National Association of Charterboat Operators

NMFS Reorganizes Fisheries Request for Comments

NMFS hereby reorganizes the regulations implementing the fishery management plans (FMPs) for the following domestic fisheries in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic: Caribbean coral, Caribbean reef fish, Caribbean spiny lobster, Caribbean queen conch, Gulf red drum, Gulf reef fish, Gulf shrimp, Gulf coral, Gulf and South Atlantic coastal migratory pelagics, Gulf and South Atlantic spiny lobster, South Atlantic coral, South Atlantic snapper-grouper, South
Atlantic shrimp, Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, South Atlantic golden crab, and South Atlantic pelagic sargassum. This interim final rule does not create any new rights or obligations; it reorganizes the existing regulatory requirements in the Code of Federal Regulations in a more logical format, i.e., by fishery, so constituents and other interested parties can locate regulatory requirements applicable to them more easily. As a part of this reorganization, the implementing regulations for the Gulf and South Atlantic spiny lobster FMP have been consolidated into the same CFR part as all other regulations implementing FMPs in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic.

This interim final rule also amends references to Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) collection-of-information requirements to reflect the reorganization. Additionally, this interim final rule also amends references to incorporation by reference (IBR) to reflect updated regulatory references for the Florida Administrative Code. The intended effect of this interim final rule is to improve the organization of these regulations and make them easier for constituents and others to use.


DATES: This interim final rule is effective April 17, 2013, except:
    1. The addition of Sec. Sec.  622.39(a)(1)(vii) and 622.41(q), and
the suspension of Sec. Sec.  622.39(a)(1)(vi) and 622.41(b), are
effective April 17, 2013 through May 15, 2013.
    2. The addition of Sec.  622.193(n)(3) and the suspension of Sec. 
622.193(n)(1) are effective April 17, 2013 through May 6, 2013.
    3. The addition of Sec.  622.39(c)(3) and the suspension of Sec. 
622.39(c)(1) are effective April 17, 2013 through September 23, 2013.
    4. In Sec.  622.2, the addition of definitions for ``Off Alabama'',
``Off Louisiana'', and ``Off Mississippi'' is effective April 17, 2013
through September 23, 2013.
    Comments may be submitted through May 17, 2013. The IBR of certain
publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the
Federal Register as of April 17, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by
``NOAA-NMFS-2012-0250'', by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0250, click the
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Scott Sandorf, Southeast
Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.
    Instructions: Comments are specificaly sought on the structure and
format of the reorganization, not the regulations currently in effect,
which are outside the scope of this rulemaking. 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 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 documents supporting this interim final rule
may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office Web site at

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Sandorf, telephone: 727-824-5305
or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



    The regulations implementing the FMPs approved under the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act)
for the domestic fisheries in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South
Atlantic were last reorganized by NMFS in 1996 (61 FR 47821, September
11, 1996). Since then, Federal regulations for most fisheries have
become more complex, and new fisheries have come under Federal
management. This has significantly increased the length of the overall
regulations and has made it more difficult for constituents and other
users to locate applicable provisions of the regulations and to use the
regulations most effectively. Currently, these regulations are
organized by the categories of management measures applicable to all or
most fisheries. For example, bag and possession limits for all of these
fisheries are located under a single regulatory section heading, and
the same is true for other categories of management measures, e.g.,
minimum size limits, seasonal harvest limitations etc. In some cases,
even after finding the appropriate regulatory section heading, a user
must sort through numerous pages of regulatory text to find the
regulatory provision specific to his or her fishery. This can be time
consuming and confusing. In addition, some of the current regulatory
headings are not sufficiently descriptive, e.g., ``Species specific
limitations'', or are rather broad, e.g., ``Limitations on traps or
pots.'' NMFS has determined that the current regulations need to be
reorganized to make them more user-friendly.
    This interim final rule reorganizes the regulations for the 15
fisheries currently in part 622 and reorganizes and incorporates the
part 640 regulations (Gulf and South Atlantic spiny lobster) into part
622. With this incorporation, all Magnuson-Stevens Act fisheries
regulations applicable to the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South
Atlantic are now located in a single location, part 622.
    This interim final rule reorganizes the part 622 regulations by
fishery rather than by category of management measures. Regulations
specific to each fishery are contained in a separate subpart within
part 622. This allows a constituent interested in the regulations for a
specific fishery to go directly to a subpart of the regulations that
contains all regulations specific to that fishery

[[Page 22951]]

without sorting through regulations applicable to the other 15
fisheries. NMFS has determined that this organization will be much more
efficient for the majority of constituents as well as other users. It
should be noted that, as is the case with the current regulations, some
regulations that apply broadly to numerous fisheries, e.g., purpose and
scope, vessel identification, etc., are located in ``General
Provisions'' within subpart A and, and where applicable, are in
addition to the regulations contained in the specific fishery subparts.
This was necessary to avoid unnecessary duplication.
    To further improve the regulations, this interim final rule uses
more section headings to guide the users, makes some section headings
more descriptive, and eliminates some outdated regulatory text. In some
cases, minor revisions to regulatory text have been made for
consistency or to improve clarity. This interim final rule does not add
any regulatory requirements.
    Periodically NMFS reviews the regulations and removes outdated
regulatory text that is no longer relevant. In this interim final rule,
the following outdated text, referenced here as to its section
locations within the prior version of part 622, has been removed: In
Sec.  622.4, text related to South Atlantic rock shrimp provisions that
expired in 2010 and text related to Eastern Gulf reef fish bottom
longline endorsement initial eligibility, issuance, and appeals that is
no longer relevant; in Sec.  622.19, text regarding South Atlantic rock
shrimp limited access endorsements and special permit application
provisions that expired in 2010; in Sec.  622.20 outdated text related
to initial Gulf grouper and tilefishes IFQ account set up information
for initial shareholders and dealers; in Sec.  622.37, a black sea bass
size limit that expired after 2007; and in Sec.  622.49, text related
to annual catch limits and accountability measures that expired in 2010
or 2011.
    This interim final rule also slightly revises some terminology to
provide consistency and clarity and to reduce redundancy. As a
consequence of incorporating part 640 regulations into part 622, it was
necessary to slightly revise the definitions of ``Carapace length'' and
``Off Florida'' to resolve minor differences between these definitions
in the two parts, and account for the two definitions of ``Import''.
This interim final rule uses the definition of ``Carapace length''
previously found in part 640 because that definition was recently
updated to conform with Florida law and is less technical and easier
for most users to understand. Although the defining coordinates for the
two definitions of ``Off Florida'' are identical, this interim rule
retains the part 622 definition for clarity. In this interim final rule
the two definitions of ``Import'' are combined into one definition that
maintains the geographical distinctions of the two separate
definitions, with one applicable to subpart R, Spiny Lobster Fishery of
the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic, and the other applicable to
Subpart T, Spiny Lobster Fishery of Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin
    Additionally, this rule revises a number of IBRs within the Federal
regulations. The Florida Administrative Code has been reorganized and
this rule updates the existing references in 50 CFR part 622 to reflect
the renumbering. This interim final rule revises the location of the
existing IBR.
    This interim final rule also resolves two minor errors that
occurred in prior rulemakings. First, prior to this reorganization of
part 622, Sec.  622.48, ``Adjustment of management measures'',
contained two paragraphs listing items for Caribbean corals that could
be adjusted via framework procedures, Sec. Sec.  622.48(a) and
622.48(o), that were mostly redundant. As part of a prior rulemaking
(76 FR 82414, December 30, 2011), Sec.  622.48(a) was supposed to have
been removed but was inadvertently retained. This interim final rule
resolves that error by removing that old paragraph, Sec.  622.48(a) and
has incorporated the old Sec.  622.48(o) as Sec.  622.474(a) in this
newly reorganized part 622. Second, in the 1996 reorganization of part
622 (61 FR 34930, July 3, 1996), Sec.  622.46(a), relating to
prevention of gear conflict, was applied to all fisheries governed by
part 622. Prior to the 1996 reorganization, the paragraph applied only
to the Gulf shrimp fishery. This interim final rule corrects the error
made in the 1996 reorganization by restricting application of that
paragraph to the Gulf shrimp fishery in newly reorganized Sec. 
622.59(a). This interim rule's resolution of these two errors results
in a slightly less restrictive regulatory effect.
    NMFS previously published in the Federal Register a temporary rule
implementing management measures for Gulf of Mexico gray triggerfish
(77 FR 67303, November 9, 2012), an emergency rule implementing
management measures for South Atlantic yellowtail snapper (77 FR 66744,
November 7, 2012), and an emergency rule implementing management
measures for Gulf of Mexico red snapper (78 FR 17882, March 25, 2013).
Those rules added and suspended certain paragraphs within part 622 (see
DATES section). Both added and suspended paragraphs are included in the
regulatory text in this temporary final rule within instruction number
3, which revises part 622. Then the paragraphs that are suspended
through these emergency and temporary rules are suspended in the
regulatory text in this temporary final rule within instruction number


    This interim final rule has been determined to be not significant
for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This interim final rule contains collection-of-information
requirements subject to the PRA. These collection-of-information
requirements have already been approved by the Office of Management and
Budget (OMB) and are not changed by this rule. This interim final rule
does not implement any new regulatory requirements; it reorganizes
existing regulatory requirements, including collection-of-information
requirements, within part 622. Section 3507(c)(B)(i) of the PRA
requires that agencies inventory and display a current control number
assigned by the Director, OMB, for each agency information collection.
15 CFR 902.1(b) identifies the location of NOAA regulations for which
OMB approval numbers have been issued. Because this rule reorganizes 50
CFR part 622 and, therefore, changes the location of NOAA regulations
for which OMB numbers have been issued, 15 CFR 902.1(b) is revised to
reference correctly the new sections resulting from the reorganization.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty
for failure to comply with a collection of information, subject to the
requirement of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays
a currently valid OMB control number.
    This interim final rule does not add or create any new rights or
obligations; it only reorganizes existing regulatory requirements into
a format that makes the regulations easier for constituents and others,
including agency personnel, to use. The Assistant Administrator for
Fisheries, NOAA, (AA), finds good cause under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) to
waive prior notice and the opportunity for public comment. Providing
prior notice and the opportunity for public comment would be contrary
to the public interest as delaying its implementation would delay
implementation of a reorganization of existing regulations into a
format that enhances the public's ability to locate and understand the
regulatory requirements applicable to them. Providing prior notice and
the opportunity for public comment would also be impracticable, because
rulemaking would continue under the old organization of the regulations
during the comment period and could cause confusion for constituents
and for fishery managers. For the same reasons, the AA, under 5 U.S.C.
553(d)(3), for good cause waives the requirement to delay for 30 days
the effectiveness of this rule.
    Because prior notice and opportunity for public comment are not
required for this rule by 5 U.S.C. 553 or any other law, the analytical
requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.
are inapplicable. Accordingly, no Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is
required and none has been prepared.
    If any significant, inadvertent regulatory effects are identified
during public comment, appropriate changes will be made in the final


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