50 CFR § 622.179 - Conservation measures for protected resources.

§ 622.179 Conservation measures for protected resources.

(a) South Atlantic snapper-grouper commercial vessels and charter vessels/headboats -

(1) Sea turtle conservation measures.

(i) The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper or a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under § 622.170(a)(1) and (b)(1), respectively, and whose vessel has on board any hook-and-line gear, must have the 2019 version of the NMFS document titled, “Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury” available for reference on board electronically or have a paper copy on board inside the wheelhouse, or within a waterproof case if there is no wheelhouse. In addition, the NMFS sea turtle handling and release guidelines placard must be posted inside the wheelhouse or an easily viewable area on the vessel if there is no wheelhouse.

(ii) Such owner or operator must also comply with the sea turtle interaction mitigation measures, including the release gear and handling requirements specified in appendix F of this part.

(iii) Those permitted vessels with a freeboard height of 4 ft (1.2 m) or less must have on board a net or hoist, tire or other support device, short-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, long-nose or needle-nose pliers, bolt cutters, monofilament line cutters, and at least two types of mouth openers or mouth gags. This equipment must meet the specifications described in appendix F of this part.

(iv) Those permitted vessels with a freeboard height of greater than 4 ft (1.2 m) must have on board a net or hoist, tire or other support device, long-handled line clipper or cutter, short-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, long-handled dehooker(s) for internal and external hooks, a long-handled device to pull an inverted “V” in the fishing line, long-nose or needle-nose pliers, bolt cutters, monofilament line cutters, and at least two types of mouth openers or mouth gags. This equipment must meet the specifications described in appendix F of this part.

(2) Smalltooth sawfish conservation measures. The owner or operator of a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper or a charter vessel/headboat permit for South Atlantic snapper-grouper has been issued, as required under §§ 622.170(a)(1) and 622.170(b)(1), respectively, that incidentally catches a smalltooth sawfish must -

(i) Keep the sawfish in the water at all times;

(ii) If it can be done safely, untangle the line if it is wrapped around the saw;

(iii) Cut the line as close to the hook as possible; and

(iv) Not handle the animal or attempt to remove any hooks on the saw, except with a long-handled dehooker.

(b) Incorporation by reference. The standards required in paragraph (a)(1) of this section are incorporated by reference into this section with the approval of the Director of the Federal Register under 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and 1 CFR part 51. All approved material is available for inspection at the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, phone: 727-824-5301, website: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/southeast/endangered-species-conservation/sea-turtle-and-smalltooth-sawfish-release-gear-protocols, and is available from the sources listed in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section. It is also available for inspection at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). For information on the availability of this material at NARA, email fedreg.legal@nara.gov or go to www.archives.gov/federal-register/cfr/ibr-locations.html.

(1) U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, 75 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149.

(i) Careful Release Protocols for Sea Turtle Release with Minimal Injury, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SEFSC-735, Stokes, L., and Bergmann, C. (Editors), 2019.

(ii) [Reserved]

(2) U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Ave. South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.

(i) Sea Turtle Handling/Release Guidelines: Quick Reference for Hook and Line Fisheries, English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Revised April 2019.

(ii) [Reserved]

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended at 84 FR 67238, Dec. 9, 2019]