Action Being Taken and Important Dates
Starting on January 5, 2018, Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) Charter/Headboat permitted vessels are prohibited from selling any catch of highly migratory species (HMS) unless they obtain a “commercial sale” endorsement as part of the permit. Interested permit holders can obtain the commercial sale endorsement for no additional cost when renewing or obtaining their 2018 HMS Charter/Headboat permit on the HMS Permits page.
NOAA Fisheries is creating a separate provision for the commercial sale of Atlantic HMS by HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders. Currently, HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders are able to sell Atlantic tunas and swordfish as a condition of the HMS Charter/Headboat permit. Additionally, HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders can also sell Atlantic sharks if they hold a federal commercial shark permit. Consequently, individuals that hold an HMS Charter/Headboat permit could have their vessels categorized as commercial fishing vessels which are subject to United States Coast Guard (USCG) commercial fishing vessel safety requirements, regardless of whether the permit holder engages or intends to engage in commercial fishing.
Under this final rule, NOAA Fisheries has created a “commercial sale” endorsement for the HMS Charter/Headboat permit. Only HMS Charter/Headboat permit holders with the endorsement are permitted to sell Atlantic tunas and swordfish. Individuals with a federal commercial shark permit and Charter/Headboat permit would also need the endorsement. Those individuals that hold an HMS Charter/Headboat permit with a “commercial sale” endorsement may be categorized as commercial vessels for the purposes of USCG commercial fishing vessel safety requirements. Those vessels holding an HMS Charter/Headboat permit without a “commercial sale” endorsement would not be categorized as commercial fishing vessels and would not be subject to the USCG commercial fishing vessel safety requirements.
This notice is a courtesy to permit holders to help keep you informed about the Atlantic tuna and swordfish fisheries. For further information, contact the HMS Management Division at (301) 427-8503, or visit our website. Official notice of federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register.