Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Permitting and Reporting for Private Recreational Tilefish Vessels, 43149-43152 [2020-14853]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 137 / Thursday, July 16, 2020 / Rules and Regulations rule (83 FR 51391, October 11, 2018), and with objectives of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, and is not expected to negatively impact stock health or to affect the stock in ways not already analyzed in those documents. Another principal consideration is the objective of providing opportunities to harvest the full annual U.S. BFT quota without exceeding it based on the goals of the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments, including to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis and to optimize the ability of all permit categories to harvest their full BFT quota allocations (related to § 635.27(a)(8)(x)). Based on the considerations above, NMFS is transferring 30 mt of the available 143 mt of Reserve category quota to the Harpoon category. Therefore, NMFS adjusts the Harpoon category quota to 76 mt for the 2020 Harpoon category fishing season (i.e., through November 15, 2020, or until the Harpoon category quota is reached, whichever comes first), and adjusts the Reserve category quota to 113 mt. Monitoring and Reporting NMFS will continue to monitor the BFT fishery closely. Dealers are required to submit landing reports within 24 hours of a dealer receiving BFT. Late reporting by dealers compromises NMFS’ ability to timely implement actions such as quota adjustments and closures, and may result in enforcement actions. Additionally, and separate from the dealer reporting requirement, Harpoon category vessel owners are required to report the catch of all BFT retained or discarded dead within 24 hours of the landing(s) or end of each trip, by accessing hmspermits.noaa.gov or by using the HMS Catch Reporting app, or calling (888) 872–8862 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.). Depending on the level of fishing effort and catch rates, NMFS may determine that additional action (i.e., quota adjustment, daily retention limit adjustment, or closure) is necessary to enhance scientific data collection from, and fishing opportunities in, all geographic areas, and to ensure available subquotas are not exceeded. If needed, subsequent adjustments will be published in the Federal Register. In addition, fishermen may call the Atlantic Tunas Information Line at (978) 281–9260, or access hmspermits.noaa.gov, for updates on quota monitoring and inseason adjustments. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jul 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 43149 Classification DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR 635, which was issued pursuant to section 304(c), and is exempt from review under Executive Order 12866. The Assistant Administrator for NMFS (AA) 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 impracticable and contrary to the public interest to provide prior notice of, and an opportunity for public comment on, this action for the following reasons: The regulations implementing the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and amendments provide for inseason retention limit adjustments to respond to the unpredictable nature of BFT availability on the fishing grounds, the migratory nature of this species, and the regional variations in the BFT fishery. Affording prior notice and opportunity for public comment to implement the quota transfer for the remainder of 2020 is also contrary to the public interest as such a delay would likely result in closure of the Harpoon fishery when the baseline quota is met and the need to reopen the fishery, with attendant administrative costs and costs to the fishery. The delay would preclude the fishery from harvesting BFT that are available on the fishing grounds and that might otherwise become unavailable during a delay. This action does not raise conservation and management concerns. Transferring quota from the Reserve category to the Harpoon category does not affect the overall U.S. BFT quota, and available data show the adjustment would have a minimal risk of exceeding the ICCATallocated quota. NMFS notes that the public had an opportunity to comment on the underlying rulemakings that established the U.S. BFT quota and the inseason adjustment criteria. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Authority: 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. and 1801 et seq. Dated: July 13, 2020. He´le`ne M.N. Scalliet, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–15409 Filed 7–13–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No.: 200706–0178] RIN 0648–BJ38 Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Permitting and Reporting for Private Recreational Tilefish Vessels National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This action establishes permitting and reporting requirements for privately owned and operated recreational vessels fishing for tilefish north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. This action is necessary to implement technical measures for the conceptual permitting and reporting requirements previously approved as part of Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. The intended effect of this action is to monitor recreational tilefish effort and catch for this periodic offshore fishery. DATES: This rule is effective August 17, 2020. ADDRESSES: Copies of Amendment 6 and the Environmental Assessment (EA), with its associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), are available from the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901. The Amendment 6 EA/FONSI/RIR is also accessible online at: www.mafmc.org. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and by visiting www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting ‘‘Currently under Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hansen, Fishery Management Specialist, 978–281–9225. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background This rule implements the technical components for the previously approved private recreational tilefish permitting and reporting requirements in Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan (FMP) (82 FR 52851; E:\FR\FM\16JYR1.SGM 16JYR1 43150 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 137 / Thursday, July 16, 2020 / Rules and Regulations November 15, 2017). The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council developed these measures for the tilefish fishery in Federal waters north of the Virginia/ North Carolina border, consistent with the requirements of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). On January 29, 2020, we published a proposed rule (85 FR 5186) and solicited comments on the proposed measures for a 30-day period that ended on February 28, 2020. We reviewed all comments received during this comment period. See Comments and Responses section for more information. Permitting and Reporting Requirements With this rule, private recreational vessel owners are required to obtain a Federal vessel permit to fish for and/or retain golden or blueline tilefish in the mid-Atlantic, as recommended by the Council and approved as part of Amendment 6. Any vessel that intends to fish for golden and/or blueline tilefish must obtain a Federal private recreational tilefish vessel permit before taking a trip. Tilefish retained on recreational trips may only be kept for personal consumption and may not be sold or bartered. Private recreational tilefish anglers may apply for the permit on the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) website (https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/about/greateratlantic-regional-fisheries-office). The GARFO website has a link to the Fish Online system, where applicants will create a username and password, fill out the required information, and submit their application. Applicants will be required to provide the following information: Vessel name; owner name or name of the owner’s authorized representative; mailing address and telephone number; USCG documentation number and a copy of the vessel’s current USCG documentation or, for a vessel not required to be documented under title 46 U.S.C., the vessel’s state registration number and a copy of the current state registration; and any other information required by the Regional Administrator. Once the application has been processed, the permit will be available to print from the computer and/or a paper copy can be mailed to the applicant. There will be no cost to obtain the private recreational tilefish vessel permit. Permits must be renewed annually. Private recreational tilefish vessels will also be required to submit electronic vessel trip reports (eVTR) for any trip targeting tilefish through a VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jul 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 NMFS-approved electronic reporting system. There are several platforms available to submit electronic reports including SAFIS’s eTrips, and GARFO’s Fish Online. Fish Online is a system with both browser-based and mobile application versions available and is the recommended method to submit reports. Additionally, once a permit is issued to a vessel through the Fish Online system, the permit holder may use the same username and password to log on to either the Fish Online browser or app to submit their eVTR. The following information will be required to submit an eVTR for a private recreational tilefish trip: Vessel name; USCG documentation number (or state registration number, if undocumented); permit number; date/time sailed; date/ time landed; trip type; number of anglers; species caught; gear fished; quantity and size of gear; soak time; depth; chart area; latitude/longitude where fishing occurred; count of individual golden and blueline tilefish landed or discarded; and port and state landed. The 24-hour submission requirement is consistent with the requirement for Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit holders, because we expect some anglers may hold both permits. This action does not change the regulations for tilefish party/charter vessels and will apply to anglers using a personal vessel to fish for and/or retain blueline or golden tilefish. However, this may be the same vessel that is used in for-hire or commercial fisheries on other trips. This is a separate permit that will be required if a boat fishes privately (not taking paying clients) for tilefish. Fish retained on a recreational trip may only be kept for personal consumption and may not be sold or bartered. Comments and Responses We received 27 comments during the proposed rule. Fourteen commenters supported and 12 opposed the new measures. One comment was not relevant to this action and was forwarded to staff that work with Atlantic bluefin tuna. The commenters opposed to the permitting and reporting requirements said the measures were overly burdensome, unfairly targeted recreational fishermen, were duplicative with requirements for HMS, and there are costs associated with obtaining the proper equipment to report. Several commenters also noted their dissatisfaction with the different bag limits between the recreational and commercial sectors; however, that issue is not related to this action. PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 We do understand the requirements for private recreational fishermen to obtain a permit and submit reports are new concepts in our region and that they require extra effort. We will be conducting outreach and education to minimize confusion and assist private recreational fishermen with obtaining a permit and understanding the reporting forms. The permitting and reporting requirements will help to gather necessary recreational tilefish catch and effort data that are not currently captured through dockside interviews and/or angler phone surveys. These data are critical to the Council’s efforts to manage effectively both blueline and golden tilefish. There is no cost to obtain the private recreational tilefish vessel permit, and there are no postage costs associated with the permit or the eVTR because both will be submitted electronically. We estimate that the initial private recreational tilefish permit applications would take an average of 45 minutes to complete and an average of 5 minutes to complete the eVTR. We expect that private recreational fishermen already have a smartphone, computer, or tablet to obtain the Federal private recreational tilefish vessel permit and submit their electronic trip report. Additionally, many vessels that are fishing offshore for tilefish are likely equipped with a Global Positioning System to provide location information for the reports. This is because the tilefish fishery occurs offshore, typically in waters 50–100 miles (80–160 kilometers) from shore, and most vessels venturing that far have electronic navigational capabilities. We did explore using existing HMS permitting and reporting systems for tilefish. This was not adopted because HMS permits and reporting data are managed in a separate database from our region, tilefish are not migratory species, and the HMS permit is a coast wide permit, where this permit covers waters north of the Virginia/North Carolina line. In response to the comments relating to duplication of permit requirements, if a vessel has an HMS permit and the private recreational tilefish permit there may be some duplication as they report certain highly migratory species caught through the HMS report system, then report all catch through our eVTR system. This duplication should only be temporary as we are working on a ‘‘one-stop shop’’ reporting system that will allow one report to meet the requirements from GARFO, HMS, and the Southeast Regional Office. This long-term solution is under development, but will not be ready by the time these tilefish private E:\FR\FM\16JYR1.SGM 16JYR1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 137 / Thursday, July 16, 2020 / Rules and Regulations recreational measures are due to be implemented. Changes From the Proposed Rule There are no changes to the measures from the proposed rule. Classification The Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, determined that this action is necessary for the conservation and management of the tilefish fishery and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This final rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action, because this rule is not significant under 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. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. This final rule contains two collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the PRA. NMFS has submitted these requirements to OMB for approval under control number 0648–0202 and 0648–0212. The public reporting burden for initial private recreational tilefish permit applications is estimated to average 45 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Public reporting burden for private recreational tilefish vessel trip reports is estimated to average 5 minutes per response. Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jul 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to GARFO at the ADDRESSES above, and to OIRA by visiting www.reginfo.gov/ public.do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting ‘‘Currently under Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: July 6, 2020. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.4, add paragraphs (a)(12)(iii) and (c)(2)(i)(A) through (B) to read as follows: ■ § 648.4 Vessel permits. (a) * * * (12) * * * (iii) Private recreational vessel permits. Any private recreational vessel must have been issued, under this part, a Federal recreational tilefish vessel permit to fish for, possess, or land either golden tilefish or blueline tilefish in the Tilefish Management Unit. Such vessel must observe the recreational possession limits as specified at § 648.296 and the prohibition on sale. * * * * * (c) * * * (2) * * * (i) * * * (A) An application for a private recreational tilefish permit issued under this section, in addition to the information specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, also must contain at least the following information, and any other information required by the Regional Administrator: Vessel name, owner name or name of the owner’s PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 43151 authorized representative; mailing address and telephone number; USCG documentation number and a copy of the vessel’s current USCG documentation or, for a vessel not required to be documented under title 46 U.S.C., the vessel’s state registration number and a copy of the current state registration. (B) [Reserved] * * * * * ■ 3. In § 648.7, revise paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (b)(1)(iii) and add paragraphs (b)(1)(iv) and (f)(2)(iv) to read as follows: § 648.7 Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. * * * * * (b) * * * (1) * * * (i) General. The reporting requirements specified in this paragraph (b)(1)(i) for an owner or operator of a vessel fishing for, possessing, or landing Atlantic chub mackerel are effective through December 31, 2020. If authorized in writing by the Regional Administrator, a vessel owner or operator may submit reports electronically, for example by using a VMS or other media. Except for vessel owners or operators fishing under a surfclam or ocean quahog permit, or fishing under a private recreational tilefish permit, the owner or operator of any vessel issued a valid permit or eligible to renew a limited access permit under this part must: (A) Maintain on board the vessel, and submit, an accurate fishing log report for each fishing trip, regardless of species fished for or taken, on forms supplied by or approved by the Regional Administrator. (B) If authorized in writing by the Regional Administrator, a vessel owner or operator may submit reports electronically, for example by using a VMS or other media. (C) At least the following information and any other information required by the Regional Administrator must be provided: (1) Vessel name; (2) USCG documentation number (or state registration number, if undocumented); (3) Permit number; (4) Date/time sailed; (5) Date/time landed; (6) Trip type; (7) Number of crew; (8) Number of anglers (if a charter or party boat); (9) Gear fished; (10) Quantity and size of gear; (11) Mesh/ring size; (12) Chart area fished; E:\FR\FM\16JYR1.SGM 16JYR1 43152 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 137 / Thursday, July 16, 2020 / Rules and Regulations (13) Average depth; (14) Latitude/longitude (or loran station and bearings); (15) Total hauls per area fished; (16) Average tow time duration; (17) Hail weight, in pounds (or count of individual fish, if a party or charter vessel), by species, of all species, or parts of species, such as monkfish livers, landed or discarded; and, (18) In the case of skate discards, ‘‘small’’ (i.e., less than 23 inches (58.42 cm), total length) or ‘‘large’’ (i.e., 23 inches (58.42 cm) or greater, total length) skates; (19) Dealer permit number; (20) Dealer name; (21) Date sold, port and state landed; and (22) Vessel operator’s name, signature, and operator’s permit number (if applicable). * * * * * (iii) Charter/Party vessel permit owners and operators. The owner or operator of any fishing vessel that holds a Federal charter/party (for-hire) permit to fish for Atlantic bluefish, black sea bass, scup, summer flounder, tilefish, Atlantic mackerel, squid, and/or butterfish, when on a trip carrying passengers for hire, must submit the required Vessel Trip Report by electronic means. This report must be submitted through a software application approved by NMFS and must contain all applicable information outlined in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(C) of this section. (iv) Private tilefish recreational vessel owners and operators. The owner or operator of any fishing vessel that holds a Federal private recreational tilefish permit, must report for each recreational trip fishing for or retaining blueline or golden tilefish in the Tilefish Management Unit. The required Vessel Trip Report must be submitted by electronic means. This report must be submitted through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system within 24 hours of the trip returning to port. The vessel operator may keep paper records while onboard and upload the data after landing. The report must contain the following information: (A) Vessel name; (B) USCG documentation number (or state registration number, if undocumented); (C) Permit number; VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jul 15, 2020 Jkt 250001 (D) Date/time sailed; (E) Date/time landed; (F) Trip type; (G) Number of anglers; (H) Species (I) Gear fished; (J) Quantity and size of gear; (K) Soak time; (L) Depth; (M) Chart Area; (N) Latitude/longitude where fishing occurred; (O) Count of individual golden and blueline tilefish landed or discarded; and (P) Port and state landed. * * * * * (f) * * * (2) * * * (iv) Private recreational tilefish electronic log reports, required by paragraph (b)(1)(iv) of this section, must be submitted within 24 hours after entering port at the conclusion of a trip. * * * * * ■ 4. In § 648.8 add paragraph (f) to read as follows: § 648.8 Vessel identification. * * * * * (f) Private Recreational Tilefish Vessels. Vessels issued only a Federal private recreational tilefish permit are not subject to the requirements of § 648.8, but must comply with any other applicable state or Federal vessel identification requirements. ■ 5. In § 648.11 revise paragraph (a) to read as follows: § 648.11 Monitoring coverage. (a) Coverage. The Regional Administrator may request any vessel holding a permit for Atlantic sea scallops, NE multispecies, monkfish, skates, Atlantic mackerel, squid, butterfish, scup, black sea bass, bluefish, spiny dogfish, Atlantic herring, tilefish, Atlantic surfclam, ocean quahog, or Atlantic deep-sea red crab; or a moratorium permit for summer flounder; to carry a NMFS-certified fisheries observer. A vessel holding a permit for Atlantic sea scallops is subject to the additional requirements specific in paragraph (g) of this section. Also, any vessel or vessel owner/ operator that fishes for, catches or lands hagfish, or intends to fish for, catch, or land hagfish in or from the exclusive economic zone must carry a NMFS- PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 certified fisheries observer when requested by the Regional Administrator in accordance with the requirements of this section. The requirements of this section do not apply to vessels with only a Federal private recreational tilefish permit. * * * * * ■ 6. In § 648.14 add paragraph (u)(1)(iii)(C) and revise paragraph (u)(2)(i)(C) to read as follows: § 648.14 Prohibitions. * * * * * (u) * * * (1) * * * (iii) * * * (C) Operate a private recreational vessel to fish for, retain, and/or possess blueline or golden tilefish, in the Tilefish Management Unit, without a valid tilefish private recreational permit as required in § 648.4(a)(12)(iii). (2) * * * (i) * * * (C) The tilefish were harvested in or from the Tilefish Management Unit by a vessel with a Federal private recreational tilefish permit or a Federal charter/party tilefish permit. * * * * * ■ 7. In § 648.296 revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (b)(1) to read as follows: § 648.296 Tilefish recreational possession limits and gear restrictions. (a) * * * (1) The recreational tilefish possession limit for charter/party and private recreational anglers is eight golden tilefish per angler per trip. Any vessel engaged in recreational fishing for golden tilefish may not retain golden tilefish, unless issued a valid Federal charter/party permit, pursuant to § 648.4(a)(12)(ii), or a valid Federal private recreational tilefish permit issued pursuant to § 648.4(a)(12)(iv). * * * * * (b) * * * (1) Private recreational vessels. Anglers fishing onboard a vessel issued a Federal private recreational tilefish permit pursuant to § 648.4(a)(12)(iv), may land up to three blueline tilefish per person per trip. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–14853 Filed 7–15–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\16JYR1.SGM 16JYR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 137 (Thursday, July 16, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 43149-43152]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-14853]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No.: 200706-0178]
RIN 0648-BJ38


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Permitting and 
Reporting for Private Recreational Tilefish Vessels

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This action establishes permitting and reporting requirements 
for privately owned and operated recreational vessels fishing for 
tilefish north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. This action is 
necessary to implement technical measures for the conceptual permitting 
and reporting requirements previously approved as part of Amendment 6 
to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan. The intended effect of this 
action is to monitor recreational tilefish effort and catch for this 
periodic offshore fishery.

DATES: This rule is effective August 17, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Copies of Amendment 6 and the Environmental Assessment (EA), 
with its associated Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and the 
Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), are available from the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council, 800 North State Street, Suite 201, Dover, 
DE 19901. The Amendment 6 EA/FONSI/RIR is also accessible online at: 
www.mafmc.org.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted to the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries 
Office and by visiting www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find this 
particular information collection by selecting ``Currently under 
Review--Open for Public Comments'' or by using the search function.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Hansen, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-281-9225.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    This rule implements the technical components for the previously 
approved private recreational tilefish permitting and reporting 
requirements in Amendment 6 to the Tilefish Fishery Management Plan 
(FMP) (82 FR 52851;

[[Page 43150]]

November 15, 2017). The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council 
developed these measures for the tilefish fishery in Federal waters 
north of the Virginia/North Carolina border, consistent with the 
requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). On January 29, 2020, we 
published a proposed rule (85 FR 5186) and solicited comments on the 
proposed measures for a 30-day period that ended on February 28, 2020.
    We reviewed all comments received during this comment period. See 
Comments and Responses section for more information.

Permitting and Reporting Requirements

    With this rule, private recreational vessel owners are required to 
obtain a Federal vessel permit to fish for and/or retain golden or 
blueline tilefish in the mid-Atlantic, as recommended by the Council 
and approved as part of Amendment 6.
    Any vessel that intends to fish for golden and/or blueline tilefish 
must obtain a Federal private recreational tilefish vessel permit 
before taking a trip. Tilefish retained on recreational trips may only 
be kept for personal consumption and may not be sold or bartered. 
Private recreational tilefish anglers may apply for the permit on the 
Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office (GARFO) website (https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/about/greater-atlantic-regional-fisheries-office). The GARFO website has a link to the Fish Online system, where 
applicants will create a username and password, fill out the required 
information, and submit their application. Applicants will be required 
to provide the following information: Vessel name; owner name or name 
of the owner's authorized representative; mailing address and telephone 
number; USCG documentation number and a copy of the vessel's current 
USCG documentation or, for a vessel not required to be documented under 
title 46 U.S.C., the vessel's state registration number and a copy of 
the current state registration; and any other information required by 
the Regional Administrator. Once the application has been processed, 
the permit will be available to print from the computer and/or a paper 
copy can be mailed to the applicant. There will be no cost to obtain 
the private recreational tilefish vessel permit. Permits must be 
renewed annually.
    Private recreational tilefish vessels will also be required to 
submit electronic vessel trip reports (eVTR) for any trip targeting 
tilefish through a NMFS-approved electronic reporting system. There are 
several platforms available to submit electronic reports including 
SAFIS's eTrips, and GARFO's Fish Online. Fish Online is a system with 
both browser-based and mobile application versions available and is the 
recommended method to submit reports. Additionally, once a permit is 
issued to a vessel through the Fish Online system, the permit holder 
may use the same username and password to log on to either the Fish 
Online browser or app to submit their eVTR. The following information 
will be required to submit an eVTR for a private recreational tilefish 
trip: Vessel name; USCG documentation number (or state registration 
number, if undocumented); permit number; date/time sailed; date/time 
landed; trip type; number of anglers; species caught; gear fished; 
quantity and size of gear; soak time; depth; chart area; latitude/
longitude where fishing occurred; count of individual golden and 
blueline tilefish landed or discarded; and port and state landed. The 
24-hour submission requirement is consistent with the requirement for 
Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit holders, because we expect some 
anglers may hold both permits.
    This action does not change the regulations for tilefish party/
charter vessels and will apply to anglers using a personal vessel to 
fish for and/or retain blueline or golden tilefish. However, this may 
be the same vessel that is used in for-hire or commercial fisheries on 
other trips. This is a separate permit that will be required if a boat 
fishes privately (not taking paying clients) for tilefish. Fish 
retained on a recreational trip may only be kept for personal 
consumption and may not be sold or bartered.

Comments and Responses

    We received 27 comments during the proposed rule. Fourteen 
commenters supported and 12 opposed the new measures. One comment was 
not relevant to this action and was forwarded to staff that work with 
Atlantic bluefin tuna. The commenters opposed to the permitting and 
reporting requirements said the measures were overly burdensome, 
unfairly targeted recreational fishermen, were duplicative with 
requirements for HMS, and there are costs associated with obtaining the 
proper equipment to report. Several commenters also noted their 
dissatisfaction with the different bag limits between the recreational 
and commercial sectors; however, that issue is not related to this 
action.
    We do understand the requirements for private recreational 
fishermen to obtain a permit and submit reports are new concepts in our 
region and that they require extra effort. We will be conducting 
outreach and education to minimize confusion and assist private 
recreational fishermen with obtaining a permit and understanding the 
reporting forms. The permitting and reporting requirements will help to 
gather necessary recreational tilefish catch and effort data that are 
not currently captured through dockside interviews and/or angler phone 
surveys. These data are critical to the Council's efforts to manage 
effectively both blueline and golden tilefish.
    There is no cost to obtain the private recreational tilefish vessel 
permit, and there are no postage costs associated with the permit or 
the eVTR because both will be submitted electronically. We estimate 
that the initial private recreational tilefish permit applications 
would take an average of 45 minutes to complete and an average of 5 
minutes to complete the eVTR. We expect that private recreational 
fishermen already have a smartphone, computer, or tablet to obtain the 
Federal private recreational tilefish vessel permit and submit their 
electronic trip report. Additionally, many vessels that are fishing 
offshore for tilefish are likely equipped with a Global Positioning 
System to provide location information for the reports. This is because 
the tilefish fishery occurs offshore, typically in waters 50-100 miles 
(80-160 kilometers) from shore, and most vessels venturing that far 
have electronic navigational capabilities.
    We did explore using existing HMS permitting and reporting systems 
for tilefish. This was not adopted because HMS permits and reporting 
data are managed in a separate database from our region, tilefish are 
not migratory species, and the HMS permit is a coast wide permit, where 
this permit covers waters north of the Virginia/North Carolina line. In 
response to the comments relating to duplication of permit 
requirements, if a vessel has an HMS permit and the private 
recreational tilefish permit there may be some duplication as they 
report certain highly migratory species caught through the HMS report 
system, then report all catch through our eVTR system. This duplication 
should only be temporary as we are working on a ``one-stop shop'' 
reporting system that will allow one report to meet the requirements 
from GARFO, HMS, and the Southeast Regional Office. This long-term 
solution is under development, but will not be ready by the time these 
tilefish private

[[Page 43151]]

recreational measures are due to be implemented.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    There are no changes to the measures from the proposed rule.

Classification

    The Administrator, Greater Atlantic Region, NMFS, determined that 
this action is necessary for the conservation and management of the 
tilefish fishery and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule is not an Executive Order 13771 regulatory action, 
because this rule is not significant under 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. No comments were received 
regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis was not required and none was prepared.
    This final rule contains two collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which have been 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the PRA. 
NMFS has submitted these requirements to OMB for approval under control 
number 0648-0202 and 0648-0212.
    The public reporting burden for initial private recreational 
tilefish permit applications is estimated to average 45 minutes per 
response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching 
existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and 
completing and reviewing the collection of information. Public 
reporting burden for private recreational tilefish vessel trip reports 
is estimated to average 5 minutes per response. Public comment is 
sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of information is 
necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, 
including whether the information shall have practical utility; the 
accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, 
and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize 
the burden of the collection of information, including through the use 
of automated collection techniques or other forms of information 
technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the 
collection of information to GARFO at the ADDRESSES above, and to OIRA 
by visiting www.reginfo.gov/public.do/PRAMain. Find this particular 
information collection by selecting ``Currently under Review--Open for 
Public Comments'' or by using the search function. Notwithstanding any 
other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no 
person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a 
collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, 
unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB 
Control Number.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: July 6, 2020.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is amended 
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. In Sec.  648.4, add paragraphs (a)(12)(iii) and (c)(2)(i)(A) through 
(B) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.4  Vessel permits.

    (a) * * *
    (12) * * *
    (iii) Private recreational vessel permits. Any private recreational 
vessel must have been issued, under this part, a Federal recreational 
tilefish vessel permit to fish for, possess, or land either golden 
tilefish or blueline tilefish in the Tilefish Management Unit. Such 
vessel must observe the recreational possession limits as specified at 
Sec.  648.296 and the prohibition on sale.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) An application for a private recreational tilefish permit 
issued under this section, in addition to the information specified in 
paragraph (c)(1) of this section, also must contain at least the 
following information, and any other information required by the 
Regional Administrator: Vessel name, owner name or name of the owner's 
authorized representative; mailing address and telephone number; USCG 
documentation number and a copy of the vessel's current USCG 
documentation or, for a vessel not required to be documented under 
title 46 U.S.C., the vessel's state registration number and a copy of 
the current state registration.
    (B) [Reserved]
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  648.7, revise paragraphs (b)(1)(i) and (b)(1)(iii) and add 
paragraphs (b)(1)(iv) and (f)(2)(iv) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.7  Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (i) General. The reporting requirements specified in this paragraph 
(b)(1)(i) for an owner or operator of a vessel fishing for, possessing, 
or landing Atlantic chub mackerel are effective through December 31, 
2020. If authorized in writing by the Regional Administrator, a vessel 
owner or operator may submit reports electronically, for example by 
using a VMS or other media. Except for vessel owners or operators 
fishing under a surfclam or ocean quahog permit, or fishing under a 
private recreational tilefish permit, the owner or operator of any 
vessel issued a valid permit or eligible to renew a limited access 
permit under this part must:
    (A) Maintain on board the vessel, and submit, an accurate fishing 
log report for each fishing trip, regardless of species fished for or 
taken, on forms supplied by or approved by the Regional Administrator.
    (B) If authorized in writing by the Regional Administrator, a 
vessel owner or operator may submit reports electronically, for example 
by using a VMS or other media.
    (C) At least the following information and any other information 
required by the Regional Administrator must be provided:
    (1) Vessel name;
    (2) USCG documentation number (or state registration number, if 
undocumented);
    (3) Permit number;
    (4) Date/time sailed;
    (5) Date/time landed;
    (6) Trip type;
    (7) Number of crew;
    (8) Number of anglers (if a charter or party boat);
    (9) Gear fished;
    (10) Quantity and size of gear;
    (11) Mesh/ring size;
    (12) Chart area fished;

[[Page 43152]]

    (13) Average depth;
    (14) Latitude/longitude (or loran station and bearings);
    (15) Total hauls per area fished;
    (16) Average tow time duration;
    (17) Hail weight, in pounds (or count of individual fish, if a 
party or charter vessel), by species, of all species, or parts of 
species, such as monkfish livers, landed or discarded; and,
    (18) In the case of skate discards, ``small'' (i.e., less than 23 
inches (58.42 cm), total length) or ``large'' (i.e., 23 inches (58.42 
cm) or greater, total length) skates;
    (19) Dealer permit number;
    (20) Dealer name;
    (21) Date sold, port and state landed; and
    (22) Vessel operator's name, signature, and operator's permit 
number (if applicable).
* * * * *
    (iii) Charter/Party vessel permit owners and operators. The owner 
or operator of any fishing vessel that holds a Federal charter/party 
(for-hire) permit to fish for Atlantic bluefish, black sea bass, scup, 
summer flounder, tilefish, Atlantic mackerel, squid, and/or butterfish, 
when on a trip carrying passengers for hire, must submit the required 
Vessel Trip Report by electronic means. This report must be submitted 
through a software application approved by NMFS and must contain all 
applicable information outlined in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(C) of this 
section.
    (iv) Private tilefish recreational vessel owners and operators. The 
owner or operator of any fishing vessel that holds a Federal private 
recreational tilefish permit, must report for each recreational trip 
fishing for or retaining blueline or golden tilefish in the Tilefish 
Management Unit. The required Vessel Trip Report must be submitted by 
electronic means. This report must be submitted through a NMFS-approved 
electronic reporting system within 24 hours of the trip returning to 
port. The vessel operator may keep paper records while onboard and 
upload the data after landing. The report must contain the following 
information:
    (A) Vessel name;
    (B) USCG documentation number (or state registration number, if 
undocumented);
    (C) Permit number;
    (D) Date/time sailed;
    (E) Date/time landed;
    (F) Trip type;
    (G) Number of anglers;
    (H) Species
    (I) Gear fished;
    (J) Quantity and size of gear;
    (K) Soak time;
    (L) Depth;
    (M) Chart Area;
    (N) Latitude/longitude where fishing occurred;
    (O) Count of individual golden and blueline tilefish landed or 
discarded; and
    (P) Port and state landed.
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (iv) Private recreational tilefish electronic log reports, required 
by paragraph (b)(1)(iv) of this section, must be submitted within 24 
hours after entering port at the conclusion of a trip.
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  648.8 add paragraph (f) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.8  Vessel identification.

* * * * *
    (f) Private Recreational Tilefish Vessels. Vessels issued only a 
Federal private recreational tilefish permit are not subject to the 
requirements of Sec.  648.8, but must comply with any other applicable 
state or Federal vessel identification requirements.

0
5. In Sec.  648.11 revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.11  Monitoring coverage.

    (a) Coverage. The Regional Administrator may request any vessel 
holding a permit for Atlantic sea scallops, NE multispecies, monkfish, 
skates, Atlantic mackerel, squid, butterfish, scup, black sea bass, 
bluefish, spiny dogfish, Atlantic herring, tilefish, Atlantic surfclam, 
ocean quahog, or Atlantic deep-sea red crab; or a moratorium permit for 
summer flounder; to carry a NMFS-certified fisheries observer. A vessel 
holding a permit for Atlantic sea scallops is subject to the additional 
requirements specific in paragraph (g) of this section. Also, any 
vessel or vessel owner/operator that fishes for, catches or lands 
hagfish, or intends to fish for, catch, or land hagfish in or from the 
exclusive economic zone must carry a NMFS-certified fisheries observer 
when requested by the Regional Administrator in accordance with the 
requirements of this section. The requirements of this section do not 
apply to vessels with only a Federal private recreational tilefish 
permit.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  648.14 add paragraph (u)(1)(iii)(C) and revise paragraph 
(u)(2)(i)(C) to read as follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (u) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (C) Operate a private recreational vessel to fish for, retain, and/
or possess blueline or golden tilefish, in the Tilefish Management 
Unit, without a valid tilefish private recreational permit as required 
in Sec.  648.4(a)(12)(iii).
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (C) The tilefish were harvested in or from the Tilefish Management 
Unit by a vessel with a Federal private recreational tilefish permit or 
a Federal charter/party tilefish permit.
* * * * *

0
7. In Sec.  648.296 revise paragraphs (a)(1) and (b)(1) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  648.296  Tilefish recreational possession limits and gear 
restrictions.

    (a) * * *
    (1) The recreational tilefish possession limit for charter/party 
and private recreational anglers is eight golden tilefish per angler 
per trip. Any vessel engaged in recreational fishing for golden 
tilefish may not retain golden tilefish, unless issued a valid Federal 
charter/party permit, pursuant to Sec.  648.4(a)(12)(ii), or a valid 
Federal private recreational tilefish permit issued pursuant to Sec.  
648.4(a)(12)(iv).
* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) Private recreational vessels. Anglers fishing onboard a vessel 
issued a Federal private recreational tilefish permit pursuant to Sec.  
648.4(a)(12)(iv), may land up to three blueline tilefish per person per 
trip.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2020-14853 Filed 7-15-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P