[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 24 (Wednesday, February 5, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 6876-6880]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02333]



[[Page 6876]]

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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 130717632-4070-01]
RIN 0648-BD52


International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing 
Restrictions in the Eastern Pacific Ocean

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 under the Tuna Conventions Act of 
1950, as amended, to implement decisions of the Inter-American Tropical 
Tuna Commission (IATTC). At its Eighty-fifth Meeting in June 2013, the 
IATTC adopted a number of resolutions, some of which require rulemaking 
to implement domestically in the United States. This proposed rule 
would implement one of these decisions: The Resolution on a Multiannual 
Program for the Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean 
during 2014-2016 (Resolution C-13-01). This proposed rule would: Extend 
the effective period of the current regulations in the IATTC Convention 
Area in 2014 through 2016; and provide purse seine owners with greater 
flexibility by allowing for an exemption to the closure periods due to 
force majeure. The existing regulations include a 500-metric ton bigeye 
tuna (Thunnus obesus) calendar year catch limit applicable to longline 
vessels greater than 24 meters in overall length and a 62-day closure 
period applicable each year to purse seine vessels of class size 4 to 6 
(greater than 182 metric tons). The proposed rule would also include an 
exemption to the purse seine closures due to force majeure. 
Implementation of Resolution C-13-01 is necessary for the United States 
to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC.

DATES: Comments must be submitted in writing by February 25, 2014. A 
public hearing will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. PST, February 12, 
2014, in Long Beach, CA.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2014-0014, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0014, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Celia Barroso, NMFS West 
Coast Region, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. 
Include the identifier ``NOAA-NMFS-2014-0014'' in the comments.
     Public hearing: The public is welcome to attend a public 
hearing and offer comments on this proposed rule from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 
PST, February 12, 2014 at 501 W. Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long 
Beach, CA 90802. The public may also participate in the public hearing 
via conference line: 1-888-790-6181, passcode 33750.
    Instructions: 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 by NMFS. 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.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. 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, Excel, or Adobe PDF file 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 WCR Long Beach Office and by email to omb.eop.gov">OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov. Copies of the draft Regulatory Impact Review 
(RIR) and other supporting documents are available via the Federal e-
Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2014-
0014 or contact with the Regional Administrator, William W. Stelle, 
Jr., NMFS West Coast Regional Office, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg 1, 
Seattle, WA 98115-0070, or RegionalAdministrato. WCRHMS@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heidi Taylor, NMFS, 562-980-4039 or 
Celia Barroso, NOAA/NMFS Affiliate at 562-432-1850.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background on the IATTC

    The United States is a member of the IATTC, which was established 
under the 1949 Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American 
Tropical Tuna Commission. The full text of the 1949 Convention is 
available at: http://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles/IATTC_convention_1949.pdf. The IATTC facilitates scientific research into, as well as 
conservation and management of, highly migratory species of fish in the 
IATTC Convention Area (defined as the waters of the Eastern Pacific 
Ocean (EPO)). Since 1998, conservation resolutions adopted by the IATTC 
have further defined the Convention Area as the area bounded by the 
coast of the Americas, the 50[deg] N. and 50[deg] S. parallels, and the 
150[deg] W. meridian. The IATTC has maintained a scientific research 
and fishery monitoring program for many years, and regularly assesses 
the status of tuna and billfish stocks in the EPO to determine 
appropriate catch limits and other measures deemed necessary to prevent 
overexploitation of these stocks and to promote sustainable fisheries. 
Current IATTC member countries include: Belize, Canada, China, Chinese 
Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, the 
European Union, France, Guatemala, Japan, Kiribati, the Republic of 
Korea, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the United States, Vanuatu, and 
Venezuela. Bolivia, Honduras, Indonesia and the Cook Islands are 
cooperating non-members.

International Obligations of the United States Under the Convention

    As a Contracting Party to the 1949 Convention and a member of the 
IATTC, the United States is legally bound to implement IATTC 
resolutions. The Tuna Conventions Act (16 U.S.C. sections 951-962 and 
971 et seq.) directs the Secretary of Commerce, after approval by the 
Secretary of State, to promulgate such regulations as may be necessary 
to implement resolutions adopted by the IATTC. The Secretary's 
authority to promulgate such regulations has been delegated to NMFS.

IATTC Tuna Conservation and Management Measures

    At its 85th Meeting, in June 2013, the IATTC by consensus adopted 
the Multiannual Program for the Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern 
Pacific Ocean during 2014-2016 (Resolution C-13-01). Resolution C-13-01 
is very similar to the tuna conservation measure adopted by the IATTC 
in 2011 (Resolution C-11-01, Resolution on a Multiannual Program for 
the Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean in 2011-2013). 
Both resolutions include a bigeye tuna

[[Page 6877]]

annual catch limit applicable to longline vessels greater than 24 
meters in overall length, a time/area closures, and a full catch 
retention program applicable to purse seine vessels greater than 182 
metric tons in carrying capacity. For purposes of domestic 
implementation, NOAA treats the registered length that appears on the 
vessels' Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation as the ``overall 
length.'' NMFS implemented Resolution C-11-01 through regulations 
codified at 50 CFR part 300, subpart C (see final rule 76 FR 68332, 
November 4, 2011). Resolution C-13-01 includes exemptions when a purse 
seine vessel is rendered unable to return to sea due to ``force 
majeure'' (i.e., for purposes of this Resolution this means disabled by 
mechanical and/or structural failure, fire, or explosion) for at least 
a period equivalent to the 62-day annual closure period.
    The main objectives of Resolution C-13-01 are to ensure that the 
fishing mortality of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) does not 
increase and to reduce the fishing mortality of bigeye tuna in the 
Convention Area from 2014 through 2016. The measures are based in part 
on the recommendations and analysis of IATTC scientific staff, as well 
as the 2013 updates to stock assessments for bigeye tuna and yellowfin 
tuna, both completed by IATTC staff. A full assessment of yellowfin 
tuna is planned for 2014.
    Resolution C-13-01 requires the United States to restrict catch of 
bigeye tuna in the longline fishery and effort in the purse seine 
fishery in the Convention Area in each of the years 2014, 2015, and 
2016. This proposed rule would extend existing management measures so 
that they apply in 2014 through 2016. The measures would include the 
following: (1) a 500 metric ton bigeye tuna calendar year catch limit 
for longline vessels greater than 24 meters in overall length; and (2) 
time/area closures for purse seine vessels of class sizes 4 to 6 
(greater than 182 metric tons carrying capacity). Resolution C-13-01 
also includes provisions for 2014 through 2016 requiring purse seine 
vessels class sizes 4 to 6 to first retain on board, and then land all 
bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack (Katsuwonus pelamis) tuna caught, 
except fish unfit for human consumption for reasons other than size. A 
single exception to this full catch retention program is on the final 
set of a trip, when there may be insufficient well space remaining to 
accommodate all of the tuna caught in that set. Resolution C-11-01 
included the same catch retention provisions, which have been 
implemented by NMFS to apply indefinitely (see 50 CFR 300.25(e)) 
because NMFS expected it to be included in future IATTC tuna 
conservation and management resolutions. If the IATTC removes the 
measure in the future, NMFS will remove the regulation. Thus, further 
regulatory action is not needed to implement the catch retention 
provisions of Resolution C-13-01.

Proposed Action

Tuna Conservation Measures for 2014 Through 2016

    This proposed rule would continue the purse seine closure period of 
62 days in the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Therefore, this proposed 
rule would prohibit purse seine vessels subject to these requirements 
from fishing in the Convention Area for a period of 62 days in 2014, 62 
days in 2015, and 62 days in 2016. This proposed rule would also 
continue giving applicable purse seine vessel owners the ability to 
choose between the two possible closure periods for 2014, 2015, and 
2016. These closures would be in one of two periods in each year as 
follows:
    2014--29 July to 28 September, or from 18 November to 18 January 
2015.
    2015--29 July to 28 September, or from 18 November to 18 January 
2016.
    2016--29 July to 28 September, or from 18 November to 18 January 
2017.
    Under the proposed rule, a vessel's owner, manager, or association 
representative would be required to provide the West Coast Regional 
Administrator, via fax to (562) 980-4047 or email to 
WCRHMS@noaa.gov">RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@noaa.gov, by July 1 of each fishing year 
(2014, 2015, and 2016) with the following information: (1) name and 
official number of fishing vessel; (2) the closure period the vessel 
will adhere to in that year; and (3) the vessel owner or managing 
owner's name and signature. If a vessel owner fails to notify the 
Regional Administrator of his or her choice by the July 1 deadline, the 
vessel would be subject to the later closure period (November 18 to 
January 18 of the following calendar year) by default.
    Under the proposed rule, a purse seine vessel owner could request 
an exemption to the 62-day closure described in the paragraph above due 
to force majeure, in which a vessel is rendered unable to return to sea 
for a period of at least 62 days. Force majeure would be defined in the 
proposed rule as a situation in which a vessel is disabled due to 
mechanical and/or structural failure, fire, or explosion. To place a 
request for exemption due to force majeure, the vessel operator would 
be required to contact the NMFS West Coast Region Sustainable Fisheries 
Division Assistant Regional Administrator, via email or fax, and 
provide evidence necessary to demonstrate that the vessel did not 
proceed to sea for at least 62 days and that the facts on which the 
request for exemption is based were due to force majeure. A request for 
reconsideration of initial denial of the request may be made within 10 
days to the West Coast Regional Administrator. If the request is 
accepted, the purse seine vessel owner may observe a reduced closure 
period of 30 consecutive days.
    The proposed rule would also continue the high seas time/area 
closure for tuna purse seine vessels class sizes 4 to 6 during 2014 
through 2016. The area consists of the area bounded at the east and 
west by 96[deg] and 110[deg] W. longitude and bounded at the north and 
south by 4[deg] N. and 3[deg] S. latitude. The high seas time/area 
closure was originally adopted by the IATTC under Resolution C-09-01 
and has been in place in NMFS regulations at 50 CFR 300.25(f) since 
2009.
    In addition, this proposed rule would extend from 2014 through 2016 
the annual bigeye tuna catch limit of 500 metric tons in the Convention 
Area for U.S. longline vessels over 24 meters in overall length. This 
catch limit has been in place since 2007 in NMFS regulations at 50 CFR 
300.25(b) and had never been reached until 2013; the U.S. fishery for 
bigeye tuna by longline vessels greater than 24 meters was closed on 
November 11, 2013 after NMFS forecasted that the limit was going to be 
reached (see 78 FR 65887, November 4, 2013 and 78 FR 70002, November 
22, 2013). Between 2008 and 2012 an average of 317 metric tons (range 
199 to 407 metric tons) of bigeye tuna was caught annually in the 
Convention Area by U.S. longline vessels greater than 24 meters in 
overall length. The members of the IATTC agreed to continue the bigeye 
tuna catch limits in the Convention Area after review and analysis of 
the most recent bigeye and yellowfin tuna stock assessments.

Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed 
rule is consistent with the Tuna Conventions Act and other applicable 
laws, subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), 5 U.S.C. 605(b), 
the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to

[[Page 6878]]

the Chief Counsel 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. The 
rationale for the certification is as follows:
    The purpose of Resolution C-13-01 is to prevent overfishing by 
restricting the catch of bigeye tuna in the longline fishery and to 
restrict fishing effort in the purse seine fishery for bigeye, 
yellowfin, and skipjack tuna in the Convention Area (eastern Pacific 
Ocean) in each of the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Resolution C-13-01 
includes provisions for a force majeure exemption to the purse seine 
closure periods that were first adopted in Resolution C-12-01 
(Amendment to Resolution C-11-01 on Tuna Conservation) in 2012. This 
proposed rule would: (1) Implement a 500 metric ton calendar year catch 
limit on bigeye tuna caught by longline vessels over 24 meters in 
length in the Convention Area from 2014 through 2016; and (2) prohibit 
purse seine vessels of class size 4 to 6 (greater than 182 metric tons 
in carrying capacity) from fishing for yellowfin, bigeye, and skipjack 
tunas in the Convention Area for a period of 62 days in each of the 
years 2014, 2015, and 2016. Purse seine vessels of class size 4 
(between 182 and 272 metric tons carrying capacity) would be able to 
make a single fishing trip of up to 30 days duration during the closed 
period, provided that the vessel carries an observer of the On-Board 
Observer Program of the Agreement on the International Dolphin 
Conservation Program. In the event of a force majeure (a situation in 
which vessels are disabled by mechanical and/or structural failure, 
fire, or explosion) rendering a purse seine vessel unable to proceed to 
sea outside of a closure period for at least 62 days (the prescribed 
closure period), the vessel owner may request an exemption from the 
closure period and if the request is accepted by the IATTC, the purse 
seine vessel owner may observe a reduced closure period of 30 
consecutive days. This proposed rule would also close the fishery for 
yellowfin, bigeye, and skipjack tuna within the area of 96[deg] and 
110[deg] W and between 4[deg] N and 3[deg] S to purse seine vessels of 
class sizes 4 to 6 from 0000 hours UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) on 
September 29 to 2400 hours UTC on October 29, in years 2014, 2015, and 
2016.
    There are only slight adjustments being made to the existing tuna 
conservation measures, which were implemented (see 76 FR 68332, 
November 4, 2011) as a result of the adoption of Resolution C-11-01 in 
2011 and expire at the end of 2013. The proposed adjustments would be 
the following: (1) Extend the effective period of the current 
regulations in 2014 through 2016; and (2) provide purse seine owners 
with greater flexibility by allowing for an exemption to the closure 
periods due to force majeure. The proposed rule would extend 
regulations currently in place, including the 500 metric ton catch 
limit and 62-day closure period; because these regulations are 
currently in force, extending them would neither reduce the 
profitability of the fishery nor require any additional compliance 
effort or expense by affected vessels. As a result, environmental and 
socioeconomic impacts are expected to be minimal.
    The absence of the proposed action would allow U.S. fisheries to 
target bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack tunas unrestricted (except for 
existing permit requirements) in the Convention Area. This may 
contribute to overfishing or overfished conditions of tuna resources. 
Alternatively, the implementation of Resolution C-13-01 will result in 
the sharing of sustainable benefits from Pacific tuna fishery resources 
among the IATTC member and Cooperating non-member countries.
    The Small Business Administration (SBA) revised its small business 
size standards for several industries in a final rule effective July 
22, 2013 (see 78 FR 37398, June 20, 2013). The rule increased the size 
standard for Finfish Fishing from $ 4.0 to 19.0 million, Shellfish 
Fishing from $ 4.0 to 5.0 million, and Other Marine Fishing from $4.0 
to 7.0 million. Id. at 37400 (Table 1).
    NMFS has reviewed the analyses prepared for this action in light of 
the new size standards. The new standards could result in a few more 
entities being considered small. However, NMFS does not think that the 
new size standards affect its decision to certify this action.
    The small entities that would be affected by the proposed action 
are purse seine vessels of class size 4 to 6 and longline vessels over 
24 meters in length overall. The U.S. Small Business Administration 
(SBA) defines small businesses engaged in fishing as those vessels with 
annual revenues of or below $19 million from finfish fishing. The 
average revenue per vessel for the U.S. Hawaii-based longline fleet in 
2011 and for the U.S. purse seine fleet in each year 2010 through 2012 
was below $19 million; there is effort in the West Coast-based longline 
fleet, however, its revenue cannot be reported due to confidentiality 
concerns. Therefore, all of these vessels are considered small 
businesses under the RFA.
    Estimates of ex-vessel revenues in the U.S. purse seine fishery in 
the Convention Area since 2005, which would be indicative of current 
conditions, are confidential and may not be publicly disclosed because 
of the small number of vessels in the fishery. Since 2004, an average 
of only two U.S. purse seine vessels class sizes 4 to 6 have made 
landings of catch each year in the Convention Area. From 2005 through 
2008, fewer than three vessels made landings in the Convention Area, 
thus the landings and revenue data from these years are confidential 
and cannot be released. Currently there are four class size 6 vessels 
and no class size 5 and 4 vessels likely to be affected by the rule in 
the near future. Two vessels transited through the Convention Area in 
2010, but did not fish. Only three and two class size 6 vessels fished 
tunas in Convention Area in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
    In 2012, the U.S. Hawaii-based longline fleet consisted of 129 
vessels permitted under the Fishery Management Plan for Pelagics in the 
Western Pacific Region. However, relatively few are large-scale 
longline vessels (vessels over 24 meters in overall length). From 2008 
through 2012, 29 large-scale longline vessels, on average, annually 
reported catches of bigeye tuna in the Convention Area (combining 
shallow-sets and deep-sets). In 2011, when there were 28 large-scale 
longline vessels fishing in the Convention Area, the Hawaii-based 
longline fleet landed about 26.11 million pounds or 11,846 metric tons 
of pelagic species for an ex-vessel value of about $78 million. Bigeye 
and yellowfin tuna represented about 47 percent and eight percent of 
the total longline landings, respectively. The total revenue represents 
average gross revenue per vessel of about $604,651.
    NMFS considers all entities subject to this action to be small 
entities as defined by the revised size standards because average 
annual revenue from fishing per vessel for all vessels in all fleets 
operating in the Convention Area has been below $19 million. Because 
each affected vessel is a small business, this proposed action has an 
equal effect on all of these small entities, and therefore will impact 
all these small entities in the same manner. Based on the analysis 
above, the proposed action, if adopted, will not have an adverse or 
disproportional economic impact on these small business entities. 
Because the proposed action would not have a significant impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, an Initial

[[Page 6879]]

Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required and none has been 
prepared. NMFS solicits public comment on the analyses in light of the 
new size standards.
    This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) that has been approved by 
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under control number 0648-
0387. Public reporting burden for a request for exemption due to force 
majeure is estimated to average 1 hour per response (less than one 
response per year is expected). Send comments regarding this burden 
estimate, or any other aspect of this data collection, including 
suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by 
email to omb.eop.gov">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 a penalty 
for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB Control Number.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300

    Administrative practice and procedure, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, 
Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

    Dated: January 29, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300, subpart C 
is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 300--INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 300, subpart C, continues to 
read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951-961 et seq.

0
2. In Sec.  300.21, revise the definition for ``Regional 
Administrator'', and add the definitions for ``Force majeure'', 
``Overall length'', and ``Sustainable Fisheries Division (SFD) '' in 
alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  300.21  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Force majeure means, for the purpose of Sec.  300.25, a situation 
in which a vessel is disabled by mechanical and/or structural failure, 
fire or explosion.
* * * * *
    Overall length means registered length, or the horizontal distance 
between the outboard side of the foremost part of the stem and the 
outboard side of the aftermost part of the stern, excluding rudders, 
outboard motor brackets, and other similar fittings and attachments for 
a single-hull vessel; for a multi-hull vessel, it is the horizontal 
distance between the outboard side of the foremost part of the stem of 
the foremost hull and the outboard side of the aftermost part of the 
stern of the aftermost hull, excluding fittings or attachments (See 46 
CFR 69.203).
* * * * *
    Regional Administrator means the Regional Administrator for the 
West Coast Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, or a designee.
* * * * *
    Sustainable Fisheries Division (SFD) means the Assistant Regional 
Administrator for the Sustainable Fisheries Division, West Coast 
Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, or a designee.
* * * * *
0
3. In Sec.  300.25, the heading of paragraph (b) and paragraphs (b)(2) 
and (f) are revised to read as follows:


Sec.  300.25   Eastern Pacific fisheries management.

* * * * *
    (b) Tuna catch limits in the longline fishery in the Convention 
Area. (1) * * *
    (2) For each of the calendar years 2014, 2015, and 2016, there is a 
limit of 500 metric tons of bigeye tuna that may be captured and landed 
by longline gear in the Convention Area by fishing vessels of the 
United States that are over 24 meters in overall length.
* * * * *
    (f) Purse seine closures in the Convention Area. (1) A fishing 
vessel of the United States of class size 4-6 (more than 182 metric 
tons carrying capacity) may not be used to fish with purse seine gear 
in the Convention Area for 62 days in each of the years 2014, 2015, and 
2016 during one of the following two periods:
    (i) From 0000 hours UTC on July 29 to 2400 hours UTC on September 
28, or
    (ii) From 0000 hours UTC on November 18 to 2400 hours UTC on 
January 18 of the following year.
    (2) A vessel owner, manager, or association representative of a 
vessel that is subject to the requirements of paragraph (f)(1) of this 
section must in 2014, 2015, and 2016 provide written notification to 
the Regional Administrator declaring to which one of the two closure 
periods identified in paragraph (f)(1) of this section his or her 
vessel will adhere in that year. This written notification must be 
submitted by fax at (562) 980-4047 or email at 
WCRHMS@noaa.gov">RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@noaa.gov and must be received no later 
than July 1 in each of the years 2014, 2015, and 2016. The written 
notification must include the vessel name and registration number, the 
closure dates that will be adhered to by that vessel, and the vessel 
owner or managing owner's name, signature, business address, and 
business telephone number.
    (3) If written notification is not submitted per paragraph (f)(3) 
of this section for a vessel subject to the requirements under 
paragraph (f)(1) of this section, that vessel must adhere to the 
closure period under paragraph (f)(1)(ii) of this section.
    (4) Request for exemption due to force majeure. A request for 
exemption due to force majeure must be made to the Sustainable 
Fisheries Division by fax at (562) 980-4047 or emailed to 
WCRHMS@noaa.gov">RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@noaa.gov. The request must include the 
name and official number of the vessel, vessel owner or manager's name 
and signature, and evidence to support the request, which may include 
but is not limited to photographs, repair bills, certificates of 
departure from port, and in the case of a marine casualty a completed 
copy of the U.S. Coast Guard Form CG-2692A (See 46 CFR 4.05-10).
    (i) If accepted by the Sustainable Fisheries Division, the request 
for exemption due to force majeure will be forwarded to the IATTC 
Director. If declined by the Sustainable Fisheries Division, within 10 
days of the date that rejection, the applicant may give additional 
information or documentation to the Regional Administrator with a 
request that the initial decision be reconsidered by fax at (562) 980-
4047 or email to WCRHMS@noaa.gov">RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@noaa.gov; the Regional 
Administrator shall respond within 14 business days.
    (ii) If the request for an exemption due to force majeure is 
accepted by the IATTC, the vessel must observe a closure period of 30 
consecutive days in the same year during which the force majeure event 
occurred, in one of the two closure periods described in paragraph 
(f)(1) of this section.
    (5) A vessel of class size 4 (182 to 272 metric tons carrying 
capacity) may make one fishing trip of up to 30 days duration during 
the specified closure period in paragraph (f)(1) of this section, 
provided that the vessel carries an observer of the On-Board Observer 
Program of the Agreement on the

[[Page 6880]]

International Dolphin Conservation Program during the entire fishing 
trip.
    (6) A fishing vessel of the United States of class size 4-6 (more 
than 182 metric tons carrying capacity) may not be used from 0000 hours 
on September 29 to 2400 hours on October 29 in the years 2014, 2015, 
and 2016 to fish with purse seine gear within the area bounded at the 
east and west by 96[deg] and 110[deg] W. longitude and bounded at the 
north and south by 4[deg] N. and 3[deg] S. latitude.
    (7) At all times while a vessel is in a time/area closed period 
established under paragraphs (f)(1) or (f)(6) of this section, unless 
fishing under exceptions established under paragraphs (f)(4) or (f)(5) 
of this section, the fishing gear of the vessel must be stowed in a 
manner as not to be readily available for fishing. In particular, the 
boom must be lowered as far as possible so that the vessel cannot be 
used for fishing, but so that the skiff is accessible for use in 
emergency situations; the helicopter, if any must be tied down; and 
launches must be secured.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2014-02333 Filed 2-4-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P