the longfin squid fishery as follows: Trimester I—43 percent; Trimester II—17 percent; and Trimester III—40 percent.

(vi) Any underages of the cap for Trimester I that are greater than 25 percent of the Trimester I cap will be reallocated to Trimester II and III (split equally between both trimesters) of the same year. The reallocation of the cap from Trimester I to Trimester II is limited, such that the Trimester II cap may only be increased by 50 percent; the remaining portion of the underage will be reallocated to Trimester III. Any underages of the cap for Trimester I that are less than 25 percent of the Trimester I quota will be applied to Trimester III of the same year. Any overages of the cap for Trimester I and II will be subtracted from Trimester III of the same year.

(vii) Performance review. The Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Committee shall conduct a detailed review of fishery performance relative to the butterfish ACL in conjunction with review for the mackerel fishery, as outlined in this section.

(4) Additional measures. The Monitoring Committee may also provide recommendations on the following items, if necessary:

(i) Observer provisions to maximize sampling at §648.11(n)(2);

(ii) Exceptions for the requirement to pump/haul aboard all fish from net for inspection by at-sea observers in §648.11(n)(3);

(c) Recommended measures. Based on the review of the data described in paragraph (b) of this section and requests for research quota as described in paragraph (g) of this section, the Monitoring Committee will recommend to the Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Committee the measures from the following list that it determines are necessary to ensure that the specifications are not exceeded:

(1) RSA set from a range of 0 to 3 percent of:

(i) The IOY for longfin squid and/or Illex.

(ii) The commercial and/or recreational ACT for mackerel.

(iii) The ACT for butterfish.

(2) Commercial quotas, set after reductions for research quotas.

(3) The amount of longfin squid, Illex squid, and butterfish that may be retained and landed by vessels issued the incidental catch permit specified in §648.4(a)(5)(vi), and the amount of mackerel that may be retained, possessed and landed by any of the limited access mackerel permits described at §648.4(a)(5)(iii) and the incidental mackerel permit at §648.4(a)(5)(iv).

(4) Commercial minimum fish sizes.

(5) Commercial trip limits.

(6) Commercial seasonal quotas/closures for longfin squid and Illex squid, and allocation for the Tier 3 Limited Access Mackerel permit.

(7) Minimum mesh sizes.

(8) Commercial gear restrictions.

(9) Recreational allocation for mackerel.

(10) Recreational minimum fish size.

(11) Recreational possession limits.

(12) Recreational season.

(13) Changes, as appropriate, to the SBRM, including the coefficient of variation (CV) based performance standard, the means by which discard data are collected/obtained, fishery stratification, the process for prioritizing observer sea-day allocations, reports, and/or industry-funded observers or observer set aside programs.

(14) Modification of existing accountability measures (AMs) utilized by the Monitoring Committee.

(d) Annual fishing measures. (1) The Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Committee will review the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee. Based on these recommendations and any public comment received thereon, the Squid, Mackerel, and Butterfish Committee must recommend to the MAFMC appropriate specifications and any measures necessary to assure that the specifications will not be exceeded. The MAFMC will review these recommendations and, based on the recommendations and any public comment received thereon, must recommend to the Regional Administrator appropriate specifications and any measures necessary to assure that the ACL will not be exceeded. The MAFMC's recommendations must include supporting documentation, as appropriate, concerning the environmental, economic, and social impacts of the recommendations. The Regional Administrator will review the recommendations and will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register proposing specifications and any measures necessary to assure that the specifications will not be exceeded and providing a 30-day public comment period. If the proposed specifications differ from those recommended by the MAFMC, the reasons for any differences must be clearly stated and the revised specifications must satisfy the criteria set forth in this section. The MAFMC's recommendations will be available for inspection at the office of the Regional Administrator during the public comment period. If the annual specifications for squid, mackerel, and butterfish are not published in the Federal Register prior to the start of the fishing year, the previous year's annual specifications, excluding specifications of TALFF, will remain in effect. The previous year's specifications will be superceded as of the effective date of the final rule implementing the current year's annual specifications.

(2) The Regional Administrator will make a final determination concerning the specifications for each species and any measures necessary to assure that the specifications will not be exceeded. After the Regional Administrator considers all relevant data and any public comments, notification of the final specifications and any measures necessary to assure that the specifications will not be exceeded and responses to the public comments will be published in the Federal Register. If the final specification amounts differ from those recommended by the MAFMC, the reason(s) for the difference(s) must be clearly stated and the revised specifications must be consistent with the criteria set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

(e) Inseason adjustments. The specifications established pursuant to this section may be adjusted by the Regional Administrator, in consultation with the MAFMC, during the fishing year by publishing notification in the Federal Register.

(f) Distribution of annual longfin squid commercial quota. (1) A commercial quota for longfin squid will be allocated annually into trimester periods, based on the following percentages: Trimester I (January-April)—43.0 percent; Trimester II (May-August)—17.0 percent; and Trimester III (September-December)—40.0 percent.

(2) Any underages of commercial period quota for Trimester I that are greater than 25 percent of the Trimester I quota will be reallocated to Trimesters II and III of the same year. The reallocation of quota from Trimester I to Trimester II is limited, such that the Trimester II quota may only be increased by 50 percent; the remaining portion of the underage will be reallocated to Trimester III. Any underages of commercial period quota for Trimester I that are less than 25 percent of the Trimester I quota will be applied to Trimester III of the same year. Any overages of commercial quota for Trimesters I and II will be subtracted from Trimester III of the same year.

(g) Research set-aside (RSA) quota. Prior to the MAFMC's quota-setting meetings:

(1) NMFS will publish a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the Federal Register, consistent with procedures and requirements established by the NOAA Grants Office, to solicit proposals from industry for the upcoming fishing year, based on research priorities identified by the MAFMC.

(2) NMFS will convene a review panel, including the MAFMC's Comprehensive Management Committee and technical experts, to review proposals submitted in response to the RFP.

(i) Each panel member will recommend which research proposals should be authorized to utilize research quota, based on the selection criteria described in the RFP.

(ii) The NEFSC Director and the NOAA Grants Office will consider each panel member's recommendation, and provide final approval of the projects. The Regional Administrator may, when appropriate, exempt selected vessel(s) from regulations specified in each of the respective FMPs through written notification to the project proponent.

(3) The grant awards approved under the RFPs will be for the upcoming fishing year. Proposals to fund research that would start prior to, or that would end after the fishing year, will not be eligible for consideration. All research and/or compensation trips must be completed within the fishing year for which the research grant was awarded.

(4) Research projects will be conducted in accordance with provisions approved and provided in an Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) issued by the Regional Administrator.

(5) If a proposal is disapproved by the NEFSC Director or the NOAA Grants Office, or if the Regional Administrator determines that the allocated research quota cannot be utilized by a project, the Regional Administrator shall reallocate the unallocated or unused amount of research quota to the respective commercial and recreational fisheries by publication of a notice in the Federal Register in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act, provided:

(i) The reallocation of the unallocated or unused amount of research quota is in accord with National Standard 1, and can be available for harvest before the end of the fishing year for which the research quota is specified; and

(ii) Any reallocation of unallocated or unused research quota shall be consistent with the proportional division of quota between the commercial and recreational fisheries in the relevant FMP and allocated to the remaining quota periods for the fishing year proportionally.

(6) Vessels participating in approved research projects may be exempted from certain management measures by the Regional Administrator, provided that one of the following analyses of the impacts associated with the exemptions is provided:

(i) The analysis of the impacts of the requested exemptions is included as part of the annual quota specification packages submitted by the MAFMC; or

(ii) For proposals that require exemptions that extend beyond the scope of the analysis provided by the MAFMC, applicants may be required to provide additional analysis of impacts of the exemptions before issuance of an EFP will be considered, as specified in the EFP regulations at §648.12(b).

[76 FR 60616, Sept. 29, 2011, as amended at 76 FR 68656, Nov. 7, 2011; 76 FR 81848, Dec. 29, 2011; 77 FR 16480, Mar. 21, 2012; 78 FR 3353, Jan. 16, 2013; 79 FR 10048, Feb. 24, 2014; 79 FR 18481, Apr. 2, 2014; 80 FR 37194, June 30, 2015; 80 FR 48248, Aug. 12, 2015; 83 FR 64267, Dec. 14, 2018]

§648.23   Mackerel, squid, and butterfish gear restrictions.

(a) Mesh restrictions and exemptions. Vessels subject to the mesh restrictions in this paragraph (a) must render any net, or any piece of net, with a mesh size smaller than that specified in paragraphs (a)(1), (2), and (3) of this section not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2.

(1) Butterfish fishery. Owners or operators of otter trawl vessels possessing more than 5,000 lb (2.27 mt) of butterfish harvested in or from the EEZ may only fish with nets having a minimum codend mesh of 3 inches (7.62 cm) diamond or square mesh, as measured by methods specified in §648.80(f), applied throughout the codend for at least 100 continuous meshes forward of the terminus of the net, or for codends with less than 100 meshes, the minimum mesh size codend shall be a minimum of one-third of the net, measured from the terminus of the codend to the headrope.

(2) Longfin squid fishery. (i) Owners or operators of otter trawl vessels possessing longfin squid harvested in or from the EEZ may only fish with nets having a minimum mesh size of 218 inches (54 mm) during Trimesters I (Jan-Apr) and III (Sept-Dec), or 178 inches (48 mm) during Trimester II (May-Aug), diamond or square mesh, as measured by methods specified in §648.80(f), applied throughout the codend for at least 150 continuous meshes forward of the terminus of the net, or, for codends with less than 150 meshes, the minimum mesh size codend shall be a minimum of one-third of the net measured from the terminus of the codend to the headrope.

(ii) Jigging exemption. During closures of the longfin squid fishery resulting from the butterfish mortality cap, described in §648.24(c)(3), vessels fishing for longfin squid using jigging gear are exempt from the closure possession limit specified in §648.26(b), provided that all otter trawl gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2.

(3) Net obstruction or constriction. Owners or operators of otter trawl vessels fishing for and/or possessing butterfish or longfin squid shall not use any device, gear, or material, including, but not limited to, nets, net strengtheners, ropes, lines, or chafing gear, on the top of the regulated portion of a trawl net except any of the following materials may be used as specified:

(i) Splitting straps, and/or bull ropes or wire around the entire circumference of the codend provided these materials do not obstruct or constrict the top or the trawl net while it is being towed;

(ii) Net strengtheners (covers) that do not have a mesh opening of less than 5 inches (12.7 cm) diamond or square mesh, as measured by methods specified in §648.80(f); and

(iii) A liner may be used to close the opening created by the rings in the aftermost portion of the net, provided the liner extends no more than 10 meshes forward of the aftermost portion of the net, the inside webbing of the codend shall be the same circumference or less than any strengthener and the liner is no more than 2 ft (61 cm) longer than any net strengthener.

(4) Top of the regulated portion of the net means the 50 percent of the entire regulated portion of the net that would not be in contact with the ocean bottom if, during a tow, the regulated portion of the net were laid flat on the ocean floor.

(5) Illex fishery. Seaward of the following coordinates, connected in the order listed by straight lines except otherwise noted, otter trawl vessels possessing longfin squid harvested in or from the EEZ and fishing for Illex during the months of June, July, August in Trimester II, and September in Trimester III are exempt from the longfin squid gear requirements specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, provided that landward of the specified coordinates they do not have available for immediate use, as defined in §648.2, any net, or any piece of net, with a mesh size less than 178 inches (48 mm) diamond mesh in Trimester II, and 218 inches (54 mm) diamond mesh in Trimester III, or any piece of net, with mesh that is rigged in a manner that is prohibited by paragraphs (a)(2) and (a)(3)(ii) of this section.

PointN. lat.W. long.
M043°58.0[1]
M143°58.067°22.0
M243°50.068°35.0
M343°30.069°40.0
M443°20.070°00.0
M542°45.070°10.0
M642°13.069°55.0
M741°00.069°00.0
M841°45.068°15.0
M942°10.0[2]67°10.0
M1041°18.6[2]66°24.8
M1140°55.566°38.0
M1240°45.568°00.0
M1340°37.068°00.0
M1440°30.069°00.0
M1540°22.769°00.0
M1640°18.769°40.0
M1740°21.071°03.0
M1839°41.072°32.0
M1938°47.073°11.0
M2038°04.074°06.0
M2137°08.074°46.0
M2236°00.074°52.0
M2335°45.074°53.0
M2435°28.074°52.0
M2535°28.0[3]

[1]The intersection of 43°58.0 N. latitude and the US-Canada Maritime Boundary.

[2]Points M9 and M10 are intended to fall along and are connected by the US-Canada Maritime Boundary.

[3]The intersection of 35°28.0 N. latitude and the outward limit of the U.S. EEZ.

(6) Mackerel, squid, and butterfish bottom trawling restricted areas—(i) Oceanographer Canyon. No permitted mackerel, squid, or butterfish vessel may fish with bottom trawl gear in the Oceanographer Canyon or be in the Oceanographer Canyon unless transiting. Vessels may transit this area provided the bottom trawl gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2. Oceanographer Canyon is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request):

Oceanographer Canyon

PointN. lat.W. long.
OC140°10.068°12.0
OC240°24.068°09.0
OC340°24.068°08.0
OC440°10.067°59.0
OC140°10.068°12.0

(ii) Lydonia Canyon. No permitted mackerel, squid, or butterfish vessel may fish with bottom trawl gear in the Lydonia Canyon or be in the Lydonia Canyon unless transiting. Vessels may transit this area provided the bottom trawl gear is stowed and not available for immediate use as defined in §648.2. Lydonia Canyon is defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated (copies of a chart depicting this area are available from the Regional Administrator upon request):

Lydonia Canyon

PointN. lat.W. long.
LC140°16.067°34.0
LC240°16.067°42.0
LC340°20.067°43.0
LC440°27.067°40.0
LC540°27.067°38.0
LC140°16.067°34.0

(b) [Reserved]

(c) Mesh obstruction or constriction. The owner or operator of a fishing vessel shall not use any mesh construction, mesh configuration, or other means that effectively decreases the mesh size below the minimum mesh size, except that a liner may be used to close the opening created by the rings in the aftermost portion of the net, provided the liner extends no more than 10 meshes forward of the aftermost portion of the net. The inside webbing of the codend shall be the same circumference or less than the outside webbing (strengthener). In addition, the inside webbing shall not be more than 2 ft (61 cm) longer than the outside webbing.

[76 FR 60618, Sept. 29, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 16479, Mar. 21, 2012; 77 FR 51865, Aug. 27, 2012; 78 FR 3354, Jan. 16, 2013; 79 FR 18842, Apr. 4, 2014; 79 FR 52580, 52582, Sept. 4, 2014; 81 FR 24508, May 26, 2016]

§648.24   Fishery closures and accountability measures.

(a) Fishery closure procedures—(1) Longfin squid. NMFS shall close the directed fishery in the EEZ for longfin squid when the Regional Administrator projects that 90 percent of the longfin squid quota is harvested before April 15 of Trimester I and/or August 15 of Trimester II, and when 95 percent of the longfin squid DAH has been harvested in Trimester III. On or after April 15 of Trimester I and/or August 15 of Trimester II, NMFS shall close the directed fishery in the EEZ for longfin squid when the Regional Administrator projects that 95 percent of the longfin squid quota is harvested. The closure of the directed fishery shall be in effect for the remainder of that fishing period, with incidental catches allowed as specified at §648.26.

(2) Illex. NMFS shall close the directed Illex fishery in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator projects that 95 percent of the Illex DAH is harvested. The closure of the directed fishery shall be in effect for the remainder of that fishing period, with incidental catches allowed as specified at §648.26.

(b) Mackerel AMs—(1) Atlantic mackerel commercial sector EEZ closure—(i) First phase commercial closure. (A) Unless otherwise determined in paragraph (b)(1)(iii) of this section, NMFS will close the commercial Atlantic mackerel fishery, which includes vessels issued an open access or limited access Atlantic mackerel permit, including a limited access Tier 3 Atlantic mackerel permit, in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator projects that 90 percent of the Atlantic mackerel DAH is harvested if such a closure is necessary to prevent the DAH from being exceeded. The closure of the commercial fishery shall be in effect for the remainder of that fishing year, with incidental catches allowed, as specified in §648.26.

(B) Unless previously closed pursuant to paragraph (b)(1)(i)(A) of this section, NMFS will close the Tier 3 commercial mackerel fishery in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator projects that 90 percent of the Tier 3 Atlantic mackerel allocation will be harvested. Unless otherwise restricted, the closure of the Tier 3 commercial mackerel fishery will be in effect for the remainder of that fishing period, with incidental catches allowed as specified in §648.26.

(ii) Second phase commercial quota closure. When the Regional Administrator projects that 98 percent of the Atlantic mackerel DAH will be landed, NMFS will reduce the possession of Atlantic mackerel in the EEZ applicable to all Atlantic mackerel permits for the remainder of the fishing year as specified in §648.26(a)(2)(iii)(A).

(iii) NMFS has the discretion to not implement measures outlined in paragraphs (b)(1)(i)(A) or (b)(1)(ii) of this section during November and December if the Regional Administrator projects that commercial Atlantic mackerel landings will not exceed the DAH during the remainder of the fishing year.

(2) Mackerel commercial landings overage repayment. If the mackerel ACL is exceeded and commercial fishery landings are responsible for the overage, then landings in excess of the DAH will be deducted from the DAH the following year, as a single-year adjustment to the DAH.

(3) Non-landing AMs. In the event that the ACL is exceeded, and that the overage has not been accommodated through the landing-based AM described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, but is attributable to the commercial sector, then the exact amount, in pounds, by which the commercial ACT was exceeded will be deducted from the following year's commercial ACT, as a single-year adjustment.

(4) Mackerel recreational AMs. If the mackerel ACL is exceeded and the recreational fishery landings are responsible for the overage, then the following procedure will be followed:

(i) If biomass is below the threshold, the stock is under rebuilding, or biological reference points are unknown. If the most recent estimate of biomass is below the BMSY threshold (i.e., B/BMSY is less than 0.5), the stock is under a rebuilding plan, or the biological reference points (B or BMSY) are unknown, and the ACL has been exceeded, then the exact amount, in pounds, by which the most recent year's recreational catch estimate caused the most recent year's ACL to be exceeded will be deducted from the following year's recreational ACT, as a single-year adjustment.

(ii) If biomass is above the threshold, but below the target, and the stock is not under rebuilding. If the most recent estimate of biomass is above the biomass threshold (B/BMSY is greater than 0.5), but below the biomass target (B/BMSY is less than 1.0), and the stock is not under a rebuilding plan, then the following AMs will apply:

(A) If the ACL has been exceeded. If the ACL has been exceeded, then adjustments to the recreational management measures, taking into account the performance of the measures and conditions that precipitated the overage, will be made in the following fishing year, or as soon as possible thereafter, once catch data are available, as a single-year adjustment.

(B) If the ABC has been exceeded. If the ABC has been exceeded, then a single-year adjustment to the following year's recreational ACT will be made, as described below. In addition, adjustments to the recreational management measures, taking into account the performance of the measures and conditions that precipitated the overage, will be made in the following year.

(1) Adjustment to ACT. If an adjustment to the following year's ACT is required, then the recreational ACT will be reduced by the exact amount, in pounds, of the product of the recreational overage, defined as the difference between the recreational contribution to the catch above the ACL, and the payback coefficient specified in paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B)(2) of this section.

(2) Payback coefficient. The payback coefficient is the difference between the most recent estimates of BMSY and biomass (i.e., BMSY−B) divided by one-half of BMSY.

(iii) If biomass is above BMSY. If the most recent estimate of biomass is above BMSY (i.e., B/BMSY is greater than 1.0), then adjustments to the recreational management measures, taking into account the performance of the measures and conditions that precipitated the overage, will be made in the following fishing year, or as soon as possible thereafter, once catch data are available, as a single-year adjustment.

(5) Mackerel ACL overage evaluation. The ACL will be evaluated based on a single-year examination of total catch (landings and discards). Both landings and dead discards will be evaluated in determining if the ACL has been exceeded. NMFS shall make determinations about overages and implement any changes to the ACL, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, through notification in the Federal Register, by May 15 of the fishing year in which the deductions will be made.

(6) River herring and shad catch cap. The river herring and shad cap on the mackerel fishery applies to all trips that land more than 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of mackerel. NMFS shall close the limited access mackerel fishery in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator project that 95 percent of the river herring/shad catch cap has been harvested. Following closures of the limited access mackerel fishery, vessels must adhere to the possession restrictions specified in §648.26.

(c) Butterfish AMs—(1) Directed butterfish fishery closure. When the butterfish catch reaches the butterfish closure threshold as determined in the annual specifications, NMFS shall implement a 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) possession limit for vessels issued a butterfish moratorium permit that are fishing with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches (76 mm). When NMFS projects that the butterfish catch has reached the butterfish DAH, as determined in the annual specifications, NMFS shall implement a 600 lb (272 kg) possession limit for all vessels issued a longfin squid or butterfish moratorium permit, or a squid/butterfish incidental catch permit.

(2) Butterfish ACL overage repayment. If the butterfish ACL is exceeded, then catch in excess of the ACL will be deducted from the ACL the following year, as a single-year adjustment.

(3) Butterfish mortality cap on the longfin squid fishery. NMFS shall close the directed fishery in the EEZ for longfin squid when the Regional Administrator projects that 95 percent of each Trimester's butterfish mortality cap allocation has been harvested.

(4) Butterfish ACL overage evaluation. The ACL will be evaluated based on a single-year examination of total catch (landings and discards). Both landings and dead discards will be evaluated in determining if the ACL has been exceeded. NMFS shall make determinations about overages and implement any changes to the ACL, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, through notification in the Federal Register, by May 15 of the fishing year in which the deductions will be made.

(5) Butterfish allocation transfer. NMFS may transfer up to 50 percent of any unused butterfish allocation from the butterfish DAH to the butterfish mortality cap on the longfin squid fishery if the butterfish catch in the longfin squid fishery is likely to result in a closure of the longfin squid fishery, and provided the transfer does not increase the likelihood of closing the directed butterfish fishery. NMFS may instead transfer up to 50 percent of the unused butterfish catch from the butterfish mortality cap allocation to the butterfish DAH if harvest of butterfish in the directed butterfish fishery is likely to exceed the butterfish DAH, and provided the transfer of butterfish allocation from the butterfish mortality cap allocation does not increase the likelihood of closing the longfin squid fishery due to harvest of the butterfish mortality cap. NMFS would make this transfer on or about November 15 each fishing year, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

(d) Notification. Upon determining that a closure or trip limit reduction is necessary, the Regional Administrator will notify, in advance of the closure, the Executive Directors of the MAFMC, NEFMC, and SAFMC; mail notification of the closure or trip limit reduction to all holders of mackerel, squid, and butterfish fishery permits at least 72 hr before the effective date of the closure; provide adequate notice of the closure or trip limit reduction to recreational participants in the fishery; and publish notification of the closure or trip limit reduction in the Federal Register.

[76 FR 60619, Sept. 29, 2011, as amended at 76 FR 68656, Nov. 7, 2011; 77 FR 16480, Mar. 21, 2012; 77 FR 3354, Jan. 16, 2013; 78 FR 76762, Dec. 19, 2013; 79 FR 18843, Apr. 4, 2014; 79 FR 18481, Apr. 2, 2014; 80 FR 14874, Mar. 20, 2015; 80 FR 48248, Aug. 12, 2015; 83 FR 65314, Dec. 20, 2018; 83 FR 64268, Dec. 14, 2018; 84 FR 58058, Oct. 30, 2019]

§648.25   Atlantic Mackerel, squid, and butterfish framework adjustments to management measures.

(a) Within season management action. The MAFMC may, at any time, initiate action to add or adjust management measures within the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP if it finds that action is necessary to meet or be consistent with the goals and objectives of the FMP.

(1) Adjustment process. The MAFMC shall develop and analyze appropriate management actions over the span of at least two MAFMC meetings. The MAFMC must provide the public with advance notice of the availability of the recommendation(s), appropriate justification(s) and economic and biological analyses, and the opportunity to comment on the proposed adjustment(s) at the first meeting and prior to and at the second MAFMC meeting. The MAFMC's recommendations on adjustments or additions to management measures must come from one or more of the following categories:

(i) Adjustments within existing ABC control rule levels;

(ii) Adjustments to the existing MAFMC risk policy;

(iii) Introduction of new AMs, including sub-ACTs;

(iv) Minimum and maximum fish size;

(v) Gear restrictions, gear requirements or prohibitions;

(vi) Permitting restrictions;

(vii) Recreational possession limit, recreational seasons, and recreational harvest limit;

(viii) Closed areas;

(ix) Commercial seasons, commercial trip limits, commercial quota system, including commercial quota allocation procedure and possible quota set-asides to mitigate bycatch;

(x) Annual specification quota setting process;

(xi) FMP Monitoring Committee composition and process;

(xii) Description and identification of EFH (and fishing gear management measures that impact EFH);

(xiii) Description and identification of habitat areas of particular concern;

(xiv) Overfishing definition and related thresholds and targets;

(xv) Regional gear restrictions, regional season restrictions (including option to split seasons), regional management;

(xvi) Restrictions on vessel size (LOA and GRT) or shaft horsepower;

(xvii) Changes to the SBRM, including the CV-based performance standard, the means by which discard data are collected/obtained, fishery stratification, the process for prioritizing observer sea-day allocations, reports, and/or industry-funded observers or observer set aside programs;

(xviii) Set aside quota for scientific research;

(xix) Process for inseason adjustment to the annual specification;

(xx) Mortality caps for river herring and shad species, time/area management for river herring and shad species, and provisions for river herring and shad incidental catch avoidance program, including adjustments to the mechanism and process for tracking fleet activity, reporting incidental catch events, compiling data, and notifying the fleet of changes to the area(s);

(xxi) The definition/duration of `test tows,' if test tows would be utilized to determine the extent of river herring incidental catch in a particular area(s);

(xxii) The threshold for river herring incidental catch that would trigger the need for vessels to be alerted and move out of the area(s), the distance that vessels would be required to move from the area(s), and the time that vessels would be required to remain out of the area(s);

(xxiii) Modifications to the broad and discrete deep-sea coral zone boundaries and the addition of discrete deep-sea coral zones;

(xxiv) Modifications to the management measures within the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-sea Coral Protection Area and implementation of special access programs to the Frank R. Lautenberg Deep-sea Coral Protection Area; and

(xxv) Any other management measures currently included in the FMP.

(2) Measures contained within this list that require significant departures from previously contemplated measures or that are otherwise introducing new concepts may require amendment of the FMP instead of a framework adjustment.

(3) MAFMC recommendation. After developing management actions and receiving public testimony, the MAFMC shall make a recommendation to the Regional Administrator. The MAFMC's recommendation must include supporting rationale, if management measures are recommended, an analysis of impacts, and a recommendation to the Regional Administrator on whether to issue the management measures as a final rule. If the MAFMC recommends that the management measures should be issued as a final rule, the MAFMC must consider at least the following factors, and provide support and analysis for each factor considered:

(i) Whether the availability of data on which the recommended management measures are based allows for adequate time to publish a proposed rule, and whether the regulations would have to be in place for an entire harvest/fishing season.

(ii) Whether there has been adequate notice and opportunity for participation by the public and members of the affected industry in the development of the recommended management measures.

(iii) Whether there is an immediate need to protect the resource.

(iv) Whether there will be a continuing evaluation of management measures following their implementation as a final rule.

(4) NMFS action. If the MAFMC's recommendation includes adjustments or additions to management measures and, after reviewing the MAFMC's recommendation and supporting information:

(i) If NMFS concurs with the MAFMC's recommended management measures and determines that the recommended management measures should be issued as a final rule based on the factors specified in paragraph (a)(3) of this section, the measures will be issued as a final rule in the Federal Register.

(ii) If NMFS concurs with the MAFMC's recommended management measures and determines that the recommended management measures should be published first as a proposed rule, the measures will be published as a proposed rule in the Federal Register. After additional public comment, if NMFS concurs with the MAFMC recommendation, the measures will be issued as a final rule in the Federal Register.

(iii) If NMFS does not concur, the MAFMC will be notified in writing of the reasons for the non-concurrence.

(5) Emergency actions. Nothing in this section is meant to derogate from the authority of the Secretary to take emergency action under section 305(e) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

(b) [Reserved]

[76 FR 60620, Sept. 29, 2011, as amended at 76 FR 68656, Nov. 7, 2011; 76 FR 81848, Dec. 29, 2011; 79 FR 10048, Feb. 24, 2014; 80 FR 37194, June 30, 2015; 81 FR 90250, Dec. 14, 2016; 83 FR 64268, Dec. 14, 2018]

§648.26   Mackerel, squid, and butterfish possession restrictions.

(a) Atlantic mackerel. (1) Initial possession limits. A vessel must be issued a valid limited access mackerel permit to fish for, possess, or land more than 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of Atlantic mackerel from or in the EEZ per trip, provided that the fishery has not been closed, as specified in §648.24(b)(1).

(i) A vessel issued a Tier 1 limited access mackerel permit is authorized to fish for, possess, or land Atlantic mackerel with no possession restriction in the EEZ per trip, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours, provided that the fishery has not been closed because 90 percent of the DAH has been harvested, as specified in §648.24(b)(1)(i)(A).

(ii) A vessel issued a Tier 2 limited access mackerel permit is authorized to fish for, possess, or land up to 135,000 lb (61.23 mt) of Atlantic mackerel in the EEZ per trip, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours, provided that the fishery has not been closed because 90 percent of the DAH has been harvested, as specified in §648.24(b)(1)(i)(A).

(iii) A vessel issued a Tier 3 limited access mackerel permit is authorized to fish for, possess, or land up to 100,000 lb (45.36 mt) of Atlantic mackerel in the EEZ per trip, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours, provided that the fishery has not been closed because 90 percent of the DAH has been harvested, or 90 percent of the Tier 3 allocation has been harvested, as specified in §648.24(b)(1)(i)(A) and (B), respectively.

(iv) A vessel issued an open access mackerel permit may fish for, possess, or land up to 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of Atlantic mackerel in the EEZ per trip, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours.

(v) Both vessels involved in a pair trawl operation must be issued a valid mackerel permits to fish for, possess, or land Atlantic mackerel in the EEZ. Both vessels must be issued the mackerel permit appropriate for the amount of mackerel jointly possessed by both of the vessels participating in the pair trawl operation.

(2) Atlantic mackerel closure possession restrictions. Any Atlantic mackerel possession restrictions implemented under paragraph (a)(2) of this section will remain in place for the rest of the fishing year, unless further restricted by a subsequent action. If the entire commercial Atlantic mackerel fishery is closed due to harvesting the river herring/shad catch cap, as specified in §648.24(b)(6) before the fishery harvests 90 percent of the Atlantic mackerel DAH, then the Atlantic mackerel possession restrictions specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(B) of this section shall remain in place for the rest of the fishing year unless further reduced by the possession restrictions specified in paragraph (a)(2)(iii)(A) of this section.

(i) Limited Access Fishery. (A) During a closure of the commercial Atlantic mackerel fishery pursuant to §648.24(b)(1)(i)(A), when 90 percent of the DAH is harvested, vessels issued a Tier 1, 2, or 3 limited access Atlantic mackerel permit, may not take and retain, possess, or land more than 40,000 lb (18.14 mt) of Atlantic mackerel per trip at any time, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours.

(B) During a closure of the Tier 3 commercial Atlantic mackerel fishery pursuant to §648.24(b)(1)(i)(B), when 90 percent of the Tier 3 allocation is harvested, vessels issued a Tier 3 limited access Atlantic mackerel permit may not take and retain, possess, or land more than 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of Atlantic mackerel per trip at any time, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours.

(ii) Open Access Fishery. During a closure of the Atlantic mackerel commercial sector pursuant to §648.24(b)(1)(i)(A), when 90 percent of the DAH is harvested, vessels issued an open access Atlantic mackerel permit may not take and retain, possess, or land more than 5,000 lb (2.27 mt) of Atlantic mackerel per trip at any time, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours.

(iii) Entire commercial fishery—(A) Commercial quota closure. During a closure of the entire commercial Atlantic mackerel fishery pursuant to §648.24(b)(1)(ii), when 98 percent of the DAH is harvested, vessels issued an open or limited access Atlantic mackerel permit may not take and retain, possess, or land more than 5,000 lb (2.27 mt) of Atlantic mackerel per trip at any time, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours.

(B) River herring/shad catch cap closure. During a closure of the limited access commercial Atlantic mackerel fishery pursuant to §648.24(b)(6), when 95 percent of the river herring/shad catch cap has been harvested, vessels issued an open or limited access Atlantic mackerel permit may not take and retain, possess, or land more than 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of Atlantic mackerel per trip at any time, and may only land Atlantic mackerel once on any calendar day, which is defined as the 24-hr period beginning at 0001 hours and ending at 2400 hours.

(b) Longfin squid—(1) Directed fishery. A vessel must be issued a valid longfin squid moratorium permit to fish for, possess, or land more than 250 lb (113 kg) of longfin squid from or in the EEZ per trip. Unless the directed fishery is closed pursuant to paragraph §648.24(a)(1), the following longfin squid possession limits apply:

(i) Tier 1 moratorium permits. A vessel issued a Tier 1 longfin squid moratorium permit may possess an unlimited amount of longfin squid per trip.

(ii) Tier 2 moratorium permits. A vessel issued a Tier 2 longfin squid moratorium permit may not fish for, possess, or land more than 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of longfin squid per trip, and may only land longfin squid once on any calendar day.

(iii) Tier 3 moratorium permits. A vessel issued a Tier 3 longfin squid moratorium permit may not fish for, possess, or land more than 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) of longfin squid per trip, and may only land longfin squid once on any calendar day.

(2) Incidental fishery. (i) A vessel issued an open access squid/butterfish incidental catch permit may not fish for, possess, or land more than 250 lb (113 kg) of longfin squid from or in the EEZ per trip, and may only land longfin squid once on any calendar day.

(ii) During a closure of the directed longfin squid fishery in either Trimester I or III pursuant to paragraph §648.24(a)(1), a vessel may not fish for, possess, or land more than 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) of longfin squid at any time per trip, and may only land longfin squid once on any calendar day.

(iii) Unless otherwise specified in paragraph (b)(2)(iv) of this section, during a closure of the directed longfin squid fishery in Trimester II pursuant to §648.24(a)(1), a vessel may not fish for, possess, or land more than 250 lb (113 kg) of longfin squid at any time per trip, and may only land longfin squid once on any calendar day.

(iv) During a closure of the directed longfin squid fishery in Trimester II, a vessel issued either a Tier 1 or Tier 2 longfin squid moratorium permit may possess more than 250 lb (113 kg) of longfin squid per trip, provided the following conditions are met:

(A) The vessel operator has declared into the directed Illex squid fishery via VMS, as specified in §648.10;

(B) The vessel is seaward of the coordinates specified at §648.23(a)(5);

(C) The vessel possesses more than 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) of Illex squid on board;

(D) The vessel possesses less than 15,000 lb (6,803 kg) of longfin squid if issued a Tier 1 longfin squid moratorium permit or 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of longfin squid if issued a Tier 2 longfin squid moratorium permit; and

(E) All fishing gear is stowed and rendered not available for immediate use, as defined in §648.2, once the vessel is landward of the coordinates specified at §648.23(a)(5).

(c) Illex squid—(1) Directed fishery. A vessel must be issued a valid Illex squid moratorium permit to fish for, possess, or land more than 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) of Illex squid from or in the EEZ per trip. Unless the directed fishery is closed pursuant to §648.24(a)(2), a vessel issued an Illex moratorium permit may possess an unlimited amount of Illex squid per trip.

(2) Incidental fishery. A vessel may not fish for, possess, or land more than 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) of Illex squid per trip at any time, and may only land Illex squid once on any calendar day if:

(i) A vessel is issued an open access squid/butterfish incidental catch permit; or

(ii) A vessel is issued an Illex moratorium permit and the directed fishery is closed pursuant to §648.24(a)(2).

(d) Butterfish. Any vessel issued a butterfish permit under this part may only land butterfish once on any calendar day.

(1) Directed fishery. A vessel must be issued a butterfish moratorium permit to fish for, possess, or land more than 600 lb (272 kg) of butterfish per trip.

(i) Vessels fishing with larger mesh. A vessel issued a butterfish moratorium permit fishing with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches (76 mm) is authorized to fish for, possess, or land butterfish with no possession restriction in the EEZ per trip, provided that directed butterfish fishery has not been closed and the reduced possession limit has not been implemented, as specified in §648.24(c)(1). When butterfish harvest is projected to reach the threshold for the butterfish fishery, as specified in §648.24(c)(1), these vessels may not fish for, possess, or land more than 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of butterfish per trip at any time. When butterfish harvest is projected to reach the DAH limit, as specified in §648.24(c)(1), these vessels may not fish for, possess, or land more than 600 lb (272 kg) of butterfish per trip at any time.

(ii) Vessels fishing with smaller mesh. A vessel issued a butterfish moratorium permit fishing with mesh less than 3 inches (76 mm) may not fish for, possess, or land more than 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of butterfish per trip at any time, provided that butterfish harvest has not reached the DAH limit and the reduced possession limit has not been implemented, as described in §648.24(c)(1). When butterfish harvest is projected to reach the DAH limit, as described in §648.24(c)(1), these vessels may not fish for, possess, or land more than 600 lb (272 kg) of butterfish per trip at any time.

(2) Incidental fishery. A vessel issued a squid/butterfish incidental catch permit, regardless of mesh size used, may not fish for, possess, or land more than 600 lb (272 kg) of butterfish per trip at any.

[76 FR 60621, Sept. 29, 2011, as amended at 76 FR 68656, Nov. 7, 2011; 77 FR 16480, Mar. 21, 2012; 77 FR 23636, Apr. 20, 2012; 78 FR 3354, Jan. 16, 2013; 79 FR 18843, Apr. 4, 2014; 80 FR 14875, Mar. 20, 2015; 81 FR 24509, Apr. 26, 2016; 83 FR 64268, Dec. 14, 2018; 83 FR 65315, Dec. 20, 2018; 84 FR 58059, Oct. 30, 2019]

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