[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 53 (Wednesday, March 19, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 15287-15293]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-06065]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 622

[Docket No. 130606533-4224-01]
RIN 0648-BD36


Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; 
Reef Fish Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico; Amendment 26 and Amendment 29 
Supplement

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes to supplement the regulations implementing 
Amendments 26 and 29 to the Fishery Management Plan for Reef Fish 
Resources of the Gulf of Mexico (FMP), as prepared and submitted by the 
Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Council). Amendment 26 
established an individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for the red 
snapper commercial sector of the reef fish fishery in the Gulf of 
Mexico (Gulf) exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Amendment 29 established a 
multi-species IFQ program for the grouper and tilefish component of the 
commercial sector of the reef fish fishery in the Gulf EEZ. If 
implemented, this rule would specify procedures for closing an IFQ 
account and modify requirements for IFQ landing transactions, landing 
notifications, and offloading. The purpose of this proposed rule is to 
enhance the monitoring, enforcement, and review of the IFQ programs as 
specified in Amendments 26 and 29 to the FMP.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before April 18, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by

[[Page 15288]]

``NOAA-NMFS-2013-0122'', by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0122, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Catherine Hayslip, 
Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, 
FL 33701.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in 
Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Electronic copies of Amendments 26 and 29, which each include a 
final environmental impact statement (FEIS), a regulatory impact review 
(RIR), and a regulatory flexibility act analysis may be obtained from 
the Council's Web site at http://www.gulfcouncil.org/fishery_management_plans/reef_fish_management_archives.php.
    Comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of 
the collection-of-information requirements contained in this proposed 
rule may be submitted in writing to Anik Clemens, Southeast Regional 
Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701; and the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by email at OIRA 
Submission@omb.eop.gov, or by fax to 202-395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine Hayslip, telephone 727-824-
5305, email Catherine.Hayslip@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The reef fish fishery of the Gulf of Mexico 
is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and is 
implemented through regulations at 50 CFR part 622 under the authority 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Background

    In 2006, NMFS published a final rule implementing Amendment 26 to 
the FMP, which established the Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper Individual 
Fishing Quota (IFQ) program (71 FR 67447, November 22, 2006). In 2009, 
NMFS published a final rule implementing Amendment 29 to the Reef Fish 
FMP, which established the Gulf of Mexico Grouper-Tilefish IFQ program 
(74 FR 44732, August 31, 2009). Two additional rules were published in 
2010 and 2011 modifying the procedures for administering these IFQ 
programs (75 FR 9116, March 1, 2010, and 76 FR 68339, November 4, 
2011). If implemented, this proposed rule would specify procedures for 
closing an IFQ account and modify requirements for IFQ landing 
transactions, landing notifications, and offloading. The purpose of 
this proposed rule is to enhance the monitoring, enforcement, and 
review of the IFQ programs as specified in Amendments 26 and 29 to the 
Reef Fish FMP.

Management Measures Contained in This Proposed Rule

Close an IFQ Account

    There are over 1,150 shareholder accounts and more than 150 dealer 
accounts in the IFQ online system. As of June 2013, 288 shareholder 
accounts hold no shares or allocation and many dealer accounts are not 
actively used. This rulemaking would establish procedures for NMFS IFQ 
Customer Service staff or IFQ account holders to close a shareholder 
account that no longer holds shares and allocation, or a dealer account 
that has paid all cost recovery fees. Under these provisions, IFQ 
account holders could close an account at any time by submitting a 
Close Account Request Form to NMFS. This form has already been approved 
(OMB Control No. 0648-0551) for use by NMFS to close IFQ accounts. This 
rulemaking would also allow NMFS IFQ Customer Service staff to close an 
IFQ account if no landing transactions or IFQ transfers have been 
completed by the IFQ account holder in at least 1 year. Accounts closed 
by NMFS IFQ Customer Service staff may be reopened at the request of 
the IFQ account holder. Closing accounts will reduce the number of 
records NMFS needs to maintain.

Landing Notifications

    Current regulations specify that a vessel account must hold 
sufficient IFQ allocation from the time of advance notice of landing 
through completion of the landing transaction. This rulemaking would 
allow allocation to be held in either a vessel account or the vessel 
account's linked shareholder account at the time of advance notice of 
landing. On occasion, a vessel does not have sufficient allocation in 
its vessel account at the time of advance notice of landing, but does 
have sufficient allocation in its linked shareholder account. This 
rulemaking would provide vessel captains and shareholders additional 
flexibility when completing a landing notification that is similar to 
an overdraft protection account. The IFQ online system would 
automatically determine if a vessel and/or a vessel's linked 
shareholder account has sufficient allocation at the time of advance 
notice of landing. However, before completing a landing transaction the 
shareholder would need to transfer allocation from the shareholder 
account to the vessel account if sufficient allocation does not exist 
in the vessel account to allow the dealer to complete the landing 
transaction.
    This rulemaking would also extend the advance notice of landing 
reporting window for IFQ species. Currently, the owner or operator of a 
vessel landing IFQ species is responsible for ensuring that NMFS is 
contacted at least 3 hours, but no more than 12 hours, in advance of 
landing. The window of time for reporting an advance notice of landing 
would be extended from 12 to 24 hours. This would provide vessel owners 
and operators additional flexibility when making landing notifications, 
while still providing law enforcement sufficient advance notice to meet 
vessels at the landing location for inspection. The additional time 
would allow fishermen making day trips greater than 12 hours to make 
landing notifications in advance of their trip. The additional time 
would also allow owners or operators to make multiple landing 
notifications at the same time, especially if the vessel will be 
landing at multiple landing locations to offload fish.
    Current regulations do not specify procedures for making changes to 
landing notifications. This rulemaking would specify that any changes 
to a landing notification (time of landing, landing location, dealer, 
or change in estimated pounds) would require a new landing 
notification, which would supersede the previous notification. If 
changes are made to the landing location, the time of landing is 
earlier than previously specified, or more than one superseding 
notification is submitted on a trip, the vessel must provide at least a 
3-hour notification prior to landing. If changes are made to the 
dealer(s) purchasing the fish or the

[[Page 15289]]

estimated weights of fish to be landed, a vessel would need to make a 
new notification, but would not have to wait an additional 3 hours 
before landing, as long as the landing time is later than or equal to 
the previous notification.
    This rulemaking would also require that a vessel land within 30 
minutes after the time given in the landing notification, unless a 
state or Federal law enforcement officer has authorized a landing prior 
to the notification time. If a vessel is landing more than 30 minutes 
after the time given in the landing notification, the owner or operator 
of the vessel must submit a new landing notification, but will not be 
required to wait an additional 3 hours to land as long as only one 
superseding landing notification has been submitted for the trip. As 
stated in the paragraph above, if more than one superseding 
notification has been made for a trip, the vessel would be required to 
wait an additional 3 hours before landing. Allowing owners and 
operators to change landing notifications once without waiting an 
additional 3 hours should increase flexibility and reduce the amount of 
time a vessel may wait to land. Requiring vessels to land within 30 
minutes after the time indicated in the landing notification is 
intended to aid law enforcement by ensuring vessels land at or near the 
reported time. During the August 2013 Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 
Council meeting, the Council discussed extending the landing window 
from 30 minutes to 1 hour based on public comments received. During the 
November 2013 Red Snapper IFQ ad hoc Advisory Panel meeting, the 
Advisory Panel discussed and recommended that the landing window be 
extended from 30 minutes to 1 hour. NMFS is specifically interested in 
input from fishermen regarding whether a 30-minute landing window is 
sufficient. If it is not a sufficient window of time to land, NMFS is 
interested in knowing if 1 hour would be sufficient for landing.
    Additionally, this rule would allow vessels to land prior to a 3-
hour notification if a state or Federal law enforcement officer is 
present at the landing site and authorizes the owner or operator of the 
vessel to land early. Currently, vessels submitting a landing 
notification may return to port earlier than anticipated, but may not 
land until waiting a minimum of 3 hours. This results in some vessels 
idling or anchoring in sight of the landing location until 3 hours have 
passed. This rule would provide vessel owners and operators additional 
flexibility by allowing them to land prior to the time on the advance 
notice of landing.
    This rule would remove regulatory language related to landing 
notifications. A phrase stating ``NMFS will add other methods of 
complying with the advance notice of landing requirement'' would be 
removed because NMFS has already identified numerous methods for 
submitting landing notifications. Regulatory language would also be 
removed that precludes authorization to complete a landing transaction 
if an advance notice of landing is not submitted. There are numerous 
circumstances when an advance notice of landing may be properly 
submitted by the vessel owner or captain, but the advance notice of 
landing is not received due to technological problems (e.g., VMS 
transmission failure, online system failure).

Landing Transactions

    This rule would prohibit the deduction of ice and water weight when 
reporting an IFQ landing transaction, specify that a dealer must report 
all IFQ landings via the IFQ Web site, specify timeframes for 
completing a landing transaction, and clarify that a dealer may only 
receive IFQ fish transported by a vehicle or a trailered vessel that 
has a corresponding transaction approval code.
    Currently, regulations do not specify how fish should be weighed 
before completing a landing transaction. Dealers throughout the Gulf of 
Mexico use a variety of methods for weighing fish, with some deducting 
for ice and water weight and others not making any deductions. Input 
received from dealers and fishermen indicates deductions may range from 
0 to 3 percent of the total amount landed, meaning some dealers pay 
less cost recovery than other dealers that are not making these same 
deductions. This rule would require dealers to include ice and water 
weight when purchasing IFQ species. NMFS considered specifying a 
standardized deduction percentage for ice and water weight. However, 
NMFS determined that this would be impracticable to estimate and would 
need to be species-specific due to varying industry practices for icing 
fish, differences in trip durations that may affect how much water and 
ice retention occurs, varying dealer practices for removing ice from 
fish prior to weighing, and varying fish sizes and body shapes.
    This rulemaking would also clarify that fish must be sold to a 
federally permitted dealer and dealers must report all landings and 
their actual ex-vessel prices via the IFQ online Web site. These 
proposed regulations would ensure all landings and sales of IFQ species 
are accounted for and fish are not kept by a captain and/or crew 
without first being reported. Federal regulations at 50 CFR 622.38 
prohibit a person aboard a vessel that has a Federal commercial vessel 
permit for Gulf reef fish and commercial quantities of Gulf reef fish 
from possessing Gulf reef fish caught under a bag limit.
    The timeframe for submitting a landing transaction would also be 
clarified. Current regulations state the dealer is responsible for 
completing a landing transaction report for each landing and sale of 
IFQ species at the time of the transaction. In some instances, landing 
transactions are entered days to weeks after landing and offload. This 
rulemaking would require a dealer to complete a landing transaction for 
IFQ species on the day of offload. The purpose of this proposed 
regulation is to improve the timeliness and accuracy of landing 
transactions.
    To improve accountability of the IFQ species that are transported 
to a dealer by a vehicle or a trailered vessel, this rule clarifies 
that a dealer may only receive IFQ fish that have a corresponding 
transaction approval code.

Offloading

    This rulemaking proposes several changes to the offloading 
requirements. Offloading is currently prohibited from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. 
local time. This rule would authorize offloads beginning before 6 p.m. 
to continue after 6 p.m. if a state or Federal law enforcement officer 
is present and authorizes the offload to continue. This change would 
provide dealers and vessel owners/operators additional flexibility when 
offloading fish. This rule would also require vessels to offload IFQ 
species within 72 hours of landing. The purpose of this regulation is 
to ensure IFQ species are offloaded and landing transactions are 
completed in a timely manner after a fishing trip ends. During the 
August 2013 Council meeting, the Council discussed providing exceptions 
to the offloading window to account for Sundays and holiday weekends, 
and considered extending the offloading window from the proposed 72 
hours to 96 hours. During the November 2013 Red Snapper IFQ ad hoc 
Advisory Panel meeting, the Advisory Panel discussed and recommended 
that the offloading window exclude Sundays and holidays and that 
offloading continue after 6 p.m. if authorized by a state or Federal 
law enforcement offices. NMFS is specifically interested in receiving 
input regarding the sufficiency of the 72-hour allotted timeframe for 
completing an offload or whether 96 hours would be a

[[Page 15290]]

better timeframe for completing an offload after landing.

Landing Locations

    Regulations currently state landing locations must be approved by 
the Office for Law Enforcement prior to a vessel landing IFQ species at 
these sites. Regulations also require the owner or operator of a vessel 
to report the location of landing at the time of the advance notice of 
landing. This rule would clarify and explicitly state that IFQ species 
must be landed at an approved landing location. This change follows the 
Council's original intent that the IFQ program require vessels to land 
at pre-approved landing locations.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator, NMFS, has determined that this proposed rule 
is consistent with Amendments 26 and 29, the FMP, other provisions of 
the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) that this rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The factual basis for this determination is as follows:
    A description of this proposed rule, why it is being considered, 
and the objectives of this proposed rule are contained at the beginning 
of this section in the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the 
preamble. The Magnuson-Stevens Act provides the statutory basis for 
this proposed rule.
    The SBA has established size criteria for all major industry 
sectors in the U.S. including commercial fish harvesters and seafood 
dealers. The SBA periodically reviews and changes, as appropriate, 
these size criteria. On June 20, 2013, the SBA issued a final rule 
revising the small business size standards for several industries 
effective July 22, 2013 (78 FR 37398). This rule increased the size 
standard for commercial fish harvesters from $4.0 million to $19.0 
million. Neither this rule, nor other recent SBA review, changed the 
size standard for seafood dealers.
    A business involved in commercial fish harvesting is classified as 
a small business if it is independently owned and operated, is not 
dominant in its field of operation (including its affiliates), and has 
combined annual receipts not in excess of $19.0 million (NAICS code 
114111, finfish fishing) for all its affiliated operations worldwide. A 
business involved in seafood purchasing and processing (seafood 
business) is classified as a small business based on either employment 
standards or revenue thresholds. A seafood processer that employs 500 
or fewer is considered a small entity (NAICS code 311712, fresh and 
frozen seafood processing), as is a fish or seafood wholesaler with 100 
or fewer employees (NAICS code 424460, fish and seafood merchant 
wholesalers). A seafood business is classified as a small entity if it 
is independently owned and operated, is not dominant in its field of 
operation (including its affiliates), and has combined annual receipts 
not in excess of $7.0 million (NAICS code 445220, fish and seafood 
marketing) for all affiliated operations worldwide.
    This rulemaking, if adopted, would be expected to directly affect 
all entities that hold a Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) individual fishing quota 
(IFQ) shareholder account and all seafood dealers that purchase IFQ 
species. There are over 1,150 shareholder accounts, and more than 150 
dealer accounts in the IFQ online system. Although all IFQ shareholders 
are not required to possess a valid or renewable commercial reef fish 
permit, this permit is required to harvest and sell IFQ species. As a 
result, it is assumed for the purpose of this assessment that the 
majority of the entities that hold an IFQ shareholder account are 
entities that also possess a valid or renewable commercial reef fish 
permit. The average annual total revenue for vessels with a commercial 
reef fish permit is estimated to be less than $100,000 (2011 dollars). 
As a result, all entities with a shareholder account that would be 
expected to be directly affected by this rule are believed to be small 
business entities.
    Neither employment information nor total average annual revenue 
estimates for dealers that purchase IFQ species are available. The 
total value paid to fishermen for IFQ species was approximately $14.2 
million (2012 dollars) for red snapper in 2012, and approximately $21.5 
million (2012 dollars) for groupers and tilefishes in 2011, or 
approximately $35.7 million for all IFQ species. Because IFQ species 
may only be sold to dealers with IFQ accounts, these payments equate to 
$238,000 per dealer account. These dealers would also be expected to 
purchase and sell other marine species in addition to IFQ species. 
Although the revenue paid to fishermen is not equivalent to the revenue 
received by the dealer, and dealers would be expected to sell other 
marine species, because of the large difference between the SBA average 
annual revenue threshold ($7.0 million) and the average annual payment 
for the purchase per dealer of IFQ species ($238,000; the SBA threshold 
is 29 times the average annual payment for the purchase of IFQ 
species), all dealers that NMFS expects would be directly affected by 
this rule are believed to be small business entities.
    This rule, if implemented, would establish several changes to the 
administrative functions and compliance requirements of the Gulf IFQ 
programs. Some of the proposed changes would increase the operational 
flexibility of commercial fishing vessels and seafood dealers that 
participate in the Gulf IFQ programs, some of the proposed changes 
would reduce this flexibility, and some of the proposed changes would 
only make administrative changes and clarifications that NMFS does not 
expect to have any economic effect on any vessels or dealers involved 
in the Gulf IFQ programs. The economic effects of these proposed 
changes cannot be quantified with available data. However, the proposed 
changes are intended to support better monitoring and administration of 
the Gulf IFQ programs and none of these changes would be expected to 
have a direct substantial effect on the total allowable harvest of IFQ 
species, average prices, total revenue, or distribution of revenue and 
profits amongst program participants. Further, although the proposed 
changes would apply to all program participants and IFQ transactions, 
only a small portion of IFQ transactions by a small number of 
participants would likely be impacted.
    As noted above, the primary purpose of this rule is to modify the 
administrative functions and compliance requirements of the Gulf IFQ 
programs. These changes will have little, if any, economic impact on 
the affected entities, but will improve their ability to bring fish to 
market. As a result, this rule, if implemented, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    Because this proposed rule, if implemented, is not expected to have 
a direct adverse economic impact on any small entities, an initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been 
prepared.
    This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction

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Action (PRA) applicable to participants in the Gulf IFQ programs, 
namely, a requirement for an IFQ shareholder or dealer to close an IFQ 
account if the IFQ account holder no longer fishes commercially, no 
longer owns any IFQ shares or allocation, or no longer wishes to 
participate as a dealer.
    This requirement has been approved by the OMB under control number 
0648-0551. The public reporting burden for this collection-of-
information is estimated to average 2 minutes per response to complete 
and submit a Close IFQ Account Request Form. This estimate of the 
public reporting burden includes the time for reviewing instructions, 
gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing 
the collection-of-information. Send comments regarding the burden 
estimate or any other aspect of the collection-of-information 
requirement, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS and 
to OMB (see ADDRESSES).
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required 
to respond to, nor shall a person be subject to a 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.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 622

    Fisheries, Fishing, Enforcement, Grouper, Gulf, IFQ, Red Snapper, 
Tilefish.

    Dated: March 13, 2014.
Eileen Sobeck,
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble 50 CFR part 622 is proposed 
to be amended as follows:

PART 622--FISHERIES OF THE CARIBBEAN, GULF OF MEXICO, AND SOUTH 
ATLANTIC

0
1. The authority citation for part 622 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. Amend Sec.  622.21 by:
0
a. Revising paragraph (a)(5);
0
b. Removing paragraph (a)(6);
0
c. Revising the 9th sentence in paragraph (b)(1) and adding a sentence 
between the 9th and 10th sentences;
0
d. Revising paragraphs (b)(3)(i), (b)(3)(iii), (b)(5)(i), (ii), and 
(iv), and;
0
e. Revising the first sentence in paragraph (b)(5)(v) and adding a 
sentence before the first sentence;
    The additions and revisions to read as follows.


Sec.  622.21  Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf red 
snapper.

    (a) * * *
    (5) Closing an IFQ account. IFQ account holders may close an IFQ 
account by completing and submitting a Close IFQ Account Request Form 
to NMFS. This form must be signed by an account holder named on the IFQ 
account. If the request to close an IFQ account is being made because 
the sole account holder is deceased, the person requesting the closure 
must sign the Close IFQ Account Request Form, indicating the 
relationship to the deceased, provide a death certificate, and provide 
any additional information NMFS determines is necessary to complete the 
request. IFQ shareholder accounts may not be closed until all shares 
and allocation have been transferred from the account to another IFQ 
account holder. Dealer accounts may not be closed until all cost 
recovery fees have been received by NMFS. NMFS' IFQ Customer Service 
staff may close an IFQ account if all shares and allocation have been 
transferred from the account, all cost recovery fees have been received 
by NMFS, and no landing transactions or IFQ transfers have been 
completed by the IFQ account holder in at least 1 year. If an account 
is closed by NMFS' IFQ Customer Service staff, it may be reopened at 
the request of the IFQ account holder by contacting IFQ Customer 
Service.
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * * A vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, 
must hold sufficient IFQ allocation, at least equal to the pounds in 
gutted weight of the red snapper on board at the time of advance notice 
of landing. Allocation must be transferred to the vessel account, so 
that the vessel account holds sufficient IFQ allocation at the time of 
the landing transaction (except for any overage allowed as specified in 
paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section). * * *
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) At the time of advance notice of landing, the IFQ vessel 
account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, must contain allocation 
at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of red snapper to be 
landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. At 
the time of the landing transaction, the IFQ vessel account must 
contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of red 
snapper to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of 
this section. Such red snapper must be sold and can be received only by 
a dealer who has a valid Gulf IFQ dealer endorsement and an active IFQ 
dealer account (i.e., not in delinquent status). All IFQ landings and 
their actual ex-vessel prices must be reported via the IFQ Web site at 
ifq.sero.fisheries.noaa.gov.
* * * * *
    (iii) The dealer must complete a landing transaction report for 
each landing of Gulf red snapper via the IFQ Web site at 
ifq.sero.fisheries.noaa.gov on the day of offload. IFQ red snapper must 
be offloaded within 72 hours from the time of landing, in accordance 
with the reporting form(s) and instructions provided on the Web site. 
This report includes date, time, and location of transaction; weight 
and actual ex-vessel price of red snapper landed and sold (when 
calculating the weight of IFQ red snapper during a landing transaction, 
ice and water weight must be included); and information necessary to 
identify the fisherman, vessel, and dealer involved in the transaction. 
The fisherman must validate the dealer transaction report by entering 
his unique PIN when the transaction report is submitted. After the 
dealer submits the report and the information has been verified, the 
Web site will send a transaction approval code to the dealer and the 
allocation holder.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (i) Advance notice of landing--(A) General requirement. For the 
purpose of this paragraph, landing means to arrive at a dock, berth, 
beach, seawall, or ramp. The owner or operator of a vessel landing IFQ 
red snapper is responsible for ensuring that NMFS is contacted at least 
3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, in advance of landing to report the 
time and location of landing, estimated red snapper landings in pounds 
gutted weight, vessel identification number (Coast Guard registration 
number or state registration number), and the name and address of the 
IFQ dealer(s) where the red snapper are to be received. The vessel must 
land within 30 minutes after the time given in the landing notification 
except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section. The 
vessel landing red snapper must have sufficient IFQ allocation in the 
IFQ vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, at least 
equal to the pounds in gutted weight of all red snapper on board 
(except for any overage up to the 10 percent allowed on the last 
fishing trip) at the time of the advance notice of landing.
    (B) Submitting an advanced landing notification. Authorized methods 
for contacting NMFS and submitting the report include calling IFQ 
Customer

[[Page 15292]]

Service at 1-866-425-7627, completing and submitting to NMFS a landing 
notification provided through the VMS unit, or providing the required 
information to NMFS through the Web-based form available on the IFQ Web 
site at ifq.sero.fisheries.noaa.gov.
    (C) Landing prior to the notification time. The owner or operator 
of a vessel that has completed a landing notification and submitted it 
to NMFS may land prior to the notification time, only if a state or 
Federal law enforcement officer is present at the landing site and has 
authorized the owner or operator of the vessel to land early.
    (D) Changes to a landing notification. The owner or operator of a 
vessel who has submitted a landing notification to NMFS may make 
changes to the notification by submitting a superseding notification. 
If the initial superseding notification makes changes to one or more of 
the following: The time of landing (if landing more than 30 minutes 
after the time on the notification), the dealer(s), or the estimated 
weights of fish to be landed, the vessel does not need to wait an 
additional 3 hours to land. If the initial superseding notification 
makes changes to the landing location, the time of landing is earlier 
than previously specified, or more than one superseding notification is 
submitted on a trip, the vessel must wait an additional 3 hours to 
land, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section.
    (ii) Time restriction on offloading. For the purpose of this 
paragraph, offloading means to remove IFQ red snapper from a vessel. 
IFQ red snapper may be offloaded only between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., local 
time, unless a state or Federal law enforcement officer is present at 
the offloading at 6 p.m. and authorizes the owner or operator of the 
vessel to continue offloading after 6 p.m., local time.
* * * * *
    (iv) Requirement for transaction approval code. If IFQ red snapper 
are offloaded to a vehicle for transport or are on a vessel that is 
trailered for transport, on-site capability to accurately weigh the 
fish and to connect electronically to the online IFQ system to complete 
the transaction and obtain the transaction approval code is required. 
After a landing transaction has been completed, a transaction approval 
code verifying a legal transaction of the amount of IFQ red snapper in 
possession and a copy of the dealer endorsement must accompany any IFQ 
red snapper from the landing location through possession by a dealer. 
This requirement also applies to IFQ red snapper possessed on a vessel 
that is trailered for transport. A dealer may only receive IFQ red 
snapper transported by a vehicle or a trailered vessel that has a 
corresponding transaction approval code.
    (v) Approved landing locations. IFQ red snapper must be landed at 
an approved landing location. Landing locations must be approved by 
NMFS Office for Law Enforcement prior to a vessel landing IFQ red 
snapper at these sites. * * *
* * * * *
0
3. Amend Sec.  622.22 by:
0
a. Adding paragraph (a)(8);
0
b. Revising the 9th sentence in paragraph (b)(1) and adding a sentence 
between the 9th and 10th sentences;
0
c. Revising paragraphs (b)(3)(i), (b)(3)(iii), (b)(5)(i), (ii), and 
(iv);
0
d. Revising the first sentence in paragraph (b)(5)(v) and adding a 
sentence before the first sentence in paragraph.
    The additions and revisions to read as follows:


Sec.  622.22  Individual fishing quota (IFQ) program for Gulf groupers 
and tilefishes.

    (a) * * *
    (8) Closing an IFQ account. IFQ account holders may close an IFQ 
account by completing and submitting a Close IFQ Account Request Form 
to NMFS. This form must be signed by an account holder named on the IFQ 
account. If the request to close an IFQ account is being made because 
the sole account holder is deceased, the person requesting the closure 
must sign the Close IFQ Account Request Form, indicating the 
relationship to the deceased, provide a death certificate, and provide 
any additional information NMFS determines is necessary to complete the 
request. IFQ shareholder accounts may not be closed until all shares 
and allocation have been transferred from the account to another IFQ 
account holder. Dealer accounts may not be closed until all cost 
recovery fees have been received by NMFS. NMFS' IFQ Customer Service 
staff may close an IFQ account if all shares and allocation have been 
transferred from the account, all cost recovery fees have been received 
by NMFS, and no landing transactions or IFQ transfers have been 
completed by the IFQ account holder in at least 1 year. If an account 
is closed by NMFS' IFQ Customer Service staff, it may be reopened at 
the request of the IFQ account holder by contacting IFQ Customer 
Service.
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * * A vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, 
must hold sufficient IFQ allocation in the appropriate share category, 
at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of the groupers and 
tilefishes on board at the time of advance notice of landing. 
Allocation must be transferred to the vessel account, so that the 
vessel account holds sufficient IFQ allocation at the time of the 
landing transaction (except for any overage allowed as specified in 
paragraph (b)(3)(ii) for groupers and tilefishes). * * *
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) At the time of advance notice of landing, the IFQ vessel 
account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, must contain allocation 
at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of grouper or tilefish 
species to be landed, except as provided in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of 
this section. At the time of the landing transaction, the IFQ vessel 
account must contain allocation at least equal to the pounds in gutted 
weight of grouper or tilefish species to be landed, except as provided 
in paragraph (b)(3)(ii) of this section. Such groupers and tilefishes 
must be sold and can be received only by a dealer who has a valid Gulf 
IFQ dealer endorsement and an active IFQ dealer account (i.e., not in 
delinquent status). All IFQ landings and their actual ex-vessel prices 
must be reported via the IFQ Web site at ifq.sero.fisheries.noaa.gov.
* * * * *
    (iii) The dealer must complete a landing transaction report for 
each landing of Gulf groupers or tilefishes via the IFQ Web site at 
ifq.sero.fisheries.noaa.gov on the day of offload. IFQ groupers and 
tilefishes must be offloaded within 72 hours from the time of landing, 
in accordance with the reporting form(s) and instructions provided on 
the Web site. This report includes date, time, and location of 
transaction; weight and actual ex-vessel price of groupers and 
tilefishes landed and sold (when calculating the weight of IFQ groupers 
and tilefishes during a landing transaction, ice and water weight must 
be included); and information necessary to identify the fisherman, 
vessel, and dealer involved in the transaction. The fisherman must 
validate the dealer transaction report by entering the unique PIN for 
the vessel account when the transaction report is submitted. After the 
dealer submits the report and the information has been verified by 
NMFS, the online system will send a transaction approval code to the 
dealer and the allocation holder.
* * * * *
    (5) * * *

[[Page 15293]]

    (i) Advance notice of landing--(A) General requirement. For the 
purpose of this paragraph, landing means to arrive at a dock, berth, 
beach, seawall, or ramp. The owner or operator of a vessel landing IFQ 
groupers or tilefishes is responsible for ensuring that NMFS is 
contacted at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, in advance of 
landing to report the time and location of landing, estimated grouper 
and tilefish landings in pounds gutted weight for each share category 
(gag, red grouper, DWG, Other SWG, tilefishes), vessel identification 
number (Coast Guard registration number or state registration number), 
and the name and address of the IFQ dealer(s) where the groupers or 
tilefishes are to be received. The vessel must land within 30 minutes 
after the time given in the landing notification except as provided in 
paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section. The vessel landing groupers or 
tilefishes must have sufficient IFQ allocation in the IFQ vessel 
account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, and in the appropriate 
share category or categories, at least equal to the pounds in gutted 
weight of all groupers and tilefishes on board (except for any overage 
up to the 10 percent allowed on the last fishing trip) at the time of 
the advance notice of landing.
    (B) Submitting an advanced landing notification. Authorized methods 
for contacting NMFS and submitting the report include calling IFQ 
Customer Service at 1-866-425-7627, completing and submitting to NMFS a 
landing notification provided through the VMS unit, or providing the 
required information to NMFS through the web-based form available on 
the IFQ Web site at ifq.sero.fisheries.noaa.gov.
    (C) Landing prior to the notification time. The owner or operator 
of a vessel that has completed a landing notification and submitted it 
to NMFS may land prior to the notification time, only if a state or 
Federal law enforcement officer is present at the landing site and has 
authorized the owner or operator of the vessel to land early.
    (D) Changes to a landing notification. The owner or operator of a 
vessel who has submitted a landing notification to NMFS may make 
changes to the notification by submitting a superseding notification. 
If the initial superseding notification makes changes to one or more of 
the following: The time of landing (if landing more than 30 minutes 
after the time on the notification), the dealer(s), or the estimated 
weights of fish to be landed, the vessel does not need to wait an 
additional 3 hours to land. If the initial superseding notification 
makes changes to the landing location, the time of landing is earlier 
than previously specified, or more than one superseding notification is 
submitted on a trip, the vessel must wait an additional 3 hours to 
land, except as provided in paragraph (b)(5)(i)(C) of this section.
    (ii) Time restriction on offloading. For the purpose of this 
paragraph, offloading means to remove IFQ groupers and tilefishes from 
a vessel. IFQ groupers or tilefishes may be offloaded only between 6 
a.m. and 6 p.m., local time, unless a state or Federal law enforcement 
officer is present at the offloading at 6 p.m. and authorizes the owner 
or operator of the vessel to continue offloading after 6 p.m.
* * * * *
    (iv) Requirement for transaction approval code. If IFQ groupers or 
tilefishes are offloaded to a vehicle for transport or are on a vessel 
that is trailered for transport, on-site capability to accurately weigh 
the fish and to connect electronically to the online IFQ system to 
complete the transaction and obtain the transaction approval code is 
required. After a landing transaction has been completed, a transaction 
approval code verifying a legal transaction of the amount of IFQ 
groupers and tilefishes in possession and a copy of the dealer 
endorsement must accompany any IFQ groupers or tilefishes from the 
landing location through possession by a dealer. This requirement also 
applies to IFQ groupers and tilefishes possessed on a vessel that is 
trailered for transport. A dealer may only receive IFQ groupers and 
tilefishes transported by a vehicle or a trailered vessel that has a 
corresponding transaction approval code.
    (v) Approved landing locations. IFQ groupers and tilefishes must be 
landed at an approved landing location. Landing locations must be 
approved by NMFS Office for Law Enforcement prior to a vessel landing 
IFQ groupers or tilefishes at these sites. * * *
* * * * *

PART 622--[AMENDED]

0
4. In part 622, revise ``IFQ online account'' to read ``IFQ account'' 
wherever it occurs.

PART 622--[AMENDED]

0
5. In part 622, revise ``ifq.sero.nmfs.noaa.gov'' to read 
``ifq.sero.fisheries.noaa.gov'' wherever it occurs.

[FR Doc. 2014-06065 Filed 3-18-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P