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Rule

Pacific Island Fisheries; Reclassifying Management Unit Species to Ecosystem Component Species

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule reclassifies certain management unit species in the Pacific Islands as ecosystem component species. The rule also updates the scientific and local names of certain species. The intent of this final rule is to prioritize conservation and management efforts and to improve efficiency of fishery management in the region.

DATES:

This rule is effective March 11, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared Amendment 4 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) for American Samoa, Amendment 5 to the FEP for the Marianas Archipelago, and Amendment 5 to the FEP for Hawaii. Those amendments, available as a single document, include an environmental assessment (EA) that describes the potential impacts on the human environment that would result from the action. This document is available at http://www.regulations.gov or from the Council, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel (808) 522-8220, fax (808) 522-8226, or https://www.wpcouncil.org.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Kate Taylor, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, 808-725-5182.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Council and NMFS manage fishing in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) around the U.S. Pacific Islands pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). In this rule, NMFS, as recommended by the Council, is reclassifying certain bottomfish, coral reef ecosystem, precious coral, and crustacean management unit species (MUS) in the three FEPs as ecosystem component species (ECS). The action focuses Federal conservation and management on the MUS (i.e., the targets of Federal fisheries).

The Council recommended amending the three FEPs to reclassify certain management unit species as ecosystem component species. The intent of these amendments is to focus management efforts on species that are in need of conservation and management, and improve efficiency of fishery management in the region. On August 8, 2018, NMFS published a notice of availability of the amendments, including an environmental assessment, and request for public comments (83 FR 39039); the comment period ended October 9, 2018. NMFS did not receive any comments directly related to the amendments, and on November 5, 2018, the Secretary of Commerce approved the FEP amendments. This final rule implements the FEP amendments.

This action does not change any fishery operations in terms of location, target and non-target species, catch, Start Printed Page 2768effort, fishermen participation, gear composition, seasonality, intensity, or bycatch. For newly designated ECS, the Council and NMFS would no longer establish annual catch limits or associated accountability measures. The Council and NMFS, in cooperation with the State of Hawaii, Territory of American Samoa and Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will continue to monitor fisheries that catch ECS. If an ECS stock becomes a target of a Federal fishery in the future, NMFS and the Council may consider including that stock in the management unit to actively manage that stock.

This rule reduces the number of MUS from 205 species or families to 11 in the American Samoa FEP, from 227 species or families to 13 in the Marianas FEP, and from 173 species or families to 20 in the Hawaii FEP. Appendix B of the EA contains the complete list of ECS. This rule also updates several scientific and common names according to current scientific classifications. All existing management measures, including reporting and record keeping, prohibitions, and experimental fishing regulations apply to the associated ECS, unless otherwise specified.

You may find additional background information on this action in the preamble to the proposed rule (83 FR 46466, September 13, 2018).

Comments and Responses

On September 13, 2018, NMFS published a proposed rule and request for public comments (83 FR 46466). The comment period ended October 29, 2018. NMFS received one comment that generally supported the rule.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

This final rule contains no changes from the proposed rule.

Classification

The Administrator, Pacific Islands Region, NMFS, determined that this action is necessary for the conservation and management of Pacific Island fisheries, and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.

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. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. NMFS did not receive any comments regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 665

  • Administrative practice and procedure
  • American Samoa
  • Ecosystem
  • Fisheries
  • Fishing
  • Guam
  • Hawaii
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Permits
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: February 1, 2019.

Samuel D. Rauch, III,

Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs National Marine Fisheries Service.

End Signature

For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 665 as follows:

Start Part

PART 665—FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 665 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

End Authority Start Amendment Part

2. In § 665.1, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Purpose and scope.

(a) The regulations in this part govern fishing for Pacific Island management unit species (MUS) and ecosystem component species (ECS) by vessels of the United States that operate or are based inside the outer boundary of the U.S. EEZ around American Samoa, Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Reef, Jarvis Island, Baker Island, Howland Island, Johnston Atoll, and Wake Island.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

3. In § 665.4, revise paragraph (c) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Annual catch limits.
* * * * *

(c) Exceptions. The Regional Administrator is not required to specify an annual catch limit for an ECS, or for an MUS that is statutorily excepted from the requirement pursuant to 50 CFR 600.310(h)(2).

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

4. In § 665.12:

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

a. Revise the definition of “American Samoa FEP”;

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

b. Remove the definition of “Currently harvested coral reef taxa”;

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

c. Revise the definitions of “Ecosystem component species”, “First level buyer”, “Hawaii FEP”, “Mariana FEP,” “No-take MPA”, “Offload”, and “Pelagics FEP”;

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

d. Remove the definition of “Potentially harvested coral reef taxa”; and

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

e. Revise the definitions of “PRIA FEP”, “Special permit”, and “Transship”.

End Amendment Part

The revisions read as follows:

Definitions.
* * * * *

American Samoa FEP means the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for American Samoa, available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council or PIRO.

* * * * *

Ecosystem component species (ECS) means a stock that a Council or the Secretary has determined does not require conservation and management, but is identified in an FEP to achieve ecosystem management objectives.

* * * * *

First level buyer means:

(1) The first person who purchases, with the intention to resell, management unit species (MUS) or ECS, or portions thereof, that were harvested by a vessel that holds a permit or is otherwise regulated under crustacean fisheries in subparts B through E of this part; or

(2) A person who provides recordkeeping, purchase, or sales assistance in the first transaction involving MUS or ECS (such as the services provided by a wholesale auction facility).

* * * * *

Hawaii FEP means the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Hawaiian Archipelago, available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council or PIRO.

* * * * *

Mariana FEP means the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Mariana Archipelago, available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council or PIRO.

* * * * *

No-take MPA means an area of the U.S. EEZ that is closed to fishing for or harvesting of any MUS or ECS, as defined in subparts B through F of this part.

Offload means to remove MUS or ECS from a vessel.

* * * * *

Pelagics FEP means the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific, available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council or PIRO.

* * * * *

PRIA FEP means the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Pacific Remote Island Areas of Palmyra Atoll, Kingman Start Printed Page 2769Reef, Jarvis Island, Baker Island, Howland Island, Johnston Atoll, and Wake Island, available from the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council or PIRO.

* * * * *

Special permit means a permit issued to allow fishing for coral reef ECS in low-use MPAs or with any gear not specifically allowed under § 665.127, § 665.227, or § 665.427.

* * * * *

Transship means to offload or otherwise transfer MUS or ECS or products thereof to a receiving vessel.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

5. In § 665.13, revise paragraph (k) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits and fees.
* * * * *

(k) Display. Any permit issued under this subpart, or a facsimile of such permit, must be on board the vessel at all times while the vessel is fishing for, taking, retaining, possessing, or landing MUS or ECS shoreward of the outer boundary of the fishery management area. Any permit issued under this section must be displayed for inspection upon request of an authorized officer.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

6. In § 665.14, revise paragraphs (a), (c), (d), (g)(2) introductory text, (g)(2)(ii), and (g)(3) and (4) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Reporting and recordkeeping.

(a) State reporting. Except for precious coral and crustacean fisheries, any person who is required to do so by applicable state law or regulation must make and/or file all reports of MUS or ECS landings containing all data and in the exact manner required by applicable state law or regulation.

* * * * *

(c) Transshipment logbooks. Any person subject to the requirements of § 665.124(a)(2), § 665.224(a)(2), § 665.424(a)(2), § 665.624(a)(2), or § 665.801(e) must maintain on board the vessel an accurate and complete NMFS transshipment logbook containing report forms provided by the Regional Administrator. All information specified on the forms must be recorded on the forms within 24 hours after the day of transshipment. Each form must be signed and dated by the receiving vessel operator. The original logbook for each day of transshipment activity must be submitted to the Regional Administrator within 72 hours of each landing of western Pacific pelagic MUS. The original logbook for each day of transshipment activity must be submitted to the Regional Administrator within 7 days of each landing of coral reef ECS.

(d) Sales report. The operator of any fishing vessel subject to the requirements of § 665.142, § 665.242, § 665.442, or § 665.642, or the owner of a medium or large fishing vessel subject to the requirements of § 665.404(a)(2) must submit to the Regional Administrator, within 72 hours of offloading of crustacean MUS or ECS, an accurate and complete sales report on a form provided by the Regional Administrator. The form must be signed and dated by the fishing vessel operator.

* * * * *

(g) * * *

(2) Crustaceans. Upon request, any first-level buyer must immediately allow an authorized officer and any employee of NMFS designated by the Regional Administrator, to access, inspect, and copy all records relating to the harvest, sale, or transfer of crustacean MUS or ECS taken by vessels that have permits issued under this subpart or §§ 665.140 through 665.145, §§ 665.240 through 665.252, §§ 665.440 through 665.445, or §§ 665.640 through 665.645. This requirement may be met by furnishing the information on a worksheet provided by the Regional Administrator. The information must include, but is not limited to:

* * * * *

(ii) The amount, number, and size of each MUS or ECS involved in each transaction.

* * * * *

(3) Bottomfish and seamount groundfish. Any person who is required by state laws and regulations to maintain records of landings and sales for vessels regulated by this subpart and by §§ 665.100 through 665.105, 665.200 through 665.212, 665.400 through 665.407, and 665.600 through 665.606 must make those records immediately available for Federal inspection and copying upon request by an authorized officer.

(4) Coral reefs. Any person who has a special permit and who is required by state laws and regulations to maintain and submit records of catch and effort, landings and sales for coral reef ECS by this subpart and §§ 665.120 through 665.128, §§ 665.220 through 665.228, §§ 665.420 through 665.428, or §§ 665.620 through 665.628 must make those records immediately available for Federal inspection and copying upon request by an authorized officer as defined in § 600.10 of this chapter.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

7. In § 665.15, revise paragraphs (l), (n), and (o) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(l) Fish for, take or retain within a no-take MPA, defined in § 665.99, § 665.199, § 665.399, or § 665.599, any bottomfish MUS or ECS, crustacean MUS or ECS, western Pacific pelagic MUS, precious coral MUS or ECS, seamount groundfish MUS, or coral reef ecosystem ECS.

* * * * *

(n) Fish for, catch, or harvest MUS or ECS without an operational VMS unit on board the vessel after installation of the VMS unit by NMFS, in violation of § 665.19(e)(2).

(o) Possess MUS or ECS, that were harvested after NMFS has installed the VMS unit on the vessel, on board that vessel without an operational VMS unit, in violation of § 665.19(e)(2).

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

8. In § 665.17, revise paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Experimental fishing.

(a) General. The Regional Administrator may authorize, for limited purposes, the direct or incidental harvest of MUS or ECS that would otherwise be prohibited by this part. No experimental fishing may be conducted unless authorized by an EFP issued by the Regional Administrator in accordance with the criteria and procedures specified in this section. EFPs will be issued without charge.

(b) Observers. No experimental fishing for crustacean MUS or ECS may be conducted unless a NMFS observer is aboard the vessel.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

9. Revise § 665.101 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.

As used in §§ 665.100 through 665.119:

American Samoa bottomfish ecosystem component species (American Samoa bottomfish ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP and not defined as American Samoa bottomfish MUS.

American Samoa bottomfish management unit species (American Samoa bottomfish MUS) means the following species:Start Printed Page 2770

Local nameCommon nameScientific name
palu-gutusilivared snapper, silvermouthAphareus rutilans.
asoamagray snapper, jobfishAprion virescens.
tafauliblack trevally, jackCaranx lugubris.
papa, velolunartail grouperVariola louti.
palu malaured snapperEtelis carbunculus.
palu-loared snapperEtelis coruscans.
filoa-paomumuredgill emperorLethrinus rubrioperculatus.
savaneblueline snapperLutjanus kasmira.
palu-èna ènapink snapperPristipomoides filamentosus.
palu-sinayelloweye snapperPristipomoides flavipinnis.
palu-ula, palu-segaSnapperPristipomoides zonatus.
Start Amendment Part

10. Revise § 665.103 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in § 600.725 of this chapter and § 665.15, it is unlawful for any person to fish for American Samoa bottomfish MUS or ECS using gear prohibited under § 665.104.

Start Amendment Part

11. In § 665.104, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Gear restrictions.

(a) Bottom trawls and bottom set gillnets. Fishing for American Samoa bottomfish MUS or ECS with bottom trawls and bottom set gillnets is prohibited.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

12. Revise § 665.121 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.

As used in §§ 665.120 through 665.139, American Samoa coral reef ecosystem component species (American Samoa coral reef ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP and not defined as MUS or another ECS in this subpart.

Start Amendment Part

13. Revise § 665.123 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Relation to other laws.

To ensure consistency between the management regimes of different Federal agencies with shared management responsibilities of fishery resources within the American Samoa fishery management area, fishing for American Samoa coral reef ECS is not allowed within the boundary of a National Wildlife Refuge unless specifically authorized by the USFWS, regardless of whether that refuge was established by action of the President or the Secretary of the Interior.

Start Amendment Part

14. In § 665.124, revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) and (a)(3)(i) and (ii) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits and fees.

(a) * * *

(1) Special permit. Any person of the United States fishing for, taking or retaining American Samoa coral reef ECS must have a special permit if they fish, or if a vessel which they operate is used to fish, for any:

(i) American Samoa coral reef ECS in low-use MPAs as defined in § 665.99;

(ii) American Samoa coral reef ECS in the coral reef ecosystem management area; or

(iii) American Samoa coral reef ECS in the coral reef ecosystem management area with any gear not specifically allowed in this subpart.

(2) Transshipment permit. A receiving vessel must be registered for use with a transshipment permit if that vessel is used in the American Samoa coral reef ecosystem management area to land or transship American Samoa coral reef ECS harvested within low-use MPAs.

(3) * * *

(i) Any person issued a permit to fish under any FEP who incidentally catches American Samoa coral reef ECS while fishing for bottomfish MUS or ECS, crustacean ECS, western Pacific pelagic MUS, precious coral ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS;

(ii) Any person fishing for American Samoa coral reef ECS outside of an MPA, who does not retain any American Samoa coral reef ECS; and

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

15. In § 665.125, revise paragraphs (a) introductory text, (a)(3), and (b) introductory text to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(a) Fish for, take, retain, possess or land any American Samoa coral reef ecosystem ECS in any low-use MPA as defined in § 665.99 unless:

* * * * *

(3) The American Samoa coral reef ECS possessed on board the vessel originated outside the management area, and this can be demonstrated through receipts of purchase, invoices, fishing logbooks or other documentation.

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any American Samoa coral reef ECS:

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

16. Revise § 665.126 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Notifications.

Any special permit holder subject to the requirements of this subpart must contact the appropriate NMFS enforcement agent in American Samoa, Guam, or Hawaii at least 24 hours before landing any American Samoa coral reef ECS harvested under a special permit and report the port and the approximate date and time at which the catch will be landed.

Start Amendment Part

17. In § 665.127, revise paragraphs (a) introductory text and (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Allowable gear and gear restrictions.

(a) American Samoa coral reef ECS may be taken only with the following allowable gear and methods:

* * * * *

(b) American Samoa coral reef ECS may not be taken by means of poisons, explosives, or intoxicating substances. Possession or use of these materials by any permit holder under this subpart who is established to be fishing for coral reef ECS in the management area is prohibited.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

18. In § 665.128, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Gear identification.

(a) Gear marking. The vessel number must be affixed to all fish and crab traps on board the vessel or deployed in the water by any vessel or person holding a permit under § 665.13 or § 665.124 or that is otherwise established to be fishing for American Samoa coral reef ecosystem ECS in the management area.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

19. In § 665.141, add a definition for “American Samoa crustacean ecosystem component species (American Samoa crustacean ECS)” in alphabetical order and remove the definition of “American Start Printed Page 2771Samoa crustacean management unit species”.

End Amendment Part

The addition reads as follows:

Definitions.
* * * * *

American Samoa crustacean ecosystem component species (American Samoa crustacean ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

20. In § 665.161, add a definition for “American Samoa precious coral ecosystem component species (American Samoa precious coral ECS)” in alphabetical order and remove the definition of “American Samoa precious coral management unit species”.

End Amendment Part

The addition reads as follows:

Definitions.
* * * * *

American Samoa precious coral ecosystem component species (American Samoa precious coral ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the American Samoa FEP.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

21. In § 665.162, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits.

(a) Any vessel of the United States fishing for, taking, or retaining American Samoa precious coral ECS in any American Samoa precious coral permit area must have a permit issued under § 665.13.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

22. In § 665.163, revise the introductory text of paragraphs (b) and (c) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any species of American Samoa precious coral ECS in any precious coral permit area:

* * * * *

(c) Take and retain, possess, or land any live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, Corallium sp., or live black coral from any precious coral permit area that is less than the minimum height specified in § 665.165 unless:

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

23. In § 665.165, revise paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Size restrictions.
* * * * *

(a) Live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, or Corallium sp. harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained a minimum height of 10 inches (25.4 cm).

(b) Live black coral harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained either a minimum stem diameter of 1 inch (2.54 cm), or a minimum height of 48 inches (122 cm).

Start Amendment Part

24. In § 665.167, revise paragraph (d) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Quotas.
* * * * *

(d) Exploratory areas. The American Samoa exploratory permit area X-P-AS has an annual quota of 1,000 kg for all American Samoa precious coral ECS combined with the exception of black corals.

Start Amendment Part

25. In § 665.201, add a definition for “Hawaii bottomfish ecosystem component species (Hawaii bottomfish ECS)” in alphabetical order, revise the definitions of “Hawaii bottomfish management unit species (Hawaii bottomfish MUS)” and “Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permit”, and in the definition of “Seamount Groundfish”, revise the entry for “Armorhead” to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.
* * * * *

Hawaii bottomfish ecosystem component species (Hawaii bottomfish ECS) means those species that are not listed as Hawaii bottomfish MUS and that are identified as ECS in Table 4 of the Hawaii FEP.

Hawaii bottomfish management unit species (Hawaii bottomfish MUS) means the following species:

Local nameCommon nameScientific name
lehisilver jaw jobfishAphareus rutilans.
ukugray jobfishAprion virescens.
hapu`upu`usea bassHyporthodus quernus.
ehusquirrelfish snapperEtelis carbunculus.
onagalongtail snapperEtelis coruscans.
`opakapakapink snapperPristipomoides filamentosus.
kalekalepink snapperPristipomoides seiboldii.
gindaisnapperPristipomoides zonatus.
* * * * *

Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permit means the permit required by § 665.203(a)(2) to own or fish from a vessel that is used in any non-commercial vessel-based fishing, landing, or transshipment of any Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS in the MHI Management Subarea.

* * * * *

Seamount Groundfish * * *

Common nameScientific name
ArmorheadPentaceros wheeleri.
*    *    *    *    *
Start Amendment Part

26. In § 665.203, revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (2), (e)(1), and (j)(1) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits.

(a) * * *

(1) Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The owner of any vessel used to fish for, land, or transship Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS shoreward of the outer boundary of the NWHI subarea must have a permit issued under this section, and the permit must be registered for use with that vessel. PIRO will not register a single vessel for use with a Ho'omalu Zone permit and a Mau Zone permit at the same time. Mau Zone permits issued before June 14, 1999, became invalid June 14, 1999, except that a permit issued to a person who submitted a timely application under paragraph (b)(3) of this section is valid until the permit holder either receives a Mau Zone limited entry permit or until final agency action is taken on the permit holder's application. The Ho'omalu Zone and the Mau Zone limited entry systems described in this section are subject to abolition, modification, or additional effort limitation programs.

(2) MHI non-commercial. The owner of a vessel that is used for and any person who participates in non-commercial, vessel-based fishing, landing, or transshipment of Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS in the MHI management subarea is required to Start Printed Page 2772obtain an MHI non-commercial bottomfish permit or a State of Hawaii Commercial Marine License. If one or more persons on a vessel-based bottomfish fishing trip holds an MHI non-commercial permit, then the entire trip is considered non-commercial, and not commercial. However, if any commercial fishing occurs during or as a result of a vessel-based fishing trip, then the fishing trip is considered commercial, and not non-commercial. Charter boat customers are not subject to the requirements of the section.

* * * * *

(e) * * *

(1) A qualifying landing for Ho'omalu Zone permit renewal is a landing of at least 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) of Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS from the Ho'omalu Zone or a landing of at least 2,500 lb (1,134 kg) of fish from the Ho'omalu Zone, of which at least 50 percent by weight was Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS. A permit is eligible for renewal for the next calendar year if the vessel covered by the permit made three or more qualifying landings during the current calendar year.

* * * * *

(j) * * *

(1) A Mau Zone permit will be eligible for renewal if the vessel for which the permit is registered for use made at least five separate fishing trips with landings of at least 500 lb (227 kg) of Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS per trip during the calendar year. Only one landing of bottomfish MUS or ECS per fishing trip to the Mau Zone will be counted toward the landing requirement.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

27. In § 665.204, revise paragraphs (a), (b), (g), and (k) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(a) Fish for Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS using gear prohibited under § 665.206.

(b) Fish for, or retain on board a vessel, Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS in the Ho'omalu Zone or the Mau Zone without the appropriate permit registered for use with that vessel issued under § 665.13.

* * * * *

(g) Own a vessel or fish from a vessel that is used to fish non-commercially for any Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS in the MHI management subarea without either a MHI non-commercial bottomfish permit or a State of Hawaii Commercial Marine License, in violation of § 665.2 or § 665.203(a)(2).

* * * * *

(k) Fish for or possess any Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS in the Hancock Seamounts Ecosystem Management Area, in violation of § 665.209.

Start Amendment Part

28. In § 665.205, revise paragraph (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Notification.
* * * * *

(b) The operator of a fishing vessel that has taken Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS in the Ho'omalu Zone must contact the USCG, by radio or otherwise, at the 14th District, Honolulu, HI; Pacific Area, San Francisco, CA; or 17th District, Juneau, AK, at least 24 hours before landing, and report the port and the approximate date and time at which the bottomfish will be landed.

Start Amendment Part

29. Revise § 665.206 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Gear restrictions.

(a) Bottom trawls and bottom set gillnets. Fishing for Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS with bottom trawls and bottom set gillnets is prohibited.

(b) Possession of gear. Possession of a bottom trawl and bottom set gillnet by any vessel having a permit under § 665.203 or otherwise established to be fishing for Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS in the management subareas is prohibited.

(c) Poisons and explosives. The possession or use of any poisons, explosives, or intoxicating substances for the purpose of harvesting Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS is prohibited.

Start Amendment Part

30. Revise § 665.209 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Fishing moratorium at Hancock Seamounts.

Fishing for, and possession of, Hawaii bottomfish MUS or ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS in the Hancock Seamounts Ecosystem Management Area is prohibited until the Regional Administrator determines that the armorhead stock is rebuilt.

Start Amendment Part

31. Revise § 665.210 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Hawaii restricted bottomfish species.

Hawaii restricted bottomfish species means the following species:

Local nameCommon nameScientific name
lehisilver jaw jobfishAphareus rutilans.
ehusquirrelfish snapperEtelis carbunculus.
onagalongtail snapperEtelis coruscans.
`opakapakapink snapperPristipomoides filamentosus.
kalekalepink snapperPristipomoides sieboldii.
gindaisnapperPristipomoides zonatus.
hapu`upu`usea bassHyporthodus quernus.
Start Amendment Part

32. Revise § 665.221 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.

As used in §§ 665.220 through 665.239, Hawaii coral reef ecosystem component species (Hawaii coral reef ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the Hawaii FEP and are not defined as MUS or another ECS in this subpart.

Start Amendment Part

33. Revise § 665.223 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Relation to other laws.

To ensure consistency between the management regimes of different Federal agencies with shared management responsibilities of fishery resources within the Hawaii coral reef ecosystem management area, fishing for Hawaii coral reef ECS is not allowed within the boundary of a National Wildlife Refuge unless specifically authorized by the USFWS, regardless of whether that refuge was established by action of the President or the Secretary of the Interior.

Start Amendment Part

34. In § 665.224, revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) and (a)(3)(i) and (ii) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits and fees.

(a) * * *

(1) Special permit. Any person of the United States fishing for, taking or retaining Hawaii coral reef ECS must have a special permit if they, or a vessel which they operate, is used to fish for any:

(i) Hawaii coral reef ECS in low-use MPAs as defined in § 665.199;Start Printed Page 2773

(ii) Hawaii coral reef ECS in the coral reef ecosystem management area; or

(iii) Hawaii coral reef ECS in the coral reef ecosystem management area with any gear not specifically allowed in this subpart.

(2) Transshipment permit. A receiving vessel must be registered for use with a transshipment permit if that vessel is used in the Hawaii coral reef ecosystem management area to land or transship Hawaii coral reef ECS harvested within low-use MPAs.

(3) * * *

(i) Any person issued a permit to fish under any FEP who incidentally catches Hawaii coral reef ECS while fishing for bottomfish MUS or ECS, crustacean MUS, western Pacific pelagic MUS, precious corals, or seamount groundfish;

(ii) Any person fishing for Hawaii coral reef ECS outside of an MPA, who does not retain any Hawaii coral reef ECS; and

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

35. In § 665.225, revise paragraphs (a) introductory text, (a)(3), and (b) introductory text to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(a) Fish for, take, retain, possess or land any Hawaii coral reef ECS in any low-use MPA as defined in § 665.99 unless:

* * * * *

(3) The Hawaii coral reef ECS possessed on board the vessel originated outside the management area and this can be demonstrated through receipts of purchase, invoices, fishing logbooks or other documentation.

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any Hawaii coral reef ECS:

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

36. Revise § 665.226 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Notifications.

Any special permit holder subject to the requirements of this subpart must contact the appropriate NMFS enforcement agent in American Samoa, Guam, or Hawaii at least 24 hours before landing any Hawaii coral reef ECS harvested under a special permit, and report the port and the approximate date and time at which the catch will be landed.

Start Amendment Part

37. In § 665.227, revise paragraphs (a) introductory text and (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Allowable gear and gear restrictions.

(a) Hawaii coral reef ECS may be taken only with the following allowable gear and methods:

* * * * *

(b) Hawaii coral reef ECS may not be taken by means of poisons, explosives, or intoxicating substances. Possession or use of these materials by any permit holder under this subpart who is established to be fishing for coral reef ECS in the management area is prohibited.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

38. In § 665.228, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Gear identification.

(a) The vessel number must be affixed to all fish and crab traps on board the vessel or deployed in the water by any vessel or person holding a permit under § 665.13 or § 665.124 or that is otherwise established to be fishing for Hawaii coral reef ECS in the management area.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

39. In § 665.241, add a definition for “Hawaii crustacean ecosystem component species (Hawaii crustacean ECS)” in alphabetical order and revise the definition of “Hawaii crustacean management unit species (Hawaii crustacean MUS)” to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.
* * * * *

Hawaii crustacean ecosystem component species (Hawaii crustacean ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the Hawaii FEP.

* * * * *

Hawaii crustacean management unit species (Hawaii crustacean MUS) means the following crustaceans:

Local nameCommon nameScientific name
papa`i kua loaKona crabRanina ranina.
deepwater shrimp, nylon shrimpHeterocarpus sp.
* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

40. In § 665.242, revise paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits.

(a) * * *

(4) Harvest of Hawaii crustacean MUS or ECS within the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument is subject to the requirements of 50 CFR part 404.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

41. In § 665.261, add a definition for “Hawaii precious coral ecosystem component species (Hawaii precious coral ECS)” in alphabetical order and revise the definition of “Hawaii precious coral management unit species (Hawaii precious coral MUS)” to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.
* * * * *

Hawaii precious coral ecosystem component species (Hawaii precious coral ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the Hawaii FEP.

Hawaii precious coral management unit species (Hawaii precious coral MUS) means the following species:

Common nameScientific name
Pink coralPleurocorallium secundum.
Red coralHemicorallium laauense.
Gold coralKulamanamana haumeaae.
Bamboo coralAcanella sp.
Black coralAntipathes griggi, Antipathes grandis, Myriopathes ulex.
* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

42. In § 665.262, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits.

(a) Any vessel of the United States fishing for, taking, or retaining Hawaii precious coral MUS or ECS in any Hawaiian Archipelago precious coral permit area must have a permit issued under § 665.13.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

43. In § 665.263, revise the introductory text of paragraphs (b) and (c) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any species of Hawaii precious coral MUS or Hawaii precious coral ECS in any precious coral permit area:

* * * * *

(c) Take and retain, possess, or land any live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, Corallium sp., or live black coral from any precious coral permit area that is less Start Printed Page 2774than the minimum height specified in § 665.265 unless:

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

44. In § 665.265, revise paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Size restrictions.
* * * * *

(a) Live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, or Corallium sp. harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained a minimum height of 10 inches (25.4 cm).

(b) Live black coral harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained either a minimum stem diameter of 1 inch (2.54 cm), or a minimum height of 48 inches (122 cm).

Start Amendment Part

45. Revise § 665.270 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Gold coral harvest moratorium.

Fishing for, taking, or retaining any gold coral MUS or ECS in any precious coral permit area is prohibited through June 30, 2023.

Start Amendment Part

46. In § 665.401, add a definition for “Mariana bottomfish ecosystem component species (Mariana bottomfish ECS)” in alphabetical order and revise the definition of “Mariana bottomfish management unit species (Mariana bottomfish MUS)” to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.
* * * * *

Mariana bottomfish ecosystem component species (Mariana bottomfish ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the Marianas Archipelago FEP and not defined as Mariana bottomfish MUS.

Mariana bottomfish management unit species (Mariana bottomfish MUS) means the following fish:

Local nameCommon nameScientific name
lehi/maroobwred snapper, silvermouthAphareus rutilans.
tarakitu/etamgiant trevally, jackCaranx ignobilis.
tarakiton attelong, orongblack trevally, jackCaranx lugubris.
bueli, bwelelunartail grouperVariola louti.
buninas agaga', falaghal moroobwred snapperEtelis carbunculus.
abuninas, taighulupeghred snapperEtelis coruscans.
mafuti, atighredgill emperorLethrinus rubrioperculatus.
funai, saasblueline snapperLutjanus kasmira.
buninas, falaghal-maroobwyellowtail snapperPristipomoides auricilla.
buninas, pakapaka, falaghal-maroobw,pink snapperPristipomoides filamentosus.
buninas, falaghal-maroobwyelloweye snapperPristipomoides flavipinnis.
pink snapperPristipomoides seiboldii.
buninas rayao amariyu, falaghal-maroobwflower snapperPristipomoides zonatus.
Start Amendment Part

47. In § 665.403, revise paragraph (a) introductory text to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Bottomfish fishery area management.

(a) Guam large vessel bottomfish prohibited area (Area GU-1). A large vessel of the United States, as defined in § 665.12, may not be used to fish for Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS in the Guam large vessel bottomfish prohibited area, defined as the U.S. EEZ waters surrounding Guam that are enclosed by straight lines connecting the following coordinates in the order listed:

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

48. In § 665.404, revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits.

(a) * * *

(1) Guam large vessel. The owner of any large vessel used to fish for, land, or transship Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS shoreward of the outer boundary of the Guam subarea must have a permit issued under this section, and the permit must be registered for use with that vessel.

(2) Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) commercial. The owner of any vessel used to commercially fish for, transship, receive, or land Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS shoreward of the outer boundary of the CNMI management subarea must have a permit issued under this section, and the permit must be registered for use with that vessel.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

49. Revise § 665.405 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in § 600.725 of this chapter and § 665.15, it is unlawful for any person to do any of the following:

(a) Fish for Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS using gear prohibited under § 665.406.

(b) Use a large vessel that does not have a valid Guam bottomfish permit registered for use with that vessel to fish for, land, or transship Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS shoreward of the outer boundary of the Guam management subarea of the bottomfish fishery management area in violation of § 665.404(a).

(c) Use a large vessel to fish for Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS within the Guam large vessel bottomfish prohibited area, as defined in § 665.403(a).

(d) Land or transship, shoreward of the outer boundary of the Guam management subarea of the bottomfish fishery management area, Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS that were harvested in violation of § 665.405(c).

(e) Use a vessel to fish commercially for Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS in the CNMI management subarea without a valid CNMI commercial bottomfish permit registered for use with that vessel, in violation of § 665.404(a)(2).

(f) Falsify or fail to make, keep, maintain, or submit a Federal logbook as required under § 665.14(b) when using a vessel to engage in commercial fishing for Mariana bottomfish MUS or ECS in the CNMI management subarea in violation of § 665.14(b).

Start Amendment Part

50. Revise § 665.421 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.

As used in §§ 665.420 through 665.439, Mariana coral reef ecosystem component species (Mariana coral reef ECS) are those species identified in the Marianas Archipelago FEP and are not defined as MUS or another ECS in this subpart.

Start Amendment Part

51. Revise § 665.423 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Relation to other laws.

To ensure consistency between the management regimes of different Federal agencies with shared management responsibilities of fishery resources within the Mariana coral reef ecosystem management area, fishing for Mariana coral reef ECS is not allowed within the boundary of a National Start Printed Page 2775Wildlife Refuge unless specifically authorized by the USFWS, regardless of whether that refuge was established by action of the President or the Secretary of the Interior.

Start Amendment Part

52. In § 665.424, revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) and (a)(3)(i) and (ii) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits and fees.

(a) * * *

(1) Special permit. Any person of the United States fishing for, taking or retaining Mariana coral reef ECS must have a special permit if they, or a vessel which they operate, is used to fish for any:

(i) Mariana coral reef ecosystem MUS ECS in low-use MPAs as defined in § 665.399;

(ii) Mariana coral reef ECS in the coral reef ecosystem management area; or

(iii) Mariana coral reef ECS in the Mariana coral reef ecosystem management area with any gear not specifically allowed in this subpart.

(2) Transshipment permit. A receiving vessel must be registered for use with a transshipment permit if that vessel is used in the Mariana coral reef ecosystem management area to land or transship any Mariana coral reef ECS harvested within low-use MPAs.

(3) * * *

(i) Any person issued a permit to fish under any FEP who incidentally catches Mariana coral reef ECS while fishing for bottomfish MUS or ECS, crustacean ECS, western Pacific pelagic MUS, precious coral ECS, or seamount groundfish MUS.

(ii) Any person fishing for Mariana coral reef ECS outside of an MPA, who does not retain any Mariana coral reef ECS.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

53. In § 665.425, revise paragraphs (a) introductory text, (a)(3), and (b) introductory text to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(a) Fish for, take, retain, possess or land any Mariana coral reef ECS in any low-use MPA as defined in § 665.12 unless:

* * * * *

(3) The Mariana coral reef ECS possessed on board the vessel originated outside the management area, and this can be demonstrated through receipts of purchase, invoices, fishing logbooks or other documentation.

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any Mariana coral reef ECS species:

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

54. Revise § 665.426 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Notifications.

Any special permit holder subject to the requirements of this subpart must contact the appropriate NMFS enforcement agent in American Samoa, Guam, or Hawaii at least 24 hours before landing any Mariana coral reef ECS harvested under a special permit, and report the port and the approximate date and time at which the catch will be landed.

Start Amendment Part

55. In § 665.427, revise paragraphs (a) introductory text and (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Allowable gear and gear restrictions.

(a) Mariana coral reef ECS may be taken only with the following allowable gear and methods:

* * * * *

(b) Mariana coral reef ECS may not be taken by means of poisons, explosives, or intoxicating substances. Possession or use of these materials by any permit holder under this subpart who is established to be fishing for coral reef ECS in the management area is prohibited.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

56. In § 665.441, add a definition for “Mariana crustacean ecosystem component species (Mariana crustacean ECS)” in alphabetical order and remove the definition of “Mariana crustacean management unit species”.

End Amendment Part

The addition reads as follows:

Definitions.
* * * * *

Mariana crustacean ecosystem component species (Mariana crustacean ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the Marianas Archipelago FEP.

Start Amendment Part

57. In § 665.442, revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits.

(a) * * *

(2) The owner of any vessel used to fish for Heterocarpus sp. in Crustacean Permit Area 5 must have a permit issued for that vessel.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

58. Revise § 665.443 to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.

In addition to the general prohibitions specified in § 600.725 of this chapter and § 665.15, it is unlawful for any person in Crustacean Permit Area 5 to fish for, take, or retain Heterocarpus sp. without a permit issued under § 665.442.

Start Amendment Part

59. In § 665.461, add introductory text and a definition for “Mariana precious coral ecosystem component species (Mariana precious coral ECS)” in alphabetical order and remove the definition of “Mariana precious coral management unit species” to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Definitions.

As used in §§ 665.460 through 665.470:

Mariana precious coral ecosystem component species (Mariana precious coral ECS) means those species identified as ECS in the Marianas Archipelago FEP.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

60. In § 665.462, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Permits.

(a) Any vessel of the United States fishing for, taking, or retaining Mariana precious coral ECS in any Mariana Archipelago precious coral permit area must have a permit issued under § 665.13.

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

61. In § 665.463, revise paragraphs (a), (b) introductory text, and (c) introductory text to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Prohibitions.
* * * * *

(a) Use any vessel to fish for, take, retain, possess or land Mariana precious coral ECS in any Mariana precious coral permit area, unless a permit has been issued for that vessel and area as specified in § 665.13 and that permit is on board the vessel.

(b) Fish for, take, or retain any species of Mariana precious coral ECS in any Mariana precious coral permit area:

* * * * *

(c) Take and retain, possess, or land any live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, Corallium sp., or live black coral from any precious coral permit area that is less than the minimum height specified in § 665.465 unless:

* * * * *
Start Amendment Part

62. In § 665.465, revise paragraphs (a) and (b) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
Size restrictions.
* * * * *

(a) Live Hemicorallium laauense, Pleurocorallium secundum, or Corallium sp. harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained a minimum height of 10 inches (25.4 cm).

(b) Live black coral harvested from any precious coral permit area must have attained either a minimum stem diameter of 1 inch (2.54 cm), or a minimum height of 48 inches (122 cm).

End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2019-01294 Filed 2-7-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P