Proposed Rule Modifies Charter Vessel and Headboat Reporting Requirements

NOAA Fisheries requests comments on a proposed rule, which if implemented, would modify reporting requirements for the owners or operators of vessels with Charter Vessel/Headboat permits for Gulf reef fish or Gulf coastal migratory pelagic permits. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council approved the For-Hire Reporting Amendment in an effort to improve data collection and fisheries management.

Comments are due by November 26, 2018

SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES:

  • Require the owner or operator of a vessel with a Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) for-hire permit to electronically declare (hail-out) a fishing trip before leaving port.
  • Require the owner or operator of the vessel submit an electronic fishing report for each trip prior to the vessel offloading fish, or within 30 minutes after the end of the trip if no fish are landed.
  • Require vessel owners or operators to install NOAA Fisheries approved hardware/software with global positioning system (GPS) capabilities that, at a minimum, archives vessel position data and transmits data to NOAA Fisheries. This requirement would not preclude the use of GPS devices that provide real-time location data or vessel monitoring systems (VMS).
  • Require the GPS portion of the hardware be permanently affixed to the vessel and turned on at all times, unless a power-down exemption is granted.
  • Require the owner or operator of a vessel with a Gulf for-hire permit to comply with these reporting requirements no matter where the vessel is fishing.

HOW TO COMMENT ON THE AMENDMENT AND PROPOSED RULE:

The comment period is open through November 26, 2018. You may submit comments by electronic submission or by postal mail. Comments sent by any other method (such as e-mail), to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.

FORMAL FEDERAL REGISTER NAME/NUMBER: 83 FR 208, published October 26, 2018.

Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.

1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0111

2. Enter or attach your comments.

Mail: Submit written comments to Rich Malinowski, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.