[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 84 (Friday, April 30, 2004)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 23715-23720]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 04-9849]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 300 and 600

[Docket No. 040423129-4129-01; I.D. 041404D]
RIN 0648-AQ22


International Fisheries Regulations; Pacific Tuna Fisheries

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations necessary to implement the 1981 
Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the 
Government of Canada on Pacific Coast Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port 
Privileges (Treaty) as authorized by recently passed legislation. The 
proposed rule would establish vessel marking, recordkeeping, and 
reporting requirements for U.S. albacore tuna fishing vessel operators 
and vessel marking and reporting requirements for Canadian albacore 
tuna fishing vessel operators fishing under the Treaty. The intended 
effect of this proposed rule is to allow the United States to carry out 
its obligations under the Treaty by allowing fishing by both U.S. and 
Canadian vessels as provided for in the Treaty.

DATES: Comments must be submitted by May 17, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the proposed rule should be sent to Rodney R. 
McInnis, Acting Administrator, Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean 
Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802 or by e-mail to the 
Southwest Region at 0648-AQ22@noaa.gov. Comments may also be submitted 
by e-mail through the Federal e-Rulemaking portal: http://
www.regulations.gov. Include in the subject line of the e-mail comment 
the following document identifier: 0648-AQ22. Comments also may be 
submitted by fax to (562) 980-4047. Copies of the environmental 
assessment/regulatory impact review/initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA) are available from Svein Fougner at the NMFS 
address. Comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects 
of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
proposed rule may be submitted in writing to Svein Fougner, Assistant 
Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS, Southwest Region and to 
David Rostker, OMB, by e-mail at David--Rostker@omb.eop.gov, or by 
facsimile (fax) to (202) 395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Svein Fougner, Sustainable Fisheries 
Division, Southwest Region, NMFS, (562) 980-4030; fax: (562) 980-4047; 
and e-mail: svein.fougner@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Treaty, as amended in 2002, establishes 
a number of obligations of the Parties (the United States and Canada) 
to control reciprocal fishing in the waters of one Party by vessels of 
the other Party as well as reciprocal port privileges. The Treaty 
permits fishing vessels of one Party to fish for albacore tuna in 
waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of the other Party seaward of 
12 nautical miles from the baseline from which the territorial sea is 
measured (hereafter generally referred to as ``waters''). The Treaty 
originally allowed for unlimited fishing for albacore tuna by vessels 
of each Party in waters of the other Party. The Treaty was negotiated 
to allow reciprocal fishing and port calls in selected ports at a time 
when Canada asserted jurisdiction over highly migratory species such as 
tuna out to 200 nautical miles from its coastlines, while the U.S. did 
not recognize or assert a comparable claim to jurisdiction over highly 
migratory species off its coasts. (U.S. law was subsequently amended to 
accept jurisdiction by coastal states over highly migratory species in 
their 200-nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zones.)
    Initially, vessels of both countries regularly fished in each 
other's waters, but fishing patterns subsequently changed, as albacore 
were found more frequently in U.S. waters than in Canadian waters. As a 
result, Canadian vessels continued to fish regularly in

[[Page 23716]]

U.S. waters most years, while it was comparatively rare for U.S. 
fishers to fish significantly in Canadian waters. Beginning in 1998, 
Canada sharply increased its fishing effort in U.S. waters from its 
historical average of about 75 vessels to 200 or more vessels a year. 
This was due at least partly to a shift into the albacore industry by 
displaced Canadian salmon vessels. U.S. fishing in Canadian waters, 
however, did not increase during this period.
    In 2000, the U.S. albacore fishing industry complained to the 
Departments of State (DOS) and Commerce that U.S. fishing grounds were 
overcrowded by the enlarged Canadian fleet fishing in U.S. waters, and 
that Canadian fishers were receiving disproportionate benefits under 
the Treaty. Many fishers called for termination of the Treaty if the 
number of Canadian vessels fishing in U.S. waters was not cut back.
    In response to the U.S. fishing industry request, and after 
consultation with NMFS and U.S. fishing and seafood processing 
industries, DOS initiated technical discussions with Canada to develop 
data on the fishery and share U.S. industry concerns. In early 2001, a 
negotiating team, led by DOS and including NMFS and industry 
representatives, entered into negotiations with Canada to amend the 
Treaty to provide a mechanism for setting a reciprocal limitation on 
the fishery conducted in each other's waters under the Treaty. The aim 
of the negotiations was not only to cut back the Canadian fishing 
effort to acceptable levels, but also to develop a system that could 
respond to future efforts by each Party to implement domestic and 
international conservation and management measures for the stock in its 
own waters. Implementation of such management measures could be 
difficult if unlimited fishing in each other's waters were permitted 
under the Treaty. The United States is now implementing a Fishery 
Management Plan for U.S. West Coast Fisheries for Highly Migratory 
Species (HMS FMP), which includes albacore, and Canada has likewise 
developed and is implementing such a management plan.
    Agreement to amend the Treaty was reached on April 24, 2002. The 
U.S. Senate has given its advice and consent to the Treaty amendments, 
and Congress enacted H.R. 2584 (Pub. L. 108-219) on March 29, 2004, to 
authorize the Secretary of Commerce to issue regulations to implement 
the amended Treaty. The President signed H.R. 2584 into law on April 
13, 2004, thereby enacting Pub. L. No. 108-219. The amendment to 
Article 1(b) of the Treaty allows for the United States and Canada to 
establish a mutually agreed upon fisheries limitation regime applicable 
to each Party's vessels fishing for albacore in the other Party's 
waters. Pursuant to that provision, the United States and Canada agreed 
to an initial limitation regime which is set out in a new Annex C. It 
is a 3-year regime that reduces the fishing effort each year until a 
level is reached in year three that is slightly above the pre-1998 
average. Annex C also provides for a further reduced level of fishing 
after the 3-year period if the Parties are not able to reach agreement 
on a subsequent regime. The structure of the regime and its placement 
in Annex C provide the mechanism for readjustment of the fishing 
limitation by agreement by an exchange of diplomatic notes rather than 
Treaty amendments to more easily accommodate changing conservation and 
fishery management needs. If necessary, any such changes will be 
implemented through future rulemaking actions. Article VII of the 
Treaty provides that any Annex may be amended by executive agreement. 
The specific actions that are called for under the Treaty and would be 
implemented through this proposed rule are:

Vessel Lists

    As under the original Treaty, each Party will provide annually to 
the other Party a list of its fishing vessels which may fish for 
albacore tuna in the other Party's waters. The list includes:
    (a) Vessel name;
    (b) Home port;
    (c) A vessel identification marking (number and letter combination) 
that identifies the flag state of the vessel;
    (d) Fishing vessel registration number, and
    (e) Captain or operator's name, if known.
    Each Party may provide the other Party with additions or deletions 
to its list at any time. As soon as possible after receipt, the 
receiving Party shall satisfy itself that the list received from the 
other Party provides the required information and shall inform the 
other Party in order to enable the albacore fishery by those vessels to 
proceed pursuant to the Treaty. A U.S. vessel must be on the list for 
at least 7 days prior to engaging in fishing under the Treaty. This is 
intended to ensure that both the U.S. and Canada have equal information 
as to eligible vessels, and U.S. and Canadian enforcement offices can 
obtain lists of eligible vessels that are up to date to facilitate 
enforcement.

Vessel Marking

    When in the fishing zone of the other Party, each vessel must have 
its name and vessel identification marking (typically the U.S. Coast 
Guard documentation number or state registration number), followed by a 
letter code (U for U.S. vessels and C for Canadian vessels) prominently 
displayed where they will be clearly visible both from the air and from 
a surface vessel.

Hail-in and Hail-out

    To the extent required by either Party, the operator of any 
albacore fishing vessel must provide the vessel name, vessel 
identification number, captain or operator's name and the purpose for 
being in such Party's fishing zone prior to entering and leaving the 
waters in which fishing is permitted (i.e., waters under the fisheries 
jurisdiction of the other Party seaward of 12 nautical miles from the 
baseline from which the territorial sea is measured for the purpose of 
fishing).

Recordkeeping

    Operators of vessels of both Parties must keep accurate logbook 
records of catch and effort while fishing pursuant to the Treaty and 
must provide to its government statistics and other scientific 
information on its operations in the fishing zone of the other Party.

Information Exchange

    Each Party will annually monitor the amount of fishing and the 
weight of albacore tuna caught by its vessels in waters under the 
fisheries jurisdiction of the other Party, and will annually provide 
this information to the other Party. The information will be exchanged 
by the Parties on an annual basis and at least 30 days prior to the 
annual consultations (see below). Other specific information to be 
provided, as well as the forms and procedures for providing such 
information, will be agreed upon by the two Parties.

Annual Treaty Consultations

    The United States and Canada will consult annually to:
    (a) Discuss data and information on albacore tuna fisheries 
exchanged under the Treaty, and
    (b) Exchange information on their respective conservation and 
management measures for albacore tuna and on implementation of 
internationally agreed conservation and management measures applicable 
to the Parties related to fisheries covered under the Treaty.

Notification of Management Laws and Regulations

    The Parties will also notify one another of the conservation and 
management laws and regulations

[[Page 23717]]

applicable to vessels fishing in each other's waters.

Limitation of Fishing Effort

    Annex C of the Treaty limits the level of fishing that vessels of 
one Party can conduct in fishing for albacore tuna in the other Party's 
waters, beginning on June 1 of the first year of implementation of the 
limitation program. The limit can be exercised in terms of either the 
maximum number of vessels that can fish under the Treaty for up to 4 
months each in a year; or the maximum number of fishing months that 
vessels can conduct in a year without a limit on the number of vessels 
that can participate in the year. Each Party would be free to choose 
the method of application. For purposes of monitoring fleet activity 
and counting fishing against the limitation, a ``vessel fishing month'' 
is defined as any calendar month or part thereof in which a U.S. vessel 
is in the waters subject to the fisheries jurisdiction of Canada for 
the purpose of fishing for albacore tuna under the Treaty.
    NMFS has chosen to apply the limit in terms of vessel fishing 
months. This is administratively the simplest approach and provides 
maximum flexibility to U.S. vessels to engage in fishing in Canadian 
waters if the fish are there. Other methods would be more complex as 
they could require establishing the specific vessels that could 
participate or limiting vessel participation to a monthly total limit 
to spread out the fishing opportunity. This is unnecessary given recent 
years' levels of U.S. fishing in Canadian waters.
    During the first year, the limit on fishing by U.S. vessels in 
Canadian waters will be 680 vessel fishing months; during the second 
year, the limit will be 560 vessel fishing months; and during the third 
year, the limit will be 500 vessel fishing months.
    In the event that, in any year, U.S. fishing effort in Canadian 
waters is less than the annual maximum set out above, the unused 
portion of that year's maximum may be carried forward and added to the 
maximum for any subsequent year, provided that the resulting level of 
fishing effort in any one year does not exceed the maximum for the 
preceding year. That is, a ``carry over'' by year 3 could not be fully 
applied that year if this would allow more fishing than the year 2 
limit.
    It should be noted that the Treaty does not affect rights of U.S. 
vessels, including fishing vessels, to transit Canadian waters. 
However, Canadian hail-in requirements will continue to apply to 
transiting vessels, and with respect to albacore fishing vessels, 
fishing gear must be stowed in an unfishable condition to prevent the 
vessel from being considered to be ``fishing'' under the Treaty.

Extension or Adjustment of Fishing Limits

    Prior to the expiration of this 3-year effort limitation program, 
the Parties will consult to consider a new limitation program or 
extension of this program for 1 or more years. If no agreement is 
reached by the Parties by the expiration of the program, then Parties 
may fish in future years at a level no more than 75 percent of the 
limitation applicable during the last year. Thus, the limits under this 
provision would be up to 375 vessel months without a limit on the 
number of vessels that are active, or 94 vessels with up to 4 months 
fishing by each vessel. However, if there were any carryover available 
from a previous year, fishing could be permitted up to the limit of 
year 3 above (125 vessels or 500 fishing months). These limits would 
apply until a new agreement is reached.
    The intent of this program is to ensure that neither Party receives 
disproportionate benefits from the fishing opportunities provided by 
the Treaty and that neither Party's fishermen will be disadvantaged 
relative to the other Party's fishermen under the Treaty.
    To carry out this agreement, NMFS proposes to establish the 
following requirements for U.S. albacore fishing vessel owners and 
operators:
    1. Vessel List. As noted above, the U.S. and Canada exchange lists 
of vessels eligible to fish under the Treaty. The owner of any albacore 
fishing vessel who wants that vessel to be on the list of U.S. vessels 
eligible to fish for albacore tuna in Canadian waters under the Treaty 
must provide to NMFS the vessel name, the vessel registration number 
(U.S. Coast Guard documentation number or, if not documented, the state 
registration number), the home port, and the captain or operator's 
name. A vessel is not eligible to fish for albacore tuna in Canadian 
waters if it is not on the U.S. vessel list. This information must be 
provided not less than 7 days prior to engaging in fishing for albacore 
tuna in Canadian waters. This will provide time for information to be 
provided to U.S. and Canadian enforcement and management staff to 
facilitate vessel tracking and enforce compliance with the Treaty 
limits. Each list is only valid for a single calendar year.
    2. Vessel Marking. A U.S. vessel eligible to fish for albacore tuna 
in Canadian waters must be marked with the name and vessel 
identification marking prominently displayed where they will be clearly 
visible both from the air and from a surface vessel. The letter ``U'' 
must be painted or otherwise securely affixed to the vessel and be 
positioned at the end of each appearance on the vessel of its U.S. 
Coast Guard Documentation number (or if not documented, the state 
registration number) in the same height and size as the numerals.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 660.704 implementing the HMS FMP establish 
vessel marking size requirements relative to the size of the vessel 
involved; the U would be the same size as the numerals for each vessel 
under those regulations.
    3. Logbook Reports. The owner of a U.S. albacore fishing vessel is 
responsible for ensuring that a logbook of catch and effort covering 
fishing under the Treaty is maintained and submitted to the Southwest 
Region, NMFS, within 15 days of the end of the trip if the vessel re-
enters U.S. waters or enters the Canadian territorial sea or other 
Canadian waters in which fishing is not permitted; or within 7 days of 
landing of fish if the vessel entered the high seas after exiting the 
Canadian EEZ. NMFS will provide the logbook form upon being advised of 
the owner's request to be placed on the list of eligible vessels as 
described above. Regulations at 50 CFR 660.708 establish logbook 
requirements for fisheries under the HMS FMP; the reporting requirement 
under this proposed rule complements the HMS FMP rule.
    4. Hail-in/Hail-out Reports. The operator of a U.S. vessel eligible 
to fish for albacore tuna in Canadian waters may not enter Canadian 
waters to fish unless he has first contacted appropriate authorities to 
advise them of this intent. NMFS is contracting for a call-in system to 
support U.S. reporting requirements. Reports will be acceptable through 
single sideband radio, landline and cell telephone, fax, and e-mail. 
NMFS will provide detailed information to U.S. vessel operators of the 
appropriate times for reporting and the contractor contact points 
(phone numbers, radio frequencies, and e-mail addresses) to all owners 
or operators identified on the list of eligible vessels.
    NMFS and the U.S. Coast Guard will use all available means to 
inform fishers of closures of the fishery in Canadian waters in a 
timely manner. This will include use of Notice to Mariners, a hotline 
on current information relative to fishing limits, fax notices, and 
Internet and Web page notices. A closure notice also will be published 
in the Federal Register. Other means may

[[Page 23718]]

be developed with the industry in the future.
    The proposed rule also would add a new Sec.  600.530 to the foreign 
fishing regulations at 50 CFR part 600, subpart F. This will reinforce 
Canadian regulations to govern the activity of Canadian vessels and 
ensure adequate ability to enforce the regulations and prosecute 
violations.
    The DOS has concurred with issuance of this proposed rule as 
required by Public Law 108-219.

Classification

    NMFS prepared an IRFA that describes the economic impact this 
proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. The IRFA is 
available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the IRFA follows.
    The proposed rule would not likely have significant effects on U.S. 
vessels that are active in the troll albacore fishery off the West 
Coast and on the high seas, all of which are considered small entities. 
About 800 vessels made landings of albacore into U.S. ports or 
transshipped albacore to foreign ports in 2003, with a total estimated 
catch of just under 15,000 metric tons (mt). Average annual albacore 
catches have been about 12,000 mt for the past 10 years. The amount of 
fishing in Canadian waters has been quite low; NMFS estimates that 
between 1 and 2 percent of total U.S. fishing effort (estimated at 
about 25,000 days per year) has been conducted in Canadian waters the 
past 10 years. The Treaty limitations are not expected to affect either 
the amount of fishing by U.S. vessels or their albacore catches in 
future years off the West Coast, in Canadian waters, or on the high 
seas. There are no catch limits under the Treaty or these implementing 
regulations. If Canadian fishing in U.S. waters declines through the 
effort limitation regime, there may be less competition on fishing 
grounds in U.S. waters, but it does not appear (though it is not 
certain) that there would be any effects on U.S. vessels' effort or 
catches or on subsequent revenues and profits in the fishery.
    The principal impacts of the proposed rule are reporting burdens 
(see following discussion of Paperwork Reduction Act burdens). The 
monetary cost of these burdens is estimated to be less than $30 per 
year for any U.S. vessel that participates in fishing under the Treaty.
    NMFS considered the following alternatives to the proposed 
approach: (a) To establish a U.S. limited entry program by which to 
carry out the U.S. effort limitation regime using ``vessel years'' as 
the operating limit; and (b) to establish monthly effort limits (i.e., 
one-fifth of the annual limit each month in the months of June through 
October each year) to implement the effort limitation regime on a 
vessel month basis. The former would be administratively more complex 
than the proposed approach. It would require establishing either a 
lottery by which eligible vessels might be selected or criteria (e.g., 
prior participation) by which the requisite number of vessels would be 
identified as being eligible to fish in the year; issuing specific 
licenses or permits for fishing under the Treaty to those vessels; and 
then evaluating the effects and effectiveness of the program and 
possibly refining it the next year.
    The latter would also be more complex and less flexible than the 
proposed approach. It could support enforcement of the program by 
ensuring that there would not be an excessive flood of vessels into 
Canadian waters in any one month. However, it also would increase the 
potential that the U.S. would not be able to carry out as much fishing 
as legally permitted under the Treaty, since unused vessel months in 
one month would not carry over to the following month (which is the 
practical effect of the proposed approach).
    Thus the proposed action was chosen for administrative ease, 
maximum flexibility to the fleet, and ability to enforce and administer 
at relatively low cost.
    Neither of the alternatives (nor the proposed rule) would be likely 
to substantially affect the fishing effort and catch and revenue of the 
U.S. albacore fishery. As noted above, U.S. vessels have not fished 
extensively in Canadian waters for many years, and the U.S. fleet is 
not expected to fish at levels permitted under the Treaty. Thus the 
form of the limitation used should not result in changes in fishing 
effort, catches or revenue.
    The proposed rule establishes reporting burdens subject to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). The vessel marking requirement consists 
of adding the letter ``U'' after the vessel marking number required 
under regulations at 50 CFR 660.704 if the vessel enters Canadian 
waters. This is estimated to take 5 minutes per vessel. It is expected 
that all of the U.S. vessels that would fish under the Treaty are 
subject to the HMS FMP and/or the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act, 
both of which require vessel marking, and the added cost (adding the 
letter U) under this proposed rule is minimal. Given the limits of the 
amended Treaty, the maximum number of times the added burden would 
occur in the 3 year period is 1,740 vessel crossings, or 580 per year, 
with a burden of 48.33 hours annualized.
    The proposed rule would require that vessel owners or operators 
take action each year to be sure that their vessels are on the list of 
vessels eligible to fish in Canadian waters under the Treaty. This can 
be done with a 5 minute phone call. Although it is highly unlikely, it 
is assumed for estimating the reporting burden that 700 vessels will 
get on the list (this is about 90 percent of the number of vessels that 
actually landed albacore into a West Coast port in 2003); under this 
assumption, the total fleet burden is 58.33 hours. It should be noted 
that there is no cost to get on the list; therefore, it is expected 
that many will choose to get on the list just in case an opportunity to 
fish in Canadian waters arises during the year. The proposed rule also 
will require U.S. vessels to report border crossings to and from 
Canadian waters. Assuming a round trip for the maximum of 580 vessels 
(assuming that every vessel fishes only 1 month toward the U.S. limit), 
and with each call taking an average of 5 minutes, this imposes a 
burden of 96.67 hours. Finally, the proposed rule would impose a 
logbook reporting requirement for U.S. vessels fishing under the Treaty 
in Canadian waters. Under the limits of the Treaty, U.S. vessels will 
be limited to an average of no more than 580 vessel months per year 
(over 3 years). Assuming full fishing each month (i.e., up to 30 days 
per month) and 1 logbook page per day (at 5 minutes per page), the 
reporting burden will be 2.5 hours per vessel per month or a fleet 
total of 1450 hours per year. It is estimated that 50 percent of these 
vessels already participate in a voluntary albacore fishery logbook 
program, so the net new burden for which PRA approval has been 
requested is 725 hours.
    Most years there will be much less fishing under the Treaty than 
the level on which this estimate is based. However, assuming full 
participation, the total new reporting burden for the fleet is 928.33 
hours per year for the first 3 year period of fishing limits. There are 
no significant capital or equipment costs associated with this 
reporting burden. NMFS is working with the albacore fishery to evaluate 
the potential of electronic recordkeeping and reporting for this 
fishery. This could reduce the collection burden in the future. A PRA 
clearance request has been submitted to the Office of Management and 
Budget with this proposed rule.
    Public comment is sought regarding whether these proposed 
collections of information are necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the

[[Page 23719]]

agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility, 
the accuracy of the burden estimate, ways to enhance the quality, 
utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and ways to 
minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through 
the use of automated information technology. Written comments regarding 
the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-
information requirements contained in this rule may be submitted to, 
Svein Fougner, Assistant Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, NMFS, 
Southwest Region (see ADDRESSES) and by e-mail to David--
Rostker@omb.eop.gov, or facsimile (fax) to (202) 395-7285.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirement of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    NMFS conducted a formal Endangered Species Act section 7 
consultation on the U.S. troll albacore fishery as it would operate as 
a component of the fisheries to be managed under the HMS FMP. The 
resulting Biological Opinion indicated that the fishery is not likely 
to jeopardize the continued existence of any listed species under NMFS 
jurisdiction. NMFS also conducted a formal section 7 consultation with 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on the U.S. troll albacore 
fishery as it would operate as a component of the fisheries to be 
managed under the HMS FMP. The resulting Biological Opinion concluded 
that the fishery is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
any listed species under USFWS jurisdiction. The fishery as it would 
operate under this proposed rule is not expected to differ from the 
fishery under the HMS FMP. Thus, there are no different impacts 
expected on ESA-listed species, and no further consultations are 
necessary.

List of Subjects

50 CFR Part 300

    Fisheries, High seas fishing, International agreements, Reporting 
and recordkeeping requirements, Permits.

50 CFR Part 600

    Administrative practice and procedure, Confidential business 
information, Fisheries, Fishing, Fishing vessels, Foreign relations, 
Intergovernmental relations, Penalties, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Statistics.

    Dated: April 27, 2004.
Rebecca Lent,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 300--INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS

    1. A new subpart L is added to read as follows:

Subpart L--Pacific Albacore Tuna Fisheries

    2. The authority citation for subpart L reads as follows:

    Authority: Pub. L. 108-219.


Sec.  300.170  Purpose and scope.

    The regulations in this subpart govern fishing by U.S. vessels in 
waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of Canada pursuant to the 1981 
Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the 
Government of Canada on Pacific Coast Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port 
Privileges as amended in 2002. Regulations governing fishing by 
Canadian vessels in waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of the 
United States pursuant to this Treaty as amended in 2002 are found at 
Sec.  600.530 of chapter VI of this title.


Sec.  300.171  Definitions.

    In addition to the definitions in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act and Sec.  600.10 of Chapter VI of this 
title, the terms used in this subpart have the following meanings:
    Fishing under the Treaty as amended in 2002 means to engage in 
fishing for albacore tuna in waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of 
Canada seaward of 12 nautical miles from the baseline from which the 
territorial sea is measured.
    Regional Administrator means the Regional Administrator, Southwest 
Region, NMFS, 501 W. Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-
4213, or a designee.
    Reporting Office means the office designated by the Regional 
Administrator to take hail-in and hail-out reports from U.S. and 
Canadian vessel operators.
    Treaty means the 1981 Treaty Between the Government of the United 
States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Coast 
Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port Privileges as amended in 2002.


Sec.  300.172  Vessel list.

    The ``vessel list'' is the list of U.S. vessels that are authorized 
to fish under the Treaty as amended in 2002. Only a vessel on the list 
for at least 7 days may engage in fishing in Canadian waters under the 
Treaty as amended in 2002. At least 7 (seven) days prior to the first 
day on which any fishing in Canadian waters may begin, the owner of any 
U.S. vessel that wishes to be eligible to fish for albacore tuna under 
the Treaty as amended in 2002 must provide the Regional Administrator 
or his designee with the vessel name, the owner's name and address, 
phone number where the owner can be reached, the U.S. Coast Guard 
documentation number (or State registration number if not documented), 
and vessel operator (if different from the owner) and his or her 
address and phone number. NMFS will then place the vessel on the vessel 
list.


Sec.  300.173  Vessel identification.

    A U.S. vessel fishing under the Treaty as amended in 2002 must be 
marked with its name and vessel identification prominently displayed 
where they will be clearly visible both from the air and from a surface 
vessel. Vessel identification means the U.S. Coast Guard Documentation 
number (or if not documented, the State registration number) followed 
by the letter U in the same height and size as the numerals. Numerals 
and the letter U must meet the size requirements of Sec.  660.704 of 
chapter VI of this title.


Sec.  300.174  Logbook reports.

    The owner of any U.S. vessel that fishes for albacore tuna in 
Canadian waters under the Treaty as amended in 2002 must maintain and 
submit to the Regional Administrator a logbook of catch and effort of 
such fishing. The logbook form will be provided to the vessel owner as 
soon as practicable after the request to be placed on the list of 
vessels. The logbook must be submitted to the Regional Administrator 
within 15 days of the end of a trip, regardless of whether the trip 
ends by reentry to U.S. waters or entry to Canada's territorial sea, 
other Canadian waters in which fishing is not permitted, or a Canadian 
port. If the departure is due to exit to the high seas, the vessel 
operator must submit the logbook within 7 days of its next landing.


Sec.  300.175  Hail-in and hail-out reports.

    (a) The operator of any U.S. vessel that wishes to engage in 
fishing in

[[Page 23720]]

waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of Canada must file a hail-in 
report to the Reporting Office prior to engaging in fishing in such 
waters.
    (b) The operator of a U.S. vessel that has been fishing under the 
Treaty as amended in 2002 must file a hail-out report to the Reporting 
Office within 24 hours of departing waters under the fisheries 
jurisdiction of Canada.


Sec.  300.176  Prohibitions.

    It is prohibited for the owner or operator of a U.S. fishing vessel 
to:
    (a) Engage in fishing in waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of 
Canada if:
    (1) The vessel has not been on the list of fisheries pursuant to 
Sec.  300.172 for at least 7 days;
    (2) The vessel is not clearly marked as required under Sec.  
300.173;
    (3) The vessel operator has not filed a hail-in report with the 
Reporting Office as required under Sec.  300.175(a); or
    (4) The Regional Administrator has announced that the U.S. limit on 
fishing under the Treaty as amended in 2002 has been reached.
    (b) Fail to maintain and submit logbook records of catch and effort 
statistics as required under Sec.  300.174;
    (c) Fail to report an exit from waters under the fisheries 
jurisdiction of Canada as required by Sec.  300.175(b).
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 600 subpart F 
is proposed to be amended as follows:

Subpart F--Foreign Fishing

    3. The authority citation for subpart F continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. as amended by Pub. L. 108-219.

    4. A new Sec.  600.530 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  600.530  Pacific albacore fishery.

    (a) Purpose and scope. This section regulates fishing by Canadian 
vessels under the 1981 Treaty Between the Government of the United 
States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Coast 
Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port Privileges as amended in 2002. 
Regulations governing fishing by U.S. vessels in waters under the 
fisheries jurisdiction of the Canada pursuant to this Treaty are found 
at Sec. Sec.  300.170-176 of chapter II of this title.
    (b) Definitions.
    In addition to the definitions in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act and Sec.  600.10, the terms used in 
this subpart have the following meanings:
    Fishing under the Treaty as amended in 2002 means to engage in 
fishing for albacore tuna in waters under the fisheries jurisdiction of 
the United States seaward of 12 nautical miles from the baseline from 
which the territorial sea is measured.
    Regional Administrator means the Regional Administrator, Southwest 
Region, NMFS, 501 W. Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-
4213, or a designee.
    Reporting Office means the office designated by the Regional 
Administrator to take hail-in and hail-out reports from U.S. and 
Canadian vessel operators.
    Treaty means the 1981 Treaty Between the Government of the United 
States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Coast 
Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port Privileges as amended in 2002.
    (c) Vessel list. A Canadian vessel is not eligible to fish for 
albacore in U.S. waters under the Treaty as amended in 2002 unless the 
vessel is on the list provided to NMFS by the Government of Canada of 
vessels authorized by Canada to fish under the Treaty as amended in 
2002.
    (d) Vessel identification. A Canadian vessel fishing under the 
Treaty as amended in 2002 must clearly display its Canadian vessel 
registration number followed by the letter C in the same height and 
size as the numerals, consistent with Canadian vessel marking 
requirements.
    (e) Hail-in reports. The operator of a Canadian vessel eligible to 
fish for albacore in U.S. waters under the Treaty as amended in 2002 
must file a hail-in report with the Reporting Office prior to beginning 
any such fishing.
    (f) Hail-out Reports. The operator of a Canadian vessel that has 
been fishing in U.S. waters under the Treaty as amended in 2002 must 
file a hail-out report with the Reporting Office prior to or upon exit 
from U.S. waters.
    (g) Prohibitions. It is prohibited for the operator of a Canadian 
vessel to engage in fishing in U.S. waters if the vessel:
    (1) Is not on the vessel list in paragraph (c) of this section;
    (2) Has not filed a hail-in report to advise of an intent to fish 
under the Treaty as amended in 2002 prior to engaging in such fishing; 
or
    (3) Is not clearly marked in accordance with paragraph (d) of this 
section.

[FR Doc. 04-9849 Filed 4-29-04; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P