[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 116 (Monday, June 17, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 36122-36128]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-14332]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 680

[Docket No. 120806311-3530-02]
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: Final rule.


SUMMARY: NMFS issues regulations to implement Amendment 42 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner 
Crabs (FMP). These regulations 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 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 
action is necessary to eliminate redundant reporting requirements, 
standardize reporting across participants, and reduce 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 (MSA), the FMP, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Effective July 17, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of Amendment 42 to the FMP, the Regulatory 
Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and 
the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this action may be obtained from 
http://www.regulations.gov or from the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. The Environmental Impact Statement, RIR, and 
Social Impact Assessment prepared for the CR Program are available from 
the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. 
Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects 
of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this rule 
may be submitted to NMFS Alaska Region, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 
99802, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; in person at NMFS Alaska 
Region, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK; and by email to 
OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or faxed to 202-395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karen Palmigiano, 907-586-7091.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This final rule implements Amendment 42 to 
the FMP. NMFS published a notice of availability (NOA) for Amendment 42 
on March 12, 2013 (78 FR 15677). The comment period on NOA for 
Amendment 42 ended on May 13, 2013. The Secretary approved Amendment 42 
on June 5, 2013, after accounting for information from the public, and 
determining that Amendment 42 is consistent with the FMP, the MSA, and 
other applicable law. NMFS published a proposed rule to implement 
Amendment 42 on March 21, 2013 (78 FR 17341). The comment period on the 
proposed rule ended on April 22, 2013. NMFS received a total of 5 
comment letters from 3 persons during the comment periods on Amendment 
42 and the proposed rule to implement the amendment. The letters 
contained 18 separate topics. A summary of these comments and NMFS's 
responses are provided in the Comments and Responses section of this 
    Amendment 42 and this final rule apply to the CR Program's annual 
economic data collection program and the annual EDRs. At the beginning 
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 EDR based on harvesting and 
processing activities for the associated fishing season. The Council 
and NMFS use the annual EDRs 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 processors. Data submission is mandatory.
    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 Program.
    As described in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 42, the 
Council initiated an analysis in 2010 to modify the EDR based on its 
data quality review process and public comment received during the 
Council's 5-year review of the CR Program. In February 2012, the 
Council recommended Amendment 42 to the FMP to modify the EDR. 
Following the Council's recommendation of Amendment 42, additional 
industry outreach and Council review of the proposed EDR revisions 
ensured that the revisions were compatible with industry recordkeeping 
procedures and consistent with the intent of the Council 
recommendations. In October 2012, the Council reviewed three proposed 
EDR forms developed for this action and the draft Paperwork Reduction 
Act (PRA) submission. Following this review, the Council confirmed its 
support for Amendment 42.
    The Council recommended Amendment 42 to address its concerns with 
accuracy and consistency of reported data, redundant data reporting, 
and reducing industry's reporting burden. Those concerns are discussed 
in detail in the proposed rule to implement Amendment 42 (78 FR 17341, 
March 21, 2013) and are briefly summarized here.
    Data that is inconsistently or inaccurately reported is not useful 
to the Council or NMFS. For example, reporting labor information for 
each crab fishery, including average processing positions, does not 
provide an accurate estimate of the number of staff used, as staff may 
be reassigned to non-crab tasks with changing plant needs. Therefore, 
the Council recommended removing this data-reporting requirement, as 
inaccurately or inconsistently reported data has limited analytical 
    In addition to data quality limitations, several data elements 
removed from the EDR by this final rule are currently collected under 
other NMFS or State of Alaska 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 
and then shared with NMFS through a data sharing agreement. The Council 
and NMFS believe these data elements are useful for examining 
operational efficiencies; however, each of these data

[[Page 36123]]

elements is individually available through other data collection 
    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 RIR/IRFA 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 completed forms, data entry, data 
verification, and data management. Annually, these costs are then 
``billed'' to CR Program participants through the CR Program's cost 
recovery fee system.
    For CR Program participants required to submit the EDRs, the amount 
of time needed to complete the current crab EDRs is higher than 
originally estimated when the EDR Program was developed. To complete an 
EDR form, CR Program participants 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) information, which are not often recorded in the same format. In 
the original PRA statement for the initial EDR Program, the estimates 
of time required to accurately complete each EDR was 7.5 hours per 
vessel. In 2012, during public testimony, the Council was advised that 
the time required to complete each of the current EDR forms was 
approximately 45 to 50 hours. The EDR modifications implemented by this 
rule will remove data elements that are already reported through other 
data collection programs. This will reduce the amount of information 
industry participants are required to report in each EDR and reduce the 
amount of time it takes to complete the EDRs.

Response to Comments

    NMFS received 5 letters of public comment from 3 individuals during 
the public comment periods for Amendment 42 and the proposed rule. A 
summary of the comments received and NMFS' responses follow.
    Comment 1: The proposed rule is consistent with Amendment 42 as 
adopted by the Council. We urge the Secretary to adopt Amendment 42 to 
the FMP for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner crab as 
soon as legally permissible.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment.
    Comment 2: The quality of data this agency works with is poor. The 
information is inaccurate and unrealistic.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. This action ensures that EDRs collect the 
best data currently available. The purpose of Amendment 42 and this 
final rule is to address the current problems with the EDR Program so 
that the data collected is accurate and informative to the Council, not 
redundant with existing reporting requirements, and can be reported by 
industry and administered at a reasonable cost. Regulations 
implementing the EDR found at 50 CFR 680.6(f) also provide for 
verification of information to ensure that the data collected is error-
    Comment 3: NMFS and the Council need to be more responsive to the 
MSA requirements for economic data collection and analysis and do a 
better job of explaining why meeting those requirements should be 
beneficial to the industry and the public.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. NMFS and the Council both believe they 
have responded adequately to the MSA requirements for economic data 
collection. Section 313(j)(1) of the MSA required the Secretary to 
approve and implement the CR Program approved by the Council, which 
included a requirement to collect economic data. Under the CR Program, 
the EDR data will be used ``to study the impacts of the crab 
rationalization program'' and to ensure that the program will achieve 
``equity between the harvesting and processing sectors'' and to monitor 
the ``economic stability for harvesters, processors, and coastal 
communities''. The CR Program required by section 313(j)(1) of the MSA 
also provides specific guidance on the type of data to be collected, 
requirements for selecting a data collection agent, verification of 
data, and treatment and distribution of confidential data that are 
included in this collection.
    The CR Program EDR provides information to aid the public at-large, 
industry, and decision makers in reviewing the impacts of the CR 
Program. NMFS has determined that this final rule is consistent with 
the MSA and other applicable law.
    Comment 4: The proposed rule and Amendment 42 would substantially 
decrease the economic data that are available to the Council and NMFS.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. NMFS acknowledges that this action will 
quantitatively reduce the number of reported data elements. However, 
NMFS has worked with the Council and industry to ensure that data that 
can be accurately, reliably, and consistently reported will be 
collected in this revised EDR. The Council and NMFS are eliminating 
particular data elements, which were determined to be inaccurate or 
inconsistently reported after a careful, comprehensive multi-year CR 
Program EDR review as described in detail in the preamble to the 
proposed rule (78 FR 17341, March 21, 2013) and the RIR/IRFA prepared 
for this action (see ADDRESSES). NMFS will continue to work with the 
Council and industry to collect the best information available.
    Comment 5: A fundamental problem with the initial EDR Program was 
that the Council and NMFS decided that it be limited to collecting 
purely crab fishery data and exclude the collection of economic data 
associated with other activities of the fishing vessels and processors 
that participate in the crab fisheries.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. The EDR Program collects data necessary 
to understand the CR Program's effects and performance. The EDR 
Program's original goals and implementing regulations focused on crab 
fishery data collection. The EDR Program was established this way to 
provide more detailed information for analyses, as the individual crab 
fisheries differ in their prosecution. Regulations implementing the EDR 
Program were intended to meet a specific purpose and need to collect 
crab fishery data. The alternatives considered, and the revisions 
implemented by this action are consistent with that purpose and need.
    Comment 6: A fundamental problem with the initial EDR Program was 
that the EDR data are maintained by a third party data manager who 
provides those data to analysts in a blind format that does not allow 
analysts to directly identify the source of any observations. 
Additionally, an alternative that allowed for the removal of blind 
formatting was discussed in the RIR/IRFA for this action, but the 
discussion is not complete.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. According to the PRA support statement 
from the original EDR Program, Congress required that an independent 
third party data collection agent (DCA) administer the collection and 
dissemination of EDR data to address concerns for strict control over 
sensitive economic data. NMFS then selected PSMFC to be the DCA. 
Additionally, NFMS and the Council considered the information provided 
in the RIR/IRFA prepared for Amendment 42, as well as public testimony, 
in determining whether or not to remove the blind formatting 
requirement. Section 2.5.1 of the RIR/IRFA discusses the potential 
impacts of removing the requirements of removing blind formatting. This 
section was reviewed by the public, the Council's Scientific and 
Statistical Committee (SSC) and Advisory Panel (AP), and the

[[Page 36124]]

Council. Based on the information presented in the RIR, and public 
concern that the removal of blind formatting could result in the 
release of sensitive business information, NMFS and the Council 
concluded that maintaining blind formatting would reduce the risk of 
releasing sensitive business information when providing data to 
    Comment 7: The RIR/IRFA was incomplete, did not include suggestions 
from the SSC or the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), appears to 
be biased towards industry, and does not clearly state the objectives 
of the action.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. The RIR/IRFA was developed by Council 
staff, in cooperation with individuals from NMFS, the SSC, the AFSC, 
and the AP. Information found in the RIR/IRFA is taken directly from 
the multi-year review of the quality of data collected through the 
EDRs, as well as reports from the AFSC, the Council, and PSMFC. The 
RIR/IRFA was also made available to the public beginning in early 2012. 
The public has had several opportunities to provide comment on the 
revised EDR forms and the RIR/IRFA. NMFS has determined that the RIR/
IRFA provides a comprehensive review of the objectives of Amendment 42 
and meets the requirements of Executive Order 12866 and other 
applicable law.
    Comment 8: Were the RIR/IRFA objectives specified clearly or at all 
for Amendment 42?
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment. The objectives for data 
collection for the CR Program were clearly identified in the original 
RIR/IRFA for the Program, as well as in the development of Amendments 
18 and 19 to the FMP, which established the CR Program. In revising the 
EDR collection, the Council provided a ``purpose and need statement'' 
in the RIR/IRFA for Amendment 42. The Council developed the purpose and 
need statement after its assessment of the original EDR Program. The 
purpose and need statement identified objectives as follows: ``To 
address these problems, the Council intends to amend the EDR process so 
that the data collected is accurate, informative to the Council, not 
redundant with existing reporting requirements, and can be reported by 
industry and administered at a reasonable cost. The Council expressly 
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 sufficiently accurate.'' NMFS has determined 
that this final rule is consistent with the objectives found in the 
purpose and need statement for Amendment 42.
    Comment 9: The examples of redundant reporting are not documented 
well and the redundancies may be overstated. There appears to be little 
or no considerations of methods for improving the scope, quality and 
access to economic data from other sources (e.g. elandings, fish 
ticket, and Restricted Access Management [RAM] data).
    Response: NMFS disagrees. Several data quality assessments were 
conducted prior to the development of the RIR/IRFA. Information taken 
from those assessments has been summarized in the RIR/IRFA and is 
referenced in section 2.5.6. These assessments describe the EDR Program 
data inaccuracy and collection redundancy concerns. These initial 
assessments were published in the ``Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Crab Economic Data Report Database Metadata Documentation'' report 
available on the NOAA Fisheries Web site at http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/crab/rat/edr/default.htm. These data quality 
assessments were reviewed by the Council and were used in the 
development of the RIR/IRFA. The EDR data assessment included 
determining whether the data was available through other federal and 
state sources. In instances where another source provided EDR data, or 
more accurate data, NMFS and the Council determined that it was more 
efficient and less burdensome to industry to remove the data element 
from the crab EDR and rely on data from the other source. The Council 
and NMFS will review the EDR Program periodically, and use the 
opportunity to determine whether additional CR Program data is 
available from other sources.
    Comment 10: Too much weight is given to the objective of reducing 
the data collection on the industry and insufficient weight to having 
adequate economic data for these fisheries.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. NMFS and the Council only considered 
removing EDR data elements after several reviews of the CR Program and 
the EDRs. While every effort is made to ensure that the best available 
data are collected in the EDRs, NMFS and the Council are required to 
balance data that can be accurately and consistently reported with the 
industry's reporting burden. Based on the assessments of the CR Program 
data, the RIR/IRFA prepared for this action, and public testimony, the 
Council recommended, and NMFS agrees, that the EDR revisions 
implemented by this final rule achieve this balance.
    Comment 11: We note the annual submission date for the EDR forms is 
June 28 of each year. If this action does not move forward 
expeditiously, data submitters will be subjected to another year of an 
overly burdensome reporting requirement that yields data of 
questionable quality and utility.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment. NMFS has worked to 
finalize Amendment 42 and this rule as expeditiously as possible. NMFS 
and the PSMFC will coordinate with affected CR Program participants to 
implement the EDR requirements.
    Comment 12: Are the statements that the ``Council was advised that 
for the current EDR the actual time required to complete the forms was 
approximately 45 to 50 hours'' and that ``in the majority of cases, the 
data collected in the EDRs are already collected under other programs 
reported elsewhere'' consistent? If the data reporting burden is 
excessive, more efficient data collection methods are probably 
preferable to severely curtailing the EDR Program.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment. The statements are 
consistent. During the development of this action, the Council and NMFS 
were presented with information from the affected CR Program 
participants that demonstrated that some of the EDR data requested was 
already available through other data collection programs. For example, 
EDR forms required submitters to specify the number of days fishing by 
a catcher vessel. This information could be gleaned from the state fish 
ticket data by looking at the date the first gear was set and the day 
the last gear was hauled. However, traditionally this information was 
obtained through catcher vessel logbooks, which collect date and time 
of setting and hauling for each string, catch in each string, and 
offload date. Using the data from the logbooks required the EDR 
submitter to do additional calculations to provide the information 
requested in the EDR. Industry participants voiced concern that the 
process of aggregating or disaggregating data already collected is a 
considerable time burden. Based on their testimony and the assessments 
of the data, NMFS and the Council removed the information on fishing 
days and days traveling. Instead NMFS and the Council will refer to the 
information already submitted through fish tickets to obtain 
information on fishing days. The same process was followed in instances 
where industry participants were able to demonstrate that information 
required by the EDR was already available through a different data 
collection program.

[[Page 36125]]

    Additionally, Executive Order 13563, Section 6(a), requires that 
``[t]o facilitate the periodic review of existing significant 
regulations, agencies shall consider how best to promote retrospective 
analysis of rules that may be outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or 
excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal 
them in accordance with what has been learned.'' In compliance with 
E.O. 13563, NMFS analyzed the EDR Program and found areas where data 
collection was ineffective and excessively burdensome. In response, 
NMFS has modified the EDR Program accordingly.
    Comment 13: Does the EDR data element ``Health Insurance and 
Retirement Benefits--available for captain and crew'' on the proposed 
EDR forms refer to the type of benefits or their costs?
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment. The question regarding 
``Health Insurance and Retirement Benefits'' specifically asks, ``Did 
you provide paid health insurance or retirement benefits to captain or 
crew members in addition to labor payments reported above?'' CR Program 
participants will only be required to complete a ``yes/no'' check box 
in order to report whether or not such benefits are offered to captain 
and crew for the EDR entity and will not be required to report the 
types of benefits or their costs.
    Comment 14: If the shoreside processor and floating processor EDR 
forms are essentially the same, it makes sense to combine them, but it 
is not clear why that would be a ``major change'' as stated in the 
proposed rule.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment. Both NMFS and the Council 
believed that a reduction from four EDR forms to three constituted one 
of the larger changes made to the EDR Program under this action. 
However, neither the Council nor NMFS meant to imply that this change 
was in any way more important or significant than any of the other 
changes to the EDR Program made by this action.
    Comment 15: The crew member contracts and settlement sheets could 
provide a wealth of information with a minimal reporting burden for the 
industry. That option may have been discarded without adequate 
consideration of the benefits of those data.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. Both NMFS and the Council weighed the 
cost and benefits of collecting crew contract information. 
Additionally, public testimony was given in regard to requiring crew 
contract submittal as part of the EDR Program. The majority of that 
testimony did not support the collection of crew contracts. The public 
had concerns over the collection of personally identifiable information 
(i.e., addresses) that is contained in crew contracts. NFMS and the 
Council also determined that collecting crew contracts and settlement 
sheets would substantially increase the administrative costs of the EDR 
Program. Additionally, the data from crew contracts may not be 
accurate, may not include all compensation, and may not provide more 
information than what is already requested in the revised EDR forms. 
Therefore, NMFS and the Council suggested that CR Program participants 
continue to submit aggregated crew compensation information.
    Comment 16: What's the difference between ``variable input 
quantities and prices'' and ``input quantities and prices'' as 
indicated on page 9 of the RIR?
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment. The information on page 9 
(section 2.4.2) of the RIR/IRFA was taken from the original PRA 
supporting statement from the initial EDR Program. The original 
document appears to have a typographical error, which was carried 
forward to the RIR. NMFS updated the RIR/IRFA to remove the second 
phrase ``input quantities and prices''.
    Comment 17: The RIR/IRFA states that ``This element [leased pounds 
and lease costs] would remove those complications by limiting reporting 
to market transactions for exclusively monetary compensation'', but it 
does not discuss the huge reporting loophole this would create in the 
data on transfers of crab quota share and individual fishing quota.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. In determining which data elements to 
collect, the Council and NMFS had to weigh the usefulness and accuracy 
of the data being collected against the accuracy and burden of the 
specific data element. For the data element ``leased pounds and lease 
costs'', the Council and NMFS believed that it was most beneficial and 
least costly to CR Program participants to collect this information by 
fishery for ``arm's length transactions and monetary payments'' only. 
While it does leave out those transfers that are not ``arm's length'' 
or may include non-monetary assets, the Council and NMFS determined 
that including those elements would complicate the reporting 
requirement. By including transactions that are not ``arm's length'' or 
transactions that include non-monetary payments, CR Program 
participants would be required to report each transaction separately to 
isolate transactions that are non-market or that would require the 
valuation of non-monetary assets. By only requiring share transfers for 
monetary payments, CR Program participants are able to avoid collecting 
information concerning assets that are more difficult to value. NMFS 
and the Council believe limiting the requirement will result in more 
consistent and accurate reporting by all CR Program participants.
    Comment 18: Footnote 11 on page 17, of the RIR, states that 
``Depending on the specific reporting requirements established for crew 
under the revised C share active participation requirements adopted by 
the Council [Amendment 31 to the FMP] and pending Secretarial approval, 
this information could be available through other sources. Regulations 
for that action should be finalized in early 2012.'' These regulations 
have not yet been finalized, so the date is incorrect.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges the comment and revised the RIR/IRFA to 
indicate that NMFS is developing a proposed rule for Amendment 31 to 
the FMP.

Changes From the Proposed Rule to the Final Rule

    NMFS made three changes from the proposed to final rule to clarify 
who is required to submit an annual EDR. Although the proposed rule 
preamble and RIR/IRFA described these persons and the need to obtain 
EDRs from them, the regulations in the proposed rule did not clearly 
identify crab buyers--primarily registered crab receiver (RCR) permit 
holders--who did not operate a plant that processed CR crab but 
purchased processed CR crab (i.e., custom processed-only buyers) as 
persons who must submit an EDR. The Council intended to include any 
person contracting for custom processing, as those persons are not 
currently required to report custom processing costs or revenues from 
sales (section 2.2.2 of the RIR/IRFA). NMFS changed the regulations for 
the economic data reports at Sec.  680.6(a)(1) to include those persons 
who obtained custom processing for CR crab in the list of persons who 
must submit an annual EDR. NMFS also changed the regulations at Sec.  
680.6(b) to clarify that any person who is required under section Sec.  
680.6(a) to submit an annual EDR is also required to submit the EDR 
certification page. Lastly, NMFS added the regulations at Sec.  
680.6(e)(2) to require submission of the Annual stationary floating 
crab processor (SFCP) and shoreside crab processor EDR by any holder of 
a RCR permit that obtained custom processing for CR Program crab.

[[Page 36126]]

The changes to Sec.  680.6(b) and Sec.  680.6(e) were necessitated by 
the previous regulation change to Sec.  680.6(a).
    While not resulting in a change to the final rule, NMFS notes a 
misstatement found on page 17344 of the proposed rule, in the middle of 
the second paragraph under ``Annual Shoreside Processor/Stationary 
Floating Processor Crab EDR''. There, the preamble states that revenues 
from custom processing (an arrangement under which a person processes 
crab on behalf of another) would be added to the EDR, explaining that 
the data is currently unavailable from other sources.
    That information is incorrect. Revenues from custom processing are 
currently collected and would still be collected, along with quantities 
of custom processed crab products. Custom processing services purchased 
are collected by crab fishery, identifying pounds of raw crab processed 
and finished product amounts together with the payments for services. 
Thus, consistent with the Council motion, NMFS intends to continue to 
collect this data and mistakenly indicated that it was not currently 
collected. NMFS received no comments on this point.


    Pursuant to sections 304(b) and 305(b) of the MSA, the NMFS 
Assistant Administrator has determined that Amendment 42 and this final 
rule are consistent with the FMP, other provisions of the MSA, and 
other applicable law.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)

    An RIR/IRFA was prepared to assess all costs and benefits of 
available regulatory alternatives. The RIR/IRFA considers all 
quantitative and qualitative measures. A copy of this analysis is 
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.

Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA)

    This final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) incorporates the 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), a summary of the 
significant issues raised by the public comments in response to the 
IRFA, NMFS' response to those comments, and a summary of the analyses 
completed to support the action.
    NMFS published a proposed rule to implement Amendment 42 on March 
22, 2013 (78 FR 17341). An IRFA was prepared and summarized in the 
Classification section of the preamble to the proposed rule. The 
description of this action, its purpose, and its legal basis are 
described in the preamble to the proposed rule and are not repeated 
    NMFS received 18 public comments on Amendment 42 and the proposed 
rule. Several of the comments touched on subjects that were covered in 
the IRFA, including the action objectives (comment 8) and reporting 
requirements (comments 9 and 10). The full comments and responses can 
be found in the ``Response to Comments'' section of this final rule.

Number and Description of Small Entities Regulated by the Action

    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 are 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 are 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 action requires 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 this action is substantially less 
than was required under the previous regulations. The changes to the 
EDR Program will 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 to the Final Action That 
Minimize Adverse Impacts on Small Entities

    A FRFA must describe the steps the agency has taken to minimize the 
significant economic impact on small entities consistent with the 
stated objectives of applicable statues, including a statement of the 
factual, policy, and legal reasons for selecting the alternative 
adopted in the final rule and why each one of the other significant 
alternatives to the rule considered by the agency that affect the 
impact on small entities was rejected. ``Significant alternatives'' are 
those that achieve the stated objectives for the action, consistent 
with prevailing law with potentially lesser adverse economic impacts on 
small entities, as a whole. No significant alternatives were developed 
for this action. This action minimizes the economic impacts of the 
status quo on small entities by requiring participants to only submit 
those data elements that were assessed and were found to be the most 
accurately and consistently reported by industry members. By reducing 
the amount of data collected, the burden on industry members to report 
has been reduced.

Duplicate, Overlapping, or Conflicting Federal Rules

    No duplication, overlap, or conflict between this action and 
existing Federal rules has been identified.

Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements

    The recordkeeping, reporting, and other compliance requirements 
will be reduced by this action. The initial data collection program, 
which was created through the creation of the CR Program, required more 
data to be submitted than what is required under this new action. After 
assessing the data, the Council and NMFS both worked with industry, the 
SSC, the AP, and the public to ensure that only those data that can be 
reliably, consistently, and accurately reported are included in the 
revised EDR. Submission of the annual EDR is mandatory.
    The professional skills necessary to comply with reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements for small entities impacted by this rule 
include the ability to read, write, and understand English, and the 
ability to

[[Page 36127]]

use a personal computer and the internet. The person also must have 
authority to take actions on behalf of the designated signatory. Each 
of the small entities must be capable of complying with the 
requirements of this rule. Each small entity should have financial 
resources to obtain legal or technical expertise that they might 
require to fulfill the EDR requirement.

Small Entity Compliance Guide

    Section 212 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness 
Act of 1996 states that, for each rule or group of related rules for 
which an agency is required to prepare a FRFA, the agency shall publish 
one or more guides to assist small entities in complying with the rule 
and shall designate such publications as ``small entity compliance 
guides''. The agency shall explain the actions a small entity is 
required to take to comply with a rule or group of rules. As part of 
this rulemaking process, NMFS has posted a small entity compliance 
guide on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sustainablefisheries/crab/rat/progfaq.htm. 
Contact NMFS to request a hard copy of the guide.

Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This rule contains collection-of-information requirements subject 
to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), which have been approved by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control No. 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 hours for combined Annual stationary floating crab processor 
and shoreside crab processor EDR (replacing formerly two separate 
EDRs); and 8 hours for Verification of Data. 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.
    Send comment regarding this burden estimate, or any other aspect of 
this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden to 
NMFS (see ADDRESSSES) 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: June 11, 2013.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, Performing the 
functions and duties of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 
680 as follows:


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

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

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, custom processed, or obtained custom processing 
for CR crab, during a calendar year, must submit a complete Economic 
Data Report (EDR) by following the instructions on the applicable EDR 
    (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. Any person required to submit an 
annual EDR under paragraph (a) of this section must submit the EDR 
certification pages as either:
    (1) Part of the entire EDR. Persons submitting the completed EDR 
certification pages as part of the entire EDR must attest to the 
accuracy and completion of the EDR by signing and dating the 
certification pages; or
    (2) A separate document. Persons submitting the completed EDR 
certification pages only must attest that they meet the conditions 
exempting them from submitting the entire EDR, by signing and dating 
the certification pages.
    (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--(1) Any owner or leaseholder of an SFCP or a 
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.
    (2) Any holder of a registered crab receiver (RCR) permit that 
obtained custom processing for CR Program crab 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.

Table 2 to Part 680  [Removed]

3. Remove Table 2 to Part 680.

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Tables 3c, 4, 5, and 6 to Part 680  [Removed]

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

[FR Doc. 2013-14332 Filed 6-14-13; 8:45 am]