Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery, 50906-50911 [E7-17523]

Download as PDF 50906 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 171 / Wednesday, September 5, 2007 / Rules and Regulations State, local or tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of more than $100 million annually (adjusted for inflation). The assessment may be combined with other assessments, as it is here. This final rule is not likely to result in expenditures by State, local or tribal governments or automobile manufacturers and/or their suppliers of more than $100 million annually. If adopted, it would not impose any new burdens on manufacturers of vehicles built in two or more stages or vehicle alterers. Further, this final rule limits certain existing requirements as they apply to multistage vehicles, and exclude a narrow group of multistage vehicles manufactured from chassis without occupant compartments from the same requirements. g. Paperwork Reduction Act Under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), a person is not required to respond to a collection of information by a Federal agency unless the collection displays a valid OMB control number. This final rule contains no reporting requirements or requests for information. h. Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) The Department of Transportation assigns a regulation identifier number (RIN) to each regulatory action listed in the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulations. The Regulatory Information Service Center publishes the Unified Agenda in April and October of each year. You may use the RIN contained in the heading at the beginning of this document to find this action in the Unified Agenda. i. Privacy Act Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 70; Pages 19477–78) or you may visit http://dms.dot.gov. VI. Regulatory Text rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with RULES List of Subjects in 49 CFR Part 571 Motor vehicle safety, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Tires. I In consideration of the foregoing, NHTSA amends chapter V of title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations by amending 49 CFR § 571.201 to read as follows: VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:44 Sep 04, 2007 Jkt 211001 PART 571—[AMENDED] 1. The authority citation of Part 571 continues to read as follows: I Issued: August 30, 2007. Nicole R. Nason, Administrator. [FR Doc. 07–4324 Filed 8–30–07; 4:52 pm] Authority: 49 U.S.C. 322, 2011, 30115, 30116 and 30117; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.50. BILLING CODE 4910–59–P 2. Section 571.201 is amended by revising S6.1.4 through S6.1.4.2, S6.3(b) and S6.3(c) to read as set forth below: DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE I § 571.201 Standard No. 201; Occupant protection in interior impact. * * * * * S6.1.4 Phase-in Schedule #4 A final stage manufacturer or alterer may, at its option, comply with the requirements set forth in S6.1.4.1 and S6.1.4.2. S6.1.4.1 Vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 1998 and before September 1, 2009 are not required to comply with the requirements specified in S7. S6.1.4.2 Vehicles manufactured on or after September 1, 2009 shall comply with the requirements specified in S7. * * * * * S6.3 * * * (b) Any target located rearward of a vertical plane 600 mm behind the seating reference point of the rearmost designated seating position. For altered vehicles and vehicles built in two or more stages, including ambulances and motor homes, any target located rearward of a vertical plane 300 mm behind the seating reference point of the driver’s designated seating position (tests for altered vehicles and vehicles built in two or more stages do not include, within the time period for measuring HIC(d), any free motion headform contact with components rearward of this plane). If an altered vehicle or vehicle built in two or more stages is equipped with a transverse vertical partition positioned between the seating reference point of the driver’s designated seating position and a vertical plane 300 mm behind the seating reference point of the driver’s designated seating position, any target located rearward of the vertical partition is excluded. (c) Any target in a vehicle manufactured in two or more stages that is delivered to a final stage manufacturer without an occupant compartment. Note: Motor homes, ambulances, and other vehicles manufactured using a chassis cab, a cutaway van, or any other incomplete vehicle delivered to a final stage manufacturer with a furnished front compartment are not excluded under this S6.3(c). * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 070323069–7117–02; I.D. 031907A] RIN 0648–AV46 Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS issues a final rule to establish catch accounting requirements for persons who receive, buy, or accept Pacific whiting deliveries of 4,000 pounds (lb) (1.18 mt) or more from vessels using midwater trawl gear during the Pacific whiting primary season for the shore-based sector. This action is intended to improve NMFS’s ability to effectively monitor the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery such that catch of Pacific whiting and incidentally caught species, including overfished groundfish species, do not result in a species’ optimum yield (OY), harvest guideline, allocations, or bycatch limits being exceeded. This action is also intended to provide for timely reporting of Chinook salmon take as specified in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 Biological Opinion for Chinook salmon catch in the Pacific groundfish fishery. This action is consistent with the conservation goals and objectives of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Effective October 5, 2007. Copies of the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA), Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA), and the Small Entity Compliance Guide are available from D. Robert Lohn, Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115–0070, phone: 206– 526–6150. DATES: ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 171 / Wednesday, September 5, 2007 / Rules and Regulations Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to D. Robert Lohn, Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115–0070, and by e-mail to DavidRostker@omb.eop.gov, or by fax to (202) 395–7285. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Becky Renko, phone: 206–526–6110, fax: 206–526–6736, or e-mail: becky.renko@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Electronic Access This Federal Register document is also accessible via the internet at the website of the Office of the Federal Register: www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/ index.html. rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with RULES Background This action establishes an electronic catch accounting system and other monitoring improvements for the shorebased sector of the Pacific whiting fishery. The shore-based Pacific whiting fishery needs to have a catch reporting system in place that: provides timely reporting of catch data so that Pacific whiting, overfished species and Chinook salmon can be adequately monitored and accounted for inseason; and, specifies catch sorting and weight requirements necessary to maintain the integrity of data used to manage groundfish species OYs, trip limits, and bycatch limits. This final rule applies to persons called ‘‘first receivers’’ (generally, first receivers are Pacific whiting shoreside processing facilities, but may also include entities that truck Pacific whiting to other facilities.) This final rule requires first receivers who receive, buy, or accept Pacific whiting deliveries of 4,000 lb (1.8 mt) or more from vessels using midwater trawl gear during the Pacific whiting primary season to have and use a NMFS-approved electronic fish ticket software or a NMFS-approved software that meets defined data export specifications, and to send catch reports to the Pacific States Marine Fish Commission (PSMFC) within 24 hours of when the catch is landed. Electronic fish ticket reports will be used to track catch allocations, bycatch limits and prohibited species catch. First receivers will provide the computer hardware, software, and internet access necessary to support the NMFS-approved software and provide for e-mail transmissions. The electronic fish tickets are used to collect information similar to information currently required by the VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:44 Sep 04, 2007 Jkt 211001 States of Washington, Oregon and California on fish receiving tickets or landing receipts (state fish tickets). These Federal regulations will be in addition to the existing state fish ticket requirements and will not replace any state recordkeeping or reporting requirements. New sorting requirements are specified in this final rule for Pacific whiting catch received by first receivers, as deliveries may contain groundfish in excess of trip limits, unmarketable groundfish, prohibited species, and protected species that are not addressed by current groundfish regulations. In addition, Federal groundfish regulations are revised to require deliveries from vessels participating in the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery to be adequately sorted by species or species group, and the catch be weighed following offloading from the vessel and prior to transporting the catch. First receivers are required to report, on electronic fish tickets, actual and accurate weights derived from scales. If sorting and weighing requirements specified in Federal regulation are more stringent than state fish ticket requirements, the first receiver is required to follow Federal requirements for sorting, weighing, and reporting species or species groups on electronic fish ticket submissions. This final rule is part of an ongoing process to develop a maximized retention program for the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery. At its June 11–15, 2007, meeting in Foster City, California, the Council will consider recommending a rulemaking for 2008 and beyond for a related action titled ‘‘A Maximized Retention and Monitoring Program for the Pacific Whiting Shoreside Fishery.’’ Further detail on this action appears in the EA/RIR prepared by the NMFS for this action and in the proposed rule published on April 9, 2007 (72 FR 17469). NMFS requested public comment on the proposed rule through April 24, 2007. See the preamble to the proposed rule for additional background information on the fishery and on this rule. Comments and Responses NMFS received two e-mailed comments on the proposed rule: one email was received from a state government and the other email was from an industry organization. These comments are addressed here: Comment 1: The commentor indicated that a reference on page 17470 of the proposed rule preamble, regarding the Pacific Fishery Management Council discussion on PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50907 further rulemaking ‘‘at its April 2007 meeting,’’ should be revised or eliminated because the discussion did not occur. Response: The preamble reference to Pacific Fishery Management Council discussion on further rulemaking has been revised in the final rule preamble to reference pending discussion at the June 11–15, 2007 Council meeting. Comment 2: The commentor believes that the reliance on Research Group publications from 2006 based on 2004 fishery data, referenced on page 17471 of the proposed rule preamble, is questionable given the age of the data and the fact that no peer review of the information has been done for this analysis. Response: NMFS recognizes that the Research Group publications are not peer reviewed documents. However, given the lack of available information on the West Coast seafood processing industry, NMFS must rely on various sorts of information to determine the classification of processing companies including determining whether various companies are ‘‘affiliated’’ according to Small Business Administration (SBA) standards. As stated in the analysis, the information was based on a review of company websites, state employment websites, and newpaper articles. The discussion drew no hard conclusions because the Research Group publications use data from various sources and such data may be of various vintages. NMFS believes that the information from the Research Group publications, although not peerreviewed is credible supporting information given its consistency with other data sources. These publications are the only publications available that describe West Coast fishing industry in a manner useful for assessing ownership relationships between companies. NMFS believes it has used these Research publications in a credible manner as this information was used in conjunction with NMFS’s own review of company websites, state employment websites, and newspaper articles. Because of this NMFS independent reviews, without the use of the Research Group publications, the same conclusions about company size and affiliation would have been made. The basic conclusion was that there appears to be 13 major Pacific whiting processors that can be grouped into nine SBA businesses based on analysis of affiliates and that among these businesses are three large and six small SBA businesses based on SBA size standards. One purpose of the IRFA is to solicit comments on the economic analysis in the proposed rule and E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with RULES 50908 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 171 / Wednesday, September 5, 2007 / Rules and Regulations whether the basic conclusions are reasonable. This comment was the only one received on the economic analysis and it only questions the use of Research Group publications, but not the basic conclusions. The use of nonpeer reviewed information in its conclusions is noted in the classifications section of this document. Comment 3: The commentor objects to the inclusion of the proposed § 660.306 (f)(6)(i), which prohibits a first receiver from receiving Pacific whiting from a vessel that does not have a properly functioning electronic monitoring system (EMS), unless a waiver for EMS coverage was granted by NMFS for that trip. The commentor believes that a first receiver on shore has no way of knowing whether a vessel’s EMS is operating or not, or whether it was properly deployed while the vessel was harvesting Pacific whiting. The commentor suggests the language be modified to insert ‘‘knowingly’’ at the start of the sentence to enable enforcement action to be taken, but not lead to action against a processor who buys from a vessel in good faith. Response: NMFS has modified the proposed language in § 660.306 (f)(6)(i) so that an undue burden is not placed on the first receivers in 2007. In response to this comment, NMFS has removed the language in § 660.306 (f)(6)(i). Maintaining the integrity of catch data includes knowing that each delivery was properly monitored at-sea. Therefore, NMFS encourages processors to obtain verification from the vessel operator, that the EMS was working properly or that a waiver for EMS coverage was granted to the vessel for that trip. NMFS intends to address this issue in its entirety in a related action titled ‘‘A Maximized Retention and Monitoring Program for the Pacific Whiting Shoreside Fishery.’’ Comment 4: The commentor supports the language in § 660.373 (j)(1)(ii) indicating that first receivers have the choice of using either software supplied by the PSMFC or ‘‘NMFS-approved’’ software compatible with the software available from PSMFC. The commentor strongly supports having this choice, but believes it would be helpful to know what software is approved by NMFS and what format is considered compatible. Response: In response to the commentor, NMFS has added clarifying language to § 660.373 (j)(1)(ii) which identifies where a first receiver may obtain the specifications for NMFSapproved software other than the software supplied by the PSMFC. VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:44 Sep 04, 2007 Jkt 211001 Comment 5: The commentor suggests that a definition be added for ‘‘Electronic fish tickets.’’ Response: NMFS has added a definition for electronic fish tickets. The term is defined as a software program or data files meeting data export specifications approved by NMFS that is used to send landing data to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Electronic fish tickets are used to collect information similar to the information required in state fish receiving tickets or landing receipts, but do not replace or change any state requirements. Comment 6: The commentor suggests that the term ‘‘Pacific whiting shoreside vessel’’, which has been defined in regulation, be used consistently throughout the regulations rather than using the terms ‘‘delivery vessel’’ and ‘‘catcher vessel’’ to describe the same group of vessels. Response: NMFS has made the appropriate changes to the regulatory language. Changes From the Proposed Rule In response to the comments that were received, the following changes were made from the proposed rule: A definition for the term ‘‘Electronic fish ticket’’ was added to the regulations in § 660.302 Definitions; References to ‘‘delivery vessel’’ and ‘‘catcher vessel’’ were changed to Pacific whiting shoreside vessel in § 660.303, reporting and recordkeeping, paragraph (e)(1)(iii) and (iv)(B), and in § 660.306, prohibitions, (f)(6)(iii); and, in § 660.373, Pacific whiting fishery management, paragraph (j)(1)(ii)(A)(3) contact information for obtaining NMFS-approved software was added, proposed language in § 660.306 (f)(6)(i) was removed, and in paragraph (j)(1)(ii)(C)(3) the term first receivers was added. Classification An environmental assessment was prepared for this action. NMFS finds that no significant impact on the human environment will result from its implementation and has signed the Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI). This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared. The FRFA incorporates the IRFA, and a summary of the analyses completed to support the action. A copy of this analysis is available from or NMFS (see ADDRESSES). A summary of the FRFA follows. PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 The Pacific whiting shoreside fishery needs to have a catch reporting system in place to: adequately track the incidental take of Chinook salmon as required in the ESA Section 7 Biological Opinion for Chinook salmon catch in the Pacific whiting fishery; and to track the catch of target and overfished groundfish species such that the fishing industry is not unnecessarily constrained and that the sector allocation and bycatch limits are not exceeded. This action will allow NMFS to effectively manage the Pacific whiting fishery such that harvests of Pacific whiting and incidentally caught groundfish species, including overfished species, do not result in allocations, harvest guidelines, species’ OY, or bycatch limits for overfished species being exceeded. One comment was received regarding the IRFA (see Comment 2 above). No changes to the proposed rule resulted from this comment. During 2006, 23 different processors/companies paid $17 million to fishers who delivered a combined 280 million lbs (127,002 mt) of Pacific whiting. A major processor is one that has purchased more than 1,000,000 lbs of Pacific whiting. There were 13 major Pacific whiting processors in 2006, with the remaining 10 processors all being minor processors, as their production levels ranged from 2 lbs to 7,000 lbs (3,175 kg). There were no processors in the 7,000 lb to 1,000,000 lb (4,536 kg) range. None of these minor processors were associated with a trawl landing that was greater than 4,000 lbs (1,814 kg) and so it is presumed they would be unaffected by these regulations. Note that not all minor entities are ‘‘processors’’ in the traditional sense since some of these entities may be fishers who directly sell their fish to a restaurant. These fishers, although they may be small businesses, are not affected because the direct sale of their landings would not be subject to this rule. The SBA has established size criteria for all major industry sectors in the U.S. including fish harvesting entities, forhire entities, fish processing businesses, and fish dealers. A business involved in fish harvesting is a small business if it is independently owned and operated and not major in the field of operation (including its affiliates) and if it has combined annual receipts not in excess of $3.5 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. For-hire vessels are considered small entities, if they have annual receipts not in excess of $6 million. A seafood processor is a small business if it is independently owned and operated, not major in its field of E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 171 / Wednesday, September 5, 2007 / Rules and Regulations operation, and employs 500 or few persons on a full-time, part-time, temporary, or other basis, at all its affiliated operations world wide. Finally, a wholesale business servicing the fishing industry (fish dealer) is a small business if it employs 100 or few persons on a full time, part-time, temporary, or other basis, at all its affiliated operations worldwide. Because of the lack of available information on the West Coast seafood processing industry, NMFS must rely on various sorts of information to determine the classification of processing companies including determining if various companies are ‘‘affiliated’’ according to SBA standards. Based on the SBA criteria and a review of company websites, state employment websites, newspaper articles, personal communications, and non-peered review research documents, it appears that the 13 major Pacific whiting processors can be grouped into nine SBA businesses based on analysis of affiliates. Within these nine SBA businesses, there appears to be three ‘‘large’’ businesses, each of which generated at least $500 million in sales in 2003 and employ over over 500 employees each. In addition, there are six ‘‘small’’ businesses that participated in the shorebased Pacific whiting processing sector in 2006. Annual sales information for these ‘‘small’’ businesses is unavailable, but total exvessel revenues (the value of the fish purchased from fisherman) is available. In 2006, these six businesses purchased approximately $40 million in hake and other fish and shellfish from west coast fishermen. This compares to the $60 million in hake and other fish and shellfish purchased by the three large businesses. These regulations would require Pacific whiting shoreside processors to have and use a NMFS approved electronic fish ticket program to send daily catch reports. The electronic fish tickets are based on information currently required in state fish receiving tickets or landing receipts (fish tickets). In the States of Washington and California, processors would continue to complete and submit the required paper fish tickets on forms provided by the state and then transfer the same information to the electronic fish ticket for submission. In the State of Oregon, processors could either complete paper fish ticket forms provided by the state, or as is allowed by state law, they could submit a printed and signed copy of the electronic fish tickets. The majority of the companies affected appear to be small businesses. VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:44 Sep 04, 2007 Jkt 211001 Given the relatively small numbers of applicants, separate requirements based on size of business were not developed. To the extent possible, however, this final rule builds on existing state reporting requirements or on equipment that the companies typically already have. Therefore, implementation of these rules will require firms to bear minimal costs in reporting data electronically that they already are required to report on paper to the states. In terms of equipment purchases, it is expected that there will be few if any instances where processors have to purchase computers or software because this is equipment that most business already have. It is also not expected that processors will need to purchase scale equipment as the presumption about this final rule is that it enhances existing state regulations that already require processors to use scales in conducting their businesses but may not specifically require the use of scale weights in reporting fisheries data to state agencies. There may be some interest by a few small processors to weigh and count fish at locations other than the point of first landing, but these instances appear to be few. Additional measures were taken to minimize the costs of the catch accounting requirements by providing: (1) fish ticket software at no cost; (2) fish ticket software that used a standard operating system and common software already owned by most businesses; (3) fish ticket software that is compatible with the existing fish ticket requirements in each of the three states; and, (4) software that can be used to print a paper copy for submission to the state, when state law allows. Because the information is already being gathered by the processors there is no requirement that additional data be gathered. Only the minimum data required to meet the objectives are requested from all applicants. There were no other alternatives to the proposed rule that accomplish the stated objectives. Under Status Quo, general catch sorting requirements and prohibited actions would continue to be specified for limited entry trawl vessel; each state would continue to specify requirements for landing reports. This alternative was rejected because it does not meet the defined need for accurate catch accounting. 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 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50909 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, a public notice that also serves as small entity compliance guide (the guide) was prepared. The guide and final rule will be sent to all of the Pacific whiting shoreside processors that have been designated by the states of Washington, Oregon, or California as participants in the 2007 fishery. Copies of this final rule and the guide are available from the NMFS Northwest Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and are available on our website at www.nwr.noaa.gov (Click on ‘‘Groundfish Fishery Management,’’ then on either ‘‘Public Notices’’ or ‘‘Whiting management’’). This final rule contains a collectionof-information requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which has been approved by OMB under control number 0648–0563. Public reporting burden for preparing and submitting electronic fish tickets is estimated to average ten minutes per individual response for Pacific whiting shoreside processors/first receivers in the states of California and Washington, and two minutes per individual response for Pacific whiting shoreside processors/first receivers in the State of Oregon, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collected information. Send comments regarding these burden estimates or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by e-mail to DavidlRostker@omb.eop.gov, or fax to 202–395–7285. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this final rule was developed after meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials from the area covered by the FMP. At the Council=s September and November 2006 meetings, NMFS informed the Council, which includes a tribal representative, of the intent to evaluate and implement catch accounting requirements for Pacific whiting shoreside processors. This action does not alter the treaty allocation of Pacific E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 50910 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 171 / Wednesday, September 5, 2007 / Rules and Regulations whiting shoreside first receiver during the primary season. * * * * * I 3. In § 660.303, paragraph (a) is revised and paragraph (e) is added to read as follows: whiting, nor does it affect the prosecution of the tribal fishery. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries. Dated: August 29, 2007. John Oliver, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. § 660.303 For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as follows: I PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: I Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 660.302, the definitions for ‘‘Electronic Fish Ticket’’,‘‘Electronic Monitoring System,’’ ‘‘Pacific whiting shoreside or shore-based fishery,’’ ‘‘Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver,’’ and ‘‘Pacific whiting shoreside vessel’’ are added to read as follows: I § 660.302 Definitions. rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with RULES * * * * * Electronic fish ticket means a software program or data files meeting data export specifications approved by NMFS that is used to send landing data to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Electronic fish tickets are used to collect information similar to the information required in state fish receiving tickets or landing receipts, but do not replace or change any state requirements. Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) means a data collection tool that uses a software operating system connected to an assortment of electronic components, including video recorders, to create a collection of data on vessel activities. * * * * * Pacific whiting shoreside or shorebased fishery means Pacific whiting shoreside vessels and Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers. Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers means persons who receive, purchase, or take custody, control, or possession of Pacific whiting onshore directly from a Pacific whiting shoreside vessel. Pacific whiting shoreside vessel means any vessel that fishes using midwater trawl gear to take, retain, possess and land 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) or more of Pacific whiting per fishing trip from the Pacific whiting shore-based sector allocation for delivery to a Pacific VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:44 Sep 04, 2007 Jkt 211001 Reporting and recordkeeping. (a) This subpart recognizes that catch and effort data necessary for implementing the PCGFMP are collected by the States of Washington, Oregon, and California under existing state data collection requirements. * * * * * (e) Participants in the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery. Reporting requirements defined in the following section are in addition to reporting requirements under applicable state law and requirements described at § 660.303(b). (1) Reporting requirements for any Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver— (i) Responsibility for compliance. The Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver is responsible for compliance with all reporting requirements described in this paragraph. (ii) General requirements. All records or reports required by this paragraph must: be maintained in English, be accurate, be legible, be based on local time, and be submitted in a timely manner as required in paragraph (e)(1)(iv) of this section. (iii) Required information. All Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers must provide the following types of information: date of landing, Pacific whiting shoreside vessel that made the delivery, gear type used, first receiver, round weights of species landed listed by species or species group including species with no value, number of salmon by species, number of Pacific halibut, and any other information deemed necessary by the Regional Administrator as specified on the appropriate electronic fish ticket form. (iv) Electronic fish ticket submissions. The Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver must: (A) Sort all fish, prior to first weighing, by species or species groups as specified at § 660.370 (h)(6)(iii). (B) Include as part of each electronic fish ticket submission, the actual scale weight for each groundfish species as specified by requirements at § 660.373 (j)(2)(i) and the Pacific whiting shoreside vessel identification number. (C) Use for the purpose of submitting electronic fish tickets, and maintain in good working order, computer equipment as specified at § 660.373 (j)(2)(ii)(A); PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (D) Install, use, and update as necessary, any NMFS-approved software described at § 660.373 (j)(2)(ii)(B); (E) Submit a completed electronic fish ticket for every landing that includes 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) or more of Pacific whiting (round weight equivalent) no later than 24 hours after the date the fish are received, unless a waiver of this requirement has been granted under provisions specified at paragraph (e)(1) (vii) of this section. (v) Revising a submitted electronic fish ticket submission. In the event that a data error is found, electronic fish ticket submissions may be revised by resubmitting the revised form. Electronic fish tickets are to be used for the submission of final data. Preliminary data, including estimates of fish weights or species composition, shall not be submitted on electronic fish tickets. (vi) Retention of records. [Reserved] (vii) Waivers for submission of electronic fish tickets upon written request. On a case-by-case basis, a temporary written waiver of the requirement to submit electronic fish tickets may be granted by the Assistant Regional Administrator or designee if he/she determines that circumstances beyond the control of a Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver would result in inadequate data submissions using the electronic fish ticket system. The duration of the waiver will be determined on a case-by-case basis. (viii) Reporting requirements when a temporary waiver has been granted. Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers that have been granted a temporary waiver from the requirement to submit electronic fish tickets must submit on paper the same data as is required on electronic fish tickets within 24 hours of the date received during the period that the waiver is in effect. Paper fish tickets must be sent by facsimile to NMFS, Northwest Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 206–526–6736 or by delivering it in person to 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115. The requirements for submissions of paper tickets in this paragraph are separate from, and in addition to existing state requirements for landing receipts or fish receiving tickets. (2) [Reserved] I 4. In § 660.306, paragraphs (f)(6) is redesignated as (f)(7), and paragraph(b)(4) and a new (f)(6) are added to read as follows: § 660.306 * Prohibitions. * * (b) * * * E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1 * * Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 171 / Wednesday, September 5, 2007 / Rules and Regulations (4) Fail to comply with all requirements at § 660.303 (d); including failure to submit information, submission of inaccurate information, or intentionally submitting false information on any report required at § 660.303 (d) when participating in the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery. * * * * * (f) * * * (6) Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers. (i) [Reserved] (ii) Fail to sort fish received from a Pacific whiting shoreside vessel prior to first weighing after offloading as specified at § 660.370 (h)(6)(iii) for the Pacific whiting fishery. (iii) Process, sell, or discard any groundfish received from a Pacific whiting shoreside vessel that has not been weighed on a scale that is in compliance with requirements at § 660.373 (j)(1)(i) and accounted for on an electronic fish ticket with the identification number for the Pacific whiting shoreside vessel that delivered the fish. (iv) Fail to weigh fish landed from a Pacific whiting shoreside vessel prior to transporting any fish from that landing away from the point of landing. * * * * * I 5. In § 660.370, paragraph (h)(6)(iii) is added to read as follows: § 660.370 Specifications and management measures. * * * * (h) * * * (6) * * * (iii) Sorting requirements for the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery. Fish delivered to Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers (including shoreside processing facilities and buying stations that intend to transport catch for processing elsewhere) must be sorted, prior to first weighing after offloading from the vessel and prior to transport away from the point of landing, to the species groups specified in paragraph (h)(6)(i)(A) of this section for vessels with limited entry permits. Prohibited species must be sorted according to the rfrederick on PROD1PC67 with RULES * VerDate Aug<31>2005 13:44 Sep 04, 2007 Jkt 211001 following species groups: Dungeness crab, Pacific halibut, Chinook salmon, Other salmon. Non-groundfish species must be sorted as required by the state of landing. * * * * * I 6. In § 660.373, paragraph (j) is redesignated as (k), and a new paragraph (j) is added to read as follows: § 660.373 Pacific whiting (whiting) fishery management. * * * * * (j) Additional requirements for participants in the Pacific Whiting Shoreside fishery—(1) Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver responsibilities— (i) Weights and measures. All groundfish weights reported on fish tickets must be recorded from scales with appropriate weighing capacity that ensures accuracy for the amount of fish being weighed. For example: amounts of fish less than 1,000 lb (454 kg) should not be weighed on scales that have an accuracy range of 1,000 lb–7,000 lb (454 - 3,175 kg) and are therefore not capable of accurately weighing amounts less than 1,000 lb (454 kg). (ii) Electronic fish tickets—(A) Hardware and software requirements. First receivers using the electronic fish ticket software provided by Pacific States Marine Fish Commission are required to meet the hardware and software requirements below. Those whiting first receivers who have NMFSapproved software compatible with the standards specified by Pacific States Marine Fish Commission for electronic fish tickets are not subject to any specific hardware or software requirements. (1) A personal computer with Pentium 75–MHz or higher. Random Access Memory (RAM) must have sufficient megabyte (MB) space to run the operating system, plus an additional 8 MB for the software application and available hard disk space of 217 MB or greater. A CD-ROM drive with a Video Graphics Adapter(VGA) or higher resolution monitor (super VGA is recommended). (2) Microsoft Windows 2000 (64 MB or greater RAM required), Windows XP PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 50911 (128 MB or greater RAM required) or later operating system. (3) Microsoft Access 2003 or newer for: (i) NMFS Approved Software Standards and Internet Access. The Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver is responsible for obtaining, installing and updating electronic fish tickets software either provided by Pacific States Marine Fish Commission, or compatible with the data export specifications specified by Pacific States Marine Fish Commission and for maintaining internet access sufficient to transmit data files via email. Requests for data export specifications can be submitted to: Attn: Frank Lockhart, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Region Sustainable Fisheries Division, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, or via email to frank.lockhart@noaa.gov. (ii) Maintenance. The Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver is responsible for ensuring that all hardware and software required under this subsection are fully operational and functional whenever the Pacific whiting primary season deliveries are accepted. (2) Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers and processors that receive groundfish species other than Pacific whiting in excess of trip limits from Pacific whiting shoreside vessels fishing under an EFP issued by the Assistant Regional Administrator are authorized to possess the catch. (3) Vessel owners and operators, first receivers, or shoreside processor owners, or managers may contact NMFS in writing to request assistance in improving data quality and resolving monitoring issues. Requests may be submitted to: Attn: Frank Lockhart, National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Region Sustainable Fisheries Division, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, or via email to frank.lockhart@noaa.gov. * * * * * [FR Doc. E7–17523 Filed 9–4–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\05SER1.SGM 05SER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 171 (Wednesday, September 5, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 50906-50911]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-17523]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 070323069-7117-02; I.D. 031907A]
RIN 0648-AV46


Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues a final rule to establish catch accounting 
requirements for persons who receive, buy, or accept Pacific whiting 
deliveries of 4,000 pounds (lb) (1.18 mt) or more from vessels using 
midwater trawl gear during the Pacific whiting primary season for the 
shore-based sector. This action is intended to improve NMFS's ability 
to effectively monitor the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery such that 
catch of Pacific whiting and incidentally caught species, including 
overfished groundfish species, do not result in a species' optimum 
yield (OY), harvest guideline, allocations, or bycatch limits being 
exceeded. This action is also intended to provide for timely reporting 
of Chinook salmon take as specified in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 
Section 7 Biological Opinion for Chinook salmon catch in the Pacific 
groundfish fishery. This action is consistent with the conservation 
goals and objectives of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management 
Plan (FMP).

DATES: Effective October 5, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact 
Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (EA/RIR/IRFA), Finding 
of No Significant Impact (FONSI), Initial Regulatory Flexibility 
Analysis (IRFA), Final Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (FRFA), and the 
Small Entity Compliance Guide are available from D. Robert Lohn, 
Administrator, Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, 
WA 98115-0070, phone: 206-526-6150.

[[Page 50907]]

    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted to D. Robert Lohn, Administrator, Northwest 
Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115-0070, and by e-
mail to DavidRostker@omb.eop.gov, or by fax to (202) 395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Becky Renko, phone: 206-526-6110, fax: 
206-526-6736, or e-mail: becky.renko@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Electronic Access

    This Federal Register document is also accessible via the internet 
at the website of the Office of the Federal Register: 
www.gpoaccess.gov/fr/index.html.

Background

    This action establishes an electronic catch accounting system and 
other monitoring improvements for the shore-based sector of the Pacific 
whiting fishery. The shore-based Pacific whiting fishery needs to have 
a catch reporting system in place that: provides timely reporting of 
catch data so that Pacific whiting, overfished species and Chinook 
salmon can be adequately monitored and accounted for inseason; and, 
specifies catch sorting and weight requirements necessary to maintain 
the integrity of data used to manage groundfish species OYs, trip 
limits, and bycatch limits.
    This final rule applies to persons called ``first receivers'' 
(generally, first receivers are Pacific whiting shoreside processing 
facilities, but may also include entities that truck Pacific whiting to 
other facilities.) This final rule requires first receivers who 
receive, buy, or accept Pacific whiting deliveries of 4,000 lb (1.8 mt) 
or more from vessels using midwater trawl gear during the Pacific 
whiting primary season to have and use a NMFS-approved electronic fish 
ticket software or a NMFS-approved software that meets defined data 
export specifications, and to send catch reports to the Pacific States 
Marine Fish Commission (PSMFC) within 24 hours of when the catch is 
landed. Electronic fish ticket reports will be used to track catch 
allocations, bycatch limits and prohibited species catch. First 
receivers will provide the computer hardware, software, and internet 
access necessary to support the NMFS-approved software and provide for 
e-mail transmissions.
    The electronic fish tickets are used to collect information similar 
to information currently required by the States of Washington, Oregon 
and California on fish receiving tickets or landing receipts (state 
fish tickets). These Federal regulations will be in addition to the 
existing state fish ticket requirements and will not replace any state 
recordkeeping or reporting requirements.
    New sorting requirements are specified in this final rule for 
Pacific whiting catch received by first receivers, as deliveries may 
contain groundfish in excess of trip limits, unmarketable groundfish, 
prohibited species, and protected species that are not addressed by 
current groundfish regulations. In addition, Federal groundfish 
regulations are revised to require deliveries from vessels 
participating in the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery to be adequately 
sorted by species or species group, and the catch be weighed following 
offloading from the vessel and prior to transporting the catch. First 
receivers are required to report, on electronic fish tickets, actual 
and accurate weights derived from scales. If sorting and weighing 
requirements specified in Federal regulation are more stringent than 
state fish ticket requirements, the first receiver is required to 
follow Federal requirements for sorting, weighing, and reporting 
species or species groups on electronic fish ticket submissions.
    This final rule is part of an ongoing process to develop a 
maximized retention program for the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery. 
At its June 11-15, 2007, meeting in Foster City, California, the 
Council will consider recommending a rulemaking for 2008 and beyond for 
a related action titled ``A Maximized Retention and Monitoring Program 
for the Pacific Whiting Shoreside Fishery.''
    Further detail on this action appears in the EA/RIR prepared by the 
NMFS for this action and in the proposed rule published on April 9, 
2007 (72 FR 17469). NMFS requested public comment on the proposed rule 
through April 24, 2007. See the preamble to the proposed rule for 
additional background information on the fishery and on this rule.

Comments and Responses

    NMFS received two e-mailed comments on the proposed rule: one email 
was received from a state government and the other email was from an 
industry organization. These comments are addressed here:
    Comment 1: The commentor indicated that a reference on page 17470 
of the proposed rule preamble, regarding the Pacific Fishery Management 
Council discussion on further rulemaking ``at its April 2007 meeting,'' 
should be revised or eliminated because the discussion did not occur.
    Response: The preamble reference to Pacific Fishery Management 
Council discussion on further rulemaking has been revised in the final 
rule preamble to reference pending discussion at the June 11-15, 2007 
Council meeting.
    Comment 2: The commentor believes that the reliance on Research 
Group publications from 2006 based on 2004 fishery data, referenced on 
page 17471 of the proposed rule preamble, is questionable given the age 
of the data and the fact that no peer review of the information has 
been done for this analysis.
    Response: NMFS recognizes that the Research Group publications are 
not peer reviewed documents. However, given the lack of available 
information on the West Coast seafood processing industry, NMFS must 
rely on various sorts of information to determine the classification of 
processing companies including determining whether various companies 
are ``affiliated'' according to Small Business Administration (SBA) 
standards. As stated in the analysis, the information was based on a 
review of company websites, state employment websites, and newpaper 
articles. The discussion drew no hard conclusions because the Research 
Group publications use data from various sources and such data may be 
of various vintages. NMFS believes that the information from the 
Research Group publications, although not peer-reviewed is credible 
supporting information given its consistency with other data sources. 
These publications are the only publications available that describe 
West Coast fishing industry in a manner useful for assessing ownership 
relationships between companies. NMFS believes it has used these 
Research publications in a credible manner as this information was used 
in conjunction with NMFS's own review of company websites, state 
employment websites, and newspaper articles. Because of this NMFS 
independent reviews, without the use of the Research Group 
publications, the same conclusions about company size and affiliation 
would have been made. The basic conclusion was that there appears to be 
13 major Pacific whiting processors that can be grouped into nine SBA 
businesses based on analysis of affiliates and that among these 
businesses are three large and six small SBA businesses based on SBA 
size standards. One purpose of the IRFA is to solicit comments on the 
economic analysis in the proposed rule and

[[Page 50908]]

whether the basic conclusions are reasonable. This comment was the only 
one received on the economic analysis and it only questions the use of 
Research Group publications, but not the basic conclusions. The use of 
non-peer reviewed information in its conclusions is noted in the 
classifications section of this document.
    Comment 3: The commentor objects to the inclusion of the proposed 
Sec.  660.306 (f)(6)(i), which prohibits a first receiver from 
receiving Pacific whiting from a vessel that does not have a properly 
functioning electronic monitoring system (EMS), unless a waiver for EMS 
coverage was granted by NMFS for that trip. The commentor believes that 
a first receiver on shore has no way of knowing whether a vessel's EMS 
is operating or not, or whether it was properly deployed while the 
vessel was harvesting Pacific whiting. The commentor suggests the 
language be modified to insert ``knowingly'' at the start of the 
sentence to enable enforcement action to be taken, but not lead to 
action against a processor who buys from a vessel in good faith.
    Response: NMFS has modified the proposed language in Sec.  660.306 
(f)(6)(i) so that an undue burden is not placed on the first receivers 
in 2007. In response to this comment, NMFS has removed the language in 
Sec.  660.306 (f)(6)(i). Maintaining the integrity of catch data 
includes knowing that each delivery was properly monitored at-sea. 
Therefore, NMFS encourages processors to obtain verification from the 
vessel operator, that the EMS was working properly or that a waiver for 
EMS coverage was granted to the vessel for that trip. NMFS intends to 
address this issue in its entirety in a related action titled ``A 
Maximized Retention and Monitoring Program for the Pacific Whiting 
Shoreside Fishery.''
    Comment 4: The commentor supports the language in Sec.  660.373 
(j)(1)(ii) indicating that first receivers have the choice of using 
either software supplied by the PSMFC or ``NMFS-approved'' software 
compatible with the software available from PSMFC. The commentor 
strongly supports having this choice, but believes it would be helpful 
to know what software is approved by NMFS and what format is considered 
compatible.
    Response: In response to the commentor, NMFS has added clarifying 
language to Sec.  660.373 (j)(1)(ii) which identifies where a first 
receiver may obtain the specifications for NMFS-approved software other 
than the software supplied by the PSMFC.
    Comment 5: The commentor suggests that a definition be added for 
``Electronic fish tickets.''
    Response: NMFS has added a definition for electronic fish tickets. 
The term is defined as a software program or data files meeting data 
export specifications approved by NMFS that is used to send landing 
data to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Electronic fish 
tickets are used to collect information similar to the information 
required in state fish receiving tickets or landing receipts, but do 
not replace or change any state requirements.
    Comment 6: The commentor suggests that the term ``Pacific whiting 
shoreside vessel'', which has been defined in regulation, be used 
consistently throughout the regulations rather than using the terms 
``delivery vessel'' and ``catcher vessel'' to describe the same group 
of vessels.
    Response: NMFS has made the appropriate changes to the regulatory 
language.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    In response to the comments that were received, the following 
changes were made from the proposed rule: A definition for the term 
``Electronic fish ticket'' was added to the regulations in Sec.  
660.302 Definitions; References to ``delivery vessel'' and ``catcher 
vessel'' were changed to Pacific whiting shoreside vessel in Sec.  
660.303, reporting and recordkeeping, paragraph (e)(1)(iii) and 
(iv)(B), and in Sec.  660.306, prohibitions, (f)(6)(iii); and, in Sec.  
660.373, Pacific whiting fishery management, paragraph (j)(1)(ii)(A)(3) 
contact information for obtaining NMFS-approved software was added, 
proposed language in Sec.  660.306 (f)(6)(i) was removed, and in 
paragraph (j)(1)(ii)(C)(3) the term first receivers was added.

Classification

    An environmental assessment was prepared for this action. NMFS 
finds that no significant impact on the human environment will result 
from its implementation and has signed the Finding of No Significant 
Impacts (FONSI).
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    A final regulatory flexibility analysis (FRFA) was prepared. The 
FRFA incorporates the IRFA, and a summary of the analyses completed to 
support the action. A copy of this analysis is available from or NMFS 
(see ADDRESSES). A summary of the FRFA follows.
    The Pacific whiting shoreside fishery needs to have a catch 
reporting system in place to: adequately track the incidental take of 
Chinook salmon as required in the ESA Section 7 Biological Opinion for 
Chinook salmon catch in the Pacific whiting fishery; and to track the 
catch of target and overfished groundfish species such that the fishing 
industry is not unnecessarily constrained and that the sector 
allocation and bycatch limits are not exceeded.
    This action will allow NMFS to effectively manage the Pacific 
whiting fishery such that harvests of Pacific whiting and incidentally 
caught groundfish species, including overfished species, do not result 
in allocations, harvest guidelines, species' OY, or bycatch limits for 
overfished species being exceeded. One comment was received regarding 
the IRFA (see Comment 2 above). No changes to the proposed rule 
resulted from this comment. During 2006, 23 different processors/
companies paid $17 million to fishers who delivered a combined 280 
million lbs (127,002 mt) of Pacific whiting. A major processor is one 
that has purchased more than 1,000,000 lbs of Pacific whiting. There 
were 13 major Pacific whiting processors in 2006, with the remaining 10 
processors all being minor processors, as their production levels 
ranged from 2 lbs to 7,000 lbs (3,175 kg). There were no processors in 
the 7,000 lb to 1,000,000 lb (4,536 kg) range. None of these minor 
processors were associated with a trawl landing that was greater than 
4,000 lbs (1,814 kg) and so it is presumed they would be unaffected by 
these regulations. Note that not all minor entities are ``processors'' 
in the traditional sense since some of these entities may be fishers 
who directly sell their fish to a restaurant. These fishers, although 
they may be small businesses, are not affected because the direct sale 
of their landings would not be subject to this rule.
    The SBA has established size criteria for all major industry 
sectors in the U.S. including fish harvesting entities, for-hire 
entities, fish processing businesses, and fish dealers. A business 
involved in fish harvesting is a small business if it is independently 
owned and operated and not major in the field of operation (including 
its affiliates) and if it has combined annual receipts not in excess of 
$3.5 million for all its affiliated operations worldwide. For-hire 
vessels are considered small entities, if they have annual receipts not 
in excess of $6 million. A seafood processor is a small business if it 
is independently owned and operated, not major in its field of

[[Page 50909]]

operation, and employs 500 or few persons on a full-time, part-time, 
temporary, or other basis, at all its affiliated operations world wide. 
Finally, a wholesale business servicing the fishing industry (fish 
dealer) is a small business if it employs 100 or few persons on a full 
time, part-time, temporary, or other basis, at all its affiliated 
operations worldwide. Because of the lack of available information on 
the West Coast seafood processing industry, NMFS must rely on various 
sorts of information to determine the classification of processing 
companies including determining if various companies are ``affiliated'' 
according to SBA standards.
    Based on the SBA criteria and a review of company websites, state 
employment websites, newspaper articles, personal communications, and 
non-peered review research documents, it appears that the 13 major 
Pacific whiting processors can be grouped into nine SBA businesses 
based on analysis of affiliates. Within these nine SBA businesses, 
there appears to be three ``large'' businesses, each of which generated 
at least $500 million in sales in 2003 and employ over over 500 
employees each. In addition, there are six ``small'' businesses that 
participated in the shorebased Pacific whiting processing sector in 
2006. Annual sales information for these ``small'' businesses is 
unavailable, but total ex-vessel revenues (the value of the fish 
purchased from fisherman) is available. In 2006, these six businesses 
purchased approximately $40 million in hake and other fish and 
shellfish from west coast fishermen. This compares to the $60 million 
in hake and other fish and shellfish purchased by the three large 
businesses. These regulations would require Pacific whiting shoreside 
processors to have and use a NMFS approved electronic fish ticket 
program to send daily catch reports. The electronic fish tickets are 
based on information currently required in state fish receiving tickets 
or landing receipts (fish tickets). In the States of Washington and 
California, processors would continue to complete and submit the 
required paper fish tickets on forms provided by the state and then 
transfer the same information to the electronic fish ticket for 
submission. In the State of Oregon, processors could either complete 
paper fish ticket forms provided by the state, or as is allowed by 
state law, they could submit a printed and signed copy of the 
electronic fish tickets. The majority of the companies affected appear 
to be small businesses.
    Given the relatively small numbers of applicants, separate 
requirements based on size of business were not developed. To the 
extent possible, however, this final rule builds on existing state 
reporting requirements or on equipment that the companies typically 
already have. Therefore, implementation of these rules will require 
firms to bear minimal costs in reporting data electronically that they 
already are required to report on paper to the states. In terms of 
equipment purchases, it is expected that there will be few if any 
instances where processors have to purchase computers or software 
because this is equipment that most business already have. It is also 
not expected that processors will need to purchase scale equipment as 
the presumption about this final rule is that it enhances existing 
state regulations that already require processors to use scales in 
conducting their businesses but may not specifically require the use of 
scale weights in reporting fisheries data to state agencies. There may 
be some interest by a few small processors to weigh and count fish at 
locations other than the point of first landing, but these instances 
appear to be few.
    Additional measures were taken to minimize the costs of the catch 
accounting requirements by providing: (1) fish ticket software at no 
cost; (2) fish ticket software that used a standard operating system 
and common software already owned by most businesses; (3) fish ticket 
software that is compatible with the existing fish ticket requirements 
in each of the three states; and, (4) software that can be used to 
print a paper copy for submission to the state, when state law allows. 
Because the information is already being gathered by the processors 
there is no requirement that additional data be gathered. Only the 
minimum data required to meet the objectives are requested from all 
applicants. There were no other alternatives to the proposed rule that 
accomplish the stated objectives. Under Status Quo, general catch 
sorting requirements and prohibited actions would continue to be 
specified for limited entry trawl vessel; each state would continue to 
specify requirements for landing reports. This alternative was rejected 
because it does not meet the defined need for accurate catch 
accounting.
    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, a public notice that also serves as small 
entity compliance guide (the guide) was prepared. The guide and final 
rule will be sent to all of the Pacific whiting shoreside processors 
that have been designated by the states of Washington, Oregon, or 
California as participants in the 2007 fishery. Copies of this final 
rule and the guide are available from the NMFS Northwest Regional 
Office (see ADDRESSES) and are available on our website at 
www.nwr.noaa.gov (Click on ``Groundfish Fishery Management,'' then on 
either ``Public Notices'' or ``Whiting management'').
    This final rule contains a collection-of-information requirement 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which has been 
approved by OMB under control number 0648-0563. Public reporting burden 
for preparing and submitting electronic fish tickets is estimated to 
average ten minutes per individual response for Pacific whiting 
shoreside processors/first receivers in the states of California and 
Washington, and two minutes per individual response for Pacific whiting 
shoreside processors/first receivers in the State of Oregon, including 
the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, 
gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing 
the collected information. Send comments regarding these burden 
estimates or any other aspect of this data collection, including 
suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by e-
mail to David--Rostker@omb.eop.gov, or fax to 202-395-7285.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for 
failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.
    Pursuant to Executive Order 13175, this final rule was developed 
after meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials 
from the area covered by the FMP. At the Council=s September and 
November 2006 meetings, NMFS informed the Council, which includes a 
tribal representative, of the intent to evaluate and implement catch 
accounting requirements for Pacific whiting shoreside processors. This 
action does not alter the treaty allocation of Pacific

[[Page 50910]]

whiting, nor does it affect the prosecution of the tribal fishery.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, Indian fisheries.

    Dated: August 29, 2007.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

0
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 660 is amended as 
follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

0
2. In Sec.  660.302, the definitions for ``Electronic Fish 
Ticket'',``Electronic Monitoring System,'' ``Pacific whiting shoreside 
or shore-based fishery,'' ``Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver,'' 
and ``Pacific whiting shoreside vessel'' are added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.302  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Electronic fish ticket means a software program or data files 
meeting data export specifications approved by NMFS that is used to 
send landing data to the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. 
Electronic fish tickets are used to collect information similar to the 
information required in state fish receiving tickets or landing 
receipts, but do not replace or change any state requirements.
    Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) means a data collection tool 
that uses a software operating system connected to an assortment of 
electronic components, including video recorders, to create a 
collection of data on vessel activities.
* * * * *
    Pacific whiting shoreside or shore-based fishery means Pacific 
whiting shoreside vessels and Pacific whiting shoreside first 
receivers.
    Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers means persons who 
receive, purchase, or take custody, control, or possession of Pacific 
whiting onshore directly from a Pacific whiting shoreside vessel.
    Pacific whiting shoreside vessel means any vessel that fishes using 
midwater trawl gear to take, retain, possess and land 4,000 lb (1,814 
kg) or more of Pacific whiting per fishing trip from the Pacific 
whiting shore-based sector allocation for delivery to a Pacific whiting 
shoreside first receiver during the primary season.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  660.303, paragraph (a) is revised and paragraph (e) is 
added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.303  Reporting and recordkeeping.

    (a) This subpart recognizes that catch and effort data necessary 
for implementing the PCGFMP are collected by the States of Washington, 
Oregon, and California under existing state data collection 
requirements.
* * * * *
    (e) Participants in the Pacific whiting shoreside fishery. 
Reporting requirements defined in the following section are in addition 
to reporting requirements under applicable state law and requirements 
described at Sec.  660.303(b).
    (1) Reporting requirements for any Pacific whiting shoreside first 
receiver--(i) Responsibility for compliance. The Pacific whiting 
shoreside first receiver is responsible for compliance with all 
reporting requirements described in this paragraph.
    (ii) General requirements. All records or reports required by this 
paragraph must: be maintained in English, be accurate, be legible, be 
based on local time, and be submitted in a timely manner as required in 
paragraph (e)(1)(iv) of this section.
    (iii) Required information. All Pacific whiting shoreside first 
receivers must provide the following types of information: date of 
landing, Pacific whiting shoreside vessel that made the delivery, gear 
type used, first receiver, round weights of species landed listed by 
species or species group including species with no value, number of 
salmon by species, number of Pacific halibut, and any other information 
deemed necessary by the Regional Administrator as specified on the 
appropriate electronic fish ticket form.
    (iv) Electronic fish ticket submissions. The Pacific whiting 
shoreside first receiver must:
    (A) Sort all fish, prior to first weighing, by species or
    species groups as specified at Sec.  660.370 (h)(6)(iii).
    (B) Include as part of each electronic fish ticket submission, the 
actual scale weight for each groundfish species as specified by 
requirements at Sec.  660.373 (j)(2)(i) and the Pacific whiting 
shoreside vessel identification number.
    (C) Use for the purpose of submitting electronic fish tickets, and 
maintain in good working order, computer equipment as specified at 
Sec.  660.373 (j)(2)(ii)(A);
    (D) Install, use, and update as necessary, any NMFS-approved 
software described at Sec.  660.373 (j)(2)(ii)(B);
    (E) Submit a completed electronic fish ticket for every landing 
that includes 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) or more of Pacific whiting (round 
weight equivalent) no later than 24 hours after the date the fish are 
received, unless a waiver of this requirement has been granted under 
provisions specified at paragraph (e)(1) (vii) of this section.
    (v) Revising a submitted electronic fish ticket submission. In the 
event that a data error is found, electronic fish ticket submissions 
may be revised by resubmitting the revised form. Electronic fish 
tickets are to be used for the submission of final data. Preliminary 
data, including estimates of fish weights or species composition, shall 
not be submitted on electronic fish tickets.
    (vi) Retention of records. [Reserved]
    (vii) Waivers for submission of electronic fish tickets upon 
written request. On a case-by-case basis, a temporary written waiver of 
the requirement to submit electronic fish tickets may be granted by the 
Assistant Regional Administrator or designee if he/she determines that 
circumstances beyond the control of a Pacific whiting shoreside first 
receiver would result in inadequate data submissions using the 
electronic fish ticket system. The duration of the waiver will be 
determined on a case-by-case basis.
    (viii) Reporting requirements when a temporary waiver has been 
granted. Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers that have been 
granted a temporary waiver from the requirement to submit electronic 
fish tickets must submit on paper the same data as is required on 
electronic fish tickets within 24 hours of the date received during the 
period that the waiver is in effect. Paper fish tickets must be sent by 
facsimile to NMFS, Northwest Region, Sustainable Fisheries Division, 
206-526-6736 or by delivering it in person to 7600 Sand Point Way NE, 
Seattle, WA 98115. The requirements for submissions of paper tickets in 
this paragraph are separate from, and in addition to existing state 
requirements for landing receipts or fish receiving tickets.
    (2) [Reserved]

0
4. In Sec.  660.306, paragraphs (f)(6) is redesignated as (f)(7), and 
paragraph(b)(4) and a new (f)(6) are added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.306  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *

[[Page 50911]]

    (4) Fail to comply with all requirements at Sec.  660.303 (d); 
including failure to submit information, submission of inaccurate 
information, or intentionally submitting false information on any 
report required at Sec.  660.303 (d) when participating in the Pacific 
whiting shoreside fishery.
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (6) Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers.
    (i) [Reserved]
    (ii) Fail to sort fish received from a Pacific whiting shoreside 
vessel prior to first weighing after offloading as specified at Sec.  
660.370 (h)(6)(iii) for the Pacific whiting fishery.
    (iii) Process, sell, or discard any groundfish received from a 
Pacific whiting shoreside vessel that has not been weighed on a scale 
that is in compliance with requirements at Sec.  660.373 (j)(1)(i) and 
accounted for on an electronic fish ticket with the identification 
number for the Pacific whiting shoreside vessel that delivered the 
fish.
    (iv) Fail to weigh fish landed from a Pacific whiting shoreside 
vessel prior to transporting any fish from that landing away from the 
point of landing.
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  660.370, paragraph (h)(6)(iii) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.370  Specifications and management measures.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *
    (6) * * *
    (iii) Sorting requirements for the Pacific whiting shoreside 
fishery. Fish delivered to Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers 
(including shoreside processing facilities and buying stations that 
intend to transport catch for processing elsewhere) must be sorted, 
prior to first weighing after offloading from the vessel and prior to 
transport away from the point of landing, to the species groups 
specified in paragraph (h)(6)(i)(A) of this section for vessels with 
limited entry permits. Prohibited species must be sorted according to 
the following species groups: Dungeness crab, Pacific halibut, Chinook 
salmon, Other salmon. Non-groundfish species must be sorted as required 
by the state of landing.
* * * * *

0
6. In Sec.  660.373, paragraph (j) is redesignated as (k), and a new 
paragraph (j) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  660.373  Pacific whiting (whiting) fishery management.

* * * * *
    (j) Additional requirements for participants in the Pacific Whiting 
Shoreside fishery--(1) Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver 
responsibilities--(i) Weights and measures. All groundfish weights 
reported on fish tickets must be recorded from scales with appropriate 
weighing capacity that ensures accuracy for the amount of fish being 
weighed. For example: amounts of fish less than 1,000 lb (454 kg) 
should not be weighed on scales that have an accuracy range of 1,000 
lb-7,000 lb (454 - 3,175 kg) and are therefore not capable of 
accurately weighing amounts less than 1,000 lb (454 kg).
    (ii) Electronic fish tickets--(A) Hardware and software 
requirements. First receivers using the electronic fish ticket software 
provided by Pacific States Marine Fish Commission are required to meet 
the hardware and software requirements below. Those whiting first 
receivers who have NMFS-approved software compatible with the standards 
specified by Pacific States Marine Fish Commission for electronic fish 
tickets are not subject to any specific hardware or software 
requirements.
    (1) A personal computer with Pentium 75-MHz or higher. Random 
Access Memory (RAM) must have sufficient megabyte (MB) space to run the 
operating system, plus an additional 8 MB for the software application 
and available hard disk space of 217 MB or greater. A CD-ROM drive with 
a Video Graphics Adapter(VGA) or higher resolution monitor (super VGA 
is recommended).
    (2) Microsoft Windows 2000 (64 MB or greater RAM required), Windows 
XP (128 MB or greater RAM required) or later operating system.
    (3) Microsoft Access 2003 or newer for:
    (i) NMFS Approved Software Standards and Internet Access.
    The Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver is responsible for 
obtaining, installing and updating electronic fish tickets software 
either provided by Pacific States Marine Fish Commission, or compatible 
with the data export specifications specified by Pacific States Marine 
Fish Commission and for maintaining internet access sufficient to 
transmit data files via email. Requests for data export specifications 
can be submitted to: Attn: Frank Lockhart, National Marine Fisheries 
Service, Northwest Region Sustainable Fisheries Division, 7600 Sand 
Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, or via email to 
frank.lockhart@noaa.gov.
    (ii) Maintenance. The Pacific whiting shoreside first receiver is 
responsible for ensuring that all hardware and software required under 
this subsection are fully operational and functional whenever the 
Pacific whiting primary season deliveries are accepted.
    (2) Pacific whiting shoreside first receivers and processors that 
receive groundfish species other than Pacific whiting in excess of trip 
limits from Pacific whiting shoreside vessels fishing under an EFP 
issued by the Assistant Regional Administrator are authorized to 
possess the catch.
    (3) Vessel owners and operators, first receivers, or shoreside 
processor owners, or managers may contact NMFS in writing to request 
assistance in improving data quality and resolving monitoring issues. 
Requests may be submitted to: Attn: Frank Lockhart, National Marine 
Fisheries Service, Northwest Region Sustainable Fisheries Division, 
7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115, or via email to 
frank.lockhart@noaa.gov.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. E7-17523 Filed 9-4-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S