Implementation of Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act-Notification of Comparability Findings, 62842-62844 [2018-26418]

Download as PDF 62842 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Notices document and is on file electronically via Enforcement and Compliance’s Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Centralized Electronic Service System (ACCESS). ACCESS is available to registered users at http:// access.trade.gov, and to all in the Central Records Unit, Room B8024, of the main Commerce building. In addition, a complete version of the Issues and Decision Memorandum can be accessed directly at http:// enforcement.trade.gov/frn. The signed and electronic versions of the Issues and Decision Memorandum are identical in content. khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES Final Results of Review Pursuant to sections 751(c)(1) and 752(b) of the Act, Commerce determines that revocation of the CVD order on pasta from Turkey would be likely to lead to the continuation or recurrence of a countervailable subsidy at the rates listed below: III. Background IV. Scope of the Order 1. Rulings Relevant to Scope V. Discussion of the Issues 1. Likelihood of Continuation or Recurrence of a Countervailable Subsidy 2. Net Countervailable Subsidy Likely to Prevail 3. Nature of Subsidy VI. Final Results of the Review VII. Recommendation [FR Doc. 2018–26430 Filed 12–4–18; 8:45 am] 20:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 Sheleen Dumas, Departmental Lead PRA Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Commerce Department. [FR Doc. 2018–26408 Filed 12–4–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–13–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Net Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. countervailable Exporter/producer subsidy rate Chapter 35). (percent) Agency: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Filiz Gida Sanayi ve Ticaret Title: NIST Generic Clearance for (Filiz) ................................. 1.73 Usability Data Collections Maktas Makarnacilik ve OMB Control Number: 0693–0043. Ticaret (Maktas) ................ 13.19 Form Number(s): None. Oba Makernacilik Sanayi ve Ticaret (Oba) ..................... 13.18 Type of Request: Regular Submission All Others .............................. 8.95 (revision and extension of a currently approved information collection). Notification to Interested Parties Number of Respondents: 150,000. Average Hours per Response: Varied, This notice also serves as the only dependent upon the data collection reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of method used. The possible response time to complete a questionnaire may be their responsibility concerning the 15 minutes or 2 hours to participate in destruction of proprietary information an empirical study. disclosed under APO in accordance Burden Hours: 100,000. with 19 CFR 351.305. Timely written Needs and Uses: NIST will conduct notification of the return or destruction information collections to evaluate the of APO materials or conversion to usability and utility of NIST research for judicial protective order is hereby measurement and standardization work. requested. Failure to comply with the These data collections efforts may regulations and terms of an APO is a include, but may not be limited to sanctionable violation. electronic methodologies, empirical We are issuing and publishing these studies, video and audio collections, results in accordance with sections interview, and questionnaires. 751(c), 752(b), and 777(i)(1) of the Act Affected Public: Individual or and 19 CFR 351.218. households; State, Local or Tribal Dated: November 28, 2018. Government; Federal Government. Gary Taverman, Frequency: On occasion. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping Respondent’s Obligation: Voluntary. and Countervailing Duty Operations, This information collection request performing the non-exclusive functions and may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow duties of the Assistant Secretary for the instructions to view Department of Enforcement and Compliance. Commerce collections currently under Appendix review by OMB. Written comments and List of Topics Discussed in the Issues and Decision Memorandum recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent I. Summary II. History of the Order within 30 days of publication of this VerDate Sep<11>2014 notice to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395–5806. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XG619 Implementation of Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act— Notification of Comparability Findings National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; comparability findings for Mexico. AGENCY: Under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (Assistant Administrator) has issued comparability findings for the Government of Mexico’s following fisheries: Upper Gulf of California shrimp trawl fishery for both small and large vessels; Upper Gulf of California shrimp suripera fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra purse seine fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra hook and line fishery; Upper Gulf of California chano trawl fishery, for small vessels; Upper Gulf of California curvina purse seine fishery; and Upper Gulf of California sardine/curvina purse seine fishery for both small and large vessels. The Assistant Administrator is denying a comparability finding for the El Golfo de Santa Clara curvina rodeostyle gillnet fishery. NMFS bases the comparability findings on documentary evidence submitted by the Government of Mexico and other relevant, readilyavailable information including scientific literature and the reports of the ‘‘Comite´ Internacional para la Recuperacio´n de la Vaquita’’ (CIRVA) (the international recovery team for vaquita). SUMMARY: These comparability findings are valid for the period of November 30, 2018, through January 1, 2022, unless revoked by the Assistant Administrator in a subsequent action. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nina Young, at email: Nina.Young@ noaa.gov or phone: 301–427–8383. DATES: E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Notices The MMPA, 16 U.S.C. 1371 et seq., states that the Secretary of the Treasury shall ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish which have been caught with commercial fishing technology which results in the incidental kill or incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States standards. For purposes of applying this import restriction, the Secretary of Commerce shall insist on reasonable proof from the government of any nation from which fish or fish products will be exported to the United States of the effects on ocean mammals of the commercial fishing technology in use for such fish or fish products exported from such nation to the United States. On August 15, 2016, NMFS published a final rule (81 FR 54389) amending the fish and fish product import provisions of Section 101(a)(2) of the MMPA (see implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.24(h)). This final rule established conditions for evaluating a harvesting nation’s regulatory programs to address incidental and intentional mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in its commercial fisheries producing fish and fish products exported to the United States. Under the final rule, fish or fish products cannot be imported into the United States from commercial fishing operations that result in the incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals in excess of U.S. standards (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(2)). NMFS published a List of Foreign Fisheries (LOFF) on March 16, 2018 (83 FR 11703) to classify fisheries subject to the import requirements. Effective January 1, 2022, fish and fish products from fisheries identified by the Assistant Administrator in the LOFF can only be imported into the United States if the harvesting nation has applied for and received a comparability finding from NMFS for those fisheries on the LOFF. The rule established the procedures that a harvesting nation must follow, and the conditions it must meet, to receive a comparability finding for a fishery on the LOFF. The final rule established a five-year exemption period, ending January 1, 2022, before imports would be subject to any trade restrictions (see 50 CFR 216.24(h)(2)(ii)). Vaquita are listed as an endangered species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., and are endemic to northern Gulf of California waters in Mexico. In 2017, the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA)—a group of international scientists supported by Mexico and led by khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 Mexican scientists—estimated that fewer than 30 individuals remain. Gillnets used to illegally fish for totoaba are the direct primary source of current vaquita mortality and continue to be deployed to supply China’s black market demand for totoaba swim bladders. On May 18, 2017, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) petitioned the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Treasury, and Commerce to ‘‘ban the importation of commercial fish or products from fish’’ sourced using fishing activities that ‘‘result in the incidental mortality or incidental serious injury’’ of vaquita ‘‘in excess of United States standards.’’ The petitioners requested that the Secretaries immediately ban imports of all fish and fish products from Mexico that do not satisfy the MMPA import provision requirements, claiming that emergency action banning such imports is necessary to avoid immediate, ongoing, and ‘‘unacceptable risks’’ to vaquita. NMFS published a notice of the petition’s receipt on August 22, 2017, in the Federal Register for a 60-day comment period. On December 21, 2017, the petitioners filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which among other things challenges the failure of NMFS, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (‘‘Defendants’’) to respond to the petition pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (‘‘APA’’). 5 U.S.C. 551– 559; 701–706. On March 21, 2018, the petitioners filed suit before the Court of International Trade seeking an injunction requiring the U.S. Government to ban the import of fish or fish products from any Mexican commercial fishery that uses gillnets within the vaquita’s range. On April 16, 2018, Petitioners filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on which oral argument was held on July 10, 2018. The Court of International Trade found in favor of the petitioners and granted the preliminary injunction. On July 26, 2018, and August 14, 2018, the Court of International Trade (CIT) (Slip-Op 18–92) required the U.S. Government to ban all fish and fish products from Mexican commercial fisheries that use gillnets within the vaquita’s range, pending final adjudication of the merits. This ban includes the importation from Mexico of all shrimp, curvina, sierra, and chano fish and their products caught with gillnets inside the vaquita’s range. To PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 62843 effect this court order, NMFS published a Federal Register document on August 28, 2018 (83 FR 43792) giving notice of import restrictions on fish and fish products from Mexico caught with gillnets deployed in the range of the vaquita. In that notice, NMFS also required that all other fish and fish products not within the scope of the import restrictions but imported under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes associated with the prohibited fish and fish products be accompanied by a Certification of Admissibility in accordance with the provisions of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9). On November 9, 2018, the Government of Mexico requested that the Assistant Administrator make comparability findings based upon documentary evidence provided by the Government of Mexico for the Upper Gulf of California shrimp trawl fishery for both small and large vessels; Upper Gulf of California shrimp suripera 1 fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra purse seine fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra hook and line fishery; Upper Gulf of California chano trawl fishery, for small vessels; Upper Gulf of California curvina purse seine fishery; Upper Gulf of California sardine/ curvina purse seine fishery for both small and large vessel; and El Golfo de Santa Clara curvina rodeo-style gillnet fishery. As stated in the final rule (81 FR 54397, Aug. 15, 2016) in response to comments on the proposed rule, nothing within the procedures set forth in 50 CFR 216.24(h) prevents a nation from implementing a bycatch reduction regulatory program and seeking a comparability finding during the fiveyear exemption period (see 50 CFR 216.24(h)(2)(ii)). NMFS used the comparability finding process set forth at 50 CFR 216.24(h)(6), which is the process that will be used for all nations and fisheries at the conclusion of the five-year exemption, with the Assistant Administrator considering documentary evidence submitted by the Government of Mexico and other relevant, readily-available information. This information includes including scientific literature and the reports of the ‘‘Comite´ Internacional para la Recuperacio´n de la Vaquita’’ (CIRVA) (the international recovery team for vaquita) and has determined that the Upper Gulf of California shrimp trawl fishery for both small and large vessels; Upper Gulf of California shrimp suripera fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra purse seine fishery; 1 Suripera nets rely on utilizing the movement of the wind and water currents to draw shrimp into a small-mesh modified cast net. E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1 khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with NOTICES 62844 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 234 / Thursday, December 6, 2018 / Notices Upper Gulf of California sierra hook and line fishery; Upper Gulf of California chano trawl fishery, for small vessels; Upper Gulf of California curvina purse seine fishery; and Upper Gulf of California sardine/curvina purse seine fishery for both small and large vessels; have met the MMPA’s requirements to receive comparability findings. The Assistant Administrator has determined that the El Golfo de Santa Clara curvina rodeo-style gillnet fishery has not met the requirements to receive a comparability finding, will be denied such, and will remain subject to import restrictions in accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9). Although this comparability finding would allow the importation into the United States of fish and fish product derived from these non-gillnet fisheries operating in the Upper Gulf of California under the Government of Mexico’s jurisdiction, as noted above, CIT required the U.S. Government to ban all fish and fish products from said fisheries (effectuated through 83 FR 43792, August 28, 2018). Due to CIT’s injunction, imports of sierra, shrimp, chano, and curvina fish and fish products must continue to be accompanied by a Certification of Admissibility in accordance with the provisions of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9) until a court of competent jurisdiction lifts the injunction and further notice from NMFS (See August 28, 2018 (83 FR 43792) for a list of HTS and instructions for the Certification of Admissibility). In accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(8)(vii), a comparability finding will be terminated or revoked if the Assistant Administrator determines that the requirements of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(6) are no longer being met. Pursuant to 50 CFR 216.24(h)(8)(iv) the Assistant Administrator may specify the period for which a comparability finding is valid, particularly, when nations are requesting a finding during the exemption period. The comparability finding for the Government of Mexico’s affected fisheries included in this Federal Register notice will remain valid through January 1, 2022. Additionally, in accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9)(ii), the Government of Mexico can reapply for a comparability finding for the El Golfo de Santa Clara curvina rodeo-style gillnet fishery at any time. All other exempt and export fisheries operating under the control of the Government of Mexico are still subject to the five-year exemption period under 50 CFR 216.24(h)(2)(ii). Therefore, prior to the conclusion of the five-year exemption period, per the requirements of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(6), the VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:35 Dec 04, 2018 Jkt 247001 Government of Mexico, as is the case with all harvesting nations, must apply for and receive a comparability finding for all fisheries, including those in this Federal Register document, in order to export fish and fish products from those fisheries to the United States after January 1, 2022. Also, the Government of Mexico is still required to provide a progress report in accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(10) for these fisheries and all other fisheries on its List of Foreign Fisheries. The Government of Mexico has requested that NMFS update its LOFF to reflect only those fisheries and gear types authorized to fish in the upper Gulf of California. NMFS will add these fisheries (both those that have and were denied a comparability finding) and remove all gillnet fisheries listed as operating in the upper Gulf of California from the List of Foreign Fisheries for Mexico. This action is taken in accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(8)(vi). Dated: November 30, 2018. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2018–26418 Filed 11–30–18; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY Coast Guard [Docket No. USCG–2018–0875] Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee; Vacancies U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security. ACTION: Request for applications. AGENCY: The U.S. Coast Guard seeks applications for membership on the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee. The Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary on matters related to medical certification determinations for issuance of licenses, certificates of registry, and merchant mariners’ documents; medical standards and guidelines for the physical qualifications of operators of commercial vessels; medical examiner education; and medical research. DATES: Completed applications should be submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard on or before February 4, 2019. ADDRESSES: Applicants should send a cover letter expressing interest in an appointment to the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee that SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 identifies the applicant’s preferred membership, along with a resume detailing the applicant’s experience by one of the following methods: • By Email: davis.j.breyer@uscg.mil, (preferred) Subject line: The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee; • By Fax: 202–372–8382 ATTN: Mr. Davis J. Breyer, Alternate Designated Federal Officer; or • By Mail: Mr. Davis J. Breyer, Alternate Designated Federal Officer of the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee, Commandant, (CG–MMC– 2)/MEDMAC, U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Stop 7509, Washington, DC, 20593–7509. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Davis J. Breyer, Alternate Designated Federal Officer of the Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee, Commandant, (CG–MMC–2)/MEDMAC, U.S. Coast Guard, 2703 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Stop 7509, Washington, DC, 20593–7509, telephone 202–372– 1445, fax 202–372–8382 or davis.j.breyer@uscg.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Merchant Mariner Medical Advisory Committee is a federal advisory committee established in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Title 5 U.S.C. Appendix) and 46 U.S.C. 7115. The Committee meets at least twice each year. Its subcommittees and working groups may hold additional meetings as needed to consider specific tasks. Except for vacancy appointments, Committee members serve a term of office of five years. Members may serve a maximum of two consecutive terms. All members serve at their own expense and receive no salary or other compensation from the Federal Government. Members may be reimbursed for travel and per diem in accordance with Federal Travel Regulations. We will consider applications for the following six positions that will be vacant on April 18, 2019. Federal employees, in accordance with 46 U.S.C. 7115(b)(1), and registered lobbyists, as described below, are not eligible for these positions. (1) Professional mariner membership positions. To be eligible, you must have experience as a merchant mariner and have significant knowledge and experience in the duties of the various positions aboard ship and the nature of the environment in which these duties are performed; and (2) Health-care professionals. To be eligible, you must have particular expertise, knowledge, or experience E:\FR\FM\06DEN1.SGM 06DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 234 (Thursday, December 6, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 62842-62844]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-26418]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XG619


Implementation of Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the 
Marine Mammal Protection Act--Notification of Comparability Findings

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

ACTION: Notice; comparability findings for Mexico.

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

SUMMARY: Under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
(MMPA), the NMFS Assistant Administrator for Fisheries (Assistant 
Administrator) has issued comparability findings for the Government of 
Mexico's following fisheries: Upper Gulf of California shrimp trawl 
fishery for both small and large vessels; Upper Gulf of California 
shrimp suripera fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra purse seine 
fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra hook and line fishery; Upper 
Gulf of California chano trawl fishery, for small vessels; Upper Gulf 
of California curvina purse seine fishery; and Upper Gulf of California 
sardine/curvina purse seine fishery for both small and large vessels. 
The Assistant Administrator is denying a comparability finding for the 
El Golfo de Santa Clara curvina rodeo-style gillnet fishery. NMFS bases 
the comparability findings on documentary evidence submitted by the 
Government of Mexico and other relevant, readily-available information 
including scientific literature and the reports of the ``Comit[eacute] 
Internacional para la Recuperaci[oacute]n de la Vaquita'' (CIRVA) (the 
international recovery team for vaquita).

DATES: These comparability findings are valid for the period of 
November 30, 2018, through January 1, 2022, unless revoked by the 
Assistant Administrator in a subsequent action.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nina Young, at email: 
[email protected] or phone: 301-427-8383.

[[Page 62843]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The MMPA, 16 U.S.C. 1371 et seq., states 
that the Secretary of the Treasury shall ban the importation of 
commercial fish or products from fish which have been caught with 
commercial fishing technology which results in the incidental kill or 
incidental serious injury of ocean mammals in excess of United States 
standards. For purposes of applying this import restriction, the 
Secretary of Commerce shall insist on reasonable proof from the 
government of any nation from which fish or fish products will be 
exported to the United States of the effects on ocean mammals of the 
commercial fishing technology in use for such fish or fish products 
exported from such nation to the United States.
    On August 15, 2016, NMFS published a final rule (81 FR 54389) 
amending the fish and fish product import provisions of Section 
101(a)(2) of the MMPA (see implementing regulations at 50 CFR 
216.24(h)). This final rule established conditions for evaluating a 
harvesting nation's regulatory programs to address incidental and 
intentional mortality and serious injury of marine mammals in its 
commercial fisheries producing fish and fish products exported to the 
United States.
    Under the final rule, fish or fish products cannot be imported into 
the United States from commercial fishing operations that result in the 
incidental mortality or serious injury of marine mammals in excess of 
U.S. standards (16 U.S.C. 1371(a)(2)). NMFS published a List of Foreign 
Fisheries (LOFF) on March 16, 2018 (83 FR 11703) to classify fisheries 
subject to the import requirements. Effective January 1, 2022, fish and 
fish products from fisheries identified by the Assistant Administrator 
in the LOFF can only be imported into the United States if the 
harvesting nation has applied for and received a comparability finding 
from NMFS for those fisheries on the LOFF. The rule established the 
procedures that a harvesting nation must follow, and the conditions it 
must meet, to receive a comparability finding for a fishery on the 
LOFF. The final rule established a five-year exemption period, ending 
January 1, 2022, before imports would be subject to any trade 
restrictions (see 50 CFR 216.24(h)(2)(ii)).
    Vaquita are listed as an endangered species under the U.S. 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq., and are endemic to 
northern Gulf of California waters in Mexico. In 2017, the 
International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita (CIRVA)--a 
group of international scientists supported by Mexico and led by 
Mexican scientists--estimated that fewer than 30 individuals remain. 
Gillnets used to illegally fish for totoaba are the direct primary 
source of current vaquita mortality and continue to be deployed to 
supply China's black market demand for totoaba swim bladders.
    On May 18, 2017, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Center 
for Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) 
petitioned the Secretaries of Homeland Security, the Treasury, and 
Commerce to ``ban the importation of commercial fish or products from 
fish'' sourced using fishing activities that ``result in the incidental 
mortality or incidental serious injury'' of vaquita ``in excess of 
United States standards.'' The petitioners requested that the 
Secretaries immediately ban imports of all fish and fish products from 
Mexico that do not satisfy the MMPA import provision requirements, 
claiming that emergency action banning such imports is necessary to 
avoid immediate, ongoing, and ``unacceptable risks'' to vaquita. NMFS 
published a notice of the petition's receipt on August 22, 2017, in the 
Federal Register for a 60-day comment period.
    On December 21, 2017, the petitioners filed suit in the United 
States District Court for the District of Columbia, which among other 
things challenges the failure of NMFS, the U.S. Department of Commerce, 
the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security (``Defendants'') to respond to the petition pursuant 
to the Administrative Procedure Act (``APA''). 5 U.S.C. 551-559; 701-
706. On March 21, 2018, the petitioners filed suit before the Court of 
International Trade seeking an injunction requiring the U.S. Government 
to ban the import of fish or fish products from any Mexican commercial 
fishery that uses gillnets within the vaquita's range. On April 16, 
2018, Petitioners filed a motion for a preliminary injunction on which 
oral argument was held on July 10, 2018. The Court of International 
Trade found in favor of the petitioners and granted the preliminary 
injunction.
    On July 26, 2018, and August 14, 2018, the Court of International 
Trade (CIT) (Slip-Op 18-92) required the U.S. Government to ban all 
fish and fish products from Mexican commercial fisheries that use 
gillnets within the vaquita's range, pending final adjudication of the 
merits. This ban includes the importation from Mexico of all shrimp, 
curvina, sierra, and chano fish and their products caught with gillnets 
inside the vaquita's range. To effect this court order, NMFS published 
a Federal Register document on August 28, 2018 (83 FR 43792) giving 
notice of import restrictions on fish and fish products from Mexico 
caught with gillnets deployed in the range of the vaquita. In that 
notice, NMFS also required that all other fish and fish products not 
within the scope of the import restrictions but imported under the 
Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes associated with the prohibited 
fish and fish products be accompanied by a Certification of 
Admissibility in accordance with the provisions of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9).
    On November 9, 2018, the Government of Mexico requested that the 
Assistant Administrator make comparability findings based upon 
documentary evidence provided by the Government of Mexico for the Upper 
Gulf of California shrimp trawl fishery for both small and large 
vessels; Upper Gulf of California shrimp suripera \1\ fishery; Upper 
Gulf of California sierra purse seine fishery; Upper Gulf of California 
sierra hook and line fishery; Upper Gulf of California chano trawl 
fishery, for small vessels; Upper Gulf of California curvina purse 
seine fishery; Upper Gulf of California sardine/curvina purse seine 
fishery for both small and large vessel; and El Golfo de Santa Clara 
curvina rodeo-style gillnet fishery. As stated in the final rule (81 FR 
54397, Aug. 15, 2016) in response to comments on the proposed rule, 
nothing within the procedures set forth in 50 CFR 216.24(h) prevents a 
nation from implementing a bycatch reduction regulatory program and 
seeking a comparability finding during the five-year exemption period 
(see 50 CFR 216.24(h)(2)(ii)).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ Suripera nets rely on utilizing the movement of the wind and 
water currents to draw shrimp into a small-mesh modified cast net.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    NMFS used the comparability finding process set forth at 50 CFR 
216.24(h)(6), which is the process that will be used for all nations 
and fisheries at the conclusion of the five-year exemption, with the 
Assistant Administrator considering documentary evidence submitted by 
the Government of Mexico and other relevant, readily-available 
information. This information includes including scientific literature 
and the reports of the ``Comit[eacute] Internacional para la 
Recuperaci[oacute]n de la Vaquita'' (CIRVA) (the international recovery 
team for vaquita) and has determined that the Upper Gulf of California 
shrimp trawl fishery for both small and large vessels; Upper Gulf of 
California shrimp suripera fishery; Upper Gulf of California sierra 
purse seine fishery;

[[Page 62844]]

Upper Gulf of California sierra hook and line fishery; Upper Gulf of 
California chano trawl fishery, for small vessels; Upper Gulf of 
California curvina purse seine fishery; and Upper Gulf of California 
sardine/curvina purse seine fishery for both small and large vessels; 
have met the MMPA's requirements to receive comparability findings. The 
Assistant Administrator has determined that the El Golfo de Santa Clara 
curvina rodeo-style gillnet fishery has not met the requirements to 
receive a comparability finding, will be denied such, and will remain 
subject to import restrictions in accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9).
    Although this comparability finding would allow the importation 
into the United States of fish and fish product derived from these non-
gillnet fisheries operating in the Upper Gulf of California under the 
Government of Mexico's jurisdiction, as noted above, CIT required the 
U.S. Government to ban all fish and fish products from said fisheries 
(effectuated through 83 FR 43792, August 28, 2018). Due to CIT's 
injunction, imports of sierra, shrimp, chano, and curvina fish and fish 
products must continue to be accompanied by a Certification of 
Admissibility in accordance with the provisions of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9) 
until a court of competent jurisdiction lifts the injunction and 
further notice from NMFS (See August 28, 2018 (83 FR 43792) for a list 
of HTS and instructions for the Certification of Admissibility).
    In accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(8)(vii), a comparability 
finding will be terminated or revoked if the Assistant Administrator 
determines that the requirements of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(6) are no longer 
being met.
    Pursuant to 50 CFR 216.24(h)(8)(iv) the Assistant Administrator may 
specify the period for which a comparability finding is valid, 
particularly, when nations are requesting a finding during the 
exemption period. The comparability finding for the Government of 
Mexico's affected fisheries included in this Federal Register notice 
will remain valid through January 1, 2022. Additionally, in accordance 
with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(9)(ii), the Government of Mexico can reapply for 
a comparability finding for the El Golfo de Santa Clara curvina rodeo-
style gillnet fishery at any time. All other exempt and export 
fisheries operating under the control of the Government of Mexico are 
still subject to the five-year exemption period under 50 CFR 
216.24(h)(2)(ii). Therefore, prior to the conclusion of the five-year 
exemption period, per the requirements of 50 CFR 216.24(h)(6), the 
Government of Mexico, as is the case with all harvesting nations, must 
apply for and receive a comparability finding for all fisheries, 
including those in this Federal Register document, in order to export 
fish and fish products from those fisheries to the United States after 
January 1, 2022. Also, the Government of Mexico is still required to 
provide a progress report in accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(10) for 
these fisheries and all other fisheries on its List of Foreign 
Fisheries.
    The Government of Mexico has requested that NMFS update its LOFF to 
reflect only those fisheries and gear types authorized to fish in the 
upper Gulf of California. NMFS will add these fisheries (both those 
that have and were denied a comparability finding) and remove all 
gillnet fisheries listed as operating in the upper Gulf of California 
from the List of Foreign Fisheries for Mexico. This action is taken in 
accordance with 50 CFR 216.24(h)(8)(vi).

    Dated: November 30, 2018.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-26418 Filed 11-30-18; 4:15 pm]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P