(1) Consistent with the provisions of § 600.745 of this chapter, except as indicated in this section, NMFS may authorize activities otherwise prohibited by the regulations contained in this part for the conduct of scientific research, the acquisition of information and data, the enhancement of safety at sea, the purpose of collecting animals for public education or display, the investigation of bycatch, economic discard and regulatory discard, or for chartering arrangements.
(2) Activities subject to the provisions of this section include, but are not limited to: scientific research resulting in, or likely to result in, the take, harvest, or incidental mortality of Atlantic HMS; exempted fishing and educational activities; programs under which regulated species retained in contravention to otherwise applicable regulations may be donated through approved food bank networks; or chartering arrangements. Such activities must be authorized in writing and are subject to all conditions specified in any letter of acknowledgment, EFP, scientific research permit, display permit, chartering permit, or shark research permit issued in response to requests for authorization under this section.
(3) For the purposes of all regulated species covered under this part, NMFS has the sole authority to issue permits, authorizations, and acknowledgments. If a regulated species landed or retained under the authority of this section is subject to a quota, the fish shall be counted against the quota category as specified in the written authorization.
(4) Inspection requirements specified in § 635.5(e) apply to the owner or operator of a fishing vessel that has been issued an exempted fishing permit, scientific research permit, display permit, or chartering permit.
(b)Scientific research activities. For the purposes of all species covered under this part regulated under the authority of ATCA, the provisions for research plans under § 600.745(a) and reports under § 600.745(c)(1) of this chapter are mandatory. In such cases of authorized scientific research activities, NMFS shall issue scientific research permits. For scientific research activities involving the capture of Atlantic sharks, research plans and reports are requested; letters of acknowledgment shall be issued by NMFS as indicated under § 600.745(a) of this chapter.
(c)Exempted fishing permits.
(1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section and § 600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, other than scientific research conducted from a scientific research vessel, NMFS may issue exempted fishing permits.
(1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section and § 600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, NMFS may issue display permits.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of § 600.745 of this chapter and other provisions of this part, a valid display permit is required to fish for, take, retain, or possess an HMS in or from the Atlantic EEZ for the purposes of public display. A valid display permit must be on board the harvesting vessel, must be available when the fish is landed, must be available when the fish is transported to the display facility, and must be presented for inspection upon request of an authorized officer. A display permit is valid for the specific time, area, gear, and species specified on it. Species landed under a display permit shall be counted against the appropriate quota specified in § 635.27 or as otherwise provided in the display permit.
(3) To be eligible for a display permit, a person must provide all information concerning his or her identification, numbers by species of HMS to be collected, when and where they will be collected, vessel(s) and gear to be used, description of the facility where they will be displayed, and any other information that may be necessary for the issuance or administration of the permit, as requested by NMFS.
(4) Collectors of HMS for public display must notify the local NMFS Office for Law Enforcement at least 24 hours, excluding weekends and holidays, prior to departing on a collection trip, regardless of whether the fishing activity will occur in or outside the EEZ, as to collection plans and location and the number of animals to be collected. In the event that a NMFS agent is not available, a message may be left.
(5) All live HMS collected for public display are required to have either a conventional dart tag or a microchip Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag applied by the collector at the time of the collection. Both types of tags will be supplied by NMFS. Conventional dart tags will be issued unless PIT tags are specifically requested in the permit application and their use approved by NMFS. Terms and conditions of the permit will address requirements associated with the use of the tags supplied on a case-by-case basis.
(1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section, § 635.5(a), and § 600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, NMFS may issue chartering permits for record keeping and reporting purposes. An application for a chartering permit must include all information required under § 600.745(b)(2) of this chapter and, in addition, written notification of: the species of fish covered by the chartering arrangement and quota allocated to the Contracting Party of which the chartering foreign entity is a member; duration of the arrangement; measures adopted by the chartering Contracting Party of which the foreign entity is a member to implement ICCAT chartering provisions; copies of fishing licenses, permits, and/or other authorizations issued by the chartering Contracting Party of which the foreign entity is a member for the vessel to fish under the arrangement; a copy of the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act Permit pursuant to 50 CFR 300.10; documentation regarding interactions with protected resources; and documentation regarding the legal establishment of the chartering company. To be considered complete, an application for a chartering permit for a vessel must include all information specified in § 600.745(b)(2) of this chapter and in § 635.32(e) and (f).
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of § 600.745 of this chapter and other provisions of this part, a valid chartering permit is required to fish for, take, retain, or possess ICCAT- regulated species under chartering arrangements as specified in § 635.5(a)(6). A valid chartering permit must be on board the harvesting vessel, must be available when ICCAT-regulated species are landed, and must be presented for inspection upon request of an authorized officer. A chartering permit is valid for the duration of the chartering arrangement or until the expiration date specified on the permit, whichever comes first. Vessels issued a chartering permit shall not be authorized to fish under applicable Atlantic Highly Migratory Species quotas or entitlements of the United States until the chartering permit expires or is terminated.
(3) Charter permit holders must submit logbooks and comply with reporting requirements as specified in § 635.5. NMFS will provide specific conditions and requirements in the chartering permit, so as to ensure consistency, to the extent possible, with laws of foreign countries, the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP and its amendments, as well as ICCAT recommendations.
(4) Observers may be placed on board vessels issued chartering permits as specified under § 635.7.
(5) NMFS will issue a chartering permit only if it determines that the chartering arrangement is in conformance with ICCAT's conservation and management programs.
(6) A vessel shall be authorized to fish under only one chartering arrangement at a time.
(7) All chartering permits are subject to sanctions and denials as indicated under § 635.4(a)(6).
(f)Shark research permits.
(1) For activities consistent with the purposes of this section and § 600.745(b)(1) of this chapter, NMFS may issue shark research permits.
(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of § 600.745 of this chapter and other provisions of this part, a valid shark research permit is required to fish for, take, retain, or possess Atlantic sharks, including sandbar sharks, in excess of the retention limits described in § 635.24(a). A valid shark research permit must be on board the harvesting vessel, must be available for inspection when the shark is landed, and must be presented for inspection upon request of an authorized officer. A shark research permit is only valid for the vessel and owner(s) combination specified and cannot be transferred to another vessel or owner(s). A shark research permit is only valid for the retention limits, time, area, gear specified, and other terms and conditions as listed on the permit and only when a NMFS-approved observer is onboard. Species landed under a shark research permit shall be counted against the appropriate quota specified in § 635.27 or as otherwise provided in the shark research permit.
(3) Regardless of the number of applicants, NMFS will issue only a limited number of shark research permits depending on available quotas as described in § 635.27, research needs for stock assessments and other scientific purposes, and the number of sharks expected to be harvested by vessels issued LAPs for sharks.
(4) In addition to the workshops required under § 635.8, persons issued a shark research permit, and/or operators of vessels specified on the shark research permit, may be required to attend other workshops (e.g., shark identification workshops, captain's meeting, etc.) as deemed necessary by NMFS to ensure the collection of high quality data.
(5) Issuance of a shark research permit does not guarantee the permit holder that a NMFS-approved observer will be deployed on any particular trip. Rather, permit issuance indicates that a vessel is eligible for a NMFS-approved observer to be deployed on the vessel for a particular trip and that, on such observed trips, the vessel may be allowed to harvest Atlantic sharks, including sandbar sharks, in excess of the retention limits described in § 635.24(a).
(6) The shark research permit may be revoked, limited, or modified at any time, does not confer any right to engage in activities beyond those authorized by the permit, and does not confer any right of compensation to the holder.
(g)Applications and renewals.
(1) Application procedures shall be as indicated under § 600.745(b)(2) of this chapter, except that NMFS may consolidate requests for the purpose of obtaining public comment. In such cases, NMFS may file with the Office of the Federal Register, on an annual or more frequent basis as necessary, notification of previously authorized exempted fishing, scientific research, public display, chartering, and shark research activities and to solicit public comment on anticipated EFP, scientific research permit, letter of acknowledgment, public display, chartering, or shark research permit activities. Applications for EFPs, scientific research permits, public display permits, chartering permits, or shark research permits are required to include all reports specified in the applicant's previous permit including, if applicable, the year-end report, all delinquent reports for permits issued in prior years, and all other specified information. In situations of delinquent reports, applications will be deemed incomplete and a permit will not be issued under this section.
(2) For the shark research permit, NMFS will publish annually, in a Federal Register notice(s), a description for the following fishing year of the expected research objectives. This description may include information such as the number of vessels needed, regions and seasons for which vessels are needed, the specific criteria for selection, and the application deadline. Complete applications, including all information requested in the applicable Federal Register notice(s) and on the application form and any previous reports required pursuant to this section and § 635.5, must be received by NMFS by the application deadline in order for the vessel to be considered. Requested information could include, but is not limited to, applicant name and address, permit information, vessel information, availability of the vessel, past involvement in the shark fishery, and compliance with HMS regulations including observer regulations. NMFS will only review complete applications received by the published deadline to determine eligibility for participation in the shark research fishery. Qualified vessels will be chosen based on the information provided on the applications and their ability to meet the selection criteria as published in the Federal Register notice. A commercial shark permit holder whose vessel was selected to carry an observer in the previous two years for any HMS fishery but failed to comply with the observer regulations specified in § 635.7 will not be considered. A commercial shark permit holder that has been charged criminally or civilly (i.e., issued a Notice of Violation and Assessment (NOVA) or Notice of Permit Sanction) for any HMS related violation will not be considered for participation in the shark research fishery. Qualified vessels will be randomly selected to participate in the shark research fishery based on their availability and the temporal and spatial needs of the research objectives. If a vessel issued a shark research permit cannot conduct the shark research tasks, for whatever reason, that permit will be revoked and, depending on the status of the research and the fishing year, NMFS will randomly select another qualified vessel to be issued a shark research permit.
(h)Terms and conditions.
(1) For EFPs, scientific research permits, and public display permits: Written reports on fishing activities, and disposition of all fish captured under a permit issued under this section must be submitted to NMFS within 5 days of return to port. NMFS will provide specific conditions and requirements as needed, consistent with the Consolidated HMS Fishery Management Plan, in the permit. If an individual issued a Federal permit under this section captures no HMS in any given month, either in or outside the EEZ, a “no-catch” report must be submitted to NMFS within 5 days of the last day of that month.
(2) For chartering permits, written reports of fishing activities must be submitted to NMFS by a date specified, and to an address designated, in the terms and conditions of each chartering permit.
(3) An annual written summary report of all fishing activities, and disposition of all fish captured, under the permit must be submitted to NMFS for all EFPs, scientific research permits, display permits, and chartering permits issued under this section within 30 days after the expiration date of the permit.
(4) For shark research permits, all owners and/or operators must comply with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements specified in § 635.5 per the requirement of holding a LAP for sharks.
(5) As stated in § 635.4(a)(6), failure to comply with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of this section could result in the EFP, scientific research permit, display permit, chartering permit, or shark research permit being revoked, suspended, or modified, and in the denial of any future applications.