Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
The snapper-grouper fishery of the South Atlantic is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
On August 22, 2012, NMFS published a notice of availability for the Rebsubmittal and requested public
This rule allows transfer of a black sea bass pot endorsement to an individual or entity that holds or simultaneously obtains a valid South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit. In order to be transferred, a black sea bass pot endorsement must be valid or renewable. Black sea bass pot endorsements may be transferred independently from the South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit with which it is associated. Landings history will not be transferred with the endorsement. NMFS will attribute black sea bass landings to the associated South Atlantic Unlimited Snapper-Grouper Permit regardless of whether the landings occurred before or after the endorsement was issued. Black sea bass pot endorsements will not be renewed automatically with the South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Unlimited Permit with which it is associated. The endorsement must be renewed separately from the permit on the Federal Permit Application for Vessels Fishing in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
This rule also revises codified text in § 622.40, regarding issuance of the identification tags for black sea bass pots. Endorsement holders order identification tags through NMFS and a supplier issues the identification tags. Endorsement holders must apply for new tags each permit year at the same time they renew their permit and endorsement. Finally, this rule removes and reserves paragraph (a)(2) in § 622.43, thereby removing obsolete quota closure provisions for South Atlantic octocorals.
NMFS received four comments on the Resubmittal and the proposed rule, from three snapper-grouper fishery participants. One commenter opposed allowing the transfer of black sea bass pot endorsements and two commenters supported the action.
The proposed rule made editorial changes to the first sentence in the codified text at 50 CFR 622.4(a)(2)(xv). After further consideration, NMFS has determined that these changes are unnecessary. The codified text at § 622.4(a)(2)(xv), which established the South Atlantic black sea bass pot endorsement, should remain consistent with the codified text at 50 CFR § 622.4(a)(2)(xiv), which established the Eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement. Thus, the proposed changes to the first sentence of § 622.4(a)(2)(xv) will not be implemented in the final rule.
The Regional Administrator, Southeast Region, NMFS has determined that the actions contained in this final rule are necessary for the conservation and management of the snapper-grouper fishery in the South Atlantic and that they are consistent with the FMP, the Resubmittal, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.
This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. NMFS did not receive any comments or other new information concerning this certification. As a result, no Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is required and none has been prepared.
Fisheries, Fishing, Puerto Rico, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Virgin Islands.
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 622 is amended as follows:
16 U.S.C. 1801
(a) * * *
(2) * * *
(g) * * *
(1) * * * A vessel permit, license, or endorsement or a dealer permit or endorsement issued under this section is not transferable or assignable, except as provided in paragraph (m) of this section for a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish, in paragraph (o) of this section for a king mackerel gillnet permit, in paragraph (q) of this section for a commercial vessel permit for king mackerel, in paragraph (r) of this section for a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf coastal migratory pelagic fish or Gulf reef fish, in paragraph (s) of this section for a commercial vessel moratorium permit for Gulf shrimp, in § 622.17(c) for a commercial vessel permit for golden crab, in § 622.18(b) for a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper, in § 622.19(b) for a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic rock shrimp, in § 622.4(a)(2)(xiv)(D) for an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement, and in § 622.4(a)(2)(xv)(D) for a South Atlantic black sea bass pot endorsement. * * *
(d) * * *
(1) * * *
(i) * * *
(D) A vessel that has on board a valid Federal commercial permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper and a South Atlantic black sea bass pot endorsement that fishes in the South Atlantic EEZ on a trip with black sea bass pots, may possess only 35 black sea bass pots per vessel per permit year. Each black sea bass pot in the water or onboard a vessel in the South Atlantic EEZ, must have a valid identification tag attached. Endorsement holders must apply for new tags each permit year through NMFS to replace the tags from the previous year.