This Framework Amendment modifies the possession limit on-board vessels with Federal Reef Fish or Coastal Migratory Pelagic Charter/Headboat Permits. Anglers fishing from such vessels may possess two-daily bag limits on trips greater than 30-hours and may retain their second daily bag limit at any time during the trip. All other requirements to retain the recreational possession limit are unchanged. The for-hire vessel must have two licensed operators aboard, and each passenger must have in their possession a receipt issued to them on behalf of the vessel that verifies the length of the trip. The receipt must specify the date and time of departure, and the entire trip must occur on days when the harvest and possession of the applicable reef fish species are allowed.
This final rule also revises language related to reporting under the Gulf Council’s individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs during catastrophic conditions by removing the references to sequentially coded paper forms in both 50 CFR 622.21(a)(3)(iii) and 622.22(a)(3)(iii). If an IFQ dealer requests paper forms for use during catastrophic conditions, NMFS will provide unnumbered forms.
This final rule is effective March 26, 2021.