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Federal Register / Vol. 70, No.

59 / Tuesday, March 29, 2005 / Proposed Rules 15803

(5) Such other information as the Environmental Assessment (EA) are groundfish stocks. Category C DAS
Assistant Administrator, or authorized available from Paul J. Howard, cannot be used unless authorized some
representative, may require. Executive Director, New England time in the future. The regulations
[FR Doc. 05–6187 Filed 3–28–05; 8:45 am] Fishery Management Council, 50 Water implementing Amendment 13 created
BILLING CODE 3510–22–S Street, The Tannery - Mill 2, one opportunity to use Category B DAS:
Newburyport, MA 01950. A SAP designed to target GB yellowtail
Written comments regarding the flounder in CA II. Framework
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE burden-hour estimates or other aspects Adjustment 40A (FW 40A),
of the collection-of-information implemented November 19, 2004 (69 FR
National Oceanic and Atmospheric requirements contained in this rule 67780), provided additional
Administration should be submitted to the Regional opportunities to use Category B DAS by
Administrator at the address above and creating two SAP’s to target GB haddock
50 CFR Part 648 to David Rostker, Office of Management and a pilot program designed for using
[Docket No. 050314072–5072–01; I.D. and Budget (OMB), by e-mail at Category B (Regular) DAS outside of a
030705D] DavidlRotsker@omb.eop.gov, or fax to SAP (i.e., the Regular B DAS Pilot
(202) 395–7285. Program). These programs are intended
RIN 0648–AS33 to allow vessels to target healthy
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Douglas W. Christel, Fishery Policy groundfish stocks without
Fisheries of the Northeastern United compromising the rebuilding programs
States; Northeast (NE) Multispecies Analyst, (978) 281–9141, fax (978) 281–
9135. of other groundfish stocks, thus
Fishery; Framework Adjustment 40–B enabling the industry to harvest OY
(FW 40B) SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
from the healthy stocks.
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Background Since the implementation of
Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Amendment 13 and submission of FW
The Council developed Amendment
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 40A, several issues have been raised
13 in order to bring the FMP into
Commerce. concerning the overall approach to
conformance with all Magnuson-
controlling effort. The primary purpose
ACTION: Proposed rule; request for Stevens Fishery Conservation and
of FW 40B is to improve the
comments. Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens
effectiveness of the Amendment 13
Act) requirements, including ending
SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations to effort control program, including the
overfishing and rebuilding all
implement measures in FW 40B to the opportunities developed to target
overfished groundfish stocks.
NE Multispecies Fishery Management healthy stocks and other measures to
Amendment 13 was partially approved
Plan (FMP). FW 40B was developed by facilitate adaptation to the Amendment
by the Secretary of Commerce on March
the New England Fishery Management 13 effort reductions.
18, 2004. A final rule implementing the
Council (Council) to modify existing approved measures in the amendment Proposed Measures
effort control programs implemented was published April 27, 2004 (69 FR
under Amendment 13 to the FMP to FW 40B proposes 12 specific
22906) and became effective May 1, management measures, as described
improve the effectiveness of these 2004. Amendment 13 contained a suite
programs and to create additional here.
of management measures to reduce
opportunities for commercial fishing fishing mortality on stocks that are 1. DAS Transfer Program Modifications
vessels in the fishery to target healthy either overfished, or where overfishing Amendment 13 created a DAS
groundfish stocks. In addition, this is occurring. For several stocks, the Transfer Program, which allows for the
action includes measures that would mortality targets adopted in permanent exchange of DAS between
increase the information available to Amendment 13 represented substantial vessels with limited access NE
assess groundfish bycatch in the herring reductions from the previous levels. For multispecies permits. Exchanges of DAS
fishery. other stocks, the Amendment 13 through this program are subject to a
DATES: Comments must be received on mortality targets were at or above number of restrictions that govern
or before April 18, 2005. previous levels. Because of the mixed- which vessels can exchange DAS, and
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments stock nature of the NE multispecies what happens to the other permits of the
by any of the following methods: fishery, management measures to reduce vessel that is selling its DAS to another
• E-mail: FW40B@NOAA.gov. Include mortality on overfished stocks adopted vessel. As adopted in Amendment 13,
in the subject line the following: in Amendment 13 are expected to Category A and B DAS that are
‘‘Comments on the Proposed Rule for reduce fishing mortality more than is permanently exchanged through the
Groundfish Framework 40B.’’ necessary on other, healthy stocks. As a DAS Transfer Program are reduced by
• Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http:/ result, yield from healthy stocks may be 40 percent, while Category C DAS are
/www.regulations.gov. sacrificed and the FMP may not provide reduced by 90 percent. This reduction
• Mail: Paper, disk, or CD-ROM for the fishery to harvest the optimum in DAS exchanged through the DAS
comments should be sent to Patricia A. yield (OY), the amount of fish that will Transfer Program is commonly referred
Kurkul, Regional Administrator, provide the greatest overall benefit to to as a conservation tax. FW 40B would
National Marine Fisheries Service, One the Nation, from all stocks managed reduce the conservation tax on Category
Blackburn Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. under the FMP for a given year. A or B DAS that are permanently
Mark the outside of the envelope, Amendment 13 categorized the DAS exchanged through the DAS Transfer
‘‘Comments on the Proposed Rule for allocated to each NE multispecies Program to 20 percent. The conservation
Groundfish Framework 40B.’’ permit as Category A, B (Regular), B tax on Category C DAS exchanged under
• Fax: (978) 281–9135. (Reserve), or C DAS. Category A DAS this program would not be affected by
Copies of FW 40B, its Regulatory can be used to target any regulated this action.
Impact Review (RIR), Initial Regulatory groundfish stock, while Category B DAS Under the existing DAS Transfer
Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and the are to be used only to target healthy Program regulations, vessels involved in

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15804 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 29, 2005 / Proposed Rules

selling and purchasing DAS must have using the permit. This one-time May 1, do not require the entire research
permit baseline characteristics for downgrade would only apply to the setaside TAC of GB cod, the remaining
length, horsepower, and gross tonnage DAS Leasing Program permit baseline setaside TAC would be distributed to
that fall within the current size and would not affect any other permit the Regular B DAS Pilot Program.
restrictions (i.e., the baseline baselines currently specified for the As described in further detail below,
characteristics of the vessel receiving permit (i.e., the baseline used for vessel FW 40B would implement a new SAP
DAS must be within 10 percent of the upgrades or replacements). In effect, if that would allow limited access NE
baseline length and gross tonnage, and a permit holder were to exercise this multispecies vessels to target haddock
within 20 percent of the baseline option, the permit would have two NE in the WGOM Closure Area. In order to
horsepower of the transferring vessel). multispecies permit baselines: One for limit the potential fishing mortality on
The proposed action would remove the the DAS Leasing Program and another GOM cod from this SAP, this action
requirement that vessels transferring that applies to all other permit would set an incidental TAC for GOM
DAS must fall within the tonnage transactions (vessel upgrades or cod at 5 percent of the overall incidental
permit upgrade restrictions (i.e., the replacements or the DAS Transfer catch TAC for GOM cod implemented
requirement that the vessel receiving Program). If the permit were moved to under FW 40A. This would result in an
DAS must be within 10 percent of the another vessel during a vessel incidental GOM cod TAC for the
tonnage of the vessel selling the DAS). replacement, the downgraded DAS WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock
This action would make the size Leasing Program baseline would revert SAP of 6.3 mt for the 2005 fishing year
restrictions for the DAS Transfer to the original DAS Leasing Program and 7.5 mt for the 2006 fishing year.
Program consistent with the DAS baseline established on January 29, This percentage could be changed
Leasing Program. 2004, and could not be downgraded through a future management action.
The proposed provisions included in again for the purposes of the DAS 4. WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel SAP
FW 40B are intended to make the DAS Leasing Program. This downgraded DAS
Transfer Program more attractive to Leasing Program baseline would remain FW 40B proposes a new SAP that
vessels and facilitate their participation valid until the permit is placed on a would allow all limited access NE
in the Program, which would result in replacement vessel as specified above, multispecies vessels to target haddock
reductions in overall fishing capacity. or until the DAS Leasing Program in the WGOM Closure Area using hand-
expires. operated rod-and-reel gear. Vessels
2. DAS Leasing Program Modifications issued a limited access NE multispecies
Amendment 13 also implemented a 3. Changes to Incidental TAC’s permit and subject to the DAS
DAS Leasing Program, which allows FW 40A implemented several requirements could use Category A or B
vessels to temporarily exchange DAS on programs that allow vessels to use (Regular or Reserve) DAS to fish in this
a yearly basis. In order to lease DAS, the Category B DAS to target healthy SAP. DAS would be charged beginning
current regulations require that the groundfish stocks without when the vessel crosses the Vessel
permits involved in the transaction compromising the rebuilding of Monitoring System (VMS) demarcation
must have permit baseline groundfish stocks of concern (i.e., those line when starting a trip into the SAP,
characteristics for length and stocks that are currently overfished and/ and ending when the vessel crosses the
horsepower that fall within the current or are subject to overfishing). In order to VMS demarcation line on its return to
size restrictions (i.e., the baseline limit the potential increase in fishing port. Vessels issued a limited access
characteristics of the vessel receiving mortality resulting from the use of Handgear A or a Small Vessel
leased DAS must be within 10 percent Category B (Regular and Reserve) DAS, exemption permit and not subject to the
of the baseline length and 20 percent of FW 40A implemented incidental TAC DAS requirements could also participate
the baseline horsepower of the lessor amounts for each groundfish stock of in this SAP without the use of DAS.
vessel). The vessel baseline concern caught by programs that allow Vessels fishing with bait would be
characteristics used for the DAS Leasing the use of Category B DAS. required to use circle hooks, and any
Program are the vessel baseline This action would modify several of jigs used in this SAP could not have
characteristics on file with NMFS as of the incidental TAC’s established under treble hooks.
January 29, 2004, the date of publication FW 40A. First, this action would set The SAP would only be authorized
of the proposed rule for Amendment 13. aside up to 10 percent of the GB cod for 2 months, March and April, and
In general, permits with smaller incidental TAC to allow for would expire 2 years after
baseline characteristics have a larger experimental fishing/research. This implementation, unless extended by the
pool of candidates with which to would create a research set-aside of 9.7 Regional Administrator. The Regional
exchange DAS under the DAS Leasing mt of GB cod for the 2005 fishing year Administrator would extend this SAP if
Program. and a 12.7 mt GB cod set-aside for the the monitoring and enforcement
Some permit holders have placed 2006 fishing year. Researchers could provisions prove sufficient to reliably
permits on vessels with physical apply for this research TAC by document the catch of cod and haddock,
characteristics that are smaller than the submitting an application to the if the cod and haddock TAC’s specified
baseline characteristics of the permit. Regional Administrator by May 1. Since for this SAP are not exceeded during
These vessels are, therefore, limited in measures approved under FW 40B are each year of implementation; and the
the number of vessels that can be not likely to be implemented before May ratio of cod to haddock catch is less
candidates for leasing DAS because they 1, 2005, for the 2005 fishing year, than 1:2 by weight. The total catch (kept
can only lease DAS that match up with applications would be required to be and discarded) of GOM haddock would
the larger baseline. The proposed action received by August 1, 2005. If no be limited to 50 mt, while the catch of
would allow permit holders a one-time applications to use this TAC are GOM cod would be limited to five
opportunity to downgrade the permit received, the research setaside TAC of percent of the GOM cod incidental catch
baseline characteristics for the DAS GB cod would be allocated among TAC (6.3 mt and 7.5 mt for the 2005 and
Leasing Program, established as of approved programs using Category B 2006 fishing years, respectively). This
January 29, 2004, to the physical DAS and subject to an incidental TAC SAP would close once the Regional
characteristics of the vessel currently for GB cod. If applications received by Administrator projects that either the

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Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 29, 2005 / Proposed Rules 15805

GOM haddock or GOM cod TAC close the SAP for the remainder of the appropriate number of trips for fishing
specified for this SAP has been caught. fishing year (69 FR 54593, September 9, year 2005, there would be insufficient
In addition, the Regional Administrator 2004). In addition, the high rate of GB GB yellowtail flounder TAC to support
could close this SAP if the catch of cod yellowtail flounder caught in this SAP the CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP for
to haddock exceeds a ratio of 1:2, by triggered reductions in the GB the 2005 fishing year.
weight. yellowtail flounder trip limit and the These measures are intended to allow
In order to enable the NMFS Observer eventual closure of the Eastern U.S./ the SAP to be adjusted for changing
Program to deploy the appropriate Canada Area by October 1, 2004 (69 FR stock conditions to help achieve OY for
amount of observers to accurately 59815, October 6, 2004). This area has GB yellowtail flounder. These changes
monitor catch in this SAP, a vessel since been reopened under a restrictive would help increase product quality by
intending to participate in this SAP GB yellowtail flounder trip limit of beginning the SAP after the spawning
would be required to notify the NMFS 15,000 lb (6,804 kg) per trip (70 FR season and help reduce the possibility
Observer Program by telephone at least 2820, January 18, 2005), which was then that a derby fishery would occur,
72 hours prior to leaving port. Vessels reduced to 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) per trip resulting in low prices and an early
would be required to provide the (70 FR 7050, February 10, 2005). closure of the Eastern U.S./Canada Area.
following information: Vessel name; FW 40B would modify this SAP by
6. Minimum Effective Effort Allocation
contact name for coordination of changing the start date for the SAP and
observer deployment; telephone number enabling the Regional Administrator to Amendment 13 categorized the DAS
of contact; and date, time, and port of adjust SAP provisions to adapt to allocated to each permit based on recent
departure. changing stock and fishery conditions. fishing history. Under Amendment 13,
All vessels participating in this SAP Specifically, this action would change about 400 vessels did not receive any
would be required to use an approved the start date for this SAP from June 1 Category A or B DAS, and thus have no
VMS. Vessels would be required to to July 1. June is a spawning month for opportunity to fish for groundfish with
declare their intent to fish in this SAP yellowtail flounder on GB and the fish their limited access permit. The
via VMS and specify the type of DAS are in relatively poor condition and proposed action would re-categorize 10
that would be used, if appropriate, prior bring low prices during that period. In Category C DAS as Category B (Reserve)
to leaving port on a trip into the SAP. addition, FW 40B would limit vessels to DAS for these permits. These DAS can
Once declared into this SAP, vessels one trip per month, reduce the only be used in approved SAP’s that do
would not be allowed to fish in any possession limit to 10,000 lb (4,536 kg), not have a DAS flipping requirement.
other area on the same trip. Vessels and establish criteria by which the Only the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel
would be required to submit daily catch Regional Administrator may set the GB Haddock SAP as proposed in FW 40B
reports via VMS specifying the amount yellowtail flounder landing limit (not to would not have a DAS flipping
of haddock caught and discarded and exceed 30,000 lb (13,608 kg)) and the requirement. Therefore, vessels
the amount of cod discarded. Vessels total number of trips into this SAP allocated 10 Category B (Reserve) DAS
would be subject to the landing limits based upon the amount of GB yellowtail under this proposed action would only
for haddock and other species as flounder TAC (set in accordance with be able to participate in the WGOM
specified in the regulations. All cod the U.S./Canada Resource Sharing Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP, if
caught would have to be discarded. Understanding) and the amount of GB approved.
Vessels with a limited access NE yellowtail flounder caught outside of
multispecies DAS permit that elect to 7. GB Cod Hook Sector Revisions
the SAP.
fish in this SAP would be required to Using specific criteria, a formula was Amendment 13 established the GB
participate in this SAP for a minimum developed in FW 40B to assist the Cod Hook Sector and allocated GB cod
of 7 days by obtaining a letter of Regional Administrator in determining to the Sector based on the history of the
authorization from the Regional the appropriate number of trips for this Sector participants. As implemented,
Administrator. While enrolled to SAP on a yearly basis. The suggested only permitted vessels with a past
participate in this SAP, limited access formula offered by the Council is as history of using hook gear can join the
NE multispecies DAS vessels would not follows: Number of trips = (GB Sector, and only GB cod landed using
be allowed to fish for groundfish or yellowtail flounder TAC - 4,000 mt)/ hook gear is used to determine the
monkfish, including setting gear capable 4.54 mt. Note that 4.54 mt is equivalent Sector’s GB cod allocation. The
of catching groundfish or monkfish, in to 10,000 lb. This formula assumes that proposed action would modify these
any other area. approximately 4,000 mt of GB yellowtail requirements by allowing any vessel to
flounder would be caught by vessels join the Sector and allow all GB cod
5. CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP operating in the U.S./Canada landings of Sector participants,
Amendment 13 created a SAP to Management Area outside of the CA II regardless of gear, to be used to
target GB yellowtail flounder in the Yellowtail Flounder SAP. FW 40B determine the Sector’s GB cod
southern half of CA II from June 1 would authorize the Regional allocation. Sector participants are
through December 31. A total of 320 Administrator to not allow any trips required to use hook gear once in the
trips was authorized, with vessels into this SAP if the available GB Sector. The maximum share of the GB
limited to two trips per month. The yellowtail flounder catch (i.e., the GB cod TAC that the Sector could obtain
possession limit for yellowtail flounder yellowtail flounder TAC - 4,000 mt) is would remain 20 percent of the overall
was set at 30,000 lb (13,608 kg) per trip. not sufficient to support 150 trips with GB cod TAC.
This SAP is regulated by the a 15,000–lb (6,804–kg) GB yellowtail
maximum number of trips and by the flounder trip limit. Based on the 8. DAS Credit for Standing By Entangled
availability of the GB yellowtail preliminary GB yellowtail flounder TAC Whales
flounder TAC allocated to the U.S./ recommended by the Transboundary Rescue teams that attempt to free
Canada Management Area. During the Management Guidance Committee and entangled whales are often frustrated by
2004 fishing year, the total number of the Council for the 2005 fishing year an inability to relocate the whale after
trips allowed into this SAP was used by (4,260 mt), and using the formula the initial report. In order to encourage
September 3, 2004, prompting NMFS to proposed in FW 40B to determine the fishing vessels to report entangled

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15806 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 29, 2005 / Proposed Rules

whales, the proposed action would unnecessary. Thus, this measure would monthly trip limits for vessels specified
provide a mechanism for a limited restore the net limits for Trip gillnet in § 648.85(b)(3)(vi).
access groundfish vessel to obtain DAS vessels that were in place prior to the In § 648.82, paragraphs (k)(4)(ix) and
credit for the time spent standing by an Settlement Agreement. In doing so, this (l)(1)(ii) would be revised to clarify that
entangled whale. Vessels requesting action would also remove the tagging vessels can lease or transfer DAS to a
such a credit would be required to requirements for Trip gillnet vessels. vessel with a baseline length overall and
notify the USCG and the appropriate horsepower that is no more than 10
organization of the entangled whale 11. Dumping Prohibition for Vessels percent and 20 percent greater than the
(currently, the Center for Coastal Under a Category B DAS baseline length overall and horsepower
Studies); remain in contact with the FW 40A implemented two programs of the lessor or transferor vessel,
Center for Coastal Studies; be available (the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP respectively. This revision would
to answer questions on the condition of Pilot Program and the Regular B DAS correct the regulations to maintain
the animal, including, but not limited Pilot Program) that allow vessels to use consistency with the intent of
to, possible species identification, Category B DAS to target healthy Amendment 13 as outlined in the
severity of entanglement, and gear groundfish stocks without FSEIS.
entangling the animal; and request the compromising the rebuilding objectives Request for Comments
Regional Administrator to issue a DAS of the FMP. To minimize the mortality
credit. on stocks of concern from vessel The public is invited to comment on
activities in these new programs, as well any of the measures proposed in this
9. Herring Vessel Interactions With rule. NMFS is especially interested in
Regulated Groundfish as the CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP
implemented under Amendment 13, FW receiving comments on several
Recent reports of the catch of 40A implemented measures that proposed measures for which the
regulated groundfish by herring fishing prohibit vessels from discarding legal- agency has concern, particularly
vessels (most notably mid-water trawl regarding whether these measures are
sized cod and other regulated
vessels) have prompted an interest in consistent with achieving the objectives
groundfish when fishing under a
gaining a better understanding of the of the FMP and the fishing mortality
Category B DAS. These measures also
scope of this problem. To date, very few reduction objectives established in
require vessels to initiate a DAS flip
data are available to adequately Amendment 13, whether there is
(i.e., change the category of DAS used
document groundfish bycatch from the sufficient analysis in the EA to support
on that trip to Category A DAS) if
herring fishery. The proposed action the proposed measures, and whether
vessels harvest more legal-sized cod or
would require vessels with a Category I there are equity concerns involving
other regulated groundfish than the
herring permit that intend to fish in the specific measures. The reasons for these
applicable maximum landing limits per
GOM or GB RMA’s to notify the NMFS concerns are described below:
trip under a Category B DAS. The
Observer Program at least 72 hours WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock
current regulations, however, do not
before beginning a trip. In addition, if an SAP
explicitly address whether dumping the
observer is not provided for the trip, the
contents of a net before bringing the net FW 40B proposes to implement a SAP
vessel must notify NMFS Office of Law
on board constitutes discarding. in the WGOM Closure Area.
Enforcement via VMS of the time and
Through this action, NMFS proposes to Amendment 13 states that the purpose
place of landing prior to crossing the
implement an explicit measure to clarify of a SAP is to enable vessels to target
VMS demarcation line on returning to
that dumping of the contents of a net regulated groundfish while minimizing
port. These provisions are intended to
improve the ability to place an observer when operating under a Category B DAS impacts of fishing on overfished stocks.
on herring vessels to monitor groundfish in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP, The proposed WGOM Closure Area
bycatch. the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Rod/Reel Haddock SAP would allow
Pilot Program, or the Regular B DAS rod/reel vessels to target GOM haddock
10. Trip Gillnet Net Limitations Pilot Program is prohibited because it is in the WGOM Closure Area while
Prior to May 1, 2002, Trip gillnet considered to be discarding as defined minimizing the bycatch of GOM cod
vessels did not have a regulatory limit at 50 CFR 600.10. (GOM cod is currently considered
on the number of nets that could be 12. Corrections overfished). However, the analysis in
fished, but rather were limited by the the EA, based on the best scientific
number of nets that could be physically In addition to the proposed measures information available, indicates that
carried on board the vessel. Effort was described here, the following changes rod/reel vessels may not be able to target
thus limited by the size of the vessel, as are proposed to correct inaccurate GOM haddock in the WGOM Closure
well as the number of DAS allocated to references in the regulations. The Area without also catching substantial
that vessel, similar to the approach used proposed changes listed below are in amounts of GOM cod. In addition,
for trawl gear. Net limits were first the order in which they currently available catch information used for this
adopted for Trip gillnet vessels under appear in the regulations. analysis is not consistent with vessel
the interim regulations implemented on In § 648.10, the periods ending operations as proposed in FW 40B.
August 1, 2002 (67 FR 50292) in paragraphs (b)(1)(vi) and (b)(1)(vii) Although this action proposes several
response to the Settlement Agreement in would be corrected to semicolons. measures that would limit the potential
the case Conservation Law Foundation, In § 648.14, the reference to the impact of this SAP (e.g., limited season,
et al., v. Evans. Amendment 13 revised restrictions and conditions for the CA II 2–year pilot program duration, small
the number of nets that could be carried Yellowtail Flounder SAP in paragraph incidental cod TAC, and the authority
aboard and fished, but did not remove (a)(136) would be expanded to include for the Regional Administrator to close
the new limit completely. The proposed § 648.85(b)(3)(xi). this SAP, etc.), there may not be
action would remove the limit on the In § 648.14, under paragraph (a)(139), sufficient data to justify this SAP given
number of nets that could be carried the reference to the number of trips the Amendment 13 objective to
onboard by Trip gillnet vessels, because specified under § 648.85(b)(3)(vii) minimize bycatch and the potential
this measure is now considered would be expanded to include the impacts of SAP’s on overfished stocks.

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Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 29, 2005 / Proposed Rules 15807

Furthermore, the WGOM Closure Area This proposed rule has been provisions. Except for the notification
Rod/Reel Haddock SAP appears to determined to be not significant for the requirements for Category 1 herring
represent substantial administrative and purposes of Executive Order (E.O.) vessels, all of the provisions in the
industry burdens without significant 12866. proposed rule are voluntary. Therefore,
benefits to the fishery. This proposed rule does not contain vessels that participate in these
policies with Federalism or ‘‘takings’’ programs would likely have determined
GB Cod Research Set-aside implications as defined in E.O. 13132 that the benefits of their participation
FW 40B proposes to set aside up to 10 and E.O. 12630, respectively. outweigh costs associated with these
percent of the GB cod incidental catch NMFS prepared an IRFA as required programs. Based upon the information
TAC to facilitate research. This TAC by section 603 of the Regulatory in the EA prepared for FW 40B, all
would be distributed to research Flexibility Act (RFA). The IRFA 1,500 vessels issued a limited access NE
proposals submitted to NMFS by May 1 describes the economic impact this multispecies permit would be eligible to
of every year. However, the FW 40B proposed rule, if adopted, would have participate in the DAS Leasing and DAS
document does not specify criteria for on small entities. A description of the Transfer Programs, up to 91 vessels may
determining which proposals should be action, why it is being considered, and participate in the WGOM Closure Area
allocated this setaside research TAC. the legal basis for this action are Rod/Reel Haddock SAP, up to 1,409
Further, the document does not describe contained in the preamble to this vessels (i.e., vessels issued a limited
a mechanism by which this TAC should proposed rule and in the Executive access NE multispecies DAS permit)
be distributed to researchers. Without Summary and Section 3.2 of FW 40B. may participate in the CA II Yellowtail
sufficient detail about how to As described above, the proposed Flounder SAP or elect to stand by an
administer this provision, including the action would implement one new SAP entangled whale; and up to 1,351
process and mechanism by which and modify existing effort control vessels issued a limited access NE
proposals to use the GB incidental cod programs implemented under multispecies DAS permit that are
TAC research set-aside will be Amendment 13 to help mitigate the currently not members of the GB Cod
considered and TAC distributed, there economic impacts resulting from effort Hook Sector would be eligible to enter
may not be sufficient information to reductions in Amendment 13 and to the GB Cod Hook Sector. Currently, the
implement this provision. improve the effectiveness of these effort 53 vessels designated as Trip gillnet
control programs, respectively. The vessels would be affected by the
Minimum Effective Effort Allocation proposed alternative was compared to removal of the net limit proposed in this
FW 40B would re-categorize 10 the No Action alternative and four other action.
Category C DAS to Category B Reserve non-selected alternatives. In this The Small Business Administration
DAS for any vessel allocated zero analysis, the baseline (No Action (SBA) size standard for small
Category A or B (Regular and Reserve) alternative) is the set of measures commercial fishing entities is $ 3.5
DAS under Amendment 13. This would currently in place for the NE million in gross receipts and would
result in approximately 400 vessels with multispecies fishery through the apply to limited access NE multispecies
a minimum of 10 Category B Reserve November 19, 2004, implementation of permit holders and vessels issued a
DAS. However, there are a number of measures contained in FW 40A. The Category 1 herring permit. Data
vessels that have been allocated non-selected alternatives contained in analyzed for Amendment 13 indicated
Category A and B (Regular and Reserve) FW 40B include various combinations that the maximum gross receipt for any
DAS under Amendment 13, but were of the measures proposed in this action, single commercial fishing vessel for the
allocated less than 10 Category B as well as other provisions that are not period 1998 to 2001 was $ 1.3 million.
Reserve DAS. Therefore, not every included in the proposed alternative. Data analyzed in FW 40B indicate that
vessel in the NE multispecies fishery The provisions in these non-selected Category 1 herring vessels averaged
would have an equal minimum number alternatives that are not included in the approximately $1.26 million in gross
of Category B Reserve DAS under this proposed alternative are described in sales. For this reason, each vessel in this
provision. NMFS raises this issue due to further detail below. analysis is treated as a single entity for
concerns over whether this provision is Description of and Estimate of the the purposes of size determination and
fair and equitable as required under Number of Small Entities to Which the impact assessment. All commercial
National Standard 4 of the Magnuson- Proposed Rule Would Apply fishing entities affected by this proposed
Stevens Act. rule would fall under the SBA size
Finally, NMFS specifically invites The proposed action would affect any standard for small commercial fishing
comments on whether NMFS should vessel currently issued a limited access entities, and there would be no
post vessels’ DAS allocation information NE multispecies permit, vessels issued disproportionate impacts between small
on the Northeast Regional Office a Category 1 herring permit, and and large entities.
website for the purposes of facilitating researchers interested in conducting
research impacting GB cod. Currently, Economic Impacts of the Proposed
participation in the DAS Leasing/
there are approximately 1,500 vessels Acton
Transfer Programs.
issued a limited access NE multispecies The proposed action would reduce
Classification permit and 105 vessels issued a the conservation tax for Category A and
At this time, NMFS has not Category 1 herring permit. However, it B DAS exchanged through the DAS
determined that the framework is very unlikely that every vessel issued Transfer Program to facilitate
adjustment that this proposed rule a limited access NE multispecies permit consolidation of the groundfish fleet
would implement is consistent with the or a Category 1 herring permit would be through market-based incentives.
national standards of the Magnuson- affected by this proposed action because Currently, Category A and B DAS
Stevens Act and other applicable laws. of past and recent participation in the exchanged through the DAS Transfer
NMFS, in making that determination, fishery, the voluntary nature of specific Program are subject to a 40 percent
will take into account the data, views, programs proposed in this action, and conservation tax, while Category C DAS
and comments received during the the associated regulatory and economic are subject to a 90–percent conservation
comment period. cost burdens for some of the proposed tax. In addition, the vessel selling its

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DAS must exit all fisheries. This action than in fishing year 2004 (as specified flounder are landed at one time.
would reduce the conservation tax for in Amendment 13). As a result, despite Beginning the SAP in July instead of
Category A and B DAS exchanged to 20 the reallocation of the incidental catch June would also contribute to higher
percent, but would retain the 90– TAC’s, the amount of catch available to landings prices, as prices for yellowtail
percent conservation tax for Category C the Category B DAS programs would flounder have historically been lower in
DAS. This reduction would increase the actually increase, thereby increasing the June than other months. While
potential value of a DAS exchanged economic opportunities of both the regulating the supply of yellowtail
under the DAS Transfer Program, but it previously approved programs and the flounder may offer vessels higher
is not known whether the conservation SAP proposed under this action. landings prices, these restrictions could
tax itself prohibits vessels from FW 40B proposes to implement the also increase costs by increasing the
participating in this program. Unless the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock number of trips necessary to harvest the
selling vessel holds no other limited SAP, which would allow all limited available TAC. However, the proposed
access permits, the selling vessel may access NE multispecies vessels to target measures could help avoid the
not be able to recoup the full value of haddock in the GOM in fishing years premature closing of the Eastern U.S./
the permit by selling the NE 2005 and 2006. This SAP would help Canada Area due to the achievement of
multispecies DAS alone. This is because mitigate some of the economic impacts the GB yellowtail flounder TAC. This
the opportunity cost to the seller may be resulting from the effort reductions in would enable vessels greater
quite high if the vessel is required to Amendment 13 and provide an opportunity to fully harvest the
retire from all other fisheries. However, opportunity for vessels, particularly available GB cod and GB haddock TAC
overall, this action would be expected to small vessels in the GOM, to use allocated to the Eastern U.S./Canada
increase the potential return to both Category B DAS to target healthy Area and achieve the full economic
buyers and sellers and have a beneficial groundfish stocks. This SAP would be benefit from the U.S./Canada
impact on small entities of uncertain able to use hand-tended rod/reel gear to Management Area for vessels operating
magnitude. fish for haddock within the WGOM under a Category A DAS.
FW 40B would also remove the Closure Area during March and April. This action proposes to re-categorize
tonnage criterion for the DAS Transfer SAP participants could catch up to 50 10 Category C DAS as Category B
Program. This would make the DAS mt of GOM haddock and up to 6.3 mt (Reserve) DAS for vessels allocated zero
Transfer Program subject to the same GOM cod, though vessels would not be Category A or B DAS under Amendment
baseline size conditions as the DAS able to retain any cod. Once these TAC’s 13. These DAS could only be used in a
Leasing Program. Removal of the are caught, the SAP would be closed. SAP that does not include a DAS
tonnage criterion is expected to make it The 50 mt TAC for haddock caught in flipping provision (currently, only the
more likely that vessels would be able this SAP would limit economic benefits WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel SAP
to find compatible vessels to exchange to $140,000, based on the value of $1.27 proposed in this action). The economic
DAS under the DAS Transfer Program. per pound, the average price for the impact of this provision is expected to
It is unknown if this provision would 2003 fishing year. Given that hook gear be positive for vessels receiving a
facilitate additional DAS transfers, but it primarily catches cod and haddock, minimum allocation. However, this
is likely that economic impacts from there is unlikely to be sufficient other provision could adversely affect other
this provision would be positive. catch to contribute to potential trip vessels that were allocated Category A
FW 40B proposes to allow vessels a income. Limited information is or B DAS under Amendment 13 by
one-time opportunity to downgrade the available that would accurately assess increasing the number of potential
permit baseline characteristics whether vessels could selectively catch participants in SAP’s and spreading the
established for the DAS Leasing haddock without also catching limited potential benefits of these SAP’s
Program to reflect the physical substantial amounts of cod. Therefore, among more vessels.
characteristics of the vessel currently there is the potential that the 6.3–mt FW 40B would also change the
using the permit. This is expected to GOM cod bycatch TAC could limit the manner in which the GB Cod Hook
increase the potential pool of vessels achievement of the full economic Sector allocation is calculated by
available to lease DAS. The economic benefits from this SAP. allowing all vessels and all landings,
impact of this provision is likely to be The CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP regardless of gear, to count towards the
positive, though the number of vessels was implemented under Amendment Sector’s GB cod allocation. This could
that might downgrade their DAS 13. The proposed action would revise increase the Sector’s share of the overall
Leasing Program baseline and the the season, adjust the trip limit, limit GB cod TAC. While Sector vessels
economic value of that downgrade is not the number of trips that could be taken, would be able to increase overall fishing
quantifiable. and establish a process that would allow revenues from the increased allocation
The proposed action would set aside the Regional Administrator to help of GB cod, this provision would
10 percent of the GB cod incidental achieve OY from the yellowtail flounder subsequently reduce the amount of GB
catch TAC to facilitate research. In TAC and ensure that the SAP does not cod TAC available to non-Sector vessels.
addition, this action would change the conflict with the management objectives Even though the TAC available to non-
allocation of incidental catch TAC’s to outside of the SAP. In general, most of Sector vessels is a target TAC and would
accommodate the proposed bycatch of the proposed changes to the SAP would not result in area closures, the
GOM cod in the WGOM Closure Area help mitigate the derby effects by diminished non-Sector GB cod TAC
Rod/Reel Haddock SAP. Although this spreading out landings over time and could potentially result in a small
action would reduce the allocation of help ensure that the GB yellowtail increase in the probability that the GB
incidental catch TAC’s to the Category flounder TAC is available throughout cod target TAC would be exceeded.
B DAS programs implemented under the fishing year. Limiting the number of The proposed action would provide
FW 40A (i.e., the Regular B DAS Pilot trips that could be taken, in addition to an incentive for vessels to report and
Program and the approved SAP’s), the lowering the trip limit to 10,000 lb stand by an entangled whale by
overall target TAC’s for the fishery, and (4,536 kg), could potentially avoid allowing vessels to receive a DAS credit
therefore the incidental catch TAC’s, dramatic drops in ex-vessel price that for the time spent standing by an
would be higher in fishing year 2005 result when large amounts of yellowtail entangled whale. Increasing the

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possibility that an entangled whale of the fishing year. This could result in the provisions not included in the
could be successfully tracked and decreased prices for yellowtail flounder preferred alternative are considered and
disentangled would result in positive and reduced economic opportunities for described below.
existence and non-consumptive use the U.S./Canada Management Area by The non-selected options for revising
values to the public. limiting the potential for vessels to fully the conservation tax for the DAS
Under the proposed action, Category harvest the GB cod and GB haddock Leasing and Transfer Programs in FW
1 herring vessels would be required to TAC’s in the Eastern U.S./Canada Area. 40B would have adopted either a 10 or
notify the NMFS Observer Program at In addition, vessels allocated zero a 20–percent conservation tax for both
least 72 hours prior to fishing for Category A or B DAS would not be the DAS Leasing and Transfer Programs.
herring in the GOM or GB RMA’s. In allocated additional DAS and would This would represent reductions in the
addition, if an observer is not provided therefore not be able to increase revenue conservation tax for the DAS Transfer
for the trip, the vessel must notify through participation in the NE Program, but an increase in the
NMFS Office of Law Enforcement via multispecies fishery. Vessels that have conservation tax for the DAS Leasing
VMS prior to offloading the catch. These previously used gear other than hook Program. Reducing the conservation tax
requirements are likely to impose some gear would have fewer incentives to join for the DAS Transfer Program would
costs associated with reduced trip the GB Cod Hook Sector and Sector increase the value of DAS exchanged
flexibility. However, it is now known vessels would continue to fish under the through this program. Conversely,
the extent to which this provision current lower GB cod TAC level under increasing the conservation tax for the
would compromise economic efficiency the No Action alternative. Finally, Trip DAS Leasing Program would likely
of herring vessel operations. gillnet vessels would continue to be decrease the market value of DAS
Finally, this action would remove the restricted to net limitations and the exchanged through this program. The
net limit for Trip gillnet vessels. gillnet tag requirements, resulting in conservation tax on leased DAS would
Removing the net limit would eliminate increased operational costs and reduced likely result in greater adverse economic
the need for gillnet tags for groundfish efficiency. impact on small entities as compared to
gillnets (a reduction in costs of $180 per any economic gains resulting from
vessel), reducing time required to FW 40B considered four other non-
greater incentives to participate in the
switch tags over to different sized nets selected alternatives. These alternatives
DAS Transfer Program. Since the
during vessel operations. This would consisted of various combinations of all
proposed alternative would reduce the
provide greater flexibility in vessel of the provisions described in FW 40B, conservation tax for the DAS Transfer
operations, resulting in unknown including some that were not specified Program, but not implement a
positive economic benefits. This in the proposed alternative. The first conservation tax for the DAS Leasing
provision could increase the number of non-selected alternative, Alternative 1, Program, greater economic benefits are
gillnets used by Trip gillnet vessels includes every provision described in expected from the proposed measure
leading to potential increases in vessel FW 40B. Alternative 1 differs from the than the non-selected measures for this
revenue associated with higher proposed alternative by including provision.
landings. additional options for the DAS Leasing Non-selected measures to modify non-
and Transfer Programs conservation tax, groundfish permit transfers under the
Economic Impacts of Alternatives to the modifications to the non-groundfish DAS Transfer Program include allowing
Proposed Action permit transfer provisions of the DAS vessels receiving DAS under this
The No Action alternative would Transfer Program, the GB Haddock SAP program to also accept other non-
provide no new opportunities for North of CA I, an option that would groundfish permits, allowing vessels to
economic benefits above the current allow only NE multispecies DAS vessels refuse other non-groundfish permits in
level. Under the No Action alternative, to participate in the WGOM Closure lieu of a conservation tax on DAS
the economic impacts likely to result are Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP, options to exchanged, and allowing for the
those specified in the analysis for FW recalculate the baseline DAS allocation removal of a proxy vessel instead of
40A as implemented on November 19, implemented under Amendment 13, requiring the transferring vessel to retire
2004. By selecting the No Action options to prohibit herring vessels from from all fisheries. These options would
alternative, incentives to participate in fishing in the NE multispecies closed likely increase the potential value of
the DAS Leasing or DAS Transfer areas, and a minimum observer DAS exchanged under the DAS Transfer
Programs proposed under this action, requirement for vessels to participate in Program. The economic impact of each
such as the reduction in the Category B DAS programs. Alternative 2 of these non-selected measures is
conservation tax, removal of the tonnage is identical to the proposed alternative uncertain, but expected to be positive
criterion, and the opportunity to without identifying specific options for compared to the current DAS Transfer
downgrade the DAS Leasing Program several of the proposed measures. Program restrictions and, therefore, the
baseline, would not be available. This Alternative 3 differs from the proposed proposed alternative. While the
could continue to limit vessel alternative in that it would not change economic benefits of these non-selected
participation in these programs and the the current conservation tax for the DAS measures would likely be greater than
associated potential economic benefits Leasing and Transfer Programs, includes the proposed alternative, a lack of
associated with increased fleet modifications to the non-groundfish sufficient detail regarding the
efficiency. Under the No Action permit transfer provisions of the DAS application of these measures and the
alternative, vessels would not be able to Transfer Program, and does not include implications of these measures on catch
participate in the WGOM Closure Area modifications to the GB Cod Hook history and other FMP’s prevented
Rod/Reel Haddock SAP and would Sector allocation calculation. further consideration.
forego potential associated revenues. Alternative 4 differs from the proposed Another SAP to target GB cod in an
Selection of the No Action alternative alternative in that it includes the GB area north of CA I was not selected for
would mean that the derby effects in the Haddock SAP North of CA I, but does this proposed action. This SAP would
CA II Yellowtail Flounder SAP would not include modifications to the GB Cod allow all NE multispecies vessels
continue and the GB yellowtail flounder Hook Sector allocation calculation. For equipped with a VMS to fish for up to
TAC could be harvested before the end this analysis, the economic impacts of 2,000 mt of haddock using a haddock

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15810 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 59 / Tuesday, March 29, 2005 / Proposed Rules

separator trawl. Information detailing the distributive effects of these options notice requirement for Category 1
the performance of the haddock and the fact that an overwhelming herring vessels operating with an
separator trawl is not available. majority of small entities would be observer waiver; (10) Notification and
However, previous landings by vessels negatively affected by these options, communication with USCG and Center
fishing in the area encompassed by the neither option was selected for this for Coastal Studies for standing by an
SAP with conventional trawl gear action. entangled whale; (11) Request for DAS
provides an estimate of the potential Three options were considered to Credit for standing by an entangled
economic benefits from this provision. prohibit herring vessels from fishing in whale; (12) daily VMS catch reports for
Using an average revenue of $5,700 per groundfish closed areas. Option 1 would vessels participating in the WGOM
day and assuming that the 1,000 mt prohibit only herring mid-water trawl Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP;
haddock TAC would be caught in 238 vessel access to the closed areas, Option and (13) vessel baseline downgrade
DAS, the potential revenue from this 2 would prohibit herring mid-water and request for the DAS Leasing Program.
SAP is estimated at $1.4 million. purse seine vessel access to the closed The measures proposed under FW
Increasing the haddock TAC to 2,000 mt areas, and Option 3 would prohibit only 40B would result in several costs to
through the authority of the Regional herring purse seine vessel access to the participants. Researchers would be
Administrator would generate closed areas. Aggregate economic subject to postage costs of $2 per year
approximately $2.4 million in potential impacts were only estimated for Option for submitting requests for portions of
revenues. Current regulations allow 2, as confidentiality concerns prevent the GB cod research set-aside TAC. To
vessels to fish in the area defined for reporting the economic impacts of participate in the WGOM Closure Area
this SAP. As a result, given the Options 1 and 3. Option 2 would result Rod/Reel Haddock SAP, vessels would
restrictive measures and monitoring in an average revenue loss of $52,000 be required to use VMS. Costs not
requirements involved with this SAP, per vessel affected. Although the previously authorized under the
this measure would likely provide few economic impacts for Option 1 and 3 Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
additional opportunities for fishermen are not specified, these options would involved with VMS operation include
at the cost of considerable additional likely result in smaller adverse monthly operational costs associated
complexity in the fishery. economic impacts to affected vessels. As with fees charged by the individual
The non-selected option for the a result, these options would have larger VMS vendor for satellite connection, as
eligible participants in the WGOM adverse economic impacts on small well as service and maintenance
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP entities fishing for herring than the
would have limited participation in this charges. The cost of the purchase and
proposed alternative. installation of VMS units to vessels
SAP to only limited access NE Finally, FW 40B considered a
multispecies DAS vessels. This would participating in the NE multispecies
measure that would prevent a vessel fishery have already been considered
exclude vessels issued a limited access that is not capable of carrying aboard an
Handgear A or a Small Vessel and approved in a previous PRA
observer from participating in an submission. NMFS has currently
Exemption permit from participating in approved SAP. This would likely result
this SAP, resulting in unknown impacts certified two vendors to provide VMS
in greater costs to smaller vessels that services. A conservative cost estimate,
on small entities. do not have the required safety
Two options for changing the effective based on operational charges for the
equipment necessary to carry an Boatracs VMS vendor, is approximately
effort calculation (i.e., DAS baselines) observer.
implemented under Amendment 13 $150 per month for each NE
were considered for this action. One Description of the Projected Reporting, multispecies vendor. These monthly
option would calculate effective effort Recordkeeping, and Other Compliance operational costs have previously been
based on the maximum number of DAS Requirements of the Proposed Rule considered and approved in a previous
between 1996–2001 without being PRA submission for most of the NE
Reporting and Recordkeeping multispecies fishery. However, for this
limited by the 2001 DAS allocation, but Requirements
including carry-over DAS. The other action, an additional 50 vessels are
option would calculate effective effort The proposed measures in FW 40B likely to use VMS that were not
in the same manner, without include the following provisions considered previously. Therefore, for
considering carry-over DAS. These requiring either new or revised this action, the yearly VMS operational
options would increase the total reporting and recordkeeping costs, per vessel, for VMS usage under
baseline allocation for the fishery. requirements: (1) GB cod research set- the proposed provisions in FW 40B are
However, to remain consistent with the aside TAC request; (2) VMS purchase $1,800. Costs associated with VMS
conservation objectives of Amendment and installation; (3) VMS proof of notifications to NMFS Office of Law
13, the split between Category A and B installation; (4) automated VMS polling Enforcement for Category 1 herring
DAS would need to be adjusted. These of vessel position; (5) declaration of vessels not issued an observer waiver
options would reduce Category A DAS intent to participate in the WGOM total approximately $3 per vessel,
for at least 80 percent of all vessels with Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP assuming a 50– percent observer
a non-zero effective effort baselines, and DAS to be used via VMS prior to coverage rate and a total of 1,337 trips
resulting in an average loss of $5,200 each trip into this SAP; (6) LOA request per year. There would be no costs
per vessel. For the remaining vessels to participate in the WGOM Closure associated with communicating with the
that would gain Category A DAS under Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP; (7) notice USCG or the Center for Coastal Studies
these options, the average revenue gains requirements for observer deployment regarding standing by an entangled
would total $35,000 per vessel. As a prior to every trip into the WGOM whale. Written requests to receive a
result, the net economic benefits for Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP; DAS credit for standing by an entangled
these options total $2.8 million and $2.2 (8) notice requirements for observer whale would cost the public $3.70 for
million, respectively. These benefits deployment prior to every trip for postage, assuming 10 such requests
would have distributive effects as Category 1 herring vessels intending to would be submitted per year. Daily
benefits would accrue to larger vessels fish in the GOM or GB RMA’s; (9) NMFS catch reports submitted for the WGOM
and would shift between states. Given Office of Law Enforcement landings Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP

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total approximately $116 per year for all searching existing data sources, Yellowtail Flounder SAP, the CA I Hook
vessels participating in this SAP. The gathering and maintaining the data Gear Haddock SAP, the Regular B DAS
costs associated with vessel baseline needed, and completing and reviewing Pilot Program, the Eastern U.S./Canada
downgrade requests for the DAS Leasing the collection information. Haddock SAP Pilot Program, or the
Program total $518, assuming every Public comment is sought regarding: WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock
vessel would downgrade their DAS Whether this proposed collection of SAP.
Leasing Program baseline in one year. information is necessary for the proper * * * * *
performance of the functions of the 3. In § 648.10, paragraphs (b)(1)(vi)
Public Reporting Burden agency, including whether the through (viii) and (b)(3)(i)(D) are
This proposed rule contains information shall have practical utility; revised, and paragraphs (b)(1)(ix) and
collection-of-information requirements the accuracy of the burden estimate; (b)(3)(i)(E) are added to read as follows:
subject to review and approval by OMB ways to enhance the quality, utility, and
under the PRA. This requirement has clarity of the information to be § 648.10 DAS notification requirements.
been submitted to OMB for approval. collected; and ways to minimize the * * * * *
Public reporting burden for these burden of the collection of information, (b) * * *
collections of information are estimated including through the use of automated (1) * * *
as specified below. collection techniques or other forms of (vi) A vessel issued a limited access
1. GB cod research set-aside TAC information technology. Send comments NE multispecies permit electing to fish
request, OMBι 0648–0202 (30 min/ on these or any other aspects of the under the U.S./Canada Resource
response); collection of information to NMFS and Sharing Understanding, as specified in
2. VMS purchase and installation, to OMB (see ADDRESSES). § 648.85(a);
OMB# 0648–0202, (1 hr/response); Notwithstanding any other provision (vii) A vessel electing to fish under
3. VMS proof of installation, OMB# of the law, no person is required to the Regular B DAS Pilot Program, as
0648–0202, (5 min/response); respond to, and no person shall be specified in § 648.85(b)(6);
Automated VMS polling of vessel subject to penalty for failure to comply (viii) A vessel electing to fish in the
position, OMB# 0648–0202, (5 sec/ with, a collection of information subject Closed Area I Hook Gear Haddock SAP,
response); to the requirements of the PRA, unless as specified in § 648.85(b)(7); and
4. Declaration of intent to participate that collection of information displays a (ix) A vessel electing to fish in the
in the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel currently valid OMB control number. WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock
Haddock SAP and DAS to be used via SAP, as specified in § 648.85(b)(9).
VMS prior to each trip into this SAP, List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648
* * * * *
OMB# 0648–0202, (5 min/response); Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and (3) * * *
5. LOA request to participate in the recordkeeping requirements. (i) * * *
WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock Dated: March 23, 2005. (D) Fish in the CA I Hook Gear
SAP, OMB# 0648–0202, (5 min/ Haddock SAP specified in
Rebecca Lent,
response); § 648.85(a)(7); or
6. Notice requirements for observer Deputy Assistant Administrator for
Regulatory Programs, National Marine (E) Fish in the WGOM Closure Area
deployment prior to every trip into the Rod/Reel Haddock SAP specified in
Fisheries Service.
WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock § 648.85(b)(9).
For the reasons stated in the
SAP, OMB# 0648–0202, (2 min/
preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed * * * * *
response);
7. Notice requirements for observer to be amended as follows: 4. In § 648.14, paragraphs (a)(136),
deployment prior to every trip for (a)(139), and (c)(14) are revised; and
PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE paragraphs (a)(165) through (a)(176),
Category 1 herring vessels intending to NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES
fish in the GOM or GB RMA’s, OMB# (c)(80), (bb)(19), and (bb)(20) are added
0648–0202, (2 min/response); 1. The authority citation for part 648 to read as follows:
8. NMFS Office of Law Enforcement continues to read as follows: § 648.14 Prohibitions.
landings notice requirement for Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. * * * * *
Category 1 herring vessels operating 2. In § 648.9, paragraph (c)(1)(ii) is (a) * * *
with an observer waiver, OMB# 0648– revised to read as follows: (136) If fishing under the Closed Area
0202, (5 min/response); II Yellowtail Flounder SAP, fish for,
9. Notification and Communication § 648.9 VMS requirements.
harvest, possess or land any regulated
with USCG and Center for Coastal * * * * *
NE multispecies from the area specified
Studies, OMB# 0648–0202, (10 min/ (c) * * *
(1) * * * in § 648.85(b)(3)(ii), unless in
response);
(ii) NMFS may initiate, at its compliance with the restrictions and
10. Written requests to receive a DAS
discretion, the transmission of a signal conditions specified in § 648.85(b)(3)(i)
credit for standing by an entangled
indicating the vessel’s accurate position, through (xi).
whale, OMB# 0648–0202, (30 min/
response); at least twice per hour, 24 hours a day, * * * * *
11. Daily electronic reporting of kept for all NE multispecies DAS vessels that (139) If fishing in the Closed Area II
and discarded catch while participating elect to fish with a VMS specified in Yellowtail Flounder SAP specified in
in the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel § 648.10(b) or that are required to fish § 648.85(b)(3), exceed the number of
Haddock SAP, OMB# 0648–0212, (15 with a VMS as specified in § 648.85(a), trips specified under § 648.85(b)(3)(vi)
min/response); and for each groundfish DAS trip that the or (vii).
12. Vessel baseline downgrade request vessel has elected to fish in the U.S./ * * * * *
for the DAS Leasing Program, OMB# Canada Management Areas, and as (165) Fish for, harvest, possess or land
0648–0475, (1 hr/response). specified in § 648.85(b) for each any regulated NE multispecies from the
These estimates include the time groundfish trip that the vessel has WGOM Closure Area specified in
required for reviewing instructions, elected to fish in either the CA II § 648.81(e)(1), unless in compliance

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with the restrictions and conditions specified in § 648.85(b)(9), fail to (a) * * *


specified in § 648.85(b)(9)(v)(A) through comply with the catch reporting (3) * * *
(G), or unless fishing under the requirements in § 648.85(b)(9)(v)(G). (iv) * * *
recreational or charter/party regulations (175) If the vessel has been issued a (A) * * *
specified in § 648.89. limited access NE multispecies permit, (2) Net size requirements. Nets may
(166) Enter or fish in the WGOM fish under the provisions of the WGOM not be longer than 300 ft (91.4 m), or 50
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP fathoms (91.4 m) in length.
outside of the season specified in specified in § 648.85(b)(9) if the area is * * * * *
§ 648.85(b)(9)(iv) except when fishing closed as described in (4) * * *
under the recreational or charter/party § 648.85(b)(9)(v)(I). (iv) * * *
regulations specified in § 648.89. (176) If a vessel is fishing under a (A) Trip gillnet vessels. A Trip gillnet
(167) If declared into the WGOM Category B DAS in the Closed Area II vessel fishing under a NE multispecies
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP in Yellowtail Flounder SAP specified in DAS and fishing in the GB Regulated
accordance with § 648.85(b)(9)(v)(D), § 648.85(b)(3), the Regular B DAS Pilot Mesh Area may not fish with nets longer
fish for or set gear capable of catching Program specified in § 648.85(b)(6), or than 300 ft (91.4 m), or 50 fathoms (91.4
NE multispecies outside of the WGOM the Eastern U.S./Canada Haddock SAP m) in length.
Closure Area as described in Pilot Program specified in * * * * *
§ 648.81(e)(1) during the same trip. § 648.85(b)(8), dump the contents of a (b) * * *
(168) If the vessel has been issued a net except on board the vessel. (2) * * *
limited access NE multispecies DAS * * * * * (iv) Gillnet vessels. For Day and Trip
permit and is fishing in the WGOM (c) * * * gillnet vessels, the minimum mesh size
Closure Area under the provisions of the (14) If the vessel has been issued a for any sink gillnet not stowed and not
WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock limited access NE multispecies permit available for immediate use in
SAP specified in § 648.85(b)(9), fail to and fishes under a NE multispecies DAS accordance with § 648.23(b), when
comply with the minimum participation with gillnet gear, fail to comply with fishing under a DAS in the NE
requirements in § 648.85(b)(9)(v)(A). gillnet tagging requirements specified in multispecies DAS program in the SNE
(169) If the vessel has been issued a § 648.80(a)(3)(iv)(B)(4), (a)(3)(iv)(C), Regulated Mesh Area, is 6.5 inches (16.5
limited access NE multispecies permit (a)(4)(iv)(B)(3), (b)(2)(iv)(B)(3), and cm) throughout the entire net. This
and is fishing in the WGOM Closure (c)(2)(v)(B)(3), or fail to produce, or restriction does not apply to nets or
Area under the provisions of the WGOM cause to be produced, gillnet tags when pieces of nets smaller than 3 ft (0.9 m)
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP requested by an authorized officer. x 3 ft (0.9 m), (9 sq ft (0.81 sq m)), or
specified in § 648.85(b)(9), fail to * * * * * to vessels that have not been issued a
comply with the VMS requirements in (80) Provide false information on the NE multispecies permit and that are
§ 648.85(b)(9)(v)(B). application to downgrade the DAS fishing exclusively in state waters. Day
(170) If the vessel has been issued a Leasing Program baseline, as required gillnet vessels must also abide by the
limited access NE multispecies permit under § 648.82(k)(4)(xi). tagging requirements in paragraph
and is fishing in the WGOM Closure (a)(3)(iv)(c) of this section.
* * * * * (A) Trip gillnet vessels. A Trip gillnet
Area under the provisions of the WGOM (bb) * * *
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP (19) If the vessel has been issued a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies
specified in § 648.85(b)(9), fail to Category 1 herring permit and is fishing DAS and fishing in the SNE Regulated
comply with the observer notification for herring in the GOM/GB Exemption Mesh Area may not fish with nets longer
requirements in § 648.85(b)(9)(v)(C). Area specified in § 648.80(a)(17), fail to than 300 ft (91.4 m), or 50 fathoms (91.4
(171) Enter or fish in the WGOM notify NMFS at least 72 hours prior to m) in length.
Closure Area under the provisions of the departing on a trip for the purposes of * * * * *
WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock observer deployment. (c) * * *
SAP as specified in § 648.85(b)(9), (20) If the vessel has been issued a (2) * * *
unless declared into the area in Category 1 herring permit and is fishing (v) * * *
accordance with § 648.85(b)(9)(v)(D). for herring in the GOM/GB Exemption (A) Trip gillnet vessels. A Trip gillnet
(172) If the vessel has been issued a Area specified in § 648.80(a)(17), fail to vessel fishing under a NE multispecies
limited access NE multispecies permit notify the NMFS Office of Law DAS and fishing in the MA Regulated
and is fishing in the WGOM Closure Enforcement of the time and date of Mesh Area may not fish with nets longer
Area under the provisions of the WGOM landing via VMS prior to crossing the than 300 ft (91.4 m), or 50 fathoms (91.4
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP VMS demarcation line on its return trip m) in length.
specified in § 648.85(b)(9), fail to to port if issued an observer waiver * * * * *
comply with the gear requirements in pursuant to § 648.80(e)(6). (d) * * *
§ 648.85(b)(9)(v)(E). (2) When fishing under this
* * * * *
(173) If the vessel has been issued a exemption in the GOM/GB Exemption
5. In § 648.80, paragraphs
limited access NE multispecies permit Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(17) of
(a)(3)(iv)(A)(2), (a)(4)(iv)(A), (b)(2)(iv),
and is fishing in the WGOM Closure this section, and in the area described
(b)(2)(iv)(A), (c)(2)(v)(A), (d)(2), (d)(4),
Area under the provisions of the WGOM in § 648.81(c)(1), the vessel has on board
(d)(5), and (e)(2) through (e)(4) are
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP a letter of authorization issued by the
revised; paragraphs (a)(3)(iv)(A)(3) and
specified in § 648.85(b)(9), fail to Regional Administrator, and complies
(4) are removed; and paragraphs (d)(6),
comply with the landing restrictions in with all restrictions and conditions
(d)(7), (e)(5), and (e)(6) are added to read
§ 648.85(b)(9)(v)(F). thereof;
as follows:
(174) If the vessel has been issued a * * * * *
limited access NE multispecies permit § 648.80 NE Multispecies regulated mesh (4) The vessel does not fish for,
and is fishing in the WGOM Closure areas and restrictions on gear and methods possess, or land NE multispecies;
Area under the provisions of the WGOM of fishing. (5) The vessel must carry a NMFS-
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP * * * * * approved sea sampler/observer, if

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requested by the Regional persons on fishing vessels or fishing (xi) One-time downgrade of leasing
Administrator; vessels— baseline. A vessel owner may elect to
(6) Vessels issued a Category 1 herring (i) That meet the criteria in make a one-time downgrade to the
permit pursuant to § 648.4(a)(10) and paragraphs (f)(2)(ii) and (iii) of this vessel’s DAS Leasing Program baseline
intending to fish for herring under this section consistent with the requirements length and horsepower as specified in
exemption in the GOM/GB GOM specified under § 648.80(a)(5); or paragraph (k)(4)(ix) of this section to
Exemption Area as defined in paragraph (ii) Fishing in the WGOM Closure match the length overall and
(a)(17) of this section must provide Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP as horsepower specifications of the vessel
notice to NMFS of the vessel name; specified in § 648.85(b)(9). that is currently issued the permit.
contact name for coordination of * * * * * (A) Application for a one-time DAS
observer deployment; telephone number 7. In § 648.82, paragraphs (d)(2)(ii)(B) Leasing Program baseline downgrade.
for contact; and the date, time, and port introductory text, (d)(3)(ii), (k)(4)(ix), To downgrade the DAS Leasing Program
of departure, at least 72 hours prior to (l)(1)(ii), and (l)(1)(iv) are revised, and baseline, eligible NE multispecies
beginning any trip into these areas for paragraphs (d)(2)(ii)(B)(4), (k)(4)(xi), and vessels must submit a completed
the purposes of observer deployment; (m) are added to read as follows: application form obtained from the
and Regional Administrator. An application
(7) Any vessel issued an observer § 648.82 Effort-control program for NE to downgrade a vessel’s DAS Leasing
waiver pursuant to paragraph (d)(6) of multispecies limited access vessels. Program baseline must contain at least
this section must notify NMFS Office of * * * * * the following information: Vessel
Law Enforcement through VMS of the (d)* * * owner’s name, vessel name, permit
time and place of offload prior to (2) * * * number, official number or state
crossing the VMS demarcation line at (ii) * * * registration number, current vessel
the end of a trip. (B) Calculation. Unless determined length overall and horsepower
* * * * * otherwise, as specified under paragraph specifications, an indication whether
(e) * * * (d)(2)(ii)(B)(4) or paragraph (d)(4) of this additional information is included to
(2) When fishing under this section, Reserve B DAS are calculated as document the vessel’s current
exemption in the GOM/GB Exemption follows: specifications, and the signature of the
Area, as defined in paragraph (a)(17) of * * * * * vessel owner.
this section, the vessel has on board a (4) Notwithstanding the other (B) Duration of one-time DAS Leasing
letter of authorization issued by the provisions of this part, starting in Program baseline downgrade. The
Regional Administrator; fishing year 2005, any vessel allocated downgraded DAS Leasing Program
(3) The vessel only fishes for, zero Category A or B (Regular and baseline remains in effect until the DAS
possesses, or lands Atlantic herring, Reserve) DAS as specified under Leasing Program expires or the permit is
blueback herring, mackerel, or paragraph (d) of this section shall be transferred to another vessel via a vessel
menhaden; allocated 10 Reserve B DAS. These DAS replacement. Once the permit is
(4) The vessel does not fish for, can only be used in approved SAP’s transferred to another vessel, the DAS
possess, or land NE multispecies; and specified at § 648.85(b) that do not Leasing Program baseline reverts to the
(5) Vessels issued a Category 1 herring contain a DAS flipping provision. baseline horsepower and length overall
permit pursuant to § 648.4(a)(10) and (3) * * * specifications associated with the
intending to fish for herring under this (ii) Calculation. Category C DAS are permit prior to the one-time downgrade.
exemption in the GOM/GB Exemption defined as the difference between a Once the DAS Leasing Program baseline
Area as defined in paragraph (a)(17) of vessel’s used DAS baseline, as described is downgraded for a particular permit,
this section must provide notice to in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and no further downgrades may be
NMFS of the vessel name; contact name the number of DAS allocated to the authorized for that permit. The
for coordination of observer vessel as of May 1, 2001, unless downgraded DAS Leasing Program
deployment; telephone number for otherwise modified according to baseline may only be used to determine
contact; and the date, time, and port of paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(B)(4) of this section. eligibility for the DAS Leasing Program
departure, at least 72 hours prior to * * * * * and does not affect or change the
beginning any trip into these areas for (k) * * * baseline associated with the DAS
the purposes of observer deployment; (4) * * * Transfer Program specified in paragraph
and (ix) Size restriction of Lessee vessel. A (l)(1)(ii) of this section, or the vessel
(6) Any vessel issued an observer
Lessor only may lease DAS to a Lessee replacement or upgrade restrictions
waiver pursuant to paragraph (e)(5) of
vessel with a baseline main engine specified at § 648.4(a)(1)(i)(E) and (F),
this section must notify NMFS Office of
horsepower rating that is no more than respectively.
Law Enforcement through VMS of the
20 percent greater than the baseline * * * * *
time and place of offload prior to
engine horsepower of the Lessor vessel. (l) * * *
crossing the VMS demarcation line on
A Lessor vessel may only lease DAS to (1) * * *
its return trip to port.
a Lessee vessel with a baseline length (ii) NE multispecies DAS may be
* * * * * overall that is no more than 10 percent transferred only to a vessel with a
6. In § 648.81, paragraph (e)(2) is greater than the baseline length overall baseline main engine horsepower rating
revised to read as follows: of the Lessor vessel. For the purposes of that is no more than 20 percent greater
§ 648.81 NE multispecies closed areas and this program, the baseline horsepower than the baseline engine horsepower of
measures to protect EFH. and length overall specifications of the transferor vessel. NE multispecies
* * * * * vessels are those associated with the DAS may be transferred only to a vessel
(e) * * * permit as of January 29, 2004, unless with a baseline length overall that is no
(2) Unless otherwise restricted under otherwise modified according to more than 10 percent greater than the
paragraph (h) of this section, paragraph paragraph (k)(4)(xi) of this section. baseline length overall of the transferor
(e)(1) of this section does not apply to * * * * * vessel. For the purposes of this program,

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the baseline horsepower and length Administrator. This request must (B) If the Regional Administrator
overall are those associated with the include at least the following determines that the available catch is
permit as of January 29, 2004. information: Date and time when the insufficient to support 150 trips with a
* * * * * vessel began its stand-by status, date of possession limit of 15,000 lb (6,804 kg)
(iv) NE multispecies Category A and first communication with the USCG, of yellowtail flounder per trip, the
Category B DAS, as defined under and date and time when the vessel Regional Administrator may choose not
paragraphs (d)(1) and (2) of this section, terminated its stand-by status. DAS to authorize any trips into the SAP
shall be reduced by 20 percent upon credit shall not be granted for the time during a fishing year.
transfer. a vessel fishes when standing by an (viii) Trip limits—(A) Yellowtail
* * * * * entangled whale. Upon a review of the flounder trip limit. Unless otherwise
(m) DAS credit for standing by request, NMFS shall consider granting authorized by the Regional
entangled whales. Limited access the DAS credit based on information Administrator as specified in paragraph
vessels fishing under the DAS program available at the time of the request, (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, a vessel
that report and stand by an entangled regardless of whether an authorized fishing in the CA II Yellowtail Flounder
whale may request a DAS credit for the response team arrives on scene or a SAP may fish for, possess, and land up
time spent standing by the whale. The rescue is attempted. NMFS shall notify to 10,000 lb (4,536 kg) of yellowtail
following conditions and requirements the permit holder of any DAS flounder per trip. The Regional
must be met to receive this credit: adjustment that is made or explain the Administrator may adjust this limit to a
(1) At the time the vessel begins reasons why an adjustment will not be maximum of 30,000 lb (13,608 kg) per
standing by the entangled whale, the made. trip after considering the factors listed
vessel operator must notify the USCG 8. In § 648.85, paragraphs (b)(3)(iii), in paragraph (b)(3)(vii)(A) of this section
and the Center for Coastal Studies or (b)(3)(vi) through (b)(3)(viii), (b)(5)(i), for the maximum number of trips.
another organization as authorized by and (b)(5)(ii) are revised; and paragraphs (B) Cod and haddock trip limit.
the Regional Administrator of the (b)(5)(iii), (b)(5)(iv), and (b)(9) are added Unless otherwise restricted, a NE
location of the entangled whale and that to read as follows: multispecies vessel fishing any portion
the vessel is going to stand by the of a trip in the Closed Area II Yellowtail
§ 648.85 Special management programs. Flounder SAP may not fish for, possess,
entangled whale until the arrival of an
authorized response team; * * * * * or land more than 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) of
(2) Only one vessel at a time may (b) * * * cod per trip, regardless of trip length. A
receive credit for standing by an (3) * * * NE multispecies vessel fishing in the
entangled whale. A vessel standing by (iii) Season. Eligible vessels may fish Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder SAP
an entangled whale may transfer its in the Closed Area II Yellowtail is subject to the haddock requirements
stand-by status to another vessel while Flounder SAP during the period July 1 described under § 648.86(a), unless
waiting for an authorized response team through December 31. further restricted under paragraph
to arrive, provided it notifies the USCG * * * * * (a)(3)(iv) of this section.
and the Center for Coastal Studies or (vi) Number of trips per vessel. Unless * * * * *
another organization authorized by the otherwise authorized by the Regional (5) * * *
Regional Administrator of the transfer. Administrator as specified in paragraph (i) Stocks other than cod. With the
The vessel to which stand-by status is (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, eligible exception of GB cod and GOM cod, the
transferred must also notify the USCG vessels are restricted to one trip per incidental TAC’s specified under this
and the Center for Coastal Studies or month, during the season described in paragraph (b)(5) shall be allocated to the
another organization authorized by the paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section. Regular B DAS Pilot Program described
Regional Administrator of this transfer (vii) Maximum number of trips. (A) in paragraph (b)(6) of this section.
and comply with the conditions and Unless otherwise authorized by the (ii) GB cod. The incidental TAC for
restrictions of this part; Regional Administrator as specified in GB cod specified in paragraph (b)(5) of
(3) The stand-by vessel must be paragraph (a)(3)(iv)(D) of this section, this section shall be subdivided as
available to answer questions on the the total number of trips by all vessels follows: 59.4 percent to the Regular B
condition of the animal, possible combined that may be declared into the DAS Pilot Program as described in
species identification, severity of Closed Area II Yellowtail Flounder SAP paragraph (b)(6) of this section; 30.6
entanglement, etc., and take shall be as announced by the Regional percent to the Eastern U.S./Canada
photographs of the whale, if possible, Administrator, after consultation with Haddock SAP Pilot Program as
regardless of the species of whale or the Council, for each fishing year, prior described in paragraph (b)(8) of this
whether the whale is alive or dead, to June 1, through rulemaking consistent section; and 10 percent to the GB cod
during its stand-by status and after with the Administrative Procedure Act. research set-aside program specified in
terminating its stand-by status. The The total number of trips by all vessels paragraph (b)(5)(iv) of this section. If no
stand-by vessel must remain on scene combined that may be declared into this applications to use the GB cod research
until the USCG or an authorized SAP shall not exceed 320 trips per year. set-aside TAC have been received by
response team arrives, or the vessel is When determining the number of trips, May 1, the incidental TAC for GB cod
informed that an authorized response the Regional Administrator shall shall be subdivided as follows: 66
team will not arrive. If the vessel consider the available yellowtail percent to the Regular B DAS Pilot
receives notice that a response team is flounder TAC under the U.S./Canada Program and 34 percent to the Eastern
not available, the vessel may Resource Sharing Understanding, the U.S./Canada Haddock SAP Pilot
discontinue standing-by the entangled potential catch of GB yellowtail Program. If applications received by
whale and continue fishing operations; flounder by all vessels fishing outside of May 1, do not require the entire research
and the SAP, recent discard estimates in all set aside TAC of GB cod, the remaining
(4) To receive credit for standing by fisheries that catch yellowtail flounder, set aside TAC of GB cod would be
an entangled whale, a vessel must and the expected number of SAP distributed to the Regular B DAS Pilot
submit a written request to the Regional participants. Program.

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(iii) GOM cod. The incidental TAC for date of implementation of FW 40B], with § 648.82(d)(2)(i)(A) before
GOM cod specified in paragraph (b)(5) unless extended by the Regional beginning the fishing trip.
of this section shall be subdivided as Administrator as specified in paragraph (E) Gear restrictions. Any NE
follows: 95 percent to the Regular B (b)(9)(iv)(J) of this section. multispecies vessel participating in the
DAS Pilot Program and 5 percent to the (iv) Season. Eligible vessels may fish WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock
WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock in the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel SAP may only use hand-tended rod and
SAP described in paragraph (b)(9) of Haddock SAP from March 1 through reel gear. In addition, circle hooks must
this section. April 30. be used if using bait and no treble hooks
(iv) Research set-aside TAC’s. (v) Program restrictions. Vessels can be used with jigs.
Beginning in fishing year 2005, 10 fishing in the WGOM Closure Area Rod/ (F) Landing limits. Unless otherwise
percent of the incidental TAC for GB Reel Haddock SAP must comply with restricted, NE multispecies vessel
cod as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of the following conditions and fishing in the WGOM Closure Area Rod/
this section shall be set aside to allow restrictions: Reel Haddock SAP may not fish for,
for the conduct of research experiments. (A) Minimum participation possess, or land cod. A NE multispecies
Applications to use this research set- requirement. Limited access NE vessel fishing in the WGOM Closure
aside TAC must be sent to the Northeast multispecies DAS vessels intending to Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP must
Regional Office by May 1 of the year participate in the WGOM Closure Area comply with the landing limits for
which the TAC is requested, except for Rod/Reel Haddock SAP must elect to haddock and other regulated species
applications for the 2005 fishing year. fish in this SAP for a minimum of 7 specified in § 648.86.
For the 2005 fishing year, applications (G) Reporting requirements. The
consecutive days. Vessels subject to this
must be received by August 1, 2005. If owner or operator of a vessel declared
requirement must obtain and carry
no applications to use this TAC have into the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel
aboard a Letter of Authorization from
been received by the date specified in Haddock SAP, as described in
the Regional Administrator paragraph (b)(9)(v)(D) of this section,
this paragraph, the GB cod research set- documenting participation in this SAP. must submit catch reports via VMS in
aside TAC shall be proportionally To obtain a Letter of Authorization, accordance with instructions provided
released to the Regular B DAS Pilot vessel owners must call the NE Region by the Regional Administrator for each
Program and the Eastern U.S./Canada Permit Office and provide at least the day fished when declared into the
Haddock SAP Pilot Program on May 1, following information: The vessel name, WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock
as specified in paragraph (b)(5)(ii) of owner name, permit number, and the SAP. The reports must be submitted in
this section. If applications received by desired period of time that the vessel 24–hr intervals for each day, beginning
the date specified in this paragraph do will be enrolled. at 0000 hr and ending at 2400 hr. The
not require the entire research set aside (B) VMS requirement. A NE reports must be submitted by 0900 hr of
TAC of GB cod, the remaining set aside multispecies vessel fishing in the the following day. These reports must
TAC of GB cod will be distributed to the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock include at least the following
Regular B DAS Pilot Program. SAP Area specified under paragraph information: Total weight (lb/kg) of
* * * * * (b)(9)(ii) of this section must have GOM haddock kept, and total weight
(9) WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel installed on board an operational VMS (lb/kg) of GOM haddock and GOM cod
Haddock SAP—(i) Eligibility. Vessels unit that meets the minimum discarded.
that have been issued a valid limited performance criteria specified in (H) TAC allocation. Beginning with
access NE multispecies permit are §§ 648.9 and 648.10. A vessel the 2005 fishing year, the amount of
eligible to participate in the WGOM participating in this SAP is responsible GOM cod that may be caught from the
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP for the cost of one positional poll of the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock
and may fish in the WGOM Closure VMS unit per hour. SAP Area is the amount specified in
Area, as described in § 648.81(c), during (C) Observer notification. For the paragraph (b)(5)(iii) of this section. The
the program duration and season purposes of selecting vessels for amount of GOM haddock that may be
specified in paragraphs (b)(9)(iii) and observer deployment, a vessel must caught from this SAP may not exceed 50
(b)(9)(iv) of this section, provided such provide notice to NMFS of the vessel mt (including catch kept and discarded).
vessels comply with the requirements of name; contact name for coordination of (I) Closure of the WGOM Closure Area
this section, and provided the SAP is observer deployment; telephone number Rod/Reel Haddock SAP. When the
not closed according to the provisions for contact; and date, time, and port of Regional Administrator projects that
specified in paragraphs (b)(8)(v)(L) or departure at least 72 hr prior to the either the GOM cod or GOM haddock
(M) of this section. beginning of any trip which it declares TAC allocation specified in paragraph
(ii) WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel into the WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel (b)(9)(v)(H) of this section has been
Haddock SAP Area. The WGOM Haddock SAP Area as specified under caught or is projected to be caught by
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP paragraph (b)(9)(v)(D) of this section, vessels participating in the WGOM
Area is defined as the entire WGOM and in accordance with instructions Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP,
Closure Area as defined in § 648.82(c). provided by the Regional Administrator. NMFS shall close, through rulemaking
Copies of a chart depicting this area are (D) VMS declaration. Prior to consistent with the Administrative
available from the Regional departure from port, a vessel intending Procedure Act, the WGOM Closure Area
Administrator upon request. Vessels to participate in the WGOM Closure Rod/Reel Haddock SAP to all limited
participating in this SAP may not fish Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP must access NE multispecies vessels
outside of the SAP area, and no gear declare into the SAP via VMS. Any intending to participate in this SAP as
may be set outside the SAP area when vessel subject to the DAS use described in paragraph (d)(9) of this
participating in this SAP. requirements specified at § 648.82(b) section. In addition, the Regional
(iii) Duration of program. The WGOM and fishing in the WGOM Closure Area Administrator may close, through
Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP is Rod/Reel Haddock SAP must declare rulemaking consistent with the
in effect from [date of implementation of that it intends to fish under a Category Administrative Procedure Act, the
FW 40B] through [date 2 years from the A or Category B DAS, in accordance WGOM Closure Area Rod/Reel Haddock

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SAP if the catch of cod to haddock each of the 2 years that the SAP is GB Cod Hook Sector, provided they
caught in this SAP exceeds a ratio of authorized, and the ratio of cod to have documented landings through
1:2, by weight. haddock catch is less than 1:2, by valid dealer reports submitted to NMFS
(J) Extension of the WGOM Closed weight. of GB cod during the fishing years 1996
Area Rod/Reel Haddock SAP. The * * * * * to 2001, regardless of gear fished.
Regional Administrator shall extend, in 9. In § 648.87, paragraphs (d)(1)(ii) (iii) * * *
accordance with the Administrative and (d)(1)(iii)(A) are revised to read as (A) Sum of the total accumulated
Procedure Act, the WGOM Closure Area follows: landings of GB cod by vessels identified
Rod/Reel Haddock SAP beyond the date in the Sector’s Operation Plan specified
§ 648.87 Sector allocation. under paragraph (b)(2) of this section,
in paragraph (b)(9)(iii) of this section if
all of the following conditions are met: * * * * * for the fishing years 1996 through 2001,
Monitoring and enforcement provisions (d) * * * regardless of gear used, as reported in
prove sufficient to reliably document (1) * * * the NMFS dealer database.
the catch of cod and haddock, the catch (ii) Eligibility. All vessels with a valid * * * * *
of cod and haddock does not exceed the limited access NE multispecies DAS [FR Doc. 05–6188 Filed 3–28–05; 8:45 am]
respective TAC’s for these species in permit are eligible to participate in the BILLING CODE 3510–22–S

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