[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 55 (Thursday, March 21, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17341-17348]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06413]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 680

[Docket No. 120806311-3213-01]
RIN 0648-BC25


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea 
and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: NMFS issues a proposed rule that would implement Amendment 42 
to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and 
Tanner Crabs (FMP). If approved, these regulations would revise the 
annual economic data reports (EDRs) currently required of participants 
in the Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program) fisheries. The EDRs 
include cost, revenue, ownership, and employment data that the North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS use to study the 
economic impacts of the CR Program on harvesters, processors, and 
affected communities. This proposed action is necessary to eliminate 
redundant reporting requirements, standardize reporting across 
participants, and reduce participants' costs associated with the data 
collection. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives 
of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
(Magnuson-Stevens Act), the FMP, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than April 22, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by FDMS Docket Number 
NOAA-NMFS-2012-0111, by any one of the following methods.
     Electronic submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at http://www.regulations.gov. To submit comments via the e-Rulemaking Portal, 
first click the ``submit a comment'' icon, then enter NOAA-NMFS-2012-
0111 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 
that line.
     Mail: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Mail comments to P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802-1668.
     Fax: Address written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant 
Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region 
NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. Fax comments to 907-586-7557.
     Hand delivery to the Federal Building: Address written 
comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, 
Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region NMFS, Attn: Ellen 
Sebastian. Deliver comments to 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, 
AK.
    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 http://www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying

[[Page 17342]]

information (e.g., name, address, telephone number) 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 portable document file (PDF) formats only.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
proposed rule may be submitted to NMFS at the above address and by 
email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202-395-7285.
    Electronic copies of Amendment 42, the Regulatory Impact Review/
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RIR/IRFA), and the categorical 
exclusion prepared for this action--as well as the Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) prepared for the CR Program--may be obtained from 
http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The environmental impacts of the CR Program 
were analyzed in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries Final 
EIS. Due to the nature of this action, it is not predicted to have 
additional impacts beyond those identified in the EIS. Therefore, NMFS 
determined that this proposed action was categorically excluded from 
the need to prepare an environmental assessment under the National 
Environmental Policy Act.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Palmigiano, 907-586-7228 or 
karen.palmigiano@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The king and Tanner crab fisheries in the 
exclusive economic zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) 
are managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the North Pacific 
Fishery Management Council (Council) under the Magnuson-Stevens Act as 
amended by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-
199, section 801). The Secretary of Commerce approved Amendments 18 and 
19 to the FMP on November 19, 2004. NMFS published final regulations 
implementing the Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program) in 2005 (70 
FR 10174, March 2, 2005). Regulations implementing the FMP, including 
the CR Program, are located at 50 CFR part 680.

Background

    The CR Program is a limited-access system that allocates crab 
managed under the FMP among harvesters, processors, and coastal 
communities. Each year, the quota share (QS) issued to a person yields 
an amount of individual fishing quota (IFQ), which is a permit 
providing an exclusive harvesting privilege for a specific amount of 
raw crab pounds, in a specific crab fishery, in a given season. The 
size of each annual IFQ allocation is based on the amount of QS held by 
a person in relation to the total QS pool in a crab fishery. For 
example, a person holding QS equaling 1 percent of the QS pool in a 
crab fishery would receive IFQ to harvest 1 percent of the annual total 
allowable catch (TAC) in that crab fishery.
    As part of the CR Program, the Council recommended and NMFS 
implemented a comprehensive economic data collection program. The CR 
Program requires participants to complete an annual economic data 
report (EDR) based on harvesting and processing activities for that 
fishing season. The Council and NMFS use the EDR to assess the success 
of the CR Program and develop amendments to the FMP necessary to 
mitigate any unintended consequences of the CR Program. An annual EDR 
is currently required for four categories of participants in the CR 
Program fisheries: catcher vessels, catcher/processors, shoreside 
processors, and stationary floating crab processors.
    The information collected in the EDR is intended to provide 
comprehensive data to assist the Council and analysts in understanding 
the costs and benefits of the CR Program on harvesters' and processors' 
crab operations. Specifically, the Council and analysts use the data to 
examine changes in usage of the crab, excess harvesting and processing 
capacity, economic returns, variable costs and revenues, economic 
efficiency, and the stability of harvesters, processors and coastal 
communities. Data submission is mandatory (see regulations at Sec.  
680.6(a)). The EDR Program is administered by NMFS through contracts 
with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC). NMFS 
collects fees from CR Program participants to recover the costs of 
administering the EDR (see regulations at Sec.  680.44 for cost 
recovery fee collection under the CR Program). Section 304(d)(2) of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act requires that NMFS collect fees necessary to 
recover the actual costs directly related to data collection of limited 
access privilege programs, such as the CR Program.

Need for Action

    Since the beginning of the CR Program, EDRs containing cost, 
revenue, ownership, and employment data have been collected by NMFS 
annually from the harvesting and processing sectors. This comprehensive 
approach to collecting data was implemented because the data collection 
programs in place at the time the CR Program began did not collect 
employment, cost, and sales information necessary to adequately examine 
how processing plants and vessels were being affected by the 
implementation of the CR Program. Collection of these data could help 
the Council understand the economic performance of crab fishermen, 
determine how this performance has changed after rationalization, and 
assess what aspects of these changes are specifically attributable to 
crab rationalization.
    Beginning in 2007, NMFS, the Council, the PSMFC, and industry 
participants initiated a multi-year review of the quality of data 
collected through the EDRs. Overall, this review process concluded that 
roughly one-third of the data collected through the annual EDRs are of 
high quality, one-third have quality limitations that could limit their 
utility and these concerns would require analysts to adjust their 
analytical methods and interpretations to accommodate these concerns, 
and one-third of the data were deemed not reliable for use in analysis. 
Additional detail on the EDR data quality review process is provided in 
Appendix C of the RIR/IRFA and is not repeated here.
    In 2010, the Council initiated an analysis to modify the EDR based 
on the results of its data quality review process and public comment 
received during the Council's 5-year review of the CR Program. As part 
of this analysis, the Council considered input from a Center for 
Independent Experts review of the data collection program that was 
completed in October 2011 (see Section 2.4.3 of the RIR/IRFA for 
additional detail). In February 2012, the Council recommended Amendment 
42 to the FMP to modify the EDR. This proposed rule would implement the 
Council's recommended changes to the EDR under Amendment 42. The 
proposed modifications to the current EDRs are presented in the RIR/
IRFA for this action (see Section 2.2. of the RIR/IRFA) and summarized 
below.
    Following the Council's recommendation of Amendment 42, additional 
industry outreach and Council review of the proposed EDR

[[Page 17343]]

revisions was carried out to ensure that the revisions were compatible 
with industry recordkeeping procedures and consistent with the intent 
of the Council recommendations. In October 2012, the Council reviewed 
the three proposed EDR forms developed for this action and the draft 
Paperwork Reduction Act submission. The Council expressed its support 
that NMFS go forward with this proposed rule.
    The first concern identified by the Council with the current EDRs 
is inaccurate and inconsistently reported data. For example, the 
current processor EDRs require the reporting of labor information for 
each crab fishery, including average processing positions, which is 
intended to provide analysts with information concerning the normal 
processing staff for a processor. However, the Council and NMFS 
determined the reported average processing positions do not provide an 
accurate estimate of the number of staff used, as staff may be 
reassigned to non-crab tasks with changing plant needs. In some cases, 
a plant may switch from one production line to two lines, with large 
changes in the number of staff. Since instructions provide no reporting 
directions for these circumstances, reporting may be inconsistent 
across processors. Therefore, the Council suggested removing this data-
reporting requirement, as inaccurately or inconsistently reported data 
limits its usefulness in analysis.
    In addition to data quality limitations, several elements of the 
data collected under the CR Program are currently collected under other 
data collection programs. For example, the requirement for catcher 
vessels to report their fishing activity, including fish ticket 
numbers, days fishing, and days transiting and offloading, by crab 
fishery are also collected by the State of Alaska. The Council and NMFS 
agree these elements are useful for examining operational efficiencies; 
however, each of these elements is individually available through other 
data collection sources. Further information on the uses and possible 
shortcomings of each data element can be found in Section 2.5 and 
Appendix C of the RIR/IRFA.
    In some cases, data collected through the EDR does not duplicate 
data collected under other collection programs, and so the EDR data 
provides the Council and NMFS with additional information. However, in 
the majority of cases, the data collected in the EDRs are already 
collected under other programs. As a result, submitters must submit the 
same data more than once, and analysts are required to analyze two 
separate sets of data for the same variables.
    Finally, the cost to industry, both directly through data 
submission and indirectly through cost recovery funding of program 
administration, exceeds the estimates of administering and complying 
with the EDR that NMFS provided in the initial analysis of the CR 
Program (see ADDRESSES). NMFS' administrative costs associated with the 
current EDRs result from the production and distribution of data 
collection forms, processing of completed forms, data entry, data 
verification, and data management. These costs are then passed onto CR 
Program participants annually through the cost recovery fee system.
    Since the EDR Program's inception, NMFS' associated administrative 
costs and fees have decreased. NOAA continues to work with the Council 
and PSFMC to streamline the data collection and reduce reporting 
errors. NMFS expects these continuing efforts and the revisions to the 
EDR proposed in this action to decrease costs further.
    For several reasons, the cost of reporting associated with the 
current crab EDRs is more than what NMFS originally estimated when the 
EDR program was developed. First, vessel owners and processors are 
required to consult both annual fishing (i.e., days fishing, days 
traveling, and days processing) and financial (i.e., landings by share 
type, sales by species, and fuel costs) records, which often do not 
follow the same format. Initial estimates of time required to 
accurately complete an EDR was 7.5 hours per vessel. In 2012, during 
public testimony, the Council was advised that for the current EDR the 
actual time required to complete the forms was approximately 45 to 50 
hours. The modifications proposed by this rule would reduce duplicative 
reporting, as well as the time and costs required to complete an EDR.
    NMFS proposes changes to the annual crab EDRs that would result in 
the removal or modification of several reporting requirements. One 
major change would be the combination of the shoreside processor and 
floating processor EDR forms. There is currently a form for shoreside 
processor data submission and another for floating processor data 
submission. The forms are essentially the same, and the Council 
believed no information would be lost if the forms were combined into 
one form. As a result, there would be three separate EDR forms, rather 
than the current four.
    The information below summarizes the changes that are proposed to 
each of the three EDR forms. Each table displays the information that 
NMFS would continue to collect from each submitter (catcher vessels, 
processors, and catcher/processors). For a more comprehensive 
description of what information has been removed or modified from the 
current forms and the reasons for the modifications and deletions, 
please see Section 2.5 Analysis of Alternatives in the RIR/IRFA.

Annual Catcher Vessel Crab EDR

                Table 1--Proposed Catcher Vessel Crab EDR
    [The table below lists all elements that will be collected in the
                      proposed catcher vessel EDR]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deliveries and revenues......  Landings by share type (pounds) by crab
                                fishery.
                               Landings by share type (revenue) by crab
                                fishery.
                               Market-Value and Negotiated-Price
                                transfers of quota by share type
                                (pounds) by crab fishery.
                               Market-Value and Negotiated-Price
                                transfers of quota by share type (cost)
                                by crab fishery.
Crew Labor Costs.............  Payments to crew by crab fishery.
                               Payments to captain by crab fishery.
                               Health Insurance and Retirement Benefits--
                                available for captain and crew.
Vessel Operating Expenses....  Food and Provisions--total cost by crab
                                fishery.
                               Bait purchased--total cost by crab
                                fishery.
                               Fuel consumed--gallons by crab fishery.
                               Fuel cost, annual--gallons and cost
                                aggregated for all fisheries.
                               Labor cost--all activities aggregated
                                across all activities.
                               Tendering.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 17344]]

    Much of the data requested on the current annual catcher vessel 
Crab EDR is available through other sources (e.g., eLandings data 
collected by NMFS contains information on the specific quota accounts 
debited during a landing). Further, the quality of some data currently 
collected is poor and results in limited usefulness of the data for 
analyses (e.g., estimates of bait used are known to be inaccurate and 
unreliable). The Council recommended scaling back the data collection 
in the EDR, including eliminating the data collected in some categories 
so that only data that could be accurately and reliably collected would 
be required (See Table 1).
    The proposed catcher vessel EDR would substantially decrease the 
amount of data collected in comparison to the current EDR. The proposed 
EDR would eliminate the reporting of fishing days, transiting days, and 
shipyard days as these can all be obtained from other data sets. It 
would omit any collection of information about overall vessel 
activities, such as days at sea and gross revenues. The EDR would 
continue to collect tendering and information associated with labor 
costs because those data are not available through other sources and 
were determined to be reliable in the RIR/IRFA prepared for this 
proposed action (Table 1).
    The proposed catcher vessel EDR would continue the collection of 
revenue data, including landings by share type by crab fishery (pounds 
and revenue), and market-value or negotiated-price transfers of IFQ and 
community development quota (CDQ) received for harvest on the vessel 
during the calendar year, by fishery and harvest quota permit type 
(pounds and revenue). Data on payments to captains and crew would still 
be collected by fishery. Crew license and Commercial Fisheries Entry 
Commission (CFEC) permit numbers would also continue to be collected to 
facilitate analysis of demographic distribution of crew benefits. The 
proposed EDR would also require the reporting of vessel costs such as 
bait, food, and provisions purchased by crab fishery. This is slightly 
different from the current forms, which require submitters to include 
the quantity of these items used versus what is purchased. This new 
data on the quantity of items purchased would provide some 
understanding of expenditures and would be more easily reported by 
submitters than the quantity of items used.

Annual Shoreside Processor/Stationary Floating Processor Crab EDR

    Table 2--Proposed Annual Shoreside Processor/Stationary Floating
                           Processor Crab EDR
    [The table below lists all elements that will be collected in the
                    combined proposed processor EDR]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Sales to affiliates/non-affiliates by
                                species (product/process) by crab
                                fishery.
                               Sales to affiliates/non-affiliates by
                                species (box size and finished pounds)
                                by crab fishery (use box size
                                categories).
                               Sales to affiliates/non-affiliates by
                                species (revenues) by crab fishery.
                               Custom processing by product/process by
                                crab fishery (include pounds raw and
                                pounds of product).
                               Custom processing revenues by crab
                                fishery.
Labor........................  Man-hours by crab fishery.
                               Total processing labor payments by crab
                                fishery.
                               Crab processing employees by residence by
                                crab fishery.
Custom Processing Services     Reporting requirement--all companies
 Purchased.                     contracting custom processing must
                                report.
                               Raw pounds by crab fishery.
                               Product and processes by crab fishery.
                               Finished pounds by crab fishery.
                               Processing fee by crab fishery.
Crab Purchases...............  Raw crab purchases by fishery (IFQ type)
                                by crab fishery.
                               Raw crab purchases by fishery (pounds) by
                                crab fishery.
                               Raw crab purchases by fishery (gross
                                payments) by crab fishery.
Crab Processing Costs........  Market-Value and Negotiated-Price
                                transfers of IPQ by (pounds and monetary
                                cost) crab fishery.
General Plant Costs..........  Foreman, managers, other employees and
                                salaries aggregated across all
                                fisheries.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The proposed Annual Shoreside Processor/Stationary Floating 
Processor Crab EDR (Processor EDR) would combine the Annual Shoreside 
Processor Crab EDR and the Annual Stationary Floating Processor Crab 
EDR into a processor EDR and would eliminate several elements from the 
current data collections. Most of the deleted elements represent 
production data, which are similar to data found within the State of 
Alaska's Commercial Operators Annual Report (COAR). Crab processors 
must submit the COAR annually and report processing and plant costs in 
it. The production data that is not available through other sources 
could be estimated by NMFS based on landings data. Therefore, the 
proposed exclusion of these data from the processor EDR would not 
affect the analysis of EDR data and may decrease the submitter's time 
burden required to fill in the form. See Table 2 for a description of 
the elements that would be retained and those that would be modified in 
the proposed processor EDR.
    Revenue data collected under the proposed processor EDR would 
remain essentially the same. These data allow analysts to distinguish 
crab sales to affiliated entities from sales to unaffiliated entities, 
which is not currently available through other data sources. However, 
the proposed processor EDR would not require sales data by crab size or 
grade. Currently, those elements appear to be inconsistently reported 
and do not appear to correlate with price differences to date. Packing 
box sizes would continue to be reported by categories. Revenues from 
custom processing (an arrangement under which a person processes crab 
on behalf of another) would be added, as that data is currently 
unavailable from other sources and may provide insights into the costs 
of processing and markets for custom services in the fisheries. Unlike 
the current processor EDRs, the proposed processor EDR provides for the 
reporting of processed output and revenue received for custom 
processing of CR crab performed for other crab buyers or registered 
crab receivers (RCR) for each CR fishery in which custom processing was 
provided.
    Reporting of labor data (i.e., man-hours, total processing labor 
payments, and crab processing employees by residence) would not change 
from the

[[Page 17345]]

status quo. Custom processing services purchased would be reported with 
some differences from the status quo (i.e., excluding crab size and 
grade and box size). Crab purchases by share type would still be 
collected. This data is not available from other data sources.

 Annual Catcher/Processor Crab EDR

           Table 3--Proposed Annual Catcher Processor Crab EDR
   [The table below lists all elements that would be collected in the
                    proposed catcher/processor EDR.]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deliveries and revenues--for   Landings by share type (pounds) by crab
 operations as a catcher        fishery.
 vessel.                       Landings by share type (revenues) by crab
                                fishery.
Revenues.....................  Sales to affiliates/non-affiliates by
                                species (product/process) by crab
                                fishery.
                               Sales to affiliates/non-affiliates by
                                species (box size and finished pounds)
                                by crab fishery (use box size
                                categories).
                               Sales to affiliates/non-affiliates by
                                species (revenues) by crab fishery--FOB
                                Alaska.
                               Custom processing by species/product/
                                process by crab fishery (include pounds
                                raw and pounds of product).
                               Custom processing services provided by
                                crab fishery.
IFQ..........................  Market-Value and Negotiated-Price
                                transfers of quota by share type
                                (pounds) by crab fishery.
                               Market-Value and Negotiated-Price
                                transfers of quota by share type (cost)
                                by crab fishery.
Crew.........................  Payments to captain by crab fishery.
                               Payments to harvest crew by crab fishery
                                (aggregated across harvesting and
                                processing crew).
                               Crew license number/CFEC permit number
                                aggregated across all crab fisheries.
Custom Processing Services     Custom processing services purchased (raw
 Purchased.                     pounds) by crab fishery.
                               Custom processing services purchased
                                (product and process) by crab fishery.
                               Custom processing services purchased
                                (finished pounds) by crab fishery.
                               Custom processing services purchased
                                (processing fee) by crab fishery.
Crab purchases...............  Raw crab purchases by fishery (IFQ type)
                                by crab fishery.
                               Raw crab purchases by fishery (pounds) by
                                crab fishery.
                               Raw crab purchases by fishery (gross
                                payments) by crab fishery.
Crab Costs...................  Bait used (species/pounds by fishery)
                                purchases by crab fishery.
                               Bait used (species/cost by fishery)
                                purchases by crab fishery.
                               Fuel used--gallons by crab fishery
                                (gallons only).
                               Food and provisions (cost) purchases by
                                crab fishery.
                               Other crew expenses purchases by crab
                                fishery.
                               Market-Value and Negotiated-Price
                                transfers of IPQ by (pounds and monetary
                                cost) crab fishery.
Vessel Costs.................  Foremen, managers, other employees and
                                salaries aggregated across all
                                fisheries.
                               Fuel--gallons and cost aggregated for all
                                fisheries.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Catcher/processors participate in both harvesting and processing. 
Therefore, the proposed catcher/processor EDR includes elements for the 
collection of harvesting and processing information.
    Much like the proposed Annual Catcher Vessel Crab EDR, the proposed 
catcher/processor EDR would eliminate the reporting of fishing data 
(i.e. days in the fishery, days fishing, days traveling, and days 
processing), as well as production information (i.e. raw crab 
processed, crab size and grade, and finished pounds) (Table 3). 
Analysts would have access to this information through other sources. A 
new section would be added for deliveries and revenues by share type 
when operating as a catcher vessel. Most catcher/processors are 
unlikely to operate exclusively as a catcher vessel, but in instances 
when a catcher/processor operates as a catcher vessel, these data could 
be important to understanding total catcher vessel revenues in the 
fishery.
    Several elements would remain, including sales by species by 
packing box size to affiliated entities and unaffiliated entities, 
custom processing revenue and production, payments to captains and 
crews, crew license, CFEC permit numbers and residence information, 
custom processing services purchased, and crab purchases by share type. 
All this information provides data that is not found in other data 
collections and is useful to analysts when assessing the CR Program 
(see Table 3).
    Most crab fishing and vessel costs would be omitted. Bait purchases 
and food and provision purchases would continue to be reported by 
fishery. Gear purchases (i.e. pots) would not be collected, because pot 
registration information together with pot pull information, which are 
collected through other programs, provide analysts with some insights 
into changes in pot usage. Fuel use would be estimated for each 
fishery, as well as annual fuel costs. Processing data (i.e., broker 
fees, repackaging costs, storage costs, and processing and packing 
materials) would be eliminated. In most cases, these data are not 
available on a fishery-by-fishery basis and, therefore, are limited in 
their usefulness.
    Vessel cost data (e.g., insurance premiums, repairs and 
maintenance, and investments) would be eliminated as much of the 
current data suffer from data quality limitations. Fishing and 
processing activities along with product revenues can be estimated with 
existing data from other sources, such as the eLandings System or the 
State's COAR report.

Other Regulatory Changes

    This action proposes to remove the historical EDR requirements from 
regulations at Sec.  680.6 because they are obsolete. The historical 
EDR regulations at Sec.  680.6(a) for catcher vessels, Sec.  680.6(c) 
for catcher/processors, Sec.  680.6(e) for stationary floating crab 
processors, and Sec.  680.6(g) for shoreside processors describe 
detailed requirements on historical data submission that are no longer 
necessary because the application deadline has expired and those forms 
have already been submitted. The historical EDR was required to be 
submitted by owners and leaseholders that harvested or processed crab 
in the BSAI CR program fisheries during 1998, 2001, and 2004. 
Historical EDRs were required to be submitted for the catcher vessel 
sector by July 11, 2005, and by June 30, 2005, for catcher/processors, 
stationary floating crab

[[Page 17346]]

processors, and shoreside processors. The historical EDRs were required 
to be submitted only once, and the requirement was concluded upon 
completion of the validation audits of those EDRs in early 2007. NMFS 
no longer requires participants in BSAI crab fisheries during the 
calendar years 1998, 2001, or 2004 to complete any further reports 
under the Sec.  680.6 EDR requirements.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined this proposed rule is 
consistent with Amendment 42, the FMP, other provisions of the 
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.

Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)

    An RIR was prepared to assess all cost and benefits of available 
regulatory alternatives. The RIR considers all quantitative and 
qualitative measures. Copies of the combined RIR/IRFA are available 
from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The Council recommended Amendment 42 based 
on the benefits it will provide to the Nation, which will be derived 
from the updating and revision of the current EDRs. Specific aspects of 
the economic analysis are discussed below.

Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA)

    An IRFA was prepared, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act. The IRFA describes the economic impact this proposed 
rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. Copies of the RIR/IRFA 
prepared for this proposed rule are available from NMFS (see 
ADDRESSES). The RIR/IRFA prepared for this proposed rule incorporates 
by reference an extensive RIR/FRFA prepared for Amendments 18 and 19 to 
the FMP that detail the impacts of the CR Program on small entities.
    The IRFA for this proposed action describes the action, why this 
action is being proposed, the objectives and legal basis for the 
proposed rule, the type and number of small entities to which the 
proposed rule would apply, and the projected reporting, recordkeeping, 
and other compliance requirements of the proposed rule. It also 
identifies any overlapping, duplicative, or conflicting Federal rules 
and describes any significant alternatives to the proposed rule that 
would accomplish the stated objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and 
other applicable statues and that would minimize any significant 
adverse economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. The 
description of the proposed action, its purpose, and its legal basis 
are described in the preamble and are not repeated here.
    After considerable review of the EDR Program, the Council suggested 
amending the EDR process so that the data collected is accurate, 
informative to the Council, not redundant with existing reporting 
requirements, and can be reported and administered at a reasonable 
cost. Specifically, the Council wants to limit the EDR to the 
collection of data that have been demonstrated, through the development 
of the EDR metadata, and other reviews of the data, to be accurate. The 
Council determined that data collection should be structured and 
specific elements identified, to minimize costs while maintaining 
accuracy and providing the greatest information value to the management 
decision making process.
    The EDR is required to be submitted by 74 catcher vessel owners. 
Based on the definition of a small entity (see section 3.1.1 of the 
RIR/IRFA for the full definition and discussion of what a ``small 
entity'' is), only one vessel owner would be considered a small entity. 
Instead, because crabs are relatively high value, the majority of 
harvesters join cooperatives, which allows them to pool their quota.
    Three catcher/processor owners would be required to submit catcher/
processor data reporting forms under the proposed action. None of the 
catcher/processors are considered small entities. Nineteen shore-based 
or floating processors would be required to submit their EDR data. Of 
these nineteen, four are small entities that are controlled by 
community development corporations or non-profit entities, and five are 
estimated to be small entities because they employ fewer than 500 
individuals.
    This proposed action would require all catcher vessel and catcher/
processor operators to report categories of information: ex vessel 
revenues; market lease revenues; crew compensation; bait, food, and 
provision purchases; and fuel use by crab fishery. Catcher vessel and 
catcher/processor operators would also be required to report annual 
fuel and labor costs aggregated across all fisheries and identify 
whether the vessel operated as a tender. Processors and catcher/
processors would be required to report crab purchases, custom 
processing services provided and purchased, crab sales revenue, and 
processing labor costs.
    The reporting requirement under the proposed action is 
substantially less than required under the current regulations. If 
adopted, the proposed changes would reduce the record keeping and 
reporting requirements substantially from the status quo, resulting in 
reduced administrative expenses for both small and large entities.

Description of Significant Alternatives Considered

    The Council considered a series of alternatives and different 
options as it evaluated the potential to revise the annual crab EDRs, 
including the ``no action'' alternative. The RIR contains brief 
summaries of these alternatives. Three alternatives were defined for 
each of the three sectors: catcher vessels, catcher/processors, and 
shoreside processors and stationary floating crab processors. All 
alternatives collect annual reports of activity for the preceding year 
even though the variables are different for each sector. Three 
alternatives for the catcher vessel sector were considered: Alternative 
1, status quo/no action; Alternative 2, which would reduce the 
variables collected under the status quo, including the collection of 
landings and revenues by share type; lease costs; crew information such 
as crew shares, payments, contracts, settlement sheets; purchases such 
as pots, fuel, vessel investments, repair, and maintenance; annual 
costs for insurance and fuel; and the vessel's annual gross revenues 
and payments; and Alternative 3, which includes further reduction of 
data collection from Alternative 2, including limits on data collection 
to deliveries, revenues, crew data, fuel use, and annual costs. 
Ultimately, the Council recommended Alternative 3 with slight 
modifications to exclude the collection of crew contracts and 
settlement sheets, but includes the collection of crew license or 
permit numbers, bait purchases by crab fishery, as well as food and 
provision purchases by crab fishery (See Table 1 for a full list of 
data to be collected in the proposed catcher vessel EDR.).
    Three alternatives for the catcher/processor sector were also 
considered: Alternative 1, status quo/no action; Alternative 2, a 
reduction of variables collected under the status quo, including the 
collection of landings and revenues from the vessel; custom processing; 
purchase data such as fuel use; vessel costs; annual gross revenues; 
and payments to labor; general annual data; leasing and crew 
information, and Alternative 3, which is a further reduction of data 
collected from

[[Page 17347]]

Alternative 2, which limits data collected to leases, gallons of fuel 
used, IPQ lease costs, sales using box size categories, and custom 
processing (raw crab and pounds of product). The Council chose 
Alternative 3 with slight modifications to exclude the collection of 
crew contracts and settlement sheets, but include the collection of 
crew license or permit numbers, bait purchases by crab fishery, and 
food and provision purchases by crab fishery (See Table 2 for a full 
list of data to be collected in the proposed catcher/processor EDR).
    Three alternatives for the combined shoreside processor and 
stationary floating crab processor were considered. The Council chose 
to combine data collection for these two types of processors, because 
the data collection variables are similar. The alternatives considered 
were: Alternative 1, status quo/no action; Alternative 2, a reduction 
of variables collected under the status quo, including data collection 
of first and last day of processing; revenues by fishery; revenues and 
quantities of custom processed crab products; labor man-hours by crab 
fishery; costs of IPQ leases, salaries, and general plant costs; and 
processing information; and Alternative 3, a further reduction of data 
collection from Alternative 2, which limits data collection to combine 
data collected for crab fisheries in the aggregate for labor, IPQ lease 
payments, and revenue and box size information, but also requires 
revenues to be reported using a standard pricing for Alaska, and custom 
processing contracts to be reported by each company. The Council chose 
Alternative 3 with slight modifications to require reporting 
requirements on a fishery-by-fishery basis for processing man-hours, 
total processing labor payments, and number of employees by residence 
(See Table 3 for a full list of data to be collected in the proposed 
processor EDR).

Additional Alternatives Considered

    The Council considered two additional alternatives but both were 
rejected. First, the Council considered eliminating the EDR program in 
its entirety. The Council elected not to advance this alternative. 
Instead, through this proposed action, the Council intends to improve 
the quality of the data collected and eliminate redundancies with other 
collections.
    The Council also considered eliminating the use of blind 
formatting, which requires that data adhere to a blind formatting 
requirement and that data are maintained by a third party data manager. 
For the crab EDRs, the third party is the PSMFC. It was the opinion of 
the Council, and was supported by public testimony, that the potential 
risk associated with the disclosure of data was greater than the 
perceived benefits of removing the blind formatting requirement. 
Therefore, PSMFC will continue to abide by all statutory and regulatory 
data confidentiality requirements and will only release the data to 
NMFS, Council staff, and any other authorized users in a blind format.

Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to review and approval by OMB under the PRA. These requirements 
have been submitted to OMB for approval under the original OMB Control 
Number 0648-0518. Public reporting burden is estimated to average 10 
hours for Annual Catcher Vessel Crab EDR; 10 hours for Annual Catcher/
processor Crab EDR; 10 Annual stationary floating crab processor and 
shoreside crab processor EDR (replacing formerly two separate EDRs); 
and 8 hours for Verification of Data. Combination of the shoreside 
processor and stationary floating processor crab EDRs would be 
effective with approval of this rule. Public 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.
    Public comment is sought regarding whether this proposed collection 
of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions 
of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical 
utility; the accuracy of the burden statement; ways to enhance 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 collection techniques or other forms of 
information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of 
the collection of information, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by 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, nor shall any person be subject to 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.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 680

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: March 14, 2013.
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 680 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 680--SHELLFISH FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF 
ALASKA

0
1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 680 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1862; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L. 109-479.

0
2. Section 680.6 is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  680.6  Crab economic data report (EDR).

    (a) Requirements. (1) Any owner or leaseholder of a vessel or 
processing plant, or a holder of a registered crab receiver permit that 
harvested, processed, or custom processed, CR crab during a calendar 
year must submit a complete Economic Data Report (EDR) by following the 
instructions on the applicable EDR form.
    (2) A completed EDR or EDR certification pages must be submitted to 
the DCA for each calendar year on or before 1700 hours, A.l.t., July 31 
of the following year.
    (3) Annual EDR forms for catcher vessels, catcher/processors, 
shoreside crab processors, and stationary floating crab processors are 
available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov or the Pacific States Marine Fisheries 
Commission (PSMFC) Alaska Crab Rational Program Web site at 
www.psmfc.org/alaska_crab/, or by contacting NMFS at 1-800-304-4846.
    (b) EDR certification pages. The owner or leaseholder must submit 
the EDR certification pages either:
    (1) As part of the entire EDR. The owner or leaseholder must submit 
the completed EDR certification pages as part of the entire EDR and 
must attest to the accuracy and completion of the EDR by signing and 
dating the certification pages; or
    (2) As a separate document. The owner or leaseholder must submit 
the completed EDR certification pages only, and must attest that they 
meet the conditions exempting them from submitting the EDR, by signing 
and dating the certification pages.

[[Page 17348]]

    (c) Annual catcher vessel crab EDR--Any owner or leaseholder of a 
catcher vessel that landed CR crab in the previous calendar year must 
submit to the DCA, electronically or at the address provided on the 
form, a completed catcher vessel EDR for annual data for the previous 
calendar year.
    (d) Annual catcher/processor crab EDR--Any owner or leaseholder of 
a catcher/processor that harvested or processed CR crab in the previous 
calendar year must submit to the DCA, electronically or at the address 
provided on the form, a completed catcher/processor EDR for annual data 
for the previous calendar year.
    (e) Annual stationary floating crab processor (SFCP) and shoreside 
crab processor EDR--Any owner or leaseholder of an SFCP or shoreside 
crab processor that processed CR crab, including custom processing of 
CR crab performed for other crab buyers, in the previous calendar year 
must submit to the DCA, electronically or at the address provided on 
the form, a completed processor EDR for annual data for the previous 
calendar year.
    (f) Verification of data. (1) The DCA shall conduct verification of 
information with the owner or leaseholder.
    (2) The owner or leaseholder must respond to inquiries by the DCA 
within 20 days of the date of issuance of the inquiry.
    (3) The owner or leaseholder must provide copies of additional data 
to facilitate verification by the DCA. The DCA auditor may review and 
request copies of additional data provided by the owner or leaseholder, 
including but not limited to previously audited or reviewed financial 
statements, worksheets, tax returns, invoices, receipts, and other 
original documents substantiating the data.
    (g) DCA authorization. The DCA is authorized to request voluntary 
submission of economic data specified in this section from persons who 
are not required to submit an EDR under this section.

Tables 2, 3c, 4, 5, and 6 [Removed]

0
3. Remove Tables 2, 3c, 4, 5, and 6 to part 680.

[FR Doc. 2013-06413 Filed 3-20-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P