Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Fishing Year 2014; Interim Gulf of Maine Cod Management Measures; Correction, 77946-77954 [2014-30106]

Download as PDF 77946 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations exceeding the ICCAT-allocated U.S. BFT quota. Delays in increasing these retention limits would adversely affect those General and HMS Charter/Headboat category vessels that would otherwise have an opportunity to harvest more than the default retention limit of one BFT per day/trip and may exacerbate the problem of low catch rates and quota rollovers. Limited opportunities to harvest the respective quotas may have negative social and economic impacts for U.S. fishermen that depend upon catching the available quota within the designated time periods. Adjustment of the retention limit needs to be effective January 1, 2015, or as soon as possible thereafter, to minimize any unnecessary disruption in fishing patterns, to allow the impacted sectors to benefit from the adjustment, and to provide fishing opportunities for fishermen in geographic areas with access to the fishery only during this time period. Therefore, the AA finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. For these reasons, there is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness. This action is being taken under 50 CFR 635.23(a)(4) and 635.27(a)(9), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. Temporary rule, correction; extension of expiration date. ACTION: This document makes corrections to the Gulf of Maine cod interim regulations published in the Federal Register on November 13, 2014. This notice allows gillnet vessels to switch their designation as either a Day or Trip gillnet vessel, an opportunity that was inadvertently not provided in the original interim action. This notice also makes several corrections and clarifications, including where the Gulf of Maine cod trip limit applies, to ensure consistency with measures implemented in the interim action. In this document, we extend the expiration date of certain temporary amendments. DATES: Effective December 29, 2014, until May 12, 2015, except for amendatory instruction 2 of this rule, which expires on April 30, 2015. The expiration dates in amendatory instructions 2, 4a and c, and 5 through 12, published in FR Rule Doc. No. 2014–26844, November 13, 2014, at 79 FR 67362, for the amendments to §§ 648.2, 648.14, 648.80, 648.81, 648.82, 648.85, 648.86, 648.87, 648.88, and 648.89, respectively, are extended until May 12, 2015. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Alger, Fishery Management Specialist, phone: 978–675–9315. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Background Dated: December 22, 2014. Emily H. Menashes, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. On November 13, 2014, we published interim management measures (79 FR 67362) to increase protection for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod in response to a recently updated stock assessment that concluded the stock is severely depleted. The management measures included seasonal interim closure areas and a 200-lb (90.7-kg) GOM cod trip limit for all limited access commercial groundfish vessels. This document makes corrections to those measures; specifically, we are: • Allowing gillnet vessels to change their annual declaration for the remainder of the 2014 fishing year; • Clarifying that the 200-lb (90.7-kg) GOM cod trip limit applies specifically to the GOM Broad Stock Area (BSA); • Correcting several labeling and typographical errors pertaining to the seasonal interim closure areas; • Extending the effective dates noted for regulations implemented by the interim action consistent with the effective date published in the Federal Register; and • Correcting the prohibitions and other regulations to clarify their meaning or correct cross-references. [FR Doc. 2014–30341 Filed 12–22–14; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 141002822–4999–02] mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES RIN 0648–BE56 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast Groundfish Fishery; Fishing Year 2014; Interim Gulf of Maine Cod Management Measures; Correction National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00114 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Gillnet Category Designations The Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) requires groundfish vessels fishing with gillnet gear to make an annual declaration as either a Day gillnet or Trip gillnet vessel. There are specific regulations and tagging requirements associated with each of these categories. For example, a Trip gillnet vessel is not limited in the number of nets may fish, but it must set and retrieve all of its gillnet gear in each trip. On the other hand, a Day gillnet vessel is limited in the number of nets it may fish, but can return to port while allowing the gear to remain in the water for a period of time, and then retrieve the gear on a subsequent trip. Once a vessel owner has elected one of these designations, the owner may not change the designation or fish under the other gillnet category for the remainder of the fishing year. The interim rule modified gillnet management measures mid-season by reducing the number of nets that may be fished by Day gillnet vessels enrolled in a sector (see page 67367 of the interim rule) and instituting GOM cod trip limits. Vessel owners did not have a prior opportunity to consider these changes when they made their designation as a Day or Trip gillnet vessel at the beginning of the fishing year. This correction provides a onetime opportunity for gillnet vessels to change their designation after considering management changes made by the interim rule. Gillnet vessels can change their declaration for the remainder of the 2014 fishing year by submitting a revised gillnet tag form from December 29, 2014, through January 28, 2015. Clarification on GOM Cod Trip Limits The groundfish Regulated Mesh Area (RMA) boundaries were historically used for gear restrictions, and for setting trip limits in the commercial fishery and bag limits in the recreational fishery. In addition, Broad Stock Areas (BSA) were implemented in Amendment 16 to the FMP (75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) to better attribute catch to specific groundfish stocks. There is a specific area northeast of Cape Cod where the GOM RMA and GOM BSA boundaries do not align (Figure 1), and which results in the GOM RMA overlapping the Inshore Georges Bank BSA. In this case, a vessel may be fishing in the Inshore Georges Bank BSA, but under the GOM RMA gear and trip regulations. The interaction of these overlapping areas was not addressed when developing the GOM cod interim rule, E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES and there is confusion regarding where the 200-lb (90.7-kg) GOM cod trip limit applies. The intent of the interim action was to protect GOM cod. Given that the GOM BSA aligns with the GOM cod stock area, this action clarifies that the VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 GOM cod 200-lb (90.7-kg) trip limit is applicable to commercial vessels when fishing in the GOM BSA. A vessel fishing in the area where the Inshore Georges Bank BSA and the GOM RMA boundaries overlap is not subject to the cod possession limit for the GOM BSA PO 00000 Frm 00115 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 77947 because the vessel is fishing outside of the GOM BSA. As a reminder, the GOM cod interim rule measures restrict commercial groundfish vessels to fishing in only a single BSA when declaring into the GOM BSA. E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 77948 VerDate Sep<11>2014 70°30'0"W 70°0'0"W 69°30'0..W 69°0'0"W Jkt 235001 43°0'0" PO 00000 D Regulated Mesh Area GOM BSA Frm 00116 Inshore GB BSA Fmt 4700 42°30'0" N Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 42°0'011 29DER1 70°30'0"W ER29DE14.033</GPH> 70°0'0"W 69°30'0"W 69°0'0"W Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 Figure 1- Gulf of Maine RMA and Inshore Georges Bank BSA Overlap. The 200-lb (90.7-kg) trip limit applies vessels fishing in the Gulf of Maine Broad Stock Area Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations Closure Area Corrections Several of the seasonal interim closure areas published in the GOM cod interim rule (79 FR 67362; November 13, 2014; see page 67363) had nonsubstantive errors, such as missing column headings and incorrect labels. We are clarifying these typographical errors in the regulations that describe the locations of the seasonal interim closure areas. This notice does not move any of the seasonal interim closure areas. The management measures instituted in the GOM cod interim rule are effective from November 13, 2014, until May 12, 2015. The regulatory text accompanying the rule mistakenly states that the temporary regulations are effective through April 30, 2015 (the end of the 2014 fishing year). This rule clarifies this inconsistency so that all temporary regulations implemented in the interim rule are effective until May 12, 2015. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES Classification Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. Dated: December 18, 2014. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. Therefore, NOAA amends 50 CFR part 648 as follows: 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. Section 648.4 is amended by: a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until April 30, 2015, paragraph (c)(2)(iii)(A), and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until April 30, 2015, paragraph (c)(2)(iii)(C). The addition reads as follows: ■ ■ § 648.4 The Assistant Administrator (AA) for Fisheries, NOAA, finds that pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice and comment would be unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. This notice implements a measure at § 648.4(c)(2)(iii)(C) allowing gillnet vessels to change their Day or Trip gillnet vessel status in-season. This opportunity was inadvertently left out of the GOM cod interim action and does not substantively change the regulations. This notice corrects and clarifies that the 200-lb (90.7-kg) trip limit for GOM cod applies when fishing in the GOM Broad Stock Area only to eliminate confusion and does not create any new measures. This notice also makes minor clerical changes to the seasonal interim closure areas at § 648.81(o)(1). Providing notice and comment on these changes is unnecessary because all are nonsubstantive and do not change the operation of the fishery. Moreover, delaying the correction of inconsistencies in regulatory text is contrary to the public interest, because it could affect the enforceability of the regulations and because inaccurate regulations could lead to public confusion and potentially to incorrect behavior. For the same reasons above, the Assistant Administrator finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES Effective Date Clarification VerDate Sep<11>2014 makes this rule effective immediately upon publication. Jkt 235001 Vessel permits. * * * * * (c) * * * (2) * * * (iii) * * * (C) For vessels fishing for NE multispecies with gillnet gear, with the exception of vessels fishing under the Small Vessel permit category, an annual declaration as either a Day or Trip gillnet vessel designation as described in § 648.82(j). A vessel owner electing a Day gillnet designation must indicate the number of gillnet tags that he/she is requesting, and must include a check for the cost of the tags, unless the vessel already possesses valid gillnet tags, as identified by the Regional Administrator. A permit holder letter will be sent to the owner of each eligible gillnet vessel, informing him/her of the costs associated with this tagging requirement and providing directions for obtaining valid tags. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (c)(2)(iii)(C) of this section, once a vessel owner has elected this designation, he/ she may not change the designation or fish under the other gillnet category for the remainder of the fishing year. From December 29, 2014, to January 28, 2015 owners of vessels that are designated as Day or Trip gillnet vessels may elect to switch to a different gillnet vessel designation for the remainder of the 2014 fishing year. Incomplete applications, as described in paragraph (e) of this section, will be considered incomplete only for the purposes of PO 00000 Frm 00117 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 77949 obtaining authorization to fish in the NE multispecies gillnet fishery and otherwise will be processed or issued without a gillnet authorization. * * * * * ■ 3. Section 648.14 is amended by ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (k)(12)(v)(K) and (L), (k)(13)(ii)(K) through (M), and (k)(16)(iii)(D) and (F); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (k)(12)(v)(M) and (N), (k)(13)(ii)(N) through (P), and (k)(16)(iii)(G) and (H). The additions read as follows: § 648.14 Prohibitions. * * * * * (k) * * * (12) * * * (v) * * * (M) If fishing in the Regular B DAS Program specified in § 648.85(b)(6), fail to comply with the landing limits specified in § 648.85(b)(6)(iv)(L). (N) If fishing under a Regular B DAS in the Regular B DAS program, fail to comply with the DAS flip requirements of § 648.85(b)(6)(iv)(E) if the vessel harvests and brings on board more than the landing limit for a groundfish stock of concern specified in § 648.85(b)(6)(iv)(L), other groundfish specified under § 648.86, or monkfish under § 648.94. * * * * * (13) * * * (ii) * * * (N) Possess or land per trip more than the possession or landing limits specified in § 648.86(a), (b), (c), (e), (g), (h), (j), (l), (m), (n), and (o); § 648.82(b)(9) and (10); § 648.85; or § 648.88, if the vessel has been issued a limited access NE multispecies permit or open access NE multispecies permit, as applicable. (O) Fish for, possess at any time during a trip, or land regulated NE multispecies or ocean pout specified in § 648.86 after using up the vessel’s annual DAS allocation or when not participating in the DAS program pursuant to § 648.82, unless otherwise exempted by § 648.82(b)(9), § 648.87, or § 648.89, or allowed pursuant to § 648.85(b)(6) or § 648.88. (P) Atlantic cod. (1) Enter port in possession of more than the allowable limit of cod specified in § 648.86(b)(8), unless the vessel is fishing under the cod exemption specified in § 648.86(b)(10). (2) Enter port in possession of more than the allowable limit of cod specified in § 648.86(b)(9). (3) Fail to declare through VMS an intent to be exempt from the GOM cod E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 77950 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations trip limit under § 648.86(b)(8), as required under § 648.86(b)(10), or fish north of the exemption line if in possession of more than the GOM cod trip limit specified under § 648.86(b)(8). * * * * * (16) * * * (iii) * * * (G) If fishing from a recreational vessel, a vessel with a charter/party permit, or a charter or party boat, fish for or possess cod in or from the GOM Broad Stock Area, or fail to abide by § 648.89(c)(9) if transiting with cod on board. (H) If fishing from a recreational vessel, a vessel with a charter/party permit, or a charter or party boat, fail to comply with the GOM cod possession prohibition described in § 648.89(c)(9). * * * * * ■ 4. Section 648.80 is amended by: ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (a)(3)(viii) and (a)(4)(ix); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (a)(3)(ix) and (a)(4)(x). The additions read as follows: § 648.80 NE Multispecies regulated mesh areas and restrictions and methods of fishing. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES * * * * * (a) * * * (3) * * * (ix) Other restrictions and exemptions. A vessel is prohibited from fishing in the GOM or GB Exemption Area as defined in paragraph (a)(17) of this section, except if fishing with exempted gear (as defined under this part) or under the exemptions specified in paragraphs (a)(5) through (7), (a)(9) through (a)(16) and (a)(18) through (a)(19), (d), (e), (h), and (i) of this section; or if fishing under a NE multispecies DAS; or if fishing on a sector trip; or if fishing under the Small Vessel or Handgear A permit specified in § 648.82(b)(9) and (10), respectively; or if fishing under a Handgear B permit specified in § 648.88(a); or if fishing under the scallop state waters exemptions specified in § 648.54 and paragraph (a)(11) of this section; or if fishing under a scallop DAS in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section; or if fishing pursuant to a NE multispecies open access Charter/Party or Handgear permit specified in § 648.88; or if fishing as a charter/party or private recreational vessel in compliance with § 648.89. Any gear used by a vessel in this area must be authorized under one of these exemptions. Any gear on a vessel that is not authorized under one of these VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 exemptions must not be available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. (4) * * * (x) Large-mesh vessels. When fishing in the GB Regulated Mesh Area, the minimum mesh size for any trawl net, or sink gillnet, and the minimum mesh size for any trawl net, or sink gillnet, when fishing in that portion of the GB Regulated Mesh Area that lies within the SNE Exemption Area, as described in paragraph (b)(10) of this section, that is not stowed and available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2, on a vessel or used by a vessel fishing under a DAS in the Large-mesh DAS program, specified in § 648.82(b)(0), is 8.5-inch (21.6-cm) diamond or square mesh throughout the entire net. This restriction does not apply to nets or pieces of nets smaller than 3 ft (0.9 m) × 3 ft (0.9 m), (9 sq ft (0.81 sq m)), or to vessels that have not been issued a NE multispecies permit and that are fishing exclusively in state waters. * * * * * ■ 5. Section 648.81 is amended by: ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (d)(3) and (4), (o)(1)(iii), (iv), and (viii) through (x); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (d)(5) and (6), and (o)(1)(xi) through (xv). The additions read as follows: § 648.81 NE multispecies closed area and measures to protect EFH. * * * * * (d) * * * (5) No fishing vessel or person on a fishing vessel may enter, fish in, or be in, and no fishing gear capable of catching NE multispecies, unless otherwise allowed in this part, may be in, or on board a vessel in the area known as the Cashes Ledge Closure Area, as defined by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated, except as specified in paragraphs (d)(6) and (i) of this section (a chart depicting this area is available from the Regional Administrator upon request): CASHES LEDGE CLOSURE AREA Point CL1 CL2 CL3 CL4 CL5 CL6 CL1 N. ....................... ....................... ....................... ....................... ....................... ....................... ....................... 43°07′ 42°49.5′ 42°46.5′ 42°43.5′ 42°42.5′ 42°49.5′ 43°07′ W. 69°02′ 68°46′ 68°50.5′ 68°58.5′ 69°17.5′ 69°26′ 69°02′ (6) Unless otherwise restricted under the EFH Closure(s) specified in PO 00000 Frm 00118 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 paragraph (h) of this section, paragraph (d)(5) of this section does not apply to persons aboard fishing vessels or fishing vessels: (i) That are fishing with or using exempted gear as defined under this part, or in the Midwater Trawl Gear Exempted Fishery as specified under § 648.80(d), and excluding pelagic gillnet gear capable of catching NE multispecies, except for vessels fishing with a single pelagic gillnet not longer than 300 ft (91.4 m) and not greater than 6 ft (1.83 m) deep, with a maximum mesh size of 3 inches (7.6 cm), provided: (A) The net is attached to the boat and fished in the upper two-thirds of the water column; (B) The net is marked with the owner’s name and vessel identification number; (C) There is no retention of regulated species; and (D) There is no other gear on board capable of catching NE multispecies; (ii) That are fishing under charter/ party or recreational regulations, provided that: (A) For vessels fishing under charter/ party regulations in the Cashes Ledge Closure Area or Western GOM Area Closure, as described under paragraph (d) and (e) of this section, respectively, it has on board a letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator, as specified in § 648.89(e)(6); (B) Fish species managed by the NEFMC or MAFMC that are harvested or possessed by the vessel, are not sold or intended for trade, barter or sale, regardless of where the fish are caught; and (C) The vessel has no gear other than rod and reel or handline on board; and (D) The vessel does not use any NE multispecies DAS during the entire period for which the letter of authorization is valid; (iii) That are fishing with or using scallop dredge gear when fishing under a scallop DAS or when lawfully fishing in the Scallop Dredge Fishery Exemption Area as described in § 648.80(a)(11), provided the vessel does not retain any regulated NE multispecies during a trip, or on any part of a trip; or (iv) That are fishing in the Raised Footrope Trawl Exempted Whiting Fishery, as specified in § 648.80(a)(15). * * * * * (o) * * * (1) * * * (xi) From March 1–March 31, the restrictions specified in this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 3, which is defined by the E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations following points, connected in the order listed by straight lines, and bounded on the west by the coastline of Massachusetts and New Hampshire: SEASONAL INTERIM CLOSURE AREA 3 [March 1–March 31] Point Latitude MAR1 .................... MAR2 .................... MAR3 .................... MAR4 .................... MAR5 .................... MAR6 .................... MAR7 .................... MAR8 .................... MAR9 .................... MAR10 .................. 43°00′ 43°00′ 43°30′ 43°30′ 42°30′ 42°30′ 42°15′ 42°15′ 42°30′ 42°30′ N N N N N N N N N N Longitude (1) 70°00′ 70°00′ 69°30′ 69°30′ 70°00′ 70°00′ 70°30′ 70°30′ (2) W W W W W W W W 1 The intersection of 43°00′ N latitude and the New Hampshire coastline. 2 The intersection of 42°30′ N latitude and the Massachusetts coastline. (xii) From April 1–April 30, the restrictions specified in this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 4, which is defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by straight lines, and bounded on the west by the coastline of Massachusetts and New Hampshire: SEASONAL INTERIM CLOSURE AREA 4 Latitude APR1 .................... APR2 .................... APR3 .................... APR4 .................... APR5 .................... APR2 .................... APR7 .................... APR8 .................... APR9 .................... APR10 .................. 43°00′ 43°00′ 43°30′ 43°30′ 43°00′ 43°00′ 42°15′ 42°15′ 42°00′ 42°00′ N N N N N N N N N N (1) 70°00′ 70°00′ 69°30′ 69°30′ 70°00′ 70°00′ 70°30′ 70°30′ (2) SEASONAL INTERIM CLOSURE AREA 8 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES [September 1–October 31] SEP1 SEP2 SEP3 SEP4 SEP1 ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... ..................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 43°00′ 43°00′ 42°15′ 42°15′ 43°00′ N N N N N 18:49 Dec 24, 2014 Point NOV1 NOV2 NOV3 NOV4 NOV5 NOV6 Latitude .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... .................... 43°00′ 43°00′ 42°15′ 42°15′ 42°00′ 42°00′ N N N N N N Longitude (1) 70°00′ 70°00′ 70°30′ 70°30′ (2) W W W W 1 The intersection of 43°00′ N latitude and the New Hampshire coastline. 2 The intersection of 42°00′ N latitude and the Massachusetts coastline. (xv) From December 1–December 31, the restrictions specified in this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 10, which is defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by straight lines, and bounded on the west by the coastline of Massachusetts: [December 1–December 31] Point W W W W W W W W (xiii) From September 1–October 31, the restrictions specified in this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 8, which is defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by straight lines: Latitude [November 1–November 30] Longitude 1 The intersection of 43°00′ N latitude and the New Hampshire coastline. 2 The intersection of 42°00′ N latitude and the Massachusetts coastline. Point SEASONAL INTERIM CLOSURE AREA 9 SEASONAL INTERIM CLOSURE AREA 10 [April 1–April 30] Point (xiv) From November 1–November 30, the restrictions specified in this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 9, which is defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by straight lines, and bounded on the west by the coastlines of Massachusetts and New Hampshire: Longitude 70°30′ 70°00′ 70°00′ 70°30′ 70°30′ Jkt 235001 W W W W W DEC1 DEC2 DEC3 DEC4 Latitude .................... .................... .................... .................... 42°30′ 42°30′ 42°00′ 42°00′ N N N N Longitude (1) 70°00′ W 70°00′ W (2) 1 The intersection of 42°30′ N latitude and the Massachusetts coastline. 2 The intersection of 42°00′ N latitude and the Kingston, Massachusetts (mainland) coastline. * * * * * 6. Section 648.82 is amended by: a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (b)(7) and (b)(8); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (b)(9) and (b)(10). The additions read as follows: ■ ■ § 648.82 Effort-control program for NE multispecies limited access vessels. * * * * * (b) * * * (9) Small Vessel category. (i) DAS allocation. A vessel qualified and electing to fish under the Small Vessel category may retain up to 300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder, combined, and one Atlantic halibut per trip, without being subject to DAS restrictions, and the daily PO 00000 Frm 00119 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 77951 possession limits specified for other regulated species and ocean pout, as specified at § 648.86, unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(9). If the vessel elects to fish in the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may not possess or retain more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of cod for the entire trip. If the vessel elects to fish south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may retain up 300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod. Any vessel may elect to switch into the Small Vessel category, as provided in § 648.4(a)(1)(i)(I)(2), if the vessel meets or complies with the following: (A) The vessel is 30 ft (9.1 m) or less in length overall, as determined by measuring along a horizontal line drawn from a perpendicular raised from the outside of the most forward portion of the stem of the vessel to a perpendicular raised from the after most portion of the stern. (B) If construction of the vessel was begun after May 1, 1994, the vessel must be constructed such that the quotient of the length overall divided by the beam is not less than 2.5. (C) Acceptable verification for vessels 20 ft (6.1 m) or less in length shall be USCG documentation or state registration papers. For vessels over 20 ft (6.1 m) in length overall, the measurement of length must be verified in writing by a qualified marine surveyor, or the builder, based on the vessel’s construction plans, or by other means determined acceptable by the Regional Administrator. A copy of the verification must accompany an application for a NE multispecies permit. (D) Adjustments to the Small Vessel category requirements, including changes to the length requirement, if required to meet fishing mortality goals, may be made by the Regional Administrator following framework procedures of § 648.90. (ii) [Reserved] (10) Handgear A category. A vessel qualified and electing to fish under the Handgear A category, as described in § 648.4(a)(1)(i)(A), may retain up to 300 lb (135 kg) of cod, per trip, one Atlantic halibut and the daily possession limit for other regulated species and ocean pout, as specified under § 648.86, unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(10). If the vessel elects to fish in the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may not possess or retain more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of cod for the entire trip. If the vessel elects to fish south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may retain E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES 77952 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations up 300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod. If the GB cod trip limit applicable to a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS permit, as specified in § 648.86(b)(9) is reduced below 300 lb (135 kg) per DAS by NMFS, the cod trip limit specified in this paragraph (b)(10) shall be adjusted to be the same as the applicable cod trip limit specified for NE multispecies DAS permits. For example, if the GB cod trip limit for NE multispecies DAS vessels was reduced to 250 lb (113.4 kg) per DAS, then the cod trip limit for a vessel issued a Handgear A category permit that is fishing outside of the GOM Broad Stock Area would also be reduced to 250 lb (113.4 kg). Qualified vessels electing to fish under the Handgear A category are subject to the following restrictions: (i) The vessel must not use or possess on board gear other than handgear while in possession of, fishing for, or landing NE multispecies, and must have at least one standard tote on board. (ii) A vessel may not fish for, possess, or land regulated species from March 1 through March 20 of each year. (iii) Tub-trawls must be hand-hauled only, with a maximum of 250 hooks. (iv) Declaration. For any such vessel that is not required to use VMS pursuant to § 648.10(b)(4), to fish for GB cod south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), a vessel owner or operator must obtain, and retain on board, a letter of authorization from the Regional Administrator stating an intent to fish south of the GOM Broad Stock Area and may not fish in any other area for a minimum of 7 consecutive days from the effective date of the letter of authorization. For any such vessel that is required, or elects, to use VMS pursuant to § 648.10(b)(4), to fish for GB cod south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), a vessel owner or operator must declare an intent to fish south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, on each trip through the VMS prior to leaving port, in accordance with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator. Such vessels may transit the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), provided that their gear is not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. * * * * * ■ 7. Section 648.85 is amended by: ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(K); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(L). The addition reads as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 § 648.85 Special management programs. * * * * * (b) * * * (6) * * * (iv) * * * (L) Landing limits. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(L), or restricted pursuant to § 648.86, a NE multispecies vessel fishing in the Regular B DAS Program described in this paragraph (b)(6), and fishing under a Regular B DAS, may not land more than 100 lb (45.5 kg) per DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to a maximum of 1,000 lb (454 kg) per trip, of any of the following species/stocks from the areas specified in paragraph (b)(6)(v) of this section: Cod, American plaice, witch flounder, SNE/MA winter flounder, and GB yellowtail flounder; and may not land more than 25 lb (11.3 kg) per DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to a maximum of 250 lb (113 kg) per trip of CC/GOM yellowtail flounder. If the vessel elects to fish in the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may not possess or retain more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of cod for the entire trip. In addition, trawl vessels, which are required to fish with a haddock separator trawl, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(A) of this section, or a Ruhle trawl, as specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J) of this section, and other gear that may be required in order to reduce catches of stocks of concern as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J) of this section, are restricted to the trip limits specified in paragraph (e) of this section. * * * * * ■ 8. Section 648.86 is amended by: ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (b)(5) through (b)(7); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (b)(8) through (b)(10). The additions read as follows: § 648.86 NE Multispecies possession restrictions. * * * * * (b) * * * (8) GOM cod landing and possession limit. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(10) of this section, or unless otherwise restricted under § 648.85, a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies limited access permit, including a vessel issued a monkfish limited access permit and fishing under the monkfish Category C or D permit provisions, may not possess or land more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of cod in or from the GOM Broad Stock Area described in § 648.10(k)(3)(i). Cod on board a vessel subject to this landing and possession PO 00000 Frm 00120 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 limit must be separated from other species of fish and stored so as to be readily available for inspection. (i) Declaration. A vessel with a limited access NE multispecies permit that fishes or intends to fish on a NE multispecies trip in the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), must declare its intention to do so through the VMS or IVR, and is prohibited from fishing outside of this area for the remainder of the trip. (ii) [Reserved] (9) GB cod landing and maximum possession limits. Unless otherwise restricted under § 648.85, a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS permit, including a vessel issued a monkfish limited access permit and fishing under the monkfish Category C or D permit provisions, may land up to 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of cod per DAS, or part of a DAS, up to 20,000 lb (9,072 kg) provided it complies with the requirements specified in paragraph (b)(10) of this section. (10) Exemption. A vessel with a NE multispecies limited access permit fishing under a NE multispecies trip is exempt from the landing limit described in paragraph (b)(8) of this section when fishing south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), provided that the vessel complies with the requirement of this paragraph (b)(10). (i) Declaration. With the exception of a vessel declared into the U.S./Canada Management Area, as described in § 648.85(a)(3)(ii), a sector vessel, or a common pool vessel that is declared into the NE multispecies fishery and fishes or intends to fish south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), must, prior to leaving port, declare its intention to do so through the VMS, in accordance with instructions to be provided by the Regional Administrator. In lieu of a VMS declaration, the Regional Administrator may authorize such vessels to obtain a letter of authorization. If a letter of authorization is required, such vessel may not fish north of the exemption area for a minimum of 7 consecutive days (when fishing under the multispecies DAS program), and must carry the letter of authorization on board. (ii) A vessel with a limited access NE multispecies permit that is exempt from the GOM cod landing limit pursuant to paragraph (b)(10)(i) of this section may not fish in the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i), but may transit the GOM Broad Stock Area, E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations provided that its gear is not available for immediate use as defined in § 648.2. * * * * * ■ 9. Section 648.87 is amended by: ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (b)(1)(x), (c)(2)(ii)(E), and (c)(2)(iii); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph (b)(1)(xi), (c)(2)(ii)(G), and (c)(2)(iv). The additions read as follows: § 648.87 Sector Allocation. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES * * * * * (b) * * * (1) * * * (xi) Trip limits. With the exception of the GOM cod trip limit at § 648.86(b)(8), the Atlantic halibut trip limit at § 648.86(c), and the stocks listed in § 648.86(l), a sector vessel is not limited in the amount of allocated NE multispecies stocks that can be harvested on a particular fishing trip, unless otherwise specified in the operations plan. * * * * * (c) * * * (2) * * * (ii) * * * (G) Trip limits on NE multispecies stocks for which a sector receives an allocation of ACE pursuant to paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section (i.e., all stocks except Atlantic halibut, ocean pout, windowpane flounder, and Atlantic wolffish), unless otherwise specified § 648.86(b)(8) and paragraph (b)(1)(xi) of this section. (iv) Regulations that may not be exempted for sector participants. The Regional Administrator may not exempt participants in a sector from the following Federal fishing regulations: Specific time and areas within the NE multispecies year-round closure areas; permitting restrictions (e.g., vessel upgrades, etc.); gear restrictions designed to minimize habitat impacts (e.g., roller gear restrictions, etc.); reporting requirements; and AMs specified at § 648.90(a)(5)(i)(D). For the purposes of paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, the DAS reporting requirements specified at § 648.82; the SAP-specific reporting requirements specified at § 648.85; and the reporting requirements associated with a dockside monitoring program are not considered reporting requirements, and the Regional Administrator may exempt sector participants from these requirements as part of the approval of yearly operations plans. For the purpose of paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, the Regional Administrator may not grant sector participants exemptions from the NE multispecies year-round closures areas VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 defined as Essential Fish Habitat Closure Areas as defined at § 648.81(h); the Fippennies Ledge Area as defined in paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section; Closed Area I and Closed Area II, as defined at § 648.81(a) and (b), respectively, during the period February 16 through April 30; and the Western GOM Closure Area, as defined at § 648.81(e), where it overlaps with any Seasonal Interim Closure Areas, as defined at § 648.81(o)(1). This list may be modified through a framework adjustment, as specified in § 648.90. (A) Fippennies Ledge Area. The Fippennies Ledge Area is bounded by the following coordinates, connected by straight lines in the order listed: FIPPENNIES LEDGE AREA Point 1 2 3 4 ................... ................... ................... ................... N. Latitude 42°50.0′ 42°44.0′ 42°44.0′ 42°50.0′ W. Longitude 69°17.0′ 69°14.0′ 69°18.0′ 69°21.0′ (B) [Reserved] * * * * ■ 10. Section 648.88 is amended by: ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph (a)(3); and ■ b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph (a)(4). The addition reads as follows: * § 648.88 Multispecies open access permit restrictions. (a) * * * (4) The vessel may possess and land up to 75 lb (90.7 kg) of cod, and up to the landing and possession limit restrictions for other NE multispecies specified in § 648.86, provided the vessel complies with the restrictions specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. If either the GOM or GB cod trip limit applicable to a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS permit, as specified in § 648.86(b)(8) and (9), respectively, is adjusted by NMFS, the cod trip limit specified in this paragraph (a)(4) shall be adjusted proportionally (rounded up to the nearest 25 lb (11.3 kg)). For example, if the GOM cod trip limit specified at § 648.86(b)(8) doubled, then the cod trip limit for the Handgear B category fishing in the GOM Broad Stock Area would also double to 150 lb (68 kg). * * * * * ■ 11. Section 648.89 is amended by: ■ a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs (c)(8) and (e)(4); and PO 00000 Frm 00121 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 77953 b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph (c)(9) and (e)(7). The additions read as follows: ■ § 648.89 Recreational and charter/party vessel restrictions. * * * * * (c) * * * (9) Private recreational and charter/ party vessels. (i) Unless otherwise restricted in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, each person on a private recreational vessel or a charter party boat may possess no more than 10 cod per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ, and no person on a vessel with a charter/party permit may possess more than 10 cod per day. Unless further restricted by the GOM Seasonal Interim Closure Areas specified under § 648.81(o)(1), charter or party boats and recreational vessels fishing in the EEZ, and vessels issued charter/party permits may not fish for or possess cod in or from the GOM Broad Stock Area as specified in § 648.10(k)(3)(i). (ii) For purposes of counting fish, fillets will be converted to whole fish at the place of landing by dividing the number of fillets by two. If fish are filleted into a single (butterfly) fillet, such fillet shall be deemed to be from one whole fish. (iii) Cod caught by more than one person aboard a vessel fishing pursuant to § 648.89 may be pooled in one or more containers. Compliance with the possession limits will be determined by dividing the number of fish on board by the number of persons on board. If there is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more than one person, and cod is pooled together, the violation shall be deemed to have been committed by the owner or operator of the vessel. (iv) Private recreational vessels, charter or party boats, and vessels issued charter/party permits in possession of cod caught lawfully outside the GOM Broad Stock Area may transit the GOM Broad Stock Area, provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods and any cod on board has been gutted and stored. * * * * * (e) * * * (7) GOM Closed Areas. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph (e)(7), a vessel fishing under charter/ party regulations may not fish in the GOM closed areas specified at § 648.81(d)(5), (e)(3), and (o)(1) during the time periods specified in those paragraphs, unless the vessel has on board a valid letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator pursuant to § 648.81(d)(6). The E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1 77954 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 248 / Monday, December 29, 2014 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES conditions and restrictions of the letter of authorization must be complied with for the rest of the fishing year, beginning with the start of the participation period of the letter of authorization. A vessel fishing under charter/party regulations VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:05 Dec 24, 2014 Jkt 235001 may not fish in the GOM Cod Spawning Protection Area specified at § 648.81(n)(1) or the GOM Seasonal Interim Closure Areas at § 648.81(o)(1) during the time periods specified in that paragraph, unless the vessel complies PO 00000 Frm 00122 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 with the requirements specified at § 648.81(n)(2)(iii). * * * * * [FR Doc. 2014–30106 Filed 12–24–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\29DER1.SGM 29DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 248 (Monday, December 29, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 77946-77954]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-30106]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 141002822-4999-02]
RIN 0648-BE56


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Northeast 
Groundfish Fishery; Fishing Year 2014; Interim Gulf of Maine Cod 
Management Measures; Correction

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

ACTION: Temporary rule, correction; extension of expiration date.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This document makes corrections to the Gulf of Maine cod 
interim regulations published in the Federal Register on November 13, 
2014. This notice allows gillnet vessels to switch their designation as 
either a Day or Trip gillnet vessel, an opportunity that was 
inadvertently not provided in the original interim action. This notice 
also makes several corrections and clarifications, including where the 
Gulf of Maine cod trip limit applies, to ensure consistency with 
measures implemented in the interim action. In this document, we extend 
the expiration date of certain temporary amendments.

DATES: Effective December 29, 2014, until May 12, 2015, except for 
amendatory instruction 2 of this rule, which expires on April 30, 2015. 
The expiration dates in amendatory instructions 2, 4a and c, and 5 
through 12, published in FR Rule Doc. No. 2014-26844, November 13, 
2014, at 79 FR 67362, for the amendments to Sec. Sec.  648.2, 648.14, 
648.80, 648.81, 648.82, 648.85, 648.86, 648.87, 648.88, and 648.89, 
respectively, are extended until May 12, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brett Alger, Fishery Management 
Specialist, phone: 978-675-9315.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On November 13, 2014, we published interim management measures (79 
FR 67362) to increase protection for Gulf of Maine (GOM) cod in 
response to a recently updated stock assessment that concluded the 
stock is severely depleted. The management measures included seasonal 
interim closure areas and a 200-lb (90.7-kg) GOM cod trip limit for all 
limited access commercial groundfish vessels. This document makes 
corrections to those measures; specifically, we are:
     Allowing gillnet vessels to change their annual 
declaration for the remainder of the 2014 fishing year;
     Clarifying that the 200-lb (90.7-kg) GOM cod trip limit 
applies specifically to the GOM Broad Stock Area (BSA);
     Correcting several labeling and typographical errors 
pertaining to the seasonal interim closure areas;
     Extending the effective dates noted for regulations 
implemented by the interim action consistent with the effective date 
published in the Federal Register; and
     Correcting the prohibitions and other regulations to 
clarify their meaning or correct cross-references.

Gillnet Category Designations

    The Northeast Multispecies Fishery Management Plan (FMP) requires 
groundfish vessels fishing with gillnet gear to make an annual 
declaration as either a Day gillnet or Trip gillnet vessel. There are 
specific regulations and tagging requirements associated with each of 
these categories. For example, a Trip gillnet vessel is not limited in 
the number of nets may fish, but it must set and retrieve all of its 
gillnet gear in each trip. On the other hand, a Day gillnet vessel is 
limited in the number of nets it may fish, but can return to port while 
allowing the gear to remain in the water for a period of time, and then 
retrieve the gear on a subsequent trip. Once a vessel owner has elected 
one of these designations, the owner may not change the designation or 
fish under the other gillnet category for the remainder of the fishing 
year.
    The interim rule modified gillnet management measures mid-season by 
reducing the number of nets that may be fished by Day gillnet vessels 
enrolled in a sector (see page 67367 of the interim rule) and 
instituting GOM cod trip limits. Vessel owners did not have a prior 
opportunity to consider these changes when they made their designation 
as a Day or Trip gillnet vessel at the beginning of the fishing year. 
This correction provides a one-time opportunity for gillnet vessels to 
change their designation after considering management changes made by 
the interim rule. Gillnet vessels can change their declaration for the 
remainder of the 2014 fishing year by submitting a revised gillnet tag 
form from December 29, 2014, through January 28, 2015.

Clarification on GOM Cod Trip Limits

    The groundfish Regulated Mesh Area (RMA) boundaries were 
historically used for gear restrictions, and for setting trip limits in 
the commercial fishery and bag limits in the recreational fishery. In 
addition, Broad Stock Areas (BSA) were implemented in Amendment 16 to 
the FMP (75 FR 18262; April 9, 2010) to better attribute catch to 
specific groundfish stocks. There is a specific area northeast of Cape 
Cod where the GOM RMA and GOM BSA boundaries do not align (Figure 1), 
and which results in the GOM RMA overlapping the Inshore Georges Bank 
BSA. In this case, a vessel may be fishing in the Inshore Georges Bank 
BSA, but under the GOM RMA gear and trip regulations. The interaction 
of these overlapping areas was not addressed when developing the GOM 
cod interim rule,

[[Page 77947]]

and there is confusion regarding where the 200-lb (90.7-kg) GOM cod 
trip limit applies.
    The intent of the interim action was to protect GOM cod. Given that 
the GOM BSA aligns with the GOM cod stock area, this action clarifies 
that the GOM cod 200-lb (90.7-kg) trip limit is applicable to 
commercial vessels when fishing in the GOM BSA. A vessel fishing in the 
area where the Inshore Georges Bank BSA and the GOM RMA boundaries 
overlap is not subject to the cod possession limit for the GOM BSA 
because the vessel is fishing outside of the GOM BSA. As a reminder, 
the GOM cod interim rule measures restrict commercial groundfish 
vessels to fishing in only a single BSA when declaring into the GOM 
BSA.

[[Page 77948]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR29DE14.033


[[Page 77949]]



Closure Area Corrections

    Several of the seasonal interim closure areas published in the GOM 
cod interim rule (79 FR 67362; November 13, 2014; see page 67363) had 
non-substantive errors, such as missing column headings and incorrect 
labels. We are clarifying these typographical errors in the regulations 
that describe the locations of the seasonal interim closure areas. This 
notice does not move any of the seasonal interim closure areas.

Effective Date Clarification

    The management measures instituted in the GOM cod interim rule are 
effective from November 13, 2014, until May 12, 2015. The regulatory 
text accompanying the rule mistakenly states that the temporary 
regulations are effective through April 30, 2015 (the end of the 2014 
fishing year). This rule clarifies this inconsistency so that all 
temporary regulations implemented in the interim rule are effective 
until May 12, 2015.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator (AA) for Fisheries, NOAA, finds that 
pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B), there is good cause to waive prior 
notice and an opportunity for public comment on this action, as notice 
and comment would be unnecessary, and contrary to the public interest. 
This notice implements a measure at Sec.  648.4(c)(2)(iii)(C) allowing 
gillnet vessels to change their Day or Trip gillnet vessel status in-
season. This opportunity was inadvertently left out of the GOM cod 
interim action and does not substantively change the regulations. This 
notice corrects and clarifies that the 200-lb (90.7-kg) trip limit for 
GOM cod applies when fishing in the GOM Broad Stock Area only to 
eliminate confusion and does not create any new measures. This notice 
also makes minor clerical changes to the seasonal interim closure areas 
at Sec.  648.81(o)(1). Providing notice and comment on these changes is 
unnecessary because all are non-substantive and do not change the 
operation of the fishery. Moreover, delaying the correction of 
inconsistencies in regulatory text is contrary to the public interest, 
because it could affect the enforceability of the regulations and 
because inaccurate regulations could lead to public confusion and 
potentially to incorrect behavior. For the same reasons above, the 
Assistant Administrator finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to 
waive the 30-day delay in effectiveness and makes this rule effective 
immediately upon publication.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: December 18, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    Therefore, NOAA amends 50 CFR part 648 as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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


0
2. Section 648.4 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until April 30, 2015, paragraph 
(c)(2)(iii)(A), and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until April 30, 2015, 
paragraph (c)(2)(iii)(C).
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  648.4  Vessel permits.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (C) For vessels fishing for NE multispecies with gillnet gear, with 
the exception of vessels fishing under the Small Vessel permit 
category, an annual declaration as either a Day or Trip gillnet vessel 
designation as described in Sec.  648.82(j). A vessel owner electing a 
Day gillnet designation must indicate the number of gillnet tags that 
he/she is requesting, and must include a check for the cost of the 
tags, unless the vessel already possesses valid gillnet tags, as 
identified by the Regional Administrator. A permit holder letter will 
be sent to the owner of each eligible gillnet vessel, informing him/her 
of the costs associated with this tagging requirement and providing 
directions for obtaining valid tags. Unless otherwise specified in this 
paragraph (c)(2)(iii)(C) of this section, once a vessel owner has 
elected this designation, he/she may not change the designation or fish 
under the other gillnet category for the remainder of the fishing year. 
From December 29, 2014, to January 28, 2015 owners of vessels that are 
designated as Day or Trip gillnet vessels may elect to switch to a 
different gillnet vessel designation for the remainder of the 2014 
fishing year. Incomplete applications, as described in paragraph (e) of 
this section, will be considered incomplete only for the purposes of 
obtaining authorization to fish in the NE multispecies gillnet fishery 
and otherwise will be processed or issued without a gillnet 
authorization.
* * * * *

0
3. Section 648.14 is amended by
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs 
(k)(12)(v)(K) and (L), (k)(13)(ii)(K) through (M), and (k)(16)(iii)(D) 
and (F); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraphs (k)(12)(v)(M) and (N), (k)(13)(ii)(N) through (P), and 
(k)(16)(iii)(G) and (H).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (k) * * *
    (12) * * *
    (v) * * *
    (M) If fishing in the Regular B DAS Program specified in Sec.  
648.85(b)(6), fail to comply with the landing limits specified in Sec.  
648.85(b)(6)(iv)(L).
    (N) If fishing under a Regular B DAS in the Regular B DAS program, 
fail to comply with the DAS flip requirements of Sec.  
648.85(b)(6)(iv)(E) if the vessel harvests and brings on board more 
than the landing limit for a groundfish stock of concern specified in 
Sec.  648.85(b)(6)(iv)(L), other groundfish specified under Sec.  
648.86, or monkfish under Sec.  648.94.
* * * * *
    (13) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (N) Possess or land per trip more than the possession or landing 
limits specified in Sec.  648.86(a), (b), (c), (e), (g), (h), (j), (l), 
(m), (n), and (o); Sec.  648.82(b)(9) and (10); Sec.  648.85; or Sec.  
648.88, if the vessel has been issued a limited access NE multispecies 
permit or open access NE multispecies permit, as applicable.
    (O) Fish for, possess at any time during a trip, or land regulated 
NE multispecies or ocean pout specified in Sec.  648.86 after using up 
the vessel's annual DAS allocation or when not participating in the DAS 
program pursuant to Sec.  648.82, unless otherwise exempted by Sec.  
648.82(b)(9), Sec.  648.87, or Sec.  648.89, or allowed pursuant to 
Sec.  648.85(b)(6) or Sec.  648.88.
    (P) Atlantic cod. (1) Enter port in possession of more than the 
allowable limit of cod specified in Sec.  648.86(b)(8), unless the 
vessel is fishing under the cod exemption specified in Sec.  
648.86(b)(10).
    (2) Enter port in possession of more than the allowable limit of 
cod specified in Sec.  648.86(b)(9).
    (3) Fail to declare through VMS an intent to be exempt from the GOM 
cod

[[Page 77950]]

trip limit under Sec.  648.86(b)(8), as required under Sec.  
648.86(b)(10), or fish north of the exemption line if in possession of 
more than the GOM cod trip limit specified under Sec.  648.86(b)(8).
* * * * *
    (16) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (G) If fishing from a recreational vessel, a vessel with a charter/
party permit, or a charter or party boat, fish for or possess cod in or 
from the GOM Broad Stock Area, or fail to abide by Sec.  648.89(c)(9) 
if transiting with cod on board.
    (H) If fishing from a recreational vessel, a vessel with a charter/
party permit, or a charter or party boat, fail to comply with the GOM 
cod possession prohibition described in Sec.  648.89(c)(9).
* * * * *

0
4. Section 648.80 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs 
(a)(3)(viii) and (a)(4)(ix); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraphs (a)(3)(ix) and (a)(4)(x).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.80  NE Multispecies regulated mesh areas and restrictions and 
methods of fishing.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (ix) Other restrictions and exemptions. A vessel is prohibited from 
fishing in the GOM or GB Exemption Area as defined in paragraph (a)(17) 
of this section, except if fishing with exempted gear (as defined under 
this part) or under the exemptions specified in paragraphs (a)(5) 
through (7), (a)(9) through (a)(16) and (a)(18) through (a)(19), (d), 
(e), (h), and (i) of this section; or if fishing under a NE 
multispecies DAS; or if fishing on a sector trip; or if fishing under 
the Small Vessel or Handgear A permit specified in Sec.  648.82(b)(9) 
and (10), respectively; or if fishing under a Handgear B permit 
specified in Sec.  648.88(a); or if fishing under the scallop state 
waters exemptions specified in Sec.  648.54 and paragraph (a)(11) of 
this section; or if fishing under a scallop DAS in accordance with 
paragraph (h) of this section; or if fishing pursuant to a NE 
multispecies open access Charter/Party or Handgear permit specified in 
Sec.  648.88; or if fishing as a charter/party or private recreational 
vessel in compliance with Sec.  648.89. Any gear used by a vessel in 
this area must be authorized under one of these exemptions. Any gear on 
a vessel that is not authorized under one of these exemptions must not 
be available for immediate use as defined in Sec.  648.2.
    (4) * * *
    (x) Large-mesh vessels. When fishing in the GB Regulated Mesh Area, 
the minimum mesh size for any trawl net, or sink gillnet, and the 
minimum mesh size for any trawl net, or sink gillnet, when fishing in 
that portion of the GB Regulated Mesh Area that lies within the SNE 
Exemption Area, as described in paragraph (b)(10) of this section, that 
is not stowed and available for immediate use as defined in Sec.  
648.2, on a vessel or used by a vessel fishing under a DAS in the 
Large-mesh DAS program, specified in Sec.  648.82(b)(0), is 8.5-inch 
(21.6-cm) diamond or square mesh throughout the entire net. This 
restriction does not apply to nets or pieces of nets smaller than 3 ft 
(0.9 m) x 3 ft (0.9 m), (9 sq ft (0.81 sq m)), or to vessels that have 
not been issued a NE multispecies permit and that are fishing 
exclusively in state waters.
* * * * *

0
5. Section 648.81 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs 
(d)(3) and (4), (o)(1)(iii), (iv), and (viii) through (x); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraphs (d)(5) and (6), and (o)(1)(xi) through (xv).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.81  NE multispecies closed area and measures to protect EFH.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (5) No fishing vessel or person on a fishing vessel may enter, fish 
in, or be in, and no fishing gear capable of catching NE multispecies, 
unless otherwise allowed in this part, may be in, or on board a vessel 
in the area known as the Cashes Ledge Closure Area, as defined by 
straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated, 
except as specified in paragraphs (d)(6) and (i) of this section (a 
chart depicting this area is available from the Regional Administrator 
upon request):

                        Cashes Ledge Closure Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                        N.                  W.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
CL1..............................  43[deg]07'          69[deg]02'
CL2..............................  42[deg]49.5'        68[deg]46'
CL3..............................  42[deg]46.5'        68[deg]50.5'
CL4..............................  42[deg]43.5'        68[deg]58.5'
CL5..............................  42[deg]42.5'        69[deg]17.5'
CL6..............................  42[deg]49.5'        69[deg]26'
CL1..............................  43[deg]07'          69[deg]02'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (6) Unless otherwise restricted under the EFH Closure(s) specified 
in paragraph (h) of this section, paragraph (d)(5) of this section does 
not apply to persons aboard fishing vessels or fishing vessels:
    (i) That are fishing with or using exempted gear as defined under 
this part, or in the Midwater Trawl Gear Exempted Fishery as specified 
under Sec.  648.80(d), and excluding pelagic gillnet gear capable of 
catching NE multispecies, except for vessels fishing with a single 
pelagic gillnet not longer than 300 ft (91.4 m) and not greater than 6 
ft (1.83 m) deep, with a maximum mesh size of 3 inches (7.6 cm), 
provided:
    (A) The net is attached to the boat and fished in the upper two-
thirds of the water column;
    (B) The net is marked with the owner's name and vessel 
identification number;
    (C) There is no retention of regulated species; and
    (D) There is no other gear on board capable of catching NE 
multispecies;
    (ii) That are fishing under charter/party or recreational 
regulations, provided that:
    (A) For vessels fishing under charter/party regulations in the 
Cashes Ledge Closure Area or Western GOM Area Closure, as described 
under paragraph (d) and (e) of this section, respectively, it has on 
board a letter of authorization issued by the Regional Administrator, 
as specified in Sec.  648.89(e)(6);
    (B) Fish species managed by the NEFMC or MAFMC that are harvested 
or possessed by the vessel, are not sold or intended for trade, barter 
or sale, regardless of where the fish are caught; and
    (C) The vessel has no gear other than rod and reel or handline on 
board; and
    (D) The vessel does not use any NE multispecies DAS during the 
entire period for which the letter of authorization is valid;
    (iii) That are fishing with or using scallop dredge gear when 
fishing under a scallop DAS or when lawfully fishing in the Scallop 
Dredge Fishery Exemption Area as described in Sec.  648.80(a)(11), 
provided the vessel does not retain any regulated NE multispecies 
during a trip, or on any part of a trip; or
    (iv) That are fishing in the Raised Footrope Trawl Exempted Whiting 
Fishery, as specified in Sec.  648.80(a)(15).
* * * * *
    (o) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (xi) From March 1-March 31, the restrictions specified in this 
paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 3, which is 
defined by the

[[Page 77951]]

following points, connected in the order listed by straight lines, and 
bounded on the west by the coastline of Massachusetts and New 
Hampshire:

                     Seasonal Interim Closure Area 3
                           [March 1-March 31]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
MAR1.............................  43[deg]00' N        (1)
MAR2.............................  43[deg]00' N        70[deg]00' W
MAR3.............................  43[deg]30' N        70[deg]00' W
MAR4.............................  43[deg]30' N        69[deg]30' W
MAR5.............................  42[deg]30' N        69[deg]30' W
MAR6.............................  42[deg]30' N        70[deg]00' W
MAR7.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]00' W
MAR8.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]30' W
MAR9.............................  42[deg]30' N        70[deg]30' W
MAR10............................  42[deg]30' N        (2)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 43[deg]00' N latitude and the New Hampshire
  coastline.
\2\ The intersection of 42[deg]30' N latitude and the Massachusetts
  coastline.

    (xii) From April 1-April 30, the restrictions specified in this 
paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 4, which is 
defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by 
straight lines, and bounded on the west by the coastline of 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire:

                     Seasonal Interim Closure Area 4
                           [April 1-April 30]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
APR1.............................  43[deg]00' N        (1)
APR2.............................  43[deg]00' N        70[deg]00' W
APR3.............................  43[deg]30' N        70[deg]00' W
APR4.............................  43[deg]30' N        69[deg]30' W
APR5.............................  43[deg]00' N        69[deg]30' W
APR2.............................  43[deg]00' N        70[deg]00' W
APR7.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]00' W
APR8.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]30' W
APR9.............................  42[deg]00' N        70[deg]30' W
APR10............................  42[deg]00' N        (2)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 43[deg]00' N latitude and the New Hampshire
  coastline.
\2\ The intersection of 42[deg]00' N latitude and the Massachusetts
  coastline.

    (xiii) From September 1-October 31, the restrictions specified in 
this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 8, which 
is defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by 
straight lines:

                     Seasonal Interim Closure Area 8
                        [September 1-October 31]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
SEP1.............................  43[deg]00' N        70[deg]30' W
SEP2.............................  43[deg]00' N        70[deg]00' W
SEP3.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]00' W
SEP4.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]30' W
SEP1.............................  43[deg]00' N        70[deg]30' W
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (xiv) From November 1-November 30, the restrictions specified in 
this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 9, which 
is defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by 
straight lines, and bounded on the west by the coastlines of 
Massachusetts and New Hampshire:

                     Seasonal Interim Closure Area 9
                        [November 1-November 30]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
NOV1.............................  43[deg]00' N        (1)
NOV2.............................  43[deg]00' N        70[deg]00' W
NOV3.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]00' W
NOV4.............................  42[deg]15' N        70[deg]30' W
NOV5.............................  42[deg]00' N        70[deg]30' W
NOV6.............................  42[deg]00' N        (2)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 43[deg]00' N latitude and the New Hampshire
  coastline.
\2\ The intersection of 42[deg]00' N latitude and the Massachusetts
  coastline.

    (xv) From December 1-December 31, the restrictions specified in 
this paragraph (o)(1) apply to Seasonal Interim Closure Area 10, which 
is defined by the following points, connected in the order listed by 
straight lines, and bounded on the west by the coastline of 
Massachusetts:

                    Seasonal Interim Closure Area 10
                        [December 1-December 31]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Point                     Latitude           Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
DEC1.............................  42[deg]30' N        (1)
DEC2.............................  42[deg]30' N        70[deg]00' W
DEC3.............................  42[deg]00' N        70[deg]00' W
DEC4.............................  42[deg]00' N        (2)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ The intersection of 42[deg]30' N latitude and the Massachusetts
  coastline.
\2\ The intersection of 42[deg]00' N latitude and the Kingston,
  Massachusetts (mainland) coastline.

* * * * *

0
6. Section 648.82 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs 
(b)(7) and (b)(8); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraphs (b)(9) and (b)(10).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.82  Effort-control program for NE multispecies limited access 
vessels.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (9) Small Vessel category. (i) DAS allocation. A vessel qualified 
and electing to fish under the Small Vessel category may retain up to 
300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod, haddock, and yellowtail flounder, combined, 
and one Atlantic halibut per trip, without being subject to DAS 
restrictions, and the daily possession limits specified for other 
regulated species and ocean pout, as specified at Sec.  648.86, unless 
otherwise specified in this paragraph (b)(9). If the vessel elects to 
fish in the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  
648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may not possess or retain more than 200 lb 
(90.7 kg) of cod for the entire trip. If the vessel elects to fish 
south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  
648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may retain up 300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod. Any 
vessel may elect to switch into the Small Vessel category, as provided 
in Sec.  648.4(a)(1)(i)(I)(2), if the vessel meets or complies with the 
following:
    (A) The vessel is 30 ft (9.1 m) or less in length overall, as 
determined by measuring along a horizontal line drawn from a 
perpendicular raised from the outside of the most forward portion of 
the stem of the vessel to a perpendicular raised from the after most 
portion of the stern.
    (B) If construction of the vessel was begun after May 1, 1994, the 
vessel must be constructed such that the quotient of the length overall 
divided by the beam is not less than 2.5.
    (C) Acceptable verification for vessels 20 ft (6.1 m) or less in 
length shall be USCG documentation or state registration papers. For 
vessels over 20 ft (6.1 m) in length overall, the measurement of length 
must be verified in writing by a qualified marine surveyor, or the 
builder, based on the vessel's construction plans, or by other means 
determined acceptable by the Regional Administrator. A copy of the 
verification must accompany an application for a NE multispecies 
permit.
    (D) Adjustments to the Small Vessel category requirements, 
including changes to the length requirement, if required to meet 
fishing mortality goals, may be made by the Regional Administrator 
following framework procedures of Sec.  648.90.
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (10) Handgear A category. A vessel qualified and electing to fish 
under the Handgear A category, as described in Sec.  648.4(a)(1)(i)(A), 
may retain up to 300 lb (135 kg) of cod, per trip, one Atlantic halibut 
and the daily possession limit for other regulated species and ocean 
pout, as specified under Sec.  648.86, unless otherwise specified in 
this paragraph (b)(10). If the vessel elects to fish in the GOM Broad 
Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may not 
possess or retain more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of cod for the entire 
trip. If the vessel elects to fish south of the GOM Broad Stock Area, 
as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may retain

[[Page 77952]]

up 300 lb (136.1 kg) of cod. If the GB cod trip limit applicable to a 
vessel fishing under a NE multispecies DAS permit, as specified in 
Sec.  648.86(b)(9) is reduced below 300 lb (135 kg) per DAS by NMFS, 
the cod trip limit specified in this paragraph (b)(10) shall be 
adjusted to be the same as the applicable cod trip limit specified for 
NE multispecies DAS permits. For example, if the GB cod trip limit for 
NE multispecies DAS vessels was reduced to 250 lb (113.4 kg) per DAS, 
then the cod trip limit for a vessel issued a Handgear A category 
permit that is fishing outside of the GOM Broad Stock Area would also 
be reduced to 250 lb (113.4 kg). Qualified vessels electing to fish 
under the Handgear A category are subject to the following 
restrictions:
    (i) The vessel must not use or possess on board gear other than 
handgear while in possession of, fishing for, or landing NE 
multispecies, and must have at least one standard tote on board.
    (ii) A vessel may not fish for, possess, or land regulated species 
from March 1 through March 20 of each year.
    (iii) Tub-trawls must be hand-hauled only, with a maximum of 250 
hooks.
    (iv) Declaration. For any such vessel that is not required to use 
VMS pursuant to Sec.  648.10(b)(4), to fish for GB cod south of the GOM 
Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), a vessel owner 
or operator must obtain, and retain on board, a letter of authorization 
from the Regional Administrator stating an intent to fish south of the 
GOM Broad Stock Area and may not fish in any other area for a minimum 
of 7 consecutive days from the effective date of the letter of 
authorization. For any such vessel that is required, or elects, to use 
VMS pursuant to Sec.  648.10(b)(4), to fish for GB cod south of the GOM 
Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), a vessel owner 
or operator must declare an intent to fish south of the GOM Broad Stock 
Area, on each trip through the VMS prior to leaving port, in accordance 
with instructions provided by the Regional Administrator. Such vessels 
may transit the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  
648.10(k)(3)(i), provided that their gear is not available for 
immediate use as defined in Sec.  648.2.
* * * * *

0
7. Section 648.85 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph 
(b)(6)(iv)(K); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(L).
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  648.85  Special management programs.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (6) * * *
    (iv) * * *
    (L) Landing limits. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph 
(b)(6)(iv)(L), or restricted pursuant to Sec.  648.86, a NE 
multispecies vessel fishing in the Regular B DAS Program described in 
this paragraph (b)(6), and fishing under a Regular B DAS, may not land 
more than 100 lb (45.5 kg) per DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to a 
maximum of 1,000 lb (454 kg) per trip, of any of the following species/
stocks from the areas specified in paragraph (b)(6)(v) of this section: 
Cod, American plaice, witch flounder, SNE/MA winter flounder, and GB 
yellowtail flounder; and may not land more than 25 lb (11.3 kg) per 
DAS, or any part of a DAS, up to a maximum of 250 lb (113 kg) per trip 
of CC/GOM yellowtail flounder. If the vessel elects to fish in the GOM 
Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), the vessel may 
not possess or retain more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of cod for the entire 
trip. In addition, trawl vessels, which are required to fish with a 
haddock separator trawl, as specified in paragraph (a)(3)(iii)(A) of 
this section, or a Ruhle trawl, as specified in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J) 
of this section, and other gear that may be required in order to reduce 
catches of stocks of concern as described in paragraph (b)(6)(iv)(J) of 
this section, are restricted to the trip limits specified in paragraph 
(e) of this section.
* * * * *

0
8. Section 648.86 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs 
(b)(5) through (b)(7); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraphs (b)(8) through (b)(10).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.86  NE Multispecies possession restrictions.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (8) GOM cod landing and possession limit. Except as provided in 
paragraph (b)(10) of this section, or unless otherwise restricted under 
Sec.  648.85, a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies limited access 
permit, including a vessel issued a monkfish limited access permit and 
fishing under the monkfish Category C or D permit provisions, may not 
possess or land more than 200 lb (90.7 kg) of cod in or from the GOM 
Broad Stock Area described in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i). Cod on board a 
vessel subject to this landing and possession limit must be separated 
from other species of fish and stored so as to be readily available for 
inspection.
    (i) Declaration. A vessel with a limited access NE multispecies 
permit that fishes or intends to fish on a NE multispecies trip in the 
GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), must 
declare its intention to do so through the VMS or IVR, and is 
prohibited from fishing outside of this area for the remainder of the 
trip.
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (9) GB cod landing and maximum possession limits. Unless otherwise 
restricted under Sec.  648.85, a vessel fishing under a NE multispecies 
DAS permit, including a vessel issued a monkfish limited access permit 
and fishing under the monkfish Category C or D permit provisions, may 
land up to 2,000 lb (907.2 kg) of cod per DAS, or part of a DAS, up to 
20,000 lb (9,072 kg) provided it complies with the requirements 
specified in paragraph (b)(10) of this section.
    (10) Exemption. A vessel with a NE multispecies limited access 
permit fishing under a NE multispecies trip is exempt from the landing 
limit described in paragraph (b)(8) of this section when fishing south 
of the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), 
provided that the vessel complies with the requirement of this 
paragraph (b)(10).
    (i) Declaration. With the exception of a vessel declared into the 
U.S./Canada Management Area, as described in Sec.  648.85(a)(3)(ii), a 
sector vessel, or a common pool vessel that is declared into the NE 
multispecies fishery and fishes or intends to fish south of the GOM 
Broad Stock Area, specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), must, prior to 
leaving port, declare its intention to do so through the VMS, in 
accordance with instructions to be provided by the Regional 
Administrator. In lieu of a VMS declaration, the Regional Administrator 
may authorize such vessels to obtain a letter of authorization. If a 
letter of authorization is required, such vessel may not fish north of 
the exemption area for a minimum of 7 consecutive days (when fishing 
under the multispecies DAS program), and must carry the letter of 
authorization on board.
    (ii) A vessel with a limited access NE multispecies permit that is 
exempt from the GOM cod landing limit pursuant to paragraph (b)(10)(i) 
of this section may not fish in the GOM Broad Stock Area, as specified 
in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i), but may transit the GOM Broad Stock Area,

[[Page 77953]]

provided that its gear is not available for immediate use as defined in 
Sec.  648.2.
* * * * *

0
9. Section 648.87 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs 
(b)(1)(x), (c)(2)(ii)(E), and (c)(2)(iii); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraph (b)(1)(xi), (c)(2)(ii)(G), and (c)(2)(iv).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.87  Sector Allocation.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (xi) Trip limits. With the exception of the GOM cod trip limit at 
Sec.  648.86(b)(8), the Atlantic halibut trip limit at Sec.  648.86(c), 
and the stocks listed in Sec.  648.86(l), a sector vessel is not 
limited in the amount of allocated NE multispecies stocks that can be 
harvested on a particular fishing trip, unless otherwise specified in 
the operations plan.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (G) Trip limits on NE multispecies stocks for which a sector 
receives an allocation of ACE pursuant to paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this 
section (i.e., all stocks except Atlantic halibut, ocean pout, 
windowpane flounder, and Atlantic wolffish), unless otherwise specified 
Sec.  648.86(b)(8) and paragraph (b)(1)(xi) of this section.
    (iv) Regulations that may not be exempted for sector participants. 
The Regional Administrator may not exempt participants in a sector from 
the following Federal fishing regulations: Specific time and areas 
within the NE multispecies year-round closure areas; permitting 
restrictions (e.g., vessel upgrades, etc.); gear restrictions designed 
to minimize habitat impacts (e.g., roller gear restrictions, etc.); 
reporting requirements; and AMs specified at Sec.  648.90(a)(5)(i)(D). 
For the purposes of paragraph (c)(2)(i) of this section, the DAS 
reporting requirements specified at Sec.  648.82; the SAP-specific 
reporting requirements specified at Sec.  648.85; and the reporting 
requirements associated with a dockside monitoring program are not 
considered reporting requirements, and the Regional Administrator may 
exempt sector participants from these requirements as part of the 
approval of yearly operations plans. For the purpose of paragraph 
(c)(2)(i) of this section, the Regional Administrator may not grant 
sector participants exemptions from the NE multispecies year-round 
closures areas defined as Essential Fish Habitat Closure Areas as 
defined at Sec.  648.81(h); the Fippennies Ledge Area as defined in 
paragraph (c)(2)(i)(A) of this section; Closed Area I and Closed Area 
II, as defined at Sec.  648.81(a) and (b), respectively, during the 
period February 16 through April 30; and the Western GOM Closure Area, 
as defined at Sec.  648.81(e), where it overlaps with any Seasonal 
Interim Closure Areas, as defined at Sec.  648.81(o)(1). This list may 
be modified through a framework adjustment, as specified in Sec.  
648.90.
    (A) Fippennies Ledge Area. The Fippennies Ledge Area is bounded by 
the following coordinates, connected by straight lines in the order 
listed:

                          Fippennies Ledge Area
------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Point                   N. Latitude         W. Longitude
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1..............................  42[deg]50.0'         69[deg]17.0'
2..............................  42[deg]44.0'         69[deg]14.0'
3..............................  42[deg]44.0'         69[deg]18.0'
4..............................  42[deg]50.0'         69[deg]21.0'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (B) [Reserved]
* * * * *

0
10. Section 648.88 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraph 
(a)(3); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraph (a)(4).
    The addition reads as follows:


Sec.  648.88  Multispecies open access permit restrictions.

    (a) * * *
    (4) The vessel may possess and land up to 75 lb (90.7 kg) of cod, 
and up to the landing and possession limit restrictions for other NE 
multispecies specified in Sec.  648.86, provided the vessel complies 
with the restrictions specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. If 
either the GOM or GB cod trip limit applicable to a vessel fishing 
under a NE multispecies DAS permit, as specified in Sec.  648.86(b)(8) 
and (9), respectively, is adjusted by NMFS, the cod trip limit 
specified in this paragraph (a)(4) shall be adjusted proportionally 
(rounded up to the nearest 25 lb (11.3 kg)). For example, if the GOM 
cod trip limit specified at Sec.  648.86(b)(8) doubled, then the cod 
trip limit for the Handgear B category fishing in the GOM Broad Stock 
Area would also double to 150 lb (68 kg).
* * * * *

0
11. Section 648.89 is amended by:
0
a. Suspending from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, paragraphs 
(c)(8) and (e)(4); and
0
b. Temporarily adding from December 29, 2014 until May 12, 2015, 
paragraph (c)(9) and (e)(7).
    The additions read as follows:


Sec.  648.89  Recreational and charter/party vessel restrictions.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (9) Private recreational and charter/party vessels. (i) Unless 
otherwise restricted in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, each person 
on a private recreational vessel or a charter party boat may possess no 
more than 10 cod per day in, or harvested from, the EEZ, and no person 
on a vessel with a charter/party permit may possess more than 10 cod 
per day. Unless further restricted by the GOM Seasonal Interim Closure 
Areas specified under Sec.  648.81(o)(1), charter or party boats and 
recreational vessels fishing in the EEZ, and vessels issued charter/
party permits may not fish for or possess cod in or from the GOM Broad 
Stock Area as specified in Sec.  648.10(k)(3)(i).
    (ii) For purposes of counting fish, fillets will be converted to 
whole fish at the place of landing by dividing the number of fillets by 
two. If fish are filleted into a single (butterfly) fillet, such fillet 
shall be deemed to be from one whole fish.
    (iii) Cod caught by more than one person aboard a vessel fishing 
pursuant to Sec.  648.89 may be pooled in one or more containers. 
Compliance with the possession limits will be determined by dividing 
the number of fish on board by the number of persons on board. If there 
is a violation of the possession limit on board a vessel carrying more 
than one person, and cod is pooled together, the violation shall be 
deemed to have been committed by the owner or operator of the vessel.
    (iv) Private recreational vessels, charter or party boats, and 
vessels issued charter/party permits in possession of cod caught 
lawfully outside the GOM Broad Stock Area may transit the GOM Broad 
Stock Area, provided all bait and hooks are removed from fishing rods 
and any cod on board has been gutted and stored.
* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (7) GOM Closed Areas. Unless otherwise specified in this paragraph 
(e)(7), a vessel fishing under charter/party regulations may not fish 
in the GOM closed areas specified at Sec.  648.81(d)(5), (e)(3), and 
(o)(1) during the time periods specified in those paragraphs, unless 
the vessel has on board a valid letter of authorization issued by the 
Regional Administrator pursuant to Sec.  648.81(d)(6). The

[[Page 77954]]

conditions and restrictions of the letter of authorization must be 
complied with for the rest of the fishing year, beginning with the 
start of the participation period of the letter of authorization. A 
vessel fishing under charter/party regulations may not fish in the GOM 
Cod Spawning Protection Area specified at Sec.  648.81(n)(1) or the GOM 
Seasonal Interim Closure Areas at Sec.  648.81(o)(1) during the time 
periods specified in that paragraph, unless the vessel complies with 
the requirements specified at Sec.  648.81(n)(2)(iii).
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2014-30106 Filed 12-24-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P