(a)Determinations. During a period of up to 3 consecutive years, NMFS will allow the incidental, but not the intentional, taking by persons using vessels of the United States or foreign vessels that have valid fishing permits issued by the Assistant Administrator in accordance with section 204(b) of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1824(b)), while engaging in commercial fishing operations, of marine mammals from a species or stock designated as depleted because of its listing as an endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 if the Assistant Administrator determines that:
(1) The incidental mortality and serious injury from commercial fisheries will have a negligible impact on such species or stock;
(2) A recovery plan has been developed or is being developed for such species or stock pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973; and
(3) Where required under regulations in subpart A of this part:
(i) A monitoring program has been established under § 229.7;
(ii) Vessels engaged in such fisheries are registered in accordance with § 229.4; and
(iii) A take reduction plan has been developed or is being developed for such species or stock in accordance with regulations at subpart C of this part.
(b)Procedures for making determinations. In making any of the determinations listed in paragraph (a) of this section, the Assistant Administrator will publish an announcement in the Federal Register of fisheries having takes of marine mammals listed under the Endangered Species Act, including a summary of available information regarding the fisheries interactions with listed species. Any interested party may, within 45 days of such publication, submit to the Assistant Administrator written data or views with respect to the listed fisheries. As soon as practicable after the end of the 45 days following publication, NMFS will publish in the Federal Register a list of the fisheries for which the determinations listed in paragraph (a) of this section have been made. This publication will set forth a summary of the information used to make the determinations.
(c)Issuance of authorization. The Assistant Administrator will issue appropriate permits for vessels in fisheries that are required to register under § 229.4 and for which determinations under the procedures of paragraph (b) of this section can be made.
(d)Category III fisheries. Vessel owners engaged only in Category III fisheries for which determinations are made under the procedures of paragraph (b) of this section will not be subject to the penalties of this Act for the incidental taking of marine mammals to which this subpart applies, as long as the vessel owner or operator of such vessel reports any incidental mortality or injury of such marine mammals in accordance with the requirements of § 229.6.
(e)Emergency authority. During the course of the commercial fishing season, if the Assistant Administrator determines that the level of incidental mortality or serious injury from commercial fisheries for which such a determination was made under this section has resulted or is likely to result in an impact that is more than negligible on the endangered or threatened species or stock, the Assistant Administrator will use the emergency authority of § 229.9 to protect such species or stock, and may modify any permit granted under this paragraph as necessary.
(f)Suspension, revocation, modification and amendment. The Assistant Administrator may, pursuant to the provisions of 15 CFR part 904, suspend or revoke a permit granted under this section if the Assistant Administrator determines that the conditions or limitations set forth in such permit are not being complied with. The Assistant Administrator may amend or modify, after notification and opportunity for public comment, the list of fisheries published in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section whenever the Assistant Administrator determines there has been a significant change in the information or conditions used to determine such a list.
(g)Southern sea otters. This subpart does not apply to the taking of Southern (California) sea otters.
[60 FR 45100, Aug. 30, 1995, as amended at 64 FR 9088, Feb. 24, 1999]
Title 50 published on 2014-10-01
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