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NOAA Fisheries is seeking public comment on a proposed rule that would change dealer reporting requirements in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic regions. The biggest change addresses the amount of time a dealer has to report a purchase. Dealers would have one week versus the current two weeks to submit purchase forms. The proposed rule published in the Federal Register on January 2, 2014 (79 FR 31077). The comment period ends on February 3, 2014.

 

The rule proposes the following:

 

(1)   Establishes a new single dealer permit that would be required to purchase products managed in the fishery management plans listed below.

 

South Atlantic Fishery Management Plans

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources

Golden Crab Fishery of the South Atlantic Region

Shrimp Fishery of the South Atlantic Region

Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic

Spiny Lobster of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic

Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Plans

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources

Red Drum Fishery of the Gulf of Mexico

Reef Fish Resources of the Gulf of Mexico

Atlantic Fishery Management Plans

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources

Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery off the Atlantic States

(2)   Purchase forms would be submitted online, once per week. Forms would be due 11:59 p.m., local time, every Tuesday.

 

(3)   Dealers reporting purchases of king mackerel landed by the gillnet sector for the Gulf West Coast Florida Southern Sub-Zone who would be required to submit forms daily by 6:00 a.m.

 

(4) If no purchase is made, a no-purchase form must also be submitted online, once per week.

 

(5) Delinquent reports automatically result in Gulf and South Atlantic dealer becoming ineligible to receive the specified federally managed species regardless of any notification by NOAA Fisheries. A dealer would only be authorized to     receive the specified federally managed species  if the dealer’s previous reports have been submitted and received by NOAA Fisheries.

 

This action will improve the completeness and timeliness of purchase information. Many commercial fisheries close when landings are projected to reach the commercial annual catch limits. The current reporting frequency reduces the precision of the projections, often resulting in landings significantly less or greater than the annual catch limits. Overages affect the ability of stocks to rebuild when overfished, and may lead to overfishing conditions. Underages leave fish unharvested.

 

In implementing this proposed rule, NOAA Fisheries intends to use an effective date four months after the date of publication of the final rule (which will mean four months before permits and reporting are required), but not require those entities who already have dealer permits to submit an application for the new generic permit until their current permit comes up for renewal, even if it is well after the effective date.

 

However, new dealers should be sure to submit an application at least 30 days prior to the date they need the permit issued.

 

Electronic copies of the amendment and proposed rule may be obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Web site http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/sustainable_fisheries/gulf_sa/generic/2013/dealer_reporting/index.html

 

For more information on the Generic Amendment for Seafood Dealers Reporting Requirements refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on the NOAA Fisheries Web site.

 

This summary is not a substitute for the actual regulations. We encourage you to read the full text of the regulations, available at http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/.

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