[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 23 (Friday, February 3, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 5389-5396]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-2361]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

15 CFR Part 902

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 110207103-2041-02]
RIN 0648-BA80


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Chinook 
Salmon Bycatch Management in the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery; Economic 
Data Collection

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues a final rule to implement the Chinook Salmon 
Economic Data Report Program, which will evaluate the effectiveness of 
Chinook salmon bycatch management measures for the Bering Sea pollock 
fishery that were implemented under Amendment 91 to the Fishery 
Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Management Area (FMP). Members of the American Fisheries Act catcher 
vessels, catcher/processor, and mothership sectors as well as 
representatives for the six western Alaska Community Development Quota 
Program organizations that presently receive allocations of Bering Sea 
pollock will submit the data collected for this program. This rule is 
intended to promote the goals and objectives of the FMP, the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, and other applicable 
law.

DATES: This final rule is effective March 5, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of this rule, the Regulatory Impact Review 
(RIR), and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA) may be obtained 
from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted by mail to NMFS, Alaska Region, P.O. Box 
21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; 
in person at NMFS, Alaska Region, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, 
Juneau, Alaska; by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov; or by fax to 
(202) 395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Hartman, (907) 586-7442, or Patsy 
A. Bearden, (907) 586-7008.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the U.S. groundfish fisheries 
of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) in the 
Exclusive Economic Zone under the Fishery Management Plan for 
Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area 
(FMP). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared 
the FMP pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) 16 U.S.C. 1801, et seq. 
Regulations implementing the FMP appear at 50 CFR part 679. General 
regulations that pertain to U.S. fisheries appear at subpart H of 50 
CFR part 600.
    This rule implements the Chinook Salmon Economic Data Report (EDR) 
Program, which will provide NMFS with additional data to assess the 
effectiveness of the Chinook salmon bycatch management measures 
implemented under Amendment 91 to the FMP. The EDR consists of one new 
data collection and two revised data collections. The Chinook Salmon 
EDR program applies to owners and operators of catcher vessels, 
catcher/processors, motherships, and the six Western Alaska Community 
Development Quota (CDQ) Program groups qualified to participate in the 
pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) fishery in the Bering Sea subarea of 
the BSAI. This rule also applies to the representatives of the above 
described participants in the Bering Sea pollock fishery.

Background

    NMFS implemented Amendment 91 (75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010) to 
balance the need to minimize bycatch of Chinook salmon in the Bering 
Sea pollock fishery with the potential costs of bycatch restrictions on 
the pollock fishery. In addition to limiting the amount of Chinook 
salmon that may be caught by the pollock fishery, Amendment 91 includes 
innovative industry-designed incentives, such as the use of penalties 
for vessels that exceed a sector-established Chinook salmon PSC limit. 
These industry-enforced incentives are intended to minimize Chinook 
salmon bycatch to the extent practicable in all years, and to prevent 
bycatch from reaching the established limit in most years. Amendment 91 
also allows NMFS to allocate transferrable Chinook salmon prohibited 
species catch (PSC) to an entity representing the catcher/

[[Page 5390]]

processor sector, mothership sector, inshore cooperatives, and CDQ 
groups participating in the Bering Sea pollock fishery. The Amendment 
91 program applies to owners and operators of catcher vessels, catcher/
processors, motherships, inshore processors, and the six CDQ Program 
groups participating in the pollock fishery in the Bering Sea subarea 
of the BSAI.
    In developing Amendment 91, the Council used the best scientific 
information available, including catch accounting data, observer data 
and vessel monitoring system data, to sufficiently analyze the Chinook 
bycatch management measures approved by the Secretary. The Council 
determined that it needed additional data in order to evaluate the 
longer-term effectiveness of the industry's incentives and the hard cap 
for reducing salmon prohibited species catch in the Bering Sea pollock 
fishery.

Actions Implemented by Rule

    Under this final rule, NMFS establishes economic data requirements 
to implement the Chinook salmon EDR program. In addition to the 
previous data sources, the EDR now includes three new data forms: (1) 
The Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Compensated Transfer 
Report (CTR); (2) the Vessel Fuel Survey; and (3) the Vessel Master 
Survey. The persons required to submit the EDR include vessel owners, 
vessel leaseholders, or vessel masters of American Fisheries Act (AFA) 
vessels, depending on the requirements listed in each form. Submitters 
also include representatives for, or participants in, an AFA catcher/
processor or mothership sector, inshore cooperative, CDQ groups, or 
parties to an incentive plan agreement (IPA).
    This rule amends other existing recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements, including the (1) IPA Annual Report; (2) Catcher Vessel 
Trawl Gear Groundfish Daily Fishing Logbook; (3) Catcher/processor 
Trawl Gear Electronic Logbook; and (4) eLandings landing report. The 
rule also adds new data requirements for existing groundfish logbooks 
and landing reports on trawl vessels' movements to avoid Chinook salmon 
bycatch. The rule revises data requirements regarding transfers of 
Chinook salmon PSC and pollock among AFA participants in IPA Annual 
Reports.

What the Amendments Accomplish

    The information required in the three new EDR forms and in the 
revisions to existing recordkeeping and reporting requirements includes 
a combination of quantitative and qualitative data that will allow NMFS 
to analyze and compare annual and seasonal changes in the pollock fleet 
under Amendment 91. Specifically, the new EDR reports will gather 
information on authorized transfers of Chinook salmon prohibited 
species catch; vessel movements on the fishing grounds; and pollock 
allocations, sub-allocations, and transfers between members in an AFA 
cooperative.
    The analysis NMFS will conduct with these data will assist NMFS and 
the Council to evaluate the effectiveness of: (1) The IPA incentives in 
times of high and low levels of Chinook salmon abundance; (2) the 
Chinook salmon PSC limits; and (3) the performance standard in reducing 
Chinook salmon bycatch. This analysis also can examine how Amendment 91 
affects where, when, and how pollock fishing and Chinook salmon bycatch 
occur. Additionally, NMFS will use the data to study and verify 
conclusions regarding the effectiveness of Amendment 91 to minimize 
Chinook salmon bycatch to the extent practicable, as described by 
industry in an IPA annual report.
    The Council recommended that the data collection program should be 
limited in scope to minimize the industry burden of recordkeeping and 
reporting. They also recognized that the quantity and quality of data 
submitted may only partially address the purpose and need statement for 
this action. This collection provides additional information to status 
quo data sources, but may not answer all the Council's Chinook salmon 
bycatch policy questions. Accordingly, the Council may propose future 
revisions to the data collection as industry develops experience with 
both the data collection program and Amendment 91. The preamble to the 
proposed rule (76 FR 42099, July 18, 2011) includes detailed 
information on the management background and need for the action.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS invited comments on the proposed rule through August 17, 2011 
(76 FR 42099, July 18, 2011). NMFS received one submission containing 
five unique comments on the proposed rule. The comments are summarized 
and responded to below.
    Comment 1: To avoid duplicate reporting of an AFA cooperative's 
vessels' sub-allocations and seasonal harvest of the number of Chinook 
salmon PSC and the amount of pollock metric tons (mt), the proposed 
rule required reporting of these data in either the IPA annual report 
in Sec.  679.21(f)(13) or in the AFA cooperative annual report in Sec.  
679.61(f)(2) but not in both. The commenter requests that NMFS require 
the reporting of these data only in an IPA annual report, and make 
optional the reporting of these data by each AFA cooperative in the AFA 
cooperative annual report. The commenter points out that it is 
difficult for each AFA cooperative to be informed of a different AFA 
cooperative's records of sub-allocations and catches, and that 
coordinating data from multiple sources into a single report without 
some centralized repository for this data would be difficult. In 
contrast, each IPA may include parties from multiple cooperatives, and 
so an IPA representative has the ability to request, organize, and 
report that information from each AFA cooperative.
    Response: NMFS agrees with this comment with respect to the 
reporting of information about the sub-allocations of Chinook salmon 
PSC and pollock. NMFS proposed the option of reporting all Chinook 
salmon PSC and pollock sub-allocation data as well as the number of 
salmon caught at the end of each season in either the AFA cooperative 
annual report or the IPA report, but not both. The reason for providing 
the option is to avoid duplicate data reporting requirements. NMFS 
originally believed that providing a mutually exclusive choice for 
either an AFA cooperative representative or the IPA representative to 
submit that data would provide some additional flexibility for the 
industry. The commenter provides new information that this approach may 
create additional reporting burden and will not provide the flexibility 
intended by NMFS. NMFS believes that an IPA representative can 
aggregate sub-allocation and catch data received from members of an AFA 
cooperative who also are party to an IPA. Under the final rule, NMFS 
continues to require the AFA cooperative representative to submit 
information on sub-allocations of Chinook salmon PSC and pollock in an 
IPA annual report. However, NMFS, will not require submission of that 
information in the AFA cooperative annual report. NMFS will continue to 
require the reporting of retained and discarded Chinook salmon PSC and 
pollock in both the IPA annual report and the AFA cooperative annual 
report.
    Comment 2: Representatives for the AFA cooperative or sector-level 
entity are not likely to be informed of the price of each transaction 
for Chinook salmon PSC. Therefore, the quality of data in the Chinook 
Transfer Report (CTR) will not be improved by requiring this price data 
from these representatives.
    Response: NMFS disagrees with the comment that a representative for 
an

[[Page 5391]]

AFA cooperative or sector level entity should be removed from the 
persons required to submit a CTR. NMFS proposed a broad approach to 
identify the persons that may have knowledge of CTR price data. When 
NMFS proposed this rule, the Amendment 91 program had been implemented 
recently, and little information was available about which industry 
participants would have knowledge about the details of the pricing of 
each Chinook salmon PSC transaction. Accordingly, NMFS proposed to 
gather information about the pricing from the parties most likely to 
have that information. Under this rule, the four persons required to 
report price and amounts of Chinook salmon PSC transfers in the CTR are 
(1) the owner or leaseholder of an AFA-permitted vessel; (2) the 
representative for an AFA cooperative; (3) the sector-level entity; and 
(4) the CDQ group. NMFS is aware that not all these persons may have 
transferred Chinook salmon PSC allocation and paid or received money 
for the transfer during the reporting year. In response to this 
comment, and to reduce reporting burden, NMFS has added a check box to 
the certification page of the CTR for any owner or leaseholder of an 
AFA permitted vessel and the representative of any entity that received 
an allocation of Chinook PSC from NMFS to indicate if he/she did or did 
not participate in any qualifying Chinook salmon PSC transactions. If 
the submitter did not participate in any qualifying Chinook salmon PSC 
transactions, then he/she may submit only the certification page and is 
not required to fill out any additional data.
    If NMFS removes the requirement for a representative of an AFA 
cooperative or sector-level entity to submit a CTR or certification 
page, NMFS will not be able to differentiate between a representative 
of an AFA cooperative that had conducted a Chinook salmon PSC 
transaction and failed to submit the CTR, and a representative that had 
not conducted any qualifying Chinook salmon PSC transactions. NMFS 
believes that the requirement for representatives of an AFA cooperative 
or sector-level entity to submit the CTR is necessary to ensure that 
all persons involved in monetary exchange for Chinook salmon PSC fill 
out a CTR, and that the CTR reporting burden for those that did not pay 
or receive money for a transfer is minimal.
    Comment 3: The Vessel Master Survey should include on the Vessel 
Owner Certification Page a ``check box'' to indicate that the vessel 
did not participate in the Bering Sea pollock fishery during the 
reporting year and, if checked, the vessel owner should not be required 
to complete remaining sections of the Vessel Master Survey. The check 
box should be similar to the check box on the Vessel Fuel Survey.
    Response: NMFS agrees with this comment. This is a minor revision 
to the Vessel Master Survey that will reduce unnecessary reporting 
burden. NMFS proposed the use of a similar check box for simplifying 
the reporting in the Vessel Fuel Survey. Adding a check box to indicate 
that the vessel did not participate in the Bering Sea pollock fishery 
should reduce the burden of reporting information in other fields of 
the form. Thus, NMFS has added a check box to the Vessel Master Survey 
to indicate if the vessel did not participate in the Bering Sea pollock 
fishery during the reporting year. In that event, the vessel owner will 
not be required to complete the remaining sections of the Vessel Master 
Survey. This revision to the survey does not amend regulatory text in 
the final rule, but is added to the Recordkeeping and Reporting 
requirements for the Vessel Master Survey (OMB Control Number 0648-
0633).
    Comment 4: The commenter does not object to requiring a vessel 
owner to submit each Vessel Master Survey filled out by a vessel 
master, but suggests the vessel owner should not be held responsible if 
the vessel master fails to submit a completed and accurate Vessel 
Master Survey.
    Response: NMFS proposed that a vessel owner or leaseholder of an 
AFA-permitted vessel used to harvest pollock in the Bering Sea in the 
previous year must submit all Vessel Master Surveys completed by each 
vessel master who fished on the owner's vessel and verify that each 
vessel master listed on the certification page of the form was a vessel 
master of the owner's AFA-permitted vessel. This responsibility is 
assigned to the vessel owner because the owner is the individual most 
likely to hire a vessel master and arrange for collection of any 
information relevant to the operation of the vessel. Also, NMFS has no 
current database of vessel masters names and contact information that 
would allow for contact of each vessel master operating a given vessel. 
Instead, vessel owners or leaseholders are required to collect the 
completed data forms from each vessel master and submit them to NMFS, 
but are not responsible for the accuracy or completeness of information 
completed by the vessel master. A vessel owner or leaseholder, however, 
may be contacted by NMFS to assist in verifying the identity of vessel 
masters.
    Comment 5: Under the proposed rule, persons submitting an EDR will 
be required to respond within 20 days of a NMFS information request. A 
20-day time limit is an unreasonable number of days to expect a 
response, and a 90-day interval of time for responding to a request for 
additional data for verifying the accuracy of an EDR will be more 
practical.
    Response: NMFS disagrees with this comment. The 20-day limit for 
responding to an inquiry from NMFS for additional information does not 
apply to all three Chinook salmon EDR data forms as stated in the 
public comment, but only to the CTR. Data required for the Vessel 
Master Survey and Vessel Fuel Survey is generally qualitative and based 
on the opinion of an owner or vessel master. NMFS does not require that 
submitters record and retain additional logs or records to support the 
qualitative responses, and will not audit these responses with requests 
for additional data. Data required for the CTR would include persons or 
entities party to specific transactions. The identity of persons, 
prices and the amounts included in a given transaction for the CTR are 
records that NMFS expects submitters to retain to support this data 
collection and other reporting. The 20-day time limit for responding to 
a request from NMFS to submit additional data for a CTR was modeled 
after EDR regulations for both the BSAI Crab Rationalization Program 
(70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005) and the Amendment 80 program (72 FR 52668, 
September 14, 2007). Submitters of data from each of those two ongoing 
data collection programs have successfully responded within the 20-day 
time limit. There are no requirements in the three Chinook EDRs that 
would justify a different or longer response period to agency requests 
for additional information on the CTR. Revising the 20-day limit to a 
different interval will create an inconsistency with these established 
EDR programs.
    In both the BSAI Crab Rationalization and Amendment 80 EDR 
programs, the protocol for implementing the 20-day time limit for a 
submitter to respond to a NMFS request for additional information is 
invoked only after NMFS has completed a formal and multi-day sequence 
of steps for contacting submitters. The protocol for the sequence of 
phone, email, and letter contacts with a submitter of any EDR from whom 
NMFS requests additional information requires three weeks to a month, 
prior to NMFS concluding that NMFS data collection staff are unable to 
solicit a response from an EDR submitter. The total elapsed time prior

[[Page 5392]]

to forwarding a request to NOAA Office of Law Enforcement for 
assistance in contacting a submitter is approximately six to eight 
weeks. Based on the history of the submitter contact process for the 
BSAI Crab Rationalization and Amendment 80 EDRs, in only a single 
instance has NMFS requested that the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement 
assist in contacting an EDR submitter. The NOAA Office for Law 
Enforcement issued a formal warning to the submitter for not responding 
to a NMFS request for audit information on a Crab EDR. Based on 
experience in these EDR programs, in the final rule, NMFS retains the 
20-day time limit for responding to a formal request for additional 
information on a submitted EDR.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    In response to public comment on the proposed rule, NMFS will not 
revise the AFA cooperative's annual reporting requirements at Sec.  
679.61(f). NMFS is removing the proposed options for reporting certain 
information on Chinook salmon PSC and pollock in either an IPA annual 
report or an AFA cooperative's annual report. Additionally, NMFS 
removes the proposed provision to require that IPA annual reports at 
Sec.  679.21(f)(13)(ii)(E) include the number of Chinook salmon PSC and 
the amount of pollock at the start of each season sub-allocated to each 
participating vessel, as well as the number of Chinook salmon PSC and 
amount of pollock (mt) caught at the end of each season, unless 
reported in an AFA cooperative's annual report under Sec.  
679.61(f)(2). NMFS removes the phrase ``unless reported under Sec.  
679.61(f)(2)'' in response to a public comment for the reasons 
explained above under Comments and Responses. An IPA annual report, 
therefore, must include the above-described information.
    Another change NMFS makes from the proposed rule is to remove the 
proposed requirement that the AFA cooperative's annual report at Sec.  
679.61(f)(2)(vii) include data on the sub-allocations and catch of 
Chinook salmon PSC and pollock. This change responds to the public 
comment referred to above, and is explained under Comments and 
Responses.
    NMFS also withdraws all proposed revisions to Sec.  
679.61(f)(2)(ii) that would have moved the reporting of retained and 
discarded catch of pollock and Chinook salmon PSC from Sec.  
679.61(f)(2)(ii) to a different location in the AFA cooperative's 
annual report at Sec.  679.61(f)(2)(vii). NMFS will continue to require 
reporting of retained and discarded catch of pollock and all Chinook 
salmon PSC in the AFA annual cooperative report consistent with the 
intent of the AFA annual cooperative report to collect information on 
retained and discarded catch of pollock and all PSC. NMFS will not 
revise Sec.  679.61 in this final rule.
    NMFS makes minor corrections in the final rule to create consistent 
submission requirements for both the regulations and the instructions 
in the Vessel Master Survey. In the regulatory text, NMFS clarifies 
that the vessel master must complete the vessel master certification 
page in the Vessel Master Survey, and the vessel owner or leaseholder 
must complete the vessel owner certification. NMFS also clarifies that 
the vessel owner or leaseholder must electronically submit to NMFS all 
the Vessel Master Survey certification pages and vessel survey forms as 
well as the vessel owner certification.
    NMFS makes additional corrections to the submission dates for an 
IPA annual report and the three Chinook salmon EDR reports to 
correspond with the effective date of this final rule. The first 
correction clarifies that new data on the sub-allocations, retained 
catch, and discarded catch of Chinook salmon PSC and pollock required 
in an IPA annual report at Sec.  679.21(f)(13)(ii)(E) and 
(f)(13)(ii)(F), must be submitted on or before April 1, 2013, for the 
calendar year of 2012, rather than June 1, 2012, for the calendar year 
of 2011. Submission dates for most of the data required in an IPA 
annual report will continue to be April 1, 2012. IPA representatives 
will still be required to include a description of (1) the incentive 
measures for the previous year (Sec.  679.21(f)(13)(ii)(A)); (2) how 
incentives affect each vessel (Sec.  679.21(f)(13)(ii)(B)); (3) whether 
the incentives achieve salmon savings (Sec.  679.21(f)(13)(ii)(C)); and 
(4) the amendments to the terms of the IPA (Sec.  
679.21(f)(13)(ii)(C)).
    NMFS includes a minor clarification to the requirements for the IPA 
annual report at Sec.  679.21(f)(13)(ii)(F)(1)((iv) and 
(f)(13)(ii)(F)(2)((iv). NMFS adds the word ``PSC'' to the phrase, 
``number of Chinook salmon transferred'' wherever it appears in the 
paragraph. These two phrases are revised to state, ``number of Chinook 
salmon PSC transferred.'' This revision is required for consistency 
with reference to Chinook salmon PSC in the preceding paragraph at 
Sec.  679.21(f)(13)(ii)(F)(1).
    NMFS clarifies the submission dates for the three Chinook salmon 
EDR reports at Sec.  679.65(b) through (d) by specifying that the CTR, 
Vessel Master Survey, and Vessel Fuel Survey must be submitted on or 
before June 1, 2013, and each year thereafter. This clarification is 
included to eliminate ambiguity regarding whether the submission of 
Chinook bycatch EDR data should begin in 2012 or 2013.

Classification

    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS determined that this final 
rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the groundfish 
fisheries off Alaska and that it is consistent with the Magnuson-
Stevens Act and other applicable law.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    The preamble to the proposed rule and this final rule serve as the 
small entity compliance guide required by Section 212 of the Small 
Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. This action does 
not require any additional compliance from small entities that is not 
described in the preamble. Copies of this final rule are available from 
the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

Executive Order 12866

    This rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of 
Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared, as 
required by section 604(a) of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). 
NMFS did not receive any comments on the initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis (IRFA) and the FRFA incorporates the IRFA and provides a 
summary of the analyses completed to support the action. A copy of this 
analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES).

Need for and Objectives of the Rule

    This action is needed because current sources of data collected 
under Amendment 91, including catch accounting, observer, and vessel 
monitoring system data, do not provide all the industry data that is 
necessary for analysis of the management measures implemented to reduce 
Chinook salmon bycatch. The Council proposed to address those data 
limitations by creating the EDR. The EDR provides data to evaluate the 
effectiveness of: (1) The IPA incentives in times of high and low 
levels of salmon bycatch; (2) Chinook salmon PSC limits; and (3) the 
performance standard in terms of reducing salmon bycatch. The EDR data 
allows for the evaluation of how Amendment 91 affects where, when, and 
how pollock fishing and salmon

[[Page 5393]]

bycatch occur. The EDR program also will provide data for the agency to 
study and verify conclusions drawn by industry in an IPA annual report.

Significant Issues Raised by the Public Comments

    The proposed rule was published on July 18, 2011 (76 FR 42099). An 
IRFA was prepared for the proposed rule and was described in the 
classifications section of the preamble to the rule. The public comment 
period ended on August 17, 2011. No comments specific to the IRFA were 
received. Five comments were received specific to the action and were 
summarized in the preamble to this final rule under Comments and 
Responses.

Number and Description of Small Entities Directly Regulated by the Rule

    The directly regulated entities for this final action are the 
members of the commercial fishing fleet that participate in the 
directed pollock trawl fishery in the Bering Sea. Under a conservative 
application of the Small Business Administration criterion and the best 
available data from 2010, there are six small entities out of an 
estimated 122 respondents eligible to submit the EDR that will be 
directly regulated by the final action. All the non-CDQ AFA-affiliated 
pollock entities directly regulated by this action were members of AFA 
cooperatives in 2010 and, therefore, NMFS considers them ``affiliated'' 
non-small entities for RFA purposes. To provide the estimates of the 
number of non-CDQ AFA-affiliated pollock entities that were not small, 
NMFS matched earnings from all Alaskan fisheries for 2010 with the 
vessels that participated in the AFA-affiliated pollock fleet for that 
year. Due to their status as non-profit corporations, the six CDQ 
groups are identified as ``small'' entities. This action directly 
regulates the six CDQ groups, and NMFS considers the CDQ groups to be 
small entities for RFA purposes. As described in regulations 
implementing the RFA (13 CFR 121.103) the CDQ groups' affiliations with 
other large entities do not define them as large entities. Complete 
descriptions of the CDQ groups and the impacts of this action are 
located in sections 2.5 and 6.10.3 of the Final Environmental Impact 
Statement/Regulatory Impact Review/Final Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis for Amendment 91 that may be obtained from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.

Description of Significant Alternatives and a Description of Steps 
Taken To Minimize the Significant Economic Impacts on Small Entities

    To minimize impacts on small entities, NMFS did not select some 
options considered in the RIR that may have expanded the amount of data 
available to evaluate the effectiveness of Amendment 91. For example, 
requiring reporting of additional detailed roe production as well as 
expanded Chinook salmon transfer data, revenue data, and daily 
operating cost data were considered but rejected because these data may 
not be recorded by the industry in a consistent and uniform manner, and 
would be costly for submitters to report. Alternatives 2 and 3 included 
options for expanding the frequency of reporting and the amount of data 
to be collected beyond those required by this final rule. These more 
detailed data were to be collected during or at the end of each fishing 
trip, and included (1) the use of ledger forms for recording the amount 
Chinook salmon PSC or pollock allocations and transfers; (2) the 
reporting of the price for each transfer of Chinook salmon PSC or 
pollock; and (3) the reporting of the amount of fuel used, activities 
associated with each interval of fuel use, and the price paid for fuel. 
These alternatives were not selected because the cost and burden of 
collecting the additional data during or at the end of a fishing trip 
would have been substantial, and additional experience operating under 
Amendment 91 is required before industry could refine recordkeeping for 
the Council to further consider more detailed information.
    Alternative 1 was not selected because it does not address the 
objectives of the Chinook salmon EDR program to increase the quality 
and quantity of data for assessing the effects of Amendment 91 IPAs, 
the PSC limits, and the performance standard on when, where, and how 
pollock fishing and Chinook salmon bycatch occur.
    Alternative 4 was chosen because the limited scope of the data 
collected will likely increase the quality and quantity of data used to 
assess the effects of Amendment 91 IPAs, the PSC limits, and the 
performance standard on when, where, and how pollock fishing and 
Chinook salmon bycatch occur; will inform the Council and NMFS 
regarding the development of a more expansive data collection program 
in the future; and is feasible to implement in a timely manner. 
Alternative 4 will have the least impact of the four alternatives on 
small entities while continuing to meet the objectives of the action.
    Based upon the best available scientific data and consideration of 
the objectives of this action, the Council and NMFS determined there 
are no alternatives to this action that have the potential to 
accomplish the stated objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and any 
other applicable statutes as well as minimize any significant adverse 
economic impact of the rule on small entities. The analysis did not 
identify any Federal rules that will duplicate, overlap, or conflict 
with the action. This rule requires revisions to some existing 
recordkeeping and reporting requirements and includes one new 
collection of information to implement new EDR forms.

Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This rule contains collection-of information requirements subject 
to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) that have been approved by the 
OMB. The collections are listed below by OMB control number.

OMB Control Number 0648-0634

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 23 
minutes for a catcher vessel trawl gear daily fishing log; and 35 
minutes for an AFA catcher/processor trawl gear electronic log book.

OMB Control Number 0648-0633

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 40 
hours for a CTR; 8 hours for a Vessel Fuel Survey; and 3 hours for a 
Vessel Master Survey.

OMB Control Number 0648-0401

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 40 
hours for an IPA Annual Report.

OMB Control Number 0648-0515

    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 35 
minutes for a mothership eLandings landing report.
    Reporting burden includes the time for reviewing instructions, 
searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data 
needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.
    Send comments regarding burden estimates or any other aspect of 
this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to 
NMFS (see ADDRESSES); email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to 
(202) 395-7285.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for 
failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless

[[Page 5394]]

that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control 
number.

List of Subjects

15 CFR Part 902

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: January 30, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National 
Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 15 CFR part 
902 and 50 CFR part 679 as follows:

Title 15--Commerce and Foreign Trade

Chapter IX--National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department 
of Commerce

PART 902--NOAA INFORMATION COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE 
PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT: OMB CONTROL NUMBERS

0
1. The authority citation for part 902 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.


0
2. In Sec.  902.1, in the table in paragraph (b), under the entry ``50 
CFR:''
0
a. Remove the entry for ``679.5(c)'';
0
b. Add an entry in alphanumeric order for ``679.5(c), (e), and (f)'';
0
c. Revise entries in alphanumeric order for ``and ``679.21(f) and 
(g)''; and 679.5(e) and (f)''
0
d. Add entries for ``679.65(a), (c), and (d)'' and ``679.65(b) through 
(e)''.
The additions and revisions read as follows:


Sec.  902.1  OMB control numbers assigned pursuant to the Paperwork 
Reduction Act.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *

------------------------------------------------------------------------
     CFR part or section where the
 information collection requirement is   Current OMB control number (all
                located                     numbers begin with 0648-)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                              * * * * * * *
50 CFR.
 
                              * * * * * * *
679.5(c), (e), and (f).................  -0213, -0272, -0330, -0513, -
                                          0515, and -0634.
 
                              * * * * * * *
679.5(e) and (f).......................  -0401.
 
                              * * * * * * *
679.21(f) and (g)......................  -0393, -0401, and -0608.
 
                              * * * * * * *
679.65(a), (c), and (d)................  -0634, and -0515.
679.65(b) through (e)..................  -0633.
 
                              * * * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title 50--Wildlife and Fisheries

Chapter VI--Fishery Conservation and Management, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce

PART 679--FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

0
3. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq., 
Pub. L. 108-447.


0
4. In Sec.  679.2, add a definition for ``designated data collection 
auditor'' in alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  679.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Designated data collection auditor (DDCA) means the NMFS-designated 
contractor to perform the functions of a data collection auditor for 
the Chinook salmon PSC Compensated Transfer Report.
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  679.5:
0
a. Revise paragraph (c)(4)(vi) introductory text;
0
b. Add paragraphs (c)(4)(vi)(I) and (e)(6)(i)(A)(12); and
0
c. Revise paragraphs (f)(1)(vii), (f)(2)(ii), and (f)(7).
    The additions and revisions read as follows:


Sec.  679.5  Recordkeeping and reporting (R&R).

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (4) * * *
    (vi) Catch-by-haul information. The operator must record the 
following information (see paragraphs (c)(4)(vi)(A) through (I) of this 
section) for each haul (see Sec.  679.2). If no catch occurred for a 
given day, write ``no catch.''
* * * * *
    (I) Movement to Avoid Salmon. If a catcher vessel is directed 
fishing for pollock in the Bering Sea, indicate with a check mark (X) 
whether, prior to the haul, the operator moved fishing location 
primarily to avoid Chinook salmon bycatch.
* * * * *
    (e) * * *
    (6) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (12) For deliveries from catcher vessels directed fishing for 
pollock in the Bering Sea, indicate whether, prior to the haul, the 
operator of the catcher vessel moved fishing location primarily to 
avoid Chinook salmon bycatch.
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (vii) AFA and CDQ trawl catcher/processors. The operator of an AFA 
catcher/processor or any catcher/processor harvesting pollock CDQ must 
use a combination of NMFS-approved catcher/processor trawl gear ELB and 
eLandings to record and report groundfish and PSC information. In the

[[Page 5395]]

ELB, the operator must enter processor identification information; 
catch-by-haul information; prohibited species discard or disposition 
data for all salmon species in each haul; and indicate whether, prior 
to the haul, the operator moved fishing location primarily to avoid 
Chinook salmon bycatch. In eLandings, the operator must enter processor 
identification, groundfish production data, and groundfish and 
prohibited species discard or disposition data for all prohibited 
species except salmon.
    (2) * * *
    (ii) Reporting groundfish by ELB. If the User is unable to submit 
commercial fishery information due to hardware, software, or Internet 
failure for a period longer than the required reporting time, contact 
NMFS Inseason Management at (907) 586-7228 for instructions. When the 
hardware, software, or Internet is restored, the User must enter this 
same information into the electronic logbook (ELB) or other NMFS-
approved software.
* * * * *
    (7) ELB data submission--(i) Catcher/processors. The operator of a 
catcher/processor must transmit ELB data directly to NMFS online 
through eLandings or other NMFS-approved data transmission mechanism, 
by 2400 hours, A.l.t., each day to record the previous day's hauls.
    (ii) Catcher vessels. The operator of a catcher vessel must 
transmit ELB data directly to NMFS as an email attachment or to NMFS 
through a shoreside processor, SFP, or mothership who received his/her 
groundfish catch. Through a prior agreement with the catcher vessel, 
the operator of a mothership or the manager of a shoreside processor or 
SFP will forward the ELB data transfer to NMFS as an email attachment 
within 24 hours of completing receipt of the catcher vessel's catch.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  679.21, paragraph (f)(12)(vii) is redesignated as (f)(13) 
and revised to read as follows.


Sec.  679.21  Prohibited species bycatch management.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (13) IPA Annual Report. The representative of each approved IPA 
must submit a written annual report to the Council at the address 
specified in Sec.  679.61(f). The Council will make the annual report 
available to the public.
    (i) Submission deadline. The IPA Annual Report must be postmarked 
or received by the Council no later than April 1, as follows
    (A) For paragraphs (f)(13)(ii)(A) through (D) of this section, in 
each year following the year in which the IPA is first effective;
    (B) For paragraphs (f)(13)(ii)(E) and (F) of this section, in 2013 
and each year thereafter.
    (ii) Information requirements. The IPA Annual Report must contain 
the following information:
    (A) A comprehensive description of the incentive measures in effect 
in the previous year;
    (B) A description of how these incentive measures affected 
individual vessels;
    (C) An evaluation of whether incentive measures were effective in 
achieving salmon savings beyond levels that would have been achieved in 
absence of the measures;
    (D) A description of any amendments to the terms of the IPA that 
were approved by NMFS since the last annual report and the reasons that 
the amendments to the IPA were made;
    (E) Sub-allocation to each participating vessel of the number of 
Chinook salmon PSC and amount of pollock (mt) at the start of each 
fishing season, and number of Chinook salmon PSC and amount of pollock 
(mt) caught at the end of each season; and
    (F) In-season transfers--(1) Transfers among entities. For in-
season transfer of Chinook salmon PSC or pollock among AFA 
cooperatives, entities eligible to receive Chinook salmon PSC 
allocations, or CDQ groups, provide the following information:
    (i) Date of transfer;
    (ii) Name of transferor;
    (iii) Name of transferee;
    (iv) Number of Chinook salmon PSC transferred; and
    (v) Amount of pollock (mt) transferred.
    (2) Transfers among IPA vessels. Transfers among vessels 
participating in the IPA provide the following information:
    (i) Date of transfer;
    (ii) Name of transferor;
    (iii) Name of transferee;
    (iv) Number of Chinook salmon PSC transferred; and
    (v) Amount pollock (mt) transferred.
* * * * *

0
7. Section 679.65 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  679.65  Bering Sea Chinook Salmon Bycatch Management Program 
Economic Data Report (Chinook salmon EDR program).

    (a) Requirements. NMFS developed the regulations under this section 
to implement the Chinook salmon EDR program. Additional regulations 
that implement specific portions of the Chinook salmon EDR program are 
set out under paragraphs (a)(1) through (4) of this section:
    (1) Daily fishing logbook (DFL), catcher vessel trawl gear. See 
Sec.  679.5(c)(4).
    (2) Electronic logbook (ELB), AFA and CDQ trawl catcher/processors. 
See Sec.  679.5(f) in combination with eLandings pursuant to Sec.  
679.5(e).
    (3) IPA Annual Report. See Sec.  679.21(f)(13).
    (4) AFA cooperative annual reporting requirement. See Sec.  
679.61(f)(2).
    (b) Chinook salmon PSC Compensated Transfer Report (CTR). (1) An 
owner or leaseholder of an AFA-permitted vessel and the representative 
of any entity that received an allocation of Chinook salmon PSC from 
NMFS must submit a CTR, Part 1, each calendar year, for the previous 
calendar year.
    (2) Any person who transferred Chinook salmon PSC allocation after 
January 20, and paid or received money for the transfer, must submit a 
completed CTR (Part 1 and Part 2) for the previous calendar year.
    (3) The CTR is available through the Internet on the NMFS Alaska 
Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting 
NMFS at (206) 526-6414.
    (4) Beginning in 2013, and each year thereafter, the completed CTR 
must be submitted electronically on or before 1700, A.l.t., on June 1, 
following the instructions on the form.
    (c) Vessel Fuel Survey. (1) An owner or leaseholder of an AFA-
permitted vessel must submit all completed Vessel Fuel Surveys for each 
vessel used to harvest pollock in the Bering Sea in a given year.
    (2) The Vessel Fuel Survey is available through the Internet on the 
NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by 
contacting NMFS at (206) 526-6414.
    (3) The owner or leaseholder annually must submit a completed 
Vessel Fuel Survey, electronically on or before 1700, A.l.t., on June 
1, 2013, and each year thereafter, following the instructions on the 
form.
    (d) Vessel Master Survey. (1) For any AFA-permitted vessel used to 
harvest pollock in the Bering Sea in the previous year:
    (i) The vessel master must complete the Vessel Master Survey, and 
the Vessel Master certification following the instructions on the form.
    (ii) An owner or leaseholder must complete the Vessel owner 
certification following instructions on the form.

[[Page 5396]]

    (iii) An owner or leaseholder must submit all Vessel Master 
Surveys, and each Vessel owner certification electronically on or 
before 1700, A.l.t., on June 1, 2013, and each year thereafter, 
following the instructions on the form.
    (2) The Vessel Master Survey is available through the Internet on 
the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or 
by contacting NMFS at (206) 526-6414.
    (e) Chinook salmon EDR verification and audit procedures. NMFS or 
the designated data collection agent (DDCA) will conduct verification 
of Chinook salmon EDR information with the persons identified at Sec.  
679.65(b)(1), (b)(2), (c)(1), (d)(1)(i), and (d)(1)(ii).
    (1) The persons identified at Sec.  679.65(b)(1), (b)(2), (c)(1), 
(d)(1)(i), and (d)(1)(ii) must respond to inquiries by NMFS and its 
DDCA for purposes of the CTR, within 20 days of the date of issuance of 
the inquiry.
    (2) The persons identified at Sec.  679.65(b)(1) and (b)(2) must 
provide copies of additional data to facilitate verification by NMFS 
and its DDCA for purposes of the CTR. These paper or electronic copies 
may include, but are not limited to, previously audited or reviewed 
financial statements, worksheets, tax returns, invoices, receipts, and 
other original documents substantiating the data submitted.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2012-2361 Filed 2-2-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P