[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 25 (Thursday, February 6, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7152-7156]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-02598]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 130722646-4081-01]
RIN 0648-BD54


International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Establishment of 
Tuna Vessel Monitoring System 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 to 
implement Resolution C-04-06 of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna 
Commission (IATTC). The regulations would establish requirements for a 
satellite-based vessel monitoring system (VMS) for U.S. commercial 
fishing vessels, 24 meters or more in overall length, used to target 
any fish of the genus Thunnus or of the species Euthynnus (Katsuwonus) 
pelamis (skipjack tuna) in the area bounded by the west coast of the 
Americas and on the north, south and west respectively, by the 50[deg] 
N. and 50[deg] S. parallels, and the 150[deg] W. meridian. This action 
is necessary for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a 
member of the IATTC.

DATES: Comments on the proposed rule and the initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis (IRFA) must be submitted on or before March 10, 
2014. A public hearing will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. PST, February 
28, 2014, in Long Beach, CA.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2013-0117, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NMFS-2013-0117, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS 
West Coast Regional Office, 501 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, 
CA 90802. Include the identifier ``NOAA-NMFS-2013-0117'' 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 28, 2014 at 501 W. Ocean Boulevard, Suite 4200, Long 
Beach, CA 90802. The public may also participate in the public hearing 
via conference line: 888-790-6181; participant passcode: 40810.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure they 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

[[Page 7153]]

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 only be 
accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file 
formats.
    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 West Coast Region and by email 
to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or faxed to (202) 395-7285 by the 
comment date listed above. Copies of the draft Regulatory Impact Review 
(RIR) and other supporting documents are available via the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA-NMFS-2013-
0117 or contact with the Regional Administrator, William Stelle, Jr., 
NMFS West Coast Regional Office, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Bldg 1, 
Seattle, WA 98115-0070 or by email to 
RegionalAdministrator.WCRHMS@noaa.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heidi Taylor, NMFS West Coast Region, 
562-980-4039, or Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS West Coast Region, 562-980-
4036.

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 
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 west 
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 Convention Area 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 the decisions of 
the IATTC. The Tuna Conventions Act (16 U.S.C. 951-962) directs the 
Secretary of Commerce, after approval by the Secretary of State, to 
promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to implement 
recommendations adopted by the IATTC. The Secretary's authority to 
promulgate such regulations has been delegated to NMFS.

IATTC Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Resolution

    At its 72nd Meeting, in June 2004, the IATTC adopted by consensus 
Resolution C-04-06: Resolution on the Establishment of a VMS. All 
resolutions and recommendations of the IATTC are available on the 
following Web site: http://iattc.org/ResolutionsActiveENG.htm. The main 
objective of Resolution C-04-06 is to establish a satellite-based VMS 
for tuna-fishing vessels, 24 meters (78.74 feet) or more in length, 
operating in the EPO and harvesting species for which the IATTC has 
established conservation and management measures. This regulation would 
implement Resolution C-04-06 for U.S. fishing vessels and it would 
broaden U.S. VMS requirements across the Pacific Ocean. VMS 
requirements in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) were 
adopted by the Commission for the Conservation and Management of Highly 
Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPFC), 
and implemented for U.S. fleets by NMFS under 50 CFR 300.219. VMS 
requirements exist for U.S. purse seine vessels under regulations 
implementing the South Pacific Tuna Treaty under 50 CFR 300.45. VMS 
requirements have also been implemented by NMFS for the West Coast 
groundfish fisheries under 50 CFR 660.14, for the West Coast longline 
vessels under 50 CFR 660.712, and for Hawaii and American Samoa 
longline vessels under 50 CFR 665.19.
    Information collected under this VMS would be handled in accordance 
with NOAA Administrative Order 216-100 for confidential fisheries data.

Proposed Regulations for VMS

    The proposed action applies to all owners and operators of U.S. 
commercial fishing vessels, 24 meters or more in overall length, used 
to target any fish of the genus Thunnus or of the species Euthynnus 
(Katsuwonus) pelamis (skipjack tuna), in the Convention Area. The 
proposed action requires these vessels to install, activate, carry and 
operate VMS units (also known as ``mobile transmitting units'').
    The VMS units and mobile communications service providers must be 
type-approved by NOAA for fisheries in the IATTC Convention Area. 
Information for current NOAA type-approved VMS units can be obtained 
from: NOAA, Office of Law Enforcement, 1315 East-West Hwy, Suite 3301, 
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282; telephone at (888) 210-9288; fax at (301) 
427-0049. Or, by contacting NOAA OLE VMS Helpdesk: Telephone: (888) 
219-9228; email: ole.helpdesk@noaa.gov. The business hours of the VMS 
Helpdesk are: Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays, 7 a.m. to 
11 p.m., Eastern Time.
    A NOAA-approved VMS unit automatically determines the vessels 
position and transmits it to a NOAA-approved communications service 
provider. The communications service provider receives the transmission 
(also called ``position reports'') and relays it to NOAA. The vessel 
owner and operator must authorize NOAA OLE, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) 
and other authorized entities to receive and relay position reports. 
The owner and operator must authorize NOAA to set up the reporting 
interval of the VMS unit and the transmission of automated position 
reports to occur hourly.
    Compliance with the existing VMS requirements at 50 CFR 300.219, 50 
CFR part 660, or 50 CFR part 665 would satisfy these new requirements 
relating to the installation, carrying, and operation of VMS units, 
provided that the VMS unit and mobile communications service provider 
are type-approved by NOAA specifically for fisheries in the IATTC 
Convention Area, the VMS unit is operated continuously at all times 
while the vessel is at sea, the vessel owner or operator have 
authorized NOAA to receive and relay transmissions from the VMS unit, 
and the proposed requirements applicable in case of VMS unit failure 
are followed.
    Under these regulations, the vessel owner and operator would be 
responsible for all costs associated with the purchase, installation 
and maintenance of the VMS unit, and for all charges levied by the 
mobile

[[Page 7154]]

communications service provider as necessary to ensure the transmission 
of automatic position reports to NOAA. The unit cost, physical size, 
available features, transmission fees, and service packages vary 
between the different type-approved VMS units. Vessel owners may choose 
the type-approved unit that best fits their needs. Federal funds may be 
available for reimbursement of type-approved VMS units up to $3,100.\1\ 
More information on the VMS Reimbursement Program can be obtained from 
calling the NOAA OLE VMS Helpdesk: Telephone: (888) 219-9228, and 
online at: http://www.psmfc.org/program/vessel-monitoring-system-reimbursement-program-vms?pid=17.
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    \1\ The availability of these funds for reimbursement for the 
cost of purchasing a VMS unit is not guaranteed, but the funds are 
anticipated to be available on a first-come first-served basis.
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    For vessel owners and operators that are carrying and operating VMS 
units in compliance with the requirements of 50 CFR 300.219, 50 CFR 
660.712, or 50 CFR 665.19 relating to the installation, carrying, and 
operation of VMS units, the vessel owner and operator would not be 
responsible for costs that are the responsibility of NOAA under those 
regulations.
    Activation of a VMS unit would be required any time the unit is 
installed or reinstalled, any time the mobile communications service 
provider has changed, and any time directed by NOAA. Activation would 
involve submitting to NOAA a report via mail, facsimile or email with 
information about the vessel, its owner or operator, and the VMS unit, 
as well as receiving confirmation from NOAA that the VMS unit is 
transmitting position reports properly. The VMS unit would have to be 
turned on and operating (i.e., transmitting automated position reports) 
at all times inside and outside the Convention Area. However, the 
requirement to operate the VMS unit at all times would not apply in the 
circumstance described below.
    The VMS unit may be turned off while the vessel is in port, but 
only if the vessel operator or owner notifies NOAA via mail, facsimile 
or email prior to such shut-down. In such cases, NOAA must also be 
notified when the VMS unit is subsequently turned back on (these two 
types of notifications are called ``on/off reports''), and the vessel 
operator must receive confirmation from NOAA that the VMS unit is 
functioning properly prior to leaving port.
    In the case of failure of the VMS unit while at sea, the vessel 
operator would be required to contact NOAA and follow the instructions 
provided by NOAA, which could include, among other actions: Submitting 
position reports at specified intervals by other means, ceasing 
fishing, stowing fishing gear, and/or returning to port; and repair or 
replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before starting the next 
trip.
    If the vessel owner or operator informed NOAA in writing that a 
vessel that had been subject to these VMS requirements would be 
departing the Convention Area, and not be present in the Convention 
Area for one year or longer, the VMS requirements of this rule would 
cease to apply to that vessel only if specifically authorized in 
writing by NOAA. However, the VMS requirements of this rule would apply 
again if the vessel were used again to target any fish of the genus 
Thunnus or of the species Euthynnus (Katsuwonus) pelamis (skipjack 
tuna) in the Convention Area.

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.

National Environmental Policy Act

    This action is categorically excluded from the requirement to 
prepare an environmental assessment in accordance with NAO 216-6. A 
memorandum for the file has been prepared that sets forth the decision 
to use a categorical exclusion.

Executive Order 12866

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

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) 
requires government agencies to assess the impact of regulatory actions 
on small businesses and other small organizations. An initial 
regulatory flexibility analysis (IRFA) was prepared, as required by 
section 603 of the RFA. The IRFA describes the economic impact that 
this proposed rule, if adopted, would have on small entities. A 
description of the action, why it is being considered, and the legal 
basis for this action are contained at the beginning of this section in 
the preamble and in the SUMMARY section of the preamble. A summary of 
the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS 
(see ADDRESSES).
    All of the entities impacted by this proposed rule are considered 
small business entities. All impacted vessels will be affected in a 
similar way and disproportional economic effect between small and large 
businesses will not exist. This proposed rule would apply to all owners 
and operators of U.S. commercial fishing vessels, 24 meters or more in 
overall length, used to target any fish of the genus Thunnus or of the 
species Euthynnus (Katsuwonus) pelamis (skipjack tuna) in the 
Convention Area. The proposed action requires these vessels to install, 
activate, carry and operate NOAA type-approved VMS units and mobile 
communications service providers for fisheries in the IATTC Convention 
Area. Gear types that would be impacted include: Purse seine, hook-and-
line (i.e., bait and troll/jig) and vessels using combinations of these 
gear types (i.e., multi-gear vessels).
    To estimate the number of affected entities, the number of vessels 
authorized to fish for highly migratory species in the EPO through 
fishing permits was considered a reasonable proxy. The permits used to 
estimate affected entities were those issued under the authority of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 
1801 et seq.) through regulations codified at 50 CFR 660.707 and 
permits under the authority of the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act of 
1995 (16 U.S.C. 5501 et seq.) through regulations codified at 50 CFR 
300.13. Vessels under 24 meters in overall length and vessels already 
subject to the existing VMS requirements at 50 CFR 300.219, 50 CFR part 
660, or 50 CFR part 665, compliance with which would satisfy this new 
requirement were excluded from the estimate of impacted entities. As of 
September 2013, approximately 15 vessels did not have VMS units 
installed, and 2 vessels have VMS units installed that are not type-
approved for these regulations.
    The VMS units that have been type-approved range in cost and 
service features. This allows the vessel owner flexibility in choosing 
the model that best fits the needs their vessel. Compliance for each of 
the projected 17 small entities would involve the following approximate 
annualized costs: $1,000 for the purchase and installation of VMS units 
(based on $4,000 per unit and a lifespan of 4 years per unit), $250 for 
VMS unit maintenance, and, based on estimated communication costs of 
about $1.50 per day (based on hourly reporting cost of some service 
providers), $547.50 for VMS unit operation (i.e., the transmission of

[[Page 7155]]

automatic vessel position reports to NOAA). Thus, the annualized 
compliance cost would be about $1,797.50 per vessel. The analysis 
assumes that vessels will pay for the required VMS units. However, 
Federal funds may be available for reimbursement of type-approved units 
up to $3,100.\2\
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    \2\ The availability of these funds for reimbursement for the 
cost of purchasing a VMS unit is not guaranteed, but the funds are 
anticipated to be available on a first-come first-served basis.
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    Under the proposed action, the United States would implement the 
Resolution C-04-06. This would satisfy international obligations of the 
United States to implement decisions of the IATTC according to the 
provisions agreed to in the resolution. The reporting, recordkeeping 
and other compliance requirements of this proposed rule are described 
earlier in the preamble and under the Paperwork Reduction Act section.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    This proposed rule contains a collection-of-information requirement 
subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the PRA. This requirement has been submitted to OMB for 
approval. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is 
estimated as an average per individual response for each requirement. 
The estimated time for initial VMS unit installation is 4 hours. The 
estimated time to maintain or repair a VMS unit is 1 hour annually. The 
estimated response time for respondents to prepare and submit 
activation reports is estimated to be 5 minutes per report. The vessel 
owner and operator must authorize NOAA OLE, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) 
and other authorized entities to receive and relay position reports. 
The estimated response time to prepare and submit each on/off report is 
also 5 minutes. These estimates include the time for reviewing 
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and 
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the 
collection 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 estimate; ways to 
enhance the 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. 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 West Coast Region at the ADDRESSES above, 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 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: February 3, 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 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 300--INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS

Subpart C--Eastern Pacific Tuna Fisheries

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, definitions for ``Commercial'', ``Vessel monitoring 
system (VMS)'' and ``VMS unit'' are added, in alphabetical order, to 
read as follows:


Sec.  300.21  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Commercial with respect to commercial fishing, means fishing in 
which the fish harvested, either in whole or in part, are intended to 
enter commerce through sale, barter or trade.
* * * * *
    Vessel monitoring system (VMS) means an automated, remote system 
that provides information about a vessel's identity, location and 
activity, for the purposes of routine monitoring, control, surveillance 
and enforcement of area and time restrictions and other fishery 
management measures.
    VMS unit, sometimes known as a ``mobile transmitting unit,'' means 
a transceiver or communications device, including all hardware and 
software that is carried and operated on a vessel as part of a VMS.
0
3. In Sec.  300.24, paragraphs (u) through (x) are added to read as 
follows:


Sec.  300.24  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (u) Fail to install, activate, or operate a VMS unit as required in 
Sec.  300.26(c).
    (v) In the event of VMS unit failure or interruption, fail to 
repair or replace a VMS unit, fail to notify the Special-Agent-In-
Charge (SAC), NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, Pacific Islands Division 
(or designee) and follow the instructions provided, or otherwise fail 
to act as provided in Sec.  300.26(c)(4).
    (w) Disable, destroy, damage or operate improperly a VMS unit 
installed under Sec.  300.26, or attempt to do any of the same, or fail 
to ensure that its operation is not impeded or interfered with, as 
provided in Sec.  300.26(e).
    (x) Fail to make a VMS unit installed under Sec.  300.26 or the 
position data obtained from it available for inspection, as provided in 
Sec.  300.26(f) and (g).
0
4. Section 300.26 is added to read as follows:


Sec.  300.26  Vessel monitoring system (VMS).

    (a) Special-Agent-In-Charge (SAC), NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, 
Pacific Islands Division (or designee), and VMS Helpdesk contact 
information and business hours: (1) The contact information for the SAC 
for the Pacific Islands Division: NOAA/DKIRC, ATTN: OLE/VMS, 1025 
Quincy Avenue, Suite 5010, Honolulu, HI 96860-4512; telephone: (808) 
725-6100; email: pidvms@noaa.gov. The business hours of the SAC for the 
purpose of this section are: Monday through Friday, except Federal 
holidays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Hawaii Standard Time.
    (2) The contact information for the NOAA Office of Law 
Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk for the purpose of this section is: 
Telephone: (888) 219-9228; email: ole.helpdesk@noaa.gov. The business 
hours of the VMS Helpdesk for the purpose of this section are: Monday 
through Friday, except Federal holidays, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern 
Time.
    (b) Applicability. This section applies to all owners and operators 
of U.S. commercial fishing vessels, 24 meters or more in overall 
length, used to target tuna in the Convention Area. If specifically 
authorized by NOAA OLE in writing, this section shall no longer be 
applicable to a vessel that departs the Convention Area and remains 
outside the Convention Area for 1 year or longer.
    (c) Provisions for Installation, Activation and Operation--(1) VMS

[[Page 7156]]

Unit Installation. The vessel owner and operator must obtain and have 
installed on the fishing vessel, in accordance with instructions 
provided by the SAC, and the VMS unit manufacturer, a VMS unit that is 
type-approved by NOAA for fisheries in the IATTC Convention Area. The 
vessel owner and operator shall arrange for a NOAA-approved mobile 
communications service provider to receive and relay transmissions from 
the VMS unit to NOAA. The vessel owner and operator shall authorize 
NOAA OLE, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and other authorized entities to 
receive and relay position reports. The owner and operator must 
authorize NOAA to set up the reporting interval of the VMS unit and the 
transmission of automated position reports to occur hourly. The NOAA 
OLE VMS Helpdesk is available to provide instructions for VMS 
installation and a list of the current type-approved VMS units and 
mobile communication service providers.
    (2) VMS Unit Activation. If the VMS unit has not yet been activated 
as described in this paragraph, or if the VMS unit has been newly 
installed or reinstalled, or if the mobile communications service 
provider has changed since the previous activation, or if directed by 
the SAC, the vessel owner and operator must, prior to leaving port:
    (i) Turn on the VMS unit to make it operational;
    (ii) Submit a written activation report, via mail, facsimile or 
email, to the SAC, that includes: The vessel's name; the vessel's 
official number; the VMS unit manufacturer and identification number; 
and telephone, facsimile or email contact information for the vessel 
owner or operator; and
    (iii) Receive verbal or written confirmation from the SAC that the 
proper VMS unit transmissions are being received from the VMS unit.
    (3) VMS Unit Operation. The vessel owner and operator shall 
continuously operate the VMS unit at all times, except that the VMS 
unit may be shut down while the vessel is in port or otherwise not at 
sea, provided that the owner and operator:
    (i) Prior to shutting down the VMS unit, report to the SAC or the 
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk via facsimile, email, or 
web-form the following information: The intent to shut down the VMS 
unit; the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; an estimate for 
when the vessel's VMS may be turned back on; and telephone, facsimile 
or email contact information for the vessel owner or operator; and
    (ii) When turning the VMS unit back on, report to the SAC or the 
NOAA Office of Law Enforcement's VMS Helpdesk, via mail, facsimile or 
email, the following information: That the VMS unit has been turned on; 
the vessel's name; the vessel's official number; and telephone, 
facsimile or email contact information for the vessel owner or 
operator; and
    (iii) Prior to leaving port, receive verbal or written confirmation 
from the SAC that proper transmissions are being received from the VMS 
unit.
    (4) Failure of VMS unit. If the VMS unit has become inoperable or 
transmission of automatic position reports from the VMS unit has been 
interrupted, or if notified by NOAA or the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) that 
automatic position reports are not being received from the VMS unit or 
that an inspection of the VMS unit has revealed a problem with the 
performance of the VMS unit, the vessel owner and operator shall comply 
with the following requirements:
    (i) If the vessel is at port: The vessel owner or operator shall 
repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable before the 
vessel leaves port.
    (ii) If the vessel is at sea: The vessel owner, operator, or 
designee shall contact the SAC by telephone, facsimile, or email at the 
earliest opportunity during the SAC's business hours and identify the 
caller and vessel. The vessel operator shall follow the instructions 
provided by the SAC, which could include, but are not limited to: 
Ceasing fishing, stowing fishing gear, returning to port, and/or 
submitting periodic position reports at specified intervals by other 
means; and, repair or replace the VMS unit and ensure it is operable 
before starting the next trip.
    (5) Related VMS Requirements. Installing, carrying and operating a 
VMS unit in compliance with the requirements in 50 CFR 300.219, 50 CFR 
660.712, 50 CFR 660.14, or 50 CFR 665.19 relating to the installation, 
carrying, and operation of VMS units shall be deemed to satisfy the 
requirements of paragraph (c) of this section, provided that the VMS 
unit is operated continuously and at all times while the vessel is at 
sea, the VMS unit and mobile communications service providers are type-
approved by NOAA for fisheries in IATTC Convention Area, the owner and 
operator have authorized NOAA to receive and relay transmissions from 
the VMS unit, and the specific requirements of paragraph (c)(4) of this 
section are complied with. If the VMS unit is owned by NOAA, the 
requirement under paragraph (c)(4) of this section to repair or replace 
the VMS unit will be the responsibility of NOAA, but the vessel owner 
and operator shall be responsible for ensuring that the VMS unit is 
operable before leaving port or starting the next trip.
    (d) Costs. The vessel owner and operator shall be responsible for 
all costs associated with the purchase, installation and maintenance of 
the VMS unit and for all charges levied by the mobile communications 
service provider as necessary to ensure the transmission of automatic 
position reports to NOAA as required in paragraph (c) of this section. 
However, if NOAA is paying for the VMS-associated costs because the VMS 
unit is carried and operated under a requirement of 50 CFR 300.219, 50 
CFR 660.712, or 50 CFR 665.19, the vessel owner and operator shall not 
be responsible to pay the costs.
    (e) Tampering. The vessel owner and operator must ensure that the 
VMS unit is not tampered with, disabled, destroyed, damaged or 
maintained improperly, and that its operation is not impeded or 
interfered with.
    (f) Inspection. The vessel owner and operator must make the VMS 
unit, including its antenna, connectors and antenna cable, available 
for inspection by authorized officers.
    (g) Access to data. The vessel owner and operator must make the 
vessel's position data obtained from the VMS unit or other means 
immediately and always available for inspection by NOAA personnel, USCG 
personnel, and authorized officers.

[FR Doc. 2014-02598 Filed 2-5-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P