Fisheries Off West Coast States; Delay Implementation of West Coast Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Program, 74613-74614 [2020-25432]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 226 / Monday, November 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations The final rule implementing Amendment 5 to the Summer Flounder Fishery Management Plan, as published in the Federal Register on December 17, 1993 (58 FR 65936), provided a mechanism for transferring summer flounder commercial quota from one state to another. Two or more states, under mutual agreement and with the concurrence of the NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Administrator, can transfer or combine summer flounder commercial quota under § 648.102(c)(2). The Regional Administrator must approve any such transfer based on the criteria in § 648.102(c)(2)(i). In evaluating requests to transfer a quota or combine quotas, the Regional Administrator shall consider whether: The transfer or combinations would preclude the overall annual quota from being fully harvested; the transfer addresses an unforeseen variation or contingency in the fishery; and the transfer is consistent with the objectives of the FMP and the Magnuson-Stevens Act. North Carolina is transferring 40,000 lb (18,144 kg) to Connecticut. This transfer is occurring through mutual agreement of the states. This transfer was requested to ensure Connecticut would not exceed its 2020 quota. The revised summer flounder quotas for fishing year 2020 are now: North Carolina, 3,085,501 lb (1,399,560 kg); and Connecticut, 300,241 lb (136,187 kg). Classification NMFS issues this action pursuant to section 305(d) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. This action is required by 50 CFR 648.102(c)(2)(i)(A) through (C), which was issued pursuant to section 304(b), and is exempted from review under Executive Order 12866. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: November 17, 2020. Jennifer M. Wallace, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2020–25717 Filed 11–20–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:19 Nov 20, 2020 Jkt 253001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 660 [Docket No. 201110–0301] RIN 0648–BJ63 Fisheries Off West Coast States; Delay Implementation of West Coast Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Program National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This final rule delays implementation of the Electronic Monitoring (EM) Program for the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program to January 1, 2022. NMFS is making this change to provide additional time for industry and prospective service providers to prepare for implementation, to strengthen Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and industry support for the EM program, and to increase participation when it is implemented in 2022. DATES: Effective December 23, 2020. ADDRESSES: The proposed rule and this final rule are accessible via the internet at the Office of the Federal Register website at https:// www.federalregister.gov. Background information and documents are available at the NMFS West Coast Region website at: https:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ fisheries/groundfish/ and at the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s website at https:// www.pcouncil.org/groundfish/fisherymanagement-plan/groundfishamendments-in-development/. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Hooper, Permits and Monitoring Branch Chief, phone: 206–526–4357, or email: melissa.hooper@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background At the recommendation of the Council, on June 28, 2019, NMFS published a final rule to implement an EM program for the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program (84 FR 31146). The EM Program allows vessels to use EM systems (video cameras and associated sensors) to meet the 100-percent at-sea observer coverage requirements of the Trawl Rationalization Program. The EM PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 74613 Program was set to begin January 1, 2021. The Council initiated a regulatory amendment at its April 2020 meeting to make several administrative changes to the EM Program requirements and to delay implementation of the EM Program to January 1, 2022. The Council took final action on EM regulatory changes at its June 2020 meeting and requested that NMFS delay implementation of the program to 2022. NMFS published a proposed rule August 28, 2020 (85 FR 53313) proposing to delay the EM Program, but postponed consideration of the other regulatory changes to a separate rulemaking to be completed at a later date. A more extensive discussion of the development of this regulatory amendment and the EM measures is available in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. Public comments were accepted on the proposed rule from August 28, 2020, through September 28, 2020. No public comments were received. Final Measures Through this final rule, NMFS is delaying implementation of the EM Program for the Trawl Rationalization Program to January 1, 2022. To implement this change, NMFS is revising the trawl fishery regulations at 50 CFR 660.603, which describes EM provider permits and responsibilities, and 50 CFR 660.604, which describes vessel and first receiver responsibilities, to delay the acceptance of EM service provider and EM vessel owner applications to 2021, thereby delaying implementation of the EM program to January 1, 2022. In this rule, NMFS is implementing the Council’s request to delay implementation of the EM program to 2022, as it would strengthen industry support for the EM program and may increase participation when it is implemented in 2022. At its April and June 2020 meetings, the Council recommended NMFS delay implementation of the EM program to January 2022 to provide additional time for the industry and EM service providers to prepare for implementation of the EM program. Specifically, the Council wanted to provide more time for industry and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), a potential service provider, to develop a model for industry to fund PSMFC for review of video from their fishing trips. The Council believes that this delay is necessary to increase industry buy-in and for success of the EM program at reducing monitoring costs for the fishery. Increased support for and participation in the EM Program would E:\FR\FM\23NOR1.SGM 23NOR1 74614 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 226 / Monday, November 23, 2020 / Rules and Regulations further ensure the success of the EM Program at meeting its goals and the goals of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and would provide operational flexibility and reduce costs for vessel owners, while maintaining the best scientific information available for management. As discussed in the proposed rule, delaying implementation of the EM program postpones the benefits that the EM program is expected to provide to vessel owners for an additional year. However, NMFS intends to maintain the current EM Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) program through 2021 and to allow additional vessels to join. Vessels in the EFP program are able to use EM in place of human observers and benefit from its cost savings while NMFS collects information to use in developing the regulations for and implementing the EM program. Maintaining the EFP in 2021 would allow vessels to continue to use EM in place of observers and mitigate potential negative economic effects of delaying the regulations. In the proposed rule, NMFS noted that it had not yet identified Federal funds to pay PSMFC to review, store, and report data from the EM EFP for 2021 and that, if NMFS did not receive Federal funds to pay PSMFC, vessel owners would be responsible for paying PSMFC or a private, third party EM service provider directly for the video review, storage, and reporting for the EM EFP. However, NMFS has since identified funding to pay PSMFC for the EM EFP in 2021. Therefore, NMFS expects the EFP program to continue through 2021 and to mitigate any negative economic effects of this rule. Comments and Responses No comments were received on the proposed rule. Changes From the Proposed Rule NMFS has made no changes from the proposed rule. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This final rule is considered an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory action. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:19 Nov 20, 2020 Jkt 253001 This final rule contains no information collection requirements under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660 Fisheries, Fishing, and Indian fisheries. Dated: November 13, 2020. 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 660 is amended as follows: PART 660—FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES 1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 U.S.C 7001 et seq. 2. In § 660.603, revise paragraph (b) introductory text to read as follows: ■ § 660.603 Electronic monitoring provider permits and responsibilities. * * * * (b) Provider permits. To be an EM service provider, a person must obtain an EM service provider permit and endorsement by submitting an application to the NMFS West Coast Region Fisheries Permit Office. NMFS has already accepted any EM service provider application submitted as of November 23, 2020. NMFS will begin accepting additional applications for EM service providers permits May 1, 2021. A person may meet some requirements of this section through a partnership or subcontract with another entity, in which case the application for an EM service provider permit must include information about the partnership. An applicant may submit an application at any time. If a new EM service provider, or an existing EM service provider seeking to deploy a new EMS or software version, submits an application by June 1, NMFS will issue a new permit by January 1 of the following calendar year. Applications submitted after June 1 will be processed as soon as practicable. NMFS will only process complete applications. Additional endorsements to provide observer or catch monitor services may be obtained under § 660.18. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 660.604, revise paragraph (e) introductory text to read as follows: § 660.604 Vessel and first receiver responsibilities. * * * * * (e) Electronic Monitoring Authorization. To obtain an EM Authorization, a vessel owner must submit an initial application to the NMFS West Coast Region Fisheries Permit Office, then a final application that includes an EM system certification and a vessel monitoring plan (VMP). NMFS will only review complete applications. NMFS has already accepted any EM Authorization application submitted as of the November 23, 2020. NMFS will begin accepting applications for EM Authorizations September 1, 2021. A vessel owner may submit an application at any time. Vessel owners that want to have their EM Authorizations effective for January 1 of the following calendar year must submit their complete application to NMFS by October 1. Vessel owners that want to have their EM Authorizations effective for May 15 must submit their complete application to NMFS by February 15 of the same year. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–25432 Filed 11–20–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P * PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [RTID 0648–XA646] Pacific Island Fisheries; 2020 U.S. Territorial Longline Bigeye Tuna Catch Limits for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Announcement of a valid specified fishing agreement. AGENCY: NMFS announces a valid specified fishing agreement that allocates up to 1,000 metric tons (t) of the 2020 bigeye tuna limit for the SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\23NOR1.SGM 23NOR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 226 (Monday, November 23, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 74613-74614]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-25432]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 660

[Docket No. 201110-0301]
RIN 0648-BJ63


Fisheries Off West Coast States; Delay Implementation of West 
Coast Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Program

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: This final rule delays implementation of the Electronic 
Monitoring (EM) Program for the West Coast Groundfish Trawl 
Rationalization Program to January 1, 2022. NMFS is making this change 
to provide additional time for industry and prospective service 
providers to prepare for implementation, to strengthen Pacific Fishery 
Management Council (Council) and industry support for the EM program, 
and to increase participation when it is implemented in 2022.

DATES: Effective December 23, 2020.

ADDRESSES: The proposed rule and this final rule are accessible via the 
internet at the Office of the Federal Register website at https://www.federalregister.gov. Background information and documents are 
available at the NMFS West Coast Region website at: https://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/fisheries/groundfish/ and at 
the Pacific Fishery Management Council's website at https://www.pcouncil.org/groundfish/fishery-management-plan/groundfish-amendments-in-development/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Melissa Hooper, Permits and Monitoring 
Branch Chief, phone: 206-526-4357, or email: [email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    At the recommendation of the Council, on June 28, 2019, NMFS 
published a final rule to implement an EM program for the West Coast 
Groundfish Trawl Rationalization Program (84 FR 31146). The EM Program 
allows vessels to use EM systems (video cameras and associated sensors) 
to meet the 100-percent at-sea observer coverage requirements of the 
Trawl Rationalization Program. The EM Program was set to begin January 
1, 2021. The Council initiated a regulatory amendment at its April 2020 
meeting to make several administrative changes to the EM Program 
requirements and to delay implementation of the EM Program to January 
1, 2022. The Council took final action on EM regulatory changes at its 
June 2020 meeting and requested that NMFS delay implementation of the 
program to 2022. NMFS published a proposed rule August 28, 2020 (85 FR 
53313) proposing to delay the EM Program, but postponed consideration 
of the other regulatory changes to a separate rulemaking to be 
completed at a later date. A more extensive discussion of the 
development of this regulatory amendment and the EM measures is 
available in the proposed rule and is not repeated here. Public 
comments were accepted on the proposed rule from August 28, 2020, 
through September 28, 2020. No public comments were received.

Final Measures

    Through this final rule, NMFS is delaying implementation of the EM 
Program for the Trawl Rationalization Program to January 1, 2022. To 
implement this change, NMFS is revising the trawl fishery regulations 
at 50 CFR 660.603, which describes EM provider permits and 
responsibilities, and 50 CFR 660.604, which describes vessel and first 
receiver responsibilities, to delay the acceptance of EM service 
provider and EM vessel owner applications to 2021, thereby delaying 
implementation of the EM program to January 1, 2022.
    In this rule, NMFS is implementing the Council's request to delay 
implementation of the EM program to 2022, as it would strengthen 
industry support for the EM program and may increase participation when 
it is implemented in 2022. At its April and June 2020 meetings, the 
Council recommended NMFS delay implementation of the EM program to 
January 2022 to provide additional time for the industry and EM service 
providers to prepare for implementation of the EM program. 
Specifically, the Council wanted to provide more time for industry and 
the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC), a potential 
service provider, to develop a model for industry to fund PSMFC for 
review of video from their fishing trips. The Council believes that 
this delay is necessary to increase industry buy-in and for success of 
the EM program at reducing monitoring costs for the fishery. Increased 
support for and participation in the EM Program would

[[Page 74614]]

further ensure the success of the EM Program at meeting its goals and 
the goals of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, and 
would provide operational flexibility and reduce costs for vessel 
owners, while maintaining the best scientific information available for 
management.
    As discussed in the proposed rule, delaying implementation of the 
EM program postpones the benefits that the EM program is expected to 
provide to vessel owners for an additional year. However, NMFS intends 
to maintain the current EM Exempted Fishing Permit (EFP) program 
through 2021 and to allow additional vessels to join. Vessels in the 
EFP program are able to use EM in place of human observers and benefit 
from its cost savings while NMFS collects information to use in 
developing the regulations for and implementing the EM program. 
Maintaining the EFP in 2021 would allow vessels to continue to use EM 
in place of observers and mitigate potential negative economic effects 
of delaying the regulations. In the proposed rule, NMFS noted that it 
had not yet identified Federal funds to pay PSMFC to review, store, and 
report data from the EM EFP for 2021 and that, if NMFS did not receive 
Federal funds to pay PSMFC, vessel owners would be responsible for 
paying PSMFC or a private, third party EM service provider directly for 
the video review, storage, and reporting for the EM EFP. However, NMFS 
has since identified funding to pay PSMFC for the EM EFP in 2021. 
Therefore, NMFS expects the EFP program to continue through 2021 and to 
mitigate any negative economic effects of this rule.

Comments and Responses

    No comments were received on the proposed rule.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    NMFS has made no changes from the proposed rule.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS 
Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is 
consistent with the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan, 
other provisions of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule is considered an Executive Order 13771 deregulatory 
action.
    This final rule contains no information collection requirements 
under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration during the proposed rule stage that this action would 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The factual basis for the certification was published in the 
proposed rule and is not repeated here. No comments were received 
regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility 
analysis was not required and none was prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 660

    Fisheries, Fishing, and Indian fisheries.

    Dated: November 13, 2020.
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 660 is amended 
as follows:

PART 660--FISHERIES OFF WEST COAST STATES

0
1. The authority citation for part 660 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq., 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq., and 16 
U.S.C 7001 et seq.


0
2. In Sec.  660.603, revise paragraph (b) introductory text to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.603   Electronic monitoring provider permits and 
responsibilities.

* * * * *
    (b) Provider permits. To be an EM service provider, a person must 
obtain an EM service provider permit and endorsement by submitting an 
application to the NMFS West Coast Region Fisheries Permit Office. NMFS 
has already accepted any EM service provider application submitted as 
of November 23, 2020. NMFS will begin accepting additional applications 
for EM service providers permits May 1, 2021. A person may meet some 
requirements of this section through a partnership or subcontract with 
another entity, in which case the application for an EM service 
provider permit must include information about the partnership. An 
applicant may submit an application at any time. If a new EM service 
provider, or an existing EM service provider seeking to deploy a new 
EMS or software version, submits an application by June 1, NMFS will 
issue a new permit by January 1 of the following calendar year. 
Applications submitted after June 1 will be processed as soon as 
practicable. NMFS will only process complete applications. Additional 
endorsements to provide observer or catch monitor services may be 
obtained under Sec.  660.18.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  660.604, revise paragraph (e) introductory text to read as 
follows:


Sec.  660.604   Vessel and first receiver responsibilities.

* * * * *
    (e) Electronic Monitoring Authorization. To obtain an EM 
Authorization, a vessel owner must submit an initial application to the 
NMFS West Coast Region Fisheries Permit Office, then a final 
application that includes an EM system certification and a vessel 
monitoring plan (VMP). NMFS will only review complete applications. 
NMFS has already accepted any EM Authorization application submitted as 
of the November 23, 2020. NMFS will begin accepting applications for EM 
Authorizations September 1, 2021. A vessel owner may submit an 
application at any time. Vessel owners that want to have their EM 
Authorizations effective for January 1 of the following calendar year 
must submit their complete application to NMFS by October 1. Vessel 
owners that want to have their EM Authorizations effective for May 15 
must submit their complete application to NMFS by February 15 of the 
same year.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2020-25432 Filed 11-20-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P