113. Prohibited acts

[MSFCMA section 307]


Prohibited acts have been added or amended throughout section 307. Section 113(a)(2) safeguards adherence to a uniform, minimum size for American lobsters for certain activities in interstate or foreign commerce, even if the Federal FMP is withdrawn; the minimum under the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's plan would be substituted. Section 113(b)(1) addresses a concern over gear conflict cases. Section 113(c) tries to broaden the scope of protections afforded to fisheries observers or data collectors employed by NMFS or under contract. Section 113(d) prohibits voting by Council members if not in conformance with new disclosure/recusal standards. The rest of the revisions are technical, to conform prohibitions with other amendments.

Legislative history:

Increasing gear conflicts, particularly in the Northeast, led to a request for agency assistance from Congress. NOAA had interpreted the prior prohibition on gear interference to require intent to be proven; nearly all cases had only circumstantial evidence, hence there were few prosecutions. The industry was frustrated by what it perceived to be agency inaction. Now a negligence standard has been added, which should make proving certain types of gear conflict cases easier. The phrase "without authorization" clearly applies to tampering, removing, and damaging activities. By adding prohibitions against sexually harassing and bribing observer and data collectors, protections have been extended for civil, though not criminal, violations.
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