50 CFR § 648.24 - Fishery closures and accountability measures.

§ 648.24 Fishery closures and accountability measures.

(a)Fishery closure procedures -

(1)Longfin squid. NMFS shall close the directed fishery in the EEZ for longfin squid when the Regional Administrator projects that 90 percent of the longfin squid quota is harvested before April 15 of Trimester I and/or August 15 of Trimester II, and when 95 percent of the longfin squid DAH has been harvested in Trimester III. On or after April 15 of Trimester I and/or August 15 of Trimester II, NMFS shall close the directed fishery in the EEZ for longfin squid when the Regional Administrator projects that 95 percent of the longfin squid quota is harvested. The closure of the directed fishery shall be in effect for the remainder of that fishing period, with incidental catches allowed as specified at § 648.26.

(2)Illex. NMFS shall close the directed Illexfishery in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator projects that 95 percent of the Illex DAH is harvested. The closure of the directed fishery shall be in effect for the remainder of that fishing period, with incidental catches allowed as specified at § 648.26.

(b)Mackerel AMs - (1)(i) Mackerel commercial sector EEZ closure. NMFS will close the commercial Atlantic mackerelfishery in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator projects that 95 percent of the Atlantic mackerel DAH is harvested if such a closure is necessary to prevent the DAH from being exceeded. The closure of the commercial fishery shall be in effect for the remainder of that fishing year, with incidental catches allowed as specified in § 648.26. When the Regional Administrator projects that 100 percent of the Atlantic mackerel DAH will be landed, NMFS will reduce the possession of Atlantic mackerel in the EEZ for the remainder of the fishing year to the amount specified in § 648.26(a)(2)(ii).

(ii) NMFS will close the Tier 3 commercial mackerelfishery in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator projects that 90 percent of the Tier 3 mackerelallocation will be harvested, if such a closure is necessary to prevent the DAH from being exceeded. The closure of the Tier 3 commercial mackerelfishery will be in effect for the remainder of that fishing period, with incidental catches allowed as specified in § 648.26.

(2)Mackerel commercial landings overage repayment. If the mackerel ACL is exceeded and commercial fishery landings are responsible for the overage, then landings in excess of the DAH will be deducted from the DAH the following year, as a single-year adjustment to the DAH.

(3)Non-landing AMs. In the event that the ACL is exceeded, and that the overage has not been accommodated through the landing-based AM described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, but is attributable to the commercial sector, then the exact amount, in pounds, by which the commercial ACT was exceeded will be deducted from the following year's commercial ACT, as a single-year adjustment.

(4)Mackerel recreational AMs. If the mackerel ACL is exceeded and the recreational fishery landings are responsible for the overage, then the following procedure will be followed:

(i)If biomass is below the threshold, the stock is under rebuilding, or biological reference points are unknown. If the most recent estimate of biomass is below the BMSY threshold (i.e., B/BMSY is less than 0.5), the stock is under a rebuilding plan, or the biological reference points (B or BMSY) are unknown, and the ACL has been exceeded, then the exact amount, in pounds, by which the most recent year's recreational catch estimate caused the most recent year's ACL to be exceeded will be deducted from the following year's recreational ACT, as a single-year adjustment.

(ii)If biomass is above the threshold, but below the target, and the stock is not under rebuilding. If the most recent estimate of biomass is above the biomass threshold (B/BMSY is greater than 0.5), but below the biomass target (B/BMSY is less than 1.0), and the stock is not under a rebuilding plan, then the following AMs will apply:

(A)If the ACL has been exceeded. If the ACL has been exceeded, then adjustments to the recreational management measures, taking into account the performance of the measures and conditions that precipitated the overage, will be made in the following fishing year, or as soon as possible thereafter, once catch data are available, as a single-year adjustment.

(B)If the ABC has been exceeded. If the ABC has been exceeded, then a single-year adjustment to the following year's recreational ACT will be made, as described below. In addition, adjustments to the recreational management measures, taking into account the performance of the measures and conditions that precipitated the overage, will be made in the following year.

(1)Adjustment to ACT. If an adjustment to the following year's ACT is required, then the recreational ACT will be reduced by the exact amount, in pounds, of the product of the recreational overage, defined as the difference between the recreational contribution to the catch above the ACL, and the payback coefficient specified in paragraph (b)(4)(ii)(B)(2) of this section.

(2)Payback coefficient. The payback coefficient is the difference between the most recent estimates of BMSY and biomass (i.e., BMSY−B) divided by one-half of BMSY.

(iii)If biomass is above BMSY. If the most recent estimate of biomass is above BMSY (i.e., B/BMSY is greater than 1.0), then adjustments to the recreational management measures, taking into account the performance of the measures and conditions that precipitated the overage, will be made in the following fishing year, or as soon as possible thereafter, once catch data are available, as a single-year adjustment.

(5)Mackerel ACL overage evaluation. The ACL will be evaluated based on a single-year examination of total catch (landings and discards). Both landings and dead discards will be evaluated in determining if the ACL has been exceeded. NMFS shall make determinations about overages and implement any changes to the ACL, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, through notification in the Federal Register, by May 15 of the fishing year in which the deductions will be made.

(6)River herring and shad catch cap. The river herring and shad cap on the mackerelfishery applies to all trips that land more than 20,000 lb (9.08 mt) of mackerel. NMFS shall close the directed mackerelfishery in the EEZ when the Regional Administrator project that 95 percent of the river herring/shad catch cap has been harvested. Following closures of the directed mackerelfishery, vessels must adhere to the possession restrictions specified in § 648.26.

(c)Butterfish AMs -

(1)Directed butterfish fishery closure. When the butterfish catch reaches the butterfish closure threshold as determined in the annual specifications, NMFS shall implement a 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) possession limit for vessels issued a butterfish moratorium permit that are fishing with a minimum mesh size of 3 inches (76 mm). When NMFS projects that the butterfish catch has reached the butterfish DAH, as determined in the annual specifications, NMFS shall implement a 600 lb (272 kg) possession limit for all vessels issued a longfin squid or butterfish moratorium permit, or a squid/butterfish incidental catch permit.

(2)Butterfish ACL overage repayment. If the butterfish ACL is exceeded, then catch in excess of the ACL will be deducted from the ACL the following year, as a single-year adjustment.

(3)Butterfish mortality cap on the longfin squid fishery. NMFS shall close the directed fishery in the EEZ for longfin squid when the Regional Administrator projects that 95 percent of each Trimester's butterfish mortality cap allocation has been harvested.

(4)Butterfish ACL overage evaluation. The ACL will be evaluated based on a single-year examination of total catch (landings and discards). Both landings and dead discards will be evaluated in determining if the ACL has been exceeded. NMFS shall make determinations about overages and implement any changes to the ACL, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act, through notification in the Federal Register, by May 15 of the fishing year in which the deductions will be made.

(5)Butterfish allocation transfer. NMFS may transfer up to 50 percent of any unused butterfishallocation from the butterfish DAH to the butterfish mortality cap on the longfin squid fishery if the butterfish catch in the longfin squid fishery is likely to result in a closure of the longfin squid fishery, and provided the transfer does not increase the likelihood of closing the directed butterfishfishery. NMFS may instead transfer up to 50 percent of the unused butterfish catch from the butterfish mortality cap allocation to the butterfish DAH if harvest of butterfish in the directed butterfishfishery is likely to exceed the butterfish DAH, and provided the transfer of butterfishallocation from the butterfish mortality cap allocation does not increase the likelihood of closing the longfin squid fishery due to harvest of the butterfish mortality cap. NMFS would make this transfer on or about November 15 each fishing year, in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act.

(d)Notification. Upon determining that a closure or trip limit reduction is necessary, the Regional Administrator will notify, in advance of the closure, the Executive Directors of the MAFMC, NEFMC, and SAFMC; mail notification of the closure or trip limit reduction to all holders of mackerel, squid, and butterfishfishery permits at least 72 hr before the effective date of the closure; provide adequate notice of the closure or trip limit reduction to recreational participants in the fishery; and publish notification of the closure or trip limit reduction in the Federal Register.

[76 FR 60619, Sept. 29, 2011, as amended at 76 FR 68656, Nov. 7, 2011; 77 FR 16480, Mar. 21, 2012; 77 FR 3354, Jan. 16, 2013; 78 FR 76762, Dec. 19, 2013; 79 FR 18843, Apr. 4, 2014; 79 FR 18481, Apr. 2, 2014; 80 FR 14874, Mar. 20, 2015; 80 FR 48248, Aug. 12, 2015; 83 FR 65314, Dec. 20, 2018; 83 FR 64268, Dec. 14, 2018]