50 C.F.R. § 665.67   Framework for regulatory adjustments.

Title 50 - Wildlife and Fisheries

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
Subpart E—Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Fisheries

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§ 665.67   Framework for regulatory adjustments.

(a) Annual reports. By June 30 of each year, a Council-appointed bottomfish monitoring team will prepare an annual report on the fishery by area covering the following topics:

(1) Fishery performance data.

(2) Summary of recent research and survey results.

(3) Habitat conditions and recent alterations.

(4) Enforcement activities and problems.

(5) Administrative actions (e.g., data collection and reporting, permits).

(6) State and territorial management actions.

(7) Assessment of need for Council action (including biological, economic, social, enforcement, administrative, and state/Federal needs, problems, and trends). Indications of potential problems warranting further investigation may be signaled by the following indicator criteria:

(i) Mean size of the catch of any species in any area is a pre-reproductive size.

(ii) Ratio of fishing mortality to natural mortality for any species.

(iii) Harvest capacity of the existing fleet and/or annual landings exceed best estimate of MSY in any area.

(iv) Significant decline (50 percent or more) in bottomfish catch per unit of effort from baseline levels.

(v) Substantial decline in ex-vessel revenue relative to baseline levels.

(vi) Significant shift in the relative proportions of gear in any one area.

(vii) Significant change in the frozen/fresh components of the bottomfish catch.

(viii) Entry/exit of fishermen in any area.

(ix) Per-trip costs for bottomfishing exceed per-trip revenues for a significant percentage of trips.

(x) Significant decline or increase in total bottomfish landings in any area.

(xi) Change in species composition of the bottomfish catch in any area.

(xii) Research results.

(xiii) Habitat degradation or environmental problems.

(xiv) Reported interactions between bottomfishing operations and protected species in the NWHI.

(8) Recommendations for Council action.

(9) Estimated impacts of recommended action.

(b) Recommendation of management action. (1) The team may present management recommendations to the Council at any time. Recommendations may cover actions suggested for Federal regulations, state/territorial action, enforcement or administrative elements, and research and data collection. Recommendations will include an assessment of urgency and the effects of not taking action.

(2) The Council will evaluate the team's reports and recommendations, and the indicators of concern. The Council will assess the need for one or more of the following types of management action: Catch limits, size limits, closures, effort limitations, access limitations, or other measures.

(3) The Council may recommend management action by either the state/territorial governments or by Federal regulation.

(c) Federal management action. (1) If the Council believes that management action should be considered, it will make specific recommendations to the Regional Administrator after requesting and considering the views of its Scientific and Statistical Committee and Bottomfish Advisory Panel and obtaining public comments at a public hearing.

(2) The Regional Administrator will consider the Council's recommendation and accompanying data, and, if he or she concurs with the Council's recommendation, will propose regulations to carry out the action. If the Regional Administrator rejects the Council's proposed action, a written explanation for the denial will be provided to the Council within 2 weeks of the decision.

(3) The Council may appeal denial by writing to the Assistant Administrator, who must respond in writing within 30 days.

(4) The Regional Administrator and the Assistant Administrator will make their decisions in accord with the Magnuson Act, other applicable law, and the Bottomfish FMP.

(5) To minimize conflicts between the Federal and state management systems, the Council will use the procedures in paragraph (b) of this section to respond to state/territorial management actions. Council consideration of action would normally begin with a representative of the state or territorial government bringing a potential or actual management conflict or need to the Council's attention.

(d) Access limitation procedures. (1) Access limitation may be adopted under this paragraph (d) only for the NWHI, American Samoa, and Guam.

(2) If access limitation is proposed for adoption or subsequent modification through the process described in this paragraph (d), the following requirements must be met:

(i) The Bottomfish Monitoring Team must consider and report to the Council on present participation in the fishery; historical fishing practices in, and dependence on, the fishery; economics of the fishery; capability of fishing vessels used in the fishery to engage in other fisheries; cultural and social framework relevant to the fishery; and any other relevant considerations.

(ii) Public hearings must be held specifically addressing the limited access proposals.

(iii) A specific advisory subpanel of persons experienced in the fishing industry will be created to advise the Council and the Regional Administrator on administrative decisions.

(iv) The Council's recommendation to the Regional Administrator must be approved by a two-thirds majority of the voting members.

(e) Five-year review. The Council will conduct a comprehensive review on the effectiveness of the Mau Zone limited access program 5 years following implementation of the program. The Council will consider the extent to which the FMP objectives have been met and verify that the target number of vessels established for the fishery is appropriate for current fishing activity levels, catch rates, and biological condition of the stocks. The Council may establish a new target number based on the 5-year review.

[61 FR 34572, July 2, 1996, as amended at 64 FR 22814, Apr. 28, 1999]

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