50 CFR § 660.512 - Limited entry fishery.

(a) General.

(1) This section applies to fishing for or landing CPS finfish in the limited entry fishery in the Limited Entry Zone.

(2) Effective January 1, 2000, the owner of a vessel with more than 5 mt of CPS finfish on board in the CPS Limited Entry Zone, other than live bait, must have a limited entry permit registered for use with that vessel.

(3) Only a person eligible to own a documented vessel under the terms of 46 U.S.C. 12102(a) qualifies to be issued or may hold, by ownership or otherwise, a limited entry permit.

(b) Initial qualification.

(1) A limited entry permit for a vessel will be issued only if that vessel landed 100 mt of CPS finfish from January 1, 1993, through November 5, 1997.

(2) A limited entry permit will be issued only to the current owner of the vessel, unless:

(i) The previous owner of a vessel qualifying for a permit, by the express terms of a written contract, reserved the right to the limited entry permit, in which case the limited entry permit will be issued to the previous owner based on the catch history of the qualifying vessel, or

(ii) A vessel that would have qualified for a limited entry permit was totally lost prior to issuance of a limited entry permit. In this case, the owner of the vessel at the time it was lost retains the right to a permit for a replacement vessel, unless the owner conveyed the right to another person by the express terms of a written contract. The lost vessel must be replaced within 2 years of the date that the qualifying vessel was lost, and the replaced vessel must be of equal or less net tonnage.

(c) Documentation and burden of proof. A vessel owner (or person holding limited entry rights under the express terms of a written contract as specified in paragraph (a)(2)) of this section applying for issuance, renewal, transfer, or registration of a limited entry permit must prove that the qualification requirements are met by submitting the following documentation:

(1) A certified copy of the vessel's documentation as a fishing vessel of the United States (U.S. Coast Guard or state) is the best evidence of vessel ownership;

(2) A certified copy of a state fish landing receipt is the best evidence of a landing of a vessel;

(3) A copy of a written contract reserving or conveying limited entry rights is the best evidence of reserved or acquired rights; and

(4) Other relevant, credible evidence that the applicant may wish to submit or that the SFD may request or require.

(d) Fees. The Regional Administrator may charge fees to cover administrative expenses related to issuing limited entry permits, as well as renewing, transferring, and replacing permits. The amount of the fee is calculated in accordance with the procedures of the NOAA Finance Handbook 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.

(e) Initial decisions.

(1) The SFD will make initial decisions regarding issuing, renewing, transferring, and registering limited entry permits.

(2) Adverse decisions shall be in writing and shall state the reasons for the adverse decision.

(3) The SFD may decline to act on an application for issuing, renewing, transferring, or registering a limited entry permit and will notify the applicant, if the permit sanction provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act at 16 U.S.C. 1858(a) and implementing regulations at 15 CFR part 904, subpart D, apply.

(f) Initial issuance.

(1) The SFD will issue limited entry permits.

(2) In order to receive a final decision on a limited entry permit application before January 1, 2000, an applicant must submit the application to the SFD on or before February 14, 2000.

(3) A separate, complete, and accurate application form, accompanied by any required supporting documentation and the appropriate fee, must be submitted for each vessel for which a limited entry permit is sought.

(4) Upon receipt of an incomplete or improperly executed application, the SFD will notify the applicant of the deficiency. If the applicant fails to correct the deficiency within 30 days following the date of notification, the application will be considered void.

(5) The SFD may request further documentation before acting on an application.

(6) The SFD will not accept applications for a limited entry permit after July 1, 2000.

(g) Appeals.

(1) Any applicant for an initial permit may appeal the initial issuance decision to the Regional Administrator. To be considered by the Regional Administrator, such appeal must be in writing and state the reasons for the appeal, and must be submitted within 30 days of the action by the Regional Administrator. The appellant may request an informal hearing on the appeal.

(2) Upon receipt of an appeal authorized by this section, the Regional Administrator will notify the permit applicant, or permit holder as appropriate, and will request such additional information and in such form as will allow action upon the appeal.

(3) Upon receipt of sufficient information, the Regional Administrator will decide the appeal in accordance with the permit eligibility criteria set forth in this section and in the FMP, as appropriate, based upon information relative to the application on file at NMFS and the Council and any additional information submitted to or obtained by the Regional Administrator, the summary record kept of any hearing and the hearing officer's recommended decision, if any, and such other considerations as the Regional Administrator deems appropriate. The Regional Administrator will notify all interested persons of the decision, and the reasons therefor, in writing, normally within 30 days of the receipt of sufficient information, unless additional time is needed for a hearing.

(4) If a hearing is requested or if the Regional Administrator determines that one is appropriate, the Regional Administrator may grant an informal hearing before a hearing officer designated for that purpose after first giving notice of the time, place, and subject matter of the hearing to the applicant. The appellant and, at the discretion of the hearing officer, other interested persons may appear personally or be represented by counsel at the hearing and submit information and present arguments as determined appropriate by the hearing officer. Within 30 days of the last day of the hearing, the hearing officer shall recommend in writing a decision to the Regional Administrator.

(5) The Regional Administrator may adopt the hearing officer's recommended decision, in whole or in part, or may reject or modify it. In any event, the Regional Administrator will notify interested persons of the decision, and the reason(s) therefore, in writing, within 30 days of receipt of the hearing officer's recommended decision. The Regional Administrator's action shall constitute final action for the agency for the purposes of the APA.

(6) Any time limit prescribed in this section may be extended for a period not to exceed 30 days by the Regional Administrator for good cause, either upon his or her own motion or upon written request from the appellant stating the reason(s) therefore.

(h) Issuance of new permits.

(1) When the aggregate gross tonnage of all vessels participating in the limited entry fishery declines below 5,650.9 metric tons (mt), the Council will review the status of the fishery, taking into consideration:

(i) The changes in gross tonnage that have and are likely to occur in the transfer of limited entry permits;

(ii) The actual harvesting capacity as experienced in the current fishery in comparison to the capacity goal;

(iii) Comments of the CPSMT;

(iv) Any other relevant factors related to maintaining the capacity goal.

(2) Following its review, the Council will recommend to NMFS whether additional permit(s) should be issued and if the new permit(s) should be temporary or permanent. The issuance of new permit(s) shall be based on the following:

(i) The qualifying criteria in paragraph (b) of this section, but vessels that were issued a permit before December 31, 2000, are not eligible.

(ii) If no vessel meets the qualifying criteria in paragraph (b), then the permit(s) will be issued to the vessel(s) with total landings nearest 100 mt during the qualifying period of paragraph (b).

(iii) No vessel will be issued a permit under this paragraph (h) that is currently registered for use with a permit.

(3) The Regional Administrator will review the Council's recommendation and determine whether issuing additional permit(s) is consistent with the FMP and with paragraph (h)(2) of this section. If issuing additional permit(s) is appropriate, the Regional Administrator will:

(i) Issue the appropriate number of permits consistent with the Council's recommendation; and

(ii) Publish a document in the Federal Register notifying the public that new permits or a new permit has been issued, the conditions attached to any permit, and the reasons for the action.

[64 FR 69893, Dec. 15, 1999, as amended at 68 FR 3822, Jan. 27, 2003]

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