Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States, 54947-54949 [E9-25713]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 205 / Monday, October 26, 2009 / Proposed Rules necessary to complete research projects funded through the Monkfish RSA Program. In recent years, researchers have stated that factors such as regulatory changes, increased fuel costs, and delayed grant approval, have greatly impacted their ability to use all of the monkfish RSA DAS within the fishing year for which they were granted. For example, in fishing year 2007 (the second year of the program), 367 monkfish RSA DAS were allocated, but 296 DAS were used, leaving 71 monkfish RSA DAS unused. However, in fishing year 2008, the number of unused monkfish RSA DAS doubled to 153 out of a total of 500 monkfish RSA DAS allocated. This action is administrative in nature and will not have any economic impacts on small entities. This action would allow researchers issued grants under the Monkfish RSA Program the ability to fulfill those grant obligations by providing them the opportunity to complete their research projects if, for unforeseen circumstances, they are unable to utilize all of their monkfish RSA DAS during the fishing year for which those DAS were granted. Therefore, because this action makes only a minor administrative change to the Monkfish RSA Program to ensure that this program functions as intended, it will not have any economic effect on small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: October 20, 2009. James W. Balsiger, Acting Assistant Administrator For Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.92, paragraph (c)(1)(v) is revised to read as follows: § 648.92 Effort-control program for monkfish limited access vessels. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 * * * * * (c) * * * (1) * * * (v) If the Regional Administrator determines that the annual allocation of research DAS will not be used in its entirety once all of the grant awards have been approved, the Regional Administrator shall reallocate the unallocated research DAS as exempted DAS to be authorized as described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section, and provide notice of the reallocation of DAS in the Federal Register. Any allocated research DAS that are not used VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:39 Oct 23, 2009 Jkt 220001 during the fishing year for which they are granted may be carried over into the next fishing year. Any unallocated research DAS may not be carried over into the next fishing year. * * * * * [FR Doc. E9–25754 Filed 10–23–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 0907241164–91187–01] RIN 0648–AY09 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. SUMMARY: This proposed regulatory amendment would authorize the NMFS Northeast Regional Administrator (RA), or the RA’s designee, to issue a Letter of Authorization (LOA) to eligible researchers on board federally permitted fishing vessels that plan to temporarily possess fish in a manner not compliant with applicable fishing regulations, for the purpose of collecting scientific data on catch. Currently, federally permitted fishing vessels that carry research personnel during commercial fishing trips for the purpose of collecting catch data before discarding fish that otherwise could not be retained are required to obtain an exempted fishing permit (EFP) in order to conduct their sampling work, which is administratively burdensome and has resulted in the delay and lost opportunity to conduct important fishery research. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before November 25, 2009. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by 0648–AY09, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. • Mail: Paper, disk, or CD-ROM comments should be sent to Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great Republic PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54947 Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, ‘‘Comments on the Proposed Rule to Modify Northeast Region Experimental Fishing Regulations.’’ • Fax: (978) 281–9135; attention Ryan Silva. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ryan Silva, Cooperative Research Liaison, phone (978) 281–9326, fax (978) 281–9135. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed rule would revise portions of the Northeast Region experimental fishing regulations by authorizing the RA, or the RA’s designee, to issue an LOA to eligible researchers on board federally permitted fishing vessels that temporarily possess fish species that otherwise could not be retained under the applicable fishing regulations, for the purpose of collecting scientific data on catch. The proposed changes would be enacted under the authority given to the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate regulations to fully carry out the requirements of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). Northeast Region fishing regulations found at 50 CFR part 648 implement management measures for fisheries operating under 15 fishery management plans (FMPs). These regulations include minimum fish sizes, fish possession limits, and various spatial and temporal fish possession restrictions such as quota and area closures. Federally permitted fishing vessels that carry research personnel during commercial fishing trips for the purpose of collecting catch data before discarding restricted fish are currently required to obtain an EFP in order to conduct their sampling work. An EFP is required primarily because the vessel would be in possession of fish species that otherwise could not be retained, albeit temporarily, in a manner inconsistent E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM 26OCP1 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 54948 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 205 / Monday, October 26, 2009 / Proposed Rules with normal commercial fishing operations. For example, if a vessel were to be intercepted by an enforcement agent and the vessel was in possession of fish that otherwise could not be retained, but had been retained for data collection purposes and had not yet been processed and discarded, the vessel would be in violation of fishing regulations. Although all such fish are discarded once the data have been collected, there would be a period of time when the vessel was in possession of fish that could not legally be retained. In all other respects, the vessels are operating in compliance with commercial fishing regulations. The requirement to obtain an EFP prior to conducting these types of sampling activities on commercial fishing vessels has raised several issues and concerns within the scientific community, the Regional Fishery Management Councils, and among NMFS Regional Office (RO) and Science Center staff. Due to the time necessary to request and obtain an EFP, these temporary possession EFPs can inhibit the ability of fishery researchers to opportunistically accompany commercial fishing vessels for the purpose of data collection. This has resulted in the delay and lost opportunity to conduct important fishery research, which negatively affects cooperative research efforts and increases the cost of data collection. In addition, the administrative burden on NMFS from processing and overseeing these routine EFPs is substantial. To mitigate these concerns, this proposed rule would authorize the RA, or the RA’s designee, to issue an LOA to eligible researchers on board federally permitted fishing vessels that temporarily possess fish species that could otherwise not be retained under applicable fishing regulations for the purpose of collecting scientific data on catch (temporary possession LOA). Temporary possession LOAs would allow researchers and NMFS to forego the full EFP process, which includes the solicitation of public comment and consultation under applicable laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for each project requesting authorization to collect at-sea catch data. The RA would determine whether the applicant and participating vessels meet the eligibility criteria prior to issuing or denying a temporary possession LOA application. The time to complete the review process would be greatly reduced, which would facilitate important fishery research and reduce lost data collection opportunities, foster collaborative VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:39 Oct 23, 2009 Jkt 220001 relationships between the fishing industry and the fishery research community, and reduce the cost of atsea catch data collection. In addition, this would greatly reduce the administrative burden on NMFS that results from processing these routine EFPs. NMFS would maintain discretion over the vessels and researchers that are issued temporary exemption LOAs. To ensure effective oversight, eligible vessels would need to meet the requirements described below, and EFP oversight policies would apply to all vessels issued a temporary possession LOA. Any additional exemptions beyond temporary possession would need to be obtained through the standard EFP process. Only personnel from the following bodies would be eligible for a temporary possession LOA: Foreign government agency; U.S. Government agency; U.S. state or territorial agency; university (or other educational institution accredited by a recognized national or international accreditation body); international treaty organization; or scientific institution. To obtain a temporary possession LOA, an eligible applicant would be required to submit a complete application, similar to an EFP application, which would contain the following information: The date of the application; the applicant’s name, mailing address, and telephone number; a statement of the purposes and goals for which the LOA is needed; the name(s) and affiliation of the fishery research technicians that will be collecting the data; a statement demonstrating the qualifications of the research technician that will be collecting the data; the species (target and incidental) expected to be harvested under the LOA; the disposition of all regulated species harvested under the LOA; the approximate time(s) and place(s) fishing would take place; the type, size, and amount of gear to be used; and the signature of the applicant. In addition, for each vessel to be covered by the LOA, as soon as the information is available and before operations begin, the applicant would be required to supply the vessel operator name, the vessel’s Federal fishing permit number, and the vessel registration or documentation number. Classification Pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) of the Northeast Region, other provisions of the Magnuson- PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for this determination is as follows: The cooperative research community, which includes principal investigators, research technicians, and commercial fishermen, would be the primary group affected by this rule. It is estimated that approximately 50 individuals would be affected by this rule. It is unlikely that this rule will have any effect on any other entity or business. No regulated entities would incur any additional costs as a result of this rule as these individuals are already required under 50 CFR 600.745 to apply for an EFP. This action would simplify and streamline the process to obtain the necessary documentation. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, and none has been prepared. This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements that have already been reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB control number 0648–0309 (‘‘Scientific Research, Exempted Fishing, and Exempted Activity Submissions’’). Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to the Northeast Regional Office at the ADDRESSES above, 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. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: October 20, 2009. John Oliver, Deputy Assistant Administrator For Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed to be amended as follows: E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM 26OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 205 / Monday, October 26, 2009 / Proposed Rules PART 648—FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES 1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 648.12, paragraph (d) is added to read as follows: § 648.12 Experimental fishing. * * * * (d) Temporary possession letter of authorization (LOA): The Regional Administrator (RA), or the RA’s designee, may issue an LOA to eligible researchers on board federally permitted fishing vessels on which species of fish that otherwise could not be legally retained would be possessed temporarily for the purpose of collecting catch data. Under this authorization, such species of fish could be retained temporarily for scientific purposes, but shall be discarded as soon as practicable following data collection. (1) Eligible activities. An LOA may be issued by the RA, or the RA’s designee, to temporarily exempt a vessel, on erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 * VerDate Nov<24>2008 14:39 Oct 23, 2009 Jkt 220001 which a qualified fishery research technician is collecting catch data, from the following types of fishery regulations: Minimum fish size restrictions; fish possession limits; species quota closures; prohibited fish species, not including species protected under the Endangered Species Act; and gear-specific fish possession restrictions. (2) Eligibility criteria. Only personnel from the following bodies are eligible for a temporary possession LOA: Foreign government agency; U.S. Government agency; U.S. state or territorial agency; university (or other educational institution accredited by a recognized national or international accreditation body); international treaty organization; or scientific institution. (3) Application requirements. To obtain a temporary possession LOA, an eligible applicant, as defined under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, would be required to submit a complete application, which would contain the following information: The date of the application; the applicant’s name, PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54949 mailing address, and telephone number; a statement of the purposes and goals for which the LOA is needed; the name(s) and affiliation of the fishery research technicians that will be collecting the data; a statement demonstrating the qualifications of the research technician that will be collecting the data; the species (target and incidental) expected to be harvested under the LOA; the disposition of all regulated species harvested under the LOA; the approximate time(s) and place(s) fishing would take place; the type, size, and amount of gear to be used; and the signature of the applicant. In addition, for each vessel to be covered by the LOA, as soon as the information is available and before operations begin, the applicant would be required to supply to NMFS the vessel operator name, the vessel’s Federal fishing permit number, and the vessel registration or documentation number. [FR Doc. E9–25713 Filed 10–23–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S E:\FR\FM\26OCP1.SGM 26OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 205 (Monday, October 26, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 54947-54949]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-25713]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 0907241164-91187-01]
RIN 0648-AY09


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: This proposed regulatory amendment would authorize the NMFS 
Northeast Regional Administrator (RA), or the RA's designee, to issue a 
Letter of Authorization (LOA) to eligible researchers on board 
federally permitted fishing vessels that plan to temporarily possess 
fish in a manner not compliant with applicable fishing regulations, for 
the purpose of collecting scientific data on catch. Currently, 
federally permitted fishing vessels that carry research personnel 
during commercial fishing trips for the purpose of collecting catch 
data before discarding fish that otherwise could not be retained are 
required to obtain an exempted fishing permit (EFP) in order to conduct 
their sampling work, which is administratively burdensome and has 
resulted in the delay and lost opportunity to conduct important fishery 
research.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before November 25, 
2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by 0648-AY09, by any one 
of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov.
     Mail: Paper, disk, or CD-ROM comments should be sent to 
Regional Administrator, National Marine Fisheries Service, 55 Great 
Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope, 
``Comments on the Proposed Rule to Modify Northeast Region Experimental 
Fishing Regulations.''
     Fax: (978) 281-9135; attention Ryan Silva.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without 
change. All personal identifying information (for example, name, 
address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required 
fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). You may submit attachments to 
electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF 
file formats only.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Ryan Silva, Cooperative Research 
Liaison, phone (978) 281-9326, fax (978) 281-9135.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This proposed rule would revise portions of 
the Northeast Region experimental fishing regulations by authorizing 
the RA, or the RA's designee, to issue an LOA to eligible researchers 
on board federally permitted fishing vessels that temporarily possess 
fish species that otherwise could not be retained under the applicable 
fishing regulations, for the purpose of collecting scientific data on 
catch. The proposed changes would be enacted under the authority given 
to the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate regulations to fully carry 
out the requirements of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act).
    Northeast Region fishing regulations found at 50 CFR part 648 
implement management measures for fisheries operating under 15 fishery 
management plans (FMPs). These regulations include minimum fish sizes, 
fish possession limits, and various spatial and temporal fish 
possession restrictions such as quota and area closures. Federally 
permitted fishing vessels that carry research personnel during 
commercial fishing trips for the purpose of collecting catch data 
before discarding restricted fish are currently required to obtain an 
EFP in order to conduct their sampling work. An EFP is required 
primarily because the vessel would be in possession of fish species 
that otherwise could not be retained, albeit temporarily, in a manner 
inconsistent

[[Page 54948]]

with normal commercial fishing operations. For example, if a vessel 
were to be intercepted by an enforcement agent and the vessel was in 
possession of fish that otherwise could not be retained, but had been 
retained for data collection purposes and had not yet been processed 
and discarded, the vessel would be in violation of fishing regulations. 
Although all such fish are discarded once the data have been collected, 
there would be a period of time when the vessel was in possession of 
fish that could not legally be retained. In all other respects, the 
vessels are operating in compliance with commercial fishing 
regulations.
    The requirement to obtain an EFP prior to conducting these types of 
sampling activities on commercial fishing vessels has raised several 
issues and concerns within the scientific community, the Regional 
Fishery Management Councils, and among NMFS Regional Office (RO) and 
Science Center staff. Due to the time necessary to request and obtain 
an EFP, these temporary possession EFPs can inhibit the ability of 
fishery researchers to opportunistically accompany commercial fishing 
vessels for the purpose of data collection. This has resulted in the 
delay and lost opportunity to conduct important fishery research, which 
negatively affects cooperative research efforts and increases the cost 
of data collection. In addition, the administrative burden on NMFS from 
processing and overseeing these routine EFPs is substantial.
    To mitigate these concerns, this proposed rule would authorize the 
RA, or the RA's designee, to issue an LOA to eligible researchers on 
board federally permitted fishing vessels that temporarily possess fish 
species that could otherwise not be retained under applicable fishing 
regulations for the purpose of collecting scientific data on catch 
(temporary possession LOA). Temporary possession LOAs would allow 
researchers and NMFS to forego the full EFP process, which includes the 
solicitation of public comment and consultation under applicable laws 
such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), for each project requesting authorization to collect 
at-sea catch data. The RA would determine whether the applicant and 
participating vessels meet the eligibility criteria prior to issuing or 
denying a temporary possession LOA application. The time to complete 
the review process would be greatly reduced, which would facilitate 
important fishery research and reduce lost data collection 
opportunities, foster collaborative relationships between the fishing 
industry and the fishery research community, and reduce the cost of at-
sea catch data collection. In addition, this would greatly reduce the 
administrative burden on NMFS that results from processing these 
routine EFPs.
    NMFS would maintain discretion over the vessels and researchers 
that are issued temporary exemption LOAs. To ensure effective 
oversight, eligible vessels would need to meet the requirements 
described below, and EFP oversight policies would apply to all vessels 
issued a temporary possession LOA. Any additional exemptions beyond 
temporary possession would need to be obtained through the standard EFP 
process.
    Only personnel from the following bodies would be eligible for a 
temporary possession LOA: Foreign government agency; U.S. Government 
agency; U.S. state or territorial agency; university (or other 
educational institution accredited by a recognized national or 
international accreditation body); international treaty organization; 
or scientific institution.
    To obtain a temporary possession LOA, an eligible applicant would 
be required to submit a complete application, similar to an EFP 
application, which would contain the following information: The date of 
the application; the applicant's name, mailing address, and telephone 
number; a statement of the purposes and goals for which the LOA is 
needed; the name(s) and affiliation of the fishery research technicians 
that will be collecting the data; a statement demonstrating the 
qualifications of the research technician that will be collecting the 
data; the species (target and incidental) expected to be harvested 
under the LOA; the disposition of all regulated species harvested under 
the LOA; the approximate time(s) and place(s) fishing would take place; 
the type, size, and amount of gear to be used; and the signature of the 
applicant. In addition, for each vessel to be covered by the LOA, as 
soon as the information is available and before operations begin, the 
applicant would be required to supply the vessel operator name, the 
vessel's Federal fishing permit number, and the vessel registration or 
documentation number.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this 
proposed rule is consistent with the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) of 
the Northeast Region, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and 
other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public 
comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
     The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The factual basis for this determination is as follows:
    The cooperative research community, which includes principal 
investigators, research technicians, and commercial fishermen, would 
be the primary group affected by this rule. It is estimated that 
approximately 50 individuals would be affected by this rule. It is 
unlikely that this rule will have any effect on any other entity or 
business. No regulated entities would incur any additional costs as 
a result of this rule as these individuals are already required 
under 50 CFR 600.745 to apply for an EFP. This action would simplify 
and streamline the process to obtain the necessary documentation.
    As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required, and none has been prepared.
    This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
that have already been reviewed and approved by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB control number 0648-0309 
(``Scientific Research, Exempted Fishing, and Exempted Activity 
Submissions''). Send comments on these or any other aspects of the 
collection of information to the Northeast Regional Office at the 
ADDRESSES above, 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.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: October 20, 2009.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator For Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
    For the reasons stated in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed 
to be amended as follows:

[[Page 54949]]

PART 648--FISHERIES OF THE NORTHEASTERN UNITED STATES

    1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as 
follows:

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

    2. In Sec.  648.12, paragraph (d) is added to read as follows:


Sec.  648.12  Experimental fishing.

* * * * *
    (d) Temporary possession letter of authorization (LOA): The 
Regional Administrator (RA), or the RA's designee, may issue an LOA to 
eligible researchers on board federally permitted fishing vessels on 
which species of fish that otherwise could not be legally retained 
would be possessed temporarily for the purpose of collecting catch 
data. Under this authorization, such species of fish could be retained 
temporarily for scientific purposes, but shall be discarded as soon as 
practicable following data collection.
    (1) Eligible activities. An LOA may be issued by the RA, or the 
RA's designee, to temporarily exempt a vessel, on which a qualified 
fishery research technician is collecting catch data, from the 
following types of fishery regulations: Minimum fish size restrictions; 
fish possession limits; species quota closures; prohibited fish 
species, not including species protected under the Endangered Species 
Act; and gear-specific fish possession restrictions.
    (2) Eligibility criteria. Only personnel from the following bodies 
are eligible for a temporary possession LOA: Foreign government agency; 
U.S. Government agency; U.S. state or territorial agency; university 
(or other educational institution accredited by a recognized national 
or international accreditation body); international treaty 
organization; or scientific institution.
    (3) Application requirements. To obtain a temporary possession LOA, 
an eligible applicant, as defined under paragraph (d)(2) of this 
section, would be required to submit a complete application, which 
would contain the following information: The date of the application; 
the applicant's name, mailing address, and telephone number; a 
statement of the purposes and goals for which the LOA is needed; the 
name(s) and affiliation of the fishery research technicians that will 
be collecting the data; a statement demonstrating the qualifications of 
the research technician that will be collecting the data; the species 
(target and incidental) expected to be harvested under the LOA; the 
disposition of all regulated species harvested under the LOA; the 
approximate time(s) and place(s) fishing would take place; the type, 
size, and amount of gear to be used; and the signature of the 
applicant. In addition, for each vessel to be covered by the LOA, as 
soon as the information is available and before operations begin, the 
applicant would be required to supply to NMFS the vessel operator name, 
the vessel's Federal fishing permit number, and the vessel registration 
or documentation number.
[FR Doc. E9-25713 Filed 10-23-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S