Frequent Questions: Landing Federally-Managed Reef Fish Commercially Harvested from Gulf of Mexico Federal Waters

March 26, 2019

Last Updated: March 2019

Why are landing notifications being required for all commerical trips landing reef fish species, not just Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) species?

  • A 5-year review of the red snapper IFQ program determined that additional enforcement efforts are needed to deter violations in the program.
  • Extending the landing notification requirement to all commercial reef fish trips should help to deter fishermen from illegally landing IFQ species or reporting IFQ species as another species (e.g., red snapper reported as vermilion snapper).
  • With this requirement, law enforcement and port agents will be alerted in advance of all reef fish trips returning to port and can meet vessels to validate landings.
  • The landing notification requirement is intended to provide law enforcement officers the opportunity to be present at the point of landing so they can monitor and enforce IFQ requirements dockside. 

 

How is a landing notification reported?

  • Landing notifications can be made by using the form on the vessel monitoring system (VMS) screen or by calling 1-866-425-7627, option 1.

 

What are the landing requirements?

  • For the purposes of these regulations, the term “landing” means to arrive at a dock, berth, beach, seawall, or ramp.
  • A vessel can land federally-managed reef fish species anytime during the day and night, provided that a landing notification has been given between 3 to 24 hours prior to landing and they land at an approved location.
  • A vessel must land within 1 hour after the arrival time given in the landing notification.  If a vessel is going to be more than 1 hour after the arrival time, a new notification with an updated arrival time must be submitted.  The captain is not required to wait an additional 3 hours if only one superseding landing notification has been submitted for the trip and the location has not changed.
  • Vessels are allowed to land prior to the 3-hour landing notification time of arrival if an authorized officer is present, is available to meet the vessel at the landing site, and authorizes the owner or operator of the vessel to land early.

 

How do I find out if my landing location is pre-approved and what do I need to do to get a landing location approved?

  • Landing locations must be approved in advance to ensure the sites actually exist and law enforcement agents can access these sites. 
  • A list of currently approved landing locations and a map can be found on the Catch Shares Online System (select “View Landings Locations” at the top of the page).
  • If your landing location is on this list, you do not need to submit it again.
  • If your landing location is not on the list, then you must submit it as a new landing location.
    • Landing locations must be submitted by mailing this form to 263 13th Avenue South, Saint Petersburg, FL 33701.
  • The landing location must contain a contact name and phone number, a location name, and the location’s street address, unless there is no street address on record.  If a particular landing location has no street address on record, global positioning system (GPS) coordinates for an identifiable geographic location must be provided in decimal degrees.
  • Landing locations must be publicly accessible by land and water. No conditions may impede free and immediate access to the site by an authorized law enforcement officer or port agent. 
    • Examples of which include, but are not limited to:  A locked gate, fence, wall, or other barrier preventing 24-hour access to the site; a gated community entry point; a guard animal; a posted sign restricting access to the site; or any other physical deterrent. 
  • Other criteria may also be used by the Office of Law Enforcement when approving locations to ensure the safety of the enforcement officers. 
  • New landing locations will be approved only at the end of each calendar-year quarter.  To have a landing location approved by the end of the calendar-year quarter, it must be submitted at least 45 days before the end of the calendar-year quarter.  Quarters end on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31. 

 

What information must be provided on the landing notification?

  • All reef fish vessel operators must report a landing notification at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, prior to any landing.  Information required for a landing notification includes:
    • Vessel identification (name and official vessel registration)
    • Approved landing location
    • Date and time of expected landing
    • Certification that there are no IFQ species on board the vessel

 

Please Note: The confirmation code does not automatically give the fisher permission to land the vessel.  It simply provides NOAA Fisheries a confirmation that a landing notification was made.  The fisher is responsible for ensuring all regulations are satisfied (i.e., waiting 3 hours before landing, etc).  Additionally, a vessel may land prior to a 3-hour notification if an authorized officer is present, is available to meet the vessel at the landing site, and authorizes the owner or operator of the vessel to land early.

 

What do I do if I have some IFQ species on board as well as non-IFQ species?

  • If IFQ species are on board, fishers should follow IFQ regulations.
  • IFQ participants must report a landing notification at least 3 hours, but no more than 24 hours, prior to any landing. Information required for a landing notification includes (but may not be limited to):
    • Vessel identification
    • Approved landing location
    • Dealer’s business name
    • Time of arrival
    • Estimated pounds to be landed in each share category
  • The vessel landing IFQ species must have sufficient IFQ allocation in the IFQ vessel account, or its linked IFQ shareholder account, at least equal to the pounds in gutted weight of all IFQ species on board (except for any overage up to the 10 percent allowed on the last fishing trip) at the time of the advance notice of landing.

 

What are the offloading time requirements? 

  • For the purposes of these regulations, the term “offloading” means the removal of federally-managed reef fish species from a vessel
  • Non-IFQ species can be offloaded anytime. 
  • However, offloading IFQ species is restricted to the hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., local time. 
    • Offloads beginning before 6 p.m. may continue after 6 p.m. if an authorized officer is present, is available to remain at the offloading site while the offloading continues, and authorizes the vessel to continue offloading.
  • Fishers only need to notify law enforcement in advance of landing, not offloading.

 

Are multiple landing notifications needed if landing at more than one location?

  • Yes, if a vessel containing federally-managed reef fish intends to land at more than one location, separate landing notifications must be made for each landing location.  The required 3-24 hour notification applies to both notifications and may be submitted sequentially.

 

What are the procedures for making changes to a landing notification?

  • Notifications submitted for the same vessel will override a previous notification for that vessel for that trip.
  • A previous notification is considered “changed” when any of the information in the notification is changed.
  • A new notification is needed when the landing location changes or an earlier time than previously submitted is needed.  The new notification will need to be submitted with at least 3 hours’ notice prior to landing.
  • If the change is to an arrival time that is later than previously submitted, the new notification does not require an additional 3 hours’ notice.
  • Only one “change” to a landing notification can be made before a new 3 hours’ notice is required.

 

 Landing Notification Examples

  • A landing notification is submitted for 3 PM, but the captain wishes to land early at 2 PM.  Because the captain wishes to land earlier, a new notification must be submitted and is required 3 hours prior to the new arrival time (2 PM).  Because it is already 11:30 AM, the captain submits a new notification to land at 2:30 PM, overriding the original.  He cannot land prior to 2:30 PM.
  • A landing notification is submitted for 3 PM, but the captain decides to land at 4:20 PM instead.  Because this is going to be more than 1 hour after the arrival time, a new notification with an updated arrival time must be submitted to override the original.  Because no other superseding landing notification has been submitted for the trip and the change is only for a later time, the new notification can be submitted without needing to provide an additional 3 hour notice.
  • A captain submits a landing notification before the vessel leaves the dock and specifies he will not land any IFQ species.  However, during fishing, the captain decides to land IFQ species.  Because there are now IFQ species on board, a new landing notification specifying the dealer and estimated pounds of IFQ species on board must be made without needing to provide an additional 3 hour notice.

Last updated by Southeast Regional Office on 07/18/2019