Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data Report, 46758-46768 [2014-18675]

Download as PDF 46758 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules separated to prevent commingling of materials that may result in a dangerous reaction in the event of an accidental release during transport. (4) Shipments made under this section are subject to the incident reporting requirements in § 171.15. (5) Shipments prepared, offered for transportation, or transported according to this section are not subject to any other requirements of this subchapter. ■ 5. In § 173.159, revise paragraphs (e)(3) and (e)(4) paragraphs (e)(5) and (e)(6)are added to read as follows: § 173.159 Batteries, wet. * * * * * (e) * * * (3) Any other material loaded in the same vehicle must be blocked, braced, or otherwise secured to prevent contact with or damage to the batteries. In addition, pallets used should be built as to not cause damage to another pallet in transportation. (4) A carrier may accept shipments of lead acid batteries from multiple locations for the purpose of consolidating shipments of lead acid batteries for recycling. (5) Class 8 lead acid batteries are the only hazardous material authorized on the transport vehicle under this section. (6) Shipments made under this section are subject to the incident reporting requirements in § 171.15. * * * * * Issued in Washington, DC, under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.97(b). Magdy El-Sibaie, Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. [FR Doc. 2014–18741 Filed 8–8–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–60–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 679 [Docket No. 140311229–4229–01] RIN 0648–BE09 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data Report National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments. AGENCY: NMFS proposes to implement the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Trawl SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 Economic Data Report Program to evaluate the economic effects of current and anticipated future fishery management measures for the GOA trawl fisheries. This data collection program is necessary to provide the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS with baseline economic information on harvesters, crew, processors, and communities active in the GOA trawl fisheries, which could be used to assess the impacts of anticipated future fishery management measures on GOA trawl groundfish management. The data collected for this program would be submitted by vessel owners and leaseholders of GOA trawl vessels, processors receiving deliveries from those trawl vessels, and trawl catcher/ processors. The types of data collected would include, but not be limited to, labor information, revenues, capital and operational expenses, and other operational or financial data. This action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the GOA Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable laws. DATES: Submit comments on or before September 10, 2014. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2014–0035, by either 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-20140035, 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. Mail comments to 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 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Electronic copies of the Categorical Exclusion and the Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (collectively, Analysis) prepared for this action are available from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS 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 proposed rule may be submitted to NMFS at the above address and by email to OIRA_ Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202– 395–7285. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Hartman, 907–586–7228. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the GOA and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI) under the GOA Fishery Management Plan (GOA FMP) and BSAI Fishery Management Plan (BSAI FMP) (collectively, the FMPs). The Council prepared these FMPs under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations implementing the FMPs appear at 50 CFR part 679. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear at 50 CFR part 600. The following sections of the preamble describe: (1) General management of trawl fisheries in the GOA, (2) the objectives and rationale for this proposed action, and (3) provisions of the proposed action. General Management of Groundfish and PSC in the GOA The trawl groundfish fisheries in the GOA include fisheries for pollock, sablefish, several rockfish species, numerous flatfish species, Pacific cod, and other groundfish. Trawl gear is a fishing practice that captures groundfish by towing a net above or along the ocean floor. Trawl fisheries are active in three specific areas of the GOA: (1) The West Yakutat District in the eastern portion of the GOA, (2) the Central GOA regulatory area, and (3) the Western GOA regulatory area. These specific areas are defined in regulation at § 679.2. This proposed action would apply to the federally-permitted vessels using trawl gear to harvest groundfish in these specific areas of the GOA. This proposed action would not apply to the southeastern portion of the GOA because that area is closed to trawl E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules fisheries (63 FR 8356, February 19, 1998). Additional detail on the fisheries and groundfish species harvested in the GOA trawl fisheries in the GOA are provided in the Section 3.7 of the Analysis and in the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for the GOA groundfish fisheries (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014). Groundfish harvested in the GOA trawl fisheries are managed under annual total allowable catch (TAC) limits. For some groundfish species, regulations limit vessels using trawl gear to a specific portion, or allocation, of the TAC. Section 3.7 of the Analysis and the final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for the GOA groundfish fisheries (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014) describe these catch limits in greater detail. To ensure that TAC limits and groundfish allocations are not exceeded, NMFS requires vessel operators participating in groundfish fisheries in the GOA to comply with a range of restrictions, such as area, time, gear, and operation-specific fishery closures. Regulations at § 679.20(d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3) describe the range of management measures that NMFS uses to maintain total catch at or below the TAC and groundfish species allocations to trawl gear. In addition to these measures to limit catch of groundfish species, the Council and NMFS have adopted various measures intended to control the catch of species taken incidentally in groundfish fisheries. Certain species are designated as ‘‘prohibited species catch’’ (PSC) species in the FMPs because they are the primary target of other, fully utilized domestic fisheries. The FMPs and regulations at § 679.21 require that catch of PSC species must be avoided while fishing for groundfish, and when incidentally caught, these PSC species must be immediately returned to the sea with a minimum of injury. The PSC species include Pacific halibut, Pacific herring, Pacific salmon, steelhead trout, king crab, and Tanner crab. NMFS has implemented a range of PSC control measures in the BSAI and GOA at § 679.21 for halibut, salmon, crab, and other PSC species, including: (1) Closing groundfish fishing in areas with a high occurrence of prohibited species, or where there is a relatively high level of PSC; (2) requiring the use of gear specifically modified to minimize PSC; and (3) establishing PSC limits in specific Alaska groundfish fisheries in the BSAI and GOA. The Council has recommended and NMFS has implemented specific measures to limit PSC in the GOA trawl VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 fisheries. These include: (1) Seasonal and annual limits on the amount of halibut PSC that may be taken; (2) seasonal and permanent area closures to protect red king crab and Tanner crab in the GOA; (3) requirements that nonpelagic trawl vessels use specific gear that minimizes impacts on red king crab and Tanner crab in the GOA; and (4) limits on the maximum amount of Chinook salmon PSC that may be taken in the directed pollock fishery in the GOA. Section 1.2 of the Analysis provides additional detail on these management measures. The Council recommended that NMFS set PSC limits for Chinook salmon caught in nonpollock GOA trawl groundfish fisheries. A proposed rule to implement Chinook salmon PSC limits in the Western and Central GOA non-pollock trawl fisheries was published in the Federal Register on June 25, 2014 (79 FR 35971). The Council is considering new management measures so participants in the GOA trawl fisheries are better able to avoid PSC and efficiently minimize the amount of PSC that cannot be avoided. One of the management measures the Council is considering for GOA groundfish trawl fishery participants is a catch share program. A catch share program allocates exclusive harvest privileges for certain groundfish or shellfish species to specific fishery participants. This exclusive harvest privilege allows fishery participants to tailor their fishing operations to their available allocation and avoid a costly and inefficient ‘‘race for fish’’ with other fishery participants seeking to maximize their harvest before the TAC is reached. Over the years, the Council has recommended, and NMFS has implemented, a series of catch share programs to manage groundfish trawl harvests to specific TAC limits, while providing participants in those fisheries the ability to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and realize greater economic revenue (see Section 3.9 and 4.6 of the Analysis for additional detail). Catch share programs implemented for trawl fisheries have included not only an allocation of a specific portion of the TAC but also an allocation of a portion of the PSC limits for salmon or halibut depending on the program. Participants in these trawl catch share programs are prohibited from exceeding either their allocation of TAC or PSC. By allocating a portion of the TAC and PSC limits, catch share program participants have strong economic incentive to minimize their catch of PSC species to improve their chances of fully harvesting their allocation of the TAC. The Central GOA Rockfish Program is an example of a GOA trawl catch share PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 46759 program that allocates a portion of the TAC for specific groundfish species and a halibut PSC limit (76 FR 81248, December 27, 2011). The Central GOA Rockfish Program has proven successful at allowing harvesters to fully harvest their groundfish species allocations while minimizing the amount of halibut PSC (Section 3.7 of the Analysis provides additional detail on the Central GOA Rockfish Program). The Council is considering a similar catch share program for other trawl fisheries in the GOA. For additional detail on catch share programs and anticipated future management of GOA trawl fisheries, see Section 1.2 of the Analysis. Based on past experience, catch share programs have previously resulted in fundamental changes to harvesting and processing patterns. In turn, the changes have affected harvesting and processing employment and revenue. Catch share programs have also had impacts on fishing communities and associated support services, such as utilities energy, waste treatment, and social services due to the changes in harvesting and processing patterns. Catch share programs may have beneficial, neutral, or adverse economic impacts on specific businesses, communities, and employees dependent on the GOA trawl fisheries. However, the potential economic impacts of a prospective GOA trawl catch share program are uncertain without a baseline understanding of the economic conditions prior to its implementation. In addition, understanding the economic changes that could occur upon implementation of a GOA trawl catch share program could help guide the Council and NMFS in future decisions about program modifications. For example, understanding the changes in harvesting crew revenue before and after implementation of a GOA trawl catch share program could help the Council and NMFS determine if the GOA trawl catch share program should be modified to provide additional measures to protect or enhance harvesting crew revenue. Objectives and Rationale for the Proposed Action The objectives of this proposed action are to: (1) Collect baseline economic data on the trawl groundfish fisheries in the GOA to evaluate the effect of prospective future GOA trawl catch share management on affected harvesters, processors, and communities, (2) implement the baseline data collection as soon as practicable, and (3) minimize the stakeholder burden to report economic E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 46760 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules data by collecting data that are reliable, relevant, and cannot be obtained from existing data collections. Given the potential for implementation of catch shares in the GOA, the scope of the proposed action would include participants in trawl fisheries in the West Yakutat District, Central GOA regulatory area, and the Western GOA regulatory area. The collection of baseline economic data in these areas would help the Council and NMFS understand the potential economic and employment impacts of a future GOA trawl catch share management program on persons participating in specific job categories of fishing, processing, or administration of fishing operations. This understanding could help guide future decisions about the management of a prospective GOA trawl catch share program. To address these objectives, additional data are needed prior to the implementation of a GOA trawl catch share program to augment data that are currently available. The Council believes and NMFS agrees that collecting baseline information not otherwise available would provide a better understanding on the current economic conditions in the GOA trawl fisheries, and the potential impacts of a prospective GOA trawl catch share program. In particular, this proposed action would collect economic data on the crew members that participate in the GOA trawl fishery, workers in plants processing trawl-caught groundfish from the GOA, and these workers’ compensation in the period before the Council fully develops and NMFS implements a GOA trawl catch share program. In October 2013, the Council recommended that NMFS implement an economic data collection for GOA trawl fisheries through an Economic Data Report (EDR). EDRs are data collection reports submitted on an annual basis that are used to evaluate a catch share program’s effectiveness. Furthermore, the EDR data are used to understand the economic effects of catch share programs. The Council based its recommendation on past experience with economic data collections that have been implemented in other catch share programs. Specifically, the Council analyzed the EDRs required for: (1) The BSAI Crab Rationalization (CR) Program (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005); (2) the Amendment 80 Program that manages trawl catcher/processors active primarily in the BSAI, but also in the GOA (72 FR 52668, September 14, 2007); and (3) the Bering Sea pollock trawl fishery. The EDRs for the BSAI Crab CR Program and the Amendment VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 80 Program provide information on the economic performance of fishery participants in those catch share programs that received exclusive harvesting or processing privileges. The EDR for the Bering Sea pollock fishery provides information used to assess the economic impact of management measures designed to minimize Chinook salmon PSC in that fishery (75 FR 53026, August 30, 2010). All three of these EDRs became effective either after catch share programs were implemented (in the case of the BSAI Crab Rationalization Program and the Amendment 80 Program) or after the Chinook salmon PSC management measures for the Bering Sea pollock fishery were implemented. Section 3.9 of the Analysis notes that because these EDRs were implemented after the catch share program or management measure was effective, they limited the ability of NMFS to effectively compare the economic impacts of the change in management. The Council recommended that the GOA trawl EDR be implemented prior to the prospective GOA trawl catch share program and thus minimize some of the limitations present in past economic data collections where EDRs were only issued and information was collected after the program was implemented. After the Council’s October 2013 recommendation, NMFS conducted additional outreach with the potentially affected industry participants and developed draft EDR forms to ensure that the proposed data collection forms would be compatible with industry recordkeeping procedures and consistent with the intent of the Council. In April 2014, the Council reviewed the proposed EDR forms developed for this proposed action and the draft regulatory text. The Council expressed its support that NMFS go forward with this proposed rule. The following section describes: (1) The persons required to submit the proposed EDR forms and the specific data that would be collected; (2) the proposed requirements to submit the EDR forms; and (3) and the proposed methods for reviewing and auditing the EDR data. Provisions of the Proposed Action NMFS proposes to collect baseline economic data from persons who own, operate, or lease trawl catcher/ processors (C/Ps) or trawl catcher vessels (CVs) that catch groundfish in the GOA, as well as from owners or operators of shoreside processors or stationary floating processors (SFPs) that receive catch harvested by trawl C/ PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Ps or CVs. The baseline data includes, but is not limited to, quantities and costs of labor, fuel, and gear for vessels; it also includes labor and utility costs for processing companies. The proposed EDRs used to collect this baseline data would each be structured differently for CVs, C/Ps, and shoreside processors and SFPs because of the unique operating characteristics of these three operational groups. Catcher/processors catch groundfish with trawl gear and process their groundfish at sea, so the proposed Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR (Trawl C/P EDR) would collect data relating to groundfish catching and processing operations. Catcher vessels catch groundfish with trawl gear and deliver unprocessed groundfish to either a shoreside or stationary floating processor, so the proposed Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR (Trawl CV EDR) would collect economic and other data relating to the groundfish operations of these vessels. Shoreside processors operate on land and take deliveries of groundfish. SFPs operate near shore and take deliveries of groundfish from vessels and do not engage in groundfish fishing activities. The proposed Annual Shoreside Processor EDR (Processor EDR) would collect data related to both shoreside and SFP processing operations. These three operational groups and three types of EDRs are described in greater detail in the following sections of this preamble, and in the Analysis at Section 3.7 and briefly summarized as follows. Each of these three EDRs is discussed in detail in the Analysis in Section 3.9. Trawl C/P EDR Persons using trawl C/Ps to catch and process groundfish in the GOA during a calendar year would be required to submit a Trawl C/P EDR. The proposed Trawl C/P EDR would replace the EDR currently required under the Amendment 80 Program. Based on data from 2012, 22 vessels operate as trawl C/Ps in the GOA. Currently, and as explained further below, all but one of the persons using a trawl C/P in the GOA is subject to the requirements to submit an Amendment 80 EDR. NMFS proposes to amend existing Amendment 80 C/P EDR regulations to create the trawl C/P EDR program. To minimize duplication with existing Amendment 80 regulatory requirements, this proposed rule would: (1) Change the name of the existing Amendment 80 Program EDR to the Trawl C/P EDR; (2) require all persons currently required to submit an Amendment 80 Program EDR to submit the Trawl C/P EDR; and (3) extend the requirements to submit a E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules Trawl C/P EDR to all persons using trawl C/Ps to catch and process groundfish in the GOA if not already covered by the requirements of the Amendment 80 Program EDR. This proposed action would also streamline the regulatory text describing the information that must be entered in a Trawl C/P EDR form. This proposed action would modify Amendment 80 program regulations at § 679.94(a) to rename the ‘‘Amendment 80 Economic Data Report’’ as the ‘‘Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic Data Report’’ because the Trawl C/P EDR would now apply to more than just the participants in the Amendment 80 Program. This proposed rule would also include new regulations at § 679.94(a)(1) and at § 679.110(a)(3) to require the owner or leaseholder of any vessel named on a Limited License Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a C/P using trawl gear to harvest and process LLP groundfish in the GOA to submit a Trawl C/P EDR as described at § 679.94 for that calendar year. The instructions for submission of the Trawl C/P EDR would be described at both § 679.94(a)(1) and at § 679.110(a)(3). Because there would be GOA-based and BSAI Amendment 80based trawl EDR submitters, NMFS proposes two separate regulatory references. Most of the Amendment 80 sector regulations, including those for the Amendment 80 Program EDR, are codified at 50 CFR 679.94. Thus, owners, operators, or leaseholders of Amendment 80 vessels that only operate in the BSAI would continue to find EDR regulations at § 679.94(a)(1), while the GOA trawl C/P submitters would find EDR submission requirements at § 679.110, which would describe the Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data program. Under this proposed action, any person who held an Amendment 80 quota share permit during a calendar year, or an owner or leaseholder of a vessel using trawl gear to harvest groundfish in the GOA and that processed groundfish on board that vessel during a calendar year, would be required to submit a Trawl C/P EDR. This requirement would ensure that those persons currently submitting an Amendment 80 Program EDR continue to submit data on their operations in the BSAI and GOA. This requirement would also ensure that any other persons owning or operating a trawl C/P vessel endorsed to fish in the GOA submit data from their operations in the GOA. This proposed change would ensure that the Trawl C/P EDR provides a VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 comprehensive economic baseline on trawl C/Ps in the GOA. Based on data provided in Section 3.9 of the Analysis, at least one Amendment 80 vessel owner that has not been subject to the Amendment 80 EDR requirements would be required to submit the Trawl C/P EDR under this proposed rule. The owner of the F/V Golden Fleece is currently exempt from the requirements to submit the Amendment 80 Program EDR because that vessel does not participate in the Amendment 80 Program. The owner would be required to submit the Trawl C/P EDR because the F/V Golden Fleece is used as a trawl C/P in the GOA. For more detailed information on the number of GOA trawl C/Ps subject to the Trawl C/P EDR, see the Analysis at Section 3.9. This proposed action would streamline and remove unnecessary regulatory text found at § 679.94. Current regulatory text describes, in particular, data elements that must be submitted in the Amendment 80 EDR data fields, such as costs for oil, fuel, freight, storage, food and provisions. Proposed regulations at § 679.94 would specify that persons required to submit a Trawl C/P EDR would do so by filling out an electronic Trawl C/P EDR form with instructions that specify each data field in the form as opposed to describing each data field in regulation and in the data form. NMFS proposes this streamlined approach to simplify regulations, provide greater flexibility to modify specific data fields without requiring additional regulatory amendments, and reduce potential confusion if the text in the regulations and forms differ. Overall, this approach could provide submitters with a clearer understanding of the information that would be required. The Council recommended and NMFS proposes this approach based on experience with other EDRs. The economic data collection programs for the BSAI CR Program and the Bering Sea pollock fishery use streamlined regulatory text and the EDRs provide detailed instructions and requirements. This approach allows NMFS to consult with EDR submitters and the Council, and based on the consultations, amend, add, or remove specific information requests as needed. This approach would ensure the EDR is providing the information necessary to assess the economic performance of trawl C/Ps in both the Amendment 80 fishery and the GOA on a more timely basis. Concurrent with this proposed action, NMFS would provide notice of the proposed information collection in the Trawl C/P EDR form on the NMFS Web PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 46761 site at www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Interested persons would have an opportunity to comment on the proposed Trawl C/P EDR information collection, consistent with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). If the Secretary of Commerce approves this Trawl EDR Program, any additional proposed changes to the Trawl C/P EDR form in the future would be implemented consistent with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements established by the PRA. NMFS would provide an opportunity for public comment on any additional proposed changes to the Trawl C/P EDR form. Although the specific elements in the Trawl C/P EDR form are not contained within the proposed regulatory text, the following section describes the proposed Trawl C/P EDR form so that the submitters understand the specific elements of the proposed information collection. To minimize repetition, the following section highlights changes in the proposed information collection in the Trawl C/P EDR form from the current Amendment 80 Program EDR form. Section 9.1 of the Analysis provides a detailed description of the current Amendment 80 Program EDR form. Trawl C/P EDR Form Contact Information, Capital Costs, Capacity, Revenue, and Expenditure Data for Trawl C/P EDR NMFS proposes to collect the same general identifying information on owners, leaseholders, and representatives in the Trawl C/P EDR that was collected in the Amendment 80 Program EDR form. This would include names, addresses, unique vessel and person identifiers, and other contact information of owners and leaseholders of Amendment 80 QS permits and the vessels and operations. All previously implemented EDRs allow submitters the option to designate a representative whom NMFS could contact for questions on the submitted EDR. This option would be provided under this proposed action. No revisions from the current Amendment 80 Program EDR form are proposed for general revenue data, capital expenditure data, or other expenses. Data requirements on vessel characteristics, vessel survey value, fuel capacity, processing capacity, and freezing space would be unchanged from the Amendment 80 Program EDR form. E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 46762 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules Modifications to Amendment 80 Program EDR Vessel Activity Table for the Trawl C/P EDR NMFS proposes that the Vessel Activity data table created for the Amendment 80 Program EDR form be placed in the Trawl C/P EDR form, but an additional field would be added to require trawl C/Ps to attribute the number of days of activity for fishing and processing in the GOA trawl fisheries versus other EEZ groundfish fishing or processing activity. This revision responds to the proposed action’s objective to analyze economic effects of the GOA trawl fishery and seafood processing prior to and after implementation of any future catch share program. Crew Employment, Payments, and License Data for Trawl C/P EDR NMFS proposes that data on crew licenses and State of Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) limited entry fishing permit numbers of the fishing crew, should be included in the Trawl C/P EDR form. Neither the CFEC nor NMFS collect data identifying crew members who work aboard GOA trawl vessels. The only crew member data available for GOA groundfish fisheries are the annual counts of people who obtained crew licenses for fisheries in the State of Alaska, including where they live and where they bought their licenses. It is not possible to determine which of these licensed crew members fished in the GOA groundfish fishery or on a specific trawl vessel. Collecting these data annually would allow crew information to be linked to specific vessels. The vessel operator submission burden for these data would be minimized by allowing them access to a crew license/permit lookup file. This file would allow the person required to report the data to simply select their crew members from a list of permit holders. Access to the database should reduce the time and cost required for both the data collector and data provider to determine and correct, if necessary, misreported crew numbers. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Trawl CV EDR This proposed action would include new regulations at § 679.110(a)(1) to describe the persons who must submit the Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel Economic Data Report (Trawl CV EDR). These persons would include any owner or leaseholder of a vessel that was named on a Limited License Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a catcher vessel using trawl gear to harvest LLP groundfish species in the GOA for that year. Each of these persons VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 must submit the Trawl CV EDR by following the instructions on the Trawl CV EDR form. An LLP license is required for vessels participating in directed fishing for groundfish in the GOA or that retain any bycatch of groundfish while targeting non-groundfish in the EEZ (see § 679.4). A vessel must be named on an LLP license that is on board the vessel used to fish in the GOA, unless the vessel does not exceed 26 feet length overall (LOA). No trawl vessels less than 26 feet are active in the GOA. All trawl vessels currently active in the GOA are named on an LLP license. Therefore, tying the requirement to submit a Trawl CV EDR to the holder of an LLP license endorsed as a trawl CV in the GOA would capture participants who could use trawl gear to catch groundfish in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Based on 2012 data, there are currently 84 LLP licenses endorsed as trawl catcher vessels in the GOA. As with the Trawl C/P EDR form, the specific data elements to be collected would be specified on the Trawl CV EDR form. Although the specific data elements in the Trawl CV EDR form are not contained within the proposed regulatory text, the following section describes the proposed Trawl CV EDR form so that the submitters understand the specific data elements of the proposed information collection. As noted in the discussion of the Trawl C/P EDR form, NMFS does not intend to implement additional changes to the Trawl CV EDR form without first consulting with EDR submitters and the Council. Any additional proposed changes to the Trawl C/P EDR form would be implemented consistent with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements established by the PRA, and NMFS would provide an opportunity for public comment on any additional proposed changes to the form. Trawl CV EDR Form The Trawl CV EDR form would be a new EDR form collecting data on trawl CVs in the GOA. The EDR would collect baseline economic data on the GOA trawl fisheries. The Trawl CV EDR would collect (1) basic identifier and contact information for GOA trawl CV LLP holders; (2) labor information and employee identifiers; (3) payments to crew, captain, and other labor; (4) fuel usage and costs; and (5) gear purchases. The owner or leaseholder of a vessel named on an LLP, endorsed for CV operation and trawl gear in the GOA would be required to submit the Trawl CV EDR. Certification information would also be required in each Trawl CV EDR. For additional detail on the PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 certification data, see the section ‘‘Certification of the GOA Trawl EDRs’’ in this preamble. NMFS proposes that the Trawl CV EDR would require submission of detailed contact and personal identifier data on LLP license holders and identification information for the vessels to which those LLP licenses were assigned. Vessel identification information would include the Alaska Department of Fish and Game vessel registration number and United States Coast Guard documentation number. The names and addresses of the persons and the companies associated with vessel activities also are necessary to understand the structure of the business firms in the fishery. As with previously implemented EDR programs, the Trawl CV EDR form would allow an LLP holder to designate a representative as a contact person who could address NMFS’ questions on the EDR. Labor Data for Trawl CVs NMFS proposes that the Alaska commercial crew member license number or a CFEC permit number for each individual who worked as a captain or crew member aboard a GOA trawl CV during the calendar year be submitted in the Trawl CV EDR form. As noted in the discussion on the Trawl C/P EDR form, these data are not currently collected by other means. The reason for including crew data for this EDR is similar to the reason for including this information in the Trawl C/P EDR form. These data will provide consistent information about the number of persons entering and exiting the trawl CV crew labor force, which is important baseline data for evaluating groundfish CVs operations in the GOA. NMFS proposes that the Trawl CV EDR form collect data on the annual wages, salaries, or related payment to crew and captains who worked aboard the vessel. The Alaska commercial crew member license number or CFEC permit number data could be linked to the commercial crew database to provide more useful estimates of labor payments to resident and non-resident crew. The amount of the payment to crew and captains required in the Trawl CV EDR form would be the actual amount paid to crew and captains in their settlement, not their earnings before crew-related expenses (such as fuel, food, and provisions) were deducted. All postseason adjustments to pay also would be included in the crew and captain labor field. In some cases, a captain who is not an LLP license holder may have information on payments to crew or have other data that would be submitted E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules in the Trawl CV EDR form. NMFS’ experience with previous EDRs shows that owners and leaseholders form agreements with their employees to provide the necessary data to report in an EDR. The owners and leaseholders of these vessels would be responsible for submitting a Trawl CV EDR form and would be expected to gather any necessary information, such as crew wage payments, from their employees or other persons as needed. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Fuel Usage and Gear Data for Trawl CVs NMFS proposes that data on fuel use and cost, as well as the investment in gear in the GOA trawl fishery, would help evaluate the transitional effects of any future management programs. Data on fuel cost and gear purchases may assist the Council and NMFS to evaluate the efficiency of these operations by comparing fuel costs and gear purchases with data collected if a catch share program is implemented in the future. Reported costs for gear investments would include aggregate trawl gear purchases and leases in a calendar year (e.g., nets, doors, rollers, cables). These costs also would include those incurred for PSC excluder devices that are used with trawl gear in the GOA. Processor EDR The owner or leaseholder of a shoreside processor or stationary floating processor (SFP) with a Federal Processor Permit (FPP) that processes groundfish delivered by vessels fishing with trawl gear in the GOA would be required to submit a complete Annual Shoreside Processor Economic Data Report (Shoreside Processor EDR) for each calendar year by following the instructions on the Shoreside Processor EDR form. All shoreside processors and SFPs located within Alaska State waters and receiving or processing groundfish harvested from Federal waters or from any federally permitted vessel must have a Federal Processor Permit (FPP). FPPs are non-transferable permits, valid for one year from March 1 to February 28, issued to owners on request without charge. These permits are authorized at § 679.4(f). SFPs in the GOA are limited to operating within State of Alaska waters and are restricted by how many times annually they can relocate for processing purposes. Motherships also are limited in the GOA. Motherships cannot receive deliveries of pollock and Pacific cod, but are authorized to receive deliveries of flatfish. In 2013, no motherships were operating in the GOA. The Analysis shows that most of the shoreside processors receiving deliveries of Central GOA groundfish VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 are located on Kodiak Island. Processors located in ports west of Kodiak tend to rely primarily on harvests from the Western GOA and the BSAI areas. Between 2008 and 2012, as many as 19 shoreside processors and SFPs held an FPP and received deliveries of groundfish from vessels using trawl gear in the GOA groundfish fisheries. Shorebased processors receiving catch from GOA trawl fisheries are located in Akutan, Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, King Cove, Kodiak, Sand Point, Seward, and Sitka. There were also two SFPs operating in the GOA that have taken groundfish harvested by trawl vessels in the GOA deliveries during 2008 through 2012. This proposed action would include new regulations at § 679.110(a)(2) to require the owner or leaseholder of a shoreside processor or stationary floating processor (SFP) with an FPP that processes groundfish delivered by vessels fishing with trawl gear in the GOA to submit a complete Shoreside Processor EDR. Although the analysis points out that the processor EDR should collect data from all Kodiak processors, including the Kodiak Fish Meal Company, NMFS can require data submission only from processors that are first receivers of fish. The Kodiak Fish Meal Company holds an FFP, but receives ancillary groundfish product (see definitions at § 679.2 for ancillary product) that is used to produce fish meal. Because section 303(b)(7) of the MagnusonStevens Act only allows NMFS to collect information from ‘‘first receivers of fish,’’ NMFS is not authorized to require that data submission from the Kodiak Fish Meal Company. Based on NMFS records, the Kodiak Fish Meal Company does not receive deliveries of raw groundfish from vessels using trawl gear, and therefore cannot be considered a first receiver of fish and cannot be required to submit a Processor EDR form. Because the Kodiak Fish Meal Company has participated in voluntary submissions of data to NMFS in the past, NMFS believes it may voluntarily submit the Processor EDR form. As with the Trawl CV EDR form and the Trawl C/P EDR form, the specific data elements to be collected would be specified on the Processor EDR form. Although the specific data elements in the Processor EDR form are not contained within the proposed regulatory text, the following section describes the proposed Processor EDR form so that the submitters understand the specific elements of the proposed information collection. As noted in the discussion of the Trawl C/P and Trawl CV EDR forms, if PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 46763 a final rule for the Trawl EDR Program is approved by the Secretary of Commerce, NMFS does not intend to implement additional changes to the Processor EDR form without first consulting with EDR submitters and the Council. Furthermore, any additional proposed changes to the Processor EDR form would be implemented consistent with the PRA. The PRA requires that any modification to a collection of information, such as revising or adding data fields to an EDR form, be made available for public comment. Processor EDR Form The proposed Processor EDR form would augment and improve the quality of NMFS’ existing fisheries labor and employment data, and collect data about processor use of community utilities (for more information on specific data variables see the Analysis detail in Sections 3.9.2.3 and 3.9.2.4). The Processor EDR form would collect monthly data on the average number of groundfish processing employment positions and the associated labor hours and wage payments. The proposed information collection would assist NMFS’ comparison of labor costs among processing plants. These employment data elements would be aggregated in the EDR for all fisheries, GOA management areas, and gear types. Collecting data for each month allows analysts to focus on changes that occur during months of high groundfish processing, relative to other species (e.g., salmon). Employment labor by hours per month would be reported separately in one of two categories: By labor hours for employees using housing provided by the processor-or or by labor hours for employees that do not use housing provided by the processor. NMFS determined that employment data from processors should not be broken out by fishery because employees may process fish from more than one fishery in a month or week, or participate in more than one type of processing job (e.g. processing line worker, processing manager). The reporting burden for processors to report labor data that is separated by fishery would be burdensome, and potentially delay implementation of this program. The shoreside processors and SFPs who submit the Processor EDR would be required to estimate payments to nonprocessing workers, such as management staff. These data elements would assist NMFS in understanding how other support and management staff are compensated. This information may assist NMFS in understanding the impacts of income and employment of E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 46764 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS labor to the local economy, if these management employees are typically residents of the community in which the processing plant is located. NMFS proposes that the Processor EDR form collect data on water and electric usage from Kodiak processing plants because the utilities are supplied by the local community. This section of the Shoreside Processor EDR would collect this data from Kodiak plants only and not from processors in other communities because of the large number of processing plants active in Kodiak, the potential economic effects of changes in processing activities on the local utility services, and that in many other communities in the GOA utilities may not be directly supplied by the local community. Large adjustments in processing capacity may impact the amount that processors are willing to pay for community supplied energy and other utilities. In some communities, energy suppliers have upgraded peak energy production or total energy capacity to supply processing plants. In other cases, communities have upgraded the capacity of other utilities (e.g. potable water supply or waste water treatment) based on the long-term needs for seafood processing operations. A large change in deliveries to processing plants that idled a significant amount of the seafood processing capacity at one or more processing plants could change utility prices in a community, which NMFS could assess with baseline data from the Processor EDR. General Submission Requirements for all GOA Trawl EDRs A completed Trawl C/P EDR, Trawl CV EDR, and Processor EDR form would be submitted to NMFS according to the instructions on each form. The proposed action would include new regulations at § 679.110(b) to require that the Trawl CV and Processor EDR forms be submitted on June 1 of each year, providing data from the prior calendar year of operations. Proposed regulations at § 679.110(b) would refer to the due date specified in § 679.94(a)(2) for the Trawl C/P EDR form. The Trawl C/P EDR form is also due on June 1 of each year, providing data from the prior calendar year of operations. For example, in 2017, the Trawl C/P EDR form would be used to submit with data from the 2016 calendar year. The proposed action would include new regulations at § 679.110(c) to require that the Trawl CV, and Processor EDR forms be downloadable on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting NMFS by phone. This proposed action would contain a similar VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 new regulation at § 679.94(a)(3) for the Trawl C/P EDR form. Detailed instructions on each form would describe how to submit data through an electronic web-form operated by the data collection agent (DCA), or by mail to the DCA. This proposed rule would include a new definition for ‘‘Data Collection Agent’’ at § 679.2. The DCA would be described as the entity selected by the Regional Administrator (i.e., NMFS) to distribute an EDR to a person required to complete it, receive the completed EDR, review and verify the accuracy of the data in the EDR, and then provide the data to authorized recipients such as NMFS economists. Submitter Certification of the GOA Trawl EDRs NMFS proposes that persons submitting an EDR form certify the accuracy of information describing the owners or leaseholders of each vessel or processor, and contact information. The proposed action would include new regulations at § 679.110(d) to require completion of an EDR certification statement: (1) Attesting to the accuracy and completion of the EDR by signing and dating the certification portion of the applicable EDR form; or (2) attesting that the submitter meets the conditions exempting them from completing the entire EDR form as described in the certification portion of the applicable EDR form and sign and date the certification portion of the form. This proposed action would contain a similar new regulation at § 679.94(a)(4) for the Trawl C/P EDR form. General certification information would be specified in each EDR form and would include: (1) The name of the submitter or designated representative; (2) contact information for those persons; (3) the Amendment 80 permit number, Trawl C/P vessel identification number, Trawl CV LLP permit number, or FPP permit number held by the person required to submit the EDR; and (5) a requirement for a person to attest to the accuracy of the data submitted. The certification section of each EDR would also include information that can be used for a submitter to determine if they would be exempt from filling out certain sections of the EDR. For example, the certification information in the Trawl CV EDR requests information on whether the LLP license was assigned to a vessel that made landings of groundfish in the GOA using trawl gear in the previous calendar year. If the vessel did not, then the LLP license holder would not be required to fill out the remaining portions of the Trawl CV EDR. PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Data Verification and Auditing for the GOA Trawl EDRs The proposed action would include new regulations at § 679.110(e) to establish the procedures for Trawl CV and Processor EDR data audits. This proposed action would also contain a similar new regulation at § 679.94(b) for Trawl C/P EDR data audits. The auditing procedures for data submitted in both the Trawl CV and Processor EDR would be similar. Regulations for the existing BSAI Crab CR Program and Amendment 80 Program EDRs authorize data verification and audits, and specify when EDR submitters are required to respond to NMFS inquiries regarding data accuracy and data completeness. Those procedures are summarized as follows: (1) NMFS will verify information and submitted data with the EDR submitter or designated representative; (2) the EDR submitter or designated representative must respond to NMFS’ inquiries within 20 days of the date of the inquiry; and (3) the EDR submitter or designated representative must provide NMFS with additional information or data to facilitate verification. NMFS proposes that the data verification and CR EDR and Amendment 80 auditing processes should be adopted for the EDR verification process and regulations. Data verification and audits will be conducted by NMFS staff, the DCA, and a designated data collection auditor (DDCA). NMFS is proposing to define the term ‘‘data collection agent’’ at § 679.2 as the person NMFS selects to distribute EDRs to those required to complete it, receive the completed EDR, review and verify the accuracy of the data in the EDR, and provide those data to authorized recipients. This definition would not affect the roles and responsibilities of existing DCAs and clarifies the DCA’s specific responsibilities. NMFS is proposing to define the term ‘‘designated data collection auditor’’ at § 679.2 as an examiner employed by, or under contract to, the data collection agent (DCA) to verify data submitted in an economic data report or the NMFSdesignated contractor to perform the functions of a data collection auditor. Confidential Data and Blind Data for the GOA Trawl EDRs Information submitted to NMFS in an EDR would be considered confidential and not disclosable to the public. Unless a court orders disclosure to other third parties, confidential data may be disclosed only to authorized persons, E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules including NMFS employees, Council staff, NMFS, or Council contractors. Persons authorized to receive and handle confidential information must comply with agency measures that ensure the information is protected from accidental disclosure to the public. While the submitted information would be considered confidential, the information can be released to the public under certain circumstances. For example, information can be released if it has been aggregated or summarized with other submitter’s information and does not reveal the submitter’s identification or business. Section 3.6 of the Analysis describes the current aggregation standards used by NMFS. NMFS proposes the use of blind data formatting before EDR data could be provided to authorized users such as NMFS economists and Council analytical staff. The requirement for blind data formatting would not apply to data submitted under the Trawl C/P EDR. NMFS is proposing to include new regulations at § 679.110(f) to establish that unaggregated Trawl C/P EDR data may be released to authorized data users in blind data format only. NMFS is proposing to define the term ‘‘blind data’’ at § 679.2 as any data collected from an EDR by the data collection agent that are subsequently amended by removing personal identifiers, including, but not limited to social security numbers, crew permit numbers, names and addresses, Federal fisheries permit numbers, Federal processor permit numbers, Federal tax identification numbers, and State of Alaska vessel registration and permit numbers, and by adding in their place a nonspecific identifier. A non-specific identifier is a random number that is assigned to a unique to a vessel, plant or entity, and cannot be linked to a personal identifier such as a person’s name, business name, or address. This proposed regulation would further reduce the chances that confidential EDR information, such as proprietary information, would be accidently disclosed. The Council and NMFS determined that reducing the chances of accidental disclosure was seen as a greater potential benefit than those that could be gained if analysts could review a complete data set with identifiers. Trawl C/P EDR information would be considered confidential and not disclosable to the public. The EDR information would be handled in accordance with existing Amendment 80 Program EDR procedures. Authorized NMFS, DCA, and Council staff would have access to all data collected in the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 Trawl C/P EDR. Trawl C/P EDR data, including individual identifiers from submitters, would not be converted to blind data. This is consistent with the intent of the Council and NMFS that all Trawl C/Ps catching groundfish in the GOA, including those that do not receive an Amendment 80 QS permit, be required to provide vessel specific information to analysts. These data would continue to assist in evaluating the economic conditions in the Amendment 80 Program and in any future GOA trawl groundfish management program. No unauthorized releases of individual Amendment 80 EDR data have occurred through use of vessel specific data by NMFS and the Council staff, and the participants in this sector have not expressed concerns regarding the security of specific vessel data. While the submitted information would be considered confidential, the information can be released to the public under certain circumstances. For example, information can be released if it has been aggregated or summarized with other submitter’s information and doesn’t reveal the submitter’s identification or business. Section 3.6 of the Analysis describes the current aggregation standards used by NMFS. Effective Date for the Proposed Action The Council requested that the GOA Trawl EDR program be implemented as soon as practicable. If the Secretary of Commerce approves the final rule for this proposed action in 2014, completed annual EDRs from this action would be required for the entire year of 2015. The first EDRs would be provided to the DCA in June 2016, and annually for each year thereafter. This schedule would provide the submitters of the GOA Trawl EDRs with sufficient time to prepare and maintain records necessary to complete and submit an EDR. Persons subject to the EDR submission requirement would, for example, keep associated GOA trawl invoices starting January 1, 2015. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the GOA and BSAI Groundfish FMPs, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined not to be significant for the purposes of Executive Order 12866. An RIR was prepared for this action that assesses all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives. The PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 46765 RIR describes the potential size, distribution, and magnitude of the economic impacts this action may be expected to have. The RIR shows that this action may create a small burden on commercial fishing operations because it increases recordkeeping and reporting costs. This action creates a small increase in administrative costs because NMFS will need to administer or revise a contract for verification and auditing of the proposed EDRs. An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was prepared for this action, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA). An IRFA is required to include: (a) A description of the reasons why action by the agency is being considered; (b) a succinct statement of the objectives of, and legal basis for, the proposed rule; (c) a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of small entities to which the proposed rule will apply; (d) a description of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance requirements of the proposed rule; (e) an identification, to the extent practicable, of all relevant Federal rules which may duplicate, overlap or conflict with the proposed rule; and (f) a description of any significant alternatives to the proposed rule which accomplish the stated objectives of applicable statutes and which minimize any significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. A summary of the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is available from NMFS (see ADDRESSES). The entities directly regulated by this action are (1) those entities that catch and process groundfish at-sea using trawl gear in the GOA; (2) those entities that own or lease vessels that are named on an LLP license and that are endorsed for trawl gear as a catcher vessel in any GOA endorsement area; (3) shoreside processors and SFPs that take deliveries of groundfish from vessels using trawl gear in the GOA; and (4) Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) groups. Using the small entity threshold for a commercial finfishing entity, which became effective on July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647, June 14, 2014), the number of employees worldwide for a processing entity, and entities that qualify for nonprofit status, there were an estimated 52 small entities affected by this proposed action. Of 87 directly regulated trawl entities (including 47 CVs and one C/P, the F/V Golden Fleece), 48 were small entities under the $19 million threshold. Of 15 shoreside processors, two were small entities under the threshold for the number of employees, worldwide. E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 46766 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules Of six Community Development Quota program (CDQ) entities, two CDQ entities were small entities, under the threshold for non-profit entities under the CDQ program. Through the CDQ program, the Council and NMFS allocate a portion of the BSAI groundfish TACs, and PSC limits for Pacific halibut and several crab species, to 65 eligible Western Alaska communities. These communities work through six non-profit CDQ groups, which are required to use the proceeds from the CDQ allocations to start or support activities that will result in ongoing, regionally based, commercial fishery or related businesses. The CDQ group’s ownership of harvesting vessels that operate in the GOA means that some of the group’s activities could be directly regulated in the same manner as other small entities that own vessels harvesting groundfish in the GOA. Because they are nonprofit entities, the two CDQ groups that had ownership interests in trawl vessels that operated in the GOA groundfish fisheries in 2012 are considered small entities for RFA purposes. An IRFA requires a description of any significant alternatives to the proposed action(s) that accomplish the stated objectives, are consistent with applicable statutes, and that would minimize any significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. The alternatives selected by the Council were developed with the goal to minimize economic impacts of a data collection program. That goal has resulted in a limited data collection program that focuses on areas that are of greatest need, as the Council considers further development of a trawl catch share program in the GOA. The preferred alternative chosen by the Council and proposed by NMFS has several elements, including the Trawl C/ P EDR, the Trawl CV EDR, and the Processor EDR. The preferred alternative (the action alternative to implement the GOA Trawl EDR Program) places somewhat larger reporting obligations on directly regulated small entities than the alternative of retaining the status quo. There are no alternatives that have a smaller adverse economic impact on directly regulated small entities that still achieve the objectives of the proposed GOA Trawl EDR Program. NMFS evaluated a number of alternatives to the preferred alternative, including: (1) No action, (2) a variety of additional data fields for detecting reasons for decisions to use or not use various PSC avoidance devices or other behaviors to avoid PSC, (3) applying aggregation procedures to the data to limit analysts from having access to VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 individual vessel or processor level observations, (4) collection of landings and production data, (5) creation of blind data for all vessels submitting the Trawl C/P EDR, (6) extending CV logbooks to vessels less than 60 feet length overall, (7) reporting employee activities of vessel owner, operator, or crew for readying a vessel before and after a fishing trip, and (8) itemizing each data reporting field in the GOA Trawl EDR Program in regulation. Because current economic data on the GOA trawl fisheries and processing operations are not available for evaluating the range and magnitude of economic effects of introducing a modified program to best reduce and utilize PSC to the extent practicable in the future, the no action alternative (Alternative 1) would not achieve the objectives of the action. Each of the additional alternatives considered but not proposed, placed additional burden on reporting entities, and were not anticipated to improve the quality and accuracy of data that were necessary for understanding the current economic conditions in the GOA trawl fisheries, or provide substantially improved data to understand the potential impact of a GOA trawl catch share program. None of these alternatives met both the objectives of the action and had a smaller impact on small entities, compared with the preferred alternative. The Analysis revealed no Federal rules that would conflict with, overlap, or be duplicated by the alternatives under consideration. Collection-of-Information Requirements 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 revisions have been submitted to OMB for approval. The collections are listed below by OMB control number. OMB 0648–0564 Public reporting burden for Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic Data Report (EDR) is estimated to average 22 hours per response. The name of this collection was previously Amendment 80 Program EDR for the Non-AFA Trawl Catcher/Processors. OMB 0648–0000 Public reporting burden is estimated to average 15 hours per response for Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR; and 3 hours per response for Annual Shoreside Processor EDR. Estimated responses include the time for reviewing instructions, searching PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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 on 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 NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to 202–395–7285. 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 http://www.cio.noaa.gov/ services_programs/prasubs.html. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679 Alaska, Fisheries, 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 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 § 679.2, add, in alphabetical order, definitions for ‘‘Blind data’’ and ‘‘Data collection agent,’’ and revise the definitions for ‘‘Designated data collection auditor’’ and ‘‘Economic data report’’ to read as follows: ■ § 679.2 Definitions. * * * * * Blind data means any data collected from an economic data report by the data collection agent that are subsequently amended by removing E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules personal identifiers, including, but not limited to social security numbers, crew permit numbers, names and addresses, Federal fisheries permit numbers, Federal processor permit numbers, Federal tax identification numbers, and State of Alaska vessel registration and permit numbers, and by adding in their place a nonspecific identifier. * * * * * Data collection agent (DCA) means the entity selected by the Regional Administrator to distribute an EDR to a person required to complete it, to receive the completed EDR, to review and verify the accuracy of the data in the EDR, and to provide those data to authorized recipients. * * * * * Designated data collection auditor (DDCA) means an examiner employed by, or under contract to, the data collection agent (DCA) to verify data submitted in an economic data report or the NMFS-designated contractor to perform the functions of a data collection auditor. * * * * * Economic data report (EDR) means the report of cost, labor, earnings, and revenue data required under § 679.65, § 679.94, and § 679.110. * * * * * ■ 3. Revise § 679.94 to read as follows: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS § 679.94 Economic data report (EDR) for the Amendment 80 sector and Gulf of Alaska Trawl Catcher/Processors. (a) Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic Data Report (EDR)—(1) Requirement to submit an EDR. A person who held an Amendment 80 QS permit during a calendar year, or an owner or leaseholder of a vessel that was named on a Limited License Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a Catcher/Processor using trawl gear to harvest and process LLP groundfish species in the GOA must submit a complete Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR for that calendar year by following the instructions on the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR form. (2) Deadline. A completed EDR or EDR certification pages must be submitted as required on the form to NMFS for each calendar year on or before 1700 hours, A.l.t., June 1 of the following year. (3) Information required. The Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR form is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting NMFS at 1–800–304–4846. (4) EDR certification pages. Any person required to submit an EDR under VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or their designated representative, if applicable, must submit the EDR certification statement as either: (i) Part of the entire EDR. Persons submitting the completed EDR must attest to the accuracy and completion of the EDR by signing and dating the certification portion of the EDR form; or (ii) EDR certification only. Persons submitting a completed EDR certification only must attest that they meet the conditions exempting them from submitting the entire EDR as described in the certification portion of the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR form and sign and date the certification portion of the EDR form. (b) Verification of EDR data. (1) NMFS, the DCA, or the DDCA will conduct verification of information with persons required to submit the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR, or if applicable, that person’s designated representative. (2) Persons required to submit the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR or designated representative, if applicable, must respond to inquiries by NMFS, the designated DCA, or the DDCA within 20 days of the date of issuance of the inquiry. (3) The persons required to submit the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR or designated representative, if applicable, must provide copies of additional data to facilitate data verification. NMFS, the DCA, or the DDCA may review and request copies of additional data provided by the persons required to submit the Annual Trawl Catcher/ Processor EDR form or designated representative, if applicable, including but not limited to, previously audited or reviewed financial statements, worksheets, tax returns, invoices, receipts, and other original documents substantiating the data submitted in an Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR form. ■ 4. Add subpart J, consisting of § 679.110, to read as follows: Subpart J—Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data § 679.110 Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data Reports (EDRs). (a) Requirements to submit an EDR— (1) GOA Trawl Catcher Vessels. The owner or leaseholder of any vessel that was named on a Limited License Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a catcher vessel using trawl gear to harvest LLP groundfish species in the GOA must submit a complete Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel Economic Data Report (EDR) for that calendar year PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 46767 by following the instructions on the Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR form. (2) GOA Shoreside Processors and Stationary Floating Processors. The owner or leaseholder of a shoreside processor or stationary floating processor with a Federal Processor Permit (FPP) that processes groundfish caught by vessels fishing with trawl gear in the GOA must submit a complete Annual Shoreside Processor Economic Data Report (EDR) for that calendar year by following the instructions on the Annual Shoreside Processor EDR form. (3) Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic Data Report (EDR). The owner or leaseholder of a vessel that was named on a Limited License Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a Catcher/Processor using trawl gear to harvest and process LLP groundfish in the GOA must submit an Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR as described at § 679.94 for that calendar year. (b) Deadline. A completed EDR or EDR certification page for: (1) The Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR or the Annual Shoreside Processor EDR must be submitted to the DCA for each calendar year on or before 1700 hours, A.l.t., June 1 of the following year, or (2) The Annual Trawl Catcher/ Processor EDR must be submitted to NMFS as required at § 679.94(a)(2). (c) Information required. The Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR, Annual Shoreside Processor EDR, and Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR forms are available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting NMFS at 1–800–304–4846. (d) EDR certification. Any person required to submit an EDR under paragraph (a) of this section, or the designated representative, if applicable, must submit the EDR certification statement as either: (1) Part of the entire EDR. Persons submitting the applicable EDR form must attest to the accuracy and completion of the EDR by signing and dating the certification portion of the applicable EDR form; or (2) EDR certification only. Persons submitting a completed EDR certification only must attest that they meet the conditions exempting them from submitting the entire EDR as described in the certification portion of the applicable EDR form and sign and date the certification portion of the form. (e) Verification of EDR data. (1) NMFS, the DCA, or the DDCA will conduct verification of information with persons required to submit the E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1 46768 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 154 / Monday, August 11, 2014 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS applicable EDR, or if applicable, that person’s designated representative. (2) The persons required to submit the applicable EDR or designated representative, if applicable, must respond to inquiries by NMFS, the designated DCA, or the DDCA within 20 days of the date of issuance of the inquiry. (3) The persons required to submit the applicable EDR or designated VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 08, 2014 Jkt 232001 representative, if applicable, must provide copies of additional data to facilitate data verification. NMFS, the DCA, or the DDCA may review and request copies of additional data provided by the persons required to submit the applicable EDR form or designated representative, if applicable, including but not limited to, previously audited or reviewed financial statements, worksheets, tax returns, PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 invoices, receipts, and other original documents substantiating the data submitted in an EDR form. (f) DCA authorization. Except for EDR data submitted as required under 679.94(a), the DCA is authorized to release unaggregated EDR data to authorized data users in blind data format only. [FR Doc. 2014–18675 Filed 8–8–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\11AUP1.SGM 11AUP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 154 (Monday, August 11, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 46758-46768]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-18675]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 140311229-4229-01]
RIN 0648-BE09


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Gulf of 
Alaska Trawl Economic Data Report

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 to implement the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Trawl 
Economic Data Report Program to evaluate the economic effects of 
current and anticipated future fishery management measures for the GOA 
trawl fisheries. This data collection program is necessary to provide 
the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS with 
baseline economic information on harvesters, crew, processors, and 
communities active in the GOA trawl fisheries, which could be used to 
assess the impacts of anticipated future fishery management measures on 
GOA trawl groundfish management. The data collected for this program 
would be submitted by vessel owners and leaseholders of GOA trawl 
vessels, processors receiving deliveries from those trawl vessels, and 
trawl catcher/processors. The types of data collected would include, 
but not be limited to, labor information, revenues, capital and 
operational expenses, and other operational or financial data. This 
action is intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 
the GOA Fishery Management Plan, and other applicable laws.

DATES: Submit comments on or before September 10, 2014.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2014-0035, by either 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-2014-0035, 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. Mail comments to 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.
    Electronic copies of the Categorical Exclusion and the Regulatory 
Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (collectively, 
Analysis) prepared for this action are available from http://www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS 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 
proposed rule may be submitted to NMFS at the above address and by 
email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or fax to 202-395-7285.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Hartman, 907-586-7228.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the 
exclusive economic zone of the GOA and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands 
Management Area (BSAI) under the GOA Fishery Management Plan (GOA FMP) 
and BSAI Fishery Management Plan (BSAI FMP) (collectively, the FMPs). 
The Council prepared these FMPs under the authority of the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 
16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Regulations implementing the FMPs appear at 50 
CFR part 679. General regulations governing U.S. fisheries also appear 
at 50 CFR part 600.
    The following sections of the preamble describe: (1) General 
management of trawl fisheries in the GOA, (2) the objectives and 
rationale for this proposed action, and (3) provisions of the proposed 
action.

General Management of Groundfish and PSC in the GOA

    The trawl groundfish fisheries in the GOA include fisheries for 
pollock, sablefish, several rockfish species, numerous flatfish 
species, Pacific cod, and other groundfish. Trawl gear is a fishing 
practice that captures groundfish by towing a net above or along the 
ocean floor. Trawl fisheries are active in three specific areas of the 
GOA: (1) The West Yakutat District in the eastern portion of the GOA, 
(2) the Central GOA regulatory area, and (3) the Western GOA regulatory 
area. These specific areas are defined in regulation at Sec.  679.2. 
This proposed action would apply to the federally-permitted vessels 
using trawl gear to harvest groundfish in these specific areas of the 
GOA. This proposed action would not apply to the southeastern portion 
of the GOA because that area is closed to trawl

[[Page 46759]]

fisheries (63 FR 8356, February 19, 1998). Additional detail on the 
fisheries and groundfish species harvested in the GOA trawl fisheries 
in the GOA are provided in the Section 3.7 of the Analysis and in the 
final 2014 and 2015 harvest specifications for the GOA groundfish 
fisheries (79 FR 12890, March 6, 2014).
    Groundfish harvested in the GOA trawl fisheries are managed under 
annual total allowable catch (TAC) limits. For some groundfish species, 
regulations limit vessels using trawl gear to a specific portion, or 
allocation, of the TAC. Section 3.7 of the Analysis and the final 2014 
and 2015 harvest specifications for the GOA groundfish fisheries (79 FR 
12890, March 6, 2014) describe these catch limits in greater detail.
    To ensure that TAC limits and groundfish allocations are not 
exceeded, NMFS requires vessel operators participating in groundfish 
fisheries in the GOA to comply with a range of restrictions, such as 
area, time, gear, and operation-specific fishery closures. Regulations 
at Sec.  679.20(d)(1), (d)(2), and (d)(3) describe the range of 
management measures that NMFS uses to maintain total catch at or below 
the TAC and groundfish species allocations to trawl gear.
    In addition to these measures to limit catch of groundfish species, 
the Council and NMFS have adopted various measures intended to control 
the catch of species taken incidentally in groundfish fisheries. 
Certain species are designated as ``prohibited species catch'' (PSC) 
species in the FMPs because they are the primary target of other, fully 
utilized domestic fisheries. The FMPs and regulations at Sec.  679.21 
require that catch of PSC species must be avoided while fishing for 
groundfish, and when incidentally caught, these PSC species must be 
immediately returned to the sea with a minimum of injury. The PSC 
species include Pacific halibut, Pacific herring, Pacific salmon, 
steelhead trout, king crab, and Tanner crab.
    NMFS has implemented a range of PSC control measures in the BSAI 
and GOA at Sec.  679.21 for halibut, salmon, crab, and other PSC 
species, including: (1) Closing groundfish fishing in areas with a high 
occurrence of prohibited species, or where there is a relatively high 
level of PSC; (2) requiring the use of gear specifically modified to 
minimize PSC; and (3) establishing PSC limits in specific Alaska 
groundfish fisheries in the BSAI and GOA.
    The Council has recommended and NMFS has implemented specific 
measures to limit PSC in the GOA trawl fisheries. These include: (1) 
Seasonal and annual limits on the amount of halibut PSC that may be 
taken; (2) seasonal and permanent area closures to protect red king 
crab and Tanner crab in the GOA; (3) requirements that nonpelagic trawl 
vessels use specific gear that minimizes impacts on red king crab and 
Tanner crab in the GOA; and (4) limits on the maximum amount of Chinook 
salmon PSC that may be taken in the directed pollock fishery in the 
GOA. Section 1.2 of the Analysis provides additional detail on these 
management measures. The Council recommended that NMFS set PSC limits 
for Chinook salmon caught in non-pollock GOA trawl groundfish 
fisheries. A proposed rule to implement Chinook salmon PSC limits in 
the Western and Central GOA non-pollock trawl fisheries was published 
in the Federal Register on June 25, 2014 (79 FR 35971).
    The Council is considering new management measures so participants 
in the GOA trawl fisheries are better able to avoid PSC and efficiently 
minimize the amount of PSC that cannot be avoided. One of the 
management measures the Council is considering for GOA groundfish trawl 
fishery participants is a catch share program. A catch share program 
allocates exclusive harvest privileges for certain groundfish or 
shellfish species to specific fishery participants. This exclusive 
harvest privilege allows fishery participants to tailor their fishing 
operations to their available allocation and avoid a costly and 
inefficient ``race for fish'' with other fishery participants seeking 
to maximize their harvest before the TAC is reached. Over the years, 
the Council has recommended, and NMFS has implemented, a series of 
catch share programs to manage groundfish trawl harvests to specific 
TAC limits, while providing participants in those fisheries the ability 
to minimize bycatch to the extent practicable and realize greater 
economic revenue (see Section 3.9 and 4.6 of the Analysis for 
additional detail).
    Catch share programs implemented for trawl fisheries have included 
not only an allocation of a specific portion of the TAC but also an 
allocation of a portion of the PSC limits for salmon or halibut 
depending on the program. Participants in these trawl catch share 
programs are prohibited from exceeding either their allocation of TAC 
or PSC. By allocating a portion of the TAC and PSC limits, catch share 
program participants have strong economic incentive to minimize their 
catch of PSC species to improve their chances of fully harvesting their 
allocation of the TAC.
    The Central GOA Rockfish Program is an example of a GOA trawl catch 
share program that allocates a portion of the TAC for specific 
groundfish species and a halibut PSC limit (76 FR 81248, December 27, 
2011). The Central GOA Rockfish Program has proven successful at 
allowing harvesters to fully harvest their groundfish species 
allocations while minimizing the amount of halibut PSC (Section 3.7 of 
the Analysis provides additional detail on the Central GOA Rockfish 
Program). The Council is considering a similar catch share program for 
other trawl fisheries in the GOA. For additional detail on catch share 
programs and anticipated future management of GOA trawl fisheries, see 
Section 1.2 of the Analysis.
    Based on past experience, catch share programs have previously 
resulted in fundamental changes to harvesting and processing patterns. 
In turn, the changes have affected harvesting and processing employment 
and revenue. Catch share programs have also had impacts on fishing 
communities and associated support services, such as utilities energy, 
waste treatment, and social services due to the changes in harvesting 
and processing patterns. Catch share programs may have beneficial, 
neutral, or adverse economic impacts on specific businesses, 
communities, and employees dependent on the GOA trawl fisheries.
    However, the potential economic impacts of a prospective GOA trawl 
catch share program are uncertain without a baseline understanding of 
the economic conditions prior to its implementation. In addition, 
understanding the economic changes that could occur upon implementation 
of a GOA trawl catch share program could help guide the Council and 
NMFS in future decisions about program modifications. For example, 
understanding the changes in harvesting crew revenue before and after 
implementation of a GOA trawl catch share program could help the 
Council and NMFS determine if the GOA trawl catch share program should 
be modified to provide additional measures to protect or enhance 
harvesting crew revenue.

Objectives and Rationale for the Proposed Action

    The objectives of this proposed action are to: (1) Collect baseline 
economic data on the trawl groundfish fisheries in the GOA to evaluate 
the effect of prospective future GOA trawl catch share management on 
affected harvesters, processors, and communities, (2) implement the 
baseline data collection as soon as practicable, and (3) minimize the 
stakeholder burden to report economic

[[Page 46760]]

data by collecting data that are reliable, relevant, and cannot be 
obtained from existing data collections. Given the potential for 
implementation of catch shares in the GOA, the scope of the proposed 
action would include participants in trawl fisheries in the West 
Yakutat District, Central GOA regulatory area, and the Western GOA 
regulatory area. The collection of baseline economic data in these 
areas would help the Council and NMFS understand the potential economic 
and employment impacts of a future GOA trawl catch share management 
program on persons participating in specific job categories of fishing, 
processing, or administration of fishing operations. This understanding 
could help guide future decisions about the management of a prospective 
GOA trawl catch share program.
    To address these objectives, additional data are needed prior to 
the implementation of a GOA trawl catch share program to augment data 
that are currently available. The Council believes and NMFS agrees that 
collecting baseline information not otherwise available would provide a 
better understanding on the current economic conditions in the GOA 
trawl fisheries, and the potential impacts of a prospective GOA trawl 
catch share program. In particular, this proposed action would collect 
economic data on the crew members that participate in the GOA trawl 
fishery, workers in plants processing trawl-caught groundfish from the 
GOA, and these workers' compensation in the period before the Council 
fully develops and NMFS implements a GOA trawl catch share program.
    In October 2013, the Council recommended that NMFS implement an 
economic data collection for GOA trawl fisheries through an Economic 
Data Report (EDR). EDRs are data collection reports submitted on an 
annual basis that are used to evaluate a catch share program's 
effectiveness. Furthermore, the EDR data are used to understand the 
economic effects of catch share programs. The Council based its 
recommendation on past experience with economic data collections that 
have been implemented in other catch share programs. Specifically, the 
Council analyzed the EDRs required for: (1) The BSAI Crab 
Rationalization (CR) Program (70 FR 10174, March 2, 2005); (2) the 
Amendment 80 Program that manages trawl catcher/processors active 
primarily in the BSAI, but also in the GOA (72 FR 52668, September 14, 
2007); and (3) the Bering Sea pollock trawl fishery. The EDRs for the 
BSAI Crab CR Program and the Amendment 80 Program provide information 
on the economic performance of fishery participants in those catch 
share programs that received exclusive harvesting or processing 
privileges. The EDR for the Bering Sea pollock fishery provides 
information used to assess the economic impact of management measures 
designed to minimize Chinook salmon PSC in that fishery (75 FR 53026, 
August 30, 2010).
    All three of these EDRs became effective either after catch share 
programs were implemented (in the case of the BSAI Crab Rationalization 
Program and the Amendment 80 Program) or after the Chinook salmon PSC 
management measures for the Bering Sea pollock fishery were 
implemented. Section 3.9 of the Analysis notes that because these EDRs 
were implemented after the catch share program or management measure 
was effective, they limited the ability of NMFS to effectively compare 
the economic impacts of the change in management. The Council 
recommended that the GOA trawl EDR be implemented prior to the 
prospective GOA trawl catch share program and thus minimize some of the 
limitations present in past economic data collections where EDRs were 
only issued and information was collected after the program was 
implemented.
    After the Council's October 2013 recommendation, NMFS conducted 
additional outreach with the potentially affected industry participants 
and developed draft EDR forms to ensure that the proposed data 
collection forms would be compatible with industry recordkeeping 
procedures and consistent with the intent of the Council. In April 
2014, the Council reviewed the proposed EDR forms developed for this 
proposed action and the draft regulatory text. The Council expressed 
its support that NMFS go forward with this proposed rule.
    The following section describes: (1) The persons required to submit 
the proposed EDR forms and the specific data that would be collected; 
(2) the proposed requirements to submit the EDR forms; and (3) and the 
proposed methods for reviewing and auditing the EDR data.

Provisions of the Proposed Action

    NMFS proposes to collect baseline economic data from persons who 
own, operate, or lease trawl catcher/processors (C/Ps) or trawl catcher 
vessels (CVs) that catch groundfish in the GOA, as well as from owners 
or operators of shoreside processors or stationary floating processors 
(SFPs) that receive catch harvested by trawl C/Ps or CVs. The baseline 
data includes, but is not limited to, quantities and costs of labor, 
fuel, and gear for vessels; it also includes labor and utility costs 
for processing companies. The proposed EDRs used to collect this 
baseline data would each be structured differently for CVs, C/Ps, and 
shoreside processors and SFPs because of the unique operating 
characteristics of these three operational groups.
    Catcher/processors catch groundfish with trawl gear and process 
their groundfish at sea, so the proposed Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor 
EDR (Trawl C/P EDR) would collect data relating to groundfish catching 
and processing operations. Catcher vessels catch groundfish with trawl 
gear and deliver unprocessed groundfish to either a shoreside or 
stationary floating processor, so the proposed Annual Trawl Catcher 
Vessel EDR (Trawl CV EDR) would collect economic and other data 
relating to the groundfish operations of these vessels. Shoreside 
processors operate on land and take deliveries of groundfish. SFPs 
operate near shore and take deliveries of groundfish from vessels and 
do not engage in groundfish fishing activities. The proposed Annual 
Shoreside Processor EDR (Processor EDR) would collect data related to 
both shoreside and SFP processing operations. These three operational 
groups and three types of EDRs are described in greater detail in the 
following sections of this preamble, and in the Analysis at Section 3.7 
and briefly summarized as follows. Each of these three EDRs is 
discussed in detail in the Analysis in Section 3.9.

Trawl C/P EDR

    Persons using trawl C/Ps to catch and process groundfish in the GOA 
during a calendar year would be required to submit a Trawl C/P EDR. The 
proposed Trawl C/P EDR would replace the EDR currently required under 
the Amendment 80 Program. Based on data from 2012, 22 vessels operate 
as trawl C/Ps in the GOA. Currently, and as explained further below, 
all but one of the persons using a trawl C/P in the GOA is subject to 
the requirements to submit an Amendment 80 EDR.
    NMFS proposes to amend existing Amendment 80 C/P EDR regulations to 
create the trawl C/P EDR program. To minimize duplication with existing 
Amendment 80 regulatory requirements, this proposed rule would: (1) 
Change the name of the existing Amendment 80 Program EDR to the Trawl 
C/P EDR; (2) require all persons currently required to submit an 
Amendment 80 Program EDR to submit the Trawl C/P EDR; and (3) extend 
the requirements to submit a

[[Page 46761]]

Trawl C/P EDR to all persons using trawl C/Ps to catch and process 
groundfish in the GOA if not already covered by the requirements of the 
Amendment 80 Program EDR. This proposed action would also streamline 
the regulatory text describing the information that must be entered in 
a Trawl C/P EDR form.
    This proposed action would modify Amendment 80 program regulations 
at Sec.  679.94(a) to rename the ``Amendment 80 Economic Data Report'' 
as the ``Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic Data Report'' because 
the Trawl C/P EDR would now apply to more than just the participants in 
the Amendment 80 Program. This proposed rule would also include new 
regulations at Sec.  679.94(a)(1) and at Sec.  679.110(a)(3) to require 
the owner or leaseholder of any vessel named on a Limited License 
Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a C/P using trawl gear 
to harvest and process LLP groundfish in the GOA to submit a Trawl C/P 
EDR as described at Sec.  679.94 for that calendar year.
    The instructions for submission of the Trawl C/P EDR would be 
described at both Sec.  679.94(a)(1) and at Sec.  679.110(a)(3). 
Because there would be GOA-based and BSAI Amendment 80-based trawl EDR 
submitters, NMFS proposes two separate regulatory references. Most of 
the Amendment 80 sector regulations, including those for the Amendment 
80 Program EDR, are codified at 50 CFR 679.94. Thus, owners, operators, 
or leaseholders of Amendment 80 vessels that only operate in the BSAI 
would continue to find EDR regulations at Sec.  679.94(a)(1), while the 
GOA trawl C/P submitters would find EDR submission requirements at 
Sec.  679.110, which would describe the Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic 
Data program.
    Under this proposed action, any person who held an Amendment 80 
quota share permit during a calendar year, or an owner or leaseholder 
of a vessel using trawl gear to harvest groundfish in the GOA and that 
processed groundfish on board that vessel during a calendar year, would 
be required to submit a Trawl C/P EDR. This requirement would ensure 
that those persons currently submitting an Amendment 80 Program EDR 
continue to submit data on their operations in the BSAI and GOA. This 
requirement would also ensure that any other persons owning or 
operating a trawl C/P vessel endorsed to fish in the GOA submit data 
from their operations in the GOA. This proposed change would ensure 
that the Trawl C/P EDR provides a comprehensive economic baseline on 
trawl C/Ps in the GOA.
    Based on data provided in Section 3.9 of the Analysis, at least one 
Amendment 80 vessel owner that has not been subject to the Amendment 80 
EDR requirements would be required to submit the Trawl C/P EDR under 
this proposed rule. The owner of the F/V Golden Fleece is currently 
exempt from the requirements to submit the Amendment 80 Program EDR 
because that vessel does not participate in the Amendment 80 Program. 
The owner would be required to submit the Trawl C/P EDR because the F/V 
Golden Fleece is used as a trawl C/P in the GOA. For more detailed 
information on the number of GOA trawl C/Ps subject to the Trawl C/P 
EDR, see the Analysis at Section 3.9.
    This proposed action would streamline and remove unnecessary 
regulatory text found at Sec.  679.94. Current regulatory text 
describes, in particular, data elements that must be submitted in the 
Amendment 80 EDR data fields, such as costs for oil, fuel, freight, 
storage, food and provisions. Proposed regulations at Sec.  679.94 
would specify that persons required to submit a Trawl C/P EDR would do 
so by filling out an electronic Trawl C/P EDR form with instructions 
that specify each data field in the form as opposed to describing each 
data field in regulation and in the data form. NMFS proposes this 
streamlined approach to simplify regulations, provide greater 
flexibility to modify specific data fields without requiring additional 
regulatory amendments, and reduce potential confusion if the text in 
the regulations and forms differ. Overall, this approach could provide 
submitters with a clearer understanding of the information that would 
be required.
    The Council recommended and NMFS proposes this approach based on 
experience with other EDRs. The economic data collection programs for 
the BSAI CR Program and the Bering Sea pollock fishery use streamlined 
regulatory text and the EDRs provide detailed instructions and 
requirements. This approach allows NMFS to consult with EDR submitters 
and the Council, and based on the consultations, amend, add, or remove 
specific information requests as needed. This approach would ensure the 
EDR is providing the information necessary to assess the economic 
performance of trawl C/Ps in both the Amendment 80 fishery and the GOA 
on a more timely basis.
    Concurrent with this proposed action, NMFS would provide notice of 
the proposed information collection in the Trawl C/P EDR form on the 
NMFS Web site at www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. Interested persons would 
have an opportunity to comment on the proposed Trawl C/P EDR 
information collection, consistent with the requirements of the 
Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA).
    If the Secretary of Commerce approves this Trawl EDR Program, any 
additional proposed changes to the Trawl C/P EDR form in the future 
would be implemented consistent with the recordkeeping and reporting 
requirements established by the PRA. NMFS would provide an opportunity 
for public comment on any additional proposed changes to the Trawl C/P 
EDR form.
    Although the specific elements in the Trawl C/P EDR form are not 
contained within the proposed regulatory text, the following section 
describes the proposed Trawl C/P EDR form so that the submitters 
understand the specific elements of the proposed information 
collection. To minimize repetition, the following section highlights 
changes in the proposed information collection in the Trawl C/P EDR 
form from the current Amendment 80 Program EDR form. Section 9.1 of the 
Analysis provides a detailed description of the current Amendment 80 
Program EDR form.

Trawl C/P EDR Form

Contact Information, Capital Costs, Capacity, Revenue, and Expenditure 
Data for Trawl C/P EDR
    NMFS proposes to collect the same general identifying information 
on owners, leaseholders, and representatives in the Trawl C/P EDR that 
was collected in the Amendment 80 Program EDR form. This would include 
names, addresses, unique vessel and person identifiers, and other 
contact information of owners and leaseholders of Amendment 80 QS 
permits and the vessels and operations. All previously implemented EDRs 
allow submitters the option to designate a representative whom NMFS 
could contact for questions on the submitted EDR. This option would be 
provided under this proposed action.
    No revisions from the current Amendment 80 Program EDR form are 
proposed for general revenue data, capital expenditure data, or other 
expenses. Data requirements on vessel characteristics, vessel survey 
value, fuel capacity, processing capacity, and freezing space would be 
unchanged from the Amendment 80 Program EDR form.

[[Page 46762]]

Modifications to Amendment 80 Program EDR Vessel Activity Table for the 
Trawl C/P EDR
    NMFS proposes that the Vessel Activity data table created for the 
Amendment 80 Program EDR form be placed in the Trawl C/P EDR form, but 
an additional field would be added to require trawl C/Ps to attribute 
the number of days of activity for fishing and processing in the GOA 
trawl fisheries versus other EEZ groundfish fishing or processing 
activity. This revision responds to the proposed action's objective to 
analyze economic effects of the GOA trawl fishery and seafood 
processing prior to and after implementation of any future catch share 
program.
Crew Employment, Payments, and License Data for Trawl C/P EDR
    NMFS proposes that data on crew licenses and State of Alaska 
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) limited entry fishing 
permit numbers of the fishing crew, should be included in the Trawl C/P 
EDR form. Neither the CFEC nor NMFS collect data identifying crew 
members who work aboard GOA trawl vessels. The only crew member data 
available for GOA groundfish fisheries are the annual counts of people 
who obtained crew licenses for fisheries in the State of Alaska, 
including where they live and where they bought their licenses. It is 
not possible to determine which of these licensed crew members fished 
in the GOA groundfish fishery or on a specific trawl vessel. Collecting 
these data annually would allow crew information to be linked to 
specific vessels. The vessel operator submission burden for these data 
would be minimized by allowing them access to a crew license/permit 
lookup file. This file would allow the person required to report the 
data to simply select their crew members from a list of permit holders. 
Access to the database should reduce the time and cost required for 
both the data collector and data provider to determine and correct, if 
necessary, misreported crew numbers.

Trawl CV EDR

    This proposed action would include new regulations at Sec.  
679.110(a)(1) to describe the persons who must submit the Annual Trawl 
Catcher Vessel Economic Data Report (Trawl CV EDR). These persons would 
include any owner or leaseholder of a vessel that was named on a 
Limited License Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a 
catcher vessel using trawl gear to harvest LLP groundfish species in 
the GOA for that year. Each of these persons must submit the Trawl CV 
EDR by following the instructions on the Trawl CV EDR form.
    An LLP license is required for vessels participating in directed 
fishing for groundfish in the GOA or that retain any bycatch of 
groundfish while targeting non-groundfish in the EEZ (see Sec.  679.4). 
A vessel must be named on an LLP license that is on board the vessel 
used to fish in the GOA, unless the vessel does not exceed 26 feet 
length overall (LOA). No trawl vessels less than 26 feet are active in 
the GOA. All trawl vessels currently active in the GOA are named on an 
LLP license. Therefore, tying the requirement to submit a Trawl CV EDR 
to the holder of an LLP license endorsed as a trawl CV in the GOA would 
capture participants who could use trawl gear to catch groundfish in 
the GOA groundfish fisheries. Based on 2012 data, there are currently 
84 LLP licenses endorsed as trawl catcher vessels in the GOA.
    As with the Trawl C/P EDR form, the specific data elements to be 
collected would be specified on the Trawl CV EDR form. Although the 
specific data elements in the Trawl CV EDR form are not contained 
within the proposed regulatory text, the following section describes 
the proposed Trawl CV EDR form so that the submitters understand the 
specific data elements of the proposed information collection.
    As noted in the discussion of the Trawl C/P EDR form, NMFS does not 
intend to implement additional changes to the Trawl CV EDR form without 
first consulting with EDR submitters and the Council. Any additional 
proposed changes to the Trawl C/P EDR form would be implemented 
consistent with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements 
established by the PRA, and NMFS would provide an opportunity for 
public comment on any additional proposed changes to the form.

Trawl CV EDR Form

    The Trawl CV EDR form would be a new EDR form collecting data on 
trawl CVs in the GOA. The EDR would collect baseline economic data on 
the GOA trawl fisheries. The Trawl CV EDR would collect (1) basic 
identifier and contact information for GOA trawl CV LLP holders; (2) 
labor information and employee identifiers; (3) payments to crew, 
captain, and other labor; (4) fuel usage and costs; and (5) gear 
purchases. The owner or leaseholder of a vessel named on an LLP, 
endorsed for CV operation and trawl gear in the GOA would be required 
to submit the Trawl CV EDR. Certification information would also be 
required in each Trawl CV EDR. For additional detail on the 
certification data, see the section ``Certification of the GOA Trawl 
EDRs'' in this preamble.
    NMFS proposes that the Trawl CV EDR would require submission of 
detailed contact and personal identifier data on LLP license holders 
and identification information for the vessels to which those LLP 
licenses were assigned. Vessel identification information would include 
the Alaska Department of Fish and Game vessel registration number and 
United States Coast Guard documentation number. The names and addresses 
of the persons and the companies associated with vessel activities also 
are necessary to understand the structure of the business firms in the 
fishery. As with previously implemented EDR programs, the Trawl CV EDR 
form would allow an LLP holder to designate a representative as a 
contact person who could address NMFS' questions on the EDR.

Labor Data for Trawl CVs

    NMFS proposes that the Alaska commercial crew member license number 
or a CFEC permit number for each individual who worked as a captain or 
crew member aboard a GOA trawl CV during the calendar year be submitted 
in the Trawl CV EDR form. As noted in the discussion on the Trawl C/P 
EDR form, these data are not currently collected by other means. The 
reason for including crew data for this EDR is similar to the reason 
for including this information in the Trawl C/P EDR form. These data 
will provide consistent information about the number of persons 
entering and exiting the trawl CV crew labor force, which is important 
baseline data for evaluating groundfish CVs operations in the GOA.
    NMFS proposes that the Trawl CV EDR form collect data on the annual 
wages, salaries, or related payment to crew and captains who worked 
aboard the vessel. The Alaska commercial crew member license number or 
CFEC permit number data could be linked to the commercial crew database 
to provide more useful estimates of labor payments to resident and non-
resident crew. The amount of the payment to crew and captains required 
in the Trawl CV EDR form would be the actual amount paid to crew and 
captains in their settlement, not their earnings before crew-related 
expenses (such as fuel, food, and provisions) were deducted. All post-
season adjustments to pay also would be included in the crew and 
captain labor field.
    In some cases, a captain who is not an LLP license holder may have 
information on payments to crew or have other data that would be 
submitted

[[Page 46763]]

in the Trawl CV EDR form. NMFS' experience with previous EDRs shows 
that owners and leaseholders form agreements with their employees to 
provide the necessary data to report in an EDR. The owners and 
leaseholders of these vessels would be responsible for submitting a 
Trawl CV EDR form and would be expected to gather any necessary 
information, such as crew wage payments, from their employees or other 
persons as needed.
Fuel Usage and Gear Data for Trawl CVs
    NMFS proposes that data on fuel use and cost, as well as the 
investment in gear in the GOA trawl fishery, would help evaluate the 
transitional effects of any future management programs. Data on fuel 
cost and gear purchases may assist the Council and NMFS to evaluate the 
efficiency of these operations by comparing fuel costs and gear 
purchases with data collected if a catch share program is implemented 
in the future. Reported costs for gear investments would include 
aggregate trawl gear purchases and leases in a calendar year (e.g., 
nets, doors, rollers, cables). These costs also would include those 
incurred for PSC excluder devices that are used with trawl gear in the 
GOA.

Processor EDR

    The owner or leaseholder of a shoreside processor or stationary 
floating processor (SFP) with a Federal Processor Permit (FPP) that 
processes groundfish delivered by vessels fishing with trawl gear in 
the GOA would be required to submit a complete Annual Shoreside 
Processor Economic Data Report (Shoreside Processor EDR) for each 
calendar year by following the instructions on the Shoreside Processor 
EDR form. All shoreside processors and SFPs located within Alaska State 
waters and receiving or processing groundfish harvested from Federal 
waters or from any federally permitted vessel must have a Federal 
Processor Permit (FPP). FPPs are non-transferable permits, valid for 
one year from March 1 to February 28, issued to owners on request 
without charge. These permits are authorized at Sec.  679.4(f).
    SFPs in the GOA are limited to operating within State of Alaska 
waters and are restricted by how many times annually they can relocate 
for processing purposes. Motherships also are limited in the GOA. 
Motherships cannot receive deliveries of pollock and Pacific cod, but 
are authorized to receive deliveries of flatfish. In 2013, no 
motherships were operating in the GOA.
    The Analysis shows that most of the shoreside processors receiving 
deliveries of Central GOA groundfish are located on Kodiak Island. 
Processors located in ports west of Kodiak tend to rely primarily on 
harvests from the Western GOA and the BSAI areas. Between 2008 and 
2012, as many as 19 shoreside processors and SFPs held an FPP and 
received deliveries of groundfish from vessels using trawl gear in the 
GOA groundfish fisheries. Shorebased processors receiving catch from 
GOA trawl fisheries are located in Akutan, Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, King 
Cove, Kodiak, Sand Point, Seward, and Sitka. There were also two SFPs 
operating in the GOA that have taken groundfish harvested by trawl 
vessels in the GOA deliveries during 2008 through 2012.
    This proposed action would include new regulations at Sec.  
679.110(a)(2) to require the owner or leaseholder of a shoreside 
processor or stationary floating processor (SFP) with an FPP that 
processes groundfish delivered by vessels fishing with trawl gear in 
the GOA to submit a complete Shoreside Processor EDR.
    Although the analysis points out that the processor EDR should 
collect data from all Kodiak processors, including the Kodiak Fish Meal 
Company, NMFS can require data submission only from processors that are 
first receivers of fish. The Kodiak Fish Meal Company holds an FFP, but 
receives ancillary groundfish product (see definitions at Sec.  679.2 
for ancillary product) that is used to produce fish meal. Because 
section 303(b)(7) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act only allows NMFS to 
collect information from ``first receivers of fish,'' NMFS is not 
authorized to require that data submission from the Kodiak Fish Meal 
Company. Based on NMFS records, the Kodiak Fish Meal Company does not 
receive deliveries of raw groundfish from vessels using trawl gear, and 
therefore cannot be considered a first receiver of fish and cannot be 
required to submit a Processor EDR form. Because the Kodiak Fish Meal 
Company has participated in voluntary submissions of data to NMFS in 
the past, NMFS believes it may voluntarily submit the Processor EDR 
form.
    As with the Trawl CV EDR form and the Trawl C/P EDR form, the 
specific data elements to be collected would be specified on the 
Processor EDR form. Although the specific data elements in the 
Processor EDR form are not contained within the proposed regulatory 
text, the following section describes the proposed Processor EDR form 
so that the submitters understand the specific elements of the proposed 
information collection.
    As noted in the discussion of the Trawl C/P and Trawl CV EDR forms, 
if a final rule for the Trawl EDR Program is approved by the Secretary 
of Commerce, NMFS does not intend to implement additional changes to 
the Processor EDR form without first consulting with EDR submitters and 
the Council. Furthermore, any additional proposed changes to the 
Processor EDR form would be implemented consistent with the PRA. The 
PRA requires that any modification to a collection of information, such 
as revising or adding data fields to an EDR form, be made available for 
public comment.

Processor EDR Form

    The proposed Processor EDR form would augment and improve the 
quality of NMFS' existing fisheries labor and employment data, and 
collect data about processor use of community utilities (for more 
information on specific data variables see the Analysis detail in 
Sections 3.9.2.3 and 3.9.2.4).
    The Processor EDR form would collect monthly data on the average 
number of groundfish processing employment positions and the associated 
labor hours and wage payments. The proposed information collection 
would assist NMFS' comparison of labor costs among processing plants. 
These employment data elements would be aggregated in the EDR for all 
fisheries, GOA management areas, and gear types. Collecting data for 
each month allows analysts to focus on changes that occur during months 
of high groundfish processing, relative to other species (e.g., 
salmon). Employment labor by hours per month would be reported 
separately in one of two categories: By labor hours for employees using 
housing provided by the processor-or or by labor hours for employees 
that do not use housing provided by the processor.
    NMFS determined that employment data from processors should not be 
broken out by fishery because employees may process fish from more than 
one fishery in a month or week, or participate in more than one type of 
processing job (e.g. processing line worker, processing manager). The 
reporting burden for processors to report labor data that is separated 
by fishery would be burdensome, and potentially delay implementation of 
this program.
    The shoreside processors and SFPs who submit the Processor EDR 
would be required to estimate payments to non-processing workers, such 
as management staff. These data elements would assist NMFS in 
understanding how other support and management staff are compensated. 
This information may assist NMFS in understanding the impacts of income 
and employment of

[[Page 46764]]

labor to the local economy, if these management employees are typically 
residents of the community in which the processing plant is located.
    NMFS proposes that the Processor EDR form collect data on water and 
electric usage from Kodiak processing plants because the utilities are 
supplied by the local community. This section of the Shoreside 
Processor EDR would collect this data from Kodiak plants only and not 
from processors in other communities because of the large number of 
processing plants active in Kodiak, the potential economic effects of 
changes in processing activities on the local utility services, and 
that in many other communities in the GOA utilities may not be directly 
supplied by the local community. Large adjustments in processing 
capacity may impact the amount that processors are willing to pay for 
community supplied energy and other utilities. In some communities, 
energy suppliers have upgraded peak energy production or total energy 
capacity to supply processing plants. In other cases, communities have 
upgraded the capacity of other utilities (e.g. potable water supply or 
waste water treatment) based on the long-term needs for seafood 
processing operations. A large change in deliveries to processing 
plants that idled a significant amount of the seafood processing 
capacity at one or more processing plants could change utility prices 
in a community, which NMFS could assess with baseline data from the 
Processor EDR.

General Submission Requirements for all GOA Trawl EDRs

    A completed Trawl C/P EDR, Trawl CV EDR, and Processor EDR form 
would be submitted to NMFS according to the instructions on each form. 
The proposed action would include new regulations at Sec.  679.110(b) 
to require that the Trawl CV and Processor EDR forms be submitted on 
June 1 of each year, providing data from the prior calendar year of 
operations. Proposed regulations at Sec.  679.110(b) would refer to the 
due date specified in Sec.  679.94(a)(2) for the Trawl C/P EDR form. 
The Trawl C/P EDR form is also due on June 1 of each year, providing 
data from the prior calendar year of operations. For example, in 2017, 
the Trawl C/P EDR form would be used to submit with data from the 2016 
calendar year.
    The proposed action would include new regulations at Sec.  
679.110(c) to require that the Trawl CV, and Processor EDR forms be 
downloadable on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at 
www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting NMFS by phone. This 
proposed action would contain a similar new regulation at Sec.  
679.94(a)(3) for the Trawl C/P EDR form. Detailed instructions on each 
form would describe how to submit data through an electronic web-form 
operated by the data collection agent (DCA), or by mail to the DCA. 
This proposed rule would include a new definition for ``Data Collection 
Agent'' at Sec.  679.2. The DCA would be described as the entity 
selected by the Regional Administrator (i.e., NMFS) to distribute an 
EDR to a person required to complete it, receive the completed EDR, 
review and verify the accuracy of the data in the EDR, and then provide 
the data to authorized recipients such as NMFS economists.

Submitter Certification of the GOA Trawl EDRs

    NMFS proposes that persons submitting an EDR form certify the 
accuracy of information describing the owners or leaseholders of each 
vessel or processor, and contact information. The proposed action would 
include new regulations at Sec.  679.110(d) to require completion of an 
EDR certification statement: (1) Attesting to the accuracy and 
completion of the EDR by signing and dating the certification portion 
of the applicable EDR form; or (2) attesting that the submitter meets 
the conditions exempting them from completing the entire EDR form as 
described in the certification portion of the applicable EDR form and 
sign and date the certification portion of the form. This proposed 
action would contain a similar new regulation at Sec.  679.94(a)(4) for 
the Trawl C/P EDR form.
    General certification information would be specified in each EDR 
form and would include: (1) The name of the submitter or designated 
representative; (2) contact information for those persons; (3) the 
Amendment 80 permit number, Trawl C/P vessel identification number, 
Trawl CV LLP permit number, or FPP permit number held by the person 
required to submit the EDR; and (5) a requirement for a person to 
attest to the accuracy of the data submitted.
    The certification section of each EDR would also include 
information that can be used for a submitter to determine if they would 
be exempt from filling out certain sections of the EDR. For example, 
the certification information in the Trawl CV EDR requests information 
on whether the LLP license was assigned to a vessel that made landings 
of groundfish in the GOA using trawl gear in the previous calendar 
year. If the vessel did not, then the LLP license holder would not be 
required to fill out the remaining portions of the Trawl CV EDR.

Data Verification and Auditing for the GOA Trawl EDRs

    The proposed action would include new regulations at Sec.  
679.110(e) to establish the procedures for Trawl CV and Processor EDR 
data audits. This proposed action would also contain a similar new 
regulation at Sec.  679.94(b) for Trawl C/P EDR data audits. The 
auditing procedures for data submitted in both the Trawl CV and 
Processor EDR would be similar.
    Regulations for the existing BSAI Crab CR Program and Amendment 80 
Program EDRs authorize data verification and audits, and specify when 
EDR submitters are required to respond to NMFS inquiries regarding data 
accuracy and data completeness. Those procedures are summarized as 
follows: (1) NMFS will verify information and submitted data with the 
EDR submitter or designated representative; (2) the EDR submitter or 
designated representative must respond to NMFS' inquiries within 20 
days of the date of the inquiry; and (3) the EDR submitter or 
designated representative must provide NMFS with additional information 
or data to facilitate verification.
    NMFS proposes that the data verification and CR EDR and Amendment 
80 auditing processes should be adopted for the EDR verification 
process and regulations. Data verification and audits will be conducted 
by NMFS staff, the DCA, and a designated data collection auditor 
(DDCA).
    NMFS is proposing to define the term ``data collection agent'' at 
Sec.  679.2 as the person NMFS selects to distribute EDRs to those 
required to complete it, receive the completed EDR, review and verify 
the accuracy of the data in the EDR, and provide those data to 
authorized recipients. This definition would not affect the roles and 
responsibilities of existing DCAs and clarifies the DCA's specific 
responsibilities.
    NMFS is proposing to define the term ``designated data collection 
auditor'' at Sec.  679.2 as an examiner employed by, or under contract 
to, the data collection agent (DCA) to verify data submitted in an 
economic data report or the NMFS-designated contractor to perform the 
functions of a data collection auditor.

Confidential Data and Blind Data for the GOA Trawl EDRs

    Information submitted to NMFS in an EDR would be considered 
confidential and not disclosable to the public. Unless a court orders 
disclosure to other third parties, confidential data may be disclosed 
only to authorized persons,

[[Page 46765]]

including NMFS employees, Council staff, NMFS, or Council contractors. 
Persons authorized to receive and handle confidential information must 
comply with agency measures that ensure the information is protected 
from accidental disclosure to the public. While the submitted 
information would be considered confidential, the information can be 
released to the public under certain circumstances. For example, 
information can be released if it has been aggregated or summarized 
with other submitter's information and does not reveal the submitter's 
identification or business. Section 3.6 of the Analysis describes the 
current aggregation standards used by NMFS.
    NMFS proposes the use of blind data formatting before EDR data 
could be provided to authorized users such as NMFS economists and 
Council analytical staff. The requirement for blind data formatting 
would not apply to data submitted under the Trawl C/P EDR.
    NMFS is proposing to include new regulations at Sec.  679.110(f) to 
establish that unaggregated Trawl C/P EDR data may be released to 
authorized data users in blind data format only. NMFS is proposing to 
define the term ``blind data'' at Sec.  679.2 as any data collected 
from an EDR by the data collection agent that are subsequently amended 
by removing personal identifiers, including, but not limited to social 
security numbers, crew permit numbers, names and addresses, Federal 
fisheries permit numbers, Federal processor permit numbers, Federal tax 
identification numbers, and State of Alaska vessel registration and 
permit numbers, and by adding in their place a nonspecific identifier. 
A non-specific identifier is a random number that is assigned to a 
unique to a vessel, plant or entity, and cannot be linked to a personal 
identifier such as a person's name, business name, or address.
    This proposed regulation would further reduce the chances that 
confidential EDR information, such as proprietary information, would be 
accidently disclosed. The Council and NMFS determined that reducing the 
chances of accidental disclosure was seen as a greater potential 
benefit than those that could be gained if analysts could review a 
complete data set with identifiers.
    Trawl C/P EDR information would be considered confidential and not 
disclosable to the public. The EDR information would be handled in 
accordance with existing Amendment 80 Program EDR procedures. 
Authorized NMFS, DCA, and Council staff would have access to all data 
collected in the Trawl C/P EDR. Trawl C/P EDR data, including 
individual identifiers from submitters, would not be converted to blind 
data. This is consistent with the intent of the Council and NMFS that 
all Trawl C/Ps catching groundfish in the GOA, including those that do 
not receive an Amendment 80 QS permit, be required to provide vessel 
specific information to analysts. These data would continue to assist 
in evaluating the economic conditions in the Amendment 80 Program and 
in any future GOA trawl groundfish management program. No unauthorized 
releases of individual Amendment 80 EDR data have occurred through use 
of vessel specific data by NMFS and the Council staff, and the 
participants in this sector have not expressed concerns regarding the 
security of specific vessel data. While the submitted information would 
be considered confidential, the information can be released to the 
public under certain circumstances. For example, information can be 
released if it has been aggregated or summarized with other submitter's 
information and doesn't reveal the submitter's identification or 
business. Section 3.6 of the Analysis describes the current aggregation 
standards used by NMFS.

Effective Date for the Proposed Action

    The Council requested that the GOA Trawl EDR program be implemented 
as soon as practicable. If the Secretary of Commerce approves the final 
rule for this proposed action in 2014, completed annual EDRs from this 
action would be required for the entire year of 2015. The first EDRs 
would be provided to the DCA in June 2016, and annually for each year 
thereafter. This schedule would provide the submitters of the GOA Trawl 
EDRs with sufficient time to prepare and maintain records necessary to 
complete and submit an EDR. Persons subject to the EDR submission 
requirement would, for example, keep associated GOA trawl invoices 
starting January 1, 2015.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) and 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed 
rule is consistent with the GOA and BSAI Groundfish FMPs, other 
provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law, 
subject to further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined not to be significant for 
the purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    An RIR was prepared for this action that assesses all costs and 
benefits of available regulatory alternatives. The RIR describes the 
potential size, distribution, and magnitude of the economic impacts 
this action may be expected to have. The RIR shows that this action may 
create a small burden on commercial fishing operations because it 
increases recordkeeping and reporting costs. This action creates a 
small increase in administrative costs because NMFS will need to 
administer or revise a contract for verification and auditing of the 
proposed EDRs.
    An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) was prepared for 
this action, as required by section 603 of the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act (RFA). An IRFA is required to include: (a) A description of the 
reasons why action by the agency is being considered; (b) a succinct 
statement of the objectives of, and legal basis for, the proposed rule; 
(c) a description of and, where feasible, an estimate of the number of 
small entities to which the proposed rule will apply; (d) a description 
of the projected reporting, recordkeeping and other compliance 
requirements of the proposed rule; (e) an identification, to the extent 
practicable, of all relevant Federal rules which may duplicate, overlap 
or conflict with the proposed rule; and (f) a description of any 
significant alternatives to the proposed rule which accomplish the 
stated objectives of applicable statutes and which minimize any 
significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. A 
summary of the analysis follows. A copy of this analysis is available 
from NMFS (see ADDRESSES).
    The entities directly regulated by this action are (1) those 
entities that catch and process groundfish at-sea using trawl gear in 
the GOA; (2) those entities that own or lease vessels that are named on 
an LLP license and that are endorsed for trawl gear as a catcher vessel 
in any GOA endorsement area; (3) shoreside processors and SFPs that 
take deliveries of groundfish from vessels using trawl gear in the GOA; 
and (4) Western Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) groups.
    Using the small entity threshold for a commercial finfishing 
entity, which became effective on July 14, 2014 (79 FR 33647, June 14, 
2014), the number of employees worldwide for a processing entity, and 
entities that qualify for non-profit status, there were an estimated 52 
small entities affected by this proposed action. Of 87 directly 
regulated trawl entities (including 47 CVs and one C/P, the F/V Golden 
Fleece), 48 were small entities under the $19 million threshold. Of 15 
shoreside processors, two were small entities under the threshold for 
the number of employees, worldwide.

[[Page 46766]]

Of six Community Development Quota program (CDQ) entities, two CDQ 
entities were small entities, under the threshold for non-profit 
entities under the CDQ program. Through the CDQ program, the Council 
and NMFS allocate a portion of the BSAI groundfish TACs, and PSC limits 
for Pacific halibut and several crab species, to 65 eligible Western 
Alaska communities. These communities work through six non-profit CDQ 
groups, which are required to use the proceeds from the CDQ allocations 
to start or support activities that will result in ongoing, regionally 
based, commercial fishery or related businesses. The CDQ group's 
ownership of harvesting vessels that operate in the GOA means that some 
of the group's activities could be directly regulated in the same 
manner as other small entities that own vessels harvesting groundfish 
in the GOA. Because they are nonprofit entities, the two CDQ groups 
that had ownership interests in trawl vessels that operated in the GOA 
groundfish fisheries in 2012 are considered small entities for RFA 
purposes.
    An IRFA requires a description of any significant alternatives to 
the proposed action(s) that accomplish the stated objectives, are 
consistent with applicable statutes, and that would minimize any 
significant economic impact of the proposed rule on small entities. The 
alternatives selected by the Council were developed with the goal to 
minimize economic impacts of a data collection program. That goal has 
resulted in a limited data collection program that focuses on areas 
that are of greatest need, as the Council considers further development 
of a trawl catch share program in the GOA. The preferred alternative 
chosen by the Council and proposed by NMFS has several elements, 
including the Trawl C/P EDR, the Trawl CV EDR, and the Processor EDR. 
The preferred alternative (the action alternative to implement the GOA 
Trawl EDR Program) places somewhat larger reporting obligations on 
directly regulated small entities than the alternative of retaining the 
status quo. There are no alternatives that have a smaller adverse 
economic impact on directly regulated small entities that still achieve 
the objectives of the proposed GOA Trawl EDR Program.
    NMFS evaluated a number of alternatives to the preferred 
alternative, including: (1) No action, (2) a variety of additional data 
fields for detecting reasons for decisions to use or not use various 
PSC avoidance devices or other behaviors to avoid PSC, (3) applying 
aggregation procedures to the data to limit analysts from having access 
to individual vessel or processor level observations, (4) collection of 
landings and production data, (5) creation of blind data for all 
vessels submitting the Trawl C/P EDR, (6) extending CV logbooks to 
vessels less than 60 feet length overall, (7) reporting employee 
activities of vessel owner, operator, or crew for readying a vessel 
before and after a fishing trip, and (8) itemizing each data reporting 
field in the GOA Trawl EDR Program in regulation.
    Because current economic data on the GOA trawl fisheries and 
processing operations are not available for evaluating the range and 
magnitude of economic effects of introducing a modified program to best 
reduce and utilize PSC to the extent practicable in the future, the no 
action alternative (Alternative 1) would not achieve the objectives of 
the action. Each of the additional alternatives considered but not 
proposed, placed additional burden on reporting entities, and were not 
anticipated to improve the quality and accuracy of data that were 
necessary for understanding the current economic conditions in the GOA 
trawl fisheries, or provide substantially improved data to understand 
the potential impact of a GOA trawl catch share program. None of these 
alternatives met both the objectives of the action and had a smaller 
impact on small entities, compared with the preferred alternative.
    The Analysis revealed no Federal rules that would conflict with, 
overlap, or be duplicated by the alternatives under consideration.

Collection-of-Information Requirements

    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 revisions have 
been submitted to OMB for approval. The collections are listed below by 
OMB control number.

OMB 0648-0564

    Public reporting burden for Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic 
Data Report (EDR) is estimated to average 22 hours per response. The 
name of this collection was previously Amendment 80 Program EDR for the 
Non-AFA Trawl Catcher/Processors.

OMB 0648-0000

    Public reporting burden is estimated to average 15 hours per 
response for Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR; and 3 hours per response 
for Annual Shoreside Processor EDR.
    Estimated responses include 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 on 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 NMFS (see ADDRESSES) and by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to 202-395-7285.
    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 http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, 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 679 is 
proposed to be amended as follows:

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

0
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.

0
2. In Sec.  679.2, add, in alphabetical order, definitions for ``Blind 
data'' and ``Data collection agent,'' and revise the definitions for 
``Designated data collection auditor'' and ``Economic data report'' to 
read as follows:


Sec.  679.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Blind data means any data collected from an economic data report by 
the data collection agent that are subsequently amended by removing

[[Page 46767]]

personal identifiers, including, but not limited to social security 
numbers, crew permit numbers, names and addresses, Federal fisheries 
permit numbers, Federal processor permit numbers, Federal tax 
identification numbers, and State of Alaska vessel registration and 
permit numbers, and by adding in their place a nonspecific identifier.
* * * * *
    Data collection agent (DCA) means the entity selected by the 
Regional Administrator to distribute an EDR to a person required to 
complete it, to receive the completed EDR, to review and verify the 
accuracy of the data in the EDR, and to provide those data to 
authorized recipients.
* * * * *
    Designated data collection auditor (DDCA) means an examiner 
employed by, or under contract to, the data collection agent (DCA) to 
verify data submitted in an economic data report or the NMFS-designated 
contractor to perform the functions of a data collection auditor.
* * * * *
    Economic data report (EDR) means the report of cost, labor, 
earnings, and revenue data required under Sec.  679.65, Sec.  679.94, 
and Sec.  679.110.
* * * * *
0
3. Revise Sec.  679.94 to read as follows:


Sec.  679.94  Economic data report (EDR) for the Amendment 80 sector 
and Gulf of Alaska Trawl Catcher/Processors.

    (a) Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic Data Report (EDR)--(1) 
Requirement to submit an EDR. A person who held an Amendment 80 QS 
permit during a calendar year, or an owner or leaseholder of a vessel 
that was named on a Limited License Program (LLP) groundfish license 
that authorizes a Catcher/Processor using trawl gear to harvest and 
process LLP groundfish species in the GOA must submit a complete Annual 
Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR for that calendar year by following the 
instructions on the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR form.
    (2) Deadline. A completed EDR or EDR certification pages must be 
submitted as required on the form to NMFS for each calendar year on or 
before 1700 hours, A.l.t., June 1 of the following year.
    (3) Information required. The Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR 
form is available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at 
www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting NMFS at 1-800-304-4846.
    (4) EDR certification pages. Any person required to submit an EDR 
under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, or their designated 
representative, if applicable, must submit the EDR certification 
statement as either:
    (i) Part of the entire EDR. Persons submitting the completed EDR 
must attest to the accuracy and completion of the EDR by signing and 
dating the certification portion of the EDR form; or
    (ii) EDR certification only. Persons submitting a completed EDR 
certification only must attest that they meet the conditions exempting 
them from submitting the entire EDR as described in the certification 
portion of the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR form and sign and 
date the certification portion of the EDR form.
    (b) Verification of EDR data. (1) NMFS, the DCA, or the DDCA will 
conduct verification of information with persons required to submit the 
Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR, or if applicable, that person's 
designated representative.
    (2) Persons required to submit the Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor 
EDR or designated representative, if applicable, must respond to 
inquiries by NMFS, the designated DCA, or the DDCA within 20 days of 
the date of issuance of the inquiry.
    (3) The persons required to submit the Annual Trawl Catcher/
Processor EDR or designated representative, if applicable, must provide 
copies of additional data to facilitate data verification. NMFS, the 
DCA, or the DDCA may review and request copies of additional data 
provided by the persons required to submit the Annual Trawl Catcher/
Processor EDR form or designated representative, if applicable, 
including but not limited to, previously audited or reviewed financial 
statements, worksheets, tax returns, invoices, receipts, and other 
original documents substantiating the data submitted in an Annual Trawl 
Catcher/Processor EDR form.
0
4. Add subpart J, consisting of Sec.  679.110, to read as follows:

Subpart J--Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data


Sec.  679.110  Gulf of Alaska Trawl Economic Data Reports (EDRs).

    (a) Requirements to submit an EDR--(1) GOA Trawl Catcher Vessels. 
The owner or leaseholder of any vessel that was named on a Limited 
License Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a catcher 
vessel using trawl gear to harvest LLP groundfish species in the GOA 
must submit a complete Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel Economic Data Report 
(EDR) for that calendar year by following the instructions on the 
Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR form.
    (2) GOA Shoreside Processors and Stationary Floating Processors. 
The owner or leaseholder of a shoreside processor or stationary 
floating processor with a Federal Processor Permit (FPP) that processes 
groundfish caught by vessels fishing with trawl gear in the GOA must 
submit a complete Annual Shoreside Processor Economic Data Report (EDR) 
for that calendar year by following the instructions on the Annual 
Shoreside Processor EDR form.
    (3) Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor Economic Data Report (EDR). The 
owner or leaseholder of a vessel that was named on a Limited License 
Program (LLP) groundfish license that authorizes a Catcher/Processor 
using trawl gear to harvest and process LLP groundfish in the GOA must 
submit an Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR as described at Sec.  
679.94 for that calendar year.
    (b) Deadline. A completed EDR or EDR certification page for:
    (1) The Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR or the Annual Shoreside 
Processor EDR must be submitted to the DCA for each calendar year on or 
before 1700 hours, A.l.t., June 1 of the following year, or
    (2) The Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR must be submitted to 
NMFS as required at Sec.  679.94(a)(2).
    (c) Information required. The Annual Trawl Catcher Vessel EDR, 
Annual Shoreside Processor EDR, and Annual Trawl Catcher/Processor EDR 
forms are available on the NMFS Alaska Region Web site at 
www.alaskafisheries.noaa.gov, or by contacting NMFS at 1-800-304-4846.
    (d) EDR certification. Any person required to submit an EDR under 
paragraph (a) of this section, or the designated representative, if 
applicable, must submit the EDR certification statement as either:
    (1) Part of the entire EDR. Persons submitting the applicable EDR 
form must attest to the accuracy and completion of the EDR by signing 
and dating the certification portion of the applicable EDR form; or
    (2) EDR certification only. Persons submitting a completed EDR 
certification only must attest that they meet the conditions exempting 
them from submitting the entire EDR as described in the certification 
portion of the applicable EDR form and sign and date the certification 
portion of the form.
    (e) Verification of EDR data. (1) NMFS, the DCA, or the DDCA will 
conduct verification of information with persons required to submit the

[[Page 46768]]

applicable EDR, or if applicable, that person's designated 
representative.
    (2) The persons required to submit the applicable EDR or designated 
representative, if applicable, must respond to inquiries by NMFS, the 
designated DCA, or the DDCA within 20 days of the date of issuance of 
the inquiry.
    (3) The persons required to submit the applicable EDR or designated 
representative, if applicable, must provide copies of additional data 
to facilitate data verification. NMFS, the DCA, or the DDCA may review 
and request copies of additional data provided by the persons required 
to submit the applicable EDR form or designated representative, if 
applicable, including but not limited to, previously audited or 
reviewed financial statements, worksheets, tax returns, invoices, 
receipts, and other original documents substantiating the data 
submitted in an EDR form.
    (f) DCA authorization. Except for EDR data submitted as required 
under 679.94(a), the DCA is authorized to release unaggregated EDR data 
to authorized data users in blind data format only.

[FR Doc. 2014-18675 Filed 8-8-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P