Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fishing Capacity Reduction Program; Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs; Industry Fee System for Fishing Capacity Reduction Loan, 54652-54656 [05-18444]

Download as PDF 54652 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Rules and Regulations National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2005 (Pub. L. 108–375). Section 814 requires DoD to provide notice and supporting rationale to Congress before awarding a multiyear contract containing a cancellation ceiling exceeding $100 million that is not fully funded. Section 8008 places additional restrictions on the award of multiyear contracts for supplies using fiscal year 2005 appropriated funds. DoD received no comments on the interim rule. Therefore, DoD has adopted the interim rule as a final rule without change. This rule was not subject to Office of Management and Budget review under Executive Order 12866, dated September 30, 1993. B. Regulatory Flexibility Act DoD certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the rule addresses internal DoD planning, budgeting, and reporting requirements related to the award of multiyear contracts. C. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the rule does not impose any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq. List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 217 Government procurement. Michele P. Peterson, Editor, Defense Acquisition Regulations System. Interim Rule Adopted as Final Without Change Accordingly, the interim rule amending 48 CFR Part 217, which was published at 70 FR 24323 on May 9, 2005, is adopted as a final rule without change. I [FR Doc. 05–18475 Filed 9–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–08–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration I. Background 50 CFR Part 600 [Docket No. 050520139-5239-02; I.D. 030305A] RIN 0648–AS46 Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fishing Capacity Reduction Program; Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs; Industry Fee System for Fishing Capacity Reduction Loan National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS establishes regulations to implement an industry fee system for repaying a $97,399,357.11 Federal loan financing a fishing capacity reduction program in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab fishery. This action implements the fee system. DATES: This final rule is effective, and crab program fee payment collection will begin, on October 17, 2005. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Environmental Assessment, Regulatory Impact Review, and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/FRFA) for the program may be obtained from Michael L. Grable, Chief, Financial Services Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910– 3282. Written comments involving the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule should be submitted in writing to Michael L. Grable, at the above address, and to David Rostker, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), by email at DavidlRostker@omb.eop.gov or by fax to 202–395–7285. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael L. Grable, (301) 713–2390. DESCRIPTION Sections 312(b)-(e) of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1861a(b) through (e)) generally authorized fishing capacity reduction programs. In particular, section 312(d) authorized industry fee systems for repaying the reduction loans which finance reduction program costs. Subpart L of 50 CFR part 600 is the framework rule generally implementing sections 312(b)-(e). Sections 1111 and 1112 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 (46 App. U.S.C. 1279f and 1279g) generally authorized reduction loans. The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 (Public Law 106–554) directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish a $100 million fishing capacity reduction program in the Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands king and Tanner crab fishery. Congress amended the authorizing Act twice (Public Law 107– 20 and Public Law 107–117), once to change the crab reduction program’s funding from a $50 million appropriation and a $50 million loan to a $100 million loan and once to clarify provisions about crab fishery vessels. NMFS published the crab reduction program’s proposed implementation rule on December 12, 2002 (67 FR 76329) and its final rule on December 12, 2003 (68 FR 69331). Anyone interested in the program’s full implementation details should refer to these two documents. NMFS initially proposed and adopted the program’s implementation rule as section 600.1018 of Subpart L of 50 CFR part 600, but NMFS has since, without other change, re-designated the rule as section 600.1103 in a new subpart M of part 600. To avoid confusion, the following table identifies the various part 600 rules involved in or affecting the crab reduction program: SUBPART Reduction Framework Rule Program Implementation Rule’s Initial Designation Program Implementation Rule’s Re-designation Fee Rule The crab reduction program’s maximum cost was $100 million consisting of a 30-year loan to be repaid by fees on future crab landings. Each of six of the crab fishery’s seven former VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:20 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 L L M M crab area/species endorsement fisheries were to pay fees at different rates. In return for reduction payments equaling their bid amounts, voluntary program participants relinquished, among other PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 SECTION 600.1000–600.1017 600.1018 600.1103 600.1104 things, their crab fishing license limitation program (LLP) licenses and other permits, their catch histories associated with those licenses and E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Rules and Regulations permits, and their crab fishing vessels’ worldwide fishing privileges. NMFS notice in the Federal Register (69 FR 7421) issued the crab reduction program’s invitation to bid on February 17, 2004. The bidding period opened on March 5, 2004, and closed on April 23, 2004. NMFS scored each bid’s amount against the bidder’s past ex-vessel crab revenues and, in a reverse auction, accepted the bids whose amounts were the lowest percentages of the revenues. Forty-two non-interim crab LLP license holders submitted bids totaling $192,600,916. NMFS accepted 28 bids totaling $99,878,316. The next lowest scoring bid would have exceeded the program’s maximum cost. NMFS next held a referendum about the fees. The reduction contracts would have become void unless a 2⁄3 majority of votes cast in the referendum approved the fees. Each crab LLP license holder received one vote. NMFS mailed ballots to qualifying referendum voters and the voting period opened on May 7, 2004. The voting period closed on June 11, 2004. NMFS received 283 timely votes, four of which were otherwise unresponsive. Approximately 93 percent (259 votes) approved the fees. The referendum appeared to be successful. Before publishing a reduction payment tender notice, however, NMFS learned that the crab catch history for some reduction/history vessels overstated their actual crab catch history during the bid scoring period. This resulted from a computer programming error which multiplied the crab catch history of co-owned reduction/history vessels times the number of vessel coowners. Accordingly, the bids associated with these vessels appeared to have more crab catch history during the bid scoring period than they actually did. This resulted in some inaccurate bid scores. Because of the government’s unilateral mistake, the information NMFS provided to the referendum voters on May 7, 2004, was materially inaccurate. In response, NMFS readministered the referendum by mailing new ballots to qualifying referendum voters. The voting period opened on July 9, 2004, and closed on July 30, 2004. NMFS received 236 timely votes. This referendum was not successful since only approximately 46 percent (109) of the votes cast approved the fees. Because of the first referendum’s special circumstances, NMFS decided to re-invite bids and held a second referendum based on the new bidding results. The second bidding period opened on August 6, 2004, and closed VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:20 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 on September 24, 2004. Fifty-five noninterim crab LLP license holders submitted bids totaling $225,954,284. NMFS again scored each bid’s amount against the bidder’s past ex-vessel revenues and, in a reverse auction, accepted the bids whose amounts were the lowest percentages of the revenues. NMFS accepted 25 bids totaling $97,399,357.11. The next lowest scoring bid would have exceeded the program’s maximum cost. The accepted bids involved 25 fishing vessels as well as 62 fishing licenses or permits. Twenty-five of the permits were non-interim crab fishery LLP licenses. The remaining included 15 groundfish fishing licenses, 20 Federal fishery vessel permits, one high seas permit, and one halibut individual fishing quota share allocation. NMFS allocated the prospective $97,399,357.11 reduction loan to the six reduction endorsement fisheries involved, as the following sub-amounts: 1. Bristol Bay red king, $17,129,957.23, 2. BSAI C. opilio and C. bairdi, $66,410,767.20, 3. Aleutian Islands brown king, $6,380,837.19, 4. Aleutian Islands red king, $237,588.04, 5. Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king, $1,571,216.35, and 6. St. Matthew blue king, $5,668,991.10. NMFS next held a another fee referendum. The reduction contracts would have become void unless a 2⁄3 majority of votes cast in the second referendum approved the fees. Each crab LLP license holder received one vote. NMFS mailed ballots to 313 qualifying referendum voters. The voting period opened on October 1, 2004, and closed on November 15, 2004. NMFS received 273 timely votes. Over 79 percent (217 votes) approved the fees. The referendum was successful. Accordingly, the reduction contracts were in full force and effect. On November 24, 2004, NMFS published another Federal Register notice (69 FR 68313) advising the public that NMFS would, beginning on December 27, 2004, tender the crab reduction program’s reduction payments to the 25 accepted bidders. On December 27, 2004, NMFS required all accepted bidders to then permanently stop all further fishing with the reduction vessels and permits. Subsequently, NMFS: 1. Disbursed $97,399,357.11 in reduction payments to 25 accepted bidders; 2. Revoked the relinquished reduction permits; PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 54653 3. Revoked each reduction vessel’s fishing history; 4. Notified the National Vessel Documentation Center to revoke the reduction vessels’ fishery trade endorsements and appropriately annotate the reduction vessel’s document; and 5. Notified the U.S. Maritime Administration to prohibit the reduction vessel’s transfer to foreign ownership or registry. On March 2, 2005, NMFS published a final rule (70 FR 10174 et seq), effective April 1, 2005, implementing Amendments 18 and 19 to the Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/ Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crab. Among other things, this rule added a new part 680 to this chapter. Amendments 18 and 19 amended the crab fishery management plan to include the Voluntary Three-Pie Cooperative Program, otherwise known as the Crab Rationalization Program (CRP). The CRP involves terminology which sometimes differs from the terminology in the crab reduction program’s implementation rule. For example, the CRP uses different terminology for each of the eight crab rationalization fisheries which, under the crab reduction program’s implementation rule, constitute only six reduction endorsement fisheries. Rather than redefining these terms for an already completed crab reduction program, this action retains these terms and cross references them to the new CRP terms. The following table cross references the terms for the six reduction endorsement fisheries involved in the crab reduction program with the different terminology for the eight crab rationalization fisheries involved in the CRP: REDUCTION ENDORSEMENT FISHERIES CRAB RATIONALIZATION FISHERIES Bristol Bay red king Bristol Bay red king (BBR) Bering Sea snow (BSS) and Bering Sea tanner (BST) Eastern Aleutian Islands golden king (EAG) and Western Aleutian Islands golden king (WAG) Western Aleutian Islands red king (WAI) Pribilof red king and blue king (PIK) St. Matthew blue king (SMB) BSAI C. opilio and C. bairdi Aleutian Islands brown king Aleutian Islands red king Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king St. Matthew blue king Please note that, in two instances, what are two separate crab E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 54654 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Rules and Regulations rationalization fisheries are together in one reduction endorsement fishery. Consequently, both of the two separate crab rationalization fisheries will, in each of the two instances, pay fees at the same rate as the one reduction endorsement fishery in which the two fisheries are included until the one fishery’s reduction loan sub-amount, for whose payment the two fisheries are equally obligated, is fully repaid. On July 28, 2005, NMFS published a Federal Register document (70 FR 43673) proposing regulations to implement the crab buyback program’s industry fee system. II. Final Fee Rule NMFS has completed the crab reduction program except for implementing the fee. This final rule implements the fee. The final rule will be effective, and fee payment and collection will begin on, October 17, 2005. The terms defined in § 600.1103 of the crab reduction program’s implementation rule and in § 600.1000 of the program’s framework rule apply to this action except for the definitions of ‘‘reduction endorsement fishery’’ and ‘‘reduction fishery’’. This action refines the definitions of these two terms to reflect the post-CRP fishery’s circumstances. The new definitions of these terms in § 600.1104 supersede the old definitions in this subpart’s § 600.1103. The framework rule’s § 600.1013 governs fee payment and collection in general, and this action applies the § 600.1013 provisions to the crab reduction program. Under § 600.1013, the first ex-vessel buyers (fish buyers) of post-reduction fish (fee fish) subject to an industry fee system must withhold the fee from the trip proceeds which the fish buyers would otherwise have paid to the parties (fish sellers) who harvested and first sold the fee fish to the fish buyers. Fish buyers calculate the fee to be collected by multiplying the applicable fee rate times the fee fish’s full delivery value. Delivery value is the fee fish’s full fair market value, including all inkind compensation or other goods or services exchanged in lieu of cash. Fish sellers pay the fees when fish buyers collect by withholding the applicable amount from trip proceeds. Fee payment and collection is mandatory, and there are substantial penalties for failing to pay and collect fees in accordance with the applicable regulations. The framework rule’s § 600.1014 governs how fish buyers must deposit, and later disburse to NMFS, the fees which they have collected as well as how they must keep records of, and report about, collected fees. Under the framework rule’s § 600.1014, fish buyers must, no less frequently than at the end of each business week, deposit collected fees in segregated and federally insured accounts until, no less frequently than on the last business day of each month, they disburse all collected fees in the accounts to a lockbox which NMFS has specified for this purpose. Settlement sheets must accompany these disbursements. Fish buyers must maintain specified fee collection records for at least 3 years and send NMFS annual reports of fee collection and disbursement activities. To provide more accessible services, streamline collections, and save taxpayer dollars, fish buyers may disburse collected fee deposits to NMFS by using a secure Federal system on the Internet known as Pay.gov. Pay.gov enables fish buyers to use their checking accounts to electronically disburse their collected fee deposits to NMFS. Fish buyers who have access to the Internet should consider using this quick and easy collected fee disbursement method. Fish buyers may access Pay.gov by going directly to Pay.gov’s Federal website at: http://www.pay.gov/paygov/ . Fish buyers who do not have access to the Internet or who simply do not wish to use the Pay.gov electronic system, must disburse their collected fee deposits to us by sending their checks to our lockbox. Our lockbox’s address is: NOAA Fisheries BSAI Crab Buyback P O Box 979060 St. Louis, MO 63197–9000 Fish buyers’ must not forget to include with their disbursements the fee collection report applicable to each disbursement. The fee collection report tells NMFS how much of the disbursement it must apply to each of REDUCTION ENDORSEMENT FISHERIES Bristol Bay red king BSAI C. opilio and C. bairdi Aleutian Islands brown king Aleutian Islands red king Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king St. Matthew Blue VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:20 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 CRAB RATIONALIZATION FISHERIES the six reduction endorsement fisheries subamounts. Fish buyers using Pay.gov will find an electronic fee collection report form to receive information and accompany electronic disbursements. Fish buyers who do not use Pay.gov must include a hard copy fee collection report with each of their disbursements. Fish buyers not using Pay.gov may also access the NMFS website for an Excel spreadsheet version of the fee collection report at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ mb/financiallservices/. NMFS will, before the fee’s effective date, separately mail a copy of this notice, along with detailed fee payment, collection, deposit, disbursement, recording, and reporting information and guidance, to each fish seller and fish buyer of whom NMFS has notice. The fact that any fish seller or fish buyer might not, however, receive from NMFS a copy of the notice or of the information and guidance does not relieve the fish seller or fish buyer from his fee obligations under the applicable regulations. All parties interested in this action should carefully read the following framework rule sections, whose detailed provisions apply to the fee system for repaying the crab reduction program’s loan: 1. § 600.1012; 2. § 600.1013; 3. § 600.1014; 4. § 600.1015; 5. § 600.1016; and 6. § 600.1017. You will not understand this action’s full requirements unless you read this action in conjunction with reading at least the framework rule sections listed above. NMFS, in accordance with the framework rule’s section 600.1013(d), establishes the initial fee for the program’s six reduction endorsement fisheries. NMFS will then separately mail notification to each affected fish seller and fish buyer of whom NMFS has notice. Until this notification, fish sellers and fish buyers do not have to either pay or collect the fee. The initial fee rates applicable to each reduction endorsement fishery are as indicated in the last column of the following table: LOAN SUB-AMOUNT BBR BSS and BST EAG and WAG WAI PIK SMB PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4700 $17,129,957.23 $66,410,767.20 $6,380,837.19 $237,588.04 $1,571,216.35 $5,668,991.10 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 FEE RATE 1.9% 5.0% 2.6% 5.0% 5.0% 5.0% Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Rules and Regulations The rates are percentages of delivery value. Please see the framework rule’s § 600.1000 for the definition of ‘‘delivery value’’ and of the other terms relevant to this final rule. Each disbursement of the reduction loan’s $97,399,357.11 principal amount began accruing interest as of the date of each such disbursement. The loan’s interest rate will be the applicable rate, plus 2 percent, which the U.S. Treasury determines at the end of fiscal year 2005. III. Summary of Comments and Responses NMFS received one comment in response to the proposed fee regulations. This comment requested higher fee rates than the ones in NMFS’ proposed regulations. NMFS’ proposed fee rates were, however, the ones necessary to amortize the loan subamounts in accordance with the legislation authorizing the crab reduction program, and the final rule does not increase these rates. Consequently, this action adopts the proposed fee regulations without revision. Classification The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS, determined that this final rule is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws. In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, NMFS prepared an environmental assessment for the crab reduction program’s final implementing rule (December 12, 2003; 68 FR 69331). The assessment discusses the program’s impact on the natural and human environment. The assessment resulted in a finding of no significant impact. The assessment considered, among other alternatives, the implementation of the fee payment and collection in this action. NMFS will provide a copy of the assessment upon request (see ADDRESSES). The Office of Management and Budget determined that this rule is significant under Executive Order 12866. NMFS prepared a Regulatory Impact Review for the crab reduction program’s final rule. NMFS will provide a copy of the review upon request (see ADDRESSES). NMFS prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for the crab reduction program as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act’s section 603. The analysis describes the impact this final rule would have on small entities. NMFS will provide a copy of the analysis upon request (see ADDRESSES). An analysis summary follows: VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:20 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 1. Description of Reasons for Action and Statement of Objective and Legal Basis Please see the initial background section of this action’s supplementary information, because the information there is similar to the analysis in this regard. 2. Description of Small Entities to Which the Rule Applies The Small Business Administration has defined small entities to be all fish harvesting businesses which are independently owned and operated, are not dominant in their field of operation, and have annual receipts of $3.5 million or less. The definition also includes processors with 500 or fewer employees involved in related industries such as canned and cured fish and seafood or preparing fresh fish and seafood. Moreover, the definition also includes virtually all harvesting vessels. 3. Description of Recordkeeping and Compliance Costs Please see this action’s collection-ofinformation requirements following the analysis. 4. Duplication or Conflict with Other Federal Rules This rule does not duplicate or conflict with any federal rules. 5. Description of Significant Alternatives Considered NMFS considered three alternatives: (1) status quo (no fees); (2) buyback with uniform fees; and (3) buyback with weighted (by reduction endorsement fishery) fees. Status Quo (Alternative 1) Under the status quo, vessel revenues would not be affected. The status quo is a significant alternative to this action because the former involves no fees and the latter does. NMFS could not choose this alternative because it is contrary to Public Law 106–554. Uniform Loan Repayment Fees (Alternative 2) Under Alternative 2, NMFS would apply one fee to the entire crab fishery rather than assigning a different fee to each of the six reduction endorsement fisheries based on their proportional bid crab values. NMFS could not choose this alternative because it is contrary to Public Law 106–554. Repayment Fees (Alternative 3) Under Alternative 3, NMFS would assign a different fee rate for each of the six reduction endorsement fisheries based on their proportional bid crab values. Like Alternative 2, Alternative 3 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 54655 would adversely affect vessel revenues. Nevertheless, Alternative 3 is the most equitable because it apportions repayment obligations based on the actual reduction benefits which each reduction endorsement fishery actually received. This is the preferred alternative both because it is the most equitable and Public Law 106–554 requires this alternative’s method. 6. Steps the Agency Has Taken to Mitigate Negative Effects of the Action With the lack of available cost data, increases in revenues may serve as a proxy for increased profitability. Further, in light of available revenue data, and assuming that each individual vessel shares in the increased revenues resulting from the crab buyback program, the comparison of the relative effects of the program versus the effects of the fees show that overall economic benefits of the program would still be greater than the relative fees charged under this rule. NMFS is not aware of any other measures that could reduce the impact on small entities and still meet statutory requirements. This final rule contains collection-ofinformation requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. OMB has approved these information collections under OMB control number 0648–0376. NMFS estimates that the public reporting burden for these requirements will average: 1. Two hours for submitting a monthly fish buyer settlement sheet; 2. Four hours for submitting an annual fish buyer report; and 3. Two hours for making a fish buyer/ fish seller report when one party fails to either pay or collect the fee. These response estimates include the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the information collection. Send comments regarding this burden estimate, or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to both NMFS and OMB (see ADDRESSES). Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person is subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, any information collection subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that information collection displays a currently valid OMB control number. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 600 Fisheries, Fishing capacity reduction, Fishing permits, Fishing vessels, Intergovernmental relations, Loan E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1 54656 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 179 / Friday, September 16, 2005 / Rules and Regulations programs business, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: September 13, 2005. John Oliver, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons in the preamble, the National Marine Fisheries Service amends 50 CFR part 600 as follows: I PART 600—MAGNUSON-STEVENS ACT PROVISIONS 1. The authority citation for part 600 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 5 U.S.C. 561, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 1861a(b) through (e), 46 App. U.S.C. 1279f and 1279g, section 144(d) of Division B of Pub. L. 106–554, section 2201 of Pub. L. 107–20, section 205 of Pub. L. 107– 117, Pub. L. 107–206, and Pub. L. 108–7. 2. Section 600.1104 text is added to read as follows: I § 600.1104 Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab species fee payment and collection system. (a) Purpose. As authorized by Public Law 106–554, this section’s purpose is to: (1) In accordance with § 600.1012 of subpart L, establish: (i) The borrower’s obligation to repay a reduction loan, and (ii) The loan’s principal amount, interest rate, and repayment term; and (2) In accordance with § 600.1013 through § 600.1016 of subpart L, implement an industry fee system for the reduction fishery. (b) Definitions. Unless otherwise defined in this section, the terms defined in § 600.1000 of subpart L and § 600.1103 of this subpart expressly apply to this section. The following terms have the following meanings for the purpose of this section: Crab rationalization crab means the same as in § 680.2 of this chapter. Crab rationalization fisheries means the same as in § 680.2 of this chapter. Reduction endorsement fishery means any of the seven fisheries that § 679.2 of this chapter formerly (before adoption of part 680 of this chapter) defined as crab area/species endorsements, except the area/species endorsement for Norton Sound red king. More specifically, the reduction endorsement fisheries, and the crab rationalization fisheries which (after adoption of part 680 of this chapter) correspond to the reduction endorsement fisheries, are: (1) Bristol Bay red king (the corresponding crab rationalization fishery is Bristol Bay red king crab), (2) Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area C. opilio and C. bairdi (the VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:20 Sep 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 corresponding crab rationalization fisheries are two separate fisheries, one for Bering Sea snow crab and another for Bering Sea Tanner crab), (3) Aleutian Islands brown king (the corresponding crab rationalization fisheries are the two separate fisheries, one for Eastern Aleutian Islands golden king crab and another for Western Aleutian Islands golden king crab), (4) Aleutian Islands red king (the corresponding crab rationalization fishery is Western Aleutian Islands red king crab), (5) Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king (the corresponding crab rationalization fishery is Pribilof red king and blue king crab), and (6) St. Matthew blue king (the corresponding crab rationalization fishery is also St. Matthew blue king crab). Reduction fishery means the fishery for all crab rationalization crab in all crab rationalization fisheries. Subamount means the portion of the reduction loan amount for whose repayment the borrower in each reduction endorsement fishery is obligated. (c) Reduction loan amount. The reduction loan’s original principal amount is $97,399,357.11. (d) Sub-amounts. The sub-amounts are: January 19, 2005, but each fee shall continue indefinitely for as long as necessary to fully repay each subamount. (h) Reduction loan repayment. (1) The borrower shall, in accordance with § 600.1012, repay the reduction loan; (2) Fish sellers in each reduction endorsement fishery shall, in accordance with § 600.1013, pay the fee at the rate applicable to each such fishery’s subamount; (3) Fish buyers in each reduction endorsement fishery shall, in accordance with § 600.1013, collect the fee at the rate applicable to each such fishery; (4) Fish buyers in each reduction endorsement fishery shall, in accordance with § 600.1014, deposit and disburse, as well as keep records for and submit reports about, the fees applicable to each such fishery; and, (5) The reduction loan is, in all other respects, subject to the provisions of § 600.1012 through § 600.1017. [FR Doc. 05–18444 Filed 9–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 (1) For Bristol Bay red king, $17,129,957.23; [Docket No. 041126332–5039–02; I.D. 091205A] (2) For Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area C. opilio and C. bairdi, $66,410,767.20; Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Yellowfin Sole in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (3) For Aleutian Islands brown king, $6,380,837.19; (4) For Aleutian Islands red king, $237,588.04; (5) For Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king, $1,571,216.35; and (6) For St. Matthew blue king, $5,668,991.10. (e) Interest accrual from inception. Interest began accruing on each portion of the reduction loan amount on and from the date on which NMFS disbursed each such portion. (f) Interest rate. The reduction loan’s interest rate shall be the applicable rate which the U.S. Treasury determines at the end of fiscal year 2005 plus 2 percent. (g) Repayment term. For the purpose of determining fee rates, the reduction loan’s repayment term is 30 years from PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Temporary rule; apportionment of reserves; request for comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS apportions amounts of the non-specified reserve of groundfish to the yellowfin sole initial total allowable catch (ITAC) in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands management area (BSAI). This action is necessary to allow the fishery to continue operating. It is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the fishery management plan for the BSAI. DATES: Effective September 16, 2005 through 2400 hrs, Alaska local time, December 31, 2005. Comments must be received at the following address no later than 4:30 p.m., Alaska local time, September 28, 2005. E:\FR\FM\16SER1.SGM 16SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 179 (Friday, September 16, 2005)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 54652-54656]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-18444]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 600

[Docket No. 050520139-5239-02; I.D. 030305A]
RIN 0648-AS46


Magnuson-Stevens Act Provisions; Fishing Capacity Reduction 
Program; Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner Crabs; Industry 
Fee System for Fishing Capacity Reduction Loan

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS establishes regulations to implement an industry fee 
system for repaying a $97,399,357.11 Federal loan financing a fishing 
capacity reduction program in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and 
Tanner Crab fishery. This action implements the fee system.

DATES: This final rule is effective, and crab program fee payment 
collection will begin, on October 17, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Environmental Assessment, Regulatory Impact 
Review, and Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/FRFA) for the 
program may be obtained from Michael L. Grable, Chief, Financial 
Services Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West 
Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3282.
    Written comments involving the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule should be submitted in writing to Michael L. Grable, at the 
above address, and to David Rostker, Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB), by e-mail at David--Rostker@omb.eop.gov or by fax to 202-395-
7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael L. Grable, (301) 713-2390.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    Sections 312(b)-(e) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation 
and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1861a(b) through (e)) generally 
authorized fishing capacity reduction programs. In particular, section 
312(d) authorized industry fee systems for repaying the reduction loans 
which finance reduction program costs.
    Subpart L of 50 CFR part 600 is the framework rule generally 
implementing sections 312(b)-(e).
    Sections 1111 and 1112 of the Merchant Marine Act, 1936 (46 App. 
U.S.C. 1279f and 1279g) generally authorized reduction loans.
    The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2001 (Public Law 106-554) 
directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish a $100 million fishing 
capacity reduction program in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands king and 
Tanner crab fishery. Congress amended the authorizing Act twice (Public 
Law 107-20 and Public Law 107-117), once to change the crab reduction 
program's funding from a $50 million appropriation and a $50 million 
loan to a $100 million loan and once to clarify provisions about crab 
fishery vessels.
    NMFS published the crab reduction program's proposed implementation 
rule on December 12, 2002 (67 FR 76329) and its final rule on December 
12, 2003 (68 FR 69331). Anyone interested in the program's full 
implementation details should refer to these two documents. NMFS 
initially proposed and adopted the program's implementation rule as 
section 600.1018 of Subpart L of 50 CFR part 600, but NMFS has since, 
without other change, re-designated the rule as section 600.1103 in a 
new subpart M of part 600.
    To avoid confusion, the following table identifies the various part 
600 rules involved in or affecting the crab reduction program:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 DESCRIPTION                        SUBPART                           SECTION
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reduction Framework Rule                                      L   600.1000-600.1017
Program Implementation Rule's Initial                         L   600.1018
 Designation
Program Implementation Rule's Re-designation                  M   600.1103
Fee Rule                                                      M   600.1104
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The crab reduction program's maximum cost was $100 million 
consisting of a 30-year loan to be repaid by fees on future crab 
landings. Each of six of the crab fishery's seven former crab area/
species endorsement fisheries were to pay fees at different rates. In 
return for reduction payments equaling their bid amounts, voluntary 
program participants relinquished, among other things, their crab 
fishing license limitation program (LLP) licenses and other permits, 
their catch histories associated with those licenses and

[[Page 54653]]

permits, and their crab fishing vessels' worldwide fishing privileges.
    NMFS notice in the Federal Register (69 FR 7421) issued the crab 
reduction program's invitation to bid on February 17, 2004. The bidding 
period opened on March 5, 2004, and closed on April 23, 2004. NMFS 
scored each bid's amount against the bidder's past ex-vessel crab 
revenues and, in a reverse auction, accepted the bids whose amounts 
were the lowest percentages of the revenues.
    Forty-two non-interim crab LLP license holders submitted bids 
totaling $192,600,916. NMFS accepted 28 bids totaling $99,878,316. The 
next lowest scoring bid would have exceeded the program's maximum cost.
    NMFS next held a referendum about the fees. The reduction contracts 
would have become void unless a \2/3\ majority of votes cast in the 
referendum approved the fees. Each crab LLP license holder received one 
vote. NMFS mailed ballots to qualifying referendum voters and the 
voting period opened on May 7, 2004. The voting period closed on June 
11, 2004. NMFS received 283 timely votes, four of which were otherwise 
unresponsive. Approximately 93 percent (259 votes) approved the fees. 
The referendum appeared to be successful.
    Before publishing a reduction payment tender notice, however, NMFS 
learned that the crab catch history for some reduction/history vessels 
overstated their actual crab catch history during the bid scoring 
period. This resulted from a computer programming error which 
multiplied the crab catch history of co-owned reduction/history vessels 
times the number of vessel co-owners. Accordingly, the bids associated 
with these vessels appeared to have more crab catch history during the 
bid scoring period than they actually did. This resulted in some 
inaccurate bid scores.
    Because of the government's unilateral mistake, the information 
NMFS provided to the referendum voters on May 7, 2004, was materially 
inaccurate. In response, NMFS readministered the referendum by mailing 
new ballots to qualifying referendum voters. The voting period opened 
on July 9, 2004, and closed on July 30, 2004. NMFS received 236 timely 
votes. This referendum was not successful since only approximately 46 
percent (109) of the votes cast approved the fees.
    Because of the first referendum's special circumstances, NMFS 
decided to re-invite bids and held a second referendum based on the new 
bidding results. The second bidding period opened on August 6, 2004, 
and closed on September 24, 2004. Fifty-five non-interim crab LLP 
license holders submitted bids totaling $225,954,284.
    NMFS again scored each bid's amount against the bidder's past ex-
vessel revenues and, in a reverse auction, accepted the bids whose 
amounts were the lowest percentages of the revenues.
    NMFS accepted 25 bids totaling $97,399,357.11. The next lowest 
scoring bid would have exceeded the program's maximum cost. The 
accepted bids involved 25 fishing vessels as well as 62 fishing 
licenses or permits. Twenty-five of the permits were non-interim crab 
fishery LLP licenses. The remaining included 15 groundfish fishing 
licenses, 20 Federal fishery vessel permits, one high seas permit, and 
one halibut individual fishing quota share allocation.
    NMFS allocated the prospective $97,399,357.11 reduction loan to the 
six reduction endorsement fisheries involved, as the following sub-
amounts:
    1. Bristol Bay red king, $17,129,957.23,
    2. BSAI C. opilio and C. bairdi, $66,410,767.20,
    3. Aleutian Islands brown king, $6,380,837.19,
    4. Aleutian Islands red king, $237,588.04,
    5. Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king, $1,571,216.35, and
    6. St. Matthew blue king, $5,668,991.10.
    NMFS next held a another fee referendum. The reduction contracts 
would have become void unless a \2/3\ majority of votes cast in the 
second referendum approved the fees. Each crab LLP license holder 
received one vote. NMFS mailed ballots to 313 qualifying referendum 
voters. The voting period opened on October 1, 2004, and closed on 
November 15, 2004. NMFS received 273 timely votes. Over 79 percent (217 
votes) approved the fees. The referendum was successful. Accordingly, 
the reduction contracts were in full force and effect.
    On November 24, 2004, NMFS published another Federal Register 
notice (69 FR 68313) advising the public that NMFS would, beginning on 
December 27, 2004, tender the crab reduction program's reduction 
payments to the 25 accepted bidders. On December 27, 2004, NMFS 
required all accepted bidders to then permanently stop all further 
fishing with the reduction vessels and permits. Subsequently, NMFS:
    1. Disbursed $97,399,357.11 in reduction payments to 25 accepted 
bidders;
    2. Revoked the relinquished reduction permits;
    3. Revoked each reduction vessel's fishing history;
    4. Notified the National Vessel Documentation Center to revoke the 
reduction vessels' fishery trade endorsements and appropriately 
annotate the reduction vessel's document; and
    5. Notified the U.S. Maritime Administration to prohibit the 
reduction vessel's transfer to foreign ownership or registry.
    On March 2, 2005, NMFS published a final rule (70 FR 10174 et seq), 
effective April 1, 2005, implementing Amendments 18 and 19 to the 
Fishery Management Plan for Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands King and Tanner 
Crab. Among other things, this rule added a new part 680 to this 
chapter. Amendments 18 and 19 amended the crab fishery management plan 
to include the Voluntary Three-Pie Cooperative Program, otherwise known 
as the Crab Rationalization Program (CRP).
    The CRP involves terminology which sometimes differs from the 
terminology in the crab reduction program's implementation rule. For 
example, the CRP uses different terminology for each of the eight crab 
rationalization fisheries which, under the crab reduction program's 
implementation rule, constitute only six reduction endorsement 
fisheries. Rather than redefining these terms for an already completed 
crab reduction program, this action retains these terms and cross 
references them to the new CRP terms.
    The following table cross references the terms for the six 
reduction endorsement fisheries involved in the crab reduction program 
with the different terminology for the eight crab rationalization 
fisheries involved in the CRP:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
   REDUCTION ENDORSEMENT FISHERIES       CRAB RATIONALIZATION FISHERIES
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bristol Bay red king                   Bristol Bay red king (BBR)
BSAI C. opilio and C. bairdi           Bering Sea snow (BSS) and Bering
                                        Sea tanner (BST)
Aleutian Islands brown king            Eastern Aleutian Islands golden
                                        king (EAG) and Western Aleutian
                                        Islands golden king (WAG)
Aleutian Islands red king              Western Aleutian Islands red king
                                        (WAI)
Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue    Pribilof red king and blue king
 king                                   (PIK)
St. Matthew blue king                  St. Matthew blue king (SMB)
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Please note that, in two instances, what are two separate crab

[[Page 54654]]

rationalization fisheries are together in one reduction endorsement 
fishery. Consequently, both of the two separate crab rationalization 
fisheries will, in each of the two instances, pay fees at the same rate 
as the one reduction endorsement fishery in which the two fisheries are 
included until the one fishery's reduction loan sub-amount, for whose 
payment the two fisheries are equally obligated, is fully repaid.
    On July 28, 2005, NMFS published a Federal Register document (70 FR 
43673) proposing regulations to implement the crab buyback program's 
industry fee system.

II. Final Fee Rule

    NMFS has completed the crab reduction program except for 
implementing the fee. This final rule implements the fee. The final 
rule will be effective, and fee payment and collection will begin on, 
October 17, 2005.
    The terms defined in Sec.  600.1103 of the crab reduction program's 
implementation rule and in Sec.  600.1000 of the program's framework 
rule apply to this action except for the definitions of ``reduction 
endorsement fishery'' and ``reduction fishery''. This action refines 
the definitions of these two terms to reflect the post-CRP fishery's 
circumstances. The new definitions of these terms in Sec.  600.1104 
supersede the old definitions in this subpart's Sec.  600.1103.
    The framework rule's Sec.  600.1013 governs fee payment and 
collection in general, and this action applies the Sec.  600.1013 
provisions to the crab reduction program.
    Under Sec.  600.1013, the first ex-vessel buyers (fish buyers) of 
post-reduction fish (fee fish) subject to an industry fee system must 
withhold the fee from the trip proceeds which the fish buyers would 
otherwise have paid to the parties (fish sellers) who harvested and 
first sold the fee fish to the fish buyers. Fish buyers calculate the 
fee to be collected by multiplying the applicable fee rate times the 
fee fish's full delivery value. Delivery value is the fee fish's full 
fair market value, including all in-kind compensation or other goods or 
services exchanged in lieu of cash.
    Fish sellers pay the fees when fish buyers collect by withholding 
the applicable amount from trip proceeds. Fee payment and collection is 
mandatory, and there are substantial penalties for failing to pay and 
collect fees in accordance with the applicable regulations.
    The framework rule's Sec.  600.1014 governs how fish buyers must 
deposit, and later disburse to NMFS, the fees which they have collected 
as well as how they must keep records of, and report about, collected 
fees.
    Under the framework rule's Sec.  600.1014, fish buyers must, no 
less frequently than at the end of each business week, deposit 
collected fees in segregated and federally insured accounts until, no 
less frequently than on the last business day of each month, they 
disburse all collected fees in the accounts to a lockbox which NMFS has 
specified for this purpose. Settlement sheets must accompany these 
disbursements. Fish buyers must maintain specified fee collection 
records for at least 3 years and send NMFS annual reports of fee 
collection and disbursement activities.
    To provide more accessible services, streamline collections, and 
save taxpayer dollars, fish buyers may disburse collected fee deposits 
to NMFS by using a secure Federal system on the Internet known as 
Pay.gov. Pay.gov enables fish buyers to use their checking accounts to 
electronically disburse their collected fee deposits to NMFS. Fish 
buyers who have access to the Internet should consider using this quick 
and easy collected fee disbursement method. Fish buyers may access 
Pay.gov by going directly to Pay.gov's Federal website at: http://
www.pay.gov/paygov/.
    Fish buyers who do not have access to the Internet or who simply do 
not wish to use the Pay.gov electronic system, must disburse their 
collected fee deposits to us by sending their checks to our lockbox. 
Our lockbox's address is:
     NOAA Fisheries BSAI Crab Buyback
     P O Box 979060
     St. Louis, MO 63197-9000
    Fish buyers' must not forget to include with their disbursements 
the fee collection report applicable to each disbursement. The fee 
collection report tells NMFS how much of the disbursement it must apply 
to each of the six reduction endorsement fisheries subamounts. Fish 
buyers using Pay.gov will find an electronic fee collection report form 
to receive information and accompany electronic disbursements. Fish 
buyers who do not use Pay.gov must include a hard copy fee collection 
report with each of their disbursements. Fish buyers not using Pay.gov 
may also access the NMFS website for an Excel spreadsheet version of 
the fee collection report at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/mb/financial_
services/.
    NMFS will, before the fee's effective date, separately mail a copy 
of this notice, along with detailed fee payment, collection, deposit, 
disbursement, recording, and reporting information and guidance, to 
each fish seller and fish buyer of whom NMFS has notice. The fact that 
any fish seller or fish buyer might not, however, receive from NMFS a 
copy of the notice or of the information and guidance does not relieve 
the fish seller or fish buyer from his fee obligations under the 
applicable regulations.
    All parties interested in this action should carefully read the 
following framework rule sections, whose detailed provisions apply to 
the fee system for repaying the crab reduction program's loan:
    1. Sec.  600.1012;
    2. Sec.  600.1013;
    3. Sec.  600.1014;
    4. Sec.  600.1015;
    5. Sec.  600.1016; and
    6. Sec.  600.1017.
    You will not understand this action's full requirements unless you 
read this action in conjunction with reading at least the framework 
rule sections listed above.
    NMFS, in accordance with the framework rule's section 600.1013(d), 
establishes the initial fee for the program's six reduction endorsement 
fisheries. NMFS will then separately mail notification to each affected 
fish seller and fish buyer of whom NMFS has notice. Until this 
notification, fish sellers and fish buyers do not have to either pay or 
collect the fee. The initial fee rates applicable to each reduction 
endorsement fishery are as indicated in the last column of the 
following table:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
      REDUCTION
     ENDORSEMENT       CRAB RATIONALIZATION     LOAN SUB-      FEE RATE
      FISHERIES              FISHERIES            AMOUNT
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bristol Bay red king  BBR                     $17,129,957.2  1.9%
                                               3
BSAI C. opilio and    BSS and BST             $66,410,767.2  5.0%
 C. bairdi                                     0
Aleutian Islands      EAG and WAG             $6,380,837.19  2.6%
 brown king
Aleutian Islands red  WAI                     $237,588.04    5.0%
 king
Pribilof red king     PIK                     $1,571,216.35  5.0%
 and Pribilof blue
 king
St. Matthew Blue      SMB                     $5,668,991.10  5.0%
------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 54655]]

    The rates are percentages of delivery value. Please see the 
framework rule's Sec.  600.1000 for the definition of ``delivery 
value'' and of the other terms relevant to this final rule.
    Each disbursement of the reduction loan's $97,399,357.11 principal 
amount began accruing interest as of the date of each such 
disbursement. The loan's interest rate will be the applicable rate, 
plus 2 percent, which the U.S. Treasury determines at the end of fiscal 
year 2005.

III. Summary of Comments and Responses

    NMFS received one comment in response to the proposed fee 
regulations. This comment requested higher fee rates than the ones in 
NMFS' proposed regulations. NMFS' proposed fee rates were, however, the 
ones necessary to amortize the loan subamounts in accordance with the 
legislation authorizing the crab reduction program, and the final rule 
does not increase these rates.
    Consequently, this action adopts the proposed fee regulations 
without revision.

Classification

    The Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NMFS, determined that 
this final rule is consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act and other applicable laws.
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, NMFS 
prepared an environmental assessment for the crab reduction program's 
final implementing rule (December 12, 2003; 68 FR 69331). The 
assessment discusses the program's impact on the natural and human 
environment. The assessment resulted in a finding of no significant 
impact. The assessment considered, among other alternatives, the 
implementation of the fee payment and collection in this action. NMFS 
will provide a copy of the assessment upon request (see ADDRESSES).
    The Office of Management and Budget determined that this rule is 
significant under Executive Order 12866. NMFS prepared a Regulatory 
Impact Review for the crab reduction program's final rule. NMFS will 
provide a copy of the review upon request (see ADDRESSES).
    NMFS prepared a Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis for the crab 
reduction program as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act's 
section 603. The analysis describes the impact this final rule would 
have on small entities. NMFS will provide a copy of the analysis upon 
request (see ADDRESSES). An analysis summary follows:

1. Description of Reasons for Action and Statement of Objective and 
Legal Basis

    Please see the initial background section of this action's 
supplementary information, because the information there is similar to 
the analysis in this regard.

2. Description of Small Entities to Which the Rule Applies

    The Small Business Administration has defined small entities to be 
all fish harvesting businesses which are independently owned and 
operated, are not dominant in their field of operation, and have annual 
receipts of $3.5 million or less. The definition also includes 
processors with 500 or fewer employees involved in related industries 
such as canned and cured fish and seafood or preparing fresh fish and 
seafood. Moreover, the definition also includes virtually all 
harvesting vessels.

3. Description of Recordkeeping and Compliance Costs

    Please see this action's collection-of-information requirements 
following the analysis.

4. Duplication or Conflict with Other Federal Rules

    This rule does not duplicate or conflict with any federal rules.

5. Description of Significant Alternatives Considered

    NMFS considered three alternatives: (1) status quo (no fees); (2) 
buyback with uniform fees; and (3) buyback with weighted (by reduction 
endorsement fishery) fees.
Status Quo (Alternative 1)
    Under the status quo, vessel revenues would not be affected. The 
status quo is a significant alternative to this action because the 
former involves no fees and the latter does. NMFS could not choose this 
alternative because it is contrary to Public Law 106-554.
Uniform Loan Repayment Fees (Alternative 2)
    Under Alternative 2, NMFS would apply one fee to the entire crab 
fishery rather than assigning a different fee to each of the six 
reduction endorsement fisheries based on their proportional bid crab 
values. NMFS could not choose this alternative because it is contrary 
to Public Law 106-554.
Repayment Fees (Alternative 3)
    Under Alternative 3, NMFS would assign a different fee rate for 
each of the six reduction endorsement fisheries based on their 
proportional bid crab values. Like Alternative 2, Alternative 3 would 
adversely affect vessel revenues. Nevertheless, Alternative 3 is the 
most equitable because it apportions repayment obligations based on the 
actual reduction benefits which each reduction endorsement fishery 
actually received. This is the preferred alternative both because it is 
the most equitable and Public Law 106-554 requires this alternative's 
method.

6. Steps the Agency Has Taken to Mitigate Negative Effects of the 
Action

    With the lack of available cost data, increases in revenues may 
serve as a proxy for increased profitability. Further, in light of 
available revenue data, and assuming that each individual vessel shares 
in the increased revenues resulting from the crab buyback program, the 
comparison of the relative effects of the program versus the effects of 
the fees show that overall economic benefits of the program would still 
be greater than the relative fees charged under this rule. NMFS is not 
aware of any other measures that could reduce the impact on small 
entities and still meet statutory requirements.
    This final rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act. OMB has approved these 
information collections under OMB control number 0648-0376. NMFS 
estimates that the public reporting burden for these requirements will 
average:
    1. Two hours for submitting a monthly fish buyer settlement sheet;
    2. Four hours for submitting an annual fish buyer report; and
    3. Two hours for making a fish buyer/fish seller report when one 
party fails to either pay or collect the fee.
    These response estimates include the time for reviewing 
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and 
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the 
information collection.
    Send comments regarding this burden estimate, or any other aspect 
of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, 
to both NMFS and OMB (see ADDRESSES).
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, and no person is subject to a penalty for 
failure to comply with, any information collection subject to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act unless that information collection displays a 
currently valid OMB control number.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 600

    Fisheries, Fishing capacity reduction, Fishing permits, Fishing 
vessels, Intergovernmental relations, Loan

[[Page 54656]]

programs business, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: September 13, 2005.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

0
For the reasons in the preamble, the National Marine Fisheries Service 
amends 50 CFR part 600 as follows:

PART 600--MAGNUSON-STEVENS ACT PROVISIONS

0
1. The authority citation for part 600 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 561, 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 
1861a(b) through (e), 46 App. U.S.C. 1279f and 1279g, section 144(d) 
of Division B of Pub. L. 106-554, section 2201 of Pub. L. 107-20, 
section 205 of Pub. L. 107-117, Pub. L. 107-206, and Pub. L. 108-7.

0
2. Section 600.1104 text is added to read as follows:


Sec.  600.1104  Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab species fee 
payment and collection system.

    (a) Purpose. As authorized by Public Law 106-554, this section's 
purpose is to:
    (1) In accordance with Sec.  600.1012 of subpart L, establish:
    (i) The borrower's obligation to repay a reduction loan, and
    (ii) The loan's principal amount, interest rate, and repayment 
term; and
    (2) In accordance with Sec.  600.1013 through Sec.  600.1016 of 
subpart L, implement an industry fee system for the reduction fishery.
    (b) Definitions. Unless otherwise defined in this section, the 
terms defined in Sec.  600.1000 of subpart L and Sec.  600.1103 of this 
subpart expressly apply to this section. The following terms have the 
following meanings for the purpose of this section:
    Crab rationalization crab means the same as in Sec.  680.2 of this 
chapter.
    Crab rationalization fisheries means the same as in Sec.  680.2 of 
this chapter.
    Reduction endorsement fishery means any of the seven fisheries that 
Sec.  679.2 of this chapter formerly (before adoption of part 680 of 
this chapter) defined as crab area/species endorsements, except the 
area/species endorsement for Norton Sound red king. More specifically, 
the reduction endorsement fisheries, and the crab rationalization 
fisheries which (after adoption of part 680 of this chapter) correspond 
to the reduction endorsement fisheries, are:
    (1) Bristol Bay red king (the corresponding crab rationalization 
fishery is Bristol Bay red king crab),
    (2) Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area C. opilio and C. bairdi 
(the corresponding crab rationalization fisheries are two separate 
fisheries, one for Bering Sea snow crab and another for Bering Sea 
Tanner crab),
    (3) Aleutian Islands brown king (the corresponding crab 
rationalization fisheries are the two separate fisheries, one for 
Eastern Aleutian Islands golden king crab and another for Western 
Aleutian Islands golden king crab),
    (4) Aleutian Islands red king (the corresponding crab 
rationalization fishery is Western Aleutian Islands red king crab),
    (5) Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king (the corresponding 
crab rationalization fishery is Pribilof red king and blue king crab), 
and
    (6) St. Matthew blue king (the corresponding crab rationalization 
fishery is also St. Matthew blue king crab).
    Reduction fishery means the fishery for all crab rationalization 
crab in all crab rationalization fisheries. Sub-amount means the 
portion of the reduction loan amount for whose repayment the borrower 
in each reduction endorsement fishery is obligated.
    (c) Reduction loan amount. The reduction loan's original principal 
amount is $97,399,357.11.
    (d) Sub-amounts. The sub-amounts are:
    (1) For Bristol Bay red king, $17,129,957.23;
    (2) For Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Area C. opilio and C. 
bairdi, $66,410,767.20;
    (3) For Aleutian Islands brown king, $6,380,837.19;
    (4) For Aleutian Islands red king, $237,588.04;
    (5) For Pribilof red king and Pribilof blue king, $1,571,216.35; 
and
    (6) For St. Matthew blue king, $5,668,991.10.
    (e) Interest accrual from inception. Interest began accruing on 
each portion of the reduction loan amount on and from the date on which 
NMFS disbursed each such portion.
    (f) Interest rate. The reduction loan's interest rate shall be the 
applicable rate which the U.S. Treasury determines at the end of fiscal 
year 2005 plus 2 percent.
    (g) Repayment term. For the purpose of determining fee rates, the 
reduction loan's repayment term is 30 years from January 19, 2005, but 
each fee shall continue indefinitely for as long as necessary to fully 
repay each subamount.
    (h) Reduction loan repayment. (1) The borrower shall, in accordance 
with Sec.  600.1012, repay the reduction loan;
    (2) Fish sellers in each reduction endorsement fishery shall, in 
accordance with Sec.  600.1013, pay the fee at the rate applicable to 
each such fishery's subamount;
    (3) Fish buyers in each reduction endorsement fishery shall, in 
accordance with Sec.  600.1013, collect the fee at the rate applicable 
to each such fishery;
    (4) Fish buyers in each reduction endorsement fishery shall, in 
accordance with Sec.  600.1014, deposit and disburse, as well as keep 
records for and submit reports about, the fees applicable to each such 
fishery; and,
    (5) The reduction loan is, in all other respects, subject to the 
provisions of Sec.  600.1012 through Sec.  600.1017.
[FR Doc. 05-18444 Filed 9-15-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S