50 CFR § 622.241 - South Atlantic golden crab controlled access.

§ 622.241 South Atlantic golden crab controlled access.

(a) General. In accordance with the procedures specified in the Fishery Management Plan for the Golden Crab Fishery of the South Atlantic Region, initial commercial vessel permits have been issued for the fishery. All permits in the fishery are issued on a fishing-year (calendar-year) basis. No additional permits may be issued except for the northern zone as follows:

(1) The RA will issue up to two new vessel permits for the northern zone. Selection will be made from the list of historical participants in the South Atlantic golden crab fishery. Such list was used at the October 1995 meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and was prioritized based on pounds of golden crab landed, without reference to a specific zone. Individuals on the list who originally received permits will be deleted from the list.

(2) The RA will offer in writing an opportunity to apply for a permit for the northern zone to the individuals highest on the list until two individuals accept and apply in a timely manner. An offer that is not accepted within 30 days after it is received will no longer be valid.

(3) An application for a permit from an individual who accepts the RA's offer must be received by the RA no later than 30 days after the date of the individual's acceptance. Application forms are available from the RA.

(4) A vessel permit for the northern zone issued under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and any successor permit, may not be changed to another zone. A successor permit includes a permit issued to that vessel for a subsequent owner and a permit issued via transfer from that vessel to another vessel.

(b) Fishing zones -

(1) Designation of fishing zones. The South Atlantic EEZ is divided into three fishing zones for golden crab as follows:

(i) Northern zone - the South Atlantic EEZ north of 28° N. lat.

(ii) Middle zone - the South Atlantic EEZ from 28° N. lat. to 25° N. lat.

(iii) Southern zone - the South Atlantic EEZ south of 25° N. lat.

(2) Authorization to fish in zones. Each vessel permit indicates one of the zones specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. A vessel with a permit to fish for golden crab in the northern zone or the middle zone may fish only in that zone. A vessel with a documented length overall greater than 65 ft (19.8 m) with a permit to fish for golden crab in the southern zone may fish in that zone, consistent with the provisions of paragraph (b)(3) of this section. A vessel may possess golden crab only in a zone in which it is authorized to fish, except that other zones may be transited if the vessel notifies NMFS Office for Law Enforcement, Southeast Region, St. Petersburg, FL, by telephone (727-824-5344) in advance and does not fish in a zone in which it is not authorized to fish.

(3) Small-vessel sub-zone. Within the southern zone, a small-vessel sub-zone is established bounded on the north by 24°15′ N. lat., on the south by 24°07′ N. lat., on the east by 81°22′ W. long., and on the west by 81°56′ W. long. No vessel with a documented length overall greater than 65 ft (19.8 m) may fish for golden crab in this sub-zone, and a vessel with a documented length overall of 65 ft (19.8 m) or less that is permitted for the southern zone may fish for golden crab only in this sub-zone.

(4) Procedure for changing zones. Upon request from an owner of a permitted vessel, the RA will change the zone specified on a permit from the middle or southern zone to the northern zone. No other changes in the zone specified on a permit are allowed. An owner of a permitted vessel who desires a change to the northern zone must submit his/her request with the existing permit to the RA.

(c) Transferring permits between vessels -

(1) Procedure for transferring. An owner of a vessel who desires a golden crab permit may request that NMFS transfer an existing permit or permits to his or her vessel by returning an existing permit or permits to the RA with an application for a permit for the replacement vessel.

(2) Vessel size limitations on transferring.

(i) To obtain a permit for the middle or southern zone via transfer, the documented length overall of the replacement vessel may not exceed the documented length overall, or aggregate documented lengths overall, of the replaced vessel(s) by more than 20 percent. The owner of a vessel permitted for the middle or southern zone who has requested that NMFS transfer that permit to a smaller vessel (i.e., downsized) may subsequently request NMFS transfer that permit to a vessel of a length calculated from the length of the permitted vessel immediately prior to downsizing.

(ii) There are no vessel size limitations to obtain a permit for the northern zone via transfer.

(d) Permit renewal. NMFS will not renew a commercial vessel permit for South Atlantic golden crab if the permit is revoked or if the RA does not receive a required application for renewal within 6 months after the permit's expiration. See § 622.4(g) for the applicable general procedures and requirements for permit renewals.