Loading (50 kb)...'
United States Regulations

Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries



Authority: 5 U.S.C. 561 and 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

Source: 61 FR 32540, June 24, 1996, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General
§ 600.5 Purpose and scope.
(a) This part contains general provisions governing the operation of the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Act and describes the Secretary's role and responsibilities under the Act. The Councils are institutions created by Federal law and must conform to the uniform standards established by the Secretary in this part.

(b) This part also governs all foreign fishing under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, prescribes procedures for the conduct of preemption hearings under section 306(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and collects the general provisions common to all domestic fisheries governed by this chapter.

(c) This part also governs fishing capacity reduction programs under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

[61 FR 32540, June 24, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 7075, Feb. 12, 1998; 65 FR 31443, May 18, 2000]

§ 600.10 Definitions.
Unless defined otherwise in other parts of Chapter VI, the terms in this chapter have the following meanings:

Administrator means the Administrator of NOAA (Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere) or a designee.

Advisory group means a Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Fishing Industry Advisory Committee (FIAC), or Advisory Panel (AP) established by a Council under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Agent, for the purpose of foreign fishing (subpart F), means a person appointed and maintained within the United States who is authorized to receive and respond to any legal process issued in the United States to an owner and/or operator of a vessel operating under a permit and of any other vessel of that Nation fishing subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. Any diplomatic official accepting such an appointment as designated agent waives diplomatic or other immunity in connection with such process.

Aggregate or summary form means confidential data structured in such a way that the identity of the submitter cannot be determined either from the present release of the data or in combination with other releases.

Albacore means the species Thunnus alalunga, or a part thereof.

Allocated species means any species or species group allocated to a foreign nation under §600.517 for catching by vessels of that Nation.

Allocation means direct and deliberate distribution of the opportunity to participate in a fishery among identifiable, discrete user groups or individuals.

Allowable chemical means a substance, generally used to immobilize marine life so it can be captured alive, that, when introduced into the water, does not take Gulf and South Atlantic prohibited coral (as defined at 50 CFR 622.2) and is allowed by Florida or Hawaii or the U.S. Pacific Insular Area for the harvest of tropical fish.

Anadromous species means species of fish that spawn in fresh or estuarine waters of the United States and that migrate to ocean waters.

Angling means fishing for, attempting to fish for, catching or attempting to catch fish by any person (angler) with a hook attached to a line that is hand-held or by rod and reel made for this purpose.

Area of custody means any vessel, building, vehicle, live car, pound, pier or dock facility where fish might be found.

Assistant Administrator means the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, or a designee.

Atlantic tunas means bluefin, albacore, bigeye, skipjack, and yellowfin tunas found in the Atlantic Ocean.

Atlantic Tunas Convention Act means the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act of 1975, 16 U.S.C. 971–971h.

Authorized officer means:

(1) Any commissioned, warrant, or petty officer of the USCG;

(2) Any special agent or fishery enforcement officer of NMFS;

(3) Any officer designated by the head of any Federal or state agency that has entered into an agreement with the Secretary and the Commandant of the USCG to enforce the provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act or any other statute administered by NOAA; or

(4) Any USCG personnel accompanying and acting under the direction of any person described in paragraph (1) of this definition.

Authorized species means any species or species group that a foreign vessel is authorized to retain in a joint venture by a permit issued under Activity Code 4 as described by §600.501(c).

Automatic reel means a reel that remains attached to a vessel when in use from which a line and attached hook(s) are deployed. The line is payed out from and retrieved on the reel electrically or hydraulically.

Bandit gear means vertical hook and line gear with rods that are attached to the vessel when in use. Lines are retrieved by manual, electric, or hydraulic reels.

Barrier net means a small-mesh net used to capture coral reef or coastal pelagic fishes.

Bigeye tuna means the species Thunnus obesus, or a part thereof.

Billfish means blue marlin, longbill spearfish, sailfish, or white marlin.

Bluefin tuna means the species Thunnus thynnus, or a part thereof.

Blue marlin means the species Makaira nigricans, or a part thereof.

Bully net means a circular frame attached at right angles to a pole and supporting a conical bag of webbing.

Buoy gear means fishing gear consisting of a float and one or more lines suspended therefrom. A hook or hooks are on the lines at or near the end. The float and line(s) drift freely and are retrieved periodically to remove catch and rebait hooks.

Carcass means a fish in whole condition or that portion of a fish that has been gilled and/or gutted and the head and some or all fins have been removed, but that is otherwise in whole condition.

Cast net means a circular net with weights attached to the perimeter.

Catch limit means the total allowable harvest or take from a single fishing trip or day, as defined in this section.

Catch, take, or harvest includes, but is not limited to, any activity that results in killing any fish or bringing any live fish on board a vessel.

Center means one of the five NMFS Fisheries Science Centers.

Charter boat means a vessel less than 100 gross tons (90.8 mt) that meets the requirements of the U.S. Coast Guard to carry six or fewer passengers for hire.

Coast Guard Commander means one of the commanding officers of the Coast Guard units specified in Table 1 of §600.502, or a designee.

Codend means the terminal, closed end of a trawl net.

Confidential statistics are those submitted as a requirement of an FMP and that reveal the business or identity of the submitter.

Continental shelf fishery resources means the species listed under section 3(7) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Council means one of the eight Regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Data, statistics, and information are used interchangeably.

Dealer means the person who first receives fish by way of purchase, barter, or trade.

Designated representative means the person appointed by a foreign nation and maintained within the United States who is responsible for transmitting information to and submitting reports from vessels of that Nation and establishing observer transfer arrangements for vessels in both directed and joint venture activities.

Dip net means a small mesh bag, sometimes attached to a handle, shaped and framed in various ways. It is operated by hand or partially by mechanical power to capture the fish.

Directed fishing, for the purpose of foreign fishing (subpart F), means any fishing by the vessels of a foreign nation for allocations of fish granted that Nation under §600.517.

Director means the Director of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

Discard means to release or return fish to the sea, whether or not such fish are brought fully on board a fishing vessel.

Dredge means a gear consisting of a mouth frame attached to a holding bag constructed of metal rings or mesh.

Drop net means a small, usually circular net with weight around the perimeter and a float in the center.

Essential fish habitat (EFH) means those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity. For the purpose of interpreting the definition of essential fish habitat: “Waters” include aquatic areas and their associated physical, chemical, and biological properties that are used by fish and may include aquatic areas historically used by fish where appropriate; “substrate” includes sediment, hard bottom, structures underlying the waters, and associated biological communities; “necessary” means the habitat required to support a sustainable fishery and the managed species' contribution to a healthy ecosystem; and “spawning, breeding, feeding, or growth to maturity” covers a species' full life cycle.

Exclusive economic zone (EEZ) means the zone established by Presidential Proclamation 5030, 3 CFR part 22, dated March 10, 1983, and is that area adjacent to the United States which, except where modified to accommodate international boundaries, encompasses all waters from the seaward boundary of each of the coastal states to a line on which each point is 200 nautical miles (370.40 km) from the baseline from which the territorial sea of the United States is measured.

Exempted educational activity means an activity, conducted by an educational institution accredited by a recognized national or international accreditation body, of limited scope and duration, that is otherwise prohibited by part 635 or chapter VI of this title, but that is authorized by the appropriate Director or Regional Administrator for educational purposes.

Exempted or experimental fishing means fishing from a vessel of the United States that involves activities otherwise prohibited by part 635 or chapter VI of this title, but that are authorized under an exempted fishing permit (EFP). These regulations refer exclusively to exempted fishing. References in part 635 of this title and elsewhere in this chapter to experimental fishing mean exempted fishing under this part.

Fillet means to remove slices of fish flesh from the carcass by cuts made parallel to the backbone.

Fish means:

(1) When used as a noun, means any finfish, mollusk, crustacean, or parts thereof, and all other forms of marine animal and plant life other than marine mammals and birds.

(2) When used as a verb, means to engage in “fishing,” as defined below.

Fishery means:

(1) One or more stocks of fish that can be treated as a unit for purposes of conservation and management and that are identified on the basis of geographic, scientific, technical, recreational, or economic characteristics, or method of catch; or

(2) Any fishing for such stocks.

Fishery management unit (FMU) means a fishery or that portion of a fishery identified in an FMP relevant to the FMP's management objectives. The choice of an FMU depends on the focus of the FMP's objectives, and may be organized around biological, geographic, economic, technical, social, or ecological perspectives.

Fishery resource means any fish, any stock of fish, any species of fish, and any habitat of fish.

Fishing, or to fish means any activity, other than scientific research conducted by a scientific research vessel, that involves:

(1) The catching, taking, or harvesting of fish;

(2) The attempted catching, taking, or harvesting of fish;

(3) Any other activity that can reasonably be expected to result in the catching, taking, or harvesting of fish; or

(4) Any operations at sea in support of, or in preparation for, any activity described in paragraphs (1), (2), or (3) of this definition.

Fishing vessel means any vessel, boat, ship, or other craft that is used for, equipped to be used for, or of a type that is normally used for:

(1) Fishing; or

(2) Aiding or assisting one or more vessels at sea in the performance of any activity relating to fishing, including, but not limited to, preparation, supply, storage, refrigeration, transportation, or processing.

Fish weir means a large catching arrangement with a collecting chamber that is made of non-textile material (wood, wicker) instead of netting as in a pound net.

Foreign fishing means fishing by a foreign fishing vessel.

Foreign fishing vessel (FFV) means any fishing vessel other than a vessel of the United States, except those foreign vessels engaged in recreational fishing, as defined in this section.

Gear conflict means any incident at sea involving one or more fishing vessels:

(1) In which one fishing vessel or its gear comes into contact with another vessel or the gear of another vessel; and

(2) That results in the loss of, or damage to, a fishing vessel, fishing gear, or catch.

Gillnet means a panel of netting, suspended vertically in the water by floats along the top and weights along the bottom, to entangle fish that attempt to pass through it.

Governing International Fishery Agreement (GIFA) means an agreement between the United States and a foreign nation or Nations under section 201(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Grants Officer means the NOAA official authorized to sign, on behalf of the Government, the cooperative agreement providing funds to support the Council's operations and functions.

Greenwich mean time (GMT) means the local mean time at Greenwich, England. All times in this part are GMT unless otherwise specified.

Handgear means handline, harpoon, or rod and reel.

Hand harvest means harvesting by hand.

Handline means fishing gear that is set and pulled by hand and consists of one vertical line to which may be attached leader lines with hooks.

Harass means to unreasonably interfere with an individual's work performance, or to engage in conduct that creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

Harpoon or harpoon gear means fishing gear consisting of a pointed dart or iron attached to the end of a line several hundred feet in length, the other end of which is attached to a floatation device. Harpoon gear is attached to a pole or stick that is propelled only by hand, and not by mechanical means.

Headboat means a vessel that holds a valid Certificate of Inspection issued by the U.S. Coast Guard to carry passengers for hire.

Hook and line means one or more hooks attached to one or more lines (can include a troll).

Hoop net means a cone-shaped or flat net which may or may not have throats and flues stretched over a series of rings or hoops for support.

Industry means both recreational and commercial fishing, and includes the harvesting, processing, and marketing sectors.

International radio call sign (IRCS) means the unique radio identifier assigned a vessel by the appropriate authority of the flag state.

Joint venture means any operation by a foreign vessel assisting fishing by U.S. fishing vessels, including catching, scouting, processing and/or support. (A joint venture generally entails a foreign vessel processing fish received from U.S. fishing vessels and conducting associated support activities.)

Lampara net means a surround net with the sections of netting made and joined to create bagging. It is hauled with purse rings and is generally much smaller in size than a purse seine net.

Land means to begin offloading fish, to offload fish, or to arrive in port or at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp.

Longbill spearfish means the species Tetrapturus pfluegeri, or a part thereof.

Longline means a line that is deployed horizontally and to which gangions and hooks or pots are attached. Longlines can be stationary, anchored, or buoyed lines that may be hauled manually, electrically, or hydraulically.

Magnuson-Stevens Act means the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), formerly known as the Magnuson Act.

Metric ton (mt) means 1,000 kg (2,204.6 lb).

nm means nautical mile (6,076 ft (1,852 m)).

Official number means the documentation number issued by the USCG or the certificate number issued by a state or by the USCG for an undocumented vessel.

Operator, with respect to any vessel, means the master or other individual aboard and in charge of that vessel.

Optimum yield (OY) means the amount of fish that:

(1) Will provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, particularly with respect to food production and recreational opportunities, and taking into account the protection of marine ecosystems;

(2) Is prescribed as such on the basis of the maximum sustainable yield from the fishery, as reduced by any relevant economic, social, or ecological factor; and

(3) In the case of an overfished fishery, provides for rebuilding to a level consistent with producing the maximum sustainable yield in such fishery.

Owner, with respect to any vessel, means:

(1) Any person who owns that vessel in whole or in part;

(2) Any charterer of the vessel, whether bareboat, time, or voyage;

(3) Any person who acts in the capacity of a charterer, including, but not limited to, parties to a management agreement, operating agreement, or any similar agreement that bestows control over the destination, function, or operation of the vessel; or

(4) Any agent designated as such by a person described in paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of this definition.

Pelagic longline means a longline that is suspended by floats in the water column and that is not fixed to or in contact with the ocean bottom.

Plan Team means a Council working group selected from agencies, institutions, and organizations having a role in the research and/or management of fisheries, whose primary purpose is to assist the Council in the preparation and/or review of FMPs, amendments, and supporting documents for the Council, and/or SSC and AP.

Postmark means independently verifiable evidence of the date of mailing, such as a U.S. Postal Service postmark, or other private carrier postmark, certified mail receipt, overnight mail receipt, or a receipt issued upon hand delivery to a representative of NMFS authorized to collect fishery statistics.

Pot means trap.

Powerhead means any device with an explosive charge, usually attached to a spear gun, spear, pole, or stick, that may or may not fire a projectile upon contact.

Predominately means, with respect to fishing in a fishery, that more fishing on a stock or stocks of fish covered by the FMP occurs, or would occur in the absence of regulations, within or beyond the EEZ than occurs in the aggregate within the boundaries of all states off the coasts of which the fishery is conducted.

Processing, for the purpose of foreign fishing (subpart F), means any operation by an FFV to receive fish from foreign or U.S. fishing vessels and/or the preparation of fish, including, but not limited to, cleaning, cooking, canning, smoking, salting, drying, or freezing, either on the FFV's behalf or to assist other foreign or U.S. fishing vessels.

Product recovery rate (PRR) means a ratio expressed as a percentage of the weight of processed product divided by the round weight of fish used to produce that amount of product.

Prohibited species, with respect to a foreign vessel, means any species of fish that that vessel is not specifically allocated or authorized to retain, including fish caught or received in excess of any allocation or authorization.

Purchase means the act or activity of buying, trading, or bartering, or attempting to buy, trade, or barter.

Purse seine means a floated and weighted encircling net that is closed by means of a drawstring threaded through rings attached to the bottom of the net.

Recreational fishing, with respect to a foreign vessel, means any fishing from a foreign vessel not operated for profit and not operated for the purpose of scientific research. It may not involve the sale, barter, or trade of part or all of the catch (see §600.513).

Retain on board means to fail to return fish to the sea after a reasonable opportunity to sort the catch.

Region mean one of five NMFS Regional Offices responsible for administering the management and development of marine resources in the United States in their respective geographical regions.

Regional Administrator means the Administrator of one of the five NMFS Regions described in Table 1 of §600.502, or a designee. Formerly known as Regional Director.

Regional Program Officer means the NMFS official designated in the terms and conditions of the grant award responsible for monitoring, recommending, and reviewing any technical aspects of the application for Federal assistance and the award.

Rod and reel means a hand-held (including rod holder) fishing rod with a manually or electrically operated reel attached.

Round means a whole fish—one that has not been gilled, gutted, beheaded, or definned.

Round weight means the weight of the whole fish before processing or removal of any part.

Sailfish means the species Istiophorus platypterus, or a part thereof.

Sale or sell means the act or activity of transferring property for money or credit, trading, or bartering, or attempting to so transfer, trade, or barter.

Science and Research Director means the Director of one of the five NMFS Fisheries Science Centers described in Table 1 of §600.502 of this part, or a designee, also known as Center Director.

Scientific cruise means the period of time during which a scientific research vessel is operated in furtherance of a scientific research project, beginning when the vessel leaves port to undertake the project and ending when the vessel completes the project as provided for in the applicable scientific research plan.

Scientific research activity is, for the purposes of this part, an activity in furtherance of a scientific fishery investigation or study that would meet the definition of fishing under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, but for the exemption applicable to scientific research activity conducted from a scientific research vessel. Scientific research activity includes, but is not limited to, sampling, collecting, observing, or surveying the fish or fishery resources within the EEZ, at sea, on board scientific research vessels, to increase scientific knowledge of the fishery resources or their environment, or to test a hypothesis as part of a planned, directed investigation or study conducted according to methodologies generally accepted as appropriate for scientific research. At-sea scientific fishery investigations address one or more issues involving taxonomy, biology, physiology, behavior, disease, aging, growth, mortality, migration, recruitment, distribution, abundance, ecology, stock structure, bycatch, and catch estimation of finfish and shellfish (invertebrate) species considered to be a component of the fishery resources within the EEZ. Scientific research activity does not include the collection and retention of fish outside the scope of the applicable research plan, or the testing of fishing gear. Data collection designed to capture and land quantities of fish or invertebrates for product development, market research, and/or public display are not scientific research activities and must be permitted under exempted fishing procedures. For foreign vessels, such data collection activities are considered scientific research if they are carried out in full cooperation with the United States.

Scientific research plan means a detailed, written formulation, prepared in advance of the research, for the accomplishment of a scientific research project. At a minimum, a sound scientific research plan should include:

(1) A description of the nature and objectives of the project, including the hypothesis or hypotheses to be tested.

(2) The experimental design of the project, including a description of the methods to be used, the type and class of any vessel(s) to be used, and a description of sampling equipment.

(3) The geographical area(s) in which the project is to be conducted.

(4) The expected date of first appearance and final departure of the research vessel(s) to be employed, and deployment and removal of equipment, as appropriate.

(5) The expected quantity and species of fish to be taken and their intended disposition, and, if significant amounts of a managed species or species otherwise restricted by size or sex are needed, an explanation of such need.

(6) The name, address, and telephone/telex/fax number of the sponsoring organization and its director.

(7) The name, address, and telephone/telex/fax number, and curriculum vitae of the person in charge of the project and, where different, the person in charge of the research project on board the vessel.

(8) The identity of any vessel(s) to be used including, but not limited to, the vessel's name, official documentation number and IRCS, home port, and name, address, and telephone number of the owner and master.

Scientific research vessel means a vessel owned or chartered by, and controlled by, a foreign government agency, U.S. Government agency (including NOAA or institutions designated as federally funded research and development centers), U.S. state or territorial agency, university (or other educational institution accredited by a recognized national or international accreditation body), international treaty organization, or scientific institution. In order for a vessel that is owned or chartered and controlled by a foreign government to meet this definition, the vessel must have scientific research as its exclusive mission during the scientific cruise in question and the vessel operations must be conducted in accordance with a scientific research plan.

Scouting means any operation by a vessel exploring (on the behalf of an FFV or U.S. fishing vessel) for the presence of fish by visual, acoustic, or other means that do not involve the catching of fish.

Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce or a designee.

Seine means a net with long narrow wings, that is rigged with floats and weights.

Skipjack tuna means the species Katsuwonus pelamis, or a part thereof.

Slurp gun means a tube-shaped suction device that operates somewhat like a syringe by sucking up the fish.

Snare means a device consisting of a pole to which is attached a line forming at its end a loop with a running knot that tightens around the fish when the line is pulled.

Spear means a sharp, pointed, or barbed instrument on a shaft. Spears can be operated manually or shot from a gun or sling.

State means each of the several states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and any other Commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States.

State employee means any employee of the state agency responsible for developing and monitoring the state's program for marine and/or anadromous fisheries.

Statement of Organization, Practices, and Procedures (SOPP) means a statement by each Council describing its organization, practices, and procedures as required under section 302(f)(6) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Stock assessment means the process of collecting and analyzing biological and statistical information to determine the changes in the abundance of fishery stocks in response to fishing, and, to the extent possible, to predict future trends of stock abundance. Stock assessments are based on resource surveys; knowledge of the habitat requirements, life history, and behavior of the species; the use of environmental indices to determine impacts on stocks; and catch statistics. Stock assessments are used as a basis to “assess and specify the present and probable future condition of a fishery” (as is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Act), and are summarized in the Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation or similar document.

Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) means a document or set of documents that provides Councils with a summary of the most recent biological condition of species in an FMU, and the social and economic condition of the recreational and commercial fishing industries and the fish processing industries. It summarizes, on a periodic basis, the best available scientific information concerning the past, present, and possible future condition of the stocks and fisheries being managed under Federal regulation.

Submersible means a manned or unmanned device that functions or operates primarily underwater and is used to harvest fish, i.e., precious corals, with mechanical arms.

Substantially (affects) means, for the purpose of subpart G, with respect to whether a state's action or omission will substantially affect the carrying out of an FMP for a fishery, that those effects are important or material, or considerable in degree. The effects of a state's action or omission for purposes of this definition include effects upon:

(1) The achievement of the FMP's goals or objectives for the fishery;

(2) The achievement of OY from the fishery on a continuing basis;

(3) The attainment of the national standards for fishery conservation and management (as set forth in section 301(a) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act) and compliance with other applicable law; or

(4) The enforcement of regulations implementing the FMP.

Support means any operation by a vessel assisting fishing by foreign or U.S. vessels, including supplying water, fuel, provisions, fish processing equipment, or other supplies to a fishing vessel.

Swordfish means the species Xiphias gladius, or a part thereof.

Tangle net dredge means dredge gear consisting of weights and flimsy netting that hangs loosely in order to immediately entangle fish.

Total length (TL) means the straight-line distance from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail (caudal fin) while the fish is lying on its side, normally extended.

Trammel net means a net consisting of two or more panels of netting, suspended vertically in the water column by a common float line and a common weight line. One panel of netting has a larger mesh size than the other(s) in order to entrap fish in a pocket.

Transship means offloading and onloading or otherwise transferring fish or fish products and/or transporting fish or products made from fish.

Trap means a portable, enclosed device with one or more gates or entrances and one or more lines attached to surface floats. Also called a pot.

Trawl means a cone or funnel-shaped net that is towed through the water, and can include a pair trawl that is towed simultaneously by two boats.

Trip means the time period that begins when a fishing vessel departs from a dock, berth, beach, seawall, ramp, or port to carry out fishing operations and that terminates with a return to a dock, berth, beach, seawall, ramp, or port.

U.S. observer or observer means any person serving in the capacity of an observer employed by NMFS, either directly or under contract, or certified as a supplementary observer by NMFS.

Vessel of the United States or U.S. vessel means:

(1) Any vessel documented under chapter 121 of title 46, United States Code;

(2) Any vessel numbered under chapter 123 of title 46, United States Code, and measuring less than 5 net tons;

(3) Any vessel numbered under chapter 123 of title 46, United States Code, and used exclusively for pleasure; or

(4) Any vessel not equipped with propulsion machinery of any kind and used exclusively for pleasure.

White marlin means the species Tetrapturus albidus, or a part thereof.

Yellowfin tuna means the species Thunnus albacares, or a part thereof.

[61 FR 32540, June 24, 1996, as amended at 62 FR 14646, Mar. 27, 1997; 62 FR 66551, Dec. 19, 1997; 63 FR 7073, 7075, Feb. 12, 1998; 64 FR 4036, Jan. 27, 1999; 64 FR 29133, May 28, 1999; 64 FR 67516, Dec. 2, 1999; 67 FR 2375, Jan. 17, 2002; 67 FR 64312, Oct. 18, 2002; 69 FR 30240, May 27, 2004]

§ 600.15 Other acronyms.
(a) Fishery management terms. (1) ABC—acceptable biological catch

(2) ATCA–Atlantic Tunas Convention Act

(3) BFT (Atlantic bluefin tuna) means the subspecies of bluefin tuna, Thunnus thynnus thynnus, or a part thereof, that occurs in the Atlantic Ocean.

(4) BSD means the ICCAT bluefin tuna statistical document.

(5) DAH—estimated domestic annual harvest

(6) DAP—estimated domestic annual processing

(7) EIS—environmental impact statement

(8) EY—equilibrium yield

(9) FMP—fishery management plan

(10) ICCAT means the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.

(11) JVP—joint venture processing

(12) MSY—maximum sustainable yield

(13) PMP—preliminary FMP

(14) TAC—total allowable catch

(15) TALFF—total allowable level of foreign fishing

(b) Legislation. (1) APA—Administrative Procedure Act

(2) CZMA—Coastal Zone Management Act

(3) ESA—Endangered Species Act

(4) FACA—Federal Advisory Committee Act

(5) FOIA—Freedom of Information Act

(6) FLSA—Fair Labor Standards Act

(7) MMPA—Marine Mammal Protection Act

(8) MPRSA—Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act

(9) NEPA—National Environmental Policy Act

(10) PA—Privacy Act

(11) PRA—Paperwork Reduction Act

(12) RFA—Regulatory Flexibility Act

(c) Federal agencies. (1) CEQ—Council on Environmental Quality

(2) DOC—Department of Commerce

(3) DOI—Department of the Interior

(4) DOS—Department of State

(5) EPA—Environmental Protection Agency

(6) FWS—Fish and Wildlife Service

(7) GSA—General Services Administration

(8) NMFS—National Marine Fisheries Service

(9) NOAA—National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

(10) OMB—Office of Management and Budget

(11) OPM—Office of Personnel Management

(12) SBA—Small Business Administration

(13) USCG—United States Coast Guard

[61 FR 32540, June 24, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 7073, Feb. 12, 1998; 64 FR 29134, May 28, 1999]

Subpart B—Regional Fishery Management Councils
§ 600.105 Intercouncil boundaries.
(a) New England and Mid-Atlantic Councils. The boundary begins at the intersection point of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York at 41°18'16.249" N. lat. and 71°54'28.477" W. long. and proceeds south 37°22'32.75" East to the point of intersection with the outward boundary of the EEZ as specified in the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

(b) Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic Councils. The boundary begins at the seaward boundary between the States of Virginia and North Carolina (36°31'00.8" N. lat.), and proceeds due east to the point of intersection with the outward boundary of the EEZ as specified in the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

(c) South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Councils. The boundary coincides with the line of demarcation between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, which begins at the intersection of the outer boundary of the EEZ, as specified in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and 83°00' W. long., proceeds northward along that meridian to 24°35' N. lat., (near the Dry Tortugas Islands), thence eastward along that parallel, through Rebecca Shoal and the Quicksand Shoal, to the Marquesas Keys, and then through the Florida Keys to the mainland at the eastern end of Florida Bay, the line so running that the narrow waters within the Dry Tortugas Islands, the Marquesas Keys and the Florida Keys, and between the Florida Keys and the mainland, are within the Gulf of Mexico.

[61 FR 32540, June 24, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 7075, Feb. 12, 1998]

§ 600.110 Intercouncil fisheries.
If any fishery extends beyond the geographical area of authority of any one Council, the Secretary may—

(a) Designate a single Council to prepare the FMP for such fishery and any amendments to such FMP, in consultation with the other Councils concerned; or

(b) Require that the FMP and any amendments be prepared jointly by all the Councils concerned.

(1) A jointly prepared FMP or amendment must be adopted by a majority of the voting members, present and voting, of each participating Council. Different conservation and management measures may be developed for specific geographic areas, but the FMP should address the entire geographic range of the stock(s).

(2) In the case of joint FMP or amendment preparation, one Council will be designated as the “administrative lead.” The “administrative lead” Council is responsible for the preparation of the FMP or any amendments and other required documents for submission to the Secretary.

(3) None of the Councils involved in joint preparation may withdraw without Secretarial approval. If Councils cannot agree on approach or management measures within a reasonable period of time, the Secretary may designate a single Council to prepare the FMP or may issue the FMP under Secretarial authority.

§ 600.115 Statement of organization, practices, and procedures (SOPP).
(a) Councils are required to publish and make available to the public a SOPP in accordance with such uniform standards as are prescribed by the Secretary (section 302(f)(6)) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The purpose of the SOPP is to inform the public how the Council operates within the framework of the Secretary's uniform standards.

(b) Amendments to current SOPPs must be consistent with the guidelines in this section and the terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement, the statutory requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable law. Upon approval of a Council's SOPP amendment by the Secretary, a Notice of Availability will be published in the Federal Register, including an address where the public may write to request copies.

(c) Councils may deviate, where lawful, from the guidelines with appropriate supporting rationale, and Secretarial approval of each amendment to a SOPP would constitute approval of any such deviations for that particular Council.

[61 FR 32540, June 24, 1996, as amended at 63 FR 7075, Feb. 12, 1998]

§ 600.120 Employment practices.
(a) Council staff positions must be filled solely on the basis of merit, fitness for duty, competence, and qualifications. Employment actions must be free from discrimination based on race, religion, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, reprisal, sexual orientation, status as a parent, or on any additional bases protected by applicable Federal, state, or local law.

(b) The annual pay rates for Council staff positions shall be consistent with the pay rates established for General Schedule Federal employees as set forth in 5 U.S.C. 5332, and the Alternative Personnel Management System for the U.S. Department of Commerce (62 FR 67434). The Councils have the discretion to adjust pay rates and pay increases based on cost of living (COLA) differentials in their geographic locations. COLA adjustments in pay rates and pay increases may be provided for staff members whose post of duty is located in Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

(1) No pay adjustment based on geographic location shall exceed the COLA and locality pay adjustments available to Federal employees in the same geographic area.

(2) [Reserved]

(c) Salary increases funded in lieu of life and medical/dental policies are not permitted.

(d) Unused sick leave may be accumulated without limit, or up to a maximum number of days and contribution per day, as specified by the Council in its SOPP. Distributions of accumulated funds for unused sick leave may be made to the employee upon his or her retirement, or to his or her estate upon his or her death, as established by the Council in its SOPP.

(e) Each Council may pay for unused annual leave upon separation, retirement, or death of an employee.

(f) One or more accounts shall be maintained to pay for unused sick or annual leave as authorized under paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section, and will be funded from the Council's annual operating allowances. Councils have the option to deposit funds into these account(s) at the end of the budget period if unobligated balances remain. Interest earned on these account(s) will be maintained in the account(s), along with the principal, for the purpose of payment of unused annual and sick leave only. These account(s), including interest, may be carried over from year to year. Budgeting for accrued leave will be identified in the “Other” object class categories section of the SF–424A.

(g) A Council must notify the NOAA Office of General Counsel before seeking outside legal advice, which may be for technical assistance not available from NOAA. If the Council is seeking legal services in connection with an employment practices question, the Council must first notify the Department of Commerce's Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Administration, Employment and Labor Law Division. A Council may not contract for the provision of legal services on a continuing basis.

[66 FR 57886, Nov. 19, 2001]

§ 600.125 Budgeting, funding, and accounting.
(a) Each Council's grant activities are governed by OMB Circular A-110 (Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Agreements with Institutions of Higher Education, Hospitals, and other Non-Profit Organizations), OMB Circular A–122 (Cost Principles for Non-Profit Organizations), 15 CFR Part 29b (Audit Requirements for Institutions of Higher Education and other Nonprofit Organizations), and the terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement. (See 5 CFR 1310.3 for availability of OMB Circulars.)

(b) Councils may not independently enter into agreements, including grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements, whereby they will receive funds for services rendered. All such agreements must be approved and entered into by NOAA on behalf of the Councils.

(c) Councils are not authorized to accept gifts or contributions directly. All such donations must be directed to the NMFS Regional Administrator in accordance with applicable Department of Commerce regulations.

[66 FR 57887, Nov. 19, 2001]

§ 600.130 Protection of confidentiality of statistics.
Each Council must establish appropriate procedures for ensuring the confidentiality of the statistics that may be submitted to it by Federal or state authorities and may be voluntarily submitted to it by private persons, including, but not limited to (also see §600.405):

(a) Procedures for the restriction of Council member, employee, or advisory group access and the prevention of conflicts of interest, except that such procedures must be consistent with procedures of the Secretary.

(b) In the case of statistics submitted to the Council by a state, the confidentiality laws and regulations of that state.

§ 600.135 Meeting procedures.
(a) Public notice of regular meetings of the Council, scientific statistical committee or advisory panels, including the agenda, must be published in the Federal Register on a timely basis, and appropriate news media notice must be given. The published agenda of any regular meeting may not be modified to include additional matters for Council action without public notice, or such notice must be given at least 14 days prior to the meeting date, unless such modification is to address an emergency under section 305 (c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, in which case public notice shall be given immediately. Drafts of all regular public meeting notices must be transmitted to the NMFS Headquarters Office at least 23 calendar days before the first day of the regular meeting. Councils must ensure that all public meetings are accessible to persons with disabilities, and that the public can make timely requests for language interpreters or other auxiliary aids at public meetings.

(b) Drafts of emergency public notices must be transmitted to the NMFS Washington Office; recommended at least 5 working days prior to the first day of the emergency meeting. Although notices of, and agendas for, emergency meetings are not required to be published in the Federal Register, notices of emergency meetings must be promptly announced through the appropriate news media.

(c) After notifying local newspapers in the major fishing ports within its region, having included in the notification the time and place of the meeting and the reason for closing any meeting or portion thereof:

(1) A Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC shall close any meeting, or portion thereof, that concerns information bearing on a national security classification.

(2) A Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC may close any meeting, or portion thereof, that concerns matters or information pertaining to national security, employment matters, or briefings on litigation in which the Council is interested.

(3) A Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC may close any meeting, or portion thereof, that concerns internal administrative matters other than employment. Examples of other internal administrative matters include candidates for appointment to AP, SSC, and other subsidiary bodies and public decorum or medical conditions of members of a Council or its subsidiary bodies. In deciding whether to close a portion of a meeting to discuss internal administrative matters, a Council or subsidiary body should consider not only the privacy interests of individuals whose conduct or qualifications may be discussed, but also the interest of the public in being informed of Council operations and actions.

(d) Without the notice required by paragraph (c) of this section, a Council, SSC, AP, or FIAC may briefly close a portion of a meeting to discuss employment or other internal administrative matters. The closed portion of a meeting that is closed without notice may not exceed 2 hours.

(e) Before closing a meeting or portion thereof, a Council or subsidiary body should consult with the NOAA General Counsel Office to ensure that the matters to be discussed fall within the exceptions to the requirement to hold public meetings described in paragraph (c) of this section.

(f) Actions that affect the public, although based on discussions in closed meetings, must be taken in public. For example, appointments to an AP must be made in the public part of the meeting; however, a decision to take disciplinary action against a Council employee need not be announced to the public.

(g) A majority of the voting members of any Council constitute a quorum for Council meetings, but one or more such members designated by the Council may hold hearings.

(h) Decisions of any Council are by majority vote of the voting members present and voting (except for a vote to propose removal of a Council member, see 50 CFR 600.230). Voting by proxy is permitted only pursuant to 50 CFR 600.205 (b). An abstention does not affect the unanimity of a vote.

(i) Voting members of the Council who disagree with the majority on any issue to be submitted to the Secretary, including principal state officials raising federalism issues, may submit a written statement of their reasons for dissent. If any Council member elects to file such a statement, it should be submitted to the Secretary at the same time the majority report is submitted.

[66 FR 57887, Nov. 19, 2001]

§ 600.150 Disposition of records.
(a) Council records must be handled in accordance with NOAA records management office procedures. All records and documents created or received by Council employees while in active duty status belong to the Federal Government. When employees leave the Council, they may not take the original or file copies of records with them.

(b) [Reserved]

[66 FR 57887, Nov. 19, 2001]

§ 600.155 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
(a) FOIA requests received by a Council should be coordinated promptly with the appropriate NMFS Regional Office. The Region will forward the request to the NMFS FOIA Official to secure a FOIA number and log into the FOIA system. The Region will also obtain clearance from the NOAA General Counsel's Office concerning initial determination for denial of requested information.

(b) FOIA requests will be controlled and documented in the Region. The requests should be forwarded to the NMFS FOIA Officer who will prepare the Form CD–244, “FOIA Request and Action Record”, with the official FOIA number and due date. In the event the Region determines that the requested information is exempt from disclosure, in full or in part, under the FOIA, the denial letter prepared for the Assistant Administrator's signature, along with the “Foreseeable Harm” Memo and list of documents to be withheld, must be cleared through the NMFS FOIA Officer. Upon completion, a copy of the signed CD–244 and cover letter transmitting the information should be provided to the NMFS FOIA Officer and the NOAA FOIA Officer.

[66 FR 57887, Nov. 19, 2001]

Subpart C—Council Membership
§ 600.205 Principal state officials and their designees.
(a) Only a full-time state employee of the state agency responsible for marine and/or anadromous fisheries shall be appointed by a constituent state Governor as the principal state official for purposes of section 302(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

(b) A principal state official may name his/her designee(s) to act on his/her behalf at Council meetings. Individuals designated to serve as designees of a principal state official on a Council, pursuant to section 302(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, must be a resident of the state and be knowledgeable and experienced, by reason of his or her occupational or other experience, scientific expertise, or training, in the fishery resources of the geographic area of concern to the Council.

(c) New or revised appointments by state Governors of principal state officials and new or revised designations by principal state officials of their designees(s) must be delivered in writing to the appropriate NMFS Regional Administrator and the Council chair at least 48 hours before theindividual may vote on any issue before the Council. A designee may not name another designee. Written appointment of the principal state official must indicate his or her employment status, how the official is employed by the state fisheries agency, and whether the official's full salary is paid by the state. Written designation(s) by the principal state official must indicate how the designee is knowledgeable and experienced in fishery resources of the geographic area of concern to the Council, the County in which the designee resides, and whether the designee's salary is paid by the state. (continued)