Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Information Collection, 46233-46237 [2014-18676]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 152 / Thursday, August 7, 2014 / Proposed Rules CFR 229.32(h), whenever a vessel issued a directed shark LAP has a gillnet(s) on board. * * * * * ■ 12. In § 635.71, paragraphs (d)(6), (d)(7), and (d)(18) are revised to read as follows: § 635.71 Prohibitions. * * * * * (d) * * * (6) Fail to maintain a shark in its proper form, as specified in § 635.30(c). Fail to maintain naturally attached shark fins through offloading as specified in § 635.30(c), except for under the conditions specified in § 635.30(c)(5). (7) Sell or purchase smooth dogfish fins that are disproportionate to the weight of smooth dogfish carcasses, as specified in § 635.30(c)(5). * * * * * (18) Retain or possess on board a vessel in the trawl fishery smoothhound sharks in an amount that exceeds 25 percent, by weight, of the total fish on board or offloaded from the vessel, as specified at § 635.24(a)(7). * * * * * ■ 13. In appendix A to part 635, section E of table 1 is revised to read as follows: Appendix A to Part 635—Species Tables Table 1 of Appendix A to Part 635—Oceanic Sharks * * * * * E. Smoothhound Sharks Smooth dogfish, Mustelus canis Florida smoothhound, Mustelus norrisi Gulf smoothhound, Mustelus sinusmexicanus Mustelus species [FR Doc. 2014–18671 Filed 8–6–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 648 [Docket No. 130822745–4627–01] emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS RIN 0648–BD64 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Information Collection National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Aug 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 Proposed rule; request for comments. 46233 ACTION: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS proposes an information collection program for the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fishery. The intended effect of this rule is to collect more detailed information about individuals and businesses that hold fishery quota allocation in the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog individual transferable quota programs. This action is necessary to ensure that the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council has the information needed to develop a future management action intended to establish an excessive share cap in this fishery. DATES: Comments must be received by September 8, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA–NMFS–2014–0088, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20140088, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Fax: (978) 281–9135, Attn: Douglas Potts. • Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope: ‘‘Comments on Surfclam/Ocean Quahog Information Collection.’’ Instructions: All comments received are part of the public record and will generally be posted to 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. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted via Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this proposed rule may be submitted to the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office and by email to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395–5806. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Policy Analyst, 978–281–9341. Background Section 402(a)(1) for the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to implement an information collection program if a fishery management council determines that additional information would be beneficial for developing, implementing, or revising a fishery management plan (FMP). The MidAtlantic Fishery Management Council requests that NMFS implement an information collection program in the Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog individual transferable quota (ITQ) fisheries. The specific components of the requested information collection are detailed in a white paper titled, ‘‘Data Collection Recommendations for the Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fisheries’’ that was prepared by the Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Data Collection Fishery Management Action Team, at the direction of the Council. The purpose of this information collection is to better identify the specific individuals who hold or control ITQ allocation in these fisheries. The Council will use the information collected to inform the development of a future management action intended to establish an excessive share cap as part of the Council’s Surfclam/Ocean Quahog FMP. The Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries have been managed under an ITQ system since 1990. Vessel owners received an initial allocation of quota share based on a formula of historical catch and vessel size. Each year, the total commercial quotas for the surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ fisheries are divided among the individuals who hold quota share. Annual allocations take the form of cage tags for the standard 32-bushel (1,700L) cages, which must be used to land the product. The quota share or cage tags are both considered types of ITQ allocation, and may be leased or sold to anyone, except foreign owners. While managed jointly, the surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ fisheries are operationally distinct. The commercial quotas, quota shareholders, and cage tags are different for the two species. In addition, vessels may not land both surfclams and ocean quahogs on the same trip. Because these fisheries are managed in the same way, this information collection program applies equally to both fisheries. Currently, NMFS collects only basic information about the individuals or businesses that hold surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ allocations. This information is collected at the time that SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 46234 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 152 / Thursday, August 7, 2014 / Proposed Rules emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS an entity first acquires ITQ allocation and is not routinely verified or updated. The information collection program proposed by this action is intended to identify the specific individuals who have an ownership interest in surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ allocation through a corporation, partnership, or other entity, or control the use of ITQ allocation through the use of long-term contracts or other agreements. This action would also ensure that the ownership information on file remains current by modifying the procedures for receiving and maintaining an ITQ allocation permit. With this action, we are proposing to change the current surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ allocation permit, which currently never expires, into an annual ITQ permit. A surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit would need to be renewed each year before the ITQ permit holder could receive cage tags. In addition, if the permit holder has quota share, the permit would need to be renewed before the end of the fishing year or that quota could be considered voluntarily relinquished, and no longer eligible to receive an annual allocation of cage tags. To receive a surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit, an applicant would need to complete both an ITQ permit application form and an ITQ ownership form. In subsequent years, the permit renewal process would require the applicant to review a pre-filled copy of these forms, make any necessary changes, then sign and submit the forms to NMFS in order to verify that the information on file remains current. Any transfer of ITQ quota share or cage tags would require an ITQ transfer application form. Application for Surfclam/Ocean Quahog ITQ Permit The ITQ permit application form would collect the applicant’s name, business address, telephone number, and date of birth (for individuals) or taxpayer identification number (TIN) (for businesses) to positively identify people or businesses with similar names. The applicant would also need to verify that the permit holder meets the requirement to be eligible to own a documented vessel under the terms of 46 U.S.C. 12103(b). This requirement ensures that the applicant is a U.S. citizen or a U.S. controlled corporation. Surfclam/Ocean Quahog ITQ Ownership Form The ITQ ownership form would collect detailed information about the entities that hold ITQ allocation. The form would collect the ITQ permit VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Aug 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 holder’s name, business address, telephone number, date of birth (for individuals) or TIN (for businesses), state registered in (for businesses), and identify the organization type (e.g., individual/sole proprietorship, joint ownership, partnership, corporation, etc.). As requested by the Council, the form would allow state or federal chartered banks that hold ITQ allocation as collateral on a loan, but do not exert control over the use of the allocation, to attest to this fact. Such banks would need to identify the borrower, but would not need to complete the more detailed ownership information described below. To ensure that the borrower is the controlling factor in the use of the ITQ allocation, the borrower would need to maintain a separate ITQ permit, and any transfer of quota share or cage tags from the bank would be restricted to the borrower. Allocation could then be transferred to a third party, at the discretion of the borrower. A borrower would therefore need to complete the more detailed ownership information in order to maintain a valid ITQ permit. ITQ holders that are not eligible banks would need to provide more detailed ownership information. An ITQ permit holder that is a business entity would need to identify corporate officers. All ITQ permit holders would need to identify any shareholders with a 10 percent or greater ownership interest in the permit holder down to the individual level. This means that if an ITQ permit is held by a business entity, and that business is owned in part by another business entity, ownership of that second business would also need to be identified to the level of individual persons that make up that business. If that second business was part owned by another business entity, then ownership of that third business would need to be identified to the level of individual persons, and so on. In addition, the applicant would need to identify any immediate family members of the ITQ permit holder, or the individuals who have an ownership interest in the ITQ permit holder, that also have an ownership interest in any other surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit. For purposes of this collection, we are using the definition of ‘‘immediate family member’’ used by the Small Business Administration: Father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, granddaughter, father-in-law, and mother-in-law. PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Application To Transfer Surfclam/ Ocean Quahog ITQ The current ITQ transfer form would be modified by this action. Information about the allocation holder would be removed, as that would now be collected through the ITQ permit application and the ITQ ownership form. The transfer form would clarify whether or not a permanent transfer of ITQ quota share includes all of the cage tags for the current fishing year. The current transfer process does not allow a permanent transfer of quota share without also transferring all of the associated cage tags for the current fishing year. This can be restrictive on quota shareholders who might wish to transfer quota share separate from transfer of the current allocation of cage tags. This action would add questions to the transfer form to better understand the nature of the transfer. These questions include: Total price paid for the transfer, including any fees; broker fees paid, if applicable; whether the transfer is part of a long-term (more than 1 year) contract; if so, the duration of the contract and whether the price is fixed or flexible; and any other conditions on the transfer. As on the current transfer form, both parties would need to sign the form. In addition, this action would make minor corrections and clarifications to the surfclam and ocean quahog regulations. The current regulations contain an outdated cross reference to the portion of the U.S.C. that defines which persons or entities are eligible to own a documented vessel. Several paragraphs in the Prohibitions section at § 648.14(j) that pertain to the surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries have incorrect cross references to other sections of the part 648 regulations. The regulations specifying when the Regional Administrator may deny a transfer are currently unclear. This action would revise the regulations to provide additional detail and clarity. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog FMP, 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 E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 152 / Thursday, August 7, 2014 / Proposed Rules to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration (SBA) 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 certification is as follows: The proposed measures would only affect allocation permit holders that would need to apply for the new annual ITQ permit. This includes entities that hold surfclam or ocean quahog quota share, or that lease the cage tags that are used to land product in these fisheries. In 2013, there were 189 allocation permit holders that either held quota share and/or participated in a lease of cage tags for surfclams or ocean quahog. Note that individual allocations are often registered in the name of a corporation, rather than an individual. It is common for owners of multiple fishing vessels to list each one as being owned by a separate corporation for the purpose of limiting liability. Similarly, a single individual might hold multiple allocations that are listed in NMFS’s records as being registered to distinct corporations for the same reason. Banks that have loaned money to allocation holders will often require that the allocation be placed in the bank’s name as collateral for the loan. A single individual may have several such loans. As such, it is important to understand that the number of allocations is not equal to the number of allocation owners. The number of owners will be smaller due to the ownership of multiple allocations, which may be listed under a corporate name or in the name of a bank. However, NMFS currently does not have information to characterize small entities at the ITQ allocation level. Instead, information on fishing activities is used to characterize and enumerate small entities. One of the benefits of this action would be a better understanding of ownership of allocation holders, which could lead to better identification of small entities and help analyze the impacts of future management actions. The Small Business Administration defines a small business in the commercial shellfish harvesting sector, as a firm with total annual receipts (gross revenues) not in excess of $5.5 mil. In 2012, there were 498 fishing firms that held at least one surfclam or ocean quahog vessel permit. Vessel permits are open access, available to anyone who applies. Many of the permitted vessels do not actively participate in the fishery. These potential participants likely do not own quota, likely do not have established marketing relationships with surfclam VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Aug 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 and ocean quahog processors, and likely do not own gear needed to harvest surfclam and ocean quahog. Therefore, while there are 498 regulated entities, many of these entities are only potential participants and unlikely to experience any direct effects of any changes in regulations. In order to provide a more accurate count and description of the directly regulated entities, landings data are used to select only firms that were active in either the surfclam and ocean quahog fishery. There are 38 active fishing firms, of which 36 are small entities and 2 are large entities. Some of the detailed ownership information has not been previously collected, we have estimated just over one hour of additional time and effort will be necessary on the part of the ITQ permit holder to complete the forms in the first year. However, in subsequent years, renewal forms would be sent to ITQ permit holders completed with the information on file. An ITQ permit holder would just need to review and sign the forms to ensure that the information on file is still correct. This review process is estimated to take 5 minutes per form if the ownership information does not need to be changed. Therefore, because this action is administrative and because no significant change in fishing effort, participation in the fishery, or fishery expenses is expected, this action will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As a result, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has been prepared. This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). These requirements have been submitted to OMB for approval. Public reporting burden is estimated to average 5 minutes per response for the application for surfclam/ocean quahog ITQ permit; 60 minutes per response for new entrants completing the surfclam/ ocean quahog ITQ ownership form and to average 5 minutes per response when the form is pre-filled for renewing entities; and the application to transfer surfclam/ocean quahog ITQ are estimated to average 5 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 46235 performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office at the ADDRESSES above, and email to OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395–5806. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a 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. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: www.cio.noaa.gov/services_ programs/prasubs.html. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648 Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Dated: August 1, 2014. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 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 § 648.14, revise paragraphs (j)(1)(ii), (j)(2), (j)(3)(v), (j)(3)(vi), (j)(5)(ii), (j)(5)(iv), (j)(5)(v), (j)(6)(ii), (j)(6)(iii) to read as follows: ■ § 648.14 Prohibitions. * * * * * (j ) * * * (1) * * * (ii) Shuck surfclams or ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ at sea, unless permitted by the Regional Administrator under the terms of § 648.75. * * * * * (2) Transfer and purchase. (i) Receive for a commercial purpose other than solely for transport on land, surfclams or ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ, whether or not they are landed E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 46236 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 152 / Thursday, August 7, 2014 / Proposed Rules under an allocation under § 648.74, unless issued a dealer/processor permit under this part. * * * * * (3) * * * (v) Possess an empty cage to which a cage tag required by § 648.77 is affixed, or possess any cage that does not contain surfclams or ocean quahogs and to which a cage tag required by § 648.77 is affixed. (vi) Land or possess, after offloading, any cage holding surfclams or ocean quahogs without a cage tag or tags required by § 648.77, unless the person can demonstrate the inapplicability of the presumptions set forth in § 648.77(h). * * * * * (5) * * * (ii) Land unshucked surfclams and ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ within the Maine mahogany quahog zone in containers other than cages from vessels capable of carrying cages unless, with respect to ocean quahogs, the vessel has been issued a Maine mahogany quahog permit under this part and is not fishing for an individual allocation of quahogs under § 648.74. (iii) * * * (iv) Offload unshucked ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ within the Maine mahogany quahog zone from vessels not capable of carrying cages, other than directly into cages, unless the vessel has been issued a Maine mahogany quahog permit under this part and is not fishing for an individual allocation of quahogs under § 648.74. (v) Land or possess ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ within the Maine mahogany quahog zone after the effective date published in the Federal Register notifying participants that Maine mahogany quahog quota is no longer available for the respective fishing year, unless the vessel is fishing for an individual allocation of ocean quahogs under § 648.74. (6) * * * (ii) Surfclams or ocean quahogs landed from a trip for which notification was provided under § 648.15(b) or § 648.74(b) are deemed to have been harvested in the EEZ and count against the individual’s annual allocation, unless the vessel has a valid Maine mahogany quahog permit issued pursuant to § 648.4(a)(4)(i) and is not fishing for an individual allocation under § 648.74. (iii) Surfclams or ocean quahogs found in cages without a valid state tag are deemed to have been harvested in the EEZ and are deemed to be part of an individual’s allocation, unless the vessel VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Aug 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 has a valid Maine mahogany quahog permit issued pursuant to § 648.4(a)(4)(i) and is not fishing for an individual allocation under § 648.74; or, unless the preponderance of available evidence demonstrates that he/she has surrendered his/her surfclam and ocean quahog permit issued under § 648.4 and he/she conducted fishing operations exclusively within waters under the jurisdiction of any state. Surfclams and ocean quahogs in cages with a Federal tag or tags, issued and still valid pursuant to this part, affixed thereto are deemed to have been harvested by the individual allocation holder to whom the tags were issued or transferred under § 648.74 or § 648.77(b). * * * * * ■ 3. Revise § 648.74 to read as follows: § 648.74 Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) Program. (a) Annual individual allocations. Each fishing year, the Regional Administrator shall determine the initial annual allocation of surfclams and ocean quahogs for the next fishing year for each ITQ permit holder holding ITQ quota share pursuant to the requirements of this section. For each species, the initial allocation for the next fishing year is calculated by multiplying the quota share percentage held by each ITQ permit holder as of the last day of the previous fishing year in which quota share holders are permitted to permanently transfer quota share percentage pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section (i.e., October 15 of every year), by the quota specified by the Regional Administrator pursuant to § 648.72. The total number of bushels of annual allocation shall be divided by 32 to determine the appropriate number of cage tags to be issued or acquired under § 648.77. Amounts of annual allocation of 0.5 cages or smaller created by this division shall be rounded downward to the nearest whole number, and amounts of annual allocation greater than 0.5 cages created by this division shall be rounded upward to the nearest whole number, so that annual allocations are specified in whole cages. (1) Surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ permits. Surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ allocations shall be issued in the form of annual ITQ permits. The ITQ permit shall specify the quota share percentage held by the ITQ permit holder and the annual allocation in cages and cage tags for each species. (i) Eligibility. In order to be eligible to hold a surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit, an individual must be eligible to own a documented vessel under the terms of 46 U.S.C. 12103(b). PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (ii) Application. (A) General. Applicants for a surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit under this section must submit a completed ITQ permit application and a completed ITQ ownership form on the appropriate forms obtained from NMFS. The ITQ permit application and ITQ ownership form must be filled out completely and signed by the applicant. The Regional Administrator will notify the applicant of any deficiency in the application. (B) Renewal applications. Applications to renew a surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit must be received by November 1 to be processed in time for permits to be issued by December 15, as specified in paragraph (a)(1)(iii) of this section. Renewal applications received after this date may not be approved, and a new permit may not be issued before the start of the next fishing year. An ITQ permit holder must renew his/her ITQ permit(s) on an annual basis by submitting an application and an ownership form for such permit prior to the end of the fishing year for which the permit is required. Failure to renew a surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit in any fishing year will result in any surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ quota share held by that ITQ permit holder to be considered abandoned and relinquished as specified in paragraph (a)(1)(ix) of this section. (iii) Issuance. Except as provided in subpart D of 15 CFR part 904, and provided an application for such permit is submitted by November 1, as specified in paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(B) of this section, NMFS shall issue annual ITQ permits on or before December 15, to allow allocation owners to purchase cage tags from a vendor specified by the Regional Administrator pursuant to § 648.77(b). (iv) Duration. An ITQ permit is valid through December 31 of each fishing year unless it is suspended, modified, or revoked pursuant to 15 CFR part 904, or revised due to a transfer of all or part of the ITQ quota share or cage tag allocation under paragraph (b) of this section. (v) Alteration. An ITQ permit that is altered, erased, or mutilated is invalid. (vi) Replacement. The Regional Administrator may issue a replacement permit upon written application of the annual ITQ permit holder. (vii) Transfer. The annual ITQ permit is valid only for the person to whom it is issued. All or part of the ITQ quota share or the cage tag allocation specified in the ITQ permit may be transferred in accordance with paragraph (b) of this section. E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1 emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 152 / Thursday, August 7, 2014 / Proposed Rules (viii) Fee. The Regional Administrator may, after publication of a fee notification in the Federal Register, charge a permit fee before issuance of the permit to recover administrative expenses. Failure to pay the fee will preclude issuance of the permit. (ix) Abandonment or voluntary relinquishment. Any ITQ permit that is voluntarily relinquished to the Regional Administrator, or deemed to have been voluntarily relinquished for failure to renew in accordance with paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, shall not be reissued or renewed in a subsequent year, except as specified in paragraph (a)(1)(x) of this section. (x) Transitional grace period. A surfclam or ocean quahog quota share holder who does not apply for an ITQ permit before the end of the 2015 fishing year, may be granted a grace period of up to one year to complete the initial application process, and be issued an ITQ permit, before the quota share is considered permanently relinquished. If an individual is issued a 2015 ITQ permit, but fails to renew that ITQ permit before the end of the 2016 fishing year, the Regional Administrator may allow a grace period until no later than July 1, 2017, to complete the renewal process and retain the permit. A permit holder may not be issued cage tags or transfer quota share until a valid ITQ permit is issued. Failure to complete the ITQ permit application or renewal process, and be issued a valid ITQ permit before the end of such a grace period would result in the ITQ permit and any associated ITQ quota share being permanently forfeit. (2) [Reserved] (b) Transfers—(1) Quota share percentage. Subject to the approval of the Regional Administrator, part or all of a quota share percentage may be transferred in the year in which the transfer is made, to any person or entity with a valid ITQ allocation permit under paragraph (a). Approval of a transfer by the Regional Administrator and for a new ITQ permit reflecting that transfer may be requested by submitting a written application for approval of the transfer and for issuance of a new ITQ permit to the Regional Administrator at least 10 days before the date on which the applicant desires the transfer to be effective, in the form of a completed transfer form supplied by the Regional Administrator. The transfer is not effective until the new holder receives a new or revised ITQ permit from the Regional Administrator reflecting the new quota share percentage. An application for transfer may not be made between October 15 and December 31 of each year. VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:52 Aug 06, 2014 Jkt 232001 (2) Cage tags. Cage tags issued pursuant to § 648.77 may be transferred at any time, and in any amount subject to the restrictions and procedure specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section; provided that application for such cage tag transfers may be made at any time before December 10 of each year. The transfer is effective upon the receipt by the transferee of written authorization from the Regional Administrator. (3) Denial of ITQ transfer application. The Regional Administrator may reject an application to transfer surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ quota share or cage tags for the following reasons: The application is incomplete; the transferor or transferee does not possess a valid surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit for the appropriate species; the transferor’s or transferee’s surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit has been sanctioned pursuant to an enforcement proceeding under 15 CFR part 904; or any other failure to meet the requirements of this subpart. Upon denial of an application to transfer ITQ allocation, the Regional Administrator shall send a letter to the applicant describing the reason(s) for the denial. The decision by the Regional Administrator is the final decision of the Department of Commerce; there is no opportunity for an administrative appeal. [FR Doc. 2014–18676 Filed 8–6–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 131115973–4630–01] RIN 0648–BD74 Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Amendment 96 to the Gulf of Alaska Fishery Management Plan; Management of Community Quota Entities National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes regulations to implement Amendment 96 to the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska (FMP). If approved, Amendment 96 would amend certain provisions of the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 46237 Individual Fishing Quota Program for the Fixed-Gear Commercial Fisheries for Pacific Halibut and Sablefish in Waters in and off Alaska (IFQ Program). This action would remove a regulation that prohibits a Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Community Quota Entity (CQE) from transferring and holding small blocks of halibut and sablefish quota share (QS). This action would allow CQEs to acquire additional QS and facilitate sustained participation by CQE community residents in the IFQ Program. This action would promote the goals and objectives of the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, the FMP, and other applicable law. DATES: Submit comments on or before September 8, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2013–0161, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/ #!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-20130161, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Glenn Merrill, Assistant Regional Administrator, Sustainable Fisheries Division, Alaska Region, NMFS, Attn: Ellen Sebastian. P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668. Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. An electronic copy of the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR)/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) (collectively, Analysis) prepared for Amendment 96 and the regulatory amendment to allow CQE acquisition of small block halibut QS is available from http:// www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at http:// E:\FR\FM\07AUP1.SGM 07AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 152 (Thursday, August 7, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 46233-46237]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-18676]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 648

[Docket No. 130822745-4627-01]
RIN 0648-BD64


Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act 
Provisions; Fisheries of the Northeastern United States; Atlantic 
Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fishery; Information Collection

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

ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes an information collection program for the 
Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fishery. The intended effect of this 
rule is to collect more detailed information about individuals and 
businesses that hold fishery quota allocation in the Atlantic surfclam 
and ocean quahog individual transferable quota programs. This action is 
necessary to ensure that the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council 
has the information needed to develop a future management action 
intended to establish an excessive share cap in this fishery.

DATES: Comments must be received by September 8, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by NOAA-NMFS-2014-0088, 
by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to 
www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2014-0088, click the 
``Comment Now!'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter or 
attach your comments.
     Fax: (978) 281-9135, Attn: Douglas Potts.
     Mail: John K. Bullard, Regional Administrator, NMFS, 
Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, 55 Great Republic Drive, 
Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope: ``Comments on 
Surfclam/Ocean Quahog Information Collection.''
    Instructions: All comments received are part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to 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. Attachments to electronic 
comments will be accepted via Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, 
WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
proposed rule may be submitted to the Greater Atlantic Regional 
Fisheries Office and by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 
(202) 395-5806.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Douglas Potts, Fishery Policy Analyst, 
978-281-9341.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 402(a)(1) for the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to implement an 
information collection program if a fishery management council 
determines that additional information would be beneficial for 
developing, implementing, or revising a fishery management plan (FMP). 
The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council requests that NMFS 
implement an information collection program in the Atlantic surfclam 
and ocean quahog individual transferable quota (ITQ) fisheries. The 
specific components of the requested information collection are 
detailed in a white paper titled, ``Data Collection Recommendations for 
the Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Fisheries'' that was prepared by the 
Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Data Collection Fishery Management Action 
Team, at the direction of the Council. The purpose of this information 
collection is to better identify the specific individuals who hold or 
control ITQ allocation in these fisheries. The Council will use the 
information collected to inform the development of a future management 
action intended to establish an excessive share cap as part of the 
Council's Surfclam/Ocean Quahog FMP.
    The Atlantic surfclam and ocean quahog fisheries have been managed 
under an ITQ system since 1990. Vessel owners received an initial 
allocation of quota share based on a formula of historical catch and 
vessel size. Each year, the total commercial quotas for the surfclam 
and ocean quahog ITQ fisheries are divided among the individuals who 
hold quota share. Annual allocations take the form of cage tags for the 
standard 32-bushel (1,700L) cages, which must be used to land the 
product. The quota share or cage tags are both considered types of ITQ 
allocation, and may be leased or sold to anyone, except foreign owners.
    While managed jointly, the surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ fisheries 
are operationally distinct. The commercial quotas, quota shareholders, 
and cage tags are different for the two species. In addition, vessels 
may not land both surfclams and ocean quahogs on the same trip. Because 
these fisheries are managed in the same way, this information 
collection program applies equally to both fisheries.
    Currently, NMFS collects only basic information about the 
individuals or businesses that hold surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ 
allocations. This information is collected at the time that

[[Page 46234]]

an entity first acquires ITQ allocation and is not routinely verified 
or updated. The information collection program proposed by this action 
is intended to identify the specific individuals who have an ownership 
interest in surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ allocation through a 
corporation, partnership, or other entity, or control the use of ITQ 
allocation through the use of long-term contracts or other agreements. 
This action would also ensure that the ownership information on file 
remains current by modifying the procedures for receiving and 
maintaining an ITQ allocation permit.
    With this action, we are proposing to change the current surfclam 
and ocean quahog ITQ allocation permit, which currently never expires, 
into an annual ITQ permit. A surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit would 
need to be renewed each year before the ITQ permit holder could receive 
cage tags. In addition, if the permit holder has quota share, the 
permit would need to be renewed before the end of the fishing year or 
that quota could be considered voluntarily relinquished, and no longer 
eligible to receive an annual allocation of cage tags.
    To receive a surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit, an applicant 
would need to complete both an ITQ permit application form and an ITQ 
ownership form. In subsequent years, the permit renewal process would 
require the applicant to review a pre-filled copy of these forms, make 
any necessary changes, then sign and submit the forms to NMFS in order 
to verify that the information on file remains current. Any transfer of 
ITQ quota share or cage tags would require an ITQ transfer application 
form.

Application for Surfclam/Ocean Quahog ITQ Permit

    The ITQ permit application form would collect the applicant's name, 
business address, telephone number, and date of birth (for individuals) 
or taxpayer identification number (TIN) (for businesses) to positively 
identify people or businesses with similar names. The applicant would 
also need to verify that the permit holder meets the requirement to be 
eligible to own a documented vessel under the terms of 46 U.S.C. 
12103(b). This requirement ensures that the applicant is a U.S. citizen 
or a U.S. controlled corporation.

Surfclam/Ocean Quahog ITQ Ownership Form

    The ITQ ownership form would collect detailed information about the 
entities that hold ITQ allocation. The form would collect the ITQ 
permit holder's name, business address, telephone number, date of birth 
(for individuals) or TIN (for businesses), state registered in (for 
businesses), and identify the organization type (e.g., individual/sole 
proprietorship, joint ownership, partnership, corporation, etc.).
    As requested by the Council, the form would allow state or federal 
chartered banks that hold ITQ allocation as collateral on a loan, but 
do not exert control over the use of the allocation, to attest to this 
fact. Such banks would need to identify the borrower, but would not 
need to complete the more detailed ownership information described 
below. To ensure that the borrower is the controlling factor in the use 
of the ITQ allocation, the borrower would need to maintain a separate 
ITQ permit, and any transfer of quota share or cage tags from the bank 
would be restricted to the borrower. Allocation could then be 
transferred to a third party, at the discretion of the borrower. A 
borrower would therefore need to complete the more detailed ownership 
information in order to maintain a valid ITQ permit.
    ITQ holders that are not eligible banks would need to provide more 
detailed ownership information. An ITQ permit holder that is a business 
entity would need to identify corporate officers. All ITQ permit 
holders would need to identify any shareholders with a 10 percent or 
greater ownership interest in the permit holder down to the individual 
level. This means that if an ITQ permit is held by a business entity, 
and that business is owned in part by another business entity, 
ownership of that second business would also need to be identified to 
the level of individual persons that make up that business. If that 
second business was part owned by another business entity, then 
ownership of that third business would need to be identified to the 
level of individual persons, and so on. In addition, the applicant 
would need to identify any immediate family members of the ITQ permit 
holder, or the individuals who have an ownership interest in the ITQ 
permit holder, that also have an ownership interest in any other 
surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit. For purposes of this collection, 
we are using the definition of ``immediate family member'' used by the 
Small Business Administration: Father, mother, husband, wife, son, 
daughter, brother, sister, grandfather, grandmother, grandson, 
granddaughter, father-in-law, and mother-in-law.

Application To Transfer Surfclam/Ocean Quahog ITQ

    The current ITQ transfer form would be modified by this action. 
Information about the allocation holder would be removed, as that would 
now be collected through the ITQ permit application and the ITQ 
ownership form. The transfer form would clarify whether or not a 
permanent transfer of ITQ quota share includes all of the cage tags for 
the current fishing year. The current transfer process does not allow a 
permanent transfer of quota share without also transferring all of the 
associated cage tags for the current fishing year. This can be 
restrictive on quota shareholders who might wish to transfer quota 
share separate from transfer of the current allocation of cage tags. 
This action would add questions to the transfer form to better 
understand the nature of the transfer. These questions include: Total 
price paid for the transfer, including any fees; broker fees paid, if 
applicable; whether the transfer is part of a long-term (more than 1 
year) contract; if so, the duration of the contract and whether the 
price is fixed or flexible; and any other conditions on the transfer. 
As on the current transfer form, both parties would need to sign the 
form.
    In addition, this action would make minor corrections and 
clarifications to the surfclam and ocean quahog regulations. The 
current regulations contain an outdated cross reference to the portion 
of the U.S.C. that defines which persons or entities are eligible to 
own a documented vessel. Several paragraphs in the Prohibitions section 
at Sec.  648.14(j) that pertain to the surfclam and ocean quahog 
fisheries have incorrect cross references to other sections of the part 
648 regulations. The regulations specifying when the Regional 
Administrator may deny a transfer are currently unclear. This action 
would revise the regulations to provide additional detail and clarity.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the 
Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, NOAA, has determined that this 
proposed rule is consistent with the Atlantic Surfclam and Ocean Quahog 
FMP, 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

[[Page 46235]]

to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration 
(SBA) 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 certification is as follows:
    The proposed measures would only affect allocation permit holders 
that would need to apply for the new annual ITQ permit. This includes 
entities that hold surfclam or ocean quahog quota share, or that lease 
the cage tags that are used to land product in these fisheries. In 
2013, there were 189 allocation permit holders that either held quota 
share and/or participated in a lease of cage tags for surfclams or 
ocean quahog.
    Note that individual allocations are often registered in the name 
of a corporation, rather than an individual. It is common for owners of 
multiple fishing vessels to list each one as being owned by a separate 
corporation for the purpose of limiting liability. Similarly, a single 
individual might hold multiple allocations that are listed in NMFS's 
records as being registered to distinct corporations for the same 
reason. Banks that have loaned money to allocation holders will often 
require that the allocation be placed in the bank's name as collateral 
for the loan. A single individual may have several such loans. As such, 
it is important to understand that the number of allocations is not 
equal to the number of allocation owners. The number of owners will be 
smaller due to the ownership of multiple allocations, which may be 
listed under a corporate name or in the name of a bank.
    However, NMFS currently does not have information to characterize 
small entities at the ITQ allocation level. Instead, information on 
fishing activities is used to characterize and enumerate small 
entities. One of the benefits of this action would be a better 
understanding of ownership of allocation holders, which could lead to 
better identification of small entities and help analyze the impacts of 
future management actions.
    The Small Business Administration defines a small business in the 
commercial shellfish harvesting sector, as a firm with total annual 
receipts (gross revenues) not in excess of $5.5 mil. In 2012, there 
were 498 fishing firms that held at least one surfclam or ocean quahog 
vessel permit. Vessel permits are open access, available to anyone who 
applies. Many of the permitted vessels do not actively participate in 
the fishery. These potential participants likely do not own quota, 
likely do not have established marketing relationships with surfclam 
and ocean quahog processors, and likely do not own gear needed to 
harvest surfclam and ocean quahog. Therefore, while there are 498 
regulated entities, many of these entities are only potential 
participants and unlikely to experience any direct effects of any 
changes in regulations. In order to provide a more accurate count and 
description of the directly regulated entities, landings data are used 
to select only firms that were active in either the surfclam and ocean 
quahog fishery. There are 38 active fishing firms, of which 36 are 
small entities and 2 are large entities.
    Some of the detailed ownership information has not been previously 
collected, we have estimated just over one hour of additional time and 
effort will be necessary on the part of the ITQ permit holder to 
complete the forms in the first year. However, in subsequent years, 
renewal forms would be sent to ITQ permit holders completed with the 
information on file. An ITQ permit holder would just need to review and 
sign the forms to ensure that the information on file is still correct. 
This review process is estimated to take 5 minutes per form if the 
ownership information does not need to be changed.
    Therefore, because this action is administrative and because no 
significant change in fishing effort, participation in the fishery, or 
fishery expenses is expected, this action will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. As a result, 
an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required and none has 
been prepared.
    This proposed rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to review and approval by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). These requirements have 
been submitted to OMB for approval. Public reporting burden is 
estimated to average 5 minutes per response for the application for 
surfclam/ocean quahog ITQ permit; 60 minutes per response for new 
entrants completing the surfclam/ocean quahog ITQ ownership form and to 
average 5 minutes per response when the form is pre-filled for renewing 
entities; and the application to transfer surfclam/ocean quahog ITQ are 
estimated to average 5 minutes per response, including the time for 
reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and 
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the 
collection of information.
    Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed 
collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of 
the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall 
have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to 
enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information, including through the use of automated collection 
techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on 
these or any other aspects of the collection of information to the 
Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office at the ADDRESSES above, and 
email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395-5806.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a 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. All currently approved NOAA 
collections of information may be viewed at: www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 648

    Fisheries, Fishing, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    Dated: August 1, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, 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

0
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. In Sec.  648.14, revise paragraphs (j)(1)(ii), (j)(2), (j)(3)(v), 
(j)(3)(vi), (j)(5)(ii), (j)(5)(iv), (j)(5)(v), (j)(6)(ii), (j)(6)(iii) 
to read as follows:


Sec.  648.14  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (j ) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) Shuck surfclams or ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ 
at sea, unless permitted by the Regional Administrator under the terms 
of Sec.  648.75.
* * * * *
    (2) Transfer and purchase. (i) Receive for a commercial purpose 
other than solely for transport on land, surfclams or ocean quahogs 
harvested in or from the EEZ, whether or not they are landed

[[Page 46236]]

under an allocation under Sec.  648.74, unless issued a dealer/
processor permit under this part.
* * * * *
    (3) * * *
    (v) Possess an empty cage to which a cage tag required by Sec.  
648.77 is affixed, or possess any cage that does not contain surfclams 
or ocean quahogs and to which a cage tag required by Sec.  648.77 is 
affixed.
    (vi) Land or possess, after offloading, any cage holding surfclams 
or ocean quahogs without a cage tag or tags required by Sec.  648.77, 
unless the person can demonstrate the inapplicability of the 
presumptions set forth in Sec.  648.77(h).
* * * * *
    (5) * * *
    (ii) Land unshucked surfclams and ocean quahogs harvested in or 
from the EEZ within the Maine mahogany quahog zone in containers other 
than cages from vessels capable of carrying cages unless, with respect 
to ocean quahogs, the vessel has been issued a Maine mahogany quahog 
permit under this part and is not fishing for an individual allocation 
of quahogs under Sec.  648.74.
    (iii) * * *
    (iv) Offload unshucked ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ 
within the Maine mahogany quahog zone from vessels not capable of 
carrying cages, other than directly into cages, unless the vessel has 
been issued a Maine mahogany quahog permit under this part and is not 
fishing for an individual allocation of quahogs under Sec.  648.74.
    (v) Land or possess ocean quahogs harvested in or from the EEZ 
within the Maine mahogany quahog zone after the effective date 
published in the Federal Register notifying participants that Maine 
mahogany quahog quota is no longer available for the respective fishing 
year, unless the vessel is fishing for an individual allocation of 
ocean quahogs under Sec.  648.74.
    (6) * * *
    (ii) Surfclams or ocean quahogs landed from a trip for which 
notification was provided under Sec.  648.15(b) or Sec.  648.74(b) are 
deemed to have been harvested in the EEZ and count against the 
individual's annual allocation, unless the vessel has a valid Maine 
mahogany quahog permit issued pursuant to Sec.  648.4(a)(4)(i) and is 
not fishing for an individual allocation under Sec.  648.74.
    (iii) Surfclams or ocean quahogs found in cages without a valid 
state tag are deemed to have been harvested in the EEZ and are deemed 
to be part of an individual's allocation, unless the vessel has a valid 
Maine mahogany quahog permit issued pursuant to Sec.  648.4(a)(4)(i) 
and is not fishing for an individual allocation under Sec.  648.74; or, 
unless the preponderance of available evidence demonstrates that he/she 
has surrendered his/her surfclam and ocean quahog permit issued under 
Sec.  648.4 and he/she conducted fishing operations exclusively within 
waters under the jurisdiction of any state. Surfclams and ocean quahogs 
in cages with a Federal tag or tags, issued and still valid pursuant to 
this part, affixed thereto are deemed to have been harvested by the 
individual allocation holder to whom the tags were issued or 
transferred under Sec.  648.74 or Sec.  648.77(b).
* * * * *
0
3. Revise Sec.  648.74 to read as follows:


Sec.  648.74  Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) Program.

    (a) Annual individual allocations. Each fishing year, the Regional 
Administrator shall determine the initial annual allocation of 
surfclams and ocean quahogs for the next fishing year for each ITQ 
permit holder holding ITQ quota share pursuant to the requirements of 
this section. For each species, the initial allocation for the next 
fishing year is calculated by multiplying the quota share percentage 
held by each ITQ permit holder as of the last day of the previous 
fishing year in which quota share holders are permitted to permanently 
transfer quota share percentage pursuant to paragraph (b) of this 
section (i.e., October 15 of every year), by the quota specified by the 
Regional Administrator pursuant to Sec.  648.72. The total number of 
bushels of annual allocation shall be divided by 32 to determine the 
appropriate number of cage tags to be issued or acquired under Sec.  
648.77. Amounts of annual allocation of 0.5 cages or smaller created by 
this division shall be rounded downward to the nearest whole number, 
and amounts of annual allocation greater than 0.5 cages created by this 
division shall be rounded upward to the nearest whole number, so that 
annual allocations are specified in whole cages.
    (1) Surfclam and ocean quahog ITQ permits. Surfclam and ocean 
quahog ITQ allocations shall be issued in the form of annual ITQ 
permits. The ITQ permit shall specify the quota share percentage held 
by the ITQ permit holder and the annual allocation in cages and cage 
tags for each species.
    (i) Eligibility. In order to be eligible to hold a surfclam or 
ocean quahog ITQ permit, an individual must be eligible to own a 
documented vessel under the terms of 46 U.S.C. 12103(b).
    (ii) Application. (A) General. Applicants for a surfclam or ocean 
quahog ITQ permit under this section must submit a completed ITQ permit 
application and a completed ITQ ownership form on the appropriate forms 
obtained from NMFS. The ITQ permit application and ITQ ownership form 
must be filled out completely and signed by the applicant. The Regional 
Administrator will notify the applicant of any deficiency in the 
application.
    (B) Renewal applications. Applications to renew a surfclam or ocean 
quahog ITQ permit must be received by November 1 to be processed in 
time for permits to be issued by December 15, as specified in paragraph 
(a)(1)(iii) of this section. Renewal applications received after this 
date may not be approved, and a new permit may not be issued before the 
start of the next fishing year. An ITQ permit holder must renew his/her 
ITQ permit(s) on an annual basis by submitting an application and an 
ownership form for such permit prior to the end of the fishing year for 
which the permit is required. Failure to renew a surfclam or ocean 
quahog ITQ permit in any fishing year will result in any surfclam or 
ocean quahog ITQ quota share held by that ITQ permit holder to be 
considered abandoned and relinquished as specified in paragraph 
(a)(1)(ix) of this section.
    (iii) Issuance. Except as provided in subpart D of 15 CFR part 904, 
and provided an application for such permit is submitted by November 1, 
as specified in paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(B) of this section, NMFS shall 
issue annual ITQ permits on or before December 15, to allow allocation 
owners to purchase cage tags from a vendor specified by the Regional 
Administrator pursuant to Sec.  648.77(b).
    (iv) Duration. An ITQ permit is valid through December 31 of each 
fishing year unless it is suspended, modified, or revoked pursuant to 
15 CFR part 904, or revised due to a transfer of all or part of the ITQ 
quota share or cage tag allocation under paragraph (b) of this section.
    (v) Alteration. An ITQ permit that is altered, erased, or mutilated 
is invalid.
    (vi) Replacement. The Regional Administrator may issue a 
replacement permit upon written application of the annual ITQ permit 
holder.
    (vii) Transfer. The annual ITQ permit is valid only for the person 
to whom it is issued. All or part of the ITQ quota share or the cage 
tag allocation specified in the ITQ permit may be transferred in 
accordance with paragraph (b) of this section.

[[Page 46237]]

    (viii) Fee. The Regional Administrator may, after publication of a 
fee notification in the Federal Register, charge a permit fee before 
issuance of the permit to recover administrative expenses. Failure to 
pay the fee will preclude issuance of the permit.
    (ix) Abandonment or voluntary relinquishment. Any ITQ permit that 
is voluntarily relinquished to the Regional Administrator, or deemed to 
have been voluntarily relinquished for failure to renew in accordance 
with paragraph (a)(1)(ii) of this section, shall not be reissued or 
renewed in a subsequent year, except as specified in paragraph 
(a)(1)(x) of this section.
    (x) Transitional grace period. A surfclam or ocean quahog quota 
share holder who does not apply for an ITQ permit before the end of the 
2015 fishing year, may be granted a grace period of up to one year to 
complete the initial application process, and be issued an ITQ permit, 
before the quota share is considered permanently relinquished. If an 
individual is issued a 2015 ITQ permit, but fails to renew that ITQ 
permit before the end of the 2016 fishing year, the Regional 
Administrator may allow a grace period until no later than July 1, 
2017, to complete the renewal process and retain the permit. A permit 
holder may not be issued cage tags or transfer quota share until a 
valid ITQ permit is issued. Failure to complete the ITQ permit 
application or renewal process, and be issued a valid ITQ permit before 
the end of such a grace period would result in the ITQ permit and any 
associated ITQ quota share being permanently forfeit.
    (2) [Reserved]
    (b) Transfers--(1) Quota share percentage. Subject to the approval 
of the Regional Administrator, part or all of a quota share percentage 
may be transferred in the year in which the transfer is made, to any 
person or entity with a valid ITQ allocation permit under paragraph 
(a). Approval of a transfer by the Regional Administrator and for a new 
ITQ permit reflecting that transfer may be requested by submitting a 
written application for approval of the transfer and for issuance of a 
new ITQ permit to the Regional Administrator at least 10 days before 
the date on which the applicant desires the transfer to be effective, 
in the form of a completed transfer form supplied by the Regional 
Administrator. The transfer is not effective until the new holder 
receives a new or revised ITQ permit from the Regional Administrator 
reflecting the new quota share percentage. An application for transfer 
may not be made between October 15 and December 31 of each year.
    (2) Cage tags. Cage tags issued pursuant to Sec.  648.77 may be 
transferred at any time, and in any amount subject to the restrictions 
and procedure specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section; provided 
that application for such cage tag transfers may be made at any time 
before December 10 of each year. The transfer is effective upon the 
receipt by the transferee of written authorization from the Regional 
Administrator.
    (3) Denial of ITQ transfer application. The Regional Administrator 
may reject an application to transfer surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ 
quota share or cage tags for the following reasons: The application is 
incomplete; the transferor or transferee does not possess a valid 
surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit for the appropriate species; the 
transferor's or transferee's surfclam or ocean quahog ITQ permit has 
been sanctioned pursuant to an enforcement proceeding under 15 CFR part 
904; or any other failure to meet the requirements of this subpart. 
Upon denial of an application to transfer ITQ allocation, the Regional 
Administrator shall send a letter to the applicant describing the 
reason(s) for the denial. The decision by the Regional Administrator is 
the final decision of the Department of Commerce; there is no 
opportunity for an administrative appeal.

[FR Doc. 2014-18676 Filed 8-6-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P