[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 66 (Friday, April 4, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 18450-18460]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 08-1093]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

[Docket No. 071211828-8448-02]
RIN 0648-AU22


Fisheries in the Western Pacific; Bottomfish and Seamount 
Groundfish Fisheries; Management Measures in the Main Hawaiian Islands

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and

[[Page 18451]]

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This final rule implements management measures for the vessel-
based bottomfish fishery in the Main Hawaiian Islands, including 
requirements for non-commercial (recreational and subsistence) permits 
and data reporting, a closed season, annual total allowable catch 
limits, and non-commercial bag limits. This action is intended to end 
the overfishing of bottomfish in the Hawaiian Archipelago.

DATES: This final rule is effective April 1, 2008, with the following 
exceptions:
    1. The following amendments are effective until September 1, 2008:
    a. In Sec.  665.12, the definition of Hawaii restricted bottomfish 
species fishing year 2007-08;
    b. Paragraph (g) in Sec.  665.72 (the TAC for the 2007-08 fishing 
year); and
    c. Sec.  665.74 (the closed season).
    2. The amendments to Sec. Sec.  665.13, 665.14, and 665.61, which 
require approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). When OMB approval is received, the 
effective date will be announced in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: This final rule implements Amendment 14 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Fisheries of 
the Western Pacific Region (including a final environmental impact 
statement, regulatory impact review, and initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis). Copies of Amendment 14 are available from the Western 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), 1164 Bishop St., Suite 
1400, Honolulu, HI 96813, tel 808-522-8220, fax 808-522-8226. A Record 
of Decision (ROD) identifying the selected alternative was prepared for 
this final rule and is available from William L. Robinson, Regional 
Administrator, NMFS, Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1601 Kapiolani Blvd, 
Suite 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814-4700. Written comments regarding the 
burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information 
requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to William 
L. Robinson (see ADDRESSES), or to David Rostker, OMB, by e-mail to 
David_Rostker@omb.eop.gov, or by fax to 202-395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karla Gore, NMFS PIR, 808-944-2273.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule is accessible at the Office 
of the Federal Register's web site: www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/.
    Bottomfish fishing in Hawaii is managed under the Fishery 
Management Plan for the Bottomfish and Seamount Groundfish Fisheries of 
the Western Pacific Region (Bottomfish FMP), which was developed by the 
Council and implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). 
Hawaii bottomfish are managed as a single archipelago-wide multi-
species stock complex (bottomfish complex). The bottomfish complex is 
comprised of certain deep-slope snappers, groupers, and jacks. 
Fisheries and management programs for Hawaiian bottomfish operate in 
two large geographic areas--the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) 
and the main Hawaiian Islands (MHI).
    There is currently no mandatory permitting or data reporting 
requirement for non-commercial fishing. Some data on the non-commercial 
bottomfish fishery are collected through surveys. NMFS estimates that, 
based on the State boat registration program and independent surveys, 
800-5,000 fishermen participate in the non-commercial bottomfish 
fishery.
    NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce, determined that 
overfishing is occurring on the bottomfish complex in the Hawaiian 
Archipelago, with the primary problem being excessive fishing mortality 
on seven deep water species (the ``Deep 7'' species) in the MHI. The 
Deep 7 species are onaga (Etelis coruscans), ehu (E. carbunculus), 
gindai (Pristipomoides zonatus), kalekale (P. sieboldii), opakapaka (P. 
filamentosus), lehi (Aphareus rutilans), and hapu'upu'u (Epinephelus 
quernus).
    On May 27, 2005, NMFS notified the Council of the overfishing and 
requested the Council to take appropriate action to end the overfishing 
(70 FR 34452, June 14, 2005). In response, the Council developed 
Amendment 14 and management measures, which this final rule implements. 
This final rule will reduce the fishing mortality for the Deep 7 
species in the MHI by approximately 24 percent in 2008, will establish 
a mechanism (annual TAC) to respond to future changes in stock status, 
and will improve data collection from non-commercial bottomfish 
fisheries in Federal waters around the MHI.
    The final rule implements several management measures for vessel-
based bottomfish fishing in the MHI. First, a Federal bottomfish permit 
is required for vessel owners and fishermen to conduct vessel-based 
non-commercial fishing for any bottomfish management unit species 
(BMUS), not just Deep 7 species, in Federal waters around the MHI 
(except customers of charter fishing trips).
    Second, the final rule requires operators of non-commercial fishing 
vessels to submit daily Federal logbooks that document bottomfish 
fishing effort and catch for each fishing trip, and vessel owners share 
the responsibility for submitting the logbooks in a timely manner. The 
data from these logbooks will be the basis for calculating non-
commercial fishing effort and harvest of BMUS, bycatch, and 
interactions with protected species.
    Third, the final rule implements a closed season from May through 
August 2008. During this closure, fishing for Deep 7 species will be 
prohibited in Federal waters. Fishing for bottomfish species other than 
Deep 7 species will not be prohibited during the closed season.
    Fourth, the final rule establishes an annual total allowable catch 
(TAC) for the MHI bottomfish fishery. The TAC will be determined each 
fishing year using the best available scientific information, 
commercial and non-commercial fishing data, and other information, and 
will consider the associated risk of overfishing. NMFS will publish in 
the Federal Register by August 31 the TAC for the upcoming fishing 
year, and will use other means to notify permit holders of the TAC. 
When the TAC is projected to be reached, NMFS will publish notification 
in the Federal Register and use other means to notify permit holders 
that the fishery will be closed on a specified date, providing 
fishermen with two weeks advance notice of the closure. The TAC for the 
2007-08 fishing year (October 2007 through April 2008) is set at 
178,000 lb (80,740 kg) of Deep 7 species. Progress toward the 2007-08 
TAC is determined by the catch reported by holders of Hawaii commercial 
marine license (CML). When the 2007-08 TAC is projected to be reached, 
the commercial and non-commercial fisheries for Deep 7 bottomfish will 
be closed. There is no prohibition on fishing for other bottomfish 
species throughout the year. NMFS intends to repeal the Federal non-
commercial bag limits once the data collected from the non-commercial 
bottomfish fishery are determined to be adequate to include in the 
annual TAC calculation.
    The final rule implements Federal bottomfish bag limits for non-
commercial fishing. Non-commercial fishermen are allowed to catch, 
possess, and land as many as five Deep 7 fish combined, per person, per 
fishing trip in

[[Page 18452]]

Federal waters. The State of Hawaii also has a similar bag limit for 
non-commercial fishing.
    Additional background information on this final rule may be found 
in the preamble to the proposed rule published on February 1, 2008 (73 
FR 6101), and is not repeated here.

Comments and Responses

    On December 22, 2007, NMFS announced in the Federal Register the 
availability of Amendment 14 (72 FR 73308), and on February 1, 2008, 
NMFS published a notice of the proposed rule (73 FR 6101). The public 
comment period for the amendment ended on February 25, 2008, and the 
proposed rule comment period ended on March 7, 2008. NMFS received 
comments from 17 entities, including the State of Hawaii, Department of 
Land and Natural Resources, and non-commercial and commercial 
bottomfish fishermen, and responds as follows:
    Comment 1: NMFS should post online the available portion of the TAC 
to allow fishermen access to information in a timely manner.
    Response: NMFS will post the catch trends on the PIRO website at 
www.fpir.noaa.gov to allow tracking of harvests to be counted toward 
the TAC.
    Comment 2: A real cause for the decline in Hawaii bottomfish is 
that kahala (amberjacks) and other non-Deep 7 bottomfish species may be 
out-competing the Deep 7 bottomfish species.
    Response: NMFS does not have data to determine whether or not the 
comment is correct. The final rule will allow for better collection of 
information from non-commercial bottomfish fishermen which will give 
fishery managers a better understanding of the catch composition and 
relative abundance of all BMUS. With improved data, fishery managers 
can make effective bottomfish management decisions to address these 
concerns, such as interspecific competition, in the future.
    Comment 3: Any new data collection requirement for commercial 
fishermen will lead to duplication of effort and unnecessary expense.
    Response: The final rule implements new permitting and reporting 
requirements only for non-commercial bottomfish fishermen. There are no 
new reporting requirements for any commercial fishermen, who must 
continue to report their catch to the State of Hawaii. The final rule 
clarifies the reporting requirements for ``mixed'' fishing trips where 
some fishermen hold non-commercial bottomfish permits and some hold 
State Commercial Marine Licenses (State CMLs), and for bottomfish 
charter fishing customers, to minimize redundant reporting.
    Comment 4: The State's closed areas (bottomfish restricted fishing 
areas, or BRFAs) should be removed because they reduce suitable fishing 
grounds and are too restrictive when combined with the new Federal 
regulations.
    Response:The BRFAs are under the management purview of the State of 
Hawaii, and any changes to this management program must be done by the 
State, not NMFS. The Federal measures implemented by this final rule 
and the State's BRFAs are both intended to conserve Hawaiian 
bottomfish.
    Comment 5: Bag limits should not apply to commercial fishermen, 
only to non-commercial fishermen.
    Response: This final rule establishes bag limits only for non-
commercial bottomfish fishermen. State-licensed commercial fishermen 
are not currently subject to bag limits.
    Comment 6: More enforcement of current State bottomfish regulations 
is needed.
    Response: NMFS agrees that more enforcement is generally needed for 
effective fishery management, whether it is for State or Federal 
regulations. NOAA's Office for Law Enforcement (NOAA OLE), the U.S. 
Coast Guard (USCG), and the State of Hawaii's Division of Conservation 
and Resources Enforcement will work together to enforce the new 
regulations.
    Comment 7: All buyers and sellers of bottomfish should be required 
to submit reports to eliminate the selling of bottomfish by non-
commercial fishermen.
    Response: This final rule requires bottomfish fishermen to be 
permitted as either commercial or non-commercial, and requires both 
categories of permits to report their catch. Under current State law, 
all fish buyers are required to submit State dealer reports for any 
fish that they purchase. Dealers must purchase fish only from State-
licensed commercial fishermen. The dealer report provides a way to 
cross-reference fish sales by fishermen.
    Comment 8: The closed season should be the only management measure 
implemented as it would achieve the desired reduction in catch levels, 
but be less burdensome to fishermen because it would not require non-
commercial permits or reporting.
    Response: The 2008 closed season is intended to reduce fishing 
mortality to the target level to end overfishing in the first year. A 
TAC is more effective and less-burdensome than seasonal closures for 
preventing overfishing in the long term. To establish a TAC each year, 
information about commercial and non-commercial fishing is essential. 
This management strategy requires that both commercial and non-
commercial fishermen hold fishing permits and submit reports on their 
catch and effort to the State and/or NMFS, as appropriate.
    Comment 9: The regulations should not include jacks with the other 
BMUS.
    Response: Jacks, such as ulua, are BMUS, but they are not Deep 7 
species, and fishing for jacks is not restricted by this final rule. 
Only vessel-based fishing for Deep 7 species is subject to the 2008 
closed season and the TAC. Information on the catches of jacks and 
other BMUS by non-commercial vessel-based fishermen will be collected 
under the new reporting requirements for comprehensive monitoring of 
the fishery overall.
    Comment 10: Many commercial fishermen have relinquished their State 
CML because of stringent USCG regulations that apply to commercial 
fishing vessels. The proposed regulations that require all fishing 
vessels to have permits would be too burdensome on fishermen.
    Response: This final rule creates permit requirements only for non-
commercial bottomfish fishermen. As such, the USCG requirements 
governing commercial fishing vessels are not within the purview of this 
final rule.
    Comment 11: Enforcement of bag limits is difficult and should not 
be applied to commercial fishermen because it would impact their 
livelihood.
    Response: This final rule establishes bag limits only for non-
commercial bottomfish fishermen. State-licensed commercial fishermen 
are not currently subject to bag limits. NOAA OLE, the USCG, and the 
State of Hawaii Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement will 
work together to enforce the new requirements, including non-commercial 
bag limits.
    Comment 12: The commercial fishery should be limited to operating 
twice a week and the non-commercial fishery should operate the 
remainder of the week with the non-commercial bag limit in place.
    Response: Daily restrictions and rotating closures were not 
considered by the Council and NMFS for this final rule. The 
effectiveness of the rule in ending bottomfish overfishing will be 
periodically reevaluated, and may be adjusted in the future, if 
necessary. Alternative management measures, such as daily restrictions 
and rotating closures, could be considered for future implementation.

[[Page 18453]]

    Comment 13: The TAC should be used to manage the commercial fleet, 
and the non-commercial fishery should be managed only through bag 
limits.
    Response: NMFS has determined that a TAC for both the commercial 
and non-commercial fleet is the most effective way to ensure that 
bottomfish stocks do not continue to experience overfishing. Non-
commercial bag limits will also help to relieve fishing pressure on the 
stocks. The effect of these measures will be monitored and adjustments 
made in the future, if necessary.
    Comment 14: Non-commercial and commercial vessels should use 
different colors for vessel marking to make enforcement easier.
    Response: The final rule establishes requirements for non-
commercial bottomfish fishing, while current State regulations continue 
to apply to commercial fishing. Because the State already has 
requirements for the identification of bottomfish vessels, this final 
rule will exempt non-commercial vessels that are compliant with State's 
vessel marking requirements from the Federal requirements. Special 
color-coding of vessel markings to facilitate the identification of 
bottomfish vessels is a good idea, and NMFS will raise the idea with 
enforcement officials for consideration in future rulemakings.
    Comment 15: The reporting requirement should be voluntary due to 
the financial burden that mandatory reporting would impose.
    Response: Permits and reporting are essential to ensure that 
accurate and complete information about non-commercial bottomfish 
fishing is collected for the purposes of setting an appropriate TAC on 
an annual basis. NMFS estimates that the time burden for completing 
non-commercial permit applications to be 30 minutes per year, and 20 
minutes for reporting catch and effort information in the logbooks 
after each fishing trip. The logbooks are free to fishermen, and the 
reporting cost is limited to mailing the reports to NMFS. The permit 
will cost less than $80 (probably in the range $25-40), and NMFS 
determined the costs associated with permitting and reporting are 
nominal.
    Comment 16: The closed season should be five months rather than 
four months.
    Response: The Council and NMFS chose a four-month closed season 
because the best available scientific information indicates that it 
will provide a balance between reducing fishing effort to levels 
sufficient to end the overfishing, and providing continued 
opportunities for bottomfish fishing.
    Comment 17: A fleet-wide TAC and seasonal closure are the only 
management measures that should implemented.
    Response: The closed season will address overfishing only in 2008. 
In the long term, a TAC will be the primary measure to end and prevent 
overfishing of bottomfish. To implement an effective TAC program, 
information on the numbers of bottomfish fishermen and their effort and 
catch is needed. Thus, non-commercial permits and data reporting are 
essential for the overall management program. Currently, information is 
collected only for one sector, commercial bottomfish fishing. 
Therefore, collecting information about non-commercial fishing is 
necessary, and best accomplished through non-commercial permits and 
data reporting. The non-commercial information will give us a better 
understanding of the interplay between the bottomfish fishery and other 
fishing activities. This information will be combined with the 
commercial data to set an annual TAC to end and prevent overfishing of 
Hawaiian bottomfish.
    Comment 18: A TAC will create a ``race to the fish,'' will cause 
high-grading, and may put smaller vessels at risk as they attempt to 
catch their share of the TAC fish, possibly in unsafe sea conditions, 
before the fishery closes.
    Response: There may be a ``race to the fish'' early in the open 
season as fishermen try to ensure that they catch their share of the 
TAC. However, this final rule adjusts the fishing year to start late in 
the calendar year so the fishery would likely remain open during the 
winter holiday season, a time of increased demand for bottomfish. This 
may reduce some of the incentive to fish during especially unsafe sea 
conditions. High-grading should not be an issue, as all Deep 7 
bottomfish caught, whether kept or discarded, will be counted toward 
the TAC.
    Comment 19: The vessel marking requirements for non-commercial 
fishermen are impractical and onerous. Vessels are already required to 
be registered and marked according to the State of Hawaii regulations.
    Response: NMFS agrees, and in the final rule has amended the 
regulations to exempt from the Federal requirements those vessels that 
are in compliance with State bottomfish vessel marking requirements.
    Comment 20: NMFS is asking for comment, but the decisions have 
already been made regarding the proposed rule.
    Response: NMFS reads and considers every comment received, and uses 
these comments to consider whether to implement or change the proposed 
regulations, consistent with Amendment 14. Comments received on its 
proposed rule led NMFS to reconsider several aspect of the rule, and 
resulted in changes from the proposed rule for several regulations, 
such as vessel marking requirements.
    Comment 21: Fishing is not the only cause of the reduced fish 
population. Pollution, development, and global warming should be 
considered as they are larger threats against the ecosystem.
    Response: The final supplementary EIS (FSEIS) considered and 
analyzed both fishing and non-fishing impacts on bottomfish resources. 
In addition, the Council is developing fishery ecosystem management 
plans that would address such non-fishing impacts on the Hawaii 
ecosystem. Nonetheless, fishing has been identified as a major cause of 
bottomfish overfishing and, as such, the final rule will control 
bottomfish fishing mortality so that bottomfish stocks are sustained 
for future generations.
    Comment 22: A bag limit of five Deep 7 species is too low.
    Response: This final rule implements Federal non-commercial bag 
limits that complement existing State bag limits. The non-commercial 
bag limit of five Deep 7 bottomfish is consistent with existing State 
regulations for non-commercial bottomfish fishing. NMFS intends to 
repeal the Federal non-commercial bag limits once the data collected 
from the non-commercial bottomfish fishery are determined to be 
adequate to include in the annual TAC calculation.
    Comment 23: There should be BRFAs or a seasonal closure, not both.
    Response: The 2008 closed season is being implemented to 
immediately end bottomfish overfishing, and the other Federal 
provisions implemented by this final rule, and the BRFAs, are intended 
to conserve Hawaiian bottomfish over the long term.
    Comment 24: Non-commercial bag limits should be eliminated because 
non-commercial fishermen are already limited by the size of their 
vessels, storage capacity, and weather.
    Response: This final rule implements Federal non-commercial bag 
limits that complement existing State bag limits. NMFS intends to 
repeal the Federal non-commercial bag limits once the data collected 
from the non-commercial bottomfish fishery are determined to be 
adequate to include in the annual TAC calculation.
    Comment 25: The non-commercial permit and reporting requirement 
should be on a one-year trial basis. If at the end of one year, non-
commercial fishermen are significantly contributing

[[Page 18454]]

to the bottomfish catch the permit and reporting would continue. If 
not, it could be eliminated.
    Response: NMFS and the Council will monitor the fishery and 
evaluate the effectiveness of these measures in ending and preventing 
overfishing of Hawaiian bottomfish. The Council and NMFS may consider 
adjustments to the fishery management regime in the future, if 
necessary.
    Comment 26: Reporting requirements for non-commercial fishermen 
should be kept simple to reduce the burden to fishermen.
    Response: The reporting forms have been designed to record only the 
basic information required to effectively monitor the fishery. The 
forms will come with instructions and contact information for further 
questions about the forms. Comments on the form and the reporting 
burden can be sent to William L. Robinson (see ADDRESSES) and by email 
to David_Rostker@omb.eop.gov or by fax to 202-395-7285.
    Comment 27: Clarify how the permit requirement and associated fee 
differ from the recreational fishermen registry created under the 
reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act and which is not able to charge a fee 
until 2011.
    Response: This final rule implements non-commercial bottomfish 
permits and data collection under section 303 of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act, specifically to collect fishery information to be used by managers 
to end overfishing of bottomfish in Hawaii. That section of the Act 
authorizes the collection of fees for the issuance of such permits. The 
recreational fishermen registry is authorized under Section 401 of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act as a national registration program for 
recreational fishing in all regions (not specifically the Hawaiian 
bottomfish fishery) and the Magnuson-Stevens Act authorizes the 
collection of fees for that program beginning in 2011.
    Comment 28: The non-commercial fee is higher than the commercial 
fee which might make fishermen more inclined to get the commercial 
permit.
    Response: Holding either a Federal non-commercial permit or State 
CML satisfies the requirements of this final rule. The fee for the non-
commercial permit has not yet been determined, as it is dependent on 
the number of permits issued. The preamble to the proposed rule noted 
that the fee would not exceed $80 per person, and it will probably be 
in the range of $25-40.
    Comment 29: Federal reporting requirements will require fishermen 
to report all BMUS while the State of Hawaii requires reporting of Deep 
7 species only. These inconsistent requirements make reporting 
confusing to fishermen who fish in both State and Federal waters.
    Response: The State requires commercial fishermen (State CML 
holders) to report all species caught, and NMFS believes that the 
collection of information regarding all BMUS is essential to understand 
the combined impact of commercial and non-commercial fishing on 
Hawaiian bottomfish stocks.
    Comment 30: If fishermen report interactions with protected 
species, as indicated on the reporting requirements, they may be held 
liable under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
    Response: NMFS completed a biological opinion under section 7 of 
the ESA that analyzed the impacts of implementing this final rule on 
endangered and threatened species. That opinion, dated March 18, 2008, 
concluded that this action is not likely to adversely affect the 
Hawaiian monk seal, and is likely to adversely affect the endangered/
threatened green sea turtle. The incidental take of up to two green sea 
turtles per year is authorized for the Hawaii bottomfish fishery. The 
Federal logbooks will provide fishermen the opportunity to report 
protected species interactions, including sea turtles and marine 
mammals. NOAA OLE will investigate reported interactions on a case-by-
case basis to ascertain the nature of the interaction and whether or 
not it was authorized.
    Comment 31: The preamble of the proposed rule noted that the non-
commercial bag limit would be eliminated in 2008, but that is not 
reflected in the regulatory text.
    Response: The preamble to the proposed rule inadvertently indicated 
that the bag limits would be repealed in 2008, but should have read 
that NMFS will repeal the Federal non-commercial bag limits once the 
data collected from the non-commercial bottomfish fishery are 
determined to be adequate to include in the annual TAC calculation. The 
final rule clarifies this point.
    Comment 32: It is unrealistic to believe that fish suffering from 
barotrauma can be resuscitated.
    Response: Reduction of bottomfish barotrauma is possible with 
correct handling procedures, and NMFS plans to work with the State and 
Council to provide information to fishermen on effective ways to handle 
fish to reduce barotrauma.
    Comment 33: Fishermen will not honestly report their non-target 
fish and bycatch for fear of reaching the TAC sooner.
    Response: The TAC will be calculated only for the reported catch of 
Deep 7 bottomfish species, and once the TAC is reached, only the 
fishery for Deep 7 will be closed; fishing for other species may 
continue. Information on other bottomfish and pelagic species caught 
will provide NMFS and the Council with a comprehensive picture of the 
non-commercial bottomfish fishery, its interplay with related 
fisheries, and the biological, social, and economic impacts of 
fishermen switching among gear types and target species. Honest 
reporting, and effective enforcement of reporting requirements, is 
essential to the calculation of an effective TAC, and if the bottomfish 
stocks continue to experience overfishing, more restrictive management 
measures may become necessary in the future.
    Comment 34: The regulations do not take into account the fact that 
during the closed season fishing supply stores, many of which are ``mom 
and pop'' operations, and the fish auction will lose revenues as the 
market shifts to imports.
    Response: NMFS recognizes that certain businesses will be affected 
by this final rule related to effort restrictions in the bottomfish 
fishery, and may experience a temporary downturn in revenues. This 
downturn may be offset, however, by increased fishing activity for non-
Deep 7 bottomfish, and in the pelagic and other fisheries. In addition, 
the closed season is scheduled to take place during the months of 
historically low bottomfish fishing effort and lower demand. The 
expected result of this management regime is to increase the 
productivity of the bottomfish fishery in the long run which will lead 
to an increase in profitability to vessels, fishing gear suppliers, 
vessel support operations, fish markets, food and fuel providers, and 
other related businesses.
    Comment 35: The requirement for holders of the non-commercial 
permit to report all catch, regardless of whether it is caught within 
Federal or State waters, exceeds the jurisdiction of the Federal 
Government.
    Response: Hawaiian bottomfish stocks and habitat are shared between 
State and Federal jurisdictions. As such, in response to the 
demonstrated conservation and management need to end overfishing of 
Hawaiian bottomfish stocks, it is essential that comprehensive 
information about the fishery be collected to effectively implement 
this rule.
    Comment 36: The wording of the regulations makes it sound as if the 
State CML can permit non-commercial

[[Page 18455]]

fishing. This language needs clarification.
    Response: Holding a State CML satisfies the permitting requirements 
for non-commercial bottomfish fishing in Federal waters. However, 
commercial fishing in Federal or State waters requires a State CML. 
With regard to reporting, if the vessel operator holds a non-commercial 
permit, the operator must report the entire catch and effort for the 
fishing day to NMFS. If the vessel operator holds a State CML, the 
operator must report the entire catch and effort for the fishing day to 
the State. The compliance guide and Federal non-commercial logbook 
instructions will provide further direction to assist fishermen with 
these reporting requirements.
    Comment 37: Section 665.72(e) needs to be clarified by removing the 
word ``commercially'' because the closure applied to both commercial 
and non-commercial fishing.
    Response: The final rule clarifies that when the fishery is closed, 
Deep 7 bottomfish may not be harvested or sold, except as otherwise 
authorized by law.
    Comment 38: Explain why the rule requires reporting of all catch by 
holders of the non-commercial bottomfish permit, but the permit is only 
required for those that fish for BMUS.
    Response: The requirement to report all catch from bottomfish trips 
will provide a complete profile of the non-commercial bottomfish 
fishery, its interplay with related fisheries (e.g., troll and handline 
fishing for tunas and related species), and the biological, social, and 
economic effects of fishermen switching among gear types and target 
species.
    Comment 39: Explain why it would be unlawful to fail to report 
relative to Sec.  665.3.
    Response: Holding either a Federal non-commercial permit or State 
CML satisfies the permit requirements of this final rule. Section 665.3 
reinforces the existing requirement for State CML holders to report 
their catch and effort to the State, as required by applicable State 
law or regulation.
    Comment 40: This final rule unfairly targets the bottomfish 
fishermen. The activities of divers, shore-casters and kayakers should 
also be regulated.
    Response: The final rule applies only to vessel-based bottomfish 
fishing in U.S. EEZ waters (3-200 nm offshore) with the objective to 
reduce bottomfish overfishing in the Hawaiian Archipelago. Divers, 
shore-casters and kayakers fish primarily in State waters (0-3 nm) and, 
as such, they are subject to State of Hawaii regulations including the 
BRFAs, gear restrictions, recreational bag limits, and commercial 
permits and reporting, as appropriate.
    Comment 41: Stock assessments should be based on scientific 
information.
    Response: Fishery scientists have conducted stock assessments using 
a combination of the State of Hawaii commercial fishing database and 
fishery-independent information. The most recent stock assessment 
indicated that the current level of bottomfish fishing effort in the 
main Hawaiian Islands is not sustainable in the long term, and must be 
reduced by 24 percent in 2008. State and PIFSC scientists will continue 
to monitor the bottomfish fishery through commercial information 
reported by State CML holders. Also, NMFS independent research and 
information reported by non-commercial bottomfish permit holders will 
be used by the Council and NMFS to set the annual bottomfish TAC. 
Bottomfish stock assessments and TAC are based on the best scientific 
information available.
    Comment 42: The proposed regulations are redundant to existing 
State of Hawaii requirements, adding unnecessary costs and paperwork 
burdens.
    Response: Current State of Hawaii CML and data reporting only apply 
to commercial fishing. This final rule is intended to obtain 
information on the non-commercial bottomfish fishery in Hawaii. The 
Federal permit requirement is satisfied with a State CML, so the permit 
requirement is not redundant. A fee is required for a non-commercial 
permit and the fee amount is limited to the administrative cost to 
process the permit application. If the vessel operator holds a non-
commercial permit, the operator must report the entire catch and effort 
for the fishing day to NMFS. If the vessel operator holds a State CML, 
the operator must report the entire catch and effort for the fishing 
day to the State. Thus, there is no redundant reporting requirement. 
Vessels that are marked according to State requirements are exempt from 
Federal vessel identification requirements, so there is no redundancy 
in the vessel identification requirements. The Federal non-commercial 
bag limit of five fish is consistent with existing State requirements.
    Comment 43: Regarding the Federal non-commercial bag limits, it 
would be difficult to determine how many fish are caught in State 
waters and how many are caught in Federal waters; the rule is unclear 
whether both bag limits would apply, i.e., five State and five Federal.
    Response: The holder of a Federal non-commercial bottomfish permit 
is limited to five Deep 7 fish, regardless of where the fish are 
caught. The State of Hawaii recreational bag limit of five fish applies 
to other non-commercial fishermen. Thus, a limit of five bottomfish 
applies to all non-commercial fishing.
    Comment 44: Relatively few dedicated commercial fishermen catch the 
majority of bottomfish, so by not limiting commercial bottomfish 
fishermen to a specific amount of fish is counter-productive to ending 
overfishing of bottomfish in the MHI.
    Response: The final rule limits catches by commercial fishermen 
through an annual TAC. When the TAC is reached in any given year, both 
commercial and non-commercial fisheries for Deep 7 bottomfish are 
closed for the remainder of the fishing year.
    Comment 45: A comprehensive review of alternative measures to 
maintain an adequate level of bottomfish stock needs to be done before 
changes are made to the regulations.
    Response: The Council, in its FSEIS, analyzed the potential impacts 
of a range of management alternatives related to ending overfishing in 
the MHI. The preferred alternative was chosen because it reduces 
fishing effort by the required amount to end overfishing, provides a 
mechanism for data collection from the non-commercial sector, and 
allows for the establishment of a total allowable catch limit that can 
be adjusted each year based on stock assessments. Copies the FSEIS are 
available from the Council (see ADDRESSES).

Changes from the Proposed Rule

    In this final rule, several changes were made from the proposed 
rule to provide clarification of the requirements. The proposed rule 
would have established an expiration date of August 31 for Main 
Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permits. NMFS notes that 
there is no administrative or management necessity or advantage to 
setting a specific permit expiration date. NMFS estimates that it will 
process up to 5,000 applications per year, and a specific expiration 
date would disproportionately concentrate administrative burdens to 
certain times of the year, potentially causing significant and 
unacceptable delays in the processing of permits. Authorizing permits 
to be valid for one year from the date of issuance will allow for 
operational efficiency on a long-term basis. The final rule clarifies 
that

[[Page 18456]]

permits are valid for the time specified on the permit, i.e., one year 
from the date of issuance, and also clarifies that, while 15 CFR 904 
relates to permit revocation and suspension, such revocations and 
suspensions may also occur as other types of administrative actions.
    The requirements for the new Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial 
permit include provisions regarding catch reporting, bag limits, etc. 
The proposed rule was unclear about ``mixed'' fishing trips, where some 
fishermen on the trip hold Federal Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial 
permits, and some hold State of Hawaii Commercial Marine Licenses. The 
State of Hawaii defines these mixed trips to be non-commercial. To be 
consistent with State rules, the final rule clarifies that, if any 
participant on the trip is non-commercial, then the entire trip is non-
commercial, and participants are subject to non-commercial 
requirements, including reporting and bag limits.
    The proposed rule would require all non-commercial fishermen on a 
fishing trip to have either a Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial 
permit or a State CML, ostensibly including charter boat patrons. The 
State of Hawaii requires any person providing vessel charter services 
in the State for the taking of marine life in or outside of the State 
to obtain a State CML. The charter operator does not need to sell any 
fish--merely offering the charter service triggers the requirement. 
Licensed charter vessel operators are also required to submit State 
commercial fishing reports in which all the effort and catch on the 
trips are to be reported, including catch by patrons. Only two percent 
of charter fishing vessels statewide use some bottomfish fishing gear; 
charter fishing is primarily pelagic fishing. The few vessels that 
occasionally offer charter bottomfish fishing usually target inshore 
reef slope or shallow bottomfish species, not the Deep 7 species. 
Additionally, most studies indicate that the majority of charter 
patrons are out-of-state visitors, and not residents, and it would be 
difficult for most visitors to apply for and obtain a Federal permit 
during the short time of their visit. The final rule will clarify that 
customers on bottomfish charter fishing trips are exempt from the non-
commercial bottomfish permit requirement where the charter vessel 
operator is compliant with state laws and regulations. Additionally, 
since charter boat customers are considered to be non-commercial 
fishermen, and non-commercial fishermen are subject to bag limits under 
State requirements, this final rule requires Deep 7 bottomfish charter 
boat customers to comply with bag limits when fishing for Deep 7.
    The proposed rule would require operators of vessels registered for 
use under Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permits to 
report the catch, effort, and other data from each fishing trip to 
NMFS. Additionally, the State of Hawaii requires State CML holders to 
report their catch and effort to the State. On mixed trips, where some 
fishermen on the trip hold Federal non-commercial permits, and some 
hold State CMLs, there is a potential for double-reporting of the catch 
because both permit holders are required to report but to different 
agencies. No change will be made to the final rule, but the compliance 
guide and the Federal non-commercial logsheet instructions will clarify 
that non-commercial vessel operators need to report only the catch made 
by holders of Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permits, 
and not that of the holders of State CMLs.
    The implementation of the new Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial 
permit creates a link to the Federal vessel identification requirement 
in Sec.  665.16 that requires Federal permit holders to mark their 
vessels in a specific way for aerial and at-sea identification 
purposes. The existing Federal vessel identification requirements were 
created for the larger commercial fishing vessel to assist in aerial 
and at-sea enforcement of fishing regulations. Current State-registered 
bottomfish vessels are marked with an official HA number, with the 
addition of the letters ``BF,'' but the typical Hawaii-based non-
commercial bottomfish vessel is not large enough to have the 
superstructure or deckhouse to support Federal vessel identification 
markings. Also, the bottomfish closed season and other restrictions for 
bottomfish are specific to Deep 7 species, not all bottomfish fishing. 
Enforcement of and compliance with this final rule are best addressed 
dockside, not at sea or from the air, so large lettering of the 
vessel's official number is not essential. Furthermore, imposing on the 
public a duplicative Federal vessel marking (collection-of-information) 
requirement with existing State's requirement is inconsistent with the 
purpose of the Paperwork Reduction Act. The final rule will clarify 
that those non-commercial bottomfish vessels that are in compliance 
with state bottomfish vessel registration and marking requirements are 
exempt from the Federal vessel identification requirements.
    The Magunson Act authorizes NMFS to collect fees for all permits. 
The preamble to the proposed rule noted that fees would be collected 
for Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permits, but the 
regulatory text was not included. The final rule clarifies that fees 
will be charged for Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish 
permits, and that the fees are non-refundable and are collected to 
offset the administrative costs associated with issuing the permits.
    The proposed rule would have established a prohibition against 
owning a fishing vessel that participates in non-commercial bottomfish 
fishing without a Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish 
permit or State CML. The proposed rule neglected, however, to create 
the related requirement, so the final rule creates the requirement.
    The final rule adds the definition of State of Hawaii Commercial 
Marine License, which was omitted in the proposed rule, and revises the 
definition of Main Hawaiian Islands Non-Commercial Bottomfish Fishing 
Permit to clarify that the permit is required to own or fish from a 
vessel that is used in any non-commercial vessel-based fishing, 
landing, or transshipment of any BMUS in the Main Hawaiian Islands 
Management Subarea.
    The final rule clarifies that both the vessel owner and vessel 
operator share responsibility for submitting required logbook 
information for each day of the fishing trip.
    The final rule also clarifies the procedures used by the Regional 
Administrator (RA) in notifying the public of the projected closure 
date for the fishery. The RA will file an official notice of the 
closure with the Office of the federal Register at least 14 days in 
advance of the projected closure date.
    The final rule also clarifies that, in addition to the prohibition 
on fishing for Deep 7 bottomfish after the TAC is reached, Deep 7 
bottomfish species may not be sold or offered for sale after the TAC is 
reached unless otherwise legally harvested.
    The final rule also reorders the numbering of new Sec. Sec.  665.73 
(bag limits) and 665.74 (closed season). Because the closed season will 
be effective only in 2008 and repealed afterward, renumbering the 
sections now will preclude the need to renumber them later.

Classification

    The NOAA Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (AA) determined that 
Amendment 14 is necessary for the conservation and management of the

[[Page 18457]]

affected fisheries, and that the amendment is consistent with the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
    A final environmental impact statement dated December 19, 2007, was 
prepared for this final rule. The FSEIS was filed with the 
Environmental Protection Agency on January 4, 2008. A notice of 
availability was published on January 11, 2008 (73 FR 2027). In 
approving Amendment 14 on March 18, 2008, NMFS issued a Record of 
Decision (ROD) identifying the selected alternative. A copy of the ROD 
is available from William L. Robinson (see ADDRESSES).
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    Consistent with section 604 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, NMFS 
prepared a final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) for Amendment 
14, as follows:
    This FRFA incorporates the IRFA prepared for Amendment 14. The 
preamble to the proposed rule included a detailed summary of the 
analyses contained in the IRFA, and that discussion is not repeated 
in its entirety here. A statement of the need for, and objectives 
of, the rule is provided in the preambles to the proposed rule and 
to this final rule, and is not repeated here.
    There were two comments on the IRFA, and NMFS responds as 
follows:
    Comment 1: The statement that ``There are no reporting, 
recordkeeping, or other compliance requirements for commercial 
vessels in the proposed rule'' seems out of place, given that all 
vessels must report their catch toward the TAC.
    Response: The keyword in that phrase is ``commercial''. This 
rule does not create new requirements for commercial vessels or 
operators. Under current State of Hawaii regulations, all commercial 
fishermen are required to have a State CML and report their catch to 
the State, and are subject to vessel-marking requirements. In 
monitoring and calculating the TAC, the commercial information 
collected by the State will be incorporated with the non-commercial 
data collected under the requirements in this rule.
    Comment 2: The statement that vessels in the bottomfish fishery 
``are not independently-owned and operated'' is inaccurate, as many 
individuals own boats and fish from their own boats.
    Response: The proposed rule contained a typographic error. The 
full sentence should have read ``All vessels are considered to be 
small entities under the Small Business Administration definition of 
a small entity, i.e., they are engaged in the business of fish 
harvesting, are independently-owned and operated, are not dominant 
in their field of operation, and have annual gross receipts not in 
excess of $4 million.''
    Steps Taken to Minimize Impacts
    The Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements to prevent overfishing 
preclude allowing a TAC to be set above a level of overfishing in 
order to minimize impacts to small entities. Economic losses to the 
commercial sector could be mitigated somewhat by increases to 
available harvest from improvements to the bottomfish stock and 
economic benefits derived from other fisheries or other uses of 
fishing vessels (opportunity costs), to the extent they exist. Given 
that there could be sizable adverse economic impacts to the 
commercial fishery resulting from one TAC for commercial and non-
commercial sectors, NMFS will complete a Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis to determine the economic impacts to commercial vessels 
when non-commercial landings are estimated and the 2008-09 TAC is 
specified.
    Additionally, by the time the TAC is specified, NMFS should have 
information on the State of Hawaii's intentions regarding possible 
changes to the State bag limit requirements. Since the universe of 
affected entities does not include non-commercial fishermen, 
economic impacts to this group are not considered under this FRFA. 
However, those impacts were analyzed by the Council as part of the 
Regulatory Impact Review to assess regional and national economic 
impacts.

Description and Estimate of the Number of Small Entities to Which the 
Rule Applies

    Approximately 380 vessels were engaged in the harvest of 
bottomfish based on 2000-03 data. The aggregate gross receipts for 
these vessels in the bottomfish fishery were $1.47 million with 
average gross receipts per vessel of $3,870 annually. All vessels 
are considered to be small entities under the Small Business 
Administration definition of a small entity, i.e., they are engaged 
in the business of fish harvesting, are independently-owned or 
operated, are not dominant in its field of operation, and have 
annual gross receipts not in excess of $4 million. Therefore, there 
are no disproportionate economic impacts between large and small 
entities. Furthermore, there are no disproportionate economic 
impacts among vessels based on geographic location, gear, or vessel 
size resulting from publication of this final rule.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related 
rules for which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency 
shall publish one or more guides to assist small entities in 
complying with the rule, and shall designate such publications as 
``small entity compliance guides.'' The agency shall explain the 
actions a small entity is required to take to comply with a rule or 
group of rules. As part of this rulemaking process, a small entity 
compliance guide was prepared. The guide will be sent to all vessels 
that have historic landings in this fishery. In addition, copies of 
this final rule and guide are available from the Regional 
Administrator (see ADDRESSES) and are also available at the 
following web site: fpir.nmfs.noaa.gov.
    This final rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the PRA. These requirements have not yet been approved, but 
OMB approval is expected in the near future. NMFS will publish a notice 
when these requirements are cleared by OMB and are, therefore, 
effective. The public reporting burden for these requirements is 
estimated to be 30 minutes for a new permit application, and 20 minutes 
for completing a fishing logbook each day.
    NMFS estimates that 800-5,000 non-commercial fishermen will request 
permits. Thus, the collection of information burden estimate for permit 
applications is 400-2,500 hours per year. Estimating that between 800-
1,800 vessels would make 10-50 trips per year, 8,000-90,000 logbooks 
could be generated each year. Thus, the total collection of information 
burden estimate for fishing data reporting would be between 2,664 to 
29,970 hours per year.
    Send comments regarding these burden estimates or any other aspect 
of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, 
to William L. Robinson, NMFS PIR (see ADDRESSES), or by e-mail to 
David_Rostker@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202-395-7285.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for 
failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.
    A consultation under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act was 
conducted for Amendment 14. In a biological opinion dated March 18, 
2008, the Regional Administrator determined that fishing activities 
conducted under Amendment 14 and its implementing regulations are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or 
threatened species.
    There is good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) to waive the 30-day 
delay in effective date to implement these measures in a timely manner. 
The Council and NMFS completed FMP Amendment 14 and the FSEIS in 
December 2007, and the proposed rule was published in February 2008. 
Public comments on the proposed rule were accepted until March 7, and 
by the time this final rule was prepared, monitoring of Hawaii 
bottomfish landings since the beginning of the 2007-08 fishing year 
(i.e., October 2007) indicates that the proposed TAC of 178,000 lb will 
be reached on or prior to April 17, according to NMFS scientists. This 
is a result of higher than anticipated landings of Hawaii bottomfish 
during the months of February and March 2008. This necessitates closure 
of the fishery before the scheduled May 1

[[Page 18458]]

beginning of the 2008 closed season. If the fishery is not closed soon, 
the recommended 2007-08 TAC would likely be further exceeded, and 
overfishing of Hawaii bottomfish would continue, and an even lower 
quota would be required to reduce fishing mortality for fishing year 
2008-09 to adequately end the overfishing, resulting in greater 
negative impacts on the fishery. Therefore, the rule must be effective 
upon the date of filing with the Office of the Federal Register.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 665

    Administrative practice and procedure, American Samoa, Fisheries, 
Fishing, Guam, Hawaii, Hawaiian natives, Northern Mariana Islands, 
Pacific Remote Island Areas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: March 31, 2008.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator For Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

0
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 665 is amended as 
follows:

PART 665--FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC

0
l. The authority citation for part 665 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

0
2. In subpart A, add a new Sec.  665.4 to read as follows:


Sec.  665.4  Licensing and registration.

    Any person who is required to do so by applicable state law or 
regulation must comply with licensing and registration requirements in 
the exact manner required by applicable state law or regulation.

0
3. In Sec.  665.12, revise the definitions of ``Commercial fishing'', 
``Fishing year'', and ``Trap'', and add the definitions for ``Hawaii 
Restricted Bottomfish Species Fishing Year 2007-08'', ``Hawaii 
Restricted Bottomfish Species Fishing Year 2008-09 and After'', ``Main 
Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permit'', ``Non-commercial 
fishing'', and ``State of Hawaii Commercial Marine License'' in 
alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  665.12  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Commercial fishing means fishing in which the fish harvested, 
either in whole or in part, are intended to enter commerce or enter 
commerce through sale, barter, or trade. All lobster fishing in 
Crustaceans Permit Area 1 is considered commercial fishing.
* * * * *
    Fishing year means the year beginning at 0001 local time on January 
1 and ending at 2400 local time on December 31, with the exception of 
fishing for Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish Species.
* * * * *
    Hawaii restricted bottomfish species fishing year 2007-08 means the 
year beginning at 0001 HST on October 1, 2007, and ending at 2400 HST 
on April 30, 2008.
    Hawaii restricted bottomfish species fishing year 2008-09 and After 
means the year beginning at 0001 HST on September 1 and ending at 2400 
HST on August 31 of the next calendar year.
* * * * *
    Main Hawaiian Islands Non-Commercial Bottomfish Permit means the 
permit required by Sec.  665.61(a)(4) to own or fish from a vessel that 
is used in any non-commercial vessel-based fishing, landing, or 
transshipment of any bottomfish management unit species in the Main 
Hawaiian Islands Management Subarea.
    Non-commercial fishing means fishing that does not meet the 
definition of commercial fishing.
* * * * *
    State of Hawaii Commercial Marine License means the license 
required by the State of Hawaii for anyone to take marine life for 
commercial purposes (also known as the commercial fishing license).
* * * * *
    Trap means a box-like device used for catching and holding lobsters 
or fish.
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  665.13, revise paragraphs (f)(2) and (g) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  665.13  Permits and fees.

    (f) * * *
    (2) PIRO will charge a non-refundable processing fee for each 
application (including transfers and renewals) for the following 
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 incurred in 
processing the permit. The fee may not exceed such costs and is 
specified with each application form. The appropriate fee must 
accompany each application. Failure to pay the fee will preclude the 
issuance, transfer or renewal of any of these permits:
    (i) Hawaii longline limited access permit;
    (ii) Mau Zone limited access permit;
    (iii) Coral reef ecosystem special permit;
    (iv) American Samoa longline limited access permit; and
    (v) Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish permit.
* * * * *
    (g) Expiration. Permits issued under subparts C, D, E, F, and G of 
this part are valid for the period specified on the permit unless 
revoked, suspended, transferred, or modified.
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  665.14, revise paragraphs (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  665.14  Reporting and recordkeeping.

    (a) Fishing record forms. (1) Applicability. The operator of any 
fishing vessel subject to the requirements of Sec. Sec.  665.21, 
665.41, 665.61(a)(2), 665.61(a)(3), 665.61(a)(4), 665.81, or 665.602 
must maintain on board the vessel an accurate and complete record of 
catch, effort, and other data on paper report forms provided by the 
Regional Administrator, or electronically as specified and approved by 
the Regional Administrator. All information specified by the Regional 
Administrator must be recorded on paper or electronically within 24 
hours after the completion of each fishing day. The logbook 
information, reported on paper or electronically, for each day of the 
fishing trip must be signed and dated or otherwise authenticated by the 
vessel operator in the manner determined by the Regional Administrator, 
and be submitted or transmitted via an approved method as specified by 
the Regional Administrator, and as required by this paragraph (a).
    (2) Timeliness of submission. (i) If fishing was authorized under a 
permit pursuant to Sec. Sec.  665.21, 665.41, 665.61(a)(1), 
665.61(a)(3), or 665.81 the vessel operator must submit the original 
logbook form for each day of the fishing trip to the Regional 
Administrator within 72 hours of the end of each fishing trip, except 
as allowed in paragraph (iii) of this section.
    (ii) If fishing was authorized under a permit pursuant to Sec.  
665.61(a)(4) the vessel operator or vessel owner must submit the 
original logbook form for each day of the fishing trip to the Regional 
Administrator within 72 hours of the end of each fishing trip.
    (iii) If fishing was authorized under a PRIA bottomfish permit 
pursuant to Sec.  665.61(a)(2), PRIA pelagic troll and handline permit 
pursuant to Sec.  665.21(f), crustaceans fishing permit for the PRIA 
(Permit Area 4) pursuant to Sec.  665.41, or a precious corals fishing 
permit for Permit Area X-P-PI pursuant to Sec.  665.81, the original 
logbook form for each day of fishing within the PRIA EEZ waters must be 
submitted to the Regional

[[Page 18459]]

Administrator within 30 days of the end of each fishing trip.
    (iv) If fishing was authorized under a permit pursuant to Sec.  
665.602, the original logbook information for each day of fishing must 
be submitted to the Regional Administrator within 30 days of the end of 
each fishing trip.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  665.16, revise paragraph (a) and add new paragraph (e) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  665.16  Vessel identification.

    (a) Each fishing vessel subject to this subpart, except those 
identified in paragraph (e) of this section, must display its official 
number on the port and starboard sides of the deckhouse or hull, and on 
an appropriate weather deck, so as to be visible from enforcement 
vessels and aircraft.
* * * * *
    (e) The following fishing vessels are exempt from the vessel 
identification requirements in this section:
    (1) A vessel registered for use under a Main Hawaiian Islands non-
commercial bottomfish permit that is in compliance with State of Hawaii 
bottomfish vessel registration and marking requirements.
    (2) [Reserved]

0
7. In Sec.  665.61, revise paragraph (a) to read as follows:


Sec.  665.61  Permits.

    (a) Applicability. (1) Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI). The 
owner of any vessel used to fish for, land, or transship bottomfish 
management unit species shoreward of the outer boundary of the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands subarea must have a permit issued under 
this section, and the permit must be registered for use with that 
vessel. The PIRO will not register a single vessel for use with a Ho 
omalu Zone permit and a Mau Zone permit at the same time. Mau Zone 
permits issued before June 14, 1999, become invalid June 14, 1999, 
except that a permit issued to a person who submitted a timely 
application under paragraph (b)(3) of this section is valid until the 
permit holder either receives a Mau Zone limited entry permit or until 
final agency action is taken on the permit holder's application. The Ho 
omalu Zone and the Mau Zone limited entry systems described in this 
section are subject to abolition, modification, or additional effort 
limitation programs.
    (2) Pacific Remote Island Areas (PRIA). The owner of any vessel 
used to fish for, land, or transship bottomfish management unit species 
shoreward of the outer boundary of the Pacific Remote Island Areas 
subarea must have a permit issued under this section, and the permit 
must be registered for use with that vessel.
    (3) Guam large vessel. The owner of any large vessel used to fish 
for, land, or transship bottomfish management unit species shoreward of 
the outer boundary of the Guam subarea must have a permit issued under 
this section, and the permit must be registered for use with that 
vessel.
    (4) Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial. The owner of a vessel 
that is used for and any person who participates in non-commercial, 
vessel-based fishing, landing, or transshipment of bottomfish 
management unit species in the Main Hawaiian Islands Management Subarea 
is required to obtain a Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial bottomfish 
permit or a State of Hawaii Commercial Marine License. If one or more 
persons on a vessel-based bottomfish fishing trip holds a Main Hawaiian 
Islands non-commercial permit, then the entire trip is considered non-
commercial, and not commercial. However, if any commercial fishing 
occurs during or as a result of a vessel-based fishing trip, then the 
fishing trip is considered commercial, and not non-commercial. Charter 
boat customers are not subject to the requirements of the section.
* * * * *

0
8. In Sec.  665.62, add new paragraphs (j) through (n), as follows:


Sec.  665.62  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (j) Falsify or fail to make or file reports of all fishing 
activities shoreward of outer boundary of the Main Hawaiian Islands 
Management Subarea, in violation of Sec. Sec.  665.3 or 665.14(a).
    (k) Own a vessel or fish from a vessel that is used to fish non-
commercially for any bottomfish management unit species in the Main 
Hawaiian Islands Management Subarea without either a Main Hawaiian 
Islands non-commercial bottomfish permit or a State of Hawaii 
Commercial Marine License, in violation of Sec. Sec.  665.4 or 
665.61(a)(4).
    (l) Fish for or possess any Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish Species as 
specified in Sec.  665.71, in the Main Hawaiian Islands Management 
Subarea after a closure of the fishery, in violation of Sec. Sec.  
665.72 or 665.74.
    (m) Sell or offer for sale any Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish 
Species, as specified in Sec.  665.71, after a closure of the fishery, 
in violation of Sec. Sec.  665.72 or 665.74.
    (n) Harvest, possess, or land more than a total of five fish (all 
species combined) identified as Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish Species in 
Sec.  665.71 from a vessel in the Main Hawaiian Islands Management 
Subarea, while holding a Main Hawaiian Islands non-commercial 
bottomfish permit, or while participating as a charter boat customer, 
in violation of Sec.  665.73.

0
9. In subpart E, add a new Sec.  665.71 to read as follows:


Sec.  665.71  Hawaii restricted bottomfish species.

    Hawaii restricted bottomfish species means the following species:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Common Name                            Common Name              Scientific Name
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Silver jaw jobfish                                   Lehi                    Aphareus rutilans
                  Squirrelfish snapper                                  Ehu                   Etelis carbunculus
                  Longtail snapper                                    Onaga                     Etelis coruscans
                  Pink snapper                                    Opakapaka          Pristipomoides filamentosus
                  Snapper                                          Kalekale             Pristipomoides sieboldii
                  Snapper                                            Gindai               Pristipomoides zonatus
                  Sea bass                                       Hapu'upu'u                  Epinephelus quernus
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
10. In subpart E, add a new Sec.  665.72 to read as follows:


Sec.  665.72  Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limit.

    (a) TAC limits will be set annually for the fishing year by NMFS, 
as recommended by the Council, based on the best available scientific, 
commercial, and other information, and taking into account the 
associated risk of overfishing.

[[Page 18460]]

    (b) The Regional Administrator shall publish a notice indicating 
the annual Total Allowable Catch limit in the Federal Register by 
August 31 of each year, and shall use other means to notify permit 
holders of the TAC limit for the year.
    (c) When the TAC limit specified in this section is projected to be 
reached based on analyses of available information, the Regional 
Administrator shall publish a notice to that effect in the Federal 
Register and shall use other means to notify permit holders. The notice 
will include an advisement that the fishery will be closed beginning at 
a specified date, which is not earlier than 14 days after the date of 
filing the closure notice for public inspection at the Office of the 
Federal Register, until the end of the fishing year in which the TAC is 
reached.
    (d) On and after the date specified in Sec.  665.72(c), no person 
may fish for or possess any Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish Species as 
specified in Sec.  665.71 in the Main Hawaiian Islands Management 
Subarea, except as otherwise allowed by law.
    (e) On and after the date specified in Sec.  665.72(c), no person 
may sell or offer for sale Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish Species as 
specified in Sec.  665.71, except as otherwise authorized by law.
    (f) Fishing for, and the resultant possession or sale of, Hawaii 
Restricted Bottomfish Species by vessels legally registered to Mau 
Zone, Ho omalu Zone, or PRIA bottomfish fishing permits and conducted 
in compliance with all other laws and regulations, is exempted from 
this section.
    (g) The Hawaii restricted bottomfish species TAC limit for the 
2007-08 fishing year is 178,000 lb (80,740 kg).

0
11. Under subpart E, add a new Sec.  665.73 to read as follows:


Sec.  665.73  Non-commercial bag limits.

    No more than a total of five fish (all species combined) identified 
as Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish Species as specified in Sec.  665.71, 
may be harvested, possessed, or landed by any individual participating 
in a non-commercial vessel-based fishing trip in the Main Hawaiian 
Islands Management Subarea. Charter boat customers are also subject to 
the bag limit.

0
12. In subpart E, add a new Sec.  665.74 to read as follows:


Sec.  665.74  Closed season.

    (a) All fishing for, or possession of, any Hawaii Restricted 
Bottomfish Species as specified in Sec.  665.71, is prohibited in the 
Main Hawaiian Islands Management Subarea during May 1, 2008, through 
August 31, 2008, inclusive. All such species possessed in the Main 
Hawaiian Islands Management Subarea are presumed to have been taken and 
retained from that Subarea, unless otherwise demonstrated by the person 
in possession of those species.
    (b) Hawaii Restricted Bottomfish Species, as specified in Sec.  
665.71, may not be sold or offered for sale during May 1, 2008, through 
August 31, 2008, inclusive, except as otherwise authorized by law.
    (c) Fishing for, and the resultant possession or sale of, Hawaii 
Restricted Bottomfish Species by vessels legally registered to Mau 
Zone, Ho'omalu Zone, or PRIA bottomfish fishing permits and conducted 
in compliance with all other laws and regulations, is exempted from 
paragraphs (a) and (b).
[FR Doc. 08-1093 Filed 4-1-08; 11:30 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S