50 CFR 665.33 - Western Pacific longline fishing restrictions.

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries

CHAPTER VI: FISHERY CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT, NATIONAL OCEANICAND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION,DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE (CONTINUED)

PART 665: FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC

Subpart C: Western Pacific Pelagic Fisheries

665.33 - Western Pacific longline fishing restrictions.

(a) Annual Effort Limit on shallow-setting by Hawaii longline vessels. (1) A maximum annual limit of 2,120 is established on the number of shallow-set certificates that will be made available each calendar year to vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits.

(2) The Regional Administrator will divide the 2,120-set annual effort limit each calendar year into equal shares such that each holder of a Hawaii longline limited access permit who provides notice of interest to the Regional Administrator no later than November 1 prior to the start of the calendar year, pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section, receives one share for each permit held. If such division would result in shares containing a fraction of a set, the annual effort limit will be adjusted downward such that each share consists of a whole number of sets.

(3) Any permit holder who provides notice according to this paragraph is eligible to receive shallow-set certificates. In order to be eligible to receive shallow-set certificates for a given calendar year, holders of Hawaii longline limited access permits must provide written notice to the Regional Administrator of their interest in receiving such certificates no later than November 1 prior to the start of the calendar year, except for 2004, the notification deadline for which is May 1, 2004.

(4) No later than December 1 of each year, the Regional Administrator will send shallow-set certificates valid for the upcoming calendar year to all holders of Hawaii longline limited access permits, as of the just previous November 1, that provided notice of interest to the Regional Administrator pursuant to paragraph (a)(3) of this section. The Regional Administrator will send shallow-set certificates valid for 2004 no later than June 1, 2004, based on permit holders as of May 1, 2004.

(b) Limits on sea turtle interactions. (1) Maximum annual limits are established on the numbers of physical interactions that occur each calendar year between leatherback and loggerhead sea turtles and vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits while shallow-setting. The limits are based on the annual numbers of the two turtle species expected to be captured in the shallow-set component of the Hawaii-based fishery, as indicated in the incidental take statement of the biological opinion issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service pursuant to section 7 of the Endangered Species Act. If the numbers in the incidental take statement are modified or if a new biological opinion is issued, new rule-making will be undertaken to change the interaction limits accordingly. The limits are as follows:

(i) The annual limit for leatherback sea turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) is sixteen (16).

(ii) The annual limit for loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) is seventeen (17).

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

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

(ii) Beginning on the fishery closure date indicated by the Regional Administrator in the notification provided to vessel operators and permit holders and published in the Federal Register under paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section, until the end of the calendar year in which the sea turtle interaction limit was reached, the Hawaii-based shallow-set component of the longline fishery shall be closed.

(c) Owners and operators of vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit may engage in shallow-setting north of the equator (0° lat.) providing that there is on board one valid shallow-set certificate for every shallow-set that is made north of the equator (0° lat.) during the trip. For each shallow-set made north of the equator (0° lat.) vessel operators must submit one valid shallow-set certificate to the Regional Administrator. The certificate must be attached to the original logbook form that corresponds to the shallow-set and that is submitted to the Regional Administrator within 72 hours of each landing of management unit species as required under § 665.14.

(d) Vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit may not have on board at any time during a trip for which notification to NMFS under § 665.23(a) indicated that deep-setting would be done any float lines less than 20 meters in length or light sticks. As used in this paragraph “float line” means a line used to suspend the main longline beneath a float and “light stick” means any type of light emitting device, including any fluorescent “glow bead”, chemical, or electrically powered light that is affixed underwater to the longline gear.

(e) Shallow-set certificates may be transferred only to holders of Hawaii longline limited access permits.

(f) Any owner or operator of a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under § 665.21 must use only offset circle hooks sized 18/0 or larger, with a 10° offset, when shallow-setting north of the Equator (0° lat.). As used in this paragraph, an offset circle hook sized 18/0 or larger is one with an outer diameter at its widest point is no smaller than 1.97 inches (50 mm) when measured with the eye of the hook on the vertical axis (y-axis) and perpendicular to the horizontal axis (x-axis). As used in this paragraph, a 10° offset is measured from the barbed end of the hook and is relative to the parallel plane of the eyed-end, or shank, of the hook when laid on its side.

(g) Any owner or operator of a vessel registered for use under any longline permit issued under § 665.21 must use only mackerel-type bait when shallow-setting north of the Equator (0° lat.). As used in this paragraph, mackerel-type bait means a whole fusiform fish with a predominantly blue, green or gray back and predominantly gray, silver or white lower sides and belly.

(h) Owners and operators of vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit may make sets only of the type (shallow-setting or deep-setting) indicated in the notification to NMFS pursuant to § 665.23(a).

(i) Vessels registered for use under Hawaii longline limited access permits may not be used to engage in shallow-setting north of the equator (0° lat.) any time during which the shallow-set component of the longline fishery is closed pursuant to paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section.

(j) Owners and operators of vessels registered for use under a Hawaii longline limited access permit may land or possess no more than 10 swordfish from a fishing trip for which the permit holder notified NMFS under § 665.23(a) that the vessel would engage in a deep-setting trip.

[69 FR 17352, Apr. 2, 2004, as amended at 70 FR 69285, Nov. 15, 2005; 72 FR 8291, Feb. 26, 2007]