Groundfish Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; American Fisheries Act; Recordkeeping and Reporting, 79330-79333 [2010-31918]

Download as PDF 79330 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 243 / Monday, December 20, 2010 / Proposed Rules among technical experts and stakeholders on a new rule, which will then be published as an Interim Final Rule in accordance with Section 5602 of Public Law 111–148, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Agenda: The meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 18, Wednesday, January 19 and Thursday, January 20. It will include a discussion of the various components of a possible methodology for identifying areas of shortage and underservice, based on the recommendations of the Committee in the previous meeting. The Thursday meeting will also include development of the agenda for the next meeting, as well as an opportunity for public comment. Requests from the public to make oral comments or to provide written comments to the Committee should be sent to Nicole Patterson at the contact address above at least 10 days prior to the meeting. The meetings will be open to the public as indicated above, with attendance limited to space available. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify the Contact Person listed above at least 10 days prior to the meeting. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide comments during the meeting on Thursday morning. Dated: December 14, 2010. Robert Hendricks, Director, Division of Policy and Information Coordination. [FR Doc. 2010–31908 Filed 12–17–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165–15–P DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES 42 CFR Part 5 Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Health Professional Shortage Areas; Notice of Meeting Health Resources and Services Administration, HHS. ACTION: Negotiated Rulemaking Committee meeting. jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS AGENCY: In accordance with section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463), notice is hereby given of the following meeting of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Health Professional Shortage Areas. SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Dec 17, 2010 Jkt 223001 Meetings will be held on February 16, 2011, 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; February 17, 2011, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and February 18, 2011, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. ADDRESSES: Meetings will be held at the Legacy Hotel and Meeting Centre, 1775 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852, (301) 881–2300. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For more information, please contact Nicole Patterson, Office of Shortage Designation, Bureau of Health Professions, Health Resources and Services Administration, Room 9A–18, Parklawn Building, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20857, Telephone (301) 443–9027, E-mail: npatterson@hrsa.gov or visit http:// www.hrsa.gov/advisorycommittees/ shortage/. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Status: The meeting will be open to the public. Purpose: The purpose of the Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Health Professional Shortage Areas is to establish a comprehensive methodology and criteria for Designation of Medically Underserved Populations and Primary Care Health Professional Shortage Areas, using a Negotiated Rulemaking (NR) process. It is hoped that use of the NR process will yield a consensus among technical experts and stakeholders on a new rule, which will then be published as an Interim Final Rule in accordance with Section 5602 of Public Law 111–148, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. Agenda: The meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 16, Thursday, February 17 and Friday, February 18. It will include a discussion of the various components of a possible methodology for identifying areas of shortage and underservice, based on the recommendations of the Committee in the previous meeting. The Friday meeting will also include development of the agenda for the next meeting, as well as an opportunity for public comment. Requests from the public to make oral comments or to provide written comments to the Committee should be sent to Nicole Patterson at the contact address above at least 10 days prior to the meeting. The meetings will be open to the public as indicated above, with attendance limited to space available. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation or other reasonable accommodations, should notify the Contact Person listed above at DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 least 10 days prior to the meeting. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide comments during the meeting on Friday morning. Dated: December 14, 2010. Robert Hendricks, Director, Division of Policy and Information Coordination. [FR Doc. 2010–31911 Filed 12–17–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4165–15–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 100413185–0213–01] RIN 0648–AY84 Groundfish Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; American Fisheries Act; Recordkeeping and Reporting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: This action would amend the regulations implementing the American Fisheries Act that require cooperatives participating in the directed fishery for pollock in the Bering Sea to prepare and submit preliminary annual reports to the North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. The Council determined that the requirement for a preliminary annual report is no longer necessary. However, this proposed action would retain the requirement for the cooperatives to submit a single annual report to the Council. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and other applicable laws. DATES: Comments must be received no later than January 4, 2011. ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648– AY84, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. • Fax: 907–586–7557, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 243 / Monday, December 20, 2010 / Proposed Rules • Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. • Hand Delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK. No comments will be posted for public viewing until after the comment period has closed. 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) 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. Electronic copies of this rule, the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), and the categorical exclusion memorandum may be obtained from the Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this final rule may be submitted to NMFS Alaska, Sustainable Fisheries Division, e-mailed to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or faxed to 202–395–7285. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patsy A. Bearden, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the U.S. groundfish fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMP under the Magnuson-Stevens Act. Regulations implementing the FMP appear at subpart F of 50 CFR part 679. General regulations that pertain to U.S. fisheries appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600. jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS Background In October 1998, Congress enacted the American Fisheries Act (AFA), 16 U.S.C. 1851 note, which ‘‘rationalized’’ the Bering Sea pollock fishery by identifying the vessels and processors eligible to participate in the fishery and allocating pollock among those eligible participants. The AFA allocates 10 percent of the Bering Sea pollock total allowable catch to the Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Dec 17, 2010 Jkt 223001 Program. After subtracting the CDQ Program allocation, and an amount set aside for the catch of pollock in other Bering Sea fisheries, the AFA allocates the remaining available pollock quota (the ‘‘directed fishing allowance’’) among the AFA inshore sector (50 percent), the AFA catcher/processor sector (40 percent), and the AFA mothership sector (10 percent). The AFA allowed for development of pollock fishing cooperatives in the nonCDQ sectors. Thirteen cooperatives were developed as a result of the AFA: Ten inshore catcher vessel cooperatives, two offshore catcher/processor cooperatives, and one mothership cooperative. The cooperatives further subdivide each cooperative’s pollock allocation among vessel owners in the cooperative through private contractual agreements. The cooperatives manage these allocations to optimize their harvest and to ensure that individual vessels and companies do not harvest more than their agreed upon share of pollock. The cooperatives also enforce contract provisions and participate in an intercooperative agreement to reduce salmon bycatch by the directed pollock fishery. The regulations establishing the AFA cooperative reporting requirements were first published in December 30, 2002 (67 FR 79692). These regulations require that each cooperative prepare preliminary and final annual reports describing the cooperative’s harvest of pollock, prohibited species, and nonpollock groundfish, including species for which NMFS establishes annual sideboards that limit incidental catch by AFA participants. The purpose of the annual reports is, ‘‘to assist the Council and NMFS in meeting the requirements of section 210(a)(1) of the AFA, which requires that NMFS make that information available to the public in a manner that NMFS and the Council decide is appropriate.’’ 67 FR 79692. Another purpose of the cooperatives’ AFA cooperative annual report is to provide the Council information upon which it can make decisions on cooperative allocations and sideboard protection measures. Currently, all AFA cooperatives must submit both preliminary and final annual written reports on directed pollock fishing activity to the Council. The preliminary report is due on December 1, one month after the pollock fishery’s closure on November 1, while the final report is due on April 1 of the following year. The two reports result from the Council’s recognition that one month following the fishery’s closure may not be enough time for the AFA cooperative representatives to compile PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79331 all of the required information for the annual report. Requiring cooperatives to file a second report also allowed cooperatives to update catch and bycatch data after the end of the year. In August 2010, NMFS changed the deadline for submission of the final AFA cooperative annual report from February 1 to April 1. (75 FR 53026) This new date allows the AFA cooperative report to arrive about the same time as the annual Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch (PSC) Incentive Plan Agreement (IPA) and Non-chinook Salmon Inter-Cooperative Agreement (ICA) reports, which describe salmon PSC in the Bering Sea pollock fisheries. In recent years, the Council has found that the preliminary AFA cooperative report is not necessary to develop recommendations on final groundfish specifications or on cooperative allocations and sideboard protection measures. The Council instead uses the stock assessment reports provided by the Council’s Groundfish BSAI Plan Team, and the total allowable catch (TAC) recommendations provided at the December Council meeting to develop these recommendations. The Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) reports for the groundfish fisheries managed by the Council are compiled by the respective Plan Teams from chapters contributed by scientists at the NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the State of Alaska Department of Fish and Game. These SAFE reports include separate stock assessment and fishery evaluation sections. The stock assessment section includes recommended acceptable biological catch (ABC) levels for each stock and stock complex managed under the FMP. For purposes of determining TACs, the data provided in these reports is a sufficient substitute for that which is provided by the preliminary reports on the pollock fishery from the cooperatives. The Council considers the ABC recommendations, together with social and economic factors, in determining TACs and other management strategies for the fisheries. Therefore, at its June 2010 meeting, the Council determined that, combined with the SAFE Report and TAC recommendations, a single annual report from each AFA cooperative, renamed the ‘‘annual AFA cooperative report,’’ will provide sufficient information to the Council, the industry and the public about the directed fisheries for pollock in the Bering Sea. If this proposed rule is enacted, the cooperatives will be required to submit one report containing the same E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 79332 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 243 / Monday, December 20, 2010 / Proposed Rules jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS information previously contained in two reports. Each AFA cooperative annual report would be required to provide the following information: • How the cooperative allocated pollock, other groundfish species, and prohibited species catch among the vessels in the cooperative; • The catch and discard of these species by area for each vessel in the cooperative; • How the cooperative monitored fishing by its members; and • A description of any actions taken by the cooperative to penalize any vessel that exceeded the allocations made to the vessel by the cooperative. This action does not result in a substantial change in the reporting requirements. Some decrease in miscellaneous costs might occur due to postage cost differences. It is also possible that the burden would decrease due to planning and writing of one report instead of two reports, one revising the other. Classification Pursuant to Section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the FMP, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. 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 basis of this certification is as follows. The purpose of this proposed regulatory change is to remove a preliminary reporting requirement for pollock fishery cooperatives. These preliminary fishery reports are no longer necessary, and NMFS can obtain the same information from other reports and from a single annual report from the regulated cooperatives. The proposed action will not increase any of the costs, which are small (see below), imposed by the current regulations, and is instead likely to reduce them. Specifically, the impact of this action will be twofold: (1) Cooperatives will not be required to submit a preliminary report, as well as a final report, thereby reducing their preparation and filing costs; and (2) the Council will realize reduced administrative costs, since it will no longer have to receive and process a preliminary report as well as VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Dec 17, 2010 Jkt 223001 a final report. As noted above, if this rule is promulgated, entities will no longer be required to produce a preliminary report. The elimination of this requirement will impose no costs on any entity that previously produced these reports; rather, it will reduce their costs. Thus, this action has a net benefit to directly regulated entities. There are thirteen entities that, under the current regulations, must file reports with NMFS. These entities are fishing cooperatives that developed as a result of the AFA: Ten inshore catcher vessel cooperatives, one cooperative for catcher vessels delivering to catcher/ processors, two offshore cooperatives for catcher/processors, and one for catcher vessels delivering to motherships. Under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) regulations implementing the RFA, a small fishing business is defined as an entity that receives annual revenues of no more than $4 million. All of the fishing cooperatives currently subject to this rule have annual revenues of greater than $4 million, and therefore none of these cooperatives is a small entity as defined by SBA. Moreover, this rule, if implemented, will reduce the costs to all entities affected by the rule. NMFS estimates that thirteen AFA cooperative reports are submitted per year. Each of these is required to submit an annual report. The total time required for a firm to prepare and file both its preliminary and final reports is estimated to be 12 hours for each respondent. Thus, at $75/hour, the total estimated cost for submitting both reports currently is $900. This action would permit some reduction in these costs, because the estimated burden for the annual report is 8 hours for a total estimated cost of $600. The estimated total savings would be $300, a rough estimate of the likely upper bound cost savings. The Council is estimated to incur $275 in costs for processing these preliminary reports. There would be some cost savings here, as well. Further analysis of the economic impact is found in the RIR, available at ADDRESSES above. The RIR describes the potential size, distribution, and magnitude of the economic impacts that this action may have on affected entities. Based upon the above analysis, the proposed rule would not impose economic impacts on any of the affected entities. Accordingly, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, and none has been prepared. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), and which have been approved by the Office for Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB Control Number 0648–0401. 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. Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 8 hours for an AFA preliminary annual report and 4 hours for an AFA final annual report. The AFA preliminary annual report would be removed with this action and the AFA final annual report would be renamed the AFA cooperative annual report, which is estimated to average 8 hours per response. These estimates of public reporting burden include the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection-of-information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS (see ADDRESSES); e-mail to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202–395–7285. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679 Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: December 15, 2010. John Oliver, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 679 is proposed to be amended as follows: PART 679—FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; Pub L. 108–447. 2. In § 679.61, revise (f) introductory text, paragraph (f)(1), and paragraph (f)(2) introductory text to read as follows: § 679.61 Formation and operation of fishery cooperatives. * * * * * (f) Any fishery cooperative governed by this section must submit an annual E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 243 / Monday, December 20, 2010 / Proposed Rules jlentini on DSKJ8SOYB1PROD with PROPOSALS written report on fishing activity to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501. The Council will make copies of each report available to the public upon request. VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:06 Dec 17, 2010 Jkt 223001 (1) What is the submission deadline? The cooperative must submit the annual report by April 1 of each year. Annual reports must be postmarked or received by the submission deadline. PO 00000 (2) What information must be included? The annual report must contain, at a minimum: * * * * * [FR Doc. 2010–31918 Filed 12–17–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 79333 E:\FR\FM\20DEP1.SGM 20DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 243 (Monday, December 20, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 79330-79333]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-31918]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 100413185-0213-01]
RIN 0648-AY84


Groundfish Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; 
American Fisheries Act; Recordkeeping and Reporting

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: This action would amend the regulations implementing the 
American Fisheries Act that require cooperatives participating in the 
directed fishery for pollock in the Bering Sea to prepare and submit 
preliminary annual reports to the North Pacific Regional Fishery 
Management Council. The Council determined that the requirement for a 
preliminary annual report is no longer necessary. However, this 
proposed action would retain the requirement for the cooperatives to 
submit a single annual report to the Council. This action is intended 
to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and other 
applicable laws.

DATES: Comments must be received no later than January 4, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Sue Salveson, Assistant Regional 
Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, 
Attn: Ellen Sebastian. You may submit comments, identified by RIN 0648-
AY84, by any one of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov.
     Fax: 907-586-7557, Attn: Ellen Sebastian.

[[Page 79331]]

     Mail: P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802.
     Hand Delivery to the Federal Building: 709 West 9th 
Street, Room 420A, Juneau, AK.
    No comments will be posted for public viewing until after the 
comment period has closed. 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) 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.
    Electronic copies of this rule, the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR), 
and the categorical exclusion memorandum may be obtained from the 
Alaska Region Web site at http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted to NMFS Alaska, Sustainable Fisheries 
Division, e-mailed to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or faxed to 202-
395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Patsy A. Bearden, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the U.S. groundfish fisheries 
in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Management Area under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (FMP). The North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMP under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act. Regulations implementing the FMP appear at 
subpart F of 50 CFR part 679. General regulations that pertain to U.S. 
fisheries appear at subpart H of 50 CFR part 600.

Background

    In October 1998, Congress enacted the American Fisheries Act (AFA), 
16 U.S.C. 1851 note, which ``rationalized'' the Bering Sea pollock 
fishery by identifying the vessels and processors eligible to 
participate in the fishery and allocating pollock among those eligible 
participants. The AFA allocates 10 percent of the Bering Sea pollock 
total allowable catch to the Western Alaska Community Development Quota 
(CDQ) Program. After subtracting the CDQ Program allocation, and an 
amount set aside for the catch of pollock in other Bering Sea 
fisheries, the AFA allocates the remaining available pollock quota (the 
``directed fishing allowance'') among the AFA inshore sector (50 
percent), the AFA catcher/processor sector (40 percent), and the AFA 
mothership sector (10 percent).
    The AFA allowed for development of pollock fishing cooperatives in 
the non-CDQ sectors. Thirteen cooperatives were developed as a result 
of the AFA: Ten inshore catcher vessel cooperatives, two offshore 
catcher/processor cooperatives, and one mothership cooperative. The 
cooperatives further subdivide each cooperative's pollock allocation 
among vessel owners in the cooperative through private contractual 
agreements. The cooperatives manage these allocations to optimize their 
harvest and to ensure that individual vessels and companies do not 
harvest more than their agreed upon share of pollock. The cooperatives 
also enforce contract provisions and participate in an intercooperative 
agreement to reduce salmon bycatch by the directed pollock fishery.
    The regulations establishing the AFA cooperative reporting 
requirements were first published in December 30, 2002 (67 FR 79692). 
These regulations require that each cooperative prepare preliminary and 
final annual reports describing the cooperative's harvest of pollock, 
prohibited species, and non-pollock groundfish, including species for 
which NMFS establishes annual sideboards that limit incidental catch by 
AFA participants. The purpose of the annual reports is, ``to assist the 
Council and NMFS in meeting the requirements of section 210(a)(1) of 
the AFA, which requires that NMFS make that information available to 
the public in a manner that NMFS and the Council decide is 
appropriate.'' 67 FR 79692. Another purpose of the cooperatives' AFA 
cooperative annual report is to provide the Council information upon 
which it can make decisions on cooperative allocations and sideboard 
protection measures.
    Currently, all AFA cooperatives must submit both preliminary and 
final annual written reports on directed pollock fishing activity to 
the Council. The preliminary report is due on December 1, one month 
after the pollock fishery's closure on November 1, while the final 
report is due on April 1 of the following year. The two reports result 
from the Council's recognition that one month following the fishery's 
closure may not be enough time for the AFA cooperative representatives 
to compile all of the required information for the annual report. 
Requiring cooperatives to file a second report also allowed 
cooperatives to update catch and bycatch data after the end of the 
year.
    In August 2010, NMFS changed the deadline for submission of the 
final AFA cooperative annual report from February 1 to April 1. (75 FR 
53026) This new date allows the AFA cooperative report to arrive about 
the same time as the annual Chinook Salmon Prohibited Species Catch 
(PSC) Incentive Plan Agreement (IPA) and Non-chinook Salmon Inter-
Cooperative Agreement (ICA) reports, which describe salmon PSC in the 
Bering Sea pollock fisheries.
    In recent years, the Council has found that the preliminary AFA 
cooperative report is not necessary to develop recommendations on final 
groundfish specifications or on cooperative allocations and sideboard 
protection measures. The Council instead uses the stock assessment 
reports provided by the Council's Groundfish BSAI Plan Team, and the 
total allowable catch (TAC) recommendations provided at the December 
Council meeting to develop these recommendations.
    The Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) reports for the 
groundfish fisheries managed by the Council are compiled by the 
respective Plan Teams from chapters contributed by scientists at the 
NMFS Alaska Fisheries Science Center and the State of Alaska Department 
of Fish and Game. These SAFE reports include separate stock assessment 
and fishery evaluation sections. The stock assessment section includes 
recommended acceptable biological catch (ABC) levels for each stock and 
stock complex managed under the FMP. For purposes of determining TACs, 
the data provided in these reports is a sufficient substitute for that 
which is provided by the preliminary reports on the pollock fishery 
from the cooperatives. The Council considers the ABC recommendations, 
together with social and economic factors, in determining TACs and 
other management strategies for the fisheries.
    Therefore, at its June 2010 meeting, the Council determined that, 
combined with the SAFE Report and TAC recommendations, a single annual 
report from each AFA cooperative, renamed the ``annual AFA cooperative 
report,'' will provide sufficient information to the Council, the 
industry and the public about the directed fisheries for pollock in the 
Bering Sea. If this proposed rule is enacted, the cooperatives will be 
required to submit one report containing the same

[[Page 79332]]

information previously contained in two reports.
    Each AFA cooperative annual report would be required to provide the 
following information:
     How the cooperative allocated pollock, other groundfish 
species, and prohibited species catch among the vessels in the 
cooperative;
     The catch and discard of these species by area for each 
vessel in the cooperative;
     How the cooperative monitored fishing by its members; and
     A description of any actions taken by the cooperative to 
penalize any vessel that exceeded the allocations made to the vessel by 
the cooperative.
    This action does not result in a substantial change in the 
reporting requirements. Some decrease in miscellaneous costs might 
occur due to postage cost differences. It is also possible that the 
burden would decrease due to planning and writing of one report instead 
of two reports, one revising the other.

Classification

    Pursuant to Section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries has determined that this 
proposed rule is consistent with the FMP, other provisions of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further 
consideration after public comment.
    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 basis of this certification is as follows.
    The purpose of this proposed regulatory change is to remove a 
preliminary reporting requirement for pollock fishery cooperatives. 
These preliminary fishery reports are no longer necessary, and NMFS can 
obtain the same information from other reports and from a single annual 
report from the regulated cooperatives. The proposed action will not 
increase any of the costs, which are small (see below), imposed by the 
current regulations, and is instead likely to reduce them.
    Specifically, the impact of this action will be twofold: (1) 
Cooperatives will not be required to submit a preliminary report, as 
well as a final report, thereby reducing their preparation and filing 
costs; and (2) the Council will realize reduced administrative costs, 
since it will no longer have to receive and process a preliminary 
report as well as a final report. As noted above, if this rule is 
promulgated, entities will no longer be required to produce a 
preliminary report. The elimination of this requirement will impose no 
costs on any entity that previously produced these reports; rather, it 
will reduce their costs. Thus, this action has a net benefit to 
directly regulated entities.
    There are thirteen entities that, under the current regulations, 
must file reports with NMFS. These entities are fishing cooperatives 
that developed as a result of the AFA: Ten inshore catcher vessel 
cooperatives, one cooperative for catcher vessels delivering to 
catcher/processors, two offshore cooperatives for catcher/processors, 
and one for catcher vessels delivering to motherships. Under the Small 
Business Administration's (SBA) regulations implementing the RFA, a 
small fishing business is defined as an entity that receives annual 
revenues of no more than $4 million. All of the fishing cooperatives 
currently subject to this rule have annual revenues of greater than $4 
million, and therefore none of these cooperatives is a small entity as 
defined by SBA.
    Moreover, this rule, if implemented, will reduce the costs to all 
entities affected by the rule. NMFS estimates that thirteen AFA 
cooperative reports are submitted per year. Each of these is required 
to submit an annual report. The total time required for a firm to 
prepare and file both its preliminary and final reports is estimated to 
be 12 hours for each respondent. Thus, at $75/hour, the total estimated 
cost for submitting both reports currently is $900. This action would 
permit some reduction in these costs, because the estimated burden for 
the annual report is 8 hours for a total estimated cost of $600. The 
estimated total savings would be $300, a rough estimate of the likely 
upper bound cost savings. The Council is estimated to incur $275 in 
costs for processing these preliminary reports. There would be some 
cost savings here, as well. Further analysis of the economic impact is 
found in the RIR, available at ADDRESSES above. The RIR describes the 
potential size, distribution, and magnitude of the economic impacts 
that this action may have on affected entities.
    Based upon the above analysis, the proposed rule would not impose 
economic impacts on any of the affected entities. Accordingly, an 
initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, and none has 
been prepared.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), and which have been 
approved by the Office for Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB 
Control Number 0648-0401. 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.
    Public reporting burden per response is estimated to average 8 
hours for an AFA preliminary annual report and 4 hours for an AFA final 
annual report. The AFA preliminary annual report would be removed with 
this action and the AFA final annual report would be renamed the AFA 
cooperative annual report, which is estimated to average 8 hours per 
response.
    These estimates of public reporting burden include the time for 
reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and 
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the 
collection-of-information.
    Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of 
this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to 
NMFS (see ADDRESSES); e-mail to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 
202-395-7285.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: December 15, 2010.
John Oliver,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Operations, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 679 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 679--FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

    1. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; 
Pub L. 108-447.

    2. In Sec.  679.61, revise (f) introductory text, paragraph (f)(1), 
and paragraph (f)(2) introductory text to read as follows:


Sec.  679.61  Formation and operation of fishery cooperatives.

* * * * *
    (f) Any fishery cooperative governed by this section must submit an 
annual

[[Page 79333]]

written report on fishing activity to the North Pacific Fishery 
Management Council, 605 West 4th Avenue, Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 
99501. The Council will make copies of each report available to the 
public upon request.
    (1) What is the submission deadline? The cooperative must submit 
the annual report by April 1 of each year. Annual reports must be 
postmarked or received by the submission deadline.
    (2) What information must be included? The annual report must 
contain, at a minimum:
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2010-31918 Filed 12-17-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P