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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 18, 2019

Title 50Chapter VIPart 665 → Subpart F


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 665—FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC


Subpart F—Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries


Contents
§665.798   Management area.
§665.799   Area restrictions.
§665.800   Definitions.
§665.801   Permits.
§665.802   Prohibitions.
§665.803   Notifications.
§665.804   Gear identification.
§665.805   [Reserved]
§665.806   Prohibited area management.
§665.807   Exemptions for Hawaii longline fishing prohibited areas; procedures.
§665.808   Conditions for at-sea observer coverage.
§665.809   Port privileges and transiting for unpermitted U.S. longline vessels.
§665.810   Prohibition of drift gillnetting.
§665.811   [Reserved]
§665.812   Sea turtle take mitigation measures.
§665.813   Western Pacific longline fishing restrictions.
§665.814   Protected species workshop.
§665.815   Pelagic longline seabird mitigation measures.
§665.816   American Samoa longline limited entry program.
§665.817   [Reserved]
§665.818   Exemptions for American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas.
§665.819   Territorial catch and fishing effort limits.

§665.798   Management area.

The western Pacific Pelagic fishery management area includes all areas of fishing operations in the EEZ or on the high seas for any vessels of the United States or persons that:

(a) Fish for, possess, or transship western Pacific pelagic fishery MUS within the EEZ waters around American Samoa, CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, or PRIA; or

(b) Land western Pacific pelagic fishery MUS in American Samoa, CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, or PRIA.

§665.799   Area restrictions.

(a) Fishing is prohibited in all no-take MPAs designated in this section.

(b) No-take MPAs. The following U.S. EEZ waters are no-take MPAs:

(1) Landward of the 50-fathom (fm) (91.5-m) curve at Jarvis, Howland, and Baker Islands, and Kingman Reef; as depicted on National Ocean Survey Chart Numbers 83116 and 83153;

(2) Landward of the 50-fm (91.5-m) curve around Rose Atoll, as depicted on National Ocean Survey Chart Number 83484.

§665.800   Definitions.

As used in §§665.798 through 665.818:

American Samoa longline limited access permit means the permit required by §665.801 to use a vessel shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around American Samoa to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear or to land or transship western Pacific pelagic MUS that were caught in the EEZ around American Samoa using longline gear.

American Samoa pelagics mailing list means the list maintained by PIRO of names and mailing addresses of parties interested in receiving notices of availability for American Samoa longline limited access permits.

Basket-style longline gear means a type of longline gear that is divided into units called “baskets” each consisting of a segment of main line to which 10 or more branch lines with hooks are spliced. The mainline and all branch lines are made of multiple braided strands of cotton, nylon, or other synthetic fibers impregnated with tar or other heavy coatings that cause the lines to sink rapidly in seawater.

Branch line (or dropper line) means a line with a hook that is attached to the mainline.

Deep-set or Deep-setting means the deployment of longline gear in a manner consistent with all the following criteria: All float lines are at least 20 meters in length; a minimum of 15 branch lines are attached between any two floats (except basket-style longline gear which may have as few as 10 branch lines between any two floats); and no light sticks are used. As used in this definition, “float line” means a line used to suspend the main longline beneath a float, and “light stick” means any type of light emitting device, including any fluorescent “glow bead,” chemical, or electrically-powered light that is affixed underwater to the longline gear.

Effective date means the date upon which the Regional Administrator provides written notice to the authorized official or designated representative of the U.S. participating territory that a specified fishing agreement meets the requirements of this section.

Fish dealer means any person who:

(1) Obtains, with the intention to resell, western Pacific pelagic MUS, or portions thereof, that were harvested or received by a vessel that holds a permit or is otherwise regulated under bottomfish fisheries in this subpart; or

(2) Provides recordkeeping, purchase, or sales assistance in obtaining or selling such MUS (such as the services provided by a wholesale auction facility).

Float line means a line attached to a mainline used to buoy, or suspend, the mainline in the water column.

Hawaii longline limited access permit means the permit required by §665.801 to use a vessel to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS with longline gear in the EEZ around Hawaii or to land or transship longline-caught western Pacific pelagic MUS shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around Hawaii.

Longline fishing prohibited area means the portions of the EEZ in which longline fishing is prohibited as specified in §665.806.

Longline fishing vessel means a vessel that has longline gear on board the vessel.

Longline gear means a type of fishing gear consisting of a main line that exceeds 1 nm in length, is suspended horizontally in the water column either anchored, floating, or attached to a vessel, and from which branch or dropper lines with hooks are attached; except that, within the protected species zone as defined in §665.806, longline gear means a type of fishing gear consisting of a main line of any length that is suspended horizontally in the water column either anchored, floating, or attached to a vessel, and from which branch or dropper lines with hooks are attached.

Pelagic handline fishing means fishing for western Pacific pelagic MUS from a stationary or drifting vessel using hook and line gear other than longline gear.

Pelagic troll fishing (trolling) means fishing for western Pacific pelagic MUS from a moving vessel using hook and line gear.

PRIA pelagic troll and handline fishing permit means the permit required by §665.801 to use a vessel shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around the PRIA to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using pelagic handline or troll fishing methods.

Receiving vessel permit means a permit required by §665.801(c) for a receiving vessel to transship or land western Pacific pelagic MUS taken by other vessels using longline gear.

Shallow-set or shallow-setting means the deployment of, or deploying, respectively, longline gear in a manner that does not meet the definition of deep-set or deep-setting as defined in this section.

Squid jig fishing means fishing for squid that are western Pacific pelagic MUS using a hook or hooks attached to a line that is raised and lowered in the water column by manual or mechanical means.

U.S. participating territory means a U.S. participating territory to the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (including any annexes, amendments, or protocols that are in force, or have come into force, for the United States), and includes American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

WCPFC means the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, including its employees and contractors.

Western Pacific general longline permit means the permit authorized under §665.801 to use a vessel shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around Guam, CNMI, Johnston or Palmyra Atolls, Kingman Reef, or Wake, Jarvis, Baker or Howland Islands to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear or to land or to transship western Pacific pelagic MUS that were caught using longline gear.

Western Pacific pelagic management unit species means the following species:

English
common name
Scientific name
Tunas:
AlbacoreThunnus alalunga.
bigeye tunaThunnus obesus.
Pacific bluefin tunaThunnus orientalis
yellowfin tunaThunnus albacares.
skipjack tunaKatsuwonus pelamis.
KawakawaEuthynnus affinis.
other tuna relativesAuxis spp., Scomber spp., Allothunnus spp.
Billfishes:
Black marlinIstiompax indica
Striped marlinKajikia audax
Pacific blue marlinMakaira nigricans
shortbill spearfishTetrapturus angustirostris.
SwordfishXiphias gladius.
SailfishIstiophorus platypterus.
Sharks:
pelagic thresher sharkAlopias pelagicus.
bigeye thresher sharkAlopias superciliosus.
common thresher sharkAlopias vulpinus.
silky sharkCarcharhinus falciformis.
oceanic whitetip sharkCarcharhinus longimanus.
blue sharkPrionace glauca.
shortfin mako sharkIsurus oxyrinchus.
longfin mako sharkIsurus paucus.
salmon sharkLamna ditropis.
Other pelagic fishes:
mahimahi (dolphinfish)Coryphaena spp.
WahooAcanthocybium solandri.
MoonfishLampris spp.
OilfishGempylidae.
PomfretBramidae.
Squid:
diamondback squidThysanoteuthis rhombus.
neon flying squidOmmastrephes bartramii.
purpleback flying squidSthenoteuthis oualaniensis.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 76 FR 52889, Aug. 24, 2011; 77 FR 43722, July 26, 2012; 79 FR 64111, Oct. 28, 2014]

§665.801   Permits.

(a) A vessel of the United States must be registered for use with a valid permit under the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act if that vessel is used to fish on the high seas, as required under §300.15 of this title.

(b) A vessel of the United States must be registered for use under a valid Hawaii longline limited access permit if that vessel is used:

(1) To fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear in the EEZ around the Hawaiian Archipelago; or

(2) To land or transship, shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around the Hawaiian Archipelago, western Pacific pelagic MUS that were harvested using longline gear.

(c) A vessel of the United States must be registered for use under a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit, in accordance with §665.816, if that vessel is used to:

(1) Fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear in the EEZ around American Samoa;

(2) Land shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around American Samoa western Pacific pelagic MUS that were harvested using longline gear in the EEZ around American Samoa; or

(3) Transship shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around American Samoa western Pacific pelagic MUS that were harvested using longline gear in the EEZ around American Samoa or on the high seas.

(d) A vessel of the United States must be registered for use under a valid Western Pacific general longline permit, American Samoa longline limited access permit, or Hawaii longline limited access permit if that vessel is used to:

(1) Fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear in the EEZ around Guam, CNMI, or PRIA (with the exception of Midway Atoll); or

(2) Land or transship shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around Guam, CNMI, or PRIA (with the exception of Midway Atoll), western Pacific pelagic MUS that were harvested using longline gear.

(e) A receiving vessel of the United States must be registered for use with a valid receiving vessel permit if that vessel is used to land or transship, shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around American Samoa, Hawaii, Guam, CNMI, or PRIA, western Pacific pelagic MUS that were harvested using longline gear.

(f) A vessel of the United States must be registered for use with a valid PRIA pelagic troll and handline fishing permit if that vessel is used to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using pelagic handline or trolling fishing methods in the EEZ around the PRIA (with the exception of Midway Atoll).

(g) A vessel of the United States must be registered for use under a Western Pacific squid jig fishing permit, if that vessel is more than 50 ft (15.4 m) LOA and is used to squid jig fish in EEZ waters around American Samoa, CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, or PRIA.

(h) Any required permit must be valid and on board the vessel and available for inspection by an authorized agent, except that, if the permit was issued (or registered to the vessel) during the fishing trip in question, this requirement applies only after the start of any subsequent fishing trip.

(i) A permit is valid only for the vessel for which it is registered. A permit not registered for use with a particular vessel may not be used.

(j) An application for a permit required under this section will be submitted to PIRO as described in §665.13.

(k) General requirements governing application information, issuance, fees, expiration, replacement, transfer, alteration, display, and sanctions for permits issued under this section, as applicable, are contained in §665.13.

(l) A Hawaii longline limited access permit may be transferred as follows:

(1) The owner of a Hawaii longline limited access permit may apply to transfer the permit:

(i) To a different person for registration for use with the same or another vessel; or

(ii) For registration for use with another U.S. vessel under the same ownership.

(2) [Reserved]

(m) A Hawaii longline limited access permit will not be registered for use with a vessel that has a LOA greater than 101 ft (30.8 m).

(n) Only a person eligible to own a documented vessel under the terms of 46 U.S.C. 12102(a) may be issued or may hold (by ownership or otherwise) a Hawaii longline limited access permit.

(o) Permit appeals. Except as provided in subpart D of 15 CFR part 904, any applicant for a permit or any permit owner may appeal to the Regional Administrator the granting, denial, conditioning, suspension, or transfer of a permit or requested permit under this section. To be considered by the Regional Administrator, the appeal must be in writing, must state the action(s) appealed, and the reasons therefore, and must be submitted within 30 days of the action(s) by the Regional Administrator. The appellant may request an informal hearing on the appeal.

(1) Upon receipt of an appeal authorized by this section, the Regional Administrator may request additional information. Upon receipt of sufficient information, the Regional Administrator will decide the appeal in accordance with the criteria set out in this part for qualifying for, or renewing, limited access permits. In making such decision, the Administrator will review relevant portions of the Western Pacific Pelagic FEP, to the extent such review would clarify the criteria in this part. Such decision will be based upon information relative to the application on file at NMFS and the Council and any additional information available; the summary record kept of any hearing and the hearing officer's recommended decision, if any, as provided in paragraph (o)(3) of this section; and such other considerations as deemed appropriate. The Regional Administrator will notify the appellant of the decision and the reasons therefore, in writing, normally within 30 days of the receipt of sufficient information, unless additional time is needed for a hearing.

(2) If a hearing is requested, or if the Regional Administrator determines that one is appropriate, the Regional Administrator may grant an informal hearing before a hearing officer designated for that purpose. Such a hearing normally shall be held no later than 30 days following receipt of the appeal, unless the hearing officer extends the time. The appellant and, at the discretion of the hearing officer, other interested persons, may appear personally and/or be represented by counsel at the hearing and submit information and present arguments as determined appropriate by the hearing officer. Within 30 days of the last day of the hearing, the hearing officer shall recommend, in writing, a decision to the Regional Administrator.

(3) The Regional Administrator may adopt the hearing officer's recommended decision, in whole or in part, or may reject or modify it. In any event, the Regional Administrator will notify the appellant, and interested persons, if any, of the decision, and the reason(s) therefore, in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the hearing officer's recommended decision. The Regional Administrator's action shall constitute final Agency action for purposes of the Administrative Procedure Act.

(4) In the case of a timely appeal from an American Samoa longline limited access permit initial permit decision, the Regional Administrator will issue the appellant a temporary American Samoa longline limited access permit. A temporary permit will expire 20 days after the Regional Administrator's final decision on the appeal. In no event will a temporary permit be effective for longer than 60 days.

(5) With the exception of temporary permits issued under paragraph (o)(4) of this section, the Regional Administrator, for good cause, may extend any time limit prescribed in this section for a period not to exceed 30 days, either upon his/her own motion or upon written request from the appellant stating the reason(s) therefore.

§665.802   Prohibitions.

In addition to the prohibitions specified in §600.725 of this chapter, it is unlawful for any person to do any of the following:

(a) Falsify or fail to make and/or file all reports of western Pacific pelagic MUS landings, containing all data and in the exact manner, as required by applicable state law or regulation, as specified in §665.14(a), provided that the person is required to do so by applicable state law or regulation.

(b) Use a vessel without a valid permit issued under the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear, on the high seas, in violation of §§665.801(a), and 300.15 of this title.

(c) Use a vessel in the EEZ around the Hawaiian Archipelago without a valid Hawaii longline limited access permit registered for use with that vessel, to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear, in violation of §665.801(b)(1).

(d) Use a vessel shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around the Hawaiian Archipelago without a valid Hawaii longline limited access permit registered for use with that vessel, to land or transship western Pacific pelagic MUS that were harvested with longline gear, in violation of §665.801(b)(2).

(e) Use a vessel in the EEZ around American Samoa without a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit registered for use with that vessel, to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear, in violation of §665.801(c)(1).

(f) Use a vessel shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around American Samoa without a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit registered for use with that vessel, to land western Pacific pelagic MUS that were caught with longline gear within the EEZ around American Samoa, in violation of §665.801(c)(2).

(g) Use a vessel within the EEZ around American Samoa without a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit registered for use with that vessel, to transship western Pacific pelagic MUS that were caught with longline gear, in violation of §665.801(c)(3).

(h) Use a vessel in the EEZ around Guam, CNMI, or PRIA (with the exception of Midway Atoll) without either a valid Western Pacific general longline permit, American Samoa longline limited access permit or a Hawaii longline limited access permit registered for use with that vessel, to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear, in violation of §665.801(d)(1).

(i) Use a vessel shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around Guam, CNMI, or PRIA (with the exception of Midway Atoll) without either a valid Western Pacific general longline permit, American Samoa longline limited access permit or a Hawaii longline limited access permit registered for use with that vessel, to land or transship western Pacific pelagic MUS that were harvested using longline gear, in violation of §665.801(d)(2).

(j) Use a vessel shoreward of the outer boundary of the EEZ around American Samoa, CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, or PRIA, to land or transship western Pacific pelagic MUS caught by other vessels using longline gear, without a valid receiving vessel permit registered for use with that vessel, in violation of §665.801(e).

(k) Use a vessel in the EEZ around the PRIA employing handline or trolling methods to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS without a valid PRIA pelagic troll and handline fishing permit registered for use for that vessel, in violation of §665.801(f).

(l) Fish in the fishery after failing to comply with the notification requirements in §665.803.

(m) Fail to comply with notification requirements set forth in §665.803 or in any EFP issued under §665.17.

(n) Fail to comply with a term or condition governing longline gear configuration in §665.813(k) if using a vessel longer than 40 ft (12.2 m) registered for use with any valid longline permit issued pursuant to §665.801 to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear south of the Equator (0° lat.).

(o) Use a fishing vessel to retain on board, transship, or land pelagic MUS captured by longline gear in the WCPFC Convention Area, as defined in §300.211 of this title, in violation of any restriction announced in accordance with §665.819(d)(2).

(p)-(u) [Reserved]

(v) Use longline gear to fish within a longline fishing prohibited area in violation of §665.806, except as allowed pursuant to an exemption issued under §§665.17 or 665.807.

(w) Fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS with longline gear within the protected species zone, in violation of §665.806(b).

(x) Fail to comply with a term or condition governing the observer program established in §665.808, if using a vessel registered for use with a Hawaii longline limited access permit, or a vessel registered for use with a size Class B, C or D American Samoa longline limited access permit, to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear.

(y) Fail to comply with other terms and conditions that the Regional Administrator imposes by written notice to either the permit holder or the designated agent of the permit holder to facilitate the details of observer placement.

(z) Fail to fish in accordance with the seabird take mitigation techniques set forth at §§665.815(a)(1) or 665.815(a)(2) when operating a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit.

(aa)-(bb) [Reserved]

(cc) Own or operate a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 while engaged in longline fishing for western Pacific pelagic MUS and fail to be certified for completion of a NMFS protected species workshop, in violation of §665.814(a).

(dd) Own or operate a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 while engaged in longline fishing for western Pacific pelagic MUS without having on board a valid protected species workshop certificate issued by NMFS or a legible copy thereof, in violation of §665.814(d).

(ee) Possess light sticks on board a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit at any time during a trip for which notification to NMFS under §665.803(a) indicated that deep-setting would be done, in violation of §665.813(d).

(ff) Fail to carry, or fail to use, a line clipper, dip net, or dehooker on a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801, in violation of §665.812.

(gg)-(hh) [Reserved]

(ii) When operating a vessel registered for use under any longline limited access permit issued under §665.801, fail to comply with the sea turtle handling, resuscitation, and release requirements, in violation of §665.812(b).

(jj) Engage in shallow-setting from a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 north of the Equator (0° lat.) with hooks other than circle hooks sized 18/0 or larger with an offset not to exceed 10 degrees, in violation of §665.813(f).

(kk) Engage in shallow-setting from a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 north of the Equator (0° lat.) with bait other than mackerel-type bait, in violation of §665.813(g).

(ll) [Reserved]

(mm) Fail to use a line setting machine or line shooter, with weighted branch lines, to set the main longline when operating a vessel that is registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit and equipped with monofilament main longline, when making deep sets north of 23° N. lat., in violation of §665.815(a)(1) or (a)(2).

(nn) Fail to employ basket-style longline gear such that the mainline is deployed slack when operating a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access north of 23° N. lat., in violation of §665.815(a)(2)(v).

(oo) Fail to maintain and use blue dye to prepare thawed bait when operating a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit that is fishing north of 23° N. lat., in violation of §665.815(a)(2)(vi) through (viii).

(pp) Fail to retain, handle, and discharge fish, fish parts, and spent bait, strategically when operating a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit that is fishing north of 23° N. lat., in violation of §665.815(a)(2)(i) through (iv).

(qq) Fail to be begin the deployment of longline gear at least 1 hour after local sunset or fail to complete the setting process before local sunrise from a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit while shallow-setting north of 23° N. lat., in violation of §665.815(a)(4).

(rr) Fail to handle short-tailed albatrosses that are caught by pelagic longline gear in a manner that maximizes the probability of their long-term survival, in violation of §665.815(b).

(ss) Engage in shallow-setting from a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit after the shallow-set longline fishery has been closed pursuant to §665.813(b), in violation of §665.813(i).

(tt) Fail to immediately retrieve longline fishing gear upon receipt of actual notice that the shallow-set longline fishery has been closed pursuant to §665.813(b), in violation of §665.813(i).

(uu)-(vv) [Reserved]

(ww) Fail to handle seabirds other than short-tailed albatrosses that are caught by pelagic longline gear in a manner that maximizes the probability of their long-term survival, in violation of §665.815(c).

(xx) Use a large vessel to fish for western Pacific Pelagic MUS within an American Samoa large vessel prohibited area in violation of §665.806, except as allowed pursuant to an exemption issued under §§665.17 or 665.818.

(yy) Fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using gear prohibited under §665.810 or not permitted by an EFP issued under §665.17.

(zz) Use a vessel that is greater than 50 ft (15.4 m) LOA to squid jig fish in EEZ waters around American Samoa, CNMI, Guam, Hawaii, or PRIA, without a Western Pacific squid jig fishing permit registered for use with that vessel, in violation of §665.801(g).

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 76 FR 37288, June 27, 2011; 76 FR 52889, Aug. 24, 2011; 77 FR 60649, Oct. 4, 2012; 79 FR 64111, Oct. 28, 2014]

§665.803   Notifications.

(a) The permit holder, or designated agent, for any vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit, or for any vessel greater than 40 ft (12.2 m) LOA that is registered for use under an American Samoa longline limited access permit, shall provide a notice to the Regional Administrator at least 72 hours (not including weekends and Federal holidays) before the vessel leaves port on a fishing trip, any part of which occurs in the EEZ around the Hawaiian Archipelago or American Samoa. The vessel operator will be presumed to be an agent designated by the permit holder unless the Regional Administrator is otherwise notified by the permit holder. The permit holder or designated agent for a vessel registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits must also provide notification of the trip type (either deep-setting or shallow-setting).

(b) The permit holder, or designated agent, for any vessel registered for use under a Western Pacific squid jig fishing permit that is greater than 50 ft (15.4 m) LOA, shall provide a notice to the Regional Administrator at least 72 hours (not including weekends and Federal holidays) before the vessel leaves port on a fishing trip, any part of which occurs in western Pacific EEZ waters. The vessel operator will be presumed to be an agent designated by the permit holder unless the Regional Administrator is otherwise notified by the permit holder.

(c) For purposes of this section, the notice must be provided to the office or telephone number designated by the Regional Administrator. The notice must provide the official number of the vessel, the name of the vessel, the intended departure date, time, and location, the name of the operator of the vessel, and the name and telephone number of the permit holder or designated agent to be available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. (local time) on weekdays for NMFS to contact to arrange observer placement.

(d) The operator of any vessel subject to the requirements of this subpart who does not have on board a VMS unit while transiting the protected species zone as defined in §665.806, must notify the NMFS Special-Agent-In-Charge immediately upon entering and immediately upon departing the protected species zone. The notification must include the name of the vessel, name of the operator, date and time (GMT) of access or exit from the protected species zone, and location by latitude and longitude to the nearest minute.

(e) The permit holder for any American Samoa longline limited access permit, or an agent designated by the permit holder, must notify the Regional Administrator in writing within 30 days of any change to the permit holder's contact information or any change to the vessel documentation associated with a permit registered to an American Samoa longline limited access permit. Complete changes in the ownership of the vessel registered to an American Samoa longline limited access permit must also be reported to PIRO in writing within 30 days of the change. Failure to report such changes may result in a delay in processing an application, permit holders failing to receive important notifications, or sanctions pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 16 U.S.C. 1858(g) or 15 CFR part 904, subpart D.

§665.804   Gear identification.

(a) Identification. The operator of each permitted vessel in the fishery management area must ensure that the official number of the vessel be affixed to every longline buoy and float, including each buoy and float that is attached to a radar reflector, radio antenna, or flag marker, whether attached to a deployed longline or possessed on board the vessel. Markings must be legible and permanent, and must be of a color that contrasts with the background material.

(b) Enforcement action. Longline gear not marked in compliance with paragraph (a) of this section and found deployed in the EEZ will be considered unclaimed or abandoned property, and may be disposed of in any manner considered appropriate by NMFS or an authorized officer.

§665.805   [Reserved]

§665.806   Prohibited area management.

(a) Longline fishing prohibited areas. Longline fishing is prohibited in the longline fishing prohibited areas as defined in paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(4) of this section.

(1) NWHI protected species zone. The NWHI protected species zone is the portion of the EEZ within 50 nm of the center geographical positions of certain islands and reefs in the NWHI, as follows:

NameN. lat.W. long.
Nihoa Island23°05161°55
Necker Island23°35164°40
French Frigate Shoals23°45166°15
Gardner Pinnacles25°00168°00
Maro Reef25°25170°35
Laysan Island25°45171°45
Lisianski Island26°00173°55
Pearl and Hermes Reef27°50175°50
Midway Island28°14177°22
Kure Island28°25178°20
Where the areas are not contiguous, parallel lines drawn tangent to and connecting those semicircles of the 50-nm areas that lie between Nihoa Island and Necker Island, French Frigate Shoals and Gardner Pinnacles, Gardner Pinnacles and Maro Reef, and Lisianski Island and Pearl and Hermes Reef, delimit the remainder of the NWHI longline protected species zone.

(2) Main Hawaiian Islands (MHI). The MHI longline fishing prohibited area is the portion of the EEZ around Hawaii bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinated in the order listed:

PointN. lat.W. long.
A18°05155°40
B18°20156°25
C20°00157°30
D20°40161°40
E21°40161°55
F23°00161°30
G23°05159°30
H22°55157°30
I21°30155°30
J19°50153°50
K19°00154°05
A18°05155°40

(3) Guam. The Guam longline fishing prohibited area is the portion of the EEZ around Guam bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order listed:

PointN. lat.E. long.
A14°25144°00
B14°00143°38
C13°41143°3333“
D13°00143°2530“
E12°20143°37
F11°40144°09
G12°00145°00
H13°00145°42
I13°27145°51

(4) CNMI. The CNMI longline fishing prohibited area is the portion of the EEZ around the CNMI bounded by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order listed:

PointN. lat.E. long.
A14°00144°34
B15°49145°29
C16°21145°06
D17°03145°22
E19°07145°09
F20°39144°19
G21°04145°06
H19°19146°04
I16°00146°32
J13°32145°32
A14°00144°34

(b) American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas. A large vessel of the United States may not be used to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS in the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas as defined in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section, except as allowed pursuant to an exemption issued under §665.818.

(1) Tutuila Island, Manua Islands, and Rose Atoll (AS-1). The large vessel prohibited area around Tutuila Island, the Manua Islands, and Rose Atoll consists of the waters of the EEZ around American Samoa enclosed by straight lines connecting the following coordinates:

PointS. lat.W. long.
AS-1-A13°4154167°17
AS-1-B15°2310167°17
AS-1-C15°2310169°0042
AS-1-D15°13169°0042
and from point AS-1-A westward along latitude 13°4154 S. until intersecting the U.S. EEZ boundary with Samoa, and from point AS-1-D westward along latitude 15°13 S. until intersecting the U.S. EEZ boundary with Samoa.

(2) Swains Island (AS-2). The Swains Island large vessel prohibited area is the portion of the EEZ around American Samoa enclosed by straight lines connecting the following coordinates:

PointS. lat.W. long.
AS-2-A11°48171°50
AS-2-B11°48170°20
and from Point AS-2-A northward along the longitude 171°50 W. until intersecting the U.S. EEZ boundary with Tokelau, and from Point AS-2-B northward along the longitude 170°20 W. until intersecting the U.S. EEZ boundary with Tokelau.

[76 FR 37289, June 27, 2011, as amended at 77 FR 34261, June 11, 2012; 77 FR 71286, Nov. 29, 2012]

§665.807   Exemptions for Hawaii longline fishing prohibited areas; procedures.

(a) An exemption permitting a person to use longline gear to fish in a portion(s) of the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area will be issued to a person who can document that he or she:

(1) Currently owns a Hawaii longline limited access permit issued under this part and registered for use with his or her vessel;

(2) Before 1970, was the owner or operator of a vessel when that vessel landed western Pacific pelagic MUS taken on longline gear in an area that is now within the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area;

(3) Was the owner or operator of a vessel that landed western Pacific pelagic MUS taken on longline gear in an area that is now within the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area, in at least 5 calendar years after 1969, which need not be consecutive; and

(4) In any one of the 5 calendar years, was the owner or operator of a vessel that harvested at least 80 percent of its total landings, by weight, of longline-caught western Pacific pelagic MUS in an area that is now in the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area.

(b) Each exemption shall specify the portion(s) of the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area, bounded by longitudinal and latitudinal lines drawn to include each statistical area, as appearing on Hawaii State Commercial Fisheries Charts, in which the exemption holder made the harvest documented for the exemption application under paragraph (a)(4) of this section.

(c) Each exemption is valid only within the portion(s) of the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area specified on the exemption.

(d) A person seeking an exemption under this section must submit an application and supporting documentation to PIRO at least 15 days before the desired effective date of the exemption.

(e) If the Regional Administrator determines that a gear conflict has occurred and is likely to occur again in the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area between a vessel used by a person holding an exemption under this section and a non-longline vessel, the Regional Administrator may prohibit all longline fishing in the Hawaii longline fishing prohibited area around the island where the conflict occurred, or in portions thereof, upon notice to each holder of an exemption who would be affected by such a prohibition.

(f) The Council will consider information provided by persons with Hawaii longline limited access permits issued under this part who believe they have experienced extreme financial hardship resulting from the Hawaii longline area closure, and will consider recommendations of the Pelagic Advisory Review Board to assess whether exemptions under this section should continue to be allowed, and, if appropriate, revise the qualifying criteria in paragraph (a) of this section to permit additional exemptions.

(1) If additional exemptions are needed, the Council will advise the Regional Administrator in writing of its recommendation, including criteria by which financial hardships will be mitigated, while retaining the effectiveness of the longline fishing prohibited area.

(2) Following a review of the Council's recommendation and supporting rationale, the Regional Administrator may:

(i) Reject the Council's recommendation, in which case written reasons will be provided by the Regional Administrator to the Council for the rejection; or

(ii) Concur with the Council's recommendation and, after finding that it is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Pelagics FEP, the national standards, and other applicable law, initiate rulemaking to implement the Council's recommendations.

§665.808   Conditions for at-sea observer coverage.

(a) NMFS shall advise the permit holder or the designated agent of any observer requirement at least 24 hours (not including weekends and Federal holidays) before any trip for which NMFS received timely notice in compliance with these regulations.

(b) The “Notice Prior to Fishing Trip” requirements in this subpart commit the permit holder to the representations in the notice. The notice can be modified by the permit holder or designated agent because of changed circumstance, if the Regional Administrator is promptly provided a modification to the notice that complies with the notice requirements. The notice will also be considered modified if the Regional Administrator and the permit holder or designated agent agrees to placement changes.

(c) When NMFS notifies the permit holder or designated agent of the obligation to carry an observer in response to a notification under this subpart, or as a condition of an EFP issued under §665.17, the vessel may not engage in the fishery without taking the observer.

(d) A NMFS observer shall arrive at the observer's assigned vessel 30 minutes before the time designated for departure in the notice or the notice as modified, and will wait 1 hour for departure.

(e) A permit holder must accommodate a NMFS observer assigned under these regulations. The Regional Administrator's office, and not the observer, will address any concerns raised over accommodations.

(f) The permit holder, vessel operator, and crew must cooperate with the observer in the performance of the observer's duties, including:

(1) Allowing for the embarking and debarking of the observer.

(2) Allowing the observer access to all areas of the vessel necessary to conduct observer duties.

(3) Allowing the observer access to communications equipment and navigation equipment as necessary to perform observer duties.

(4) Allowing the observer access to VMS units to verify operation, obtain data, and use the communication capabilities of the units for official purposes.

(5) Providing accurate vessel locations by latitude and longitude or loran coordinates, upon request by the observer.

(6) Providing sea turtle, marine mammal, or seabird specimens as requested.

(7) Notifying the observer in a timely fashion when commercial fishing operations are to begin and end.

(g) The permit holder, operator, and crew must comply with other terms and conditions to ensure the effective deployment and use of observers that the Regional Administrator imposes by written notice.

(h) The permit holder must ensure that assigned observers are provided living quarters comparable to crew members and are provided the same meals, snacks, and amenities as are normally provided to other vessel personnel. A mattress or futon on the floor or a cot is not acceptable if a regular bunk is provided to any crew member, unless other arrangements are approved in advance by the Regional Administrator.

(i) Reimbursement requirements are as follows:

(1) Upon observer verification of vessel accommodations and the number of assigned days on board, NMFS will reimburse vessel owners a reasonable amount for observer subsistence as determined by the Regional Administrator.

(2) If requested and properly documented, NMFS will reimburse the vessel owner for the following:

(i) Communications charges incurred by the observer.

(ii) Lost fishing time arising from a seriously injured or seriously ill observer, provided that notification of the nature of the emergency is transmitted to the Observer Program, NMFS (see address for PIRO Regional Administrator) at the earliest practical time. NMFS will reimburse the owner only for those days during which the vessel is unable to fish as a direct result of helping the NMFS employee who is seriously injured or seriously ill. Lost fishing time is based on time traveling to and from the fishing grounds and any documented out-of-pocket expenses for medical services. Payment will be based on the current target fish market prices and that vessel's average target fish catch retained per day at sea for the previous 2 years, but shall not exceed $5,000 per day or $20,000 per claim. Detailed billing with receipts and supporting records are required for allowable communication and lost fishing time claims. The claim must be completed in ink, showing the claimant's printed name, address, vessel name, observer name, trip dates, days observer was on board, an explanation of the charges, and claimant's dated signature with a statement verifying the claim to be true and correct. Requested reimbursement claims must be submitted to the Fisheries Observer Branch, Pacific Islands Region, NMFS. NMFS will not process reimbursement invoices and documentation submitted more than 120 days after the occurrence.

(j) If a vessel normally has cabins for crew members, female observers on a vessel with an all-male crew must be accommodated either in a single person cabin or, if NMFS concludes that adequate privacy can be ensured by installing a curtain or other temporary divider, in a two-person shared cabin. If the vessel normally does not have cabins for crew members, alternative accommodations must be approved by NMFS. If a cabin assigned to a female observer does not have its own toilet and shower facilities that can be provided for the exclusive use of the observer, or if no cabin is assigned, then arrangements for sharing common facilities must be established and approved in advance by NMFS.

§665.809   Port privileges and transiting for unpermitted U.S. longline vessels.

A U.S. longline fishing vessel that does not have a permit under subpart A of this part may enter waters of the fishery management area with western Pacific pelagic MUS on board, but may not land or transship any western Pacific pelagic MUS on board the vessel. The vessel's longline gear must be stowed or secured so it is rendered unusable during the time the vessel is in those waters.

§665.810   Prohibition of drift gillnetting.

Fishing with drift gillnets in the fishery management area is prohibited, except where authorized by an EFP issued under §665.17.

§665.811   [Reserved]

§665.812   Sea turtle take mitigation measures.

(a) Possession and use of required mitigation gear. The gear required in paragraph (a) of this section must be used according to the sea turtle handling requirements set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

(1) Hawaii longline limited access permits. Any owner or operator of a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit must carry aboard the vessel line clippers meeting the minimum design standards specified in paragraph (a)(5) of this section, dip nets meeting the minimum design standards specified in paragraph (a)(6) of this section, and dehookers meeting the minimum design and performance standards specified in paragraph (a)(7) of this section.

(2) Other longline vessels with freeboards of more than 3 ft (0.91m). Any owner or operator of a longline vessel with a permit issued under §665.801 other than a Hawaii limited access longline permit and that has a freeboard of more than 3 ft (0.91 m) must carry aboard the vessel line clippers meeting the minimum design standards specified in paragraph (a)(5) of this section, dip nets meeting the minimum design standards specified in paragraph (a)(6) of this section, and dehookers meeting this minimum design and performance standards specified in paragraph (a)(7) of this section.

(3) Other longline vessels with freeboards of 3 ft (0.91 m) or less. Any owner or operator of a longline vessel with a permit issued under §665.801 other than a Hawaii limited access longline permit and that has a freeboard of 3 ft (0.91 m) or less must carry aboard their vessels line clippers capable of cutting the vessels fishing line or leader within approximately 1 ft (0.3 m) of the eye of an embedded hook, as well as wire or bolt cutters capable of cutting through the vessel's hooks.

(4) Handline, troll, pole-and-line, and other vessels using hooks other than longline vessels. Any owner or operator of a vessel fishing under the Pelagics FEP with hooks other than longline gear are not required to carry specific mitigation gear, but must comply with the handling requirements set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

(5) Line clippers. Line clippers are intended to cut fishing line as close as possible to hooked or entangled sea turtles. NMFS has established minimum design standards for line clippers. The Arceneaux line clipper (ALC) is a model line clipper that meets these minimum design standards and may be fabricated from readily available and low-cost materials (see Figure 3 to this part). The minimum design standards are as follows:

(i) A protected cutting blade. The cutting blade must be curved, recessed, contained in a holder, or otherwise afforded some protection to minimize direct contact of the cutting surface with sea turtles or users of the cutting blade.

(ii) Cutting blade edge. The blade must be capable of cutting 2.0-2.1 mm monofilament line and nylon or polypropylene multistrand material commonly known as braided mainline or tarred mainline.

(iii) An extended reach holder for the cutting blade. The line clipper must have an extended reach handle or pole of at least 6 ft (1.82 m).

(iv) Secure fastener. The cutting blade must be securely fastened to the extended reach handle or pole to ensure effective deployment and use.

(6) Dip nets. Dip nets are intended to facilitate safe handling of sea turtles and access to sea turtles for purposes of cutting lines in a manner that minimizes injury and trauma to sea turtles. The minimum design standards for dip nets that meet the requirements of this section nets are:

(i) An extended reach handle. The dip net must have an extended reach handle of at least 6 ft (1.82 m) of wood or other rigid material able to support a minimum of 100 lb (34.1 kg) without breaking or significant bending or distortion.

(ii) Size of dip net. The dip net must have a net hoop of at least 31 inches (78.74 cm) inside diameter and a bag depth of at least 38 inches (96.52 cm). The bag mesh openings may be no more than 3 inches by 3 inches (7.62 cm by 7.62 cm).

(7) Dehookers. (i) Long-handled dehooker for ingested hooks. This item is intended to be used to remove ingested hooks from sea turtles that cannot be boated, and to engage a loose hook when a turtle is entangled but not hooked and line is being removed. One long-handled dehooker for ingested hooks is required on board. The minimum design and performance standards are as follows:

(A) Hook removal device. The hook removal device must be constructed of 516 inch (7.94 mm) 316L stainless steel and have a dehooking end no larger than 178 inches (4.76 cm) outside diameter. The device must be capable of securely engaging and controlling the leader while shielding the barb of the hook to prevent the hook from re-engaging during removal. It must not have any unprotected terminal points (including blunt ones), as these could cause injury to the esophagus during hook removal. The device must be of a size capable of securing the range of hook sizes and styles used by the vessel.

(B) Extended reach handle. The hook removal device must be securely fastened to an extended reach handle or pole with a length equal to or greater than 150 percent of the vessel's freeboard or 6 ft (1.83 m), whichever is greater. It is recommended that the handle be designed so that it breaks down into sections. The handle must be sturdy and strong enough to facilitate the secure attachment of the hook removal device.

(ii) Long-handled dehooker for external hooks. This item is intended to be used to remove externally-hooked hooks from sea turtles that cannot be boated. The long-handled dehooker for ingested hooks described in paragraph (a)(7)(i) of this section meets this requirement. The minimum design and performance standards are as follows:

(A) Construction. The device must be constructed of 516 inch (7.94 mm) 316 L stainless steel rod. A 5 inch (12.70 cm) tube T-handle of 1 inch (2.54 cm) outside diameter is recommended, but not required. The dehooking end must be blunt with all edges rounded. The device must be of a size capable of securing the range of hook sizes and styles used by the vessel.

(B) Handle. The handle must have a length equal to or greater than the vessel's freeboard or 3 ft (0.91 m), whichever is greater.

(iii) Long-handled device to pull an “inverted V.” This item is intended to be used to pull an “inverted V” in the fishing line when disentangling and dehooking entangled sea turtles. One long-handled device to pull an “inverted V” is required on the vessel. The minimum design and performance standards are as follows:

(A) Hook end. It must have a hook-shaped end, like that of a standard boat hook or gaff, which must be constructed of stainless steel or aluminum.

(B) Handle. The handle must have a length equal to or greater than 150 percent of the vessel's freeboard or 6 ft (1.83 m), whichever is greater. The handle must be sturdy and strong enough to allow the hook end to be effectively used to engage and pull an “inverted V” in the line.

(C) The long-handled dehookers described in paragraphs (a)(7)(i) and (ii) of this section meet this requirement.

(iv) Short-handled dehooker for ingested hooks. This item is intended to be used to remove ingested hooks, externally hooked hooks, and hooks in the front of the mouth of sea turtles that can be boated. One short-handled dehooker for ingested hooks is required on board. The minimum design and performance standards are as follows:

(A) Hook removal device. The hook removal device must be constructed of 14 inch (6.35 mm) 316 L stainless steel, and the design of the dehooking end must be such to allow the hook to be secured and the barb shielded without re-engaging during the hook removal process. The dehooking end must be no larger than 1-5/16 inch (3.33 cm) outside diameter. It must not have any unprotected terminal points (including blunt ones), as this could cause injury to the esophagus during hook removal. The dehooking end must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used by the vessel.

(B) Sliding plastic bite block. The dehooker must have a sliding plastic bite block, which is intended to be used to protect the sea turtle's beak and facilitate hook removal if the turtle bites down on the dehooker. The bite block must be constructed of a 34 inch (1.91 cm) inside diameter high impact plastic cylinder (for example, Schedule 80 PVC) that is 10 inches (25.40 cm) long. The dehooker and bite block must be configured to allow for 5 inches (12.70 cm) of slide of the bite block along the shaft of the dehooker.

(C) Shaft and handle. The shaft must be 16 to 24 inches (40.64 to 60.69 cm) in length, and must have a T-handle 4 to 6 inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm) in length and 34 to 114 inches (1.90 to 3.18 cm) in diameter.

(v) Short-handled dehooker for external hooks. This item is intended to be used to remove externally hooked hooks from sea turtles that can be boated. One short-handled dehooker for external hooks is required on board. The short-handled dehooker for ingested hooks required to comply with paragraph (a)(7)(v) of this section meets this requirement. The minimum design and performance standards are as follows:

(A) Hook removal device. The hook removal device must be constructed of 516 inch (7.94 cm) 316 L stainless steel, and the design must be such that a hook can be rotated out without pulling it out at an angle. The dehooking end must be blunt, and all edges rounded. The device must be of a size appropriate to secure the range of hook sizes and styles used by the vessel.

(B) Shaft and handle. The shaft must be 16 to 24 inches (40.64 to 60.69 cm) in length, and must have a T-handle 4 to 6 inches (10.16 to 15.24 cm) in length and 34 to 114 inches (1.90 to 3.18 cm) in diameter.

(8) Tire. This item is intended to be used for supporting a turtle in an upright orientation while it is on board. One tire is required on board, but an assortment of sizes is recommended to accommodate a range of turtle sizes. The tire must be a standard passenger vehicle tire and must be free of exposed steel belts.

(9) Long-nose or needle-nose pliers. This item is intended to be used to remove deeply embedded hooks from the turtle's flesh that must be twisted in order to be removed, and also to hold in place PVC splice couplings when used as mouth openers. One pair of long-nose or needle-nose pliers is required on board. The minimum design standards are as follows: The pliers must be 8 to 14 inches (20.32 to 35.56 cm) in length. It is recommended that they be constructed of stainless steel material.

(10) Wire or bolt cutters. This item is intended to be used to cut through hooks in order to remove all or part of the hook. One pair of wire or bolt cutters is required on board. The minimum design and performance standards are as follows: The wire or bolt cutters must be capable of cutting hard metals, such as stainless or carbon steel hooks, and they must be capable of cutting through the hooks used by the vessel.

(11) Monofilament line cutters. This item is intended to be used to cut and remove fishing line as close to the eye of the hook as possible if the hook is swallowed or cannot be removed. One pair of monofilament line cutters is required on board. The minimum design standards are as follows: Monofilament line cutters must be 6 to 9 inches (15.24 to 22.86 cm) in length. The blades must be 134 (4.45 cm) in length and 58 inches (1.59 cm) wide when closed.

(12) Mouth openers and gags. These items are intended to be used to open the mouths of boated sea turtles, and to keep them open when removing ingested hooks in a way that allows the hook or line to be removed without causing further injury to the turtle. At least two of the seven different types of mouth openers and gags described below are required on board. The seven types and their minimum design standards are as follows.

(i) A block of hard wood. A block of hard wood is intended to be used to gag open a turtle's mouth by placing it in the corner of the jaw. It must be made of hard wood of a type that does not splinter (for example, maple), and it must have rounded and smoothed edges. The dimensions must be 10 to 12 inches (24.50 to 30.48 cm) by 34 to 114 inches (1.90 to 3.18 cm) by 34 to 114 inches (1.90 to 3.18 cm).

(ii) A set of three canine mouth gags. A canine mouth gag is intended to be used to gag open a turtle's mouth while allowing hands-free operation after it is in place. A set of canine mouth gags must include one of each of the following sizes: small (5 inches, 12.7 cm), medium (6 inches, 15.2 cm), and large (7 inches, 17.8 cm). They must be constructed of stainless steel. A 134 inch (4.45 cm) long piece of vinyl tubing ( 34 inch, 1.91 cm) outside diameter and 58 inch (1.59 cm) inside diameter) must be placed over the ends of the gags to protect the turtle's beak.

(iii) A set of two sturdy canine chew bones. A canine chew bone is intended to be used to gag open a turtle's mouth by placing it in the corner of the jaw. They must be constructed of durable nylon, zylene resin, or thermoplastic polymer, and strong enough to withstand biting without splintering. To accommodate a variety of turtle beak sizes, a set must include one large (512 to 8 inches (13.97 to 20.32 cm) in length) and one small (312 to 412 inches (8.89 to 11.43 cm) in length) canine chew bones.

(iv) A set of two rope loops covered with hose. A set of two rope loops covered with a piece of hose is intended to be used as a mouth opener and to keep a turtle's mouth open during hook and/or line removal. A set consists of two 3-foot (0.91 m) lengths of poly braid rope, each covered with an 8 inch (20.32 cm) section of 12 inch (1.27 cm) or 34 inch (1.91 cm) light-duty garden hose, and each tied into a loop.

(v) A hank of rope. A hank of rope is intended to be used to gag open a sea turtle's mouth by placing it in the corner of the jaw. A hank of rope is made from a 6 foot (1.83 m) lanyard of braided nylon rope that is folded to create a hank, or looped bundle, of rope. The hank must be 2 to 4 inches (5.08 to 10.16 cm) in thickness.

(vi) A set of four PVC splice couplings. PVC splice couplings are intended to be used to allow access to the back of the mouth of a turtle for hook and line removal by positioning them inside a turtle's mouth and holding them in place with long-nose or needle-nose pliers. The set must consist of the following Schedule 40 PVC splice coupling sizes: 1 inch (2.54 cm), 114 inches (3.18 cm), 112 inches (3.81 cm), and 2 inches (5.08 cm).

(vii) A large avian oral speculum. A large avian oral speculum is intended to be used to hold a turtle's mouth open and control the head with one hand while removing a hook with the other hand. It must be 9 inches (22.86 cm) in length and constructed of 316 inch (4.76 mm) wire diameter surgical stainless steel (Type 304). It must be covered with 8 inches (20.32 cm) of clear vinyl tubing 516 inch (7.94 mm) outside diameter, 316 inch (4.76 mm) inside diameter.

(b) Handling requirements. If a sea turtle is observed to be hooked or entangled in fishing gear from any vessel fishing under the Pelagics FEP, vessel owners and operators must use the required mitigation gear set forth in paragraph (a) of this section to comply with these handling requirements. Any hooked or entangled sea turtle must be handled in a manner to minimize injury and promote survival.

(1) Sea turtles that cannot be brought aboard. In instances where a sea turtle is too large to be brought aboard or the sea turtle cannot be brought aboard without causing further injury to the sea turtle, the vessel owner or operator must disentangle and remove the gear, or cut the line as close as possible to the hook or entanglement, to remove the maximum amount of the gear from the sea turtle.

(2) Sea turtles that can be brought aboard. In instances where a sea turtle is not too large to be brought aboard, or the sea turtle can be brought aboard without causing further injury to the turtle, the vessel owner or operator must take the following actions:

(i) Immediately bring the sea turtle aboard;

(ii) Handle the sea turtle in accordance with the procedures in paragraphs (b)(3) and (b)(4) of this section; and

(iii) Disentangle and remove the gear, or cut the line as close as possible to the hook or entanglement, to remove the maximum amount of the gear from the sea turtle.

(3) Sea turtle resuscitation. If a sea turtle appears dead or comatose, the following actions must be taken:

(i) Place the sea turtle on its belly (on the bottom shell or plastron) so that the sea turtle is right side up and its hindquarters elevated at least 6 inches (15.24 cm) for a period of no less than 4 hours and no more than 24 hours. The amount of the elevation varies with the size of the sea turtle; greater elevations are needed for larger sea turtles;

(ii) Administer a reflex test at least once every 3 hours. The test is to be performed by gently touching the eye and pinching the tail of a sea turtle to determine if the sea turtle is responsive;

(iii) Keep the sea turtle shaded and damp or moist (but under no circumstances place the sea turtle into a container holding water). A water-soaked towel placed over the eyes, carapace and flippers is the most effective method of keeping a sea turtle moist; and

(iv) Return to the sea any sea turtle that revives and becomes active in the manner described in paragraph (b)(4) of this section. Sea turtles that fail to revive within the 24-hour period must also be returned to the sea in the manner described in paragraph (b)(4) of this section.

(4) Sea turtle release. After handling a sea turtle in accordance with the requirements of paragraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3) of this section, the sea turtle must be returned to the ocean after identification unless NMFS requests the retention of a dead sea turtle for research. In releasing a sea turtle the vessel owner or operator must:

(i) Place the vessel engine in neutral gear so that the propeller is disengaged and the vessel is stopped, and release the sea turtle away from deployed gear; and

(ii) Observe that the turtle is safely away from the vessel before engaging the propeller and continuing operations.

(5) Other sea turtle requirements. No sea turtle, including a dead turtle, may be consumed or sold. A sea turtle may be landed, offloaded, transshipped or kept below deck only if NMFS requests the retention of a dead sea turtle for research.

§665.813   Western Pacific longline fishing restrictions.

(a) [Reserved]

(b) Limits on sea turtle interactions. (1) Maximum annual limits are established on the number of physical interactions that occur each calendar year between leatherback and North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles and vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits while shallow-set fishing. The annual limit for leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) is 26, and the annual limit for North Pacific loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) is 17.

(2) Upon determination by the Regional Administrator that, based on data from NMFS observers, the fishery has reached either of the two sea turtle interaction limits during a given calendar year:

(i) As soon as practicable, the Regional Administrator will file for publication at the Office of the Federal Register a notification that the fishery reached a sea turtle interaction limit. The notification will include an advisement that the shallow-set longline fishery shall be closed, and that shallow-set longline fishing north of the Equator by vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits will be prohibited beginning at a specified date until the end of the calendar year in which the sea turtle interaction limit was reached. Coincidental with the filing of the notification, the Regional Administrator will also provide actual notice that the shallow-set longline fishery shall be closed, and that shallow-set longline fishing north of the Equator by vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits will be prohibited beginning at a specified date, to all holders of Hawaii longline limited access permits via telephone, satellite telephone, radio, electronic mail, facsimile transmission, or post.

(ii) Beginning on the fishery closure date indicated by the Regional Administrator in the notification provided to vessel operators and permit holders and published in the Federal Register under paragraph (b)(2)(i) of this section, until the end of the calendar year in which the sea turtle interaction limit was reached, the Hawaii-based shallow-set longline fishery shall be closed.

(c) [Reserved]

(d) Vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit may not have on board at any time during a trip for which notification to NMFS under §665.803(a) indicated that deep-setting would be done any float lines less than 20 meters in length or light sticks. As used in this paragraph “float line” means a line used to suspend the main longline beneath a float and “light stick” means any type of light emitting device, including any fluorescent “glow bead,” chemical, or electrically powered light that is affixed underwater to the longline gear.

(e) [Reserved]

(f) Any owner or operator of a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 must use only circle hooks sized 18/0 or larger, with an offset not to exceed 10 degrees, when shallow-setting north of the Equator (0° lat.). As used in this paragraph, an offset circle hook sized 18/0 or larger is one with an outer diameter at its widest point no smaller than 1.97 inches (50 mm) when measured with the eye of the hook on the vertical axis (y-axis) and perpendicular to the horizontal axis (x-axis). As used in this paragraph, the allowable offset is measured from the barbed end of the hook, and is relative to the parallel plane of the eyed-end, or shank, of the hook when laid on its side.

(g) Any owner or operator of a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 must use only mackerel-type bait when shallow-setting north of the Equator (0° lat.). As used in this paragraph, mackerel-type bait means a whole fusiform fish with a predominantly blue, green or gray back and predominantly gray, silver or white lower sides and belly.

(h) Owners and operators of vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit may make sets only of the type (shallow-setting or deep-setting) indicated in the notification to NMFS pursuant to §665.803(a).

(i) Vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits may not be used to engage in shallow-setting north of the Equator (0° lat.) any time during which the shallow-set component of the longline fishery is closed pursuant to paragraph (b)(2)(ii) of this section.

(j) Swordfish limits. When fishing north of the Equator (0° lat.), owners and operators of vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit, on a trip for which the permit holder notified NMFS under §665.803(a) that the vessel would deep-set, may possess or land no more than the following number of swordfish for such trip:

(1) If an observer is on board, there is no limit.

(2) If there is no observer on board, and if only circle hooks are used, the limit is 25.

(3) If there is no observer on board, and if any type of hook other than a circle hook is used, the limit is 10.

(k) When fishing south of the Equator (0° lat.) for western Pacific pelagic MUS, owners and operators of vessels longer than 40 ft (12.2 m) registered for use with any valid longline permit issued pursuant to §665.801 must use longline gear that is configured according to the requirements in paragraphs (k)(1) through (k)(5) of this section.

(1) Each float line must be at least 30 m long.

(2) At least 15 branch lines must be attached to the mainline between any two float lines attached to the mainline.

(3) Each branch line must be at least 10 meters long.

(4) No branch line may be attached to the mainline closer than 70 meters to any float line.

(5) No more than 10 swordfish may be possessed or landed during a single fishing trip.

[75 FR 2205, Jan. 14, 2010, as amended at 76 FR 13299, Mar. 11, 2011; 76 FR 52889, Aug. 24, 2011; 77 FR 43722, July 26, 2012; 77 FR 60649, Oct. 4, 2012; 83 FR 49496, Oct. 2, 2018]

§665.814   Protected species workshop.

(a) Each year, both the owner and the operator of a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 must attend and be certified for completion of a workshop conducted by NMFS on interaction mitigation techniques for sea turtles, seabirds and other protected species.

(b) A protected species workshop certificate will be issued by NMFS annually to any person who has completed the workshop.

(c) An owner of a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 must have a valid protected species workshop certificate issued by NMFS to the owner of the vessel, in order to maintain or renew their vessel registration.

(d) An owner and an operator of a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under §665.801 must have on board the vessel a valid protected species workshop certificate issued by NMFS to the operator of the vessel, or a legible copy thereof.

§665.815   Pelagic longline seabird mitigation measures.

(a) Seabird mitigation techniques. When deep-setting or shallow-setting north of 23° N. lat. or shallow-setting south of 23° N. lat., owners and operators of vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit, must either side-set according to paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or fish in accordance with paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(1) Side-setting. Owners and operators of vessels opting to side-set under this section must fish according to the following specifications:

(i) The mainline must be deployed as far forward on the vessel as practicable, and at least 1 m (3.3 ft) forward from the stern of the vessel;

(ii) The mainline and branch lines must be set from the port or the starboard side of the vessel;

(iii) If a mainline shooter is used, the mainline shooter must be mounted as far forward on the vessel as practicable, and at least 1 m (3.3 ft) forward from the stern of the vessel;

(iv) Branch lines must have weights with a minimum weight of 45 g (1.6 oz);

(v) One weight must be connected to each branch line within 1 m (3.3 ft) of each hook;

(vi) When seabirds are present, the longline gear must be deployed so that baited hooks remain submerged and do not rise to the sea surface; and

(vii) A bird curtain must be deployed. Each bird curtain must consist of the following three components: a pole that is fixed to the side of the vessel aft of the line shooter and which is at least 3 m (9.8 ft) long; at least three main streamers that are attached at regular intervals to the upper 2 m (6.6 ft) of the pole and each of which has a minimum diameter of 20 mm (0.8 in); and branch streamers attached to each main streamer at the end opposite from the pole, each of which is long enough to drag on the sea surface in the absence of wind, and each of which has a minimum diameter 10 mm (0.4 in).

(2) Alternative to side-setting. Owners and operators of vessels that do not side-set must do the following:

(i) Discharge fish, fish parts (offal), or spent bait while setting or hauling longline gear, on the opposite side of the vessel from where the longline gear is being set or hauled, when seabirds are present;

(ii) Retain sufficient quantities of fish, fish parts, or spent bait between the setting of longline gear for the purpose of strategically discharging it in accordance with paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section;

(iii) Remove all hooks from fish, fish parts, or spent bait prior to its discharge in accordance with paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section;

(iv) Remove the bill and liver of any swordfish that is caught, sever its head from the trunk and cut it in half vertically and periodically discharge the butchered heads and livers in accordance with paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section;

(v) When using basket-style longline gear north of 23° N. lat., ensure that the main longline is deployed slack to maximize its sink rate;

(vi) Use completely thawed bait that has been dyed blue to an intensity level specified by a color quality control card issued by NMFS;

(vii) Maintain a minimum of two cans (each sold as 0.45 kg or 1 lb size) containing blue dye on board the vessel; and

(viii) Follow the requirements in paragraphs (a)(3) and (a)(4) of this section, as applicable.

(3) Deep-setting requirements. The following additional requirements apply to vessels engaged in deep-setting using a monofilament main longline north of 23° N. lat. that do not side-set. Owners and operators of these vessels must do the following:

(i) Employ a line shooter; and

(ii) Attach a weight of at least 45 g (1.6 oz) to each branch line within 1 m (3.3 ft) of the hook.

(4) Shallow-setting requirement. In addition to the requirements set forth in paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(2) of this section, owners and operators of vessels engaged in shallow-setting that do not side-set must begin the deployment of longline gear at least 1 hour after local sunset and complete the deployment no later than local sunrise, using only the minimum vessel lights to conform with navigation rules and best safety practices.

(b) Short-tailed albatross handling techniques. If a short-tailed albatross is hooked or entangled by a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit, owners and operators must ensure that the following actions are taken:

(1) Stop the vessel to reduce the tension on the line and bring the bird on board the vessel using a dip net;

(2) Cover the bird with a towel to protect its feathers from oils or damage while being handled;

(3) Remove any entangled lines from the bird; and

(4) Determine if the bird is alive or dead.

(i) If dead, freeze the bird immediately with an identification tag attached directly to the specimen listing the species, location and date of mortality, and band number if the bird has a leg band. Attach a duplicate identification tag to the bag or container holding the bird. Any leg bands present must remain on the bird. Contact NMFS, the USCG, or the USFWS at the numbers listed on the Short-tailed Albatross Handling Placard distributed at the NMFS protected species workshop, inform them that you have a dead short-tailed albatross on board, and submit the bird to NMFS within 72 hours following completion of the fishing trip.

(ii) If alive, handle the bird in accordance with paragraphs (b)(5) through (11) of this section.

(5) Place the bird in a safe enclosed place;

(6) Immediately contact NMFS, the USCG, or the USFWS at the numbers listed on the Short-tailed Albatross Handling Placard distributed at the NMFS protected species workshop and request veterinary guidance;

(7) Follow the veterinary guidance regarding the handling and release of the bird;

(8) If the bird is externally hooked and no veterinary guidance is received within 24-48 hours, handle the bird in accordance with paragraphs (c)(4) and (c)(5) of this section, and release the bird only if it meets the following criteria:

(i) Able to hold its head erect and respond to noise and motion stimuli;

(ii) Able to breathe without noise;

(iii) Capable of flapping and retracting both wings to normal folded position on its back;

(iv) Able to stand on both feet with toes pointed forward; and

(v) Feathers are dry.

(9) Any seabird that is released in accordance with paragraph (b)(8) of this section or under the guidance of a veterinarian must be placed on the sea surface;

(10) If the hook has been ingested or is inaccessible, keep the bird in a safe, enclosed place and submit it to NMFS immediately upon the vessel's return to port. Do not give the bird food or water; and

(11) Complete the short-tailed albatross recovery data form issued by NMFS.

(c) Non-short-tailed albatross seabird handling techniques. If a seabird other than a short-tailed albatross is hooked or entangled by a vessel registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit owners and operators must ensure that the following actions are taken:

(1) Stop the vessel to reduce the tension on the line and bring the seabird on board the vessel using a dip net;

(2) Cover the seabird with a towel to protect its feathers from oils or damage while being handled;

(3) Remove any entangled lines from the seabird;

(4) Remove any external hooks by cutting the line as close as possible to the hook, pushing the hook barb out point first, cutting off the hook barb using bolt cutters, and then removing the hook shank;

(5) Cut the fishing line as close as possible to ingested or inaccessible hooks;

(6) Leave the bird in a safe enclosed space to recover until its feathers are dry; and

(7) After recovered, release seabirds by placing them on the sea surface.

§665.816   American Samoa longline limited entry program.

(a) General. Under §665.801(c), certain U.S. vessels are required to be registered for use under a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit. With the exception of reductions in permits in vessel size Class A under paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the maximum number of permits will be capped at the number of initial permits actually issued under paragraph (f) of this section.

(b) Terminology. For purposes of this section, the following terms have these meanings:

(1) Documented participation means participation proved by, but not necessarily limited to, a properly submitted NMFS or American Samoa logbook, an American Samoa creel survey record, a delivery or payment record from an American Samoa-based cannery, retailer or wholesaler, an American Samoa tax record, an individual wage record, ownership title, vessel registration, or other official documents showing:

(i) Ownership of a vessel that was used to fish in the EEZ around American Samoa, or

(ii) Evidence of work on a fishing trip during which longline gear was used to harvest western Pacific pelagic MUS in the EEZ around American Samoa. If the applicant does not possess the necessary documentation of evidence of work on a fishing trip based on records available only from NMFS or the Government of American Samoa (e.g., creel survey record or logbook), the applicant may issue a request to PIRO to obtain such records from the appropriate agencies, if available. The applicant should provide sufficient information on the fishing trip to allow PIRO to retrieve the records.

(2) Family means those people related by blood, marriage, and formal or informal adoption.

(c) Vessel size classes. The Regional Administrator shall issue American Samoa longline limited access permits in the following size classes:

(1) Class A: Vessels less than or equal to 40 ft (12.2 m) LOA. The maximum number will be reduced as Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 permits are issued under paragraph (f)(5) of this section.

(2) Class B: Vessels over 40 ft (12.2 m) to 50 ft (15.2 m) LOA.

(3) Class B-1: Maximum number of 14 permits for vessels over 40 ft (12.2 m) to 50 ft (15.2 m) LOA, to be made available according to the following schedule:

(i) Four permits in the first calendar year after the Regional Administrator has issued all initial permits in Classes A, B, C, and D (initial issuance);

(ii) In the second calendar year after initial issuance, any unissued, relinquished, or revoked permits of the first four, plus four additional permits;

(iii) In the third calendar year after initial issuance, any unissued, relinquished, or revoked permits of the first eight, plus four additional permits; and

(iv) In the fourth calendar year after initial issuance, any unissued, relinquished, or revoked permits of the first 12, plus two additional permits.

(4) Class C: Vessels over 50 ft (15.2 m) to 70 ft (21.3 m) LOA.

(5) Class C-1: Maximum number of six permits for vessels over 50 ft (15.2) to 70 ft (21.3 m) LOA, to be made available according to the following schedule:

(i) Two permits in the first calendar year after initial issuance;

(ii) In the second calendar year after initial issuance, any unissued, relinquished, or revoked permits of the first two, plus two additional permits; and

(iii) In the third calendar year after initial issuance, any unissued, relinquished, or revoked permits of the first four, plus two additional permits.

(6) Class D: Vessels over 70 ft (21.3 m) LOA.

(7) Class D-1: Maximum number of 6 permits for vessels over 70 ft (21.3 m) LOA, to be made available according to the following schedule:

(i) Two permits in the first calendar year after initial issuance;

(ii) In the second calendar year after initial issuance, any unissued, relinquished, or revoked permits of the first two, plus two additional permits; and

(iii) In the third calendar year after initial issuance, any unissued, relinquished, or revoked permits of the first four, plus two additional permits.

(d) A vessel subject to this section may only be registered with an American Samoa longline limited access permit of a size class equal to or larger than the vessel's LOA.

(e) Initial permit qualification. Any U.S. national or U.S. citizen or company, partnership, or corporation qualifies for an initial American Samoa longline limited access permit if the person, company, partnership, or corporation, on or prior to March 21, 2002, owned a vessel that was used during the time of their ownership to harvest western Pacific pelagic MUS with longline gear in the EEZ around American Samoa, and that fish was landed in American Samoa:

(1) Prior to March 22, 2002; or

(2) Prior to June 28, 2002, provided that the person or business provided to NMFS or the Council, prior to March 22, 2002, a written notice of intent to participate in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa.

(f) Initial permit issuance.

(1) Any application for issuance of an initial permit must be submitted to PIRO no later than 120 days after the effective date of this final rule. The Regional Administrator shall publish a notice in the Federal Register, send notices to persons on the American Samoa pelagics mailing list, and use other means to notify prospective applicants of the availability of permits. Applications for initial permits must be made, and application fees paid, in accordance with §§665.13(c)(1), 665.13 (d), and 665.13 (f)(2). A complete application must include documented participation in the fishery in accordance with §665.816(b)(1). If the applicant is any entity other than a sole owner, the application must be accompanied by a supplementary information sheet obtained from the Regional Administrator, containing the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers.

(2) Only permits of Class A, B, C, and D will be made available for initial issuance. Permits of Class B-1, C-1, and D-1, will be made available in subsequent calendar years.

(3) Within 30 days of receipt of a completed application, the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, PIRO, shall make a decision on whether the applicant qualifies for an initial permit and will notify the successful applicant by a dated letter. The successful applicant must register a vessel, of the equivalent size class or smaller to which the qualifying vessel would have belonged, to the permit within 120 days of the date of the letter of notification, and maintain this vessel registration to the permit for at least 120 days. The successful applicant must also submit a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Regional Administrator, containing the name and mailing address of the owner of the vessel to which the permit is registered. If the registered vessel is owned by any entity other than a sole owner, the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers must be included.

(4) An appeal of a denial of an application for an initial permit shall be processed in accordance with §665.801(o) of this subpart.

(5) After all appeals on initial permits are concluded in any vessel size class, the maximum number of permits in that class shall be the number of permits issued during the initial issuance process (including appeals). The maximum number of permits will not change, except that the maximum number of Class A permits will be reduced if Class A permits are replaced by B-1, C-1, or D-1 permits under paragraph (h) of this section. Thereafter, if any Class A, B, C, or D permit becomes available, the Regional Administrator shall re-issue that permit according to the process set forth in paragraph (g) of this section.

(g) Additional permit issuance.

(1) If the number of permits issued in Class A, B, C, or D, falls below the maximum number of permits, the Regional Administrator shall publish a notice in the Federal Register, send notices to persons on the American Samoa pelagics mailing list, and use other means to notify prospective applicants of any available permit(s) in that class. Any application for issuance of an additional permit must be submitted to PIRO no later than 120 days after the date of publication of the notice on the availability of additional permits in the Federal Register. A complete application must include documented participation in the fishery in accordance with §665.816(b)(1). The Regional Administrator shall issue permits to persons according to the following priority standard:

(i) First priority accrues to the person with the earliest documented participation in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa on a Class A sized vessel.

(ii) The next priority accrues to the person with the earliest documented participation in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa on a Class B size, Class C size, or Class D size vessel, in that order.

(iii) In the event of a tie in the priority ranking between two or more applicants, the applicant whose second documented participation in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa is first in time will be ranked first in priority. If there is still a tie between two or more applicants, the Regional Administrator will select the successful applicant by an impartial lottery.

(2) Applications must be made, and application fees paid, in accordance with §§665.13(c)(1), 665.13(d), and 665.13(f)(2). If the applicant is any entity other than a sole owner, the application must be accompanied by a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Regional Administrator, containing the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers that comprise ownership of the vessel for which the permit application is prepared.

(3) Within 30 days of receipt of a completed application, the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries shall make a decision on whether the applicant qualifies for a permit and will notify the successful applicant by a dated letter. The successful applicant must register a vessel of the equivalent vessel size or smaller to the permit within 120 days of the date of the letter of notification. The successful applicant must also submit a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Regional Administrator, containing the name and mailing address of the owner of the vessel to which the permit is registered. If the registered vessel is owned by any entity other than a sole owner, the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers must be included. If the successful applicant fails to register a vessel to the permit within 120 days of the date of the letter of notification, the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries shall issue a letter of notification to the next person on the priority list or, in the event that there are no more prospective applicants on the priority list, re-start the issuance process pursuant to paragraph (g)(1) of this section. Any person who fails to register the permit to a vessel under this paragraph (g)(3) within 120 days shall not be eligible to apply for a permit for 6 months from the date those 120 days expired.

(4) An appeal of a denial of an application for a permit shall be processed in accordance with §665.801(o).

(h) Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 Permits.

(1) Permits of Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 will be initially issued only to persons who hold a Class A permit and who, prior to March 22, 2002, participated in the pelagic longline fishery around American Samoa.

(2) The Regional Administrator shall issue permits to persons for Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 permits based on each person's earliest documented participation, with the highest priority given to that person with the earliest date of documented participation.

(3) A permit holder who receives a Class B-1, C-1, or D-1 permit must relinquish his or her Class A permit and that permit will no longer be valid. The maximum number of Class A permits will be reduced accordingly.

(4) Within 30 days of receipt of a completed application for a Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 permit, the Regional Administrator shall make a decision on whether the applicant qualifies for a permit and will notify the successful applicant by a dated letter. The successful applicant must register a vessel of the equivalent vessel size or smaller to the permit within 120 days of the date of the letter of notification. The successful applicant must also submit a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Regional Administrator, containing the name and mailing address of the owner of the vessel to which the permit is registered. If the registered vessel is owned by any entity other than a sole owner, the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers must be included.

(5) An appeal of a denial of an application for a Class B-1, C-1, or D-1 permit shall be processed in accordance with §665.801(o).

(6) If a Class B-1, C-1, or D-1 permit is relinquished, revoked, or not renewed pursuant to paragraph (j)(1) of this section, the Regional Administrator shall make that permit available according to the procedure described in paragraph (g) of this section.

(i) Permit transfer. The holder of an American Samoa longline limited access permit may transfer the permit to another individual, partnership, corporation, or other entity as described in this section. Applications for permit transfers must be submitted to the Regional Administrator within 30 days of the transfer date. If the applicant is any entity other than a sole owner, the application must be accompanied by a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Regional Administrator, containing the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers. After such an application has been made, the permit is not valid for use by the new permit holder until the Regional Administrator has issued the permit in the new permit holder's name under §665.13(c).

(1) Permits of all size classes except Class A. An American Samoa longline limited access permit of any size class except Class A may be transferred (by sale, gift, bequest, intestate succession, barter, or trade) to the following persons only:

(i) A western Pacific community located in American Samoa that meets the criteria set forth in §305(I)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. §1855(I)(2), and its implementing regulations, or

(ii) Any person with documented participation in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa.

(2) Class A Permits. An American Samoa longline limited access permit of Class A may be transferred (by sale, gift, bequest, intestate succession, barter, or trade) to the following persons only:

(i) A family member of the permit holder,

(ii) A western Pacific community located in American Samoa that meets the criteria set forth in §305(I)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1855, and its implementing regulations, or

(iii) Any person with documented participation in the pelagic longline fishery on a Class A size vessel in the EEZ around American Samoa prior to March 22, 2002.

(3) Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 Permits. Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 permits may not be transferred to a different owner for 3 years from the date of initial issuance, except by bequest or intestate succession if the permit holder dies during those 3 years. After the initial 3 years, Class B-1, C-1, and D-1 permits may be transferred only in accordance with the restrictions in paragraph (i)(1) of this section.

(j) Permit renewal and registration of vessels.

(1) Use requirements. An American Samoa longline limited access permit will not be renewed following 3 consecutive calendar years (beginning with the year after the permit was issued in the name of the current permit holder) in which the vessel(s) to which it is registered landed less than:

(i) For permit size Classes A or B: a total of 1,000 lb (455 kg) of western Pacific pelagic MUS harvested in the EEZ around American Samoa using longline gear, or

(ii) For permit size Classes C or D: a total of 5,000 lb (2,273 kg) of western Pacific pelagic MUS harvested in the EEZ around American Samoa using longline gear.

(2) [Reserved]

(k) Concentration of ownership of permits. No more than 10 percent of the maximum number of permits, of all size classes combined, may be held by the same permit holder. Fractional interest will be counted as a full permit for the purpose of calculating whether the 10-percent standard has been reached.

(l) Three year review. Within 3 years of the effective date of this final rule, the Council shall consider appropriate revisions to the American Samoa limited entry program after reviewing the effectiveness of the program with respect to its biological and socioeconomic objectives, concerning gear conflict, overfishing, enforceability, compliance, and other issues.

§665.817   [Reserved]

§665.818   Exemptions for American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas.

(a) Exemption for historical participation. (1) An exemption will be issued to a person who currently owns a large vessel to use that vessel to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS in the American Samoa large vessel prohibited areas, if the person seeking the exemption had been the owner of that vessel when it was registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit, and has made at least one landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997.

(2) A landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS for the purpose of this paragraph must have been properly recorded on a NMFS Western Pacific Federal daily longline form that was submitted to NMFS, as required in §665.14.

(3) An exemption is valid only for a vessel that was registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit and landed western Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997, or for a replacement vessel of equal or smaller LOA than the vessel that was initially registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit on or prior to November 13, 1997.

(4) An exemption is valid only for the vessel for which it is registered. An exemption not registered for use with a particular vessel may not be used.

(5) An exemption may not be transferred to another person.

(6) If more than one person, e.g., a partnership or corporation, owned a large vessel when it was registered for use with a Western Pacific general longline permit and made at least one landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS in American Samoa on or prior to November 13, 1997, an exemption issued under this section will be issued to only one person.

(b) [Reserved]

[81 FR 5626, Feb. 3, 2016, as amended at 82 FR 43909, Sept. 20, 2017]

§665.819   Territorial catch and fishing effort limits.

(a) General. (1) Notwithstanding §665.4, if the WCPFC agrees to a catch or fishing effort limit for a stock of western Pacific pelagic MUS that is applicable to a U.S. participating territory, the Regional Administrator may specify an annual or multi-year catch or fishing effort limit for a U.S. participating territory, as recommended by the Council, not to exceed the WCPFC adopted limit. The Regional Administrator may authorize such U.S. participating territory to allocate a portion, as recommended by the Council, of the specified catch or fishing effort limit to a fishing vessel or vessels holding a valid permit issued under §665.801 through a specified fishing agreement pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

(2) If the WCPFC does not agree to a catch or fishing effort limit for a stock of western Pacific pelagic MUS applicable to a U.S. participating territory, the Council may recommend that the Regional Administrator specify such a limit that is consistent with the Pelagics FEP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws. The Council may also recommend that the Regional Administrator authorize a U.S. participating territory to allocate a portion of a specified catch or fishing effort limit to a fishing vessel or vessels holding valid permits issued under §665.801 through a specified fishing agreement pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section.

(3) The Council shall review any existing or proposed catch or fishing effort limit specification and portion available for allocation at least annually to ensure consistency with the Pelagics FEP, Magnuson-Stevens Act, WCPFC decisions, and other applicable laws. Based on this review, at least annually, the Council shall recommend to the Regional Administrator whether such catch or fishing effort limit specification or portion available for allocation should be approved for the next fishing year.

(4) The Regional Administrator shall review any Council recommendation pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section and, if determined to be consistent with the Pelagics FEP, Magnuson-Stevens Act, WCPFC decisions, and other applicable laws, shall approve such recommendation. If the Regional Administrator determines that a recommendation is inconsistent with the Pelagics FEP, Magnuson-Stevens Act, WCPFC decisions and other applicable laws, the Regional Administrator will disapprove the recommendation and provide the Council with a written explanation of the reasons for disapproval. If a catch or fishing effort limit specification or allocation limit is disapproved, or if the Council recommends and NMFS approves no catch or fishing effort limit specification or allocation limit, no specified fishing agreements as described in paragraph (c) of this section will be accepted for the fishing year covered by such action.

(b) Procedures and timing. (1) After receiving a Council recommendation for a catch or fishing effort limit specification, or portion available for allocation, the Regional Administrator will evaluate the recommendation for consistency with the Pelagics FEP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.

(2) The Regional Administrator will publish in the Federal Register a notice and request for public comment of the proposed catch or fishing effort limit specification and any portion of the limit that may be allocated to a fishing vessel or vessels holding a valid permit issued under §665.801.

(3) The Regional Administrator will publish in the Federal Register, a notice of the final catch or fishing effort limit specification and portion of the limit that may be allocated to a fishing vessel or vessels holding valid permits issued under §665.801. The final specification of a catch or fishing effort limit will also announce the deadline for submitting a specified fishing agreement for review as described in paragraph (c) of this section. The deadline will be no earlier than 30 days after the publication date of the Federal Register notice that specifies the final catch or fishing effort limit and the portion of the limit that may be allocated through a specified fishing agreement.

(c) Specified fishing agreements. A specified fishing agreement means an agreement between a U.S. participating territory and the owner or a designated representative of a fishing vessel or vessels holding a valid permit issued under §665.801 of this part. An agreement provides access to an identified portion of a catch or fishing effort limit and may not exceed the amount specified for the territory and made available for allocation pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section. The identified portion of a catch or fishing effort limit in an agreement must account for recent and anticipated harvest on the stock or stock complex or fishing effort, and any other valid agreements with the territory during the same year not to exceed the territory's catch or fishing effort limit or allocation limit.

(1) An authorized official or designated representative of a U.S. participating territory may submit a complete specified fishing agreement to the Council for review. A complete specified fishing agreement must meet the following requirements:

(i) Identify the vessel(s) to which the fishing agreement applies, along with documentation that such vessel(s) possesses a valid permit issued under §665.801;

(ii) Identify the amount (weight) of western Pacific pelagic MUS to which the fishing agreement applies, if applicable;

(iii) Identify the amount of fishing effort to which the fishing agreement applies, if applicable;

(iv) Be signed by an authorized official of the applicable U.S. participating territory, or designated representative;

(v) Be signed by each vessel owner or designated representative; and

(vi) Satisfy either paragraph (c)(1)(vi)(A) or (B) of this section:

(A) Require the identified vessels to land or offload catch in the ports of the U.S. participating territory to which the fishing agreement applies; or

(B) Specify the amount of monetary contributions that each vessel owner in the agreement, or his or her designated representative, will deposit into the Western Pacific Sustainable Fisheries Fund.

(vii) Be consistent with the Pelagics FEP and implementing regulations, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws; and

(viii) Shall not confer any right of compensation to any party enforceable against the United States should action under such agreement be prohibited or limited by NMFS pursuant to its authority under Magnuson-Stevens Act, or other applicable laws.

(2) Council review. The Council, through its Executive Director, will review a submitted specified fishing agreement to ensure that it is consistent with paragraph (1) of this section. The Council will advise the authorized official or designated representative of the U.S. participating territory to which the agreement applies of any inconsistency and provide an opportunity to modify the agreement, as appropriate. The Council will transmit the complete specified fishing agreement to the Regional Administrator for review.

(3) Agency review. (i) Upon receipt of a specified fishing agreement from the Council, the Regional Administrator will consider such agreement for consistency with paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the Pelagics FEP and implementing regulations, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.

(ii) Within 30 calendar days of receipt of the fishing agreement from the Council, the Regional Administrator will provide the authorized official or designated representative of the U.S. participating territory to which the agreement applies and the signatory vessel owners or their designated representatives with written notice of whether the agreement meets the requirements of this section. The Regional Administrator will reject an agreement for any of the following reasons:

(A) The agreement fails to meet the criteria specified in this subpart;

(B) The applicant has failed to disclose material information;

(C) The applicant has made a material false statement related to the specified fishing agreement;

(D) The agreement is inconsistent with the Pelagics FEP, implementing regulations, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or other applicable laws; or

(E) The agreement includes a vessel identified in another valid specified fishing agreement.

(iii) The Regional Administrator, in consultation with the Council, may recommend that specified fishing agreements include such additional terms and conditions as are necessary to ensure consistency with the Pelagics FEP and implementing regulations, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable laws.

(iv) The U.S. participating territory must notify NMFS and the Council in writing of any changes in the identity of fishing vessels to which the specified fishing agreement applies within 72 hours of the change.

(v) Upon written notice that a specified fishing agreement fails to meet the requirements of this section, the Regional Administrator may provide the U.S. participating territory an opportunity to modify the fishing agreement within the time period prescribed in the notice. Such opportunity to modify the agreement may not exceed 30 days following the date of written notice. The U.S. participating territory may resubmit the agreement according to paragraph (c)(1) of this section.

(vi) The absence of the Regional Administrator's written notice within the time period specified in paragraph (c)(3)(ii) of this section or, if applicable, within the extended time period specified in paragraph (c)(3)(v) of this section shall operate as the Regional Administrator's finding that the fishing agreement meets the requirements of this section.

(4) Transfer. Specified fishing agreements authorized under this section are not transferable or assignable, except as allowed pursuant to paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section.

(5) A vessel shall not be identified in more than one valid specified fishing agreement at a time.

(6) Revocation and suspension. The Regional Administrator, in consultation with the Council, may at any time revoke or suspend attribution under a specified fishing agreement upon the determination that either: Operation under the agreement would violate the requirements of the Pelagics FEP or implementing regulations, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, or other applicable laws; or the U.S. participating territory fails to notify NMFS and the Council in writing of any changes in the identity of fishing vessels to which the specified fishing agreement applies within 72 hours of the change.

(7) Cancellation. The U.S. participating territory and the vessel owner(s), or designated representative(s), that are party to a specified fishing agreement must notify the Regional Administrator in writing within 72 hours after an agreement is cancelled or no longer valid. A valid notice of cancellation shall require the signatures of both parties to the agreement. All catch or fishing effort attributions under the agreement shall cease upon the written date of a valid notice of cancellation.

(8) Appeals. An authorized official or designated representative of a U.S. participating territory or signatory vessel owners or their designated representatives may appeal the granting, denial, conditioning, or suspension of a specified fishing agreement affecting their interests to the Regional Administrator in accordance with the permit appeals procedures set forth in §665.801(o) of this subpart.

(9) Catch or fishing effort attribution procedures. (i) For vessels identified in a valid specified fishing agreement that are subject to a U.S. limit and fishing restrictions set forth in 50 CFR part 300, subpart O, NMFS will attribute catch made by such vessels to the applicable U.S. participating territory starting seven days before the date NMFS projects the annual U.S. limit to be reached, or upon the effective date of the agreement, whichever is later.

(ii) For U.S. fishing vessels identified in a valid specified fishing agreement that are subject to catch or fishing effort limits and fishing restrictions set forth in this subpart, NMFS will attribute catch or fishing effort to the applicable U.S. participating territory starting seven days before the date NMFS projects the limit to be reached, or upon the effective date of the agreement, whichever is later.

(iii) If NMFS determines catch or fishing effort made by fishing vessels identified in a specified fishing agreement exceeds the allocated limit, NMFS will attribute any overage of the limit back to the U.S. or Pacific island fishery to which the vessel(s) is registered and permitted in accordance with the regulations set forth in 50 CFR part 300, subpart O and other applicable laws.

(d) Accountability measures. (1) NMFS will monitor catch and fishing effort with respect to any territorial catch or fishing effort limit, including the amount of a limit allocated to vessels identified in a valid specified fishing agreement, using data submitted in logbooks and other information. When NMFS projects a territorial catch or fishing effort limit or allocated limit to be reached, the Regional Administrator shall publish notification to that effect in the Federal Register at least seven days before the limit will be reached.

(2) The notice will include an advisement that fishing for the applicable pelagic MUS stock or stock complex, or fishing effort, will be restricted on a specific date. The restriction may include, but is not limited to, a prohibition on retention, closure of a fishery, closure of specific areas, or other catch or fishing effort restrictions. The restriction will remain in effect until the end of the fishing year.

(e) Disbursement of contributions from the Sustainable Fisheries Fund. (1) NMFS shall make available to the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council monetary contributions, made to the Fund pursuant to a specified fishing agreement, in the following order of priority:

(i) Project(s) identified in an approved Marine Conservation Plan (16 U.S.C. 1824) of a U.S. participating territory that is a party to a valid specified fishing agreement, pursuant to §665.819(c); and

(ii) In the case of two or more valid specified fishing agreements in a fishing year, the projects listed in an approved Marine Conservation Plan applicable to the territory with the earliest valid agreement will be funded first.

(2) At least seven calendar days prior to the disbursement of any funds, the Council shall provide in writing to NMFS a list identifying the order of priority of the projects in an approved Marine Conservation Plan that are to be funded. The Council may thereafter revise this list.

[79 FR 64111, Oct. 28, 2014]

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