50 CFR § 622.20 - Permits and endorsements.

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§ 622.20 Permits and endorsements.

(a) Commercial vessels -

(1) Commercial vessel permits. For a person aboard a vessel to be eligible for exemption from the bag limits, to fish under a quota, as specified in § 622.39, or to sell Gulf reef fish or Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish in or from the Gulf EEZ, a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. If Federal regulations for Gulf reef fish in subparts A or B of this part are more restrictive than state regulations, a person aboard a vessel for which a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must comply with such Federal regulations regardless of where the fish are harvested. See paragraph (a)(1)(i) of this section regarding a limited access system for commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish. See §§ 622.21(b)(1) and 622.22(b)(1), respectively, regarding an IFQ vessel account required to fish for, possess, or land Gulf red snapper or Gulf groupers and tilefishes, and paragraph (a)(2) of this section regarding an additional bottom longline endorsement required to fish for Gulf reef fish with bottom longline gear in a portion of the eastern Gulf.

(i) Limited access system for commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish.

(A) No applications for additional commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish will be accepted. Existing vessel permits may be renewed, are subject to the restriction on transfer in paragraph (a)(1)(i)(B) of this section, and are subject to the requirement for timely renewal in paragraph (a)(1)(i)(C) of this section. An application for renewal or transfer of a commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish will not be considered complete until proof of purchase, installation, activation, and operational status of an approved VMS for the vessel receiving the permit has been verified by NMFS VMS personnel.

(B) An owner of a permitted vessel may transfer the commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish to another vessel owned by the same entity. A permit holder may also transfer the commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish to the owner of another vessel or to a new vessel owner when he or she transfers ownership of the permitted vessel.

(C) A commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish that is not renewed or that is revoked will not be reissued. A permit is considered to be not renewed when an application for renewal is not received by the RA within 1 year of the expiration date of the permit.

(ii) Option to consolidate commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish. A person who has been issued multiple commercial vessel permits for Gulf reef fish and wants to consolidate some or all of those permits, and the landings histories associated with those permits, into one permit must submit a completed permit consolidation application to the RA. The permits consolidated must be valid, non-expired permits and must be issued to the same entity. The application form and instructions are available online at sero.nmfs.noaa.gov. After consolidation, such a person would have a single permit, and the permits that were consolidated into that permit will be permanently terminated.

(2) Commercial vessel endorsements -

(i) Eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement. For a person aboard a vessel, for which a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued, to use a bottom longline for Gulf reef fish in the Gulf EEZ east of 85°30′ W. long., a valid eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. A permit or endorsement that has expired is not valid. This endorsement must be renewed annually and may only be renewed if the associated vessel has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish or if the endorsement and associated permit are being concurrently renewed. The RA will not reissue this endorsement if the endorsement is revoked or if the RA does not receive a complete application for renewal of the endorsement within 1 year after the endorsement's expiration date.

(A) Transferability. An owner of a vessel with a valid eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement may transfer that endorsement to an owner of a vessel that has a valid commercial vessel permit for Gulf reef fish.

(B) Fees. A fee is charged for each renewal, transfer, or replacement of an eastern Gulf reef fish bottom longline endorsement. The amount of each fee is calculated in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook, available from the RA, for determining the administrative costs of each special product or service. The fee may not exceed such costs and is specified with each application form. The appropriate fee must accompany each application for renewal, transfer, or replacement.

(ii) [Reserved]

(b) Charter vessel/headboat permits. For a person aboard a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat to fish for or possess Gulf reef fish, in or from the EEZ, a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board. For a person aboard a vessel that is operating as a charter vessel or headboat to fish for or possess Florida Keys/East Florida hogfish in or from the Gulf EEZ, a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish must have been issued to the vessel and must be on board.

(1) Limited access system for charter vessel/headboat permits for Gulf reef fish. No applications for additional charter vessel/headboat permits for Gulf reef fish will be accepted. Existing permits may be renewed, are subject to the restrictions on transfer in paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section, and are subject to the renewal requirements in paragraph (b)(1)(ii) of this section. An eligible charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement may be converted to a charter vessel/headboat permit without a historical captain endorsement, per the procedure in paragraph (b)(1)(v) of this section.

(i) Transfer of permits -

(A) Permits without a historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish that does not have a historical captain endorsement is fully transferable, with or without sale of the permitted vessel.

(B) Permits with a historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish that has a historical captain endorsement may only be transferred to a vessel operated by the historical captain and is not otherwise transferable.

(C) Procedure for permit transfer. To request that the RA transfer a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish, the owner of the vessel who is transferring the permit and the owner of the vessel that is to receive the transferred permit must complete the transfer information on the reverse side of the permit and return the permit and a completed application for transfer to the RA. See § 622.4(f) for additional transfer-related requirements applicable to all permits issued under this part.

(ii) Renewal.

(A) Renewal of a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish is contingent upon the permitted vessel and/or captain, as appropriate, being included in an active survey frame for, and, if selected to report, providing the information required in one of the approved fishing data surveys. Surveys include, but are not limited to -

(1) NMFS' Marine Recreational Fishing Vessel Directory Telephone Survey (conducted by the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission);

(2) Charter vessel and headboat recordkeeping and reporting requirements specified in § 622.26(b);

(3) Texas Parks and Wildlife Marine Recreational Fishing Survey; or

(4) A data collection system that replaces one or more of the surveys in paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A),(1),(2), or (3) of this section.

(B) A charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish that is not renewed or that is revoked will not be reissued. A permit is considered to be not renewed when an application for renewal, as required, is not received by the RA within 1 year of the expiration date of the permit.

(iii) Requirement to display a vessel decal. Upon renewal or transfer of a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish, the RA will issue the owner of the permitted vessel a vessel decal for Gulf reef fish. The vessel decal must be displayed on the port side of the deckhouse or hull and must be maintained so that it is clearly visible.

(iv) Passenger capacity compliance requirement. A vessel operating as a charter vessel or headboat with a valid charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish, which is carrying more passengers on board the vessel than is specified on the permit, is prohibited from harvesting or possessing the species identified on the permit.

(v) Procedure for conversion of permit with historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement that was valid or renewable on October 25, 2018, may be converted to a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish without a historical captain endorsement. A charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement that is converted to a charter vessel/headboat permit without a historical captain endorsement will retain the same vessel permit maximum passenger capacity as the permit it replaces. To convert an eligible charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement, the permit holder must submit a permit application to the RA by May 23, 2022. If no application to convert an eligible charter vessel/headboat permit with a historical captain endorsement is submitted by May 23, 2022, the permit holder will retain a charter vessel/headboat permit with the historical captain endorsement that is subject to the restrictions described in paragraph (b)(1)(i)(B) of this section.

(2) A charter vessel or headboat may have both a charter vessel/headboat permit and a commercial vessel permit. However, when a vessel is operating as a charter vessel or headboat, a person aboard must adhere to the bag limits. See the definitions of “Charter vessel” and “Headboat” in § 622.2 for an explanation of when vessels are considered to be operating as a charter vessel or headboat, respectively.

(3) If Federal regulations for Gulf reef fish in subparts A or B of this part are more restrictive than state regulations, a person aboard a charter vessel or headboat for which a charter vessel/headboat permit for Gulf reef fish has been issued must comply with such Federal regulations regardless of where the fish are harvested.

(c) Dealer permits and conditions -

(1) Permits. For a dealer to first receive Gulf reef fish harvested in or from the EEZ, a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit must be issued to the dealer.

(2) State license and facility requirements. To obtain a dealer permit or endorsement, the applicant must have a valid state wholesaler's license in the state(s) where the dealer operates, if required by such state(s), and must have a physical facility at a fixed location in such state(s).

(d) Permit procedures. See § 622.4 for information regarding general permit procedures including, but not limited to application, fees, duration, transfer, renewal, display, sanctions and denials, and replacement.

[78 FR 22952, Apr. 17, 2013, as amended 78 FR 46293, July 31, 2013; 79 FR 19494, Apr. 9, 2014; 82 FR 34580, July 25, 2017; 85 FR 22045, Apr. 21, 2020; 85 FR 44017, July 21, 2020]