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NOAA Fisheries modified the reporting requirements for federally permitted seafood dealers on April 9, 2014 (79 FR 19490), that will become effective on August 7, 2014.

The actions are specified in a final rule for the Generic Amendment to the Fishery Management Plans in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Regions (79 FR 19490).

Changes to Reporting Requirements

The most notable changes involve how and when reports must be submitted. The rule implements the following five items:

(1)   Establishes a new, single dealer permit (called the Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit) that is required to purchase products managed in the fishery management plans listed below. See the description under the heading “Effective Dates” within this bulletin for an explanation of when this permit is required for dealers with or without an existing valid federal dealer permit for any Gulf or South Atlantic fishery.

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

*South Atlantic rock shrimp only

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

Spiny Lobster of the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic

Atlantic Fishery Management Plans

Coastal Migratory Pelagic Resources

Dolphin and Wahoo Fishery off the Atlantic States

 

(2)   Purchase forms must be submitted online, once per week. Forms will be due by 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 will be required to submit forms daily by 6:00 a.m., local time.

 

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

 

(5) Delinquent reports will automatically result in Gulf and South Atlantic dealers becoming ineligible to receive the specified federally managed species regardless of any notification by NOAA Fisheries. A dealer is only authorized to receive the specified federally managed species if the dealer’s previous reports have been submitted and received by NOAA Fisheries. In addition, the permit office will not renew the new single permit if there are deficiencies in these reporting requirements.

 

Need for Action

 

This action will improve the completeness and timeliness of purchase information. The current reporting frequency may result in landings significantly less or greater than the annual catch limits. Underages leave fish unharvested. Overages may trigger management measures, which have the potential to result in significant disruption in fishing behavior and reductions in revenue and profit for fishermen. Overages may also affect the ability of stocks to rebuild when overfished and may lead to overfishing conditions.

 

Effective Dates

 

The reporting requirements, as listed previously in this bulletin (i.e., weekly, electronic submittal of purchase and no-purchase forms), are effective beginning August 7, 2014.

 

Dealers that currently do not have a valid federal dealer permit for any Gulf or South Atlantic fishery may submit an application for a Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit beginning

April 9, 2014. Dealers that currently do have a dealer permit may continue to use their existing dealer permit until their existing permit(s) expire(s), but must report as required for the Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit as of August 7, 2014. It is important to note that the Gulf and South Atlantic dealer permit is not effective until August 7, 2014.

 

For More Information

 

Electronic copies of the amendment and 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 revised dealer requirements, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on the NOAA Fisheries Web site.

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