50 CFR 229.32 - Atlantic large whale take reduction plan regulations.

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§ 229.32 Atlantic large whale take reduction plan regulations.

(a)

(1) Purpose and scope. The purpose of this section is to implement the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan to reduce incidental mortality and serious injury of fin, humpback, and right whales in specific Category I and Category II commercial fisheries from Maine through Florida. Specific Category I and II commercial fisheries within the scope of the Plan are identified and updated in the annual List of Fisheries. The measures identified in the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan are also intended to benefit minke whales, which are not designated as a strategic stock, but are known to be taken incidentally in gillnet and trap/pot fisheries. The gear types affected by this plan include gillnets (e.g., anchored, drift, and shark) and traps/pots. The Assistant Administrator may revise the requirements set forth in this section in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section.

(2) Regulated waters.

(i) The regulations in this section apply to all U.S. waters in the Atlantic except for the areas exempted in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.

(ii) The six-mile line referred to in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section is a line connecting the following points (Machias Seal to Isle of Shoals):

44°31.98′ N. lat., 67°9.72′ W. long (Machias Seal)
44°3.42′ N. lat., 68°10.26′ W. long (Mount Desert Island)
43°40.98′ N. lat., 68°48.84′ W. long (Matinicus)
43°39.24′ N. lat., 69°18.54′ W. long (Monhegan)
43°29.4′ N. lat., 70°5.88′ W. long (Casco Bay)
42°55.38′ N. lat., 70°28.68′ W. long (Isle of Shoals)

(iii) The pocket waters referred to in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section are defined as follows:

West of Monhegan Island in the area north of the line 43°42.17′ N. lat., 69°34.27′ W. long and 43°42.25′ N. lat., 69°19.3′ W. long
East of Monhegan Island in the area located north of the line 43°44′ N. lat., 69°15.08′ W. long and 43°48.17′ N. lat., 69°8.02′ W. long
South of Vinalhaven Island in the area located west of the line 43°52.31′ N. lat., 68°40′ W. long and 43°58.12′ N. lat., 68°32.95′ W. long
South of Bois Bubert Island in the area located northwest of the line 44°19.27′ N. lat., 67°49.5′ W. long and 44°23.67′ N. lat., 67°40.5′ W. long

(3) Exempted waters.

(i) The regulations in this section do not apply to waters landward of the 72 COLREGS demarcation lines (International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972), as depicted or noted on nautical charts published by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Coast Charts 1:80,000 scale), and as described in 33 CFR part 80 with the exception of the COLREGS lines for Casco Bay (Maine), Portsmouth Harbor (New Hampshire), Gardiners Bay and Long Island Sound (New York), and the state of Massachusetts.

(ii) Other exempted waters.

Maine

The regulations in this section do not apply to waters landward of a line connecting the following points (Quoddy Narrows/US-Canada border to Odiornes Pt., Portsmouth, New Hampshire):

44°49.67′ N. lat., 66°57.77′ W. long. (R N “2”, Quoddy Narrows)
44°48.64′ N. lat., 66°56.43′ W. long. (G “1” Whistle, West Quoddy Head)
44°47.36′ N. lat., 66°59.25′ W. long. (R N “2”, Morton Ledge)
44°45.51′ N. lat., 67°02.87′ W. long. (R “28M” Whistle, Baileys Mistake)
44°37.70′ N. lat., 67°09.75′ W. long. (Obstruction, Southeast of Cutler)
44°27.77′ N. lat., 67°32.86′ W. long. (Freeman Rock, East of Great Wass Island)
44°25.74′ N. lat., 67°38.39′ W. long. (R “2SR” Bell, Seahorse Rock, West of Great Wass Island)
44°21.66′ N. lat., 67°51.78′ W. long. (R N “2”, Petit Manan Island)
44°19.08′ N. lat., 68°02.05′ W. long. (R “2S” Bell, Schoodic Island)
44°13.55′ N. lat., 68°10.71′ W. long. (R “8BI” Whistle, Baker Island)
44°08.36′ N. lat., 68°14.75′ W. long. (Southern Point, Great Duck Island)
43°59.36′ N. lat., 68°37.95′ W. long. (R “2” Bell, Roaring Bull Ledge, Isle Au Haut)
43°59.83′ N. lat., 68°50.06′ W. long. (R “2A” Bell, Old Horse Ledge)
43°56.72′ N. lat., 69°04.89′ W. long. (G “5TB” Bell, Two Bush Channel)
43°50.28′ N. lat., 69°18.86′ W. long. (R “2 OM” Whistle, Old Man Ledge)
43°48.96′ N. lat., 69°31.15′ W. long. (GR C “PL”, Pemaquid Ledge)
43°43.64′ N. lat., 69°37.58′ W. long. (R “2BR” Bell, Bantam Rock)
43°41.44′ N. lat., 69°45.27′ W. long. (R “20ML” Bell, Mile Ledge)
43°36.04′ N. lat., 70°03.98′ W. long. (RG N “BS”, Bulwark Shoal)
43°31.94′ N. lat., 70°08.68′ W. long. (G “1”, East Hue and Cry)
43°27.63′ N. lat., 70°17.48′ W. long. (RW “WI” Whistle, Wood Island)
43°20.23′ N. lat., 70°23.64′ W. long. (RW “CP” Whistle, Cape Porpoise)
43°04.06′ N. lat., 70°36.70′ W. long. (R N “2MR”, Murray Rock)
43°02.93′ N. lat., 70°41.47′ W. long. (R “2KR” Whistle, Kittery Point)
43°02.55′ N. lat., 70°43.33′ W. long. (Odiornes Pt., Portsmouth, New Hampshire)
New Hampshire

New Hampshire state waters are exempt from the minimum number of traps per trawl requirement in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section. Harbor waters landward of the following lines are exempt from all the regulations in this section.

A line from 42°53.691′ N. lat., 70°48.516′ W. long. to 42°53.516′ N. lat., 70°48.748′ W. long. (Hampton Harbor)
A line from 42°59.986′ N. lat., 70°44.654′ W. long. to 42°59.956′ N., 70°44.737′ W. long. (Rye Harbor)
Rhode Island

Rhode Island state waters are exempt from the minimum number of traps per trawl requirement in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section. Harbor waters landward of the following lines are exempt from all the regulations in this section.

A line from 41°22.441′ N. lat., 71°30.781′ W. long. to 41°22.447′ N. lat., 71°30.893′ W. long. (Pt. Judith Pond Inlet)
A line from 41°21.310′ N. lat., 71°38.300′ W. long. to 41°21.300′ N. lat., 71°38.330′ W. long. (Ninigret Pond Inlet)
A line from 41°19.875′ N. lat., 71°43.061′ W. long. to 41°19.879′ N. lat., 71°43.115′ W. long. (Quonochontaug Pond Inlet)
A line from 41°19.660′ N. lat., 71°45.750′ W. long. to 41°19.660′ N. lat., 71°45.780′ W. long. (Weekapaug Pond Inlet)
A line from 41°26.550′ N. lat., 71°26.400′ W. long. to 41°26.500′ N. lat, 71°26.505′ W. long. (Pettaquamscutt Inlet)
New York

The regulations in this section do not apply to waters landward of a line that follows the territorial sea baseline through Block Island Sound (Watch Hill Point, RI, to Montauk Point, NY).

Massachusetts

The regulations in this section do not apply to waters landward of the first bridge over any embayment, harbor, or inlet in Massachusetts. The following Massachusetts state waters are exempt from the minimum number of traps per trawl requirement in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section:

From the New Hampshire border to 70° W longitude south of Cape Cod, waters in EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1 and the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area (as defined in the American Lobster Fishery regulations under § 697.18 of this title), from the shoreline to 3 nautical miles from shore, and including waters of Cape Cod Bay southeast of a straight line connecting 41° 55.8′ N lat., 70°8.4′ W long. and 41°47.2′ N lat., 70°19.5′ W long.

From 70° W longitude south of Cape Cod to the Rhode Island border, all Massachusetts state waters in EEZ Nearshore Management Area 2 and the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area (as defined in the American Lobster Fishery regulations under § 697.18 of this title), including federal waters of Nantucket Sound west of 70° W longitude.

South Carolina

The regulations in this section do not apply to waters landward of a line connecting the following points from 32°34.717′ N. lat., 80°08.565′ W. long. to 32°34.686′ N. lat., 80°08.642′ W. long. (Captain Sams Inlet)

(4) Sinking groundline exemption. The fisheries regulated under this section are exempt from the requirement to have groundlines composed of sinking line if their groundline is at a depth equal to or greater than 280 fathoms (1,680 ft or 512.1 m).

(5) Net panel weak link and anchoring exemption. The anchored gillnet fisheries regulated under this section are exempt from the requirement to install weak links in the net panel and anchor each end of the net string if the float-line is at a depth equal to or greater than 280 fathoms (1,680 ft or 512.1 m).

(6) Island buffer. Those fishing in waters within 1/4 nautical miles of the following Maine islands are exempt from the minimum number of traps per trawl requirement in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section: Monhegan Island, Matinicus Island Group (Metinic Island, Small Green Island, Large Green Island, Seal Island, Wooden Ball Island, Matinicus Island, Ragged Island) and Isles of Shoals Island Group (Duck Island, Appledore Island, Cedar Island, Smuttynose Island).

(b) Gear marking requirements -

(1) Specified areas. The following areas are specified for gear marking purposes: Northern Inshore State Trap/Pot Waters, Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area, Massachusetts Restricted Area, Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area, Northern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area, Great South Channel Restricted Trap/Pot Area, Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area, Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area, Southern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area, Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area, Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area, Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Area, Other Southeast Gillnet Waters Area, Southeast U.S. Restricted Areas, and Southeast U.S. Monitoring Area.

(i) Jordan Basin. The Jordan Basin Restricted Area is bounded by the following points connected by straight lines in the order listed:

Point N. Lat. W. Long.
JBRA1 43°15′ 68°50′
JBRA2 43°35′ 68°20′
JBRA3 43°25′ 68°05′
JBRA4 43°05′ 68°20′
JBRA5 43°05′ 68°35′
JBRA1 43°15′ 68°50′

(ii) Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area - The Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area is bounded by the following points connected by a straight line in the order listed:

Point N. Lat. W. Long.
JLRA1 43°15′ 70°25′
JLRA2 43°15′ 70°00′
JLRA3 42°50′ 70°00′
JLRA4 42°50′ 70°25′
JLRA1 43°15′ 70°25′

(2) Markings. All specified gear in specified areas must be marked with the color code shown in paragraph (b)(3) of this section. The color of the color code must be permanently marked on or along the line or lines specified below under paragraphs (b)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section. Each color mark of the color codes must be clearly visible when the gear is hauled or removed from the water, including if the color of the rope is the same as or similar to the respective color code. The rope must be marked at least three times (top, middle, bottom) and each mark must total 12-inch (30.5 cm) in length. If the mark consists of two colors then each color mark may be 6-inch (15.25 cm) for a total mark of 12-inch (30.5 cm). In marking or affixing the color code, the line may be dyed, painted, or marked with thin colored whipping line, thin colored plastic, or heat-shrink tubing, or other material; or a thin line may be woven into or through the line; or the line may be marked as approved in writing by the Assistant Administrator. A brochure illustrating the techniques for marking gear is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request.

(i) Buoy line markings. All buoy lines must be marked as stated above. Shark gillnet gear in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S, Southeast U.S. Monitoring Area and Other Southeast Gillnet Waters, greater than 4 feet (1.22 m) long must be marked within 2 feet (0.6 m) of the top of the buoy line (closest to the surface), midway along the length of the buoy line, and within 2 feet (0.6 m) of the bottom of the buoy line.

(ii) Net panel markings. Shark gillnet gear net panels in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S, Southeast U.S. Monitoring Area and Other Southeast Gillnet Waters is required to be marked. The net panel must be marked along both the floatline and the leadline at least once every 100 yards (91.4 m).

(iii) Surface buoy markings. Trap/pot and gillnet gear regulated under this section must mark all surface buoys to identify the vessel or fishery with one of the following: The owner's motorboat registration number, the owner's U.S. vessel documentation number, the Federal commercial fishing permit number, or whatever positive identification marking is required by the vessel's home-port state. When marking of surface buoys is not already required by state or Federal regulations, the letters and numbers used to mark the gear to identify the vessel or fishery must be at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) in height in block letters or arabic numbers in a color that contrasts with the background color of the buoy. A brochure illustrating the techniques for marking gear is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request.

(3) Color code. Gear must be marked with the appropriate colors to designate gear types and areas as follows:

Color Code Scheme

Plan management area Color
Trap/Pot Gear
Massachusetts Restricted Area Red.
Northern Nearshore Red.
Northern Inshore State Red.
Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area Red.
Great South Channel Restricted Area overlapping with LMA 2 and/or Outer Cape Red.
Exempt RI state waters (single traps) Red and Blue.
Exempt MA state waters in LMA 1 (single traps) Red and White.
Exempt MA state waters in LMA 2 (single traps) Red and Black.
Exempt MA state waters in Outer Cape (single traps) Red and Yellow.
Isles of Shoals, ME (single traps) Red and Orange.
Southern Nearshore Orange.
Southeast Restricted Area North (State Waters) Blue and Orange.
Southeast Restricted Area North (Federal Waters) Green and Orange.
Offshore Black.
Great South Channel Restricted Area overlapping with LMA 2/3 and/or LMA 3 Black.
Jordan Basin Black and Purple (LMA 3); Red and and Purple (LMA 1).
Jeffreys Ledge Red and Green.
Gillnet excluding shark gillnet
Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area Green.
Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area Green.
Great South Channel Restricted Area Green.
Great South Channel Restricted Sliver Area Green.
Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Green.
Jordan Basin Green and Yellow.
Jeffreys Ledge Green and Black.
Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Blue.
Southeast US Restricted Area South Yellow.
Other Southeast Gillnet Waters Yellow.
Shark Gillnet (with webbing of 5″ or greater)
Southeast US Restricted Area South Green and Blue.
Southeast Monitoring Area Green and Blue.
Other Southeast Waters Green and Blue.

(c) Restrictions applicable to trap/pot gear in regulated waters -

(1) Universal trap/pot gear requirements. In addition to the gear marking requirements listed in paragraph (b) and the area-specific measures listed in paragraphs (c)(2) through (10) of this section, all trap/pot gear in regulated waters, including the Northern Inshore State Trap/Pot Waters Area, must comply with the universal gear requirements listed below. 1

1 Fishermen are also encouraged to maintain their buoy lines to be as knot-free as possible. Splices are considered to be less of an entanglement threat and are thus preferable to knots.

(i) No buoy line floating at the surface. No person or vessel may fish with trap/pot gear that has any portion of the buoy line floating at the surface at any time when the buoy line is directly connected to the gear at the ocean bottom. If more than one buoy is attached to a single buoy line or if a high flyer and a buoy are used together on a single buoy line, floating line may be used between these objects.

(ii) No wet storage of gear. Trap/pot gear must be hauled out of the water at least once every 30 days.

(iii) Groundlines. All groundlines must be composed entirely of sinking line. The attachment of buoys, toggles, or other floatation devices to groundlines is prohibited.

(2) Area specific gear requirements. Trap/pot gear must be set according to the requirements outlined below and in the table in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section.

(i) Single traps and multiple-trap trawls. All traps must be set according to the configuration outlined in the Table (c)(2)(iii) of this section. Trawls up to and including 5 or fewer traps must only have one buoy line unless specified otherwise in Table (c)(2)(iii) of this section.

(ii) Buoy line weak links. All buoys, flotation devices and/or weights (except traps/pots, anchors, and leadline woven into the buoy line), such as surface buoys, high flyers, sub-surface buoys, toggles, window weights, etc., must be attached to the buoy line with a weak link placed as close to each individual buoy, flotation device and/or weight as operationally feasible and that meets the following specifications:

(A) The breaking strength of the weak links must not exceed the breaking strength listed in paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of this section for a specified management area.

(B) The weak link must be chosen from the following list approved by NMFS: swivels, plastic weak links, rope of appropriate breaking strength, hog rings, rope stapled to a buoy stick, or other materials or devices approved in writing by the Assistant Administrator. A brochure illustrating the techniques for making weak links is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request.

(C) Weak links must break cleanly leaving behind the bitter end of the line. The bitter end of the line must be free of any knots when the weak link breaks. Splices are not considered to be knots for the purposes of this provision.

(iii) Table of Area Specific Gear Requirements

Location Mgmt area Minimum number traps/trawl Weak link strength
ME State and Pocket Waters 1 Northern Inshore State 2 (1 endline) ≤600 lbs.
ME Zones A-G (3-6 miles) 1 Northern Nearshore 3 (1 endline) ≤600 lbs.
ME Zones A-C (6-12 miles) 1 Northern Nearshore 5 (1 endline) ≤600 lbs.
ME Zones D-G (6-12 miles) 1 Northern Nearshore 10 ≤600 lbs.
ME Zones A-E (12 miles) Northern Nearshore and Offshore 15 ≤600 lbs (≤1500 lbs in offshore, 2,000 lbs if red crab trap/pot).
ME Zones F-G (12 miles) Northern Nearshore and Offshore 15 (Mar 1-Oct 31) 20 (Nov 1-Feb 28/29) ≤600 lbs (≤1500 lbs in offshore, 2,000 lbs if red crab trap/pot).
MA State Waters 2 Northern Inshore State and Massachusetts Restricted Area No minimum number of traps per trawl. Trawls up to and including 3 or fewer traps must only have one buoy line ≤600 lbs.
Other MA State Waters Northern Inshore State and Massachusetts Restricted Area 2 (1 endline) Trawls up to and including 3 or fewer traps must only have one buoy line ≤600 lbs.
NH State Waters Northern Inshore State No minimum trap/trawl ≤600 lbs.
LMA 1 (3-12 miles) Northern Nearshore and Massachusetts Restricted Area and Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area 10 ≤600 lbs.
LMA 1 (12 miles) Northern Nearshore 20 ≤600 lbs.
LMA1/OC Overlap (0-3 miles) Northern Inshore State and Massachusetts Restricted Area No minimum number of traps per trawl ≤600 lbs.
OC (0-3 miles) Northern Inshore State and Massachusetts Restricted Area No minimum number of traps per trawl ≤600 lbs.
OC (3-12 miles) Northern Nearshore and Massachusetts Restricted Area 10 ≤600 lbs.
OC (12 miles) Northern Nearshore and Great South Channel Restricted Area 20 ≤600 lbs.
RI State Waters Northern Inshore State No minimum number of traps per trawl. ≤600 lbs.
LMA 2 (3-12 miles) Northern Nearshore 10 ≤600 lbs.
LMA 2 (12 miles) Northern Nearshore and Great South Channel Restricted Area 20 ≤600 lbs.
LMA 2/3 Overlap (12 miles) Offshore and Great South Channel Restricted Area 20 ≤1500 lbs (2,000 lbs if red crab trap/pot).
LMA 3 (12 miles) Offshore waters North of 40° and Great South Channel Restricted Area 20 ≤1500 lbs (2,000 lbs if red crab trap/pot).
LMA 4,5,6 Southern Nearshore ≤600 lbs.
FL State Waters Southeast US Restricted Area North i 1 ≤200 lbs.
GA State Waters Southeast US Restricted Area North 3 1 ≤600 lbs.
SC State Waters Southeast US Restricted Area North 3 1 ≤600 lbs.
Federal Waters off FL, GA, SC Southeast US Restricted Area North 3 1 ≤600 lbs.

1 The pocket waters and 6-mile line as defined in paragraphs (a)(2)(ii)-(a)(2)(iii) of this section.

2 MA State waters as defined as paragraph (a)(3)(iii) of this section.

3 See § 229.32(f)(1) for description of area.

(3) Massachusetts Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Massachusetts restricted area is bounded by the following points connected by straight lines in the order listed, and bounded on the west by the shoreline of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Point N. lat. W. long.
MRA1 42°12′ 70°44′
MRA2 42°12′ 70°30′
MRA3 42°30′ 70°30′
MRA4 42°30′ 69°45′
MRA5 41°56.5′ 69°45′
MRA6 41°21.5′ 69°16′
MRA7 41°15.3′ 69°57.9′
MRA8 41°20.3′ 70°00′
MRA9 41°40.2′ 70°00′

(ii) Closure. From February 1 to April 30, it is prohibited to fish with, set, or possess trap/pot gear in this area unless stowed in accordance with § 229.2.

(iii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From May 1 through January 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Massachusetts Restricted Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in (c)(2) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(4) Great South Channel Restricted Trap/Pot Area -

(i) Area. The Great South Channel Restricted Trap/Pot Area consists of the area bounded by the following points.

Point N. Lat. W. Long.
GSC1 41°40′ 69°45′
GSC2 41°0′ 69°05′
GSC3 41°38′ 68°13′
GSC4 42°10′ 68°31′

(ii) Closure. From April 1 through June 30, it is prohibited to fish with, set, or possess trap/pot gear in this area unless stowed in accordance with § 229.2.

(iii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From July 1 through March 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Great South Channel Restricted Trap/Pot Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in (c)(2) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(5) Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area includes all Federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, except those designated as the Massachusetts Restricted Area in paragraph (c)(3) of this section, that lie south of 43°15′ N. lat. and west of 70°00′ W. long.

(ii) Year round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(6) Offshore Trap/Pot 4 Waters Area -

(i) Waters Area -

(i) Area. The Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area includes all Federal waters of the EEZ Offshore Management Area 3, including the area known as the Area 2/3 Overlap and Area 3/5 Overlap as defined in the American Lobster Fishery regulations at § 697.18 of this title, with the exception of the Great South Channel Restricted Trap/Pot Area and Southeast Restricted Area, and extending south along the 100-fathom (600-ft or 182.9-m) depth contour from 35°14′ N. lat. south to 27°51′ N. lat., and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ.

4 Fishermen using red crab trap/pot gear should refer to § 229.32(c)(10) for the restrictions applicable to red crab trap/pot fishery.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that overlaps an area from the U.S./Canada border south to a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat., and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in (c)(2) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iii) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From September 1 to May 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that overlaps an area bounded on the north by a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat. and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, and bounded on the south by a line at 32°00′ N. lat., and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, and area-specific requirements in (c)(2) or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iv) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From November 15 to April 15, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that overlaps an area from 32°00′ N. lat. south to 29°00′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(v) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From December 1 to March 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Offshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that overlaps an area from 29°00′ N. lat. south to 27°51′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) in this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(vi) [Reserved]

(7) Northern Inshore State Trap/Pot Waters Area -

(i) Area. The Northern Inshore State Trap/Pot Waters Area includes the state waters of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine, with the exception of Massachusetts Restricted Area and those waters exempted under paragraph (a)(3) of this section. Federal waters west of 70°00′ N. lat. in Nantucket Sound are also included in the Northern Inshore State Trap/Pot Waters Area.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Northern Inshore State Trap/Pot Waters Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(8) Northern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area -

(i) Area. The Northern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area includes all Federal waters of EEZ Nearshore Management Area 1, Area 2, and the Outer Cape Lobster Management Area (as defined in the American Lobster Fishery regulations at 50 CFR 697.18 of this title), with the exception of the Great South Channel Restricted Trap/Pot Area, Massachusetts Restricted Area, Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area, and Federal waters west of 70°00′ N. lat. in Nantucket Sound (included in the Northern Inshore State Trap/Pot Waters Area) and those waters exempted under paragraph (a)(3) of this section.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Northern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(9) Southern Nearshore 5 Trap/Pot Waters Area -

(i) Trap/Pot Waters Area -

(i) Area. The Southern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area includes all state and Federal waters which fall within EEZ Nearshore Management Area 4, EEZ Nearshore Management Area 5, and EEZ Nearshore Management Area 6 (as defined in the American Lobster Fishery regulations in 50 CFR 697.18, and excluding the Area 3/5 Overlap), and inside the 100-fathom (600-ft or 182.9-m) depth contour line from 35°30′ N. lat. south to 27°51′ N. lat. and extending inshore to the shoreline or exemption line, with the exception of those waters exempted under paragraph (a)(3) of this section and those waters in the Southeast Restricted Area defined in paragraph (f)(1) of this section.

5 Fishermen using red crab trap/pot gear should refer to § 229.32(c)(10) for the restrictions applicable to red crab trap/pot fishery.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Southern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that is east of a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat., unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iii) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From September 1 to May 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Southern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that overlaps an area bounded on the north by a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat. and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, and bounded on the south by 32°00′ N. lat., and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iv) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From November 15 to April 15, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Southern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that overlaps an area from 32°00′ N. lat. south to 29°00′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(v) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From December 1 to March 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess trap/pot gear in the Southern Nearshore Trap/Pot Waters Area that overlaps an area from 29°00′ N. lat. south to 27°51′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(vi) [Reserved]

(10) Restrictions applicable to the red crab trap/pot fishery -

(i) Area. The red crab trap/pot fishery is regulated in the waters identified in paragraphs (c)(6)(i) and (c)(9)(i) of this section.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess red crab trap/pot gear in the area identified in paragraph (c)(10)(i) of this section that overlaps an area from the U.S./Canada border south to a straight line from 41° 18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat., and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iii) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From September 1 to May 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess red crab trap/pot gear in the area identified in paragraph (c)(10)(i) of this section that overlaps an area bounded on the north by a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat. and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, and bounded on the south by a line at 32°00′ N. lat., and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iv) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From November 15 to April 15, no person or vessel may fish with or possess red crab trap/pot gear in the area identified in paragraph (c)(11)(i) of this section that overlaps an area from 32°00′ N. lat. south to 29°00′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in paragraph (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(v) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From December 1 to March 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess red crab trap/pot gear in the area identified in paragraph (c)(11)(i) of this section that overlaps an area from 29°00′ N. lat. south to 27°51′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal trap/pot gear requirements specified in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, the area-specific requirements in (c)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(vi) [Reserved]

(d) Restrictions applicable to anchored gillnet gear -

(1) Universal anchored gillnet gear requirements. In addition to the area-specific measures listed in paragraphs (d)(3) through (d)(8) of this section, all anchored gillnet gear in regulated waters must comply with the universal gear requirements listed below. 6

6 Fishermen are also encouraged to maintain their buoy lines to be as knot-free as possible. Splices are considered to be less of an entanglement threat and are thus preferable to knots.

(i) No buoy line floating at the surface. No person or vessel may fish with anchored gillnet gear that has any portion of the buoy line floating at the surface at any time when the buoy line is directly connected to the gear at the ocean bottom. If more than one buoy is attached to a single buoy line or if a high flyer and a buoy are used together on a single buoy line, sinking and/or neutrally buoyant line must be used between these objects.

(ii) No wet storage of gear. Anchored gillnet gear must be hauled out of the water at least once every 30 days.

(iii) Groundlines. All groundlines must be composed entirely of sinking line unless exempted from this requirement under paragraph (a)(4) of this section. The attachment of buoys, toggles, or other floatation devices to groundlines is prohibited.

(2) Area specific gear restrictions. No person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in Areas referenced in paragraphs (d)(3) through (d)(8) of this section, unless that gear complies with the gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area specific requirements listed below, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(i) Buoy line weak links. All buoys, flotation devices and/or weights (except gillnets, anchors, and leadline woven into the buoy line), such as surface buoys, high flyers, sub-surface buoys, toggles, window weights, etc., must be attached to the buoy line with a weak link placed as close to each individual buoy, flotation device and/or weight as operationally feasible and that meets the following specifications:

(A) The weak link must be chosen from the following list approved by NMFS: Swivels, plastic weak links, rope of appropriate breaking strength, hog rings, rope stapled to a buoy stick, or other materials or devices approved in writing by the Assistant Administrator. A brochure illustrating the techniques for making weak links is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request.

(B) The breaking strength of the weak links must not exceed 1,100 lb (499.0 kg).

(C) Weak links must break cleanly leaving behind the bitter end of the line. The bitter end of the line must be free of any knots when the weak link breaks. Splices are not considered to be knots for the purposes of this provision.

(ii) Net panel weak links. The breaking strength of each weak link must not exceed 1,100 lb (499.0 kg). The weak link requirements apply to all variations in panel size. All net panels in a string must contain weak links that meet one of the following two configurations unless exempted from this requirement under paragraph (a)(5) of this section:

(A) Configuration 1.

(1) The weak link must be chosen from the following list approved by NMFS: Plastic weak links or rope of appropriate breaking strength. If rope of appropriate breaking strength is used throughout the floatline or as the up and down line, or if no up and down line is present, then individual weak links are not required on the floatline or up and down line. A brochure illustrating the techniques for making weak links is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request; and

(2) One weak link must be placed in the center of each of the up and down lines at both ends of the net panel; and

(3) One weak link must be placed as close as possible to each end of the net panels on the floatline; and

(4) For net panels of 50 fathoms (300 ft or 91.4 m) or less in length, one weak link must be placed in the center of the floatline; or

(5) For net panels greater than 50 fathoms (300 ft or 91.4 m) in length, one weak link must be placed at least every 25 fathoms (150 ft or 45.7 m) along the floatline.

(B) Configuration 2.

(1) The weak link must be chosen from the following list approved by NMFS: Plastic weak links or rope of appropriate breaking strength. If rope of appropriate breaking strength is used throughout the floatline or as the up and down line, or if no up and down line is present, then individual weak links are not required on the floatline or up and down line. A brochure illustrating the techniques for making weak links is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request; and

(2) One weak link must be placed in the center of each of the up and down lines at both ends of the net panel; and

(3) One weak link must be placed between the floatline tie loops between net panels; and

(4) One weak link must be placed where the floatline tie loops attaches to the bridle, buoy line, or groundline at the end of a net string; and

(5) For net panels of 50 fathoms (300 ft or 91.4 m) or less in length, one weak link must be placed in the center of the floatline; or

(6) For net panels greater than 50 fathoms (300 ft or 91.4 m) in length, one weak link must be placed at least every 25 fathoms (150 ft or 45.7 m) along the floatline.

(iii) Anchoring systems. All anchored gillnets, regardless of the number of net panels, must be secured at each end of the net string with a burying anchor (an anchor that holds to the ocean bottom through the use of a fluke, spade, plow, or pick) having the holding capacity equal to or greater than a 22-lb (10.0-kg) Danforth-style anchor unless exempted from this requirement under paragraph (a)(5) of this section. Dead weights do not meet this requirement. A brochure illustrating the techniques for rigging anchoring systems is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region.

(3) Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Cape Cod Bay restricted area is bounded by the following points and on the south and east by the interior shoreline of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Point N. lat. W. long.
CCB1 41°46.8′ 70°30′
CCB2 42°12′ 70°30′
CCB3 42°12′ 70°15′
CCB4 42°04.8′ 70°10′

(ii) Closure. During January 1 through May 15 of each year, no person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area unless the Assistant Administrator specifies gear restrictions or alternative fishing practices in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section and the gear or practices comply with those specifications, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. The Assistant Administrator may waive this closure for the remaining portion of the winter restricted period in any year through a notification in the Federal Register if NMFS determines that right whales have left the restricted area and are unlikely to return for the remainder of the season.

(iii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From May 16 through December 31 of each year, no person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(4) Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area -

(i) Area. The Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area consists of the area bounded by lines connecting the following four points:

Point N. lat. W. long.
GSC1 41°02.2′ 69°02′
GSC2 41°43.5′ 69°36.3′
GSC3 42°10′ 68°31′
GSC4 41°38′ 68°13′

(ii) Closure. From April 1 through June 30 of each year, no person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area unless the Assistant Administrator specifies gear restrictions or alternative fishing practices in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section and the gear or practices comply with those specifications, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From July 1 through March 31 of each year, no person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in paragraph (d)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(5) Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area consists of the area bounded by lines connecting the following points:

Point N. lat. W. long.
GSCRA1 41°02.2′ 69°02′
GSCRA2 41°43.5′ 69°36.3′
GSCRA3 41°40′ 69°45′
GSCRA4 41°00′ 69°05′

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in paragraph (d)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(6) Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area includes all Federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, except those designated as the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area in paragraph (d)(3) of this section that lie south of 43°15′ N. lat. and west of 70°00′ W. long.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in paragraph (d)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(7) Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area -

(i) Area. The Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area consists of all state and Federal U.S. waters from the U.S./Canada border to Long Island, NY, at 72°30′ W. long. south to 36°33.03′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, with the exception of the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area, Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area, Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area, Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area, and exempted waters listed in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area that overlaps an area from the U.S./Canada border south to a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat. and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in paragraph (d)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iii) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From September 1 to May 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area that is south of a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71 °51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat. and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements listed in paragraph (d)(2) of this section or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(8) Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters -

(i) Area. The Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters consists of all U.S. waters bounded on the north from Long Island, NY, at 72°30′ W. long. south to 36°33.03′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, and bounded on the south by 32°00′ N. lat., and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ. When the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Area overlaps the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area and its restricted period as specified in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this section, then the closure and exemption for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area as specified in paragraph (f)(2) of this section applies.

(ii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From September 1 through May 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess anchored gillnet gear in the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the following area-specific requirements, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. When the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Area overlaps the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area and its restricted period as specified in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this section, then the closure and exemption for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area as specified in paragraph (f)(2) of this section applies.

(A) Buoy line weak links. All buoys, flotation devices and/or weights (except gillnets, anchors, and leadline woven into the buoy line), such as surface buoys, high flyers, sub-surface buoys, toggles, window weights, etc., must be attached to the buoy line with a weak link placed as close to each individual buoy, flotation device and/or weight as operationally feasible and that meets the following specifications:

(1) The weak link must be chosen from the following list approved by NMFS: Swivels, plastic weak links, rope of appropriate breaking strength, hog rings, rope stapled to a buoy stick, or other materials or devices approved in writing by the Assistant Administrator. A brochure illustrating the techniques for making weak links is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request.

(2) The breaking strength of the weak links must not exceed 1,100 lb (499.0 kg).

(3) Weak links must break cleanly leaving behind the bitter end of the line. The bitter end of the line must be free of any knots when the weak link breaks. Splices are not considered to be knots for the purposes of this provision.

(B) Net panel weak links. The weak link requirements apply to all variations in panel size. All net panels must contain weak links that meet the following specifications unless exempted under paragraph (a)(5) of this section:

(1) The breaking strength for each of the weak links must not exceed 1,100 lb (499.0 kg).

(2) The weak link must be chosen from the following list approved by NMFS: Plastic weak links or rope of appropriate breaking strength. If rope of appropriate breaking strength is used throughout the floatline then individual weak links are not required. A brochure illustrating the techniques for making weak links is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request.

(3) Weak links must be placed in the center of the floatline of each gillnet net panel up to and including 50 fathoms (300 ft or 91.4 m) in length, or at least every 25 fathoms (150 ft or 45.7 m) along the floatline for longer panels.

(C) Additional anchoring system and net panel weak link requirements. All gillnets must return to port with the vessel unless the gear meets the following specifications:

(1) Anchoring systems. All anchored gillnets, regardless of the number of net panels, must be secured at each end of the net string with a burying anchor (an anchor that holds to the ocean bottom through the use of a fluke, spade, plow, or pick) having the holding capacity equal to or greater than a 22-lb (10.0-kg) Danforth-style anchor unless exempted under paragraph (a)(5) of this section. Dead weights do not meet this requirement. A brochure illustrating the techniques for rigging anchoring systems is available from the Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Region upon request.

(2) Net panel weak links. Net panel weak links must meet the specifications in this paragraph. The breaking strength of each weak link must not exceed 1,100 lb (499.0 kg). The weak link requirements apply to all variations in panel size. All net panels in a string must contain weak links that meet one of the following two configurations found in paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(A) or (d)(2)(ii)(B) of this section.

(3) Additional provision for North Carolina. All gillnets set 300 yards (274.3 m) or less from the shoreline in North Carolina must meet the anchoring system and net panel weak link requirements in paragraphs (d)(8)(ii)(C)(1) and (d)(8)(ii)(C)(2) of this section, or the following:

(i) The entire net string must be less than 300 yards (274.3 m) from shore.

(ii) The breaking strength of each weak link must not exceed 600 lb (272.2 kg). The weak link requirements apply to all variations in panel size.

(iii) All net panels in a string must contain weak links that meet one of the following two configuration specifications found in paragraph (d)(2)(ii)(A) or (d)(2)(ii)(B) of this section.

(iv) Regardless of the number of net panels, all anchored gillnets must be secured at the offshore end of the net string with a burying anchor (an anchor that holds to the ocean bottom through the use of a fluke, spade, plow, or pick) having a holding capacity equal to or greater than an 8-lb (3.6-kg) Danforth-style anchor, and at the inshore end of the net string with a dead weight equal to or greater than 31 lb (14.1 kg).

(e) Restrictions applicable to drift gillnet gear -

(1) Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area is bounded by the following points and on the south and east by the interior shoreline of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Point N. lat. W. long.
CCB1 41°46.8′ 70°30′
CCB2 42°12′ 70°30′
CCB3 42°12′ 70°15′
CCB4 42°04.8′ 70°10′

(ii) Closure. From January 1 through April 30 of each year, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area unless the Assistant Administrator specifies gear restrictions or alternative fishing practices in accordance with paragraph (e)(1)(i) of this section and the gear or practices comply with those specifications, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. The Assistant Administrator may waive this closure for the remaining portion of the winter restricted period in any year through a notification in the Federal Register if NMFS determines that right whales have left the restricted area and are unlikely to return for the remainder of the season.

(iii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From May 1 through December 31 of each year, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. Additionally, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear at night in the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area unless that gear is tended, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. During that time, all drift gillnet gear set by that vessel in the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area must be removed from the water and stowed on board the vessel before a vessel returns to port.

(2) Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area -

(i) Area. The Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area consists of the area bounded by lines connecting the following four points:

Point N. Lat. W. Long.
GSC1 41°02.2′ 69°02′
GSC2 41°43.5′ 69°36.3′
GSC3 42°10′ 68°31′
GSC4 41°38′ 68°13′

(ii) Closure. From April 1 through June 30 of each year, no person or vessel may set, fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area unless the Assistant Administrator specifies gear restrictions or alternative fishing practices in accordance with paragraph (i) of this section and the gear or practices comply with those specifications, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2.

(iii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From July 1 through March 31 of each year, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. Additionally, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear at night in the Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area unless that gear is tended, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. During that time, all drift gillnet gear set by that vessel in the Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area must be removed from the water and stowed on board the vessel before a vessel returns to port.

(3) Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area consists of the area bounded by lines connecting the following points:

Point N. lat. W. long.
GSCRA1 41°02.2′ 69°02′
GSCRA2 41°43.5′ 69°36.3′
GSCRA3 41°40′ 69°45′
GSCRA4 41°00′ 69°05′

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Gillnet Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. Additionally, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear at night in the Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area unless that gear is tended, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. During that time, all drift gillnet gear set by that vessel in the Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area must be removed from the water and stowed on board the vessel before a vessel returns to port.

(4) Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area -

(i) Area. The Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area includes all Federal waters of the Gulf of Maine, except those designated the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area in paragraph (e)(1), that lie south of 43°15′ N. lat. and west of 70°00′ W. long.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. Additionally, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear at night in the Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Area unless that gear is tended, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. During that time, all drift gillnet gear set by that vessel in the Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area must be removed from the water and stowed on board the vessel before a vessel returns to port.

(5) Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area -

(i) Area. The Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area consists of all state and Federal U.S. waters from the U.S./Canada border to Long Island, NY, at 72°30′ W. long. south to 36°33.03′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, with the exception of the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area, Stellwagen Bank/Jeffreys Ledge Restricted Area, Great South Channel Restricted Gillnet Area, Great South Channel Sliver Restricted Area, and exempted waters listed in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.

(ii) Year-round area-specific gear or vessel requirements. No person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. Additionally, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear at night in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area unless that gear is tended, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. During that time, all drift gillnet gear set by that vessel in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area must be removed from the water and stowed on board the vessel before a vessel returns to port.

(iii) Seasonal area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From September 1 to May 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area that is south of a straight line from 41°18.2′ N. lat., 71°51.5′ W. long. (Watch Hill Point, RI) south to 40°00′ N. lat. and then east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, unless that gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. Additionally, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear at night in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area unless that gear is tended, or unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. During that time, all drift gillnet gear set by that vessel in the Other Northeast Gillnet Waters Area must be removed from the water and stowed on board the vessel before a vessel returns to port.

(6) Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Area -

(i) Area. The Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters consists of all U.S. waters bounded on the north from Long Island, NY at 72°30′ W. long. south to 36°33.03′ N. lat. and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ, and bounded on the south by 32°00′ N. lat., and east to the eastern edge of the EEZ. When the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Area overlaps the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area and its restricted period as specified in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this section, then the closure and exemption for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area as specified in paragraph (f)(2) of this section applies.

(ii) Area-specific gear or vessel requirements. From September 1 through May 31, no person or vessel may fish with or possess drift gillnet gear at night in the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Area unless:

(A) The gear complies with gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section;

(B) The gear is tended; and

(C) All gear is removed from the water and stowed on board the vessel before a vessel returns to port. No person or vessel may possess drift gillnet at night in the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters unless the gear is stowed as specified in § 229.2. When the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters Area overlaps the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area and its restricted period as specified in paragraphs (f)(1) and (f)(2) of this section, then the closure and exemption for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area as specified in paragraph (f)(2) of this section applies.

(f) Restrictions applicable to the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area -

(1) Area. The Southeast U.S. Restricted Area consists of the area bounded by straight lines connecting the following points in the order stated from south to north:

Point N. lat. W. long.
SERA1 27°51′ ( 1)
SERA2 27°51′ 80°00′
SERA3 32°00′ 80°00′
SERA4 32°36′ 78°52′
SERA5 32°51′ 78°36′
SERA6 33°15′ 78°24′
SERA7 33°27′ 78°04′
SERA8 ( 2) 78°33.9′

1 Florida shoreline.

2 South Carolina shoreline.

(i) Southeast U.S. Restricted Area N. The Southeast U.S. Restricted Area N consists of the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area from 29°00′ N. lat. northward.

(ii) Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S. The Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S consists of the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area southward of 29°00′ N. lat.

(2) Restricted periods, closure, and exemptions -

(i) Restricted periods. The restricted period for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area N is from November 15 through April 15, and the restricted period for the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S is from December 1 through March 31.

(ii) Closure for gillnets.

(A) Except as provided under paragraph (f)(2)(v) of this section, fishing with or possessing gillnet in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area N during the restricted period is prohibited.

(B) Except as provided under paragraph (f)(2)(iii) of this section and (f)(2)(iv) of this section, fishing with gillnet in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S during the restricted period is prohibited.

(iii) Exemption for Southeastern U.S. Atlantic shark gillnet fishery. Fishing with gillnet for sharks with webbing of 5 inches (12.7 cm) or greater stretched mesh is exempt from the restrictions under paragraph (f)(2)(ii)(B) of this section if:

(A) The gillnet is deployed so that it encloses an area of water;

(B) A valid commercial directed shark limited access permit has been issued to the vessel in accordance with 50 CFR § 635.4(e) and is on board;

(C) No net is set at night or when visibility is less than 500 yards (1,500 ft, 460 m);

(D) The gillnet is removed from the water before night or immediately if visibility decreases below 500 yards (1,500 ft, 460 m);

(E) Each set is made under the observation of a spotter plane;

(F) No gillnet is set within 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of a right, humpback, or fin whale;

(G) The gillnet is removed immediately from the water if a right, humpback, or fin whale moves within 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of the set gear;

(H) The gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section; and

(I) The operator of the vessel calls the Southeast Fisheries Science Center Panama City Laboratory in Panama City, FL, not less than 48 hours prior to departing on any fishing trip in order to arrange for observer coverage. If the Panama City Laboratory requests that an observer be taken on board a vessel during a fishing trip at any time from December 1 through March 31 south of 29°00′ N. lat., no person may fish with such gillnet aboard that vessel in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S unless an observer is on board that vessel during the trip.

(iv) Exemption for Spanish Mackerel component of the Southeast Atlantic gillnet fishery. Fishing with gillnet for Spanish mackerel is exempt from the restrictions under paragraph (f)(2)(ii)(B) of this section from December 1 through December 31, and from March 1 through March 31 if:

(A) Gillnet mesh size is between 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) and 4 7/8 inches (12.4 cm) stretched mesh;

(B) A valid commercial vessel permit for Spanish mackerel has been issued to the vessel in accordance with § 622.4(a)(2)(iv) of this title and is on board;

(C) No person may fish with, set, place in the water, or have on board a vessel a gillnet with a float line longer than 800 yards (2,400 ft, 732 m);

(D) No person may fish with, set, or place in the water more than one gillnet at any time;

(E) No more than two gillnets, including any net in use, may be possessed at any one time; provided, however, that if two gillnets, including any net in use, are possessed at any one time, they must have stretched mesh sizes (as allowed under the regulations) that differ by at least .25 inch (.64 cm);

(F) No person may soak a gillnet for more than 1 hour. The soak period begins when the first mesh is placed in the water and ends either when the first mesh is retrieved back on board the vessel or the gathering of the gillnet is begun to facilitate retrieval on board the vessel, whichever occurs first; providing that, once the first mesh is retrieved or the gathering is begun, the retrieval is continuous until the gillnet is completely removed from the water;

(G) No net is set at night or when visibility is less than 500 yards (1,500 ft, 460 m);

(H) The gillnet is removed from the water before night or immediately if visibility decreases below 500 yards (1,500 ft, 460 m);

(I) No net is set within 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of a right, humpback, or fin whale;

(J) The gillnet is removed immediately from the water if a right, humpback, or fin whale moves within 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of the set gear; and

(K) The gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section, the universal anchored gillnet gear requirements specified in paragraph (d)(1) of this section, and the area-specific requirements for anchored gillnets specified in paragraphs (d)(8)(ii)(A) through (d)(8)(ii)(D) of this section for the Mid/South Atlantic Gillnet Waters.

(v) Exemption for vessels in transit with gillnet aboard. Possession of gillnet aboard a vessel in transit is exempt from the restrictions under paragraph (f)(2)(ii)(A) of this section if: All nets are covered with canvas or other similar material and lashed or otherwise securely fastened to the deck, rail, or drum; and all buoys, high flyers, and anchors are disconnected from all gillnets. No fish may be possessed aboard such a vessel in transit.

(vi) Restrictions for trap/pot gear. Fishing with trap/pot gear in the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area N during the restricted period is allowed if:

(A) Trap/pot gear is not fished in a trap/pot trawl;

(B) All buoys or flotation devices are attached to the buoy line with a weak link that meets the requirements of paragraph (c)(2)(ii) of this section. The weak link has a maximum breaking strength of 600 lbs (272 kg) except in Florida State waters where the maximum breaking strength is 200 lbs (91kg);

(C) The buoy line has a maximum breaking strength of 2,200 lbs (998 kg) except in Florida State waters where the maximum breaking strength is 1,500 lbs (630 kg);

(D) The entire buoy line must be free of objects (e.g., weights, floats, etc.) except where it attaches to the buoy and trap/pot;

(E) The buoy line is made of sinking line;

(F) The gear complies with gear marking requirements as specified in paragraph (b) of this section; and

(G) Trap/pot gear that is deployed in the EEZ (as defined in § 600.10 of this title) is brought back to port at the conclusion of each fishing trip.

(g) Restrictions applicable to the Other Southeast Gillnet Waters -

(1) Area. The Other Southeast Gillnet Waters Area includes all waters bounded by 32°00′ N. lat. on the north (near Savannah, GA), 26°46.50′ N. lat. on the south (near West Palm Beach, FL), 80°00′ W. long. on the west, and the EEZ boundary on the east.

(2) Closure for gillnets. Fishing with or possessing gillnet gear in the Other Southeast Gillnet Waters Area north of 29°00′ N. lat. from November 15 through April 15 or south of 29°00′ N. lat. from December 1 through March 31 is allowed if one of the following exemptions applies:

(i) Exemption for Southeastern U.S. Atlantic shark gillnet fishery. Fishing with or possessing gillnet gear with webbing of 5 inches (12.7 cm) or greater stretched mesh is allowed if:

(A) The gear is marked as required in paragraph (b) of this section.

(B) No net is set within 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of a right, humpback, or fin whale; and

(C) The gear is removed immediately from the water if a right, humpback, or fin whale moves within 3 nautical miles (5.6 km) of the set gear.

(ii) Exemption for Southeast Atlantic gillnet fishery. Fishing with or possessing gillnet gear is allowed if:

(A) The gear is marked as required in paragraph (b) of this section; or

(B) The gear is fished south of 27°51′ N.

(iii) Exemption for vessels in transit with gillnet aboard. Possession of gillnet gear aboard a vessel in transit is allowed if:

(A) All nets are covered with canvas or other similar material and securely fastened to the deck, rail, or drum; and

(B) All buoys, high flyers, and anchors are disconnected from all gillnets.

(h) Restrictions applicable to the Southeast U.S. Monitoring Area -

(1) Area. The Southeast U.S. Monitoring Area consists of the area from 27°51′ N. lat. (near Sebastian Inlet, FL) south to 26°46.50′ N. lat. (near West Palm Beach, FL), extending from the shoreline or exemption line out to 80°00′ W. long.

(2) Restrictions for Southeastern U.S. Atlantic shark gillnet fishery. Fishing with or possessing gillnet gear with webbing of 5 inches (12.7 cm) or greater stretched mesh from December 1 through March 31 is allowed if:

(i) The gear complies with the gear marking requirements specified in paragraph (b) of this section;

(ii) The vessel owner/operator is in compliance with the vessel monitoring system (VMS) requirements found in 50 CFR 635.69; and

(iii) The vessel owner/operator and crew are in compliance with observer requirements found in § 229.7.

(3) Restrictions for Southeastern U.S. Atlantic shark gillnet fishery vessels in transit. Possession of gillnet gear with webbing of 5 inches (12.7 cm) or greater stretched mesh aboard a vessel in transit from December 1 through March 31 is allowed if:

(i) All gear is stowed as specified in 50 CFR 229.2; and

(ii) The vessel owner/operator is in compliance with the vessel monitoring system (VMS) requirements found in 50 CFR 635.69.

(i) Other provisions. In addition to any other emergency authority under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, or other appropriate authority, the Assistant Administrator may take action under this section in the following situations:

(1) Entanglements in critical habitat or restricted areas. If a serious injury or mortality of a right whale occurs in the Cape Cod Bay Restricted Area from January 1 through May 15, in the Great South Channel Restricted Area from April 1 through June 30, the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area N from November 15 to April 15, or the Southeast U.S. Restricted Area S from December 1 through March 31 as the result of an entanglement by trap/pot or gillnet gear allowed to be used in those areas and times, the Assistant Administrator shall close that area to that gear type (i.e., trap/pot or gillnet) for the rest of that time period and for that same time period in each subsequent year, unless the Assistant Administrator revises the restricted period in accordance with paragraph (i)(2) of this section or unless other measures are implemented under paragraph (i)(2) of this section.

(2) Other special measures. The Assistant Administrator may, in consultation with the Take Reduction Team, revise the requirements of this section through a publication in the Federal Register if:

(i) NMFS verifies that certain gear characteristics are both operationally effective and reduce serious injuries and mortalities of endangered whales;

(ii) New gear technology is developed and determined to be appropriate;

(iii) Revised breaking strengths are determined to be appropriate;

(iv) New marking systems are developed and determined to be appropriate;

(v) NMFS determines that right whales are remaining longer than expected in a closed area or have left earlier than expected;

(vi) NMFS determines that the boundaries of a closed area are not appropriate;

(vii) Gear testing operations are considered appropriate; or

(viii) Similar situations occur.

[79 FR 36610, June 27, 2014; 79 FR 49718, Aug. 22, 2014, as amended at 79 FR 73852, Dec. 12, 2014; 80 FR 30375, May 28, 2015]