[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 62 (Friday, March 30, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 19226-19227]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-7718]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XB043


Identification of Nations Whose Fishing Vessels Are Engaged in 
Illegal, Unreported, or Unregulated Fishing

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

ACTION: Request for information.

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SUMMARY: NMFS is seeking information regarding nations whose vessels 
are engaged in illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) fishing, 
bycatch of protected living marine resources (PLMRs), and/or fishing 
activities in waters beyond any national jurisdiction that target or 
incidentally catch sharks. Such information will be reviewed for the 
purposes of the identification of nations pursuant to the High Seas 
Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act (Moratorium Protection Act).

DATES: Information should be received on or before April 30, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Information should be submitted to NMFS Office of 
International Affairs, Attn.: MSRA Information, 1315 East-West Highway, 
Silver Spring, MD 20910. Email address: IUU.PLMR.Sharks@noaa.gov or fax 
(301) 713-2313.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristin Rusello, 301-427-8376.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006 (MSRA) amended the 
Moratorium Protection Act (16 U.S.C.1826d-k) to require actions be 
taken by the United States to strengthen international fishery 
management organizations and address IUU fishing and bycatch of PLMRs. 
The Shark Conservation Act of 2010 (S.850) further amended the 
Moratorium Protection Act by requiring that actions be taken by the 
United States to strengthen shark conservation.
    Specifically, the Moratorium Protection Act requires the Secretary 
of Commerce (Secretary) to identify in a biennial report to Congress 
those nations whose fishing vessels are engaged, or have been engaged 
at any point during the preceding two years, in IUU fishing. In this 
context, IUU fishing is defined (16 U.S.C. 1826j; 50 CFR 300.200-201) 
as:
    (1) Fishing activities that violate conservation and management 
measures required under an international fishery management agreement 
to which the United States is a party, including catch limits or 
quotas, capacity restrictions, and bycatch reduction requirements;
    (2) Overfishing of fish stocks shared by the United States, for 
which there are no applicable international conservation or management 
measures or in areas with no applicable international fishery 
management organization or agreement, that has adverse impacts on such 
stocks; and
    (3) Fishing activity that has an adverse impact on seamounts, 
hydrothermal vents, and cold water corals located beyond national 
jurisdiction, for which there are no applicable conservation or 
management measures or in areas with no applicable international 
fishery management organization or agreement.
    In addition, the Secretary must identify in the biennial report 
those nations whose fishing vessels are engaged, or have been engaged 
in the previous calendar year in fishing activities either (1) in 
waters beyond any national jurisdiction that result in bycatch of a 
PLMR, or (2) beyond the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) that result 
in bycatch of a PLMR shared by the United States. In this context, 
PLMRs are defined as non-target fish, sea turtles, sharks, or marine 
mammals that are protected under U.S. law or international agreement, 
including the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, 
the Shark Finning Prohibition Act, and the Convention on International 
Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. PLMRs do not 
include species, except sharks, managed under the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Atlantic Tunas Convention 
Act, or any international fishery management agreement. A list of 
species considered as PLMRs for this purpose is available online at: 
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/docs/list_of_protected_lmr_act_022610.pdf.
    Furthermore, the Shark Conservation Act requires that the Secretary 
of Commerce identify nations in a biennial report to Congress whose 
fishing vessels are engaged, or have been engaged during the calendar 
year previous to the biennial report in fishing activities or practices 
in waters beyond any national

[[Page 19227]]

jurisdiction that target or incidentally catch sharks and the nation 
has not adopted a regulatory program to provide for the conservation of 
sharks, including measures to prohibit removal of any of the fins of a 
shark (including the tail) and discarding the carcass of the shark at 
sea, that is comparable to that of the United States, taking into 
account different conditions.
    The second biennial report to Congress was submitted in January 
2011 and is available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/msa2007/docs/biennia_report_to_congress.pdf. The report identified six nations 
for IUU fishing.
    The Moratorium Protection Act also requires the Secretary to 
establish procedures to certify whether each nation identified in the 
biennial report is taking the necessary actions to address IUU fishing, 
bycatch of PLMRs, and/or shark catch. If an identified nation fails to 
take such action and therefore fails to receive a positive 
certification, the fishing vessels of that nation would be subject to 
trade restrictive measures under the High Seas Driftnet Fisheries 
Enforcement Act (16 U.S.C. 1826a). Such measures could include denial 
of entry into U.S. ports and import prohibitions on certain fisheries 
products. On January 12, 2011, NMFS published a final rule (76 FR 2011) 
to implement both the identification and certification procedures for 
IUU fishing and bycatch of PLMRs. That final rule is available online 
at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-01-12/pdf/2011-507.pdf. The 
rule provides information regarding the identification process and how 
the information received will be used in that process.
    In fulfillment of its requirements under the Moratorium Protection 
Act, NMFS is preparing the third biennial report to Congress, which 
will identify nations whose fishing vessels are engaged in IUU fishing 
or fishing practices that result in bycatch of PLMRs or shark catch in 
waters beyond any national jurisdiction without a regulatory program 
comparable to the United States. NMFS is soliciting information from 
the public that could assist in its identification of nations engaged 
in activities that meet the criteria described above for IUU fishing, 
PLMR bycatch, or shark catch in waters beyond any national 
jurisdiction. Some types of information that may prove useful to NMFS 
include:
     Documentation (photographs, etc.) of IUU activity or 
fishing vessels engaged in PLMR bycatch or catch of sharks on the high 
seas;
     Fishing vessel records;
     Trade data supporting evidence that a nation's vessels are 
engaged in shark catch;
     Reports from off-loading facilities, port-side government 
officials, enforcement agents, military personnel, port inspectors, 
transshipment vessel workers and fish importers;
     Sightings of vessels on RFMO IUU vessel lists;
     RFMO catch documents and statistical document programs;
     Nation's domestic regulations for bycatch and shark 
conservation and management;
     Appropriate certification programs;
     Action or inaction at the national level, resulting in 
non-compliance with RFMO conservation and management measures, such as 
exceeding quotas or catch limits, or failing to report or misreporting 
data of the nation's fishing activities; and
     Reports from governments, international organizations, or 
nongovernmental organizations.
    NMFS will consider all available information, as appropriate, when 
making a determination whether or not to identify a particular nation 
in the biennial report to Congress. As stated previously, NMFS is 
limited in the data it may use as the basis of a nation's 
identification. This information includes IUU fishing activity in 2011 
and 2012, bycatch of PLMRs in 2012, and shark fishing activity in 
waters beyond any national jurisdiction in 2012. Information should be 
as specific as possible as this will assist NMFS in its review. NMFS 
will consider several criteria when determining whether information is 
appropriate for use in making identifications, including:
     Corroboration of information;
     Whether multiple sources have been able to provide 
information in support of an identification;
     The methodology used to collect the information;
     Specificity of the information provided;
     Susceptibility of the information to falsification and 
alteration; and
     Credibility of the individuals or organization providing 
the information.

    Dated: March 26, 2012.
Cheri McCarty,
Acting Director, Office of International Affairs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-7718 Filed 3-29-12; 8:45 am]
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