Pacific Island Fisheries; Modifications to the American Samoa Longline Fishery Limited Entry Program, 55743-55746 [2021-21662]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 192 / Thursday, October 7, 2021 / Rules and Regulations CLP or CDL privilege to the driver’s license, if permitted by State law. (3) Reinstatement after Clearinghouse error correction. If, after the State completes and records the downgrade on the CDLIS driver record, FMCSA notifies the State that the driver was erroneously identified as prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle, the State shall: (i) Reinstate the CLP or CDL privilege to the driver’s license as expeditiously as possible; and (ii) Expunge from the CDLIS driver record and, if applicable, the motor vehicle record, as defined in § 390.5T of this chapter, any reference related to the driver’s erroneous prohibited status. PART 384—STATE COMPLIANCE WITH COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE PROGRAM 8. The authority citation for part 384 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 31136, 31301, et seq., and 31502; secs. 103 and 215 of Pub. L. 106– 159, 113 Stat. 1748, 1753, 1767; sec. 32934 of Pub. L. 112–141, 126 Stat. 405, 830; sec. 5524 of Pub. L. 114–94, 129 Stat. 1312, 1560; and 49 CFR 1.87. 9. Amend § 384.225 by adding paragraph (a)(3) to read as follows: ■ § 384.225 (a) * * * (3) The removal of the CLP or CDL privilege from the driver’s license in accordance with § 383.73(q) of this chapter. * * * * * ■ 10. Revise § 384.235 to read as follows: lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with RULES1 Jkt 256001 § 384.301 Substantial compliance— general requirements. No driver, who holds a commercial learner’s permit or a commercial driver’s license, shall operate a commercial motor vehicle if prohibited by § 382.501(a) of this subchapter. * * * * * (o) A State must come into substantial compliance with the requirements of subpart B of this part and part 383 of this chapter in effect as of November 8, 2021, as soon as practicable, but, unless otherwise specifically provided in this part, not later than November 18, 2024. PART 390—FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY REGULATIONS; GENERAL 12. The authority citation for part 390 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 504, 508, 31132, 31133, 31134, 31136, 31137, 31144, 31149, 31151, 31502; sec. 114, Pub. L. 103–311, 108 Stat. 1673, 1677; secs. 212 and 217, Pub. L. 106–159, 113 Stat. 1748, 1766, 1767; sec. 229, Pub. L. 106–159 (as added and transferred by sec. 4115 and amended by secs. 4130–4132, Pub. L. 109–59, 119 Stat. 1144, 1726, 1743; sec. 4136, Pub. L. 109–59, 119 Stat. 1144, 1745; secs. 32101(d) and 32934, Pub. L. 112– 141, 126 Stat. 405, 778, 830; sec. 2, Pub. L. 113–125, 128 Stat. 1388; secs. 5403, 5518, and 5524, Pub. L. 114–94, 129 Stat. 1312, 1548, 1558, 1560; sec. 2, Pub. L. 115–105, 131 Stat. 2263; and 49 CFR 1.87. 13. Amend § 390.3 as follows: a. Lift the suspension of the section; b. Revise paragraph (f)(1); and c. Suspend the section indefinitely. General applicability. * Beginning November 18, 2024, the State must: (a) Request information from the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse in accordance with § 383.73 of this chapter and comply with the applicable provisions therein; and (b)(1) Comply with § 383.73(q) of this chapter upon receiving notification from FMCSA that, pursuant to § 382.501(a) of this chapter, the driver is prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle; and (2) Comply with § 383.73(q) of this chapter upon receiving notification from FMCSA that, pursuant to § 382.503(a) of this chapter, the driver is no longer prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle; or that FMCSA erroneously identified the driver as prohibited from operating a commercial motor vehicle. 16:21 Oct 06, 2021 § 392.15 11. Amend § 384.301 by adding paragraph (o) to read as follows: § 390.3 § 384.235 Commercial driver’s license Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. VerDate Sep<11>2014 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ CDLIS driver recordkeeping. 55743 * * * * (f) * * * (1) All school bus operations as defined in § 390.5, except for §§ 391.15(e) and (f), 392.15, 392.80, and 392.82 of this chapter; * * * * * ■ 14. Amend § 390.3T by revising paragraph (f)(1) to read as follows: § 390.3T General applicability. * * * * * (f) * * * (1) All school bus operations as defined in § 390.5T, except for §§ 391.15(e) and (f), 392.15, 392.80, and 392.82 of this chapter; * * * * * PART 392—DRIVING OF COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES 15. The authority citation for part 392 is revised to read as follows: ■ Authority: 49 U.S.C. 504, 13902, 31136, 31151, 31502; Section 112 of Pub. L. 103– 311, 108 Stat. 1673, 1676 (1994), as amended by sec. 32509 of Pub. L. 112–141, 126 Stat. 405–805 (2012); and 49 CFR 1.87. ■ 16. Add § 392.15 to read as follows: PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Prohibited driving status. Issued under authority delegated in 49 CFR 1.87. Meera Joshi, Deputy Administrator. [FR Doc. 2021–21928 Filed 10–6–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4910–EX–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 665 [Docket No. 210929–0200] RIN 0648–BH65 Pacific Island Fisheries; Modifications to the American Samoa Longline Fishery Limited Entry Program National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: This final rule implements Amendment 9 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP). It modifies the American Samoa longline fishery limited entry program to consolidate vessel class sizes, modify permit eligibility requirements, and reduce the minimum harvest requirements for small vessels. This final rule also makes several housekeeping changes to the program’s regulations. The intent of this rule is to reduce regulatory barriers that may be limiting small vessel participation in the fishery, and provide for sustained community and American Samoan participation in the fishery. DATES: The final rule is effective November 8, 2021. ADDRESSES: Copies of Amendment 9, including an environmental analysis and Regulatory Impact Review, and other supporting documents for this action are available at https:// www.regulations.gov/document/NOAANMFS-2018-0023-0001. Written comments and recommendations for the information collection contained in this final rule may be submitted to Michael D. Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818, and to www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\07OCR1.SGM 07OCR1 55744 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 192 / Thursday, October 7, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Kate Taylor, NMFS PIR Sustainable Fisheries, 808–725–5182. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) and NMFS manage the American Samoa longline fishery under the FEP and implementing Federal regulations. The fishery is currently limited to 60 permits distributed over four vessel size classes. Permits are valid for three years, and issued only to individuals who meet specific eligibility criteria. A permit holder must also meet minimum landing requirements within three years to renew the permit. Existing requirements have created programmatic barriers that may be hampering small vessel participation in the fishery. As described in Amendment 9, the Council recommended changes to the program that will reduce complexity and provide for sustained community participation in the small vessel American Samoa deep-set longline fishery. This final rule implements the new provisions established by Amendment 9, as follows: • Consolidate four existing vessel sizes classes into two, i.e., small (less than 50 ft (15.2 m)) and large (equal to or larger than 50 ft (15.2 m)); • Permit holders must be U.S. citizens or nationals. Applicants do not need to document a history of participation to be eligible for a permit, but if there is competition between applicants, NMFS will continue to use a priority ranking system based on earliest documented history of fishing in a vessel class size; • Permits may be transferred only among U.S. citizens or nationals. There is no requirement for documented participation in the fishery to receive a transferred permit; • The small vessel minimum harvest requirement is now 500 lb (227 kg) of pelagic management unit species (MUS) within a 3-year period. (The large vessel harvest requirement remains 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) over three years); • The minimum harvest amount must be landed in American Samoa within a 3-year permit period. These required harvests need not be caught within the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around American Samoa; • Permits are valid for the same, fixed 3-year period as the 3-year period required to make a minimum harvest; and • When a permit is transferred, the minimum harvest period does not restart. If the minimum amount has not been caught at the time of transfer, the new permit owner is required to meet lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with RULES1 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:21 Oct 06, 2021 Jkt 256001 the harvest requirement based on the following formula: The product of percentage of time left within the 3-year permit period and the minimum harvest amount. You may find additional background information on this action in the preamble to the proposed rule (86 FR 37982, July 19, 2021). Comments and Responses On June 30, 2021, NMFS published the notice of availability (NOA) for Amendment 9 and request for public comments (86 FR 34711); the comment period ended August 30, 2021. The American Samoa Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources provided comments on Amendment 9 that generally supported the changes established by the Council, and offered to work with NMFS on future reporting and permitting issues in this and other fisheries. On July 19, 2021, NMFS published a proposed rule and request for public comments (86 FR 37982); the comment period ended September 2, 2021. NMFS received comments from the Hawaii Longline Association (HLA), and responds below. Comment 1: HLA noted that two dozen Hawaii vessels also hold American Samoa longline permits. Although the fishery is operating safely during the Covid–19 pandemic, HLA is concerned that a minimum landing requirement would force these dualpermitted vessels to land in American Samoa, possibly spreading the virus to an area that has been largely virus-free. HLA requested that NMFS delay the effectiveness of the landing requirement and associated 3-year period for large vessels until the threat caused by the pandemic has eased. Response: The American Samoa Department of Health has health and safety protocols in place that are applicable to fishing vessels landing in the territory. During the pandemic, U.S. fishing vessels have continued to land in American Samoa under these requirements, which include proof of a negative Covid–19 test, evidence of having recovered from Covid–19 in the past six months, or proof of complete vaccination at least 14 days prior to the arrival. Anyone arriving in port must provide the documentation at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Prior approval is required for crew to disembark. Quarantine measures are also in place, as needed, for vessels entering the port. These protocols have been effective. To date, there has been only one documented Covid–19 case in American Samoa. Based on the effective health and safety protocols in place there, PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 NMFS does not agree that a delay in effectiveness for the minimum harvest landing requirements for large vessels is warranted. Changes From the Proposed Rule This final rule does not make any substantive changes from the proposed rule. This rule does make three administrative housekeeping changes. The first revises 50 CFR 665.14 relating to reporting. After NMFS published the proposed rule for this action, we published a separate final rule that requires electronic reporting for American Samoa Class C and D vessels (86 FR 42744, August 5, 2021). Because this final rule replaces the former C and D classes with a single large vessel class, we are updating § 665.14 to clarify that large vessels must report electronically. The second modifies 50 CFR 665.802(x) relating to observer coverage. In the proposed rule, we erred in using the term ‘‘large vessel,’’ which is a vessel equal to or greater than 50 ft long. If implemented, we would have inadvertently removed the requirement for a vessel between 40 and 50 ft to carry an observer. In Amendment 9, the Council did not recommend removal of the observer coverage requirement for vessels between 40 and 50 ft in length overall (LOA), and this final rule correctly implements the Council’s intention by replacing ‘‘large vessel’’ with ‘‘vessel greater than 40 ft (12.2 m) LOA’’ in § 665.802(x). The third housekeeping changes are in 50 CFR 665.816, relating to permit validity. Amendment 9 established a requirement that the duration of a permit is three years from the date of issuance and that the term of the permit validity does not change or reset in the event of a permit transfer. To accurately implement the recommendations in Amendment 9, this rule adds a new § 665.816(f) that clarifies that a permit is valid for three years. The rule also clarifies in § 665.816(h)(1) and (3) the 3year permit term and that it does not change in the event of a transfer. Classification Pursuant to section 304(b)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and Conservation Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this final rule is consistent with the FEP, other provisions of the MagnusonStevens Act, and other applicable law. 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 E:\FR\FM\07OCR1.SGM 07OCR1 lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with RULES1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 192 / Thursday, October 7, 2021 / Rules and Regulations 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. NMFS did not receive any comments regarding this certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not required and none was prepared. This final rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This final rule contains a change to a collection of information requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This rule revises the existing requirements for the collection of information under OMB Control Number 0648–0490 Pacific Islands Permit Family of Forms by modifying the type of permit issued in the American Samoa longline fishery limited entry program. Changes required under this rule applicable to the PRA include the consolidation of the four current permit size classes (Class A, B, C, and D) into two permit class sizes (small and large), the restriction of permit eligibility to U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. companies, partnerships, or corporations, and the elimination of the requirement to have documented history of participation in the fishery to be eligible for a permit. These changes require revising the permit application form. In the proposed rule published in the Federal Register for a 45-day comment period, NMFS indicated our intent to revise this information collection (86 FR 37982, July 19, 2021). The revision is not expected to affect the number of respondents or anticipated responses or to effect the number of burden hours and burden cost to fishermen. The public reporting burden for completing an American Samoa longline fishery permit application is estimated to average 1.25 hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering the data needed, and submitting the permit application. We invite the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. Written comments and recommendations for this information collection should be submitted on the following website: www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by using the search function and entering either the title of the collection or the OMB Control Number 0648–0490. Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is required to VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:21 Oct 06, 2021 Jkt 256001 respond or, nor shall any person by 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. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 665 Administrative practice and procedure, American Samoa, Fisheries, Fishing, Longline, Pacific Islands. Dated: September 29, 2021. Samuel D. Rauch, III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 665 as follows: PART 665—FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 665 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 2. In § 665.12, add the definition of ‘‘Small vessel’’ in alphabetical order to read as follows: ■ § 665.12 Definitions. * * * * * Small vessel means, as used in this part, any vessel less than 50 ft (15.2 m) in length overall. * * * * * ■ 3. In § 665.14, revise paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) to read as follows: § 665.14 Reporting and recordkeeping. * * * * * (b) * * * (1) * * * (ii) * * * (A) The operator of a fishing vessel subject to the requirements of § 665.801(b) or a large vessel subject to the requirements of § 665.801(c) must maintain on board the vessel an accurate and complete record of catch, effort, and other data electronically using a NMFS-certified electronic logbook, and must record and transmit electronically all information specified by the Regional Administrator within 24 hours after the completion of each fishing day. * * * * * ■ 4. In § 665.19, revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows: § 665.19 Vessel monitoring system. (a) * * * (2) American Samoa large vessel longline limited entry permit issued pursuant to § 665.801(c); * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 55745 5. In § 665.802, revise paragraph (x) to read as follows: ■ § 665.802 Prohibitions. * * * * * (x) Fail to comply with a term or condition governing the observer program established in § 665.808, if using a vessel registered for use with a Hawaii longline limited access permit, or a vessel greater than 40 ft (12.2 m) LOA registered for use with an American Samoa longline limited access permit to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS using longline gear. * * * * * ■ 6. Revise § 665.816 to read as follows: § 665.816 American Samoa longline limited entry program. (a) General. Under § 665.801(c), certain U.S. vessels are required to be registered for use under a valid American Samoa longline limited access permit. Under the American Samoa Longline Limited Entry Program, the maximum number of longline fishing permits available is limited to 60 permits annually. (b) Terminology. For purposes of this section, the following terms have these meanings: (1) Documented participation means participation proved by, but not necessarily limited to, a properly submitted NMFS or American Samoa logbook, an American Samoa creel survey record, a delivery or payment record from an American Samoa-based cannery, retailer or wholesaler, an American Samoa tax record, an individual wage record, ownership title, vessel registration, or other official documents showing: (i) Ownership of a vessel that was used to fish in the EEZ around American Samoa; or (ii) Evidence of work on a fishing trip during which longline gear was used to harvest western Pacific pelagic MUS in the EEZ around American Samoa. If the applicant does not possess the necessary documentation of evidence of work on a fishing trip based on records available only from NMFS or the Government of American Samoa (e.g., creel survey record or logbook), the applicant may issue a request to PIRO to obtain such records from the appropriate agencies, if available. The applicant should provide sufficient information on the fishing trip to allow PIRO to retrieve the records. (2) Family means those people related by blood, marriage, and formal or informal adoption. (c) Vessel size classes. The Regional Administrator shall issue American Samoa longline limited access permits in the following size classes: E:\FR\FM\07OCR1.SGM 07OCR1 55746 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 192 / Thursday, October 7, 2021 / Rules and Regulations lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with RULES1 (1) Small vessel, which is less than 50 ft (15.2 m) LOA. (2) Large vessel, which is equal to or over 50 ft (15.2 m) LOA. (d) Permit eligibility. Any U.S. national or U.S. citizen or company, partnership, or corporation is eligible for an American Samoa longline limited access permit. (e) Permit issuance. (1) If the number of permits issued falls below the maximum number of permits allowed, the Regional Administrator shall publish a notice in the Federal Register and use other means to notify prospective applicants of any available permit(s) in each class. Any application for issuance of a permit must be submitted to PIRO no later than 120 days after the date of publication of the notice on the availability of additional permits in the Federal Register. The Regional Administrator shall issue permits to persons according to the following priority standard: (i) Priority accrues to the person with the earliest documented participation in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa from smallest to largest vessel. (ii) In the event of a tie in the priority ranking between two or more applicants, the applicant whose second documented participation in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa is first in time will be ranked first in priority. If there is still a tie between two or more applicants, the Regional Administrator will select the successful applicant by an impartial lottery. (2) An application must be made, and application fees paid, in accordance with § 665.13(c)(1), (d), and (f)(2). If the applicant is any entity other than a sole owner, the application must be accompanied by a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, containing the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers that comprise ownership of the vessel for which the permit application is prepared. (3) Within 30 days of receipt of a completed application, the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries shall make a decision on VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:21 Oct 06, 2021 Jkt 256001 whether the applicant qualifies for a permit and will notify the successful applicant by a dated letter. The successful applicant must register a vessel of appropriate size to the permit within 120 days of the date of the letter of notification. The successful applicant must also submit a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, containing the name and mailing address of the owner of the vessel to which the permit is registered. If the registered vessel is owned by any entity other than a sole owner, the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers must be included. If the successful applicant fails to register a vessel to the permit within 120 days of the date of the letter of notification, the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries shall issue a letter of notification to the next person on the priority list or, in the event that there are no more prospective applicants on the priority list, re-start the issuance process pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section. Any person who fails to register the permit to a vessel under this paragraph (e)(3) within 120 days shall not be eligible to apply for a permit for 6 months from the date those 120 days expired. (4) An appeal of a denial of an application for a permit shall be processed in accordance with § 665.801(o). (f) Permit term. The duration of a permit is three years from the date of issuance by NMFS. (g) Permit transfer. The holder of an American Samoa longline limited access permit may transfer the permit to another individual, partnership, corporation, or other entity as described in this section. The application for permit transfer must be submitted to the Regional Administrator within 30 days of the transfer date. If the applicant is any entity other than a sole owner, the application must be accompanied by a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, containing the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers. After such an application has been made, the permit PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 9990 is not valid for use by the new permit holder until the Regional Administrator has issued the permit in the new permit holder’s name under § 665.13(c). (1) An American Samoa longline limited access permit may be transferred (by sale, gift, bequest, intestate succession, barter, or trade) to only the following persons: (i) A western Pacific community located in American Samoa that meets the criteria set forth in section 305(I)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1855(I)(2), and its implementing regulations in this part; or (ii) Any U.S. citizens or national. (2) Additionally, an American Samoa longline limited access small vessel permit may also be transferred (by sale, gift, bequest, intestate succession, barter, or trade) to a family member of the permit holder. (h) Permit renewal. (1) An American Samoa longline limited access permit will not be renewed following three years in which the vessel(s) to which it is registered landed less than: (i) Small vessel: A total of 500 lb (227 kg) of western Pacific pelagic MUS harvested using longline gear; or (ii) Large vessel: A total of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of western Pacific pelagic MUS harvested using longline gear. (2) For all vessels, the minimum harvest amount must be landed in American Samoa. (3) In the event of a transfer, the new permit holder would be required to meet the harvest requirement based on the following formula: Remaining harvest amount = product of percentage of time left within the 3-year permit period and the minimum harvest amount for that size vessel. The original permit term and duration does not change in the event of a transfer. (i) Concentration of permits. No more than 10 percent of the maximum number of permits, of both size classes combined, may be held by the same permit holder. Fractional interest will be counted as a full permit for calculating whether the 10-percent standard has been reached. (ii) [Reserved] [FR Doc. 2021–21662 Filed 10–6–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\07OCR1.SGM 07OCR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 192 (Thursday, October 7, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 55743-55746]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-21662]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 665

[Docket No. 210929-0200]
RIN 0648-BH65


Pacific Island Fisheries; Modifications to the American Samoa 
Longline Fishery Limited Entry Program

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: This final rule implements Amendment 9 to the Fishery 
Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific (FEP). It 
modifies the American Samoa longline fishery limited entry program to 
consolidate vessel class sizes, modify permit eligibility requirements, 
and reduce the minimum harvest requirements for small vessels. This 
final rule also makes several housekeeping changes to the program's 
regulations. The intent of this rule is to reduce regulatory barriers 
that may be limiting small vessel participation in the fishery, and 
provide for sustained community and American Samoan participation in 
the fishery.

DATES: The final rule is effective November 8, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Copies of Amendment 9, including an environmental analysis 
and Regulatory Impact Review, and other supporting documents for this 
action are available at https://www.regulations.gov/document/NOAA-NMFS-2018-0023-0001.
    Written comments and recommendations for the information collection 
contained in this final rule may be submitted to Michael D. Tosatto, 
Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Region (PIR), 1845 Wasp 
Blvd., Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818, and to www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.

[[Page 55744]]


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Taylor, NMFS PIR Sustainable 
Fisheries, 808-725-5182.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Western Pacific Fishery Management 
Council (Council) and NMFS manage the American Samoa longline fishery 
under the FEP and implementing Federal regulations. The fishery is 
currently limited to 60 permits distributed over four vessel size 
classes. Permits are valid for three years, and issued only to 
individuals who meet specific eligibility criteria. A permit holder 
must also meet minimum landing requirements within three years to renew 
the permit. Existing requirements have created programmatic barriers 
that may be hampering small vessel participation in the fishery. As 
described in Amendment 9, the Council recommended changes to the 
program that will reduce complexity and provide for sustained community 
participation in the small vessel American Samoa deep-set longline 
fishery. This final rule implements the new provisions established by 
Amendment 9, as follows:
     Consolidate four existing vessel sizes classes into two, 
i.e., small (less than 50 ft (15.2 m)) and large (equal to or larger 
than 50 ft (15.2 m));
     Permit holders must be U.S. citizens or nationals. 
Applicants do not need to document a history of participation to be 
eligible for a permit, but if there is competition between applicants, 
NMFS will continue to use a priority ranking system based on earliest 
documented history of fishing in a vessel class size;
     Permits may be transferred only among U.S. citizens or 
nationals. There is no requirement for documented participation in the 
fishery to receive a transferred permit;
     The small vessel minimum harvest requirement is now 500 lb 
(227 kg) of pelagic management unit species (MUS) within a 3-year 
period. (The large vessel harvest requirement remains 5,000 lb (2,268 
kg) over three years);
     The minimum harvest amount must be landed in American 
Samoa within a 3-year permit period. These required harvests need not 
be caught within the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) around American 
Samoa;
     Permits are valid for the same, fixed 3-year period as the 
3-year period required to make a minimum harvest; and
     When a permit is transferred, the minimum harvest period 
does not restart. If the minimum amount has not been caught at the time 
of transfer, the new permit owner is required to meet the harvest 
requirement based on the following formula: The product of percentage 
of time left within the 3-year permit period and the minimum harvest 
amount.
    You may find additional background information on this action in 
the preamble to the proposed rule (86 FR 37982, July 19, 2021).

Comments and Responses

    On June 30, 2021, NMFS published the notice of availability (NOA) 
for Amendment 9 and request for public comments (86 FR 34711); the 
comment period ended August 30, 2021. The American Samoa Department of 
Marine and Wildlife Resources provided comments on Amendment 9 that 
generally supported the changes established by the Council, and offered 
to work with NMFS on future reporting and permitting issues in this and 
other fisheries.
    On July 19, 2021, NMFS published a proposed rule and request for 
public comments (86 FR 37982); the comment period ended September 2, 
2021. NMFS received comments from the Hawaii Longline Association 
(HLA), and responds below.
    Comment 1: HLA noted that two dozen Hawaii vessels also hold 
American Samoa longline permits. Although the fishery is operating 
safely during the Covid-19 pandemic, HLA is concerned that a minimum 
landing requirement would force these dual-permitted vessels to land in 
American Samoa, possibly spreading the virus to an area that has been 
largely virus-free. HLA requested that NMFS delay the effectiveness of 
the landing requirement and associated 3-year period for large vessels 
until the threat caused by the pandemic has eased.
    Response: The American Samoa Department of Health has health and 
safety protocols in place that are applicable to fishing vessels 
landing in the territory. During the pandemic, U.S. fishing vessels 
have continued to land in American Samoa under these requirements, 
which include proof of a negative Covid-19 test, evidence of having 
recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months, or proof of complete 
vaccination at least 14 days prior to the arrival. Anyone arriving in 
port must provide the documentation at least 72 hours prior to arrival. 
Prior approval is required for crew to disembark. Quarantine measures 
are also in place, as needed, for vessels entering the port.
    These protocols have been effective. To date, there has been only 
one documented Covid-19 case in American Samoa. Based on the effective 
health and safety protocols in place there, NMFS does not agree that a 
delay in effectiveness for the minimum harvest landing requirements for 
large vessels is warranted.

Changes From the Proposed Rule

    This final rule does not make any substantive changes from the 
proposed rule.
    This rule does make three administrative housekeeping changes. The 
first revises 50 CFR 665.14 relating to reporting. After NMFS published 
the proposed rule for this action, we published a separate final rule 
that requires electronic reporting for American Samoa Class C and D 
vessels (86 FR 42744, August 5, 2021). Because this final rule replaces 
the former C and D classes with a single large vessel class, we are 
updating Sec.  665.14 to clarify that large vessels must report 
electronically.
    The second modifies 50 CFR 665.802(x) relating to observer 
coverage. In the proposed rule, we erred in using the term ``large 
vessel,'' which is a vessel equal to or greater than 50 ft long. If 
implemented, we would have inadvertently removed the requirement for a 
vessel between 40 and 50 ft to carry an observer. In Amendment 9, the 
Council did not recommend removal of the observer coverage requirement 
for vessels between 40 and 50 ft in length overall (LOA), and this 
final rule correctly implements the Council's intention by replacing 
``large vessel'' with ``vessel greater than 40 ft (12.2 m) LOA'' in 
Sec.  665.802(x).
    The third housekeeping changes are in 50 CFR 665.816, relating to 
permit validity. Amendment 9 established a requirement that the 
duration of a permit is three years from the date of issuance and that 
the term of the permit validity does not change or reset in the event 
of a permit transfer. To accurately implement the recommendations in 
Amendment 9, this rule adds a new Sec.  665.816(f) that clarifies that 
a permit is valid for three years. The rule also clarifies in Sec.  
665.816(h)(1) and (3) the 3-year permit term and that it does not 
change in the event of a transfer.

Classification

    Pursuant to section 304(b)(3) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery and 
Conservation Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that 
this final rule is consistent with the FEP, other provisions of the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.
    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

[[Page 55745]]

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. NMFS did not receive any comments regarding this 
certification. As a result, a regulatory flexibility analysis was not 
required and none was prepared.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This final rule contains a change to a collection of information 
requirement for the purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). This 
rule revises the existing requirements for the collection of 
information under OMB Control Number 0648-0490 Pacific Islands Permit 
Family of Forms by modifying the type of permit issued in the American 
Samoa longline fishery limited entry program. Changes required under 
this rule applicable to the PRA include the consolidation of the four 
current permit size classes (Class A, B, C, and D) into two permit 
class sizes (small and large), the restriction of permit eligibility to 
U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, and U.S. companies, partnerships, or 
corporations, and the elimination of the requirement to have documented 
history of participation in the fishery to be eligible for a permit. 
These changes require revising the permit application form. In the 
proposed rule published in the Federal Register for a 45-day comment 
period, NMFS indicated our intent to revise this information collection 
(86 FR 37982, July 19, 2021). The revision is not expected to affect 
the number of respondents or anticipated responses or to effect the 
number of burden hours and burden cost to fishermen. The public 
reporting burden for completing an American Samoa longline fishery 
permit application is estimated to average 1.25 hours per response, 
including the time for reviewing instructions, gathering the data 
needed, and submitting the permit application.
    We invite the general public and other Federal agencies to comment 
on proposed and continuing information collections, which helps us 
assess the impact of our information collection requirements and 
minimize the public's reporting burden. Written comments and 
recommendations for this information collection should be submitted on 
the following website: www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain. Find this 
particular information collection by using the search function and 
entering either the title of the collection or the OMB Control Number 
0648-0490.
    Notwithstanding any other provisions of the law, no person is 
required to respond or, nor shall any person by 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.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 665

    Administrative practice and procedure, American Samoa, Fisheries, 
Fishing, Longline, Pacific Islands.

    Dated: September 29, 2021.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 50 CFR part 
665 as follows:

PART 665--FISHERIES IN THE WESTERN PACIFIC

0
1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 665 continues to read as 
follows:

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


0
2. In Sec.  665.12, add the definition of ``Small vessel'' in 
alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  665.12  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Small vessel means, as used in this part, any vessel less than 50 
ft (15.2 m) in length overall.
* * * * *

0
3. In Sec.  665.14, revise paragraph (b)(1)(ii)(A) to read as follows:


Sec.  665.14  Reporting and recordkeeping.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (A) The operator of a fishing vessel subject to the requirements of 
Sec.  665.801(b) or a large vessel subject to the requirements of Sec.  
665.801(c) must maintain on board the vessel an accurate and complete 
record of catch, effort, and other data electronically using a NMFS-
certified electronic logbook, and must record and transmit 
electronically all information specified by the Regional Administrator 
within 24 hours after the completion of each fishing day.
* * * * *

0
4. In Sec.  665.19, revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  665.19  Vessel monitoring system.

    (a) * * *
    (2) American Samoa large vessel longline limited entry permit 
issued pursuant to Sec.  665.801(c);
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  665.802, revise paragraph (x) to read as follows:


Sec.  665.802  Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (x) Fail to comply with a term or condition governing the observer 
program established in Sec.  665.808, if using a vessel registered for 
use with a Hawaii longline limited access permit, or a vessel greater 
than 40 ft (12.2 m) LOA registered for use with an American Samoa 
longline limited access permit to fish for western Pacific pelagic MUS 
using longline gear.
* * * * *

0
6. Revise Sec.  665.816 to read as follows:


Sec.  665.816  American Samoa longline limited entry program.

    (a) General. Under Sec.  665.801(c), certain U.S. vessels are 
required to be registered for use under a valid American Samoa longline 
limited access permit. Under the American Samoa Longline Limited Entry 
Program, the maximum number of longline fishing permits available is 
limited to 60 permits annually.
    (b) Terminology. For purposes of this section, the following terms 
have these meanings:
    (1) Documented participation means participation proved by, but not 
necessarily limited to, a properly submitted NMFS or American Samoa 
logbook, an American Samoa creel survey record, a delivery or payment 
record from an American Samoa-based cannery, retailer or wholesaler, an 
American Samoa tax record, an individual wage record, ownership title, 
vessel registration, or other official documents showing:
    (i) Ownership of a vessel that was used to fish in the EEZ around 
American Samoa; or
    (ii) Evidence of work on a fishing trip during which longline gear 
was used to harvest western Pacific pelagic MUS in the EEZ around 
American Samoa. If the applicant does not possess the necessary 
documentation of evidence of work on a fishing trip based on records 
available only from NMFS or the Government of American Samoa (e.g., 
creel survey record or logbook), the applicant may issue a request to 
PIRO to obtain such records from the appropriate agencies, if 
available. The applicant should provide sufficient information on the 
fishing trip to allow PIRO to retrieve the records.
    (2) Family means those people related by blood, marriage, and 
formal or informal adoption.
    (c) Vessel size classes. The Regional Administrator shall issue 
American Samoa longline limited access permits in the following size 
classes:

[[Page 55746]]

    (1) Small vessel, which is less than 50 ft (15.2 m) LOA.
    (2) Large vessel, which is equal to or over 50 ft (15.2 m) LOA.
    (d) Permit eligibility. Any U.S. national or U.S. citizen or 
company, partnership, or corporation is eligible for an American Samoa 
longline limited access permit.
    (e) Permit issuance. (1) If the number of permits issued falls 
below the maximum number of permits allowed, the Regional Administrator 
shall publish a notice in the Federal Register and use other means to 
notify prospective applicants of any available permit(s) in each class. 
Any application for issuance of a permit must be submitted to PIRO no 
later than 120 days after the date of publication of the notice on the 
availability of additional permits in the Federal Register. The 
Regional Administrator shall issue permits to persons according to the 
following priority standard:
    (i) Priority accrues to the person with the earliest documented 
participation in the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around 
American Samoa from smallest to largest vessel.
    (ii) In the event of a tie in the priority ranking between two or 
more applicants, the applicant whose second documented participation in 
the pelagic longline fishery in the EEZ around American Samoa is first 
in time will be ranked first in priority. If there is still a tie 
between two or more applicants, the Regional Administrator will select 
the successful applicant by an impartial lottery.
    (2) An application must be made, and application fees paid, in 
accordance with Sec.  665.13(c)(1), (d), and (f)(2). If the applicant 
is any entity other than a sole owner, the application must be 
accompanied by a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the 
Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, containing 
the names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate 
officers that comprise ownership of the vessel for which the permit 
application is prepared.
    (3) Within 30 days of receipt of a completed application, the 
Assistant Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries shall make a 
decision on whether the applicant qualifies for a permit and will 
notify the successful applicant by a dated letter. The successful 
applicant must register a vessel of appropriate size to the permit 
within 120 days of the date of the letter of notification. The 
successful applicant must also submit a supplementary information 
sheet, obtained from the Assistant Regional Administrator for 
Sustainable Fisheries, containing the name and mailing address of the 
owner of the vessel to which the permit is registered. If the 
registered vessel is owned by any entity other than a sole owner, the 
names and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate 
officers must be included. If the successful applicant fails to 
register a vessel to the permit within 120 days of the date of the 
letter of notification, the Assistant Regional Administrator for 
Sustainable Fisheries shall issue a letter of notification to the next 
person on the priority list or, in the event that there are no more 
prospective applicants on the priority list, re-start the issuance 
process pursuant to paragraph (e)(1) of this section. Any person who 
fails to register the permit to a vessel under this paragraph (e)(3) 
within 120 days shall not be eligible to apply for a permit for 6 
months from the date those 120 days expired.
    (4) An appeal of a denial of an application for a permit shall be 
processed in accordance with Sec.  665.801(o).
    (f) Permit term. The duration of a permit is three years from the 
date of issuance by NMFS.
    (g) Permit transfer. The holder of an American Samoa longline 
limited access permit may transfer the permit to another individual, 
partnership, corporation, or other entity as described in this section. 
The application for permit transfer must be submitted to the Regional 
Administrator within 30 days of the transfer date. If the applicant is 
any entity other than a sole owner, the application must be accompanied 
by a supplementary information sheet, obtained from the Assistant 
Regional Administrator for Sustainable Fisheries, containing the names 
and mailing addresses of all owners, partners, and corporate officers. 
After such an application has been made, the permit is not valid for 
use by the new permit holder until the Regional Administrator has 
issued the permit in the new permit holder's name under Sec.  
665.13(c).
    (1) An American Samoa longline limited access permit may be 
transferred (by sale, gift, bequest, intestate succession, barter, or 
trade) to only the following persons:
    (i) A western Pacific community located in American Samoa that 
meets the criteria set forth in section 305(I)(2) of the Magnuson-
Stevens Act, 16 U.S.C. 1855(I)(2), and its implementing regulations in 
this part; or
    (ii) Any U.S. citizens or national.
    (2) Additionally, an American Samoa longline limited access small 
vessel permit may also be transferred (by sale, gift, bequest, 
intestate succession, barter, or trade) to a family member of the 
permit holder.
    (h) Permit renewal. (1) An American Samoa longline limited access 
permit will not be renewed following three years in which the vessel(s) 
to which it is registered landed less than:
    (i) Small vessel: A total of 500 lb (227 kg) of western Pacific 
pelagic MUS harvested using longline gear; or
    (ii) Large vessel: A total of 5,000 lb (2,268 kg) of western 
Pacific pelagic MUS harvested using longline gear.
    (2) For all vessels, the minimum harvest amount must be landed in 
American Samoa.
    (3) In the event of a transfer, the new permit holder would be 
required to meet the harvest requirement based on the following 
formula: Remaining harvest amount = product of percentage of time left 
within the 3-year permit period and the minimum harvest amount for that 
size vessel. The original permit term and duration does not change in 
the event of a transfer.
    (i) Concentration of permits. No more than 10 percent of the 
maximum number of permits, of both size classes combined, may be held 
by the same permit holder. Fractional interest will be counted as a 
full permit for calculating whether the 10-percent standard has been 
reached.
    (ii) [Reserved]

[FR Doc. 2021-21662 Filed 10-6-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P