Final Rule to Replace Historical Captain Permits with Standard Federal Charter/Headboat Permits in the Gulf of Mexico

April 21, 2020

FB20-027: Gulf of Mexico Fishery Bulletin, For more information, contact: Rich Malinowski, 727-824-5305, rich.malinowski@noaa.gov

KEY MESSAGE:

This final rule allows eligible historical captains the opportunity to replace their historical captain permits with standard federal charter/headboat for-hire permits for the reef fish and coastal migratory pelagic fisheries.  An eligible captain is one that had a valid, non-expired, or renewable historical captain permit as of October 25, 2018, the qualifying date determined by the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council.

 

WHEN THE RULE WILL TAKE EFFECT:

The final rule will be effective on May 21, 2020.

This bulletin serves as a Small Entity Compliance Guide, complying with section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996.

 

MORE INFORMATION:

  • Only historical captain permits that were valid (non-expired) or renewable on October 25, 2018, will be eligible for replacement with standard for-hire permits.
  • Individuals would have two years, or until June 21, 2022, from the implementation date of this action to replace eligible historical captain permits with standard for-hire permits and associate the newly issued standard for-hire permits with a vessel.
  • On the effective date of this rule, May 21, 2020, all outstanding eligibility letters will become invalid.  Persons who redeem a letter of eligibility for a historical captain permit before the implementation date of this rule will receive a historical captain permit, but will not be eligible to convert that permit into a standard for-hire permit at this time.

If you have further questions regarding this matter, please contact the Southeast Regional Office Sustainable Fisheries Office by telephone at (727) 824-5305, weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The Environmental Assessment for the Framework Amendment Final Rule may be found online at the NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office Web site at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/action/framework-action-replacement-historical-captain-permits-standard-federal-charter-headboat.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
 

What is a Historical Captain Endorsement/Permit?

  • A federal permit for historical captains was established in July 2002. 
  • Persons who met the eligibility requirements to qualify as a historical captain (listed below), and submitted evidence of eligibility within 90 days of the implementation of the 2001 final rule, were issued a letter of eligibility, which could be used to obtain a historical captain permit, valid only on the vessel that was operated by the historical captain. 
  • The eligibility criteria for the historical captain endorsement included any U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) licensed captain, who:
  • demonstrated to NOAA Fisheries they were licensed by the USCG and operated (as a captain) a for-hire federally permitted vessel prior to March 29, 2001, but did not have a for-hire permit issued in their name,
  • qualified for the permit within 90 days of implementation of the final rule, and
  • demonstrated at least 25% of their earned income came from recreational for-hire fishing in one of the years 1997, 1998, 1999, or 2000.
  • Captains who were issued a historical captain endorsement were able to continue participating in for-hire fishing.  However, unlike the standard for-hire permit, the historical captain endorsement cannot be transferred to another entity and requires the endorsement holder to be present on the vessel while it is operating as a for-hire vessel.

 

How do I convert my eligible Historical Captain Permit?

  • An eligible historical captain who wishes to convert their historical captain permit to a standard for-hire permit must submit an application along with their current historical captain permit (original document, not a copy) and supporting documents and fees.  NOAA Permit Office staff will verify that the vessel the new for-hire permit will be issued to is either: 
  • owned by the historical captain applicant and does not have an existing Coastal Migratory Pelagics and/or Reef Fish Charter/Headboat For-Hire Federal Permit associated with it, or
  • is leased to the historical captain applicant and does not have any other federal permit(s) associated with it in another permit holder's name. 
  • If the vessel is to be leased, a fully executed lease agreement, of at least seven months, between the vessel owner and permit holder will need to be included with the application. 
  • Once the application has been approved, the historical captain will receive a Coastal Migratory Pelagics or Reef Fish Charter/Headboat For-Hire Federal Permit. 
  • Those individuals who do not take the opportunity to replace their historical captain permits with standard for-hire permits within this two-year period (by June 21, 2022) would maintain their historical captain permits.
  • The new for-hire permit will keep the existing permit number, e.g., HRCG-9999 will convert to RCG-9999.  All permit history associated with a historical captain permit will stay with the new standard permit. 

 

Where can I find more information on Replacement of Historical Captain Permits with Standard Charter/Headboat Permits Framework Amendment?

  • Contact NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

            By Mail: Rich Malinowski

NOAA Fisheries, Southeast Regional Office

Sustainable Fisheries Division

263 13th Avenue South

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701-5505

By FAX: (727) 824-5308

By Phone: (727) 824-5305

NOAA's Text Message Alert Program allows you to receive important fishery related alerts via text message (SMS).  Standard message & data rates may apply. You may opt-out at any time.

Text alerts you may receive include:

  • Immediate fishery openings and closures
  • Any significant changes to fishing regulations that happen quickly

Sign up for one or more of the following groups:

  • Gulf of Mexico Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFRECFISH to 888777
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text GULFCOMMFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Recreational Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLRECFISH to 888777
  • South Atlantic Commercial Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text SATLCOMMFISH to 888777
  • Caribbean Fisheries Related Alerts
    • Text CARIBFISH to 888777

 https://mlsvc01-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/42752393201/0f0254a9-e282-4863-a3c8-fe28d5fccbe5.jpg  Join us every other Friday on NOAA Fish Instagram for Rec Fish Friday!

Other contacts:

Media: Kim Amendola, 727-551-5707

            Allison Garrett, 727-551-5750 

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on April 21, 2020