[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 184 (Friday, September 21, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 58507-58509]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-23364]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 120321209-2162-01]
RIN 0648-BC08


Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Mackerel, 
Squid, and Butterfish Fisheries; Framework Adjustment 5

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 to implement Framework Adjustment 5 
to the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Fishery Management Plan 
(MSB FMP), which was developed and adopted by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery 
Management Council and submitted to NMFS for approval. This action 
proposes broadening the scope of individuals and entities approved to 
complete vessel fish hold capacity certifications for vessels issued 
Tier 1 and 2 limited access Atlantic mackerel permits.

[[Page 58508]]


DATES: Public comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern 
standard time, on October 22, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Copies of supporting documents used by the Mid-Atlantic 
Fishery Management Council, including the Framework Document, are 
available from: Dr. Christopher M. Moore, Executive Director, Mid-
Atlantic Fishery Management Council, Suite 201, 800 N. State Street, 
Dover, DE 19901. The Framework Document is also accessible via the 
Internet at http://www.nero.noaa.gov.
    You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2012-0103, by any 
one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal www.regulations.gov. To 
submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, first click the ``submit a 
comment'' icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2012-0103 in the keyword search. 
Locate the document you wish to comment on from the resulting list and 
click on the ``Submit a Comment'' icon on the right of that line.
     Mail to NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, 55 Great Republic 
Dr. Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope ``Comments 
on MSB Framework Adjustment 5.''
     Fax: (978) 281-9135, Attn: Lindsey Feldman;
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure that the comments are received, documented, and 
considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public 
record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the 
sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will 
accept anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you 
wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lindsey Feldman, Fishery Management 
Specialist, 978-675-2179, fax 978-281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Amendment 11 to the MSB FMP (76 FR 68642, November 7, 2011) 
implemented a three tiered mackerel limited access program in which all 
qualifiers were required to have possessed a valid permit on March 21, 
2007. A vessel must have landed at least 400,000 lb (181.44 mt) in any 
one year 1997-2005 to qualify for a Tier 1 permit; at least 100,000 lb 
(45.36 mt) in any one year March 1, 1994-December 31, 2005, to qualify 
for a Tier 2 permit; or at least 1,000 lb (0.45 mt) in any one year 
March 1, 1994-December 31, 2005, to qualify for a Tier 3 permit. Trip 
limits for each tier are established annually through the specification 
process. The trip limits approved for 2012 are unlimited for Tier 1; 
135,000 lb (61.23 mt) for Tier 2; and 100,000 lb (45.36 mt) for Tier 3.
    The tiered limited access program went into effect on March 1, 
2012, and permit applications are being accepted through February 28, 
2013. Vessel owners whose vessels are issued Tier 1 and 2 mackerel 
permits (the tiers with the highest access) are required to obtain a 
certification of the capacity of the vessel's fish hold(s). The final 
rule implementing Amendment 11 provided that a fish hold capacity 
certification must be made by an individual credentialed as a Certified 
Marine Surveyor with a fishing specialty by the National Association of 
Marine Surveyors, or by an individual credentialed as an Accredited 
Marine Surveyor with a fishing specialty by the Society of Accredited 
Marine Surveyors. Vessel owners who have received a certification of 
their vessel's fish hold capacity by the Maine State Sealer of Weights 
and Measures also meet the fish hold capacity requirement. Vessel 
owners are required to submit documentation in support of their 
vessel's certified fish hold capacity to NMFS by December 31, 2012, or 
their first vessel replacement or upgrade, whichever comes first. The 
certified fish hold capacity will be considered a new baseline 
specification to control future vessel upgrades for vessels with Tier 1 
and 2 mackerel permits. In addition to limiting vessel upgrades to 10 
percent above the baseline gross registered tonnage, net tonnage, and 
length overall and 20 percent above the baseline horsepower, future 
upgrades to Tier 1 and 2 mackerel permits will be limited to 10 percent 
above the certified baseline fish hold capacity. Council staff and the 
Council developed the original credentialing requirements through 
background research, advisory panel meetings, input from several marine 
surveyors in the Mid-Atlantic and New England, and input during several 
rounds of public comment on the amendment. Since publication of the 
final rule for Amendment 11, two marine professionals commented that 
additional qualified individuals or entities should be approved to 
complete fish hold capacity certifications. Industry representatives 
suggested that individuals other than those with the credentials 
approved in Amendment 11 may be qualified to complete fish hold 
capacity certifications. To address this concern, the Council adopted 
Framework 5 on April 12, 2012, and submitted it to NMFS on April 18, 
2012, for review and approval.
    This action proposes revising the fish hold capacity certification 
requirement to allow additional individuals or entities beyond those 
with credentials approved in Amendment 11 to complete fish hold 
capacity certifications. This framework action would expand the range 
of individuals and entities that are approved to complete hold capacity 
certifications and allow them also to be completed by employees or 
agents of a classification society approved by the Coast Guard pursuant 
to 46 U.S.C. 3316(c), Maine State Sealer of Weights and Measures, a 
professionally-licensed and/or registered Marine Engineer, or a Naval 
Architect with a professional engineer license. NMFS invites the public 
to comment on whether this expanded list is too broad or there are 
other individuals who should be added to this list because they have 
credentials reflecting their competence to make a fish hold 
certification of which NMFS is currently unaware. In addition, we 
invite public comment on whether there is a need for additional 
mechanisms to ensure that individuals and/or entities are qualified to 
perform fish hold capacity certifications. This list could be expanded 
in the final rule to include such individuals if NMFS determines it has 
a reasonable basis upon which to assess an individual's competence to 
make a fish hold certification. This action also proposes extending the 
date that vessels are required to submit fish hold capacity 
measurements by one year. Due to a delay in rulemaking, vessels with 
mackerel Tier 1 and 2 permits would be required to submit fish hold 
capacity measurements by December 31, 2013, instead of December 31, 
2012.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is 
consistent with the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, other 
provision of the

[[Page 58509]]

Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Council for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
For the reasons described below, an initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required for this framework action and none has been 
prepared.
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business in 
the commercial fishing sector as a firm with receipts (gross revenues) 
of up to $4.0 million. Party/charter small businesses are included in 
NAICS code 487210 and are defined as a firm with gross receipts of up 
to $7 million. Depending on the year, all 74 of the vessels required to 
complete hold certifications may qualify as small businesses, or a few 
may be above the 4.0 million dollar threshold depending on their 
landings in a given year. However, this action will not negatively 
impact any fishery participants, regardless of size.
    Amendment 11 analyzed the impacts from requiring Tier 1 and 2 
mackerel vessels to obtain fish hold capacity measurements from an 
individual credentialed as a Certified Marine Surveyor with a fishing 
specialty by the National Association of Marine Surveyors, from an 
individual credentialed as an Accredited Marine Surveyor with a fishing 
specialty by the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, or with 
certification by the Maine State Sealer of Weights and Measures. This 
action proposes to broaden the scope of individuals who are approved to 
complete the fish hold capacity measurement, but does not have any 
impact on small entities outside of the scope of those analyzed in 
Amendment 11. Although vessel owners will have more flexibility for 
obtaining a fish hold capacity measurement completed by a qualified 
individual under this action, this action is not expected to result in 
any change in the cost associated with obtaining the certification.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: September 17, 2012.
Alan D. Risenhoover,
Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, performing the functions and 
duties of the Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

    1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

    2. In Sec.  648.4, paragraph (a)(5) (iii)(H)(1) is revised to read 
as follows:


Sec.  648.4  Vessel permits.

    (a) * * *
    (5) * * *
    (iii) * * *
    (H) Vessel baseline specification. (1) In addition to the baseline 
specifications specified in paragraph (a)(1)(i)(H) of this section, the 
volumetric fish hold capacity of a vessel at the time it was initially 
issued a Tier 1 or Tier 2 limited access mackerel permit will be 
considered a baseline specification. The fish hold capacity measurement 
must be certified by one of the following qualified individuals or 
entities: An individual credentialed as a Certified Marine Surveyor 
with a fishing specialty by the National Association of Marine 
Surveyors (NAMS); an individual credentialed as an Accredited Marine 
Surveyor with a fishing specialty by the Society of Accredited Marine 
Surveyors (SAMS); employees or agents of a classification society 
approved by the Coast Guard pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 3316(c); the Maine 
State Sealer of Weights and Measures; a professionally-licensed and/or 
registered Marine Engineer; or a Naval Architect with a professional 
engineer license. Owners whose vessels qualify for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 
mackerel permit must submit a certified fish hold capacity measurement 
to NMFS by December 31, 2013, or with the first vessel replacement 
application after a vessel qualifies for a Tier 1 or Tier 2 mackerel 
permit, whichever is sooner. The fish hold capacity measurement 
submitted to NMFS as required in this paragraph (a)(5)(iii) must 
include a signed certification by the individual or entity that 
completed the measurement, specifying how they meet the definition of a 
qualified individual or entity.
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[FR Doc. 2012-23364 Filed 9-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P