International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna and Silky Shark in the Eastern Pacific Ocean for 2022 and Beyond, 17248-17261 [2022-06345]

Download as PDF 17248 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules F. Environment We have analyzed this proposed rule under Department of Homeland Security Directive 023–01, Rev. 1, associated implementing instructions, and Environmental Planning COMDTINST 5090.1 (series), which guide the Coast Guard in complying with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321–4370f), and have made a preliminary determination that this action is one of a category of actions that do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment. This proposed rule involves a safety zone that extends the Kaneohe Bay Naval Defensive Sea Area on both ends that would prevent vessels from entering the fight paths for the Air Show. Normally such actions are categorically excluded from further review under paragraph L60(a) of Appendix A, Table 1 of DHS Instruction Manual 023–01–001–01, Rev. 1. A preliminary Record of Environmental Consideration supporting this determination is available in the docket. For instructions on locating the docket, see the ADDRESSES section of this preamble. We seek any comments or information that may lead to the discovery of a significant environmental impact from this proposed rule. G. Protest Activities The Coast Guard respects the First Amendment rights of protesters. Protesters are asked to call or email the person listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section to coordinate protest activities so that your message can be received without jeopardizing the safety or security of people, places, or vessels. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 V. Public Participation and Request for Comments We view public participation as essential to effective rulemaking, and will consider all comments and material received during the comment period. Your comment can help shape the outcome of this rulemaking. If you submit a comment, please include the docket number for this rulemaking, indicate the specific section of this document to which each comment applies, and provide a reason for each suggestion or recommendation. Submitting comments. We encourage you to submit comments through the Federal Decision Making Portal at https://www.regulations.gov. To do so, go to https://www.regulations.gov, type USCG–2022–0064 in the search box and click ‘‘Search.’’ Next, look for this document in the Search Results column, and click on it. Then click on the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 Comment option. If you cannot submit your material by using https:// www.regulations.gov, call or email the person in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section of this proposed rule for alternate instructions. Viewing material in docket. To view documents mentioned in this proposed rule as being available in the docket, find the docket as described in the previous paragraph, and then select ‘‘Supporting & Related Material’’ in the Document Type column. Public comments will also be placed in our online docket and can be viewed by following instructions on the https:// www.regulations.gov Frequently Asked Questions web page. We review all comments received, but we will only post comments that address the topic of the proposed rule. We may choose not to post off-topic, inappropriate, or duplicate comments that we receive. Personal information. We accept anonymous comments. Comments we post to https://www.regulations.gov will include any personal information you have provided. For more about privacy and submissions to the docket in response to this document, see DHS’s eRulemaking System of Records notice (85 FR 14226, March 11, 2020). List of Subjects in 33 CFR Part 165 Harbors, Marine safety, Navigation (water), Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Security measures, Waterways. For the reasons discussed in the preamble, the Coast Guard is proposing to amend 33 CFR part 165 as follows: PART 165—REGULATED NAVIGATION AREAS AND LIMITED ACCESS AREAS 1. The authority citation for part 165 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 46 U.S.C. 70034, 70051; 33 CFR 1.05–1, 6.04–1, 6.04–6, and 160.5; Department of Homeland Security Delegation No. 00170.1, Revision No. 01.2. 2. Add § 165.T14–0064 to read as follows: ■ 21°27.943′ N, 157°44.953′ W; then west to 21°28.016′ N, 157°45.250′ W; and returning southwest to the starting point. This safety zone extends from the surface of the water to the ocean floor. These coordinates are based upon the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coast Survey, Pacific Ocean, Oahu, Hawaii, chart 19359 (NAD 83). (b) Definitions. As used in this section, designated representative means a Coast Guard Patrol Commander, including a Coast Guard coxswain, petty officer, or other officer operating a Coast Guard vessel and a Federal, State, and local officer designated by or assisting the Captain of the Port Honolulu (COTP) in the enforcement of the safety zone. (c) Regulations. (1) Under the general safety zone regulations in subpart C of this part, you may not enter the safety zone described in paragraph (a) of this section unless authorized by the COTP or the COTP’s designated representative. (2) To seek permission to enter, contact the COTP or the COTP’s representative on VHF channel 16 (156.800 MHz) or the Honolulu Captain of the Port at telephone number 808– 842–2600. Those in the safety zone must comply with all lawful orders or directions given to them by the COTP or the COTP’s designated representative. (d) Enforcement period. This section will be enforced daily between the hours of 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., August 12–14, 2022. Dated: March 21, 2022. A.B. Avanni, Captain, U.S. Coast Guard, Captain of the Port Honolulu. [FR Doc. 2022–06455 Filed 3–25–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–04–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration § 165.T14–0064 Safety Zone; Blue Angels at Kaneohe Bay Air Show, Oahu, Hawaii. 50 CFR Part 300 (a) Location. The following area is a safety zone: All waters contained within an area composing of one box on Kaneohe Bay Naval Defensive Sea Area as established by Executive Order 8681 of February 14, 1941, in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu, Hawaii. This safety zone extends approximately 200 yards northeast and 1000 yards southwest of the Naval Defensive Sea Area and is bound by the following points: 21°26.159′ N, 157°47.312′ W; then south to 21°25.890′ N, 157°47.250′ W; then northeast to [Docket No. 220321–0075] PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 RIN 0648–BK84 International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing Restrictions for Tropical Tuna and Silky Shark in the Eastern Pacific Ocean for 2022 and Beyond National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules Proposed rule; request for comments. ACTION: NMFS proposes regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act (TCA) of 1950, as amended, to implement Resolution C–21–04 (Conservation Measures for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2022– 2024) and Resolution C–21–06 (Conservation Measures for Shark Species, with Special Emphasis on the Silky Shark (Carcharhinus Falciformis), for the Years 2022 and 2023), which were adopted at the Resumed 98th Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in October 2021. This proposed rule implements the C–21–04 fishing management measures for tropical tuna (i.e., bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). The fishing restrictions would apply to purse seine vessels of class sizes 4–6 (carrying capacity of 182 metric tons (mt) or greater) and longline vessels greater than 24 meters (m) in overall length that fish for tropical tuna in the EPO. To implement Resolution C–21–06, which extended the previous IATTC resolution on silky shark for 2 years, NMFS is proposing for existing regulations on silky shark to continue in effect with no proposed amendments. This proposed rule is necessary for the conservation of tropical tuna stocks and silky shark in the EPO and for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the IATTC. DATES: Comments on the proposed rule and supporting documents must be submitted in writing by April 27, 2022. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by NOAA– NMFS–2021–0136, by any of the following methods: • Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2021–0136’’ in the Search box. Click on the ‘‘Comment’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802. Include the identifier ‘‘NOAA– NMFS–2021–0136’’ in the comments. Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above methods to ensure they are received, documented, and considered by NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 period, may not be considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Copies of supporting documents that were prepared for this proposed rule, including the regulatory impact review (RIR) are available via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov, docket NOAA– NMFS–2021–0136, or contact Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS WCR SFD, NMFS West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802, or WCR.HMS@ noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS WCR, at (206) 561–3457. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background on the IATTC The United States is a member of the IATTC, which was established under the 1949 Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (1949 Convention). In 2003, the IATTC updated the 1949 Convention through the adoption of the Convention for the Strengthening of the IATTC Established by the 1949 Convention between the United States of America and the Republic of Costa Rica (Antigua Convention). The Antigua Convention entered into force in 2010. The United States acceded to the Antigua Convention on February 24, 2016. The full text of the Antigua Convention is available at: https://www.iattc.org/ PDFFiles/IATTC-Instruments/_English/ IATTC_Antigua_ Convention%20Jun%202003.pdf. The IATTC consists of 21 member nations and 5 cooperating non-member nations. The IATTC facilitates scientific research, as well as the conservation and management, of tuna and tuna-like species in the IATTC Convention Area. The IATTC Convention Area is defined as waters of the EPO within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas and by 50° N latitude, 150° W longitude, and 50° S latitude. The IATTC maintains a scientific research and fishery monitoring program and regularly assesses the status of tuna, PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 17249 sharks, and billfish stocks in the IATTC Convention Area to determine appropriate catch limits and other measures deemed necessary to promote sustainable fisheries and prevent the overexploitation of these stocks. International Obligations of the United States Under the Antigua Convention As a Party to the Antigua Convention and a member of the IATTC, the United States is legally bound to implement decisions of the IATTC under the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq. (Pub. L. 114–81) (TCA). The TCA directs the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and, with respect to enforcement measures, the U.S. Coast Guard, to promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the United States’ obligations under the Antigua Convention, including recommendations and decisions adopted by the IATTC. The authority of the Secretary of Commerce to promulgate such regulations has been delegated to NMFS. IATTC Resolutions on Tropical Tuna Conservation and Silky Shark The IATTC held multiple annual meetings, virtually, in June, August, and October 2021. The IATTC ultimately adopted a new tropical tuna Resolution, Resolution C–21–04 (Conservation Measures for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2022– 2024), at the Resumed 98th Meeting of the IATTC in October 2021. The IATTC also adopted Resolution C–21–06 (Conservation Measures for Shark Species, with Special Emphasis on the Silky Shark (Carcharhinus Falciformis), for the Years 2022 and 2023). This Resolution is a two-year extension of the previous resolution on silky shark, which was set to expire at the end of the 2021 calendar year. Many of the provisions of the newly adopted Resolution C–21–04 are identical in content to those contained in the previous IATTC resolutions on tropical tuna management that were in place from 2018–2021 (C–20–06; Tropical Tunas Conservation in the EPO during 2021, pursuant to RES C–20–05; and C–17–02; Multiannual Program for the Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2018–2020). Resolution C–21–04 continues to include provisions for a 72-day EPO fishing closure period for purse seine vessels, exemptions from that closure period due to force majeure, a 31-day time/area EPO fishing closure period for purse seine vessels, catch limits of bigeye tuna caught in the EPO for longline vessels greater than 24 m in E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 17250 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 overall length, catch limit transfer requirements for bigeye tuna, a requirement that all tropical tuna be retained and landed (with some exceptions), and restrictions on the use and design of fish aggregating devices (FADs). In addition to the existing measures, Resolution C–21–04 contains new measures not included in previous tropical tuna resolutions. These include a system of additional closure days for purse seine vessels that exceed an annual catch level of 1,200 mt for bigeye tuna and amendments to provisions related to force majeure exemptions from the 72-day closure period requirement. The Resolution also includes several new restrictions on FADs that include a gradual reduction in the number of active FADs allowed, additional reporting requirements for satellite buoys including activations and deactivations, and specification of circumstances where activations and deactivations are allowed. The Resolution also includes requirements for reporting cannery data and Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) data to the IATTC. Proposed Regulations This proposed rule would be implemented under the TCA (16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.) and proposes changes to part 300, subpart C of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Although Resolutions C–21–04 and C– 21–06 are in effect through 2024 and 2023 respectively, NMFS does not intend for the proposed regulations to expire concurrently with the Resolutions. Instead, because the IATTC will likely continue to adopt similar conservation and management measures upon expiration of those resolutions, and to avoid a lapse in the management of the fishery that may occur between expiration of the proposed regulations and implementation of new measures adopted by the IATTC, the proposed regulations would remain in effect until they are amended or replaced. The TCA gives NMFS the authority to . . . promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the United States international obligations under the Convention and this chapter, including recommendations and decisions adopted by the Commission. 16 U.S.C. 955(a). In past years, NMFS has implemented IATTC resolutions for specific calendar years, and this approach has led to lapses in management in the affected fisheries in subsequent years. Given the timeconsuming nature of the U.S. domestic rulemaking process, combined with the increasingly frequent delayed adoption VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 of IATTC resolutions, implementing domestic measures that do not expire until new measures are in place is necessary to carry out the United States’ international obligations under the Antigua Convention and the TCA because it will ensure there is no lapse in management of the tropical tuna fishery or silky shark measures in the EPO. Thus, unless a date is specified in the text of the regulation, the proposed regulations would remain in effect until they are amended or replaced. NMFS does intend to publish proposed and final rules to implement new resolutions adopted by the IATTC as expeditiously as possible; however, this approach would allow existing regulations to remain in force and prevent any lapse in regulatory coverage caused by expirations. Because the IATTC adopted Resolution C–21–04 as a three-year conservation and management measure (2022–2024), the supporting analyses for this rule (discussed later in the Classification section) cover a three-year time period, with the understanding that these analyses would need to be supplemented should the measures remain in effect for more than three years. Likewise, the supporting analyses for Resolution C–21–06, which was adopted as a two-year conservation measure (2022–2023), cover a two-year period, with the understanding that these analyses would also need to be supplemented should the measures remain in effect for more than two years. Tuna Conservation Measures for 2022 and Beyond The proposed rule would implement the provisions of Resolution C–21–04 and applies to U.S. commercial fishing vessels using purse seine and longline gear to catch tropical tuna in the IATTC Convention Area. Several provisions included in Resolution C–21–04 do not need to be implemented through this proposed rule because they were already codified in regulations and are not set to expire. The continuing and new tropical tuna provisions are described below. First, this proposed rule would maintain a 750 mt catch limit on bigeye tuna caught by longline vessels greater than 24 m in overall length in the IATTC Convention Area (50 CFR 300.25(a)(2)). Second, the proposed rule would maintain the prohibition on purse seine vessels of class size 4 to 6 (i.e., vessels with a carrying capacity greater than 182 mt) from fishing for tropical tuna in the IATTC Convention Area for a period of 72 days (50 CFR 300.25(e)(1)). Specifically, vessels will PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 continue to be prohibited from fishing in the EPO for 72 days during one of the following two periods: (1) From July 29 to October 8; or (2) from November 9 to January 19 of the following year (50 CFR 300.25(e)(1)(i) and (ii)). Third, the proposed rule would maintain a closure period (i.e., Corralito closure) for the purse seine fishery for tropical tuna within the area of 96° and 110° W and between 4° N and 3° S from 0000 hours on October 9 to 2400 hours on November 8 (50 CFR 300.25(e)(5)). The three regulations described in this paragraph would be amended by this proposed rule solely to specify that they apply beyond the 2021 calendar year and would no longer be linked to specific years in the regulations. Due to the addition of new requirements in § 300.25(e) (discussed later in this section), the closure requirement described in § 300.25(e)(5) would also be moved to § 300.25(e)(6). This proposed rule would also continue, for 2022 and beyond, several other regulations that were in effect in 2021 but that did not specify in the regulatory text the calendar years to which they apply. Therefore, under this proposed rule, those regulations would continue to be in effect with no changes or with minor clarifying revisions, as indicated below: • Provisions related to transferring longline catch limits for bigeye tuna between IATTC members (50 CFR 300.25(a)(5)). • Provisions related to selection of a 72-day closure period (50 CFR 300.25(e)(2) and (3)). Due to the addition of new regulations in § 300.25(e), these provisions would be moved from § 300.25(e)(2) and (3) to § 300.25(e)(3) and (4), and they would also include minor non-substantive clarifying revisions. • Provisions related to exemptions from the 72-day closure period requirement due to force majeure (50 CFR 300.25(e)(4)). Due to the addition of new requirements in § 300.25(e), these provisions would be moved from § 300.25(e)(4) to § 300.25(e)(5). The regulation would also include nonsubstantive revisions intended to clarify eligibility for a force majeure exemption. • Requirements related to stowing gear during time/area closure periods (50 CFR 300.25(e)(6)). Due to the addition of new requirements in § 300.25(e), this requirement would be moved from § 300.25(e)(6) to § 300.25(e)(7). • A requirement for all tropical tuna to be retained on board and landed (with certain exceptions) (50 CFR 300.27(a)). E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules • A number of restrictions related to FADs for purse seine vessels in the IATTC Convention Area (50 CFR 300.22(a)(3); 50 CFR 300.28). Due to proposed changes to § 300.22, the FAD restrictions in § 300.22(a)(3) would be moved to § 300.22(c). The regulation would include some non-substantive revisions intended to clarify the existing reporting requirements for Active FADs. • The prohibitions against failing to comply with gear-stowing restrictions, retention requirements, and FAD-related restrictions (50 CFR 300.24(e), (f), (m), (nn), (oo), and (pp)). This proposed rule would implement several new fishing restrictions on purse seine vessels, in accordance with Resolution C–21–04. The new restrictions include a system of additional closure days for class 4–6 purse seine vessels that exceed specified annual catch levels for bigeye tuna (see proposed 50 CFR 300.25(e)(2)). These catch levels would begin at 1,200 mt of bigeye tuna with 10 additional closure days and would increase incrementally by 300 mt and 3 additional closure days beyond that level. In 2023 and 2024, U.S. purse seine vessels that exceed a certain annual catch level of bigeye tuna would be required to increase the number of closure days they observe in the following year, as specified in Table 1. TABLE 1—BIGEYE TUNA CATCH LEVELS AND CORRESPONDING ADDITIONAL CLOSURE DAYS Catch level (mt) exceeded jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 1,200 1,500 1,800 2,100 2,400 Additional closure days observed ..................................... ..................................... ..................................... ..................................... ..................................... 10 13 16 19 22 In addition, the proposed rule would implement minor revisions to force majeure exemptions from the 72-day closure period requirement to clarify when to submit information to NMFS and that the exemption does not apply to the additional closure days (see proposed 50 CFR 300.25(e)(5)(i)–(vi)). The proposed rule would also implement several new restrictions on FADs. These include proposed changes to 50 CFR 300.28(c) to provide for a gradual reduction in the number of active FADs allowed from 2022 to 2024 and beyond, additional reporting requirements for satellite buoys, including specific information about activations and deactivations, in proposed 50 CFR 300.22(c)(3), and (4), and specification of circumstances VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 where activations and deactivations are allowed in the proposed changes to 50 CFR 300.28(d) and (e). The proposed rule would also implement new requirements for vessel owners or operators to report cannery data directly to the IATTC, and to also make the data available to NMFS upon request, no later than 10 days after completion of unloading and the last day of grading by size (see proposed 50 CFR 300.22(d)). Cannery data reported to NMFS would be treated as confidential in accordance with NOAA Administrative Order 216– 100 for confidential fisheries data, and data provided from NMFS to IATTC or directly to IATTC from vessel owners or operators would be kept confidential according to IATTC confidentiality standards. Further instructions about reporting would be included in a compliance guide available with the final rule. The proposed changes to 50 CFR 300.21 would add definitions for ‘‘activation of a satellite buoy,’’ ‘‘deactivation of a satellite buoy,’’ ‘‘reactivation of a satellite buoy,’’ ‘‘signal loss,’’ and would revise the ‘‘Active FAD’’ definition. The corresponding prohibitions listed in proposed 50 CFR 300.24 are also updated accordingly. Finally, this action also notifies the public that, consistent with the VMS reporting requirements specified in paragraph 25 of Resolution C–21–04 and beginning on January 1, 2023. NMFS would report VMS data, which vessels are currently required to submit under 50 CFR 300.26, to the IATTC. VMS data reported from NMFS to the IATTC would be kept confidential according to IATTC confidentiality standards. In addition to implementing the measures in the tropical tuna resolution, the proposed rule would also slightly reorganize 50 CFR part 300, subpart C and clarify existing regulations pertaining to the IATTC Regional Vessel Register (RVR). Specifically, the regulations in 50 CFR 300.23, ‘‘Persons and vessels exempted,’’ would be moved to 50 CFR 300.20, ‘‘Purpose and scope,’’ and the regulations pertaining to the RVR, currently found in 50 CFR 300.22(b), would be moved to 50 CFR 300.23, which would be renamed ‘‘IATTC Regional Vessel Register.’’ This change is intended to provide easier access to the RVR regulations. The RVR regulations in 50 CFR 300.23 would also include some minor housekeeping edits for clarifying purposes. Silky Shark Regulations The IATTC also extended existing conservation measures for silky shark without change (see Resolution C–21– 06). Therefore, under this proposed rule PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 17251 the silky shark regulations in 50 CFR 300.27 (e) and (f) would continue to be in effect without change. Those regulations prohibit U.S. purse seine and longline vessels from retaining on board, transshipping, storing, or landing any part or whole carcass of a silky shark, with the exception of silky shark caught by purse seine that is not seen during fishing operations and is delivered into the vessel hold. Even though the text of those regulations will remain unchanged, NMFS is proposing to change the title of § 300.27(e) to make clear that paragraph applies to both purse seine and longline vessels. Classification The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the TCA and other applicable laws, subject to further consideration after public comment. This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866. This proposed rule includes changes to collection of information requirements for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The existing collection of information requirements for longline vessels would continue to apply under OMB Control Number 0648–0214 (Pacific Islands Region Logbook Family of Forms). NMFS is amending the supporting statement for the West Coast Region Pacific Tuna Fisheries Logbook, Fish Aggregating Device Form, and Observer Safety Reporting, Office of Management and Business (OMB) Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requirements (OMB Control No. 0648–0148) to include the new data collection requirements for deactivations and reactivations of satellite buoys associated with FADs and for cannery data as described in the preamble. NMFS estimates that the public reporting burden for the collection of information for satellite buoys associated with FADs will average 3 minutes per form and average 5 minutes for cannery data, including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. NMFS requests any comments on the addition of the FAD buoy and cannery data collection to the PRA package, including whether the paperwork would unnecessarily burden any vessel owners and operators. Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 17252 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information to the ADDRESSES above, and by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or fax to (202) 395–5806. Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA collections of information may be viewed at: https://www.reginfo.gov/ public/do/PRAMain. Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The rationale for the certification is provided in the following paragraphs. The action proposed would implement provisions of Resolution C– 21–04 and C–21–06. This action would apply to U.S. commercial fishing vessels using longline and purse seine gear and fishing for tropical tuna stocks in the IATTC Convention Area. There are three objectives of the proposed action: (1) Manage U.S. fishing activities for tropical tuna in the EPO for the benefit of maximizing harvests while avoiding overfishing, (2) maintain mitigation measures for silky shark, and (3) fulfill the international obligations of the United States as a member of the IATTC. As described under ‘‘Proposed Regulations’’ several regulations are already in place and would not be substantively amended through this rulemaking. Without the proposed action, U.S. fisheries would be allowed to target tropical tuna in the Convention Area without restrictions (except for existing permit requirements). This may contribute to overfishing conditions of tuna resources and fewer conservation measures for silk sharks. Managing stocks at or above levels able to produce maximum sustainable yield is intended to benefit both the stocks and the fisheries in the EPO by allowing for the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 production of the stocks to be maintained at levels where the largest catch can be taken over time. The implementation of Resolution C–21–04 and C–21–06 through the proposed action will result in the sharing of sustainable benefits from Pacific tuna fishery resources among the IATTC member and cooperating non-member countries. The entities directly affected by the actions of this proposed rule are: (1) U.S. purse seine vessels that fish for tuna or tuna-like species in the IATTC Convention Area, and (2) U.S. longline vessels greater than 24 meters in overall length that catch bigeye tuna in the IATTC Convention Area. For Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) compliance purposes only, NMFS issued a final rule establishing a small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts for all businesses primarily engaged in the commercial fishing industry (NAICS 11411) (80 FR 81194, Dec. 29, 2015). The $11 million standard became effective on July 1, 2016 and replaced previous U.S. Small Business Administration small business standards for the finfish (NAICS 114111), shellfish (NAICS 114112), and other marine fishing (NAICS 114119) sectors of the U.S. commercial fishing industry in all NMFS rules subject to the RFA after July 1, 2016. Id. at 81194. NMFS prepared analyses for this regulatory action based on these size standards. All of the entities directly regulated by this regulatory action are commercial finfish fishing businesses. Under these size standards, the U.S. purse seine vessels regulated by this action include both large and small businesses. The longline vessels this action applies to are considered to be small businesses. U.S. Purse Seine Vessels Fishing in the IATTC Convention Area There are two components to the U.S. tuna purse seine fishery in the EPO: (1) Large purse seine vessels (class size 6; greater than 363 mt carrying capacity) that typically have been based in the western and central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), and (2) coastal purse seine vessels with smaller fish hold volumes (size class 2–3; between 46–181 mt carrying capacity) that are based on the U.S. West Coast. Although Resolution C–21–04 and the proposed regulations include restrictions for class size 4–5 (182–363 mt carrying capacity) purse seine vessels, there are currently no U.S. vessels of class sizes 4–5 registered to fish in the IATTC Convention Area, nor have there been in the past ten years. Therefore, the proposed regulations for class size 4–5 purse seine vessels are not PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 expected to have any impact on U.S. vessel owners or operators. As of January 2022, there are 15 class size 6 U.S. purse seine vessels registered to fish in the IATTC Convention Area. From 2005 through 2014, three or fewer class 6 purse seine vessels fished in the Convention Area. From 2015 and onward, more than three purse seine vessels fished in the Convention Area. The U.S. class size 6 purse seine vessels target skipjack tuna by fishing on floating objects and unassociated sets; they also catch and retain yellowfin and bigeye tuna. In addition, one U.S. class 6 purse seine vessel has permission to fish on dolphins in 2022 and may be eligible to fish on dolphins in the future. This vessel could also fish on floating objects and unassociated sets as it has done in the past. Prior to 2017, no U.S. purse seine vessel had fished on dolphins in over 10 years. For large purse seine vessels that fished exclusively in the EPO, ex-vessel price information is not available to NMFS because these vessels did not land on the U.S. West Coast, and the cannery receipts are not available through the IATTC. However, Regional Purse Seine Logbook (RPL) data from NMFS’ Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC), and observer data from the IATTC may be used as a proxy for fish landings by large U.S. purse seiners, in lieu of cannery receipts. Because neither gross receipts nor ex-vessel price information specific to individual fishing vessels are available to NMFS, NMFS applied indicative regional cannery prices—as approximations of ex-vessel prices—to annual catches of individual vessels obtained from RPLs and IATTC observer data, to estimate the vessels’ annual receipts. Indicative regional cannery prices are available through 2020 (developed by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency; available at https://www.ffa.int/node/ 425). NMFS estimated vessels’ annual receipts during 2019–2020. Using this approach, NMFS estimates that, among the affected vessels, the range in annual average receipts in 2019–2020 was $400,000 to $15 million with an average of approximately $8 million. NMFS estimates the number of affected U.S. purse seine vessels using the number with Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) Area Endorsements, which are the NMFS-issued authorizations required for a vessel to fish commercially for highly migratory species (HMS) on the high seas in the WCPFC Convention Area. As of January 2021, the number of U.S. purse seine vessels with WCPFC Area Endorsements was 14. Based on limited financial information about the E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules considered to include both large and small businesses, and the entities impacted by the action related to longline vessels are considered to be small businesses. All of the measures in the Resolution on silky shark have been in place for years and therefore make no changes to current requirements. The majority of the provisions in the tropical tuna Resolution maintain purse seine regulations that have been in place for U.S. Longline Vessels That Fish in the years and are therefore routine for the IATTC Convention Area purse seine fleet. However, as described As of January 2021, the IATTC above, there are some new provisions Regional Vessel Register lists 149 U.S. included in the new tropical tuna longline vessels that have the option to Resolution. The proposed changes to the fish in the IATTC Convention Area, 35 2022 regulations to implement these of which are large-scale longline vessels new provisions, and the expected (i.e., greater than 24 m in overall length). economic effects of these changes, are The majority of these longline vessels discussed in detail below. have Hawaii Longline Limited Access Additional closure days: The Permits (issued under 50 CFR 665.13). proposed action would add 10 closure Under the Hawaii longline limited days for purse seine vessels that catch access program, no more than 164 more than 1,200 mt of bigeye tuna, and permits may be issued. The Hawaii would add 3 additional closure days for longline fisheries include a tunaevery additional 300 mt caught beyond targeting (including bigeye tuna) deepthe 1,200 mt. In reviewing catch levels set fishery and swordfish-targeting for U.S. purse seine vessels from 2017– shallow set fishery. Additionally, there 2020, only one U.S. vessel caught more are U.S. longline vessels based on the than 1,200 mt in a single year. Thus, it U.S. West Coast, some of which operate is not expected that many, if any, U.S. under the Pacific Highly Migratory vessels will need to adhere to additional Species (HMS) permit and high seas closure days. For vessels that may need permits. U.S. West Coast-based longline to observe additional closure days, the vessels operating under the Pacific HMS majority of vessels have the option to permit fish primarily in the EPO and are fish in the WCPO, pending closures in currently restricted to fishing with deep- the WCPFC Convention Area. set longline gear outside of the U.S. FAD limits and buoy restrictions: With respect to limits on active FADs, West Coast exclusive economic zone. There have been fewer than three U.S. all large U.S. purse seine vessels West Coast-based vessels operating currently on the IATTC Regional Vessel under the HMS permit since 2005; Register have a well volume of 1,200 m3 therefore, landings and ex-vessel or more. Therefore, the limits of 400 and revenue information is not disclosed. 340 active FADs per large U.S. purse However, the number of Hawaiiseine vessel would apply in 2022 and permitted longline vessels that have beyond, respectively. According to landed in U.S. West Coast ports has 2018–2020 purse seine effort data provided by IATTC scientific staff, the increased from one vessel in 2006 to 12 vessels in 2020. In 2020, 837 mt of HMS average number of active FADs per U.S. vessel is approximately 90 and the (excluding striped marlin, pelagic maximum number per vessel is 271. thresher shark, and bigeye thresher Thus, these proposed regulations are not shark) were landed in West Coast ports expected to reduce the number of active by Hawaii permitted longline vessels FADs any U.S. purse seine vessel has in with a total ex-vessel revenue of about the water. As a result, these measures $4.7 million. The average ex-vessel revenue for each vessel is approximately are not expected to reduce the profitability of the fishery, and no $393,000. This is well below the $11 disproportionate impacts between small million threshold for finfish harvesting and large businesses are expected. The businesses. proposed action to impose restrictions Economic Impacts on buoy deactivations and reactivations The proposed action is not expected are not expected to change the fishing to have a significant adverse economic behavior of the U.S. fleet. In addition, impact on the profitability of a although there are additional reporting substantial number of small entities or requirements for active FADs, a disproportionate economic effect on deactivations, and reactivations, vessel small entities relative to large entities. operators are already expected to be The entities impacted by the action collecting the necessary information related to purse seine vessels are from satellite companies as part of jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 affected fishing fleets, and using individual vessels as proxies for individual businesses, NMFS believes that over half of the vessels in the purse seine fleet are considered to be small entities for purposes of the RFA; that is, they are independently owned and operated and not dominant in their fields of operation, and have annual receipts of no more than $11 million. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 17253 current operations, and therefore reporting this additional information is not expected to impose an additional burden that would reduce profitability. Reporting requirements: The proposed action would also implement requirements for reporting cannery data to the IATTC and making data available to NMFS upon request, as well as requirements for NMFS to report VMS data to the IATTC beginning in 2023. Cannery data is already collected by purse seine vessel owners as a part of current operations. Vessel owners would not need to change any reporting requirements for VMS data because data is already provided to NMFS and NMFS would provide to IATTC. Therefore, neither of these reporting requirements are expected to reduce the profitability of the fishery or have disproportionate impacts between small and large businesses. Force Majeure: The proposed action would make minor revisions to force majeure regulations for consistency with the Resolution and for clarification purposes. For example, the revisions would clarify that U.S. vessel managers send NMFS requests ‘‘no later than 20 calendar days after the end of the period of inactivity due to force majeure,’’ versus the existing ‘‘within 20 calendar days after the vessel has been unable to proceed to sea for 72 days.’’ This would give vessels more flexibility, consistent with the Resolution, on the timing of when they submit their requests. The proposed action would also make minor edits such as updating contact information for force majeure requests and clarifying that force majeure does not apply to additional closure days for exceeding bigeye tuna catch levels. Since 2013, when the force majeure provisions first went into effect, the United States has requested force majeure exemptions five times. Because U.S. force majeure events are rare and unpredictable, it is difficult to speculate future situations where a U.S. vessel would need to request force majeure. The economic effects from these revisions would likely be positive for vessels that are granted an exemption due to force majeure, as the proposed measure is expected to provide relief to U.S. purse seine vessels that experience an unforeseen circumstance and would otherwise fish fewer days in a calendar year. Silky shark: Under the proposed action, existing silky shark regulations would continue to be in effect without change. The existing regulations prohibit retention on longline vessels and purse seine vessels, with an exception for silky shark that is not seen during fishing operations and is E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 17254 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules delivered into the vessel hold. U.S. longline vessels fishing in the IATTC Convention Area, whether under the Hawaii Longline Limited Access Permit or the Pacific HMS permit, do not target silky shark and all those caught incidentally, are released. For purse seine vessels, the proposed action would continue to allow exemptions for silky shark not seen during fishing operations and delivered into the vessel hold. In these situations, the silky shark may be stored on board and landed, but the vessel owner or operator must surrender the whole silky shark to the responsible government authority present at the point of landing. If the governmental authorities are unavailable, the whole silky shark surrendered must not be sold or bartered but must be donated for purposes of domestic human consumption. It is not expected that the proposed rule would change the vessels’ fishing practices, due to the continuation of existing regulations. The proposed action is not expected to reduce profitability; thus, compliance with this measure is not expected to impose negative economic impacts on U.S. longline vessels fishing in the IATTC Convention Area. In summary, the proposed action is not expected to substantially change the typical fishing practices of affected vessels. Any impact to the income of U.S. vessels is expected to be minor. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the action is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, or a disproportionate economic impact on the small entities relative to the large entities. Therefore, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required and none has been prepared. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300 Administrative practice and procedure, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 PART 300—INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS 1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 300, subpart C, continues to read as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 § 300.20 Purpose and scope. (a) The regulations in this subpart are issued under the authority of the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, as amended, (Act) and apply to persons and vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. The regulations implement recommendations and other decisions of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) for the conservation and management of stocks of tunas and tuna-like species and other species of fish taken by vessels fishing for tunas and tuna-like species in the IATTC Convention Area. The Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with the Secretary of State and, with respect to enforcement measures, the U.S. Coast Guard, may promulgate such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the U.S. international obligations under the Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (Convention), the Convention for the Strengthening of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission Established by the 1949 Convention between the United States of America and the Republic of Costa Rica (Antigua Convention), and the Act, including recommendations and other decisions adopted by the IATTC. (b) This subpart does not apply to: (1) any person or vessel authorized by the IATTC, the Assistant Administrator, or any state of the United States to engage in fishing for research purposes; or (2) any person or vessel engaged in sport fishing for personal use. ■ 3. Amend § 300.21 by revising ‘‘Active FAD’’ and ‘‘Fish aggregating device (FAD)’’ and adding definitions, in alphabetical order, for ‘‘Activation of a satellite buoy,’’ ‘‘Deactivation of a satellite buoy,’’ ‘‘Reactivation of a satellite buoy,’’ ‘‘Satellite buoy,’’ and ‘‘Signal loss,’’ to read as follows: Definitions. * For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 300, subpart C is proposed to be amended as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq. 2. Revise § 300.20 to read as follows: § 300.21 Dated: March 22, 2022. Samuel D. Rauch, III Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. ■ ■ * * * * Active FAD means a FAD deployed at sea where activation of the satellite buoy has occurred and the satellite buoy is transmitting its location and is being tracked by the vessel owner or operator. A FAD shall be considered an Active FAD unless/until the vessel owner or operator is no longer tracking its location and the vessel owner or operator notifies the IATTC that the FAD is deactivated. Activation of a satellite buoy means the act of initializing network service for receiving the satellite buoy’s position. Activation is done by the buoy supplier company at the request of the vessel PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 owner or manager. Following activation, the vessel owner pays for the communication service. The buoy can be transmitting or not, depending if it has been switched on. * * * * * Deactivation of a satellite buoy means the act of canceling network service for receiving the satellite buoy’s position. Deactivation is done by the buoy supplier company at the request of the vessel owner or manager. Following deactivation, the communication service is no longer paid for and the buoy stops transmitting. * * * * * Fish aggregating device (FAD) means anchored, drifting, floating or submerged objects deployed and/or tracked by vessels, including through the use of radio and/or satellite buoys, for the purpose of aggregating target tuna species for purse-seine fishing operations. * * * * * Reactivation of a satellite buoy means the act of re-initializing network service for transmission of a satellite buoy’s position after deactivation. The procedure is the same as the one to be followed for activation of a satellite buoy. * * * * * Satellite buoy means a buoy that uses a satellite network service to indicate its geographical position and is compliant with requirements in § 300.28(a) of this section to be clearly marked with a unique identification code. * * * * * Signal loss means the situation in which, without any intervention of the owner, operator, or manager, a satellite buoy cannot be located by the owner on a monitoring device. The main causes of signal loss are buoy retrieved by another vessel or person (at-sea or on-shore), FAD sinking, and buoy failure. * * * * * ■ 4. Revise § 300.22 to read as follows: § 300.22 Recordkeeping and reporting requirements. (a) Logbooks—(1) General logbook reporting. The master or other person in charge of a commercial fishing vessel or commercial passenger fishing vessel (CPFV) authorized to fish for tuna and tuna-like species in the Convention Area, or a person authorized in writing to serve as the agent for either person, must keep an accurate log of operations conducted from the fishing vessel. (2) Longline and other non-purse seine logbooks. Maintaining and submitting any logbook required by existing state or federal regulation will E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules be sufficient to comply with paragraph (a)(1) of this section. (3) Purse seine logbooks. For purse seine vessels greater than 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity that are authorized to purse seine for tuna in the Convention Area, the log must include for each day the date, noon position (stated in latitude and longitude or in relation to known physical features), and the tonnage of fish on board, by species. The record and bridge log maintained and submitted at the request of the IATTC will be sufficient to comply with this paragraph (a)(3) and with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, provided the items of information specified by the IATTC are accurately entered in the log. For purse seine vessels of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less, maintaining and submitting any logbook required by existing state or federal regulation will be sufficient to comply with paragraph (a)(1) of this section. (b) Whale shark encirclement reporting. The owner and operator of a purse seine fishing vessel of the United States that encircles a whale shark (Rhincodon typus) while commercially fishing in the Convention Area must ensure that the incident is recorded on the log that is required by paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(3) of this section. The log must include the following information: The number of individual whale sharks with which the vessel interacted, details of how and why the encirclement happened, where it occurred, steps taken to ensure safe release, and an assessment of the life status of the whale shark upon release (including whether the animal was released alive, but subsequently died), as may be further specified by NMFS. (c) FAD reporting—(1) Reporting on FAD interactions. U.S. purse seine vessel operators must provide the observer with the FAD identification code and, as appropriate, the other information in the FAD interaction standard format provided by the HMS Branch. U.S. vessel owners and operators, without an observer onboard, must ensure that any interaction or activity with a FAD is reported using a FAD interaction standard format provided by the HMS Branch. The owner and operator shall ensure that the form is submitted within 30 days of each landing or transshipment of tuna or tuna-like species to the address specified by the HMS Branch. (2) Reporting on Active FADs. U.S. vessel owners and operators must record or maintain daily information on buoy location and acoustic data for all Active FADs that have been deployed in the water in the IATTC Convention Area VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 and report that information to the IATTC, using a format and address provided by the HMS Branch. Daily information on buoy location must include date, time, buoy identifier, latitude, longitude, IMO number, and speed. Daily acoustic data will vary depending on the buoy company, but must include company, buoy identifier, latitude, longitude, date, time, and available layers of data. Further instructions on reporting data specific for different buoys companies are available in a compliance guide. This information must be submitted for each calendar month no later than 90 days after the month covered by the report. (3) Deactivation of Active FADs. U.S. vessel owners and operators must report any deactivation of a satellite buoy, including the reason for deactivation, date, latitude, longitude, buoy identifier, and speed. This information must be reported to the IATTC, using a format and address provided by the HMS Branch. This information must be submitted for each calendar month no later than 90 days after the month covered by the report. (4) Reactivation of Active FADs. U.S. vessel owners and operators must report any remote reactivation of a satellite buoy, including the reason for remote reactivation, date, latitude, longitude, buoy identifier, speed. This information must be reported to the IATTC, using a format and address provided by the HMS Branch. This information must be submitted for each calendar month no later than 90 days after the month covered by the report. (d) Cannery reporting. U.S. vessel owners and operators must report processing plant data for fish caught in the IATTC Convention Area to the IATTC, and also make the data available to NMFS upon request, no later than 10 days after completion of unloading and the last day of grading by size. Instructions for reporting are available in a compliance guide. ■ 5. Revise § 300.23 to read as follows: § 300.23 IATTC Regional Vessel Register. (a) IATTC Regional Vessel Register (Vessel Register). The Vessel Register shall include, consistent with resolutions of the IATTC, all commercial fishing vessels and CPFVs authorized to fish for tuna and tuna-like species in the Convention Area. Except as provided under paragraph (a)(1) of this section, tuna purse seine vessels must be listed on the Vessel Register and categorized as active under paragraph (c)(2) of this section in order to fish for tuna and tuna-like species in the Convention Area. PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 17255 (1) Exception from requirement for inclusion on the Vessel Register. Once per year, a vessel that is permitted and authorized under an alternative international tuna purse seine fisheries management regime in the Pacific Ocean may exercise an option to fish with purse seine gear to target tuna in the Convention Area without the vessel’s capacity counted towards the cumulative carrying capacity described under paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section. This exception is for a single fishing trip that does not exceed 90 days in duration. At any time during the calendar year, a vessel exercising this exception shall follow the procedures, where applicable, described in paragraph (c) of this section. No more than 32 of such trips are allowed each calendar year. After the commencement of the 32nd such trip, the Regional Administrator shall announce, in the Federal Register and by other appropriate means, that no more such trips are allowed for the remainder of the calendar year. Under § 216.24(b)(6)(iii)(C) of this title, vessel assessment fees must be paid for vessels exercising this option. (2) Requirements for inclusion of purse seine vessels on the Vessel Register. Inclusion on the tuna purse seine portion of the Vessel Register is valid through December 31 of each year. New tuna purse seine vessels may be added to the Vessel Register at any time to replace those previously removed by the Regional Administrator, provided that the total capacity of the replacement vessel or vessels does not exceed that of the tuna purse seine vessel or vessels being replaced. (b) Vessel information to be collected for the Vessel Register. (1) Required information. Information on each commercial fishing vessel or CPFV authorized to use purse seine, longline, drift gillnet, harpoon, troll, rod and reel, or pole and line fishing gear to fish for tuna and tuna-like species in the Convention Area for sale shall be collected by the Regional Administrator to conform to IATTC resolutions governing the Vessel Register. This information initially includes, but is not limited to, the vessel name and registration number; the name and business address of the owner(s) and managing owner(s); a photograph of the vessel with the registration number legible; previous vessel name(s) and previous flag (if known and if any); port of registry; International Radio Call Sign; IMO number (if applicable); vessel length, beam, and moulded depth; gross tonnage, fish hold capacity in cubic meters, and carrying capacity in metric tons and cubic meters; engine E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 17256 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules horsepower; date and place where built; and type of fishing method or methods used. The required information shall be collected as part of existing information collections as described in this and other parts of the CFR. (2) IMO numbers. For the purpose of this section, an ‘‘IMO number’’ is the unique six or seven digit number issued for a vessel under the ship identification number scheme adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and managed by the entity identified by the IMO (currently IHS Maritime) and is also known as a Lloyd’s Register number. (3) Requirements for IMO numbers. The owner of a fishing vessel of the United States used for commercial fishing for tuna and tuna-like species in the IATTC Convention Area shall ensure that an IMO number has been issued for the vessel if the vessel’s Certificate of Documentation issued under 46 CFR part 67 indicates that the vessel’s total internal volume is 100 gross register tons or greater or 100 gross tonnage or greater. In addition, the owner of a fishing vessel of the United States engaging in fishing activities for tuna or tuna-like species in the IATTC Convention Area, and for which a high seas fishing permit under § 300.333 is required, shall ensure that an IMO number has been issued for the vessel if the vessel’s total internal volume is less than 100 gross registered tons or less than 100 gross tons, but equal to or greater than 12 meters in overall length, as indicated in the vessel’s Certificate of Documentation issued under 46 CFR part 67 or State documentation. A vessel owner may request that an IMO number be issued for a vessel by following the instructions given by the administrator of the IMO ship identification number scheme; those instructions are currently available on the website of IHS Markit, https://imonumbers.lrfairplay.com/. (4) Request for exemption. In the event that a fishing vessel owner, after following the instructions given by the designated manager of the IMO ship identification number scheme, is unable to ensure that an IMO number is issued for the fishing vessel, the fishing vessel owner may request an exemption from the requirement from the Regional Administrator. The request must be sent by mail to NMFS HMS Branch, West Coast Region, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802, or by email to wcr.hms@noaa.gov, and must include the vessel’s name, the vessel’s official number, a description of the steps taken to request an IMO number, and a description of any responses from the administrator of the IMO ship identification number scheme. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 (5) Exemption process. Upon receipt of a request for an exemption under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the Regional Administrator will, to the extent they determine appropriate, assist the fishing vessel owner in requesting an IMO number. If the Regional Administrator determines that the fishing vessel owner has followed all appropriate procedures and yet is unable to obtain an IMO number for the fishing vessel, they will issue an exemption from the requirements of paragraph (b)(3) of this section for the vessel and its owner and notify the owner of the exemption. The Regional Administrator may limit the duration of the exemption. The Regional Administrator may rescind an exemption at any time. If an exemption is rescinded, the fishing vessel owner must comply with the requirements of paragraph (b)(3) of this section within 30 days of being notified of the rescission. If the ownership of a fishing vessel changes, an exemption issued to the former fishing vessel owner becomes void. (c) Purse seine Vessel Register listing. For a tuna purse seine vessel to be listed on the Vessel Register and to be categorized as either ‘‘active’’ or ‘‘inactive’’ in the following calendar year, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the Regional Administrator the required permit applications, written notifications, and fees as described under § 216.24(b) of this title and under paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section as well as payment of the vessel assessment fee, where applicable, to the IATTC. (1) Restrictions for purse seine vessels. The following restrictions apply: (i) The cumulative carrying capacity of all tuna purse seine vessels on the Vessel Register may not exceed 31,866 cubic meters in a given year; and (ii) A purse seine vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity may not be added to active status on the Vessel Register unless the captain of the vessel has obtained a valid operator permit under § 216.24(b)(2) of this title. (2) Active status for purse seine vessels. As early as August 1 of each year, vessel owners or managing owners may request that a purse seine vessel qualified to be listed on the Vessel Register under paragraph (a)(2) of this section be categorized as active for the following calendar year. To request a purse seine vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be listed on the Vessel Register and be categorized as active, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the Regional Administrator the vessel permit application and payment of the permit PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 application fee and submit to the IATTC payment of the vessel assessment fee. (i) To request a purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less be listed on the Vessel Register and be categorized as active, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch written notification including, but not limited to, a vessel photograph, the vessel information as described under paragraph (b) of this section, and the owner or managing owner’s signature, business email address, and business telephone and fax numbers. If a purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less is required by the Agreement on the IDCP to carry an observer, the vessel owner or managing owner must also submit payment of the vessel assessment fee to the IATTC. (ii) The Regional Administrator must receive the vessel permit application or written notification and payment of the permit application fee and payment confirmation of the vessel assessment fee no later than September 15 for vessels for which a DML was requested for the following year and no later than November 30 for vessels for which a DML was not requested for the following year. Submission of the vessel permit application or written notification and payment of the vessel assessment fee and permit application fee will be interpreted by the Regional Administrator as a request for a vessel to be categorized as active. (3) Inactive status for purse seine vessels. (i) From August 1 through November 30 of each year, vessel owners or managing owners may request that purse seine vessels qualified to be listed on the Vessel Register under paragraph (a)(2) of this section be categorized as inactive for the following calendar year. To request a purse seine vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be listed on the Vessel Register and categorized as inactive for the following calendar year, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the IATTC payment of the associated vessel assessment fee. Payment of the vessel assessment fee consistent with inactive status will be interpreted by the Regional Administrator as a request for the vessel to be categorized as inactive. (ii) To request a tuna purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less be listed on the Vessel Register and categorized as inactive for the following calendar year, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch a written notification including, but not limited to, the vessel name and registration number and the vessel owner or E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules managing owner’s name, signature, business address, business email address, and business telephone and fax numbers. Payment of the vessel assessment fee is not required for vessels of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less to be categorized as inactive. (iii) At any time during the year, a vessel owner or managing owner may request that a tuna purse seine vessel qualified to be listed on the Vessel Register under paragraph (a)(2) of this section be categorized as inactive for the remainder of the calendar year, provided the cumulative carrying capacity described in (c)(1)(i) of this section is not exceeded. To request a purse seine vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be listed on the Vessel Register and categorized as inactive for the remainder of the calendar year, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the IATTC payment of the associated vessel assessment fee. To request a tuna purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less be listed on the Vessel Register and categorized as inactive for the remainder of the calendar year, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch written notification as described in (c)(3)(i) of this section. Payment of the vessel assessment fee is not required for such vessels. (iv) The vessel owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel listed as active on the Vessel Register that has sunk may request the vessel be listed as sunk and categorized as inactive on the Vessel Register. To request the vessel be listed as sunk and categorized as inactive on the Vessel Register, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch written notification within 30 days of the vessel’s sinking. Written notification shall include, but is not limited to, the vessel name, date of sinking, registration number, the vessel owner or managing owner’s name, signature, business address, business email address, and business telephone and fax numbers. For subsequent calendar years, vessel assessment fee payment shall be made as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section. (v) A vessel listed as inactive or sunk on the Vessel Register for more than two consecutive calendar years after January 21, 2020, requesting active status will be prioritized according to the hierarchy under paragraph (e) of this section. A vessel listed as inactive or sunk on the Vessel Register for more than two consecutive calendar years after January 21, 2020, will be removed from the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 Vessel Register as described in paragraph (f)(9) of this section. (d) Frivolous requests for purse seine vessels on the Vessel Register. (1) Except as described under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, requests for active status under paragraph (c)(2) of this section will be considered frivolous if, for a vessel categorized as active on the Vessel Register in a given calendar year: (i) Less than 20 percent of the vessel’s total landings, by weight, in that same year is comprised of tuna harvested by purse seine in the Convention Area; or (ii) The vessel did not fish for tuna at all in the Convention Area in that same year. (2) Requests described under paragraph (d)(1) of this section will not be considered frivolous requests if: (i) The vessel’s catch pattern fell within the criteria described in paragraph (d)(1) of this section as a result of force majeure or other extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Regional Administrator; or (ii) The vessel’s carrying capacity is 400 st (362.8 mt) or less and there was at least one documented landing of tuna caught by the vessel in the Convention Area in the calendar year prior to the year in which the request is made and through November 15 of the year of the request, unless the vessel was not able to make a landing as a result of force majeure or other extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Regional Administrator. (iii) The vessel was listed as inactive before January 21, 2020, and has not been listed as inactive for more than two consecutive calendar years since January 21, 2020. (e) Listing hierarchy for purse seine vessels on the Vessel Register. Requests for active status and inactive status will be prioritized according to the following hierarchy: (1) Requests received for replacement vessels with a carrying capacity equal to or less than a vessel removed from the Vessel Register under a request described in paragraph (j) of this section; (2) Requests received for vessels that were categorized as active in the previous year, unless the request was determined to be frivolous by the Regional Administrator under paragraph (c)(2) of this section; (3) Requests received for vessels that were categorized as inactive under paragraph (c)(3) of this section in the previous year, unless that vessel has been listed as inactive or sunk under paragraph (c)(3) of this section for more PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 17257 than 2 consecutive calendar years after January 21, 2020; (4) Requests for vessels not described in paragraphs (e)(1) through (3) of this section, and requests, if applicable, by replacement vessels for the portion of the carrying capacity greater than the amount authorized to the vessel that was replaced under paragraph (j) of this section, will be prioritized on a firstcome, first-served basis according to the date and time of receipt, provided that the associated vessel assessment fee is paid by the applicable deadline described in § 216.24(b)(6)(iii) of this title; and (5) Requests received from owners or managing owners of vessels that were determined by the Regional Administrator to have made a frivolous request for active status under paragraph (d) of this section or that have been listed as inactive or sunk as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section for more than two consecutive calendar years after January 21, 2020. (f) Removal from the Vessel Register. A vessel may be removed from the Vessel Register by the Regional Administrator under any of the following circumstances: (1) The vessel has sunk and the vessel owner or managing owner has not submitted written notification as described in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section. (2) By written request of the vessel’s owner or managing owner. (3) Following a final agency action on a permit sanction for a violation. (4) For failure to pay a penalty or for default on a penalty payment agreement resulting from a final agency action for a violation. (5) The U.S. Maritime Administration or the U.S. Coast Guard notifies NMFS that: (i) The owner has submitted an application for transfer of the vessel to foreign registry and flag; or (ii) The documentation for the vessel has been or will be deleted for any reason. (6) The vessel does not have a valid state registration or U.S. Coast Guard certificate of documentation. (7) For tuna purse seine vessels, by written notification from the owner or managing owner of the intent to transfer the vessel to foreign registry and flag, as described in paragraph (i) of this section. (8) For tuna purse seine vessels, the request for active status on the Vessel Register has been determined to be a frivolous request. (9) For tuna purse seine vessels, the vessel has been listed as inactive or sunk on the Vessel Register for more E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 17258 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules than two consecutive calendar years after January 21, 2020. (g) Process for removal from the Vessel Register. When a vessel is removed from the Vessel Register under paragraph (f) of this section, the Regional Administrator shall promptly notify the vessel owner in writing of the removal and the reasons therefore. For a removal from the Vessel Register under § 300.30(f)(3), the Regional Administrator will not accept a request to reinstate the vessel to the Vessel Register for the term of the permit sanction. For a removal from the Vessel Register under § 300.30(f)(4), the Regional Administrator will not accept a request to reinstate the vessel to the Vessel Register until such time as payment is made on the penalty or penalty agreement, or such other duration as NOAA and the vessel owner may agree upon. (h) Procedures for replacing purse seine vessels removed from the Vessel Register. (1) A purse seine vessel that was previously listed on the Vessel Register, but not included for a given year or years, may be added back to the Vessel Register and categorized as inactive at any time during the year, provided the cumulative carrying capacity described in (c)(1)(i) of this section is not exceeded. The owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel of more than 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity must pay the vessel assessment fee associated with inactive status. The owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less must submit written notification as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section. (2) A purse seine vessel may be added to the Vessel Register and categorized as active in order to replace a vessel or vessels removed from active or inactive status under paragraph (f) of this section, provided the total carrying capacity described in (c)(1)(i) of this section is not exceeded and the owner submits a complete request under paragraph (h)(4) of this section. (3) Notification of available capacity after a purse seine vessel has been removed from the Vessel Register will be conducted as follows: (i) After a purse seine vessel categorized as active or inactive is removed from the Vessel Register, the Regional Administrator will notify owners or managing owners of vessels eligible for, but not included on, the Vessel Register that replacement capacity is available on the active or inactive list of the Vessel Register. (ii) When a purse seine vessel categorized as active or inactive on the VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 Vessel Register has been removed from the Vessel Register under the procedures described in paragraph (j) of this section, the Regional Administrator will not make available the capacity of the vessel removed from the Vessel Register, and will reserve that capacity for a replacement vessel for a period of 2 years from the date of notification described in (j)(4) of this section. The replacement vessel will be eligible to be listed as active on the Vessel Register at the same carrying capacity or less as that of the vessel it is replacing. If the replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater than the vessel being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may request additional carrying capacity allocated to the vessel in accordance with paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional carrying capacity is not available, the replacement vessel must reduce its carrying capacity to no more than the previously authorized carrying capacity amount for the vessel being replaced by complying with the protocol for sealing wells adopted by the IATTC, prior to it being listed as active on the Vessel Register. Such a vessel may apply for additional carrying capacity as it becomes available under the procedures described in (e)(4) of this section. (4) Vessel owners or managing owners may request a purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less be categorized as active to replace a vessel or vessels removed from the Vessel Register by submitting to the HMS Branch written notification as described in paragraph (c)(2) of this section and, only if the vessel is required by the Agreement on the IDCP to carry an observer, payment of the vessel assessment fee to the IATTC within 10 business days after submission of the written notification. The replacement vessel will be eligible to be categorized as active on the Vessel Register at the same carrying capacity or less as that of the vessel or vessels it is replacing. If the replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater than the vessel being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may request additional carrying capacity allocated to the vessel in accordance with paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional carrying capacity is not available, the replacement vessel must reduce its capacity to no more than the previously authorized carrying capacity for the vessel or vessels being replaced by complying with the protocol for sealing wells adopted by the IATTC, prior to it being listed as active on the Vessel Register. Such a vessel may apply for additional carrying capacity as it becomes available. PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Payments received will be subject to a 10 percent surcharge for vessels that were listed as active on the Vessel Register in the previous calendar year, but not listed as inactive at the beginning of the calendar year for which active status was requested. (5) Vessel owners or managing owners may request a purse seine vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be categorized as active to replace a vessel or vessels removed from the Vessel Register by submitting to the Regional Administrator the vessel permit application as described under § 216.24(b) of this title and payment of the vessel assessment fee to the IATTC and payment of the permit application fee to the Regional Administrator within 10 business days after submission of the vessel permit application for the replacement vessel. The replacement vessel will be eligible to be categorized as active on the Vessel Register at the same carrying capacity as that of the vessel or vessels it is replacing. If the replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater than the vessel being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may request additional carrying capacity allocated to the vessel in accordance with paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional carrying capacity is not available, the replacement vessel must reduce its carrying capacity to no more than the previously authorized carrying capacity for the vessel or vessels being replaced by complying with the protocol for sealing wells adopted by the IATTC, prior to it being listed as active on the Vessel Register. Such a vessel may apply for additional carrying capacity as it becomes available. The replacement vessel will also only be eligible to be categorized as active on the Vessel Register if the captain of the replacement vessel possesses an operator permit under § 216.24(b) of this title. Payments received will be subject to a 10 percent surcharge for vessels that were listed as active on the Vessel Register in the previous calendar year, but not listed as inactive at the beginning of the calendar year for which active status was requested. (6) The Regional Administrator will forward requests to replace vessels removed from the Vessel Register within 15 days of receiving each request. (i) Transfers of purse seine vessels to a foreign registry and flag. The owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel listed on the Vessel Register must provide written notification to the Regional Administrator prior to submitting an application for transfer of the vessel to foreign registry and flag. Written notification must be submitted E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules to the Regional Administrator at least 10 business days prior to submission of the application for transfer. The written notification must include the vessel name and registration number; the expected date that the application for transfer will be submitted; and the vessel owner or managing owner’s name and signature. Vessels that require approval by the U.S. Maritime Administration prior to transfer of the vessel to foreign registry and flag will not be subject to the notification requirement described in this paragraph. (j) Aging fleet provision for purse seine vessels. (1) The vessel owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel listed as active or inactive on the Vessel Register may request to replace the current vessel with a new or used vessel without losing the vessel’s placement in the hierarchy of requests for active status as described in paragraph (e) of this section. The replacement vessel will be eligible to be listed as active on the Vessel Register at the same carrying capacity or less as that of the vessel it is replacing. If the replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater than the vessel being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may request additional carrying capacity be allocated to the vessel in accordance with paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional carrying capacity is not available at the time the request to be listed as active on the Vessel Register is received by the Regional Administrator, the replacement vessel must reduce its carrying capacity to no more than the previously authorized carrying capacity of the vessel being replaced by complying with the protocol for sealing wells adopted by the IATTC, prior to it being listed as active on the Vessel Register. Such a vessel may apply for additional carrying capacity as it becomes available under the procedures described in paragraph (e)(4) of this section. This aging fleet provision may be used only once per vessel by the vessel owner or managing owner. (2) A request made under this provision may include a request to remove the vessel from the Vessel Register. The Regional Administrator will ensure the amount of carrying capacity equal to or less of the vessel being replaced will be available for the replacement vessel for up to 2 years from the date of notification described in paragraph (j)(4) of this section. (3) To request a vessel be replaced under this provision, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch written notification including, but not limited to, the vessel VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 name and registration number, the vessel owner or managing owner’s name, signature, business address, business email address, and business telephone and fax numbers, and the expected month and year the replacement vessel will be ready to fish in the Convention Area. (4) Within 30 days of receiving each request described in (j)(3) of this section, the Regional Administrator shall notify the vessel owner or managing owner in writing whether the request has been accepted or denied, and the reasons therefore. ■ 6. Amend § 300.24 by revising paragraphs (n), (ff), (kk), and (ll) to read as follows: § 300.24 * * * * (n) Use a fishing vessel of class size 4–6 to fish with purse seine gear in the IATTC Convention Area in contravention of § 300.25(e). * * * * * (ff) Fail to provide information to an observer or record or report data on FADs as required in § 300.22(c). * * * * * (kk) When deploying a FAD, activate the satellite buoy attached to a FAD in a location other than on a purse seine vessel at sea as required in § 300.28(b). (ll) Fail to activate a satellite buoy before deploying a FAD at sea as required in § 300.28(b). * * * * * ■ 7. Amend § 300.25 by revising paragraphs (a)(2) and (e) as follows: § 300.25 Fisheries management. (a) * * * (2) There is a limit of 750 metric tons of bigeye tuna that may be caught by longline gear in the Convention Area by U.S. commercial fishing vessels that are over 24 meters in overall length. The catch limit within a calendar year is subject to increase if the United States receives a transfer of catch limit from another IATTC member or cooperating non-member, per paragraph (a)(5) of this section. * * * * * (e) Purse seine closures—(1) 72-day closure. A U.S. commercial purse seine fishing vessel that is of class size 4–6 (more than 182 metric tons carrying capacity) may not be used to fish with purse seine gear in the Convention Area for 72 days during one of the following two periods: (i) From 0000 hours Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) July 29 to 2400 hours UTC October 8, or (ii) From 0000 hours UTC November 9 to 2400 hours UTC January 19 of the following year. PO 00000 (2) Additional closure days for vessels that exceed bigeye tuna catch levels. In 2023 and 2024, U.S. purse seine vessels that exceed a certain annual catch level of bigeye tuna must increase the number of closure days they observe in the following year, as specified in the following table. TABLE 1 TO PARAGRAPH (E)(2) Catch level (mt) exceeded 1,200 1,500 1,800 2,100 2,400 Prohibitions. * Frm 00062 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 17259 Additional closure days observed 10 13 16 19 22 (i) The additional days of closure must be added to one of the two closure periods indicated in paragraph (e)(1). For vessels observing the first closure period, the additional days must be added at the beginning of the closure period. For vessels observing the second closure period, the additional days must be added to the end of the closure period. The HMS Branch will confirm the determination of annual catch levels for U.S. purse vessels based on information provided by the IATTC and notify any U.S. vessel that exceeds a given catch level. (ii) [Reserved] (3) Choice of closure period. A vessel owner, manager, or association representative of a vessel that is subject to the requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section must provide written notification to the Regional Administrator declaring which one of the two closure periods identified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section their vessel will observe in that year. This written notification must be submitted by email to wcr.hms@noaa.gov and must be received no later than May 15 of the relevant calendar year. The written notification must include the vessel name and registration number, the closure dates that will be observed by that vessel, and the vessel owner or managing owner’s name, signature, business address, and business telephone number. (4) Default closure period. If written notification is not submitted per paragraph (e)(3) of this section for a vessel subject to the requirements under paragraph (e)(1) of this section, that vessel must observe the second closure period under paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of this section. (5) Request for exemption due to force majeure. A vessel may request a reduced closure period if a force majeure event renders the vessel unable E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 17260 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules to proceed to sea outside one of the two closure periods specified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section for at least 75 continuous days. A vessel will only be eligible for an exemption due to force majeure if the vessel was disabled in the course of fishing operations by mechanical and/or structural failure, fire, or explosion. (i) A request for an exemption due to force majeure must be made to the Highly Migratory Species Branch no later than 20 calendar days after the end of the period of inactivity due to force majeure. The request must be made via email to wcr.hms@noaa.gov or by contacting the HMS Branch. The request must include the name and official number of the vessel, vessel owner or manager’s name and signature, and evidence to support the request, which may include but is not limited to photographs, repair bills, certificates of departure from port, and in the case of a marine casualty, a completed copy of the U.S. Coast Guard Form CG–2692A (See 46 CFR 4.05–10). (ii) If accepted by the Sustainable Fisheries Division, the request for exemption due to force majeure will be forwarded to the IATTC Director. If declined by the Sustainable Fisheries Division, the applicant may provide additional information or documentation to the Sustainable Fisheries Division with a request that the initial decision be reconsidered by email to wcr.hms@noaa.gov, or by contacting the HMS Branch Chief. (iii) If the request for an exemption due to force majeure is accepted by the IATTC, the vessel may observe a reduced closure period of 40 consecutive days in the same year during which the force majeure event occurred, in one of the two closure periods described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section. After a request is accepted by the IATTC, the vessel owner or manager must specify to the HMS Branch which 40 consecutive days the vessel will observe for their reduced closure period. (iv) If the request for an exemption due to force majeure is accepted by the IATTC and the vessel has already observed a closure period described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section in the same year during which the force majeure event occurred, the vessel may observe a reduced closure period of 40 consecutive days the following year, in one of the two closure periods described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section. (v) An exemption due to force majeure will only apply to the 72-day closure period required under paragraph (e)(1) of this section. Vessels that are both granted a reduced 40-day initial VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 closure period due to force majeure under paragraph (e)(5) and required to observe additional closure days for exceeding bigeye tuna catch levels under paragraph (e)(2) must observe the reduced closure period consecutively with the additional closure days by adding the additional closure days to either the beginning of the first reduced closure period or the end of the second reduced closure period. (vi) Any purse seine vessel for which a force majeure request is accepted by the IATTC must carry an observer aboard authorized pursuant to the International Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program, unless that vessel has been granted an exemption from the Regional Administrator. (6) 31-day area closure. A U.S. fishing vessel of class size 4–6 (more than 182 metric tons carrying capacity) may not be used from 0000 hours on October 9 to 2400 hours on November 8 to fish with purse seine gear within the area bounded at the east and west by 96° and 110° W longitude and bounded at the north and south by 4° N and 3° S latitude. (7) Requirement to stow gear. At all times while a vessel is in a time/area closed period established under paragraphs (e)(1) or (6) of this section, unless fishing under the exception under paragraph (e)(5) of this section, the fishing gear of the vessel must be stowed in a manner as not to be readily available for fishing. In particular, the boom must be lowered as far as possible so that the vessel cannot be used for fishing, but so that the skiff is accessible for use in emergency situations; the helicopter, if any, must be tied down; and launches must be secured. * * * * * ■ 8. Amend § 300.27 by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows: § 300.27 Incidental catch and tuna retention requirements. * * * * * (e) Silky shark restrictions for purse seine and longline vessels. The crew, operator, and owner of a commercial purse seine or longline fishing vessel of the United States used to fish for tuna or tuna-like species is prohibited from retaining on board, transshipping, storing, or landing any part or whole carcass of a silky shark (Carcharhinus falciformis) that is caught in the IATTC Convention Area, except as provided in paragraph (f) of this section. * * * * * ■ 9. Amend § 300.28 by: ■ (a) Revising paragraphs (b) and (c), ■ (b) Redesignating paragraphs (d)–(e) as paragraphs (f)–(g), PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (c) Adding new paragraphs (d) and (e), and, ■ (d) Revising the introductory text to newly redesignated paragraph (g). The revisions and additions read as follows: ■ § 300.28 FAD restrictions. * * * * * (b) Activating FADs for purse seine vessels. When deploying a FAD in the IATTC Convention Area, a vessel owner, operator, or crew must activate the satellite buoy while the FAD is onboard the purse seine vessel and before it is deployed in the water. (c) Restrictions on Active FADs for purse seine vessels. U.S. vessel owners and operators of purse-seine vessels with the following well volume in cubic meters (m3) must not have more than the following number of Active FADs per vessel in the IATTC Convention Area at any one time during the following years. Well volume (m3) Active FAD limit For 2022 calendar year 1,200 or more ....................... 426–1,199 ............................. 213–425 ................................ 0–212 .................................... 400 270 110 66 For 2023 calendar year 1,200 or more ....................... 426–1,199 ............................. 213–425 ................................ 0–212 .................................... 340 255 105 64 For 2024 calendar year and beyond 1,200 or more ....................... 426–1,199 ............................. 213–425 ................................ 0–212 .................................... 340 210 85 50 (d) Restrictions on satellite buoy deactivations. A vessel owner or operator that deactivates a satellite buoy attached to a FAD must comply with the reporting requirements for buoy deactivations in § 300.22 (c)(3) of this subpart. A U.S. vessel owner or operator shall only deactivate a satellite buoy attached to a FAD that was activated in the IATTC Convention Area in the following circumstances: (1) Complete loss of signal reception; (2) Beaching; (3) Appropriation of a FAD by a third party; (4) Temporarily during a selected closure period; (5) For being outside of the area between the meridians 150° W and 100° W, and the parallels 8° N and 10°S; the area between the meridian 100° W and E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1 Federal Register / Vol. 87, No. 59 / Monday, March 28, 2022 / Proposed Rules jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 the coast of the American continent and the parallels 5° N and 15°S; or (6) Transfer of ownership. (e) Restrictions on satellite buoy reactivations. A vessel owner or operator that reactivates a satellite buoy must comply with the reporting requirements for satellite buoy reactivations in § 300.22 (c)(4) of this subpart. A U.S. vessel owner or operator shall only remotely reactivate a satellite VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:45 Mar 25, 2022 Jkt 256001 buoy at sea that was activated in the IATTC Convention Area in the following circumstances: (1) To assist in the recovery of a beached FAD; (2) After a temporary deactivation during the closure period; or (3) Transfer of ownership while the FAD is at sea. * * * * * PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 17261 (g) FAD design requirements to reduce entanglements. All FADs onboard or deployed in the IATTC Convention Area by U.S. vessel owners, operators, or crew, must comply with the following design requirements: * * * * * [FR Doc. 2022–06345 Filed 3–25–22; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\28MRP1.SGM 28MRP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 59 (Monday, March 28, 2022)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17248-17261]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-06345]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 300

[Docket No. 220321-0075]
RIN 0648-BK84


International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Fishing 
Restrictions for Tropical Tuna and Silky Shark in the Eastern Pacific 
Ocean for 2022 and Beyond

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

[[Page 17249]]


ACTION: Proposed rule; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations under the Tuna Conventions Act (TCA) 
of 1950, as amended, to implement Resolution C-21-04 (Conservation 
Measures for Tropical Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2022-
2024) and Resolution C-21-06 (Conservation Measures for Shark Species, 
with Special Emphasis on the Silky Shark (Carcharhinus Falciformis), 
for the Years 2022 and 2023), which were adopted at the Resumed 98th 
Meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) in 
October 2021. This proposed rule implements the C-21-04 fishing 
management measures for tropical tuna (i.e., bigeye tuna (Thunnus 
obesus), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), and skipjack tuna 
(Katsuwonus pelamis)) in the eastern Pacific Ocean (EPO). The fishing 
restrictions would apply to purse seine vessels of class sizes 4-6 
(carrying capacity of 182 metric tons (mt) or greater) and longline 
vessels greater than 24 meters (m) in overall length that fish for 
tropical tuna in the EPO. To implement Resolution C-21-06, which 
extended the previous IATTC resolution on silky shark for 2 years, NMFS 
is proposing for existing regulations on silky shark to continue in 
effect with no proposed amendments. This proposed rule is necessary for 
the conservation of tropical tuna stocks and silky shark in the EPO and 
for the United States to satisfy its obligations as a member of the 
IATTC.

DATES: Comments on the proposed rule and supporting documents must be 
submitted in writing by April 27, 2022.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2021-0136, by any of the following methods:
     Electronic Submission: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal. Go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter ``NOAA-NMFS-2021-0136'' in the Search 
box. Click on the ``Comment'' icon, complete the required fields, and 
enter or attach your comments.
     Mail: Submit written comments to Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS 
West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, 
Long Beach, CA 90802. Include the identifier ``NOAA-NMFS-2021-0136'' in 
the comments.
    Instructions: Comments must be submitted by one of the above 
methods to ensure they are received, documented, and considered by 
NMFS. Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or 
individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be 
considered. All comments received are a part of the public record and 
will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov 
without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, 
address, etc.) submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly 
accessible. Do not submit confidential business information, or 
otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept 
anonymous comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to 
remain anonymous).
    Copies of supporting documents that were prepared for this proposed 
rule, including the regulatory impact review (RIR) are available via 
the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov, docket 
NOAA-NMFS-2021-0136, or contact Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS WCR SFD, NMFS 
West Coast Region Long Beach Office, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, 
Long Beach, CA 90802, or [email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rachael Wadsworth, NMFS WCR, at (206) 
561-3457.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background on the IATTC

    The United States is a member of the IATTC, which was established 
under the 1949 Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-American 
Tropical Tuna Commission (1949 Convention). In 2003, the IATTC updated 
the 1949 Convention through the adoption of the Convention for the 
Strengthening of the IATTC Established by the 1949 Convention between 
the United States of America and the Republic of Costa Rica (Antigua 
Convention). The Antigua Convention entered into force in 2010. The 
United States acceded to the Antigua Convention on February 24, 2016. 
The full text of the Antigua Convention is available at: https://www.iattc.org/PDFFiles/IATTC-Instruments/_English/IATTC_Antigua_Convention%20Jun%202003.pdf.
    The IATTC consists of 21 member nations and 5 cooperating non-
member nations. The IATTC facilitates scientific research, as well as 
the conservation and management, of tuna and tuna-like species in the 
IATTC Convention Area. The IATTC Convention Area is defined as waters 
of the EPO within the area bounded by the west coast of the Americas 
and by 50[deg] N latitude, 150[deg] W longitude, and 50[deg] S 
latitude. The IATTC maintains a scientific research and fishery 
monitoring program and regularly assesses the status of tuna, sharks, 
and billfish stocks in the IATTC Convention Area to determine 
appropriate catch limits and other measures deemed necessary to promote 
sustainable fisheries and prevent the overexploitation of these stocks.

International Obligations of the United States Under the Antigua 
Convention

    As a Party to the Antigua Convention and a member of the IATTC, the 
United States is legally bound to implement decisions of the IATTC 
under the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 951 et 
seq. (Pub. L. 114-81) (TCA). The TCA directs the Secretary of Commerce, 
in consultation with the Secretary of State and, with respect to 
enforcement measures, the U.S. Coast Guard, to promulgate such 
regulations as may be necessary to carry out the United States' 
obligations under the Antigua Convention, including recommendations and 
decisions adopted by the IATTC. The authority of the Secretary of 
Commerce to promulgate such regulations has been delegated to NMFS.

IATTC Resolutions on Tropical Tuna Conservation and Silky Shark

    The IATTC held multiple annual meetings, virtually, in June, 
August, and October 2021. The IATTC ultimately adopted a new tropical 
tuna Resolution, Resolution C-21-04 (Conservation Measures for Tropical 
Tunas in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2022-2024), at the Resumed 
98th Meeting of the IATTC in October 2021. The IATTC also adopted 
Resolution C-21-06 (Conservation Measures for Shark Species, with 
Special Emphasis on the Silky Shark (Carcharhinus Falciformis), for the 
Years 2022 and 2023). This Resolution is a two-year extension of the 
previous resolution on silky shark, which was set to expire at the end 
of the 2021 calendar year.
    Many of the provisions of the newly adopted Resolution C-21-04 are 
identical in content to those contained in the previous IATTC 
resolutions on tropical tuna management that were in place from 2018-
2021 (C-20-06; Tropical Tunas Conservation in the EPO during 2021, 
pursuant to RES C-20-05; and C-17-02; Multiannual Program for the 
Conservation of Tuna in the Eastern Pacific Ocean During 2018-2020). 
Resolution C-21-04 continues to include provisions for a 72-day EPO 
fishing closure period for purse seine vessels, exemptions from that 
closure period due to force majeure, a 31-day time/area EPO fishing 
closure period for purse seine vessels, catch limits of bigeye tuna 
caught in the EPO for longline vessels greater than 24 m in

[[Page 17250]]

overall length, catch limit transfer requirements for bigeye tuna, a 
requirement that all tropical tuna be retained and landed (with some 
exceptions), and restrictions on the use and design of fish aggregating 
devices (FADs).
    In addition to the existing measures, Resolution C-21-04 contains 
new measures not included in previous tropical tuna resolutions. These 
include a system of additional closure days for purse seine vessels 
that exceed an annual catch level of 1,200 mt for bigeye tuna and 
amendments to provisions related to force majeure exemptions from the 
72-day closure period requirement. The Resolution also includes several 
new restrictions on FADs that include a gradual reduction in the number 
of active FADs allowed, additional reporting requirements for satellite 
buoys including activations and deactivations, and specification of 
circumstances where activations and deactivations are allowed. The 
Resolution also includes requirements for reporting cannery data and 
Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) data to the IATTC.

Proposed Regulations

    This proposed rule would be implemented under the TCA (16 U.S.C. 
951 et seq.) and proposes changes to part 300, subpart C of title 50 of 
the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Although Resolutions C-21-04 and 
C-21-06 are in effect through 2024 and 2023 respectively, NMFS does not 
intend for the proposed regulations to expire concurrently with the 
Resolutions. Instead, because the IATTC will likely continue to adopt 
similar conservation and management measures upon expiration of those 
resolutions, and to avoid a lapse in the management of the fishery that 
may occur between expiration of the proposed regulations and 
implementation of new measures adopted by the IATTC, the proposed 
regulations would remain in effect until they are amended or replaced.
    The TCA gives NMFS the authority to . . . promulgate such 
regulations as may be necessary to carry out the United States 
international obligations under the Convention and this chapter, 
including recommendations and decisions adopted by the Commission. 16 
U.S.C. 955(a). In past years, NMFS has implemented IATTC resolutions 
for specific calendar years, and this approach has led to lapses in 
management in the affected fisheries in subsequent years. Given the 
time-consuming nature of the U.S. domestic rulemaking process, combined 
with the increasingly frequent delayed adoption of IATTC resolutions, 
implementing domestic measures that do not expire until new measures 
are in place is necessary to carry out the United States' international 
obligations under the Antigua Convention and the TCA because it will 
ensure there is no lapse in management of the tropical tuna fishery or 
silky shark measures in the EPO.
    Thus, unless a date is specified in the text of the regulation, the 
proposed regulations would remain in effect until they are amended or 
replaced. NMFS does intend to publish proposed and final rules to 
implement new resolutions adopted by the IATTC as expeditiously as 
possible; however, this approach would allow existing regulations to 
remain in force and prevent any lapse in regulatory coverage caused by 
expirations. Because the IATTC adopted Resolution C-21-04 as a three-
year conservation and management measure (2022-2024), the supporting 
analyses for this rule (discussed later in the Classification section) 
cover a three-year time period, with the understanding that these 
analyses would need to be supplemented should the measures remain in 
effect for more than three years. Likewise, the supporting analyses for 
Resolution C-21-06, which was adopted as a two-year conservation 
measure (2022-2023), cover a two-year period, with the understanding 
that these analyses would also need to be supplemented should the 
measures remain in effect for more than two years.

Tuna Conservation Measures for 2022 and Beyond

    The proposed rule would implement the provisions of Resolution C-
21-04 and applies to U.S. commercial fishing vessels using purse seine 
and longline gear to catch tropical tuna in the IATTC Convention Area. 
Several provisions included in Resolution C-21-04 do not need to be 
implemented through this proposed rule because they were already 
codified in regulations and are not set to expire. The continuing and 
new tropical tuna provisions are described below.
    First, this proposed rule would maintain a 750 mt catch limit on 
bigeye tuna caught by longline vessels greater than 24 m in overall 
length in the IATTC Convention Area (50 CFR 300.25(a)(2)). Second, the 
proposed rule would maintain the prohibition on purse seine vessels of 
class size 4 to 6 (i.e., vessels with a carrying capacity greater than 
182 mt) from fishing for tropical tuna in the IATTC Convention Area for 
a period of 72 days (50 CFR 300.25(e)(1)). Specifically, vessels will 
continue to be prohibited from fishing in the EPO for 72 days during 
one of the following two periods: (1) From July 29 to October 8; or (2) 
from November 9 to January 19 of the following year (50 CFR 
300.25(e)(1)(i) and (ii)). Third, the proposed rule would maintain a 
closure period (i.e., Corralito closure) for the purse seine fishery 
for tropical tuna within the area of 96[deg] and 110[deg] W and between 
4[deg] N and 3[deg] S from 0000 hours on October 9 to 2400 hours on 
November 8 (50 CFR 300.25(e)(5)). The three regulations described in 
this paragraph would be amended by this proposed rule solely to specify 
that they apply beyond the 2021 calendar year and would no longer be 
linked to specific years in the regulations. Due to the addition of new 
requirements in Sec.  300.25(e) (discussed later in this section), the 
closure requirement described in Sec.  300.25(e)(5) would also be moved 
to Sec.  300.25(e)(6).
    This proposed rule would also continue, for 2022 and beyond, 
several other regulations that were in effect in 2021 but that did not 
specify in the regulatory text the calendar years to which they apply. 
Therefore, under this proposed rule, those regulations would continue 
to be in effect with no changes or with minor clarifying revisions, as 
indicated below:
     Provisions related to transferring longline catch limits 
for bigeye tuna between IATTC members (50 CFR 300.25(a)(5)).
     Provisions related to selection of a 72-day closure period 
(50 CFR 300.25(e)(2) and (3)). Due to the addition of new regulations 
in Sec.  300.25(e), these provisions would be moved from Sec.  
300.25(e)(2) and (3) to Sec.  300.25(e)(3) and (4), and they would also 
include minor non-substantive clarifying revisions.
     Provisions related to exemptions from the 72-day closure 
period requirement due to force majeure (50 CFR 300.25(e)(4)). Due to 
the addition of new requirements in Sec.  300.25(e), these provisions 
would be moved from Sec.  300.25(e)(4) to Sec.  300.25(e)(5). The 
regulation would also include non-substantive revisions intended to 
clarify eligibility for a force majeure exemption.
     Requirements related to stowing gear during time/area 
closure periods (50 CFR 300.25(e)(6)). Due to the addition of new 
requirements in Sec.  300.25(e), this requirement would be moved from 
Sec.  300.25(e)(6) to Sec.  300.25(e)(7).
     A requirement for all tropical tuna to be retained on 
board and landed (with certain exceptions) (50 CFR 300.27(a)).

[[Page 17251]]

     A number of restrictions related to FADs for purse seine 
vessels in the IATTC Convention Area (50 CFR 300.22(a)(3); 50 CFR 
300.28). Due to proposed changes to Sec.  300.22, the FAD restrictions 
in Sec.  300.22(a)(3) would be moved to Sec.  300.22(c). The regulation 
would include some non-substantive revisions intended to clarify the 
existing reporting requirements for Active FADs.
     The prohibitions against failing to comply with gear-
stowing restrictions, retention requirements, and FAD-related 
restrictions (50 CFR 300.24(e), (f), (m), (nn), (oo), and (pp)).
    This proposed rule would implement several new fishing restrictions 
on purse seine vessels, in accordance with Resolution C-21-04. The new 
restrictions include a system of additional closure days for class 4-6 
purse seine vessels that exceed specified annual catch levels for 
bigeye tuna (see proposed 50 CFR 300.25(e)(2)). These catch levels 
would begin at 1,200 mt of bigeye tuna with 10 additional closure days 
and would increase incrementally by 300 mt and 3 additional closure 
days beyond that level. In 2023 and 2024, U.S. purse seine vessels that 
exceed a certain annual catch level of bigeye tuna would be required to 
increase the number of closure days they observe in the following year, 
as specified in Table 1.

 Table 1--Bigeye Tuna Catch Levels and Corresponding Additional Closure
                                  Days
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Additional
                Catch level (mt) exceeded                  closure days
                                                             observed
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1,200...................................................              10
1,500...................................................              13
1,800...................................................              16
2,100...................................................              19
2,400...................................................              22
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In addition, the proposed rule would implement minor revisions to 
force majeure exemptions from the 72-day closure period requirement to 
clarify when to submit information to NMFS and that the exemption does 
not apply to the additional closure days (see proposed 50 CFR 
300.25(e)(5)(i)-(vi)).
    The proposed rule would also implement several new restrictions on 
FADs. These include proposed changes to 50 CFR 300.28(c) to provide for 
a gradual reduction in the number of active FADs allowed from 2022 to 
2024 and beyond, additional reporting requirements for satellite buoys, 
including specific information about activations and deactivations, in 
proposed 50 CFR 300.22(c)(3), and (4), and specification of 
circumstances where activations and deactivations are allowed in the 
proposed changes to 50 CFR 300.28(d) and (e). The proposed rule would 
also implement new requirements for vessel owners or operators to 
report cannery data directly to the IATTC, and to also make the data 
available to NMFS upon request, no later than 10 days after completion 
of unloading and the last day of grading by size (see proposed 50 CFR 
300.22(d)). Cannery data reported to NMFS would be treated as 
confidential in accordance with NOAA Administrative Order 216-100 for 
confidential fisheries data, and data provided from NMFS to IATTC or 
directly to IATTC from vessel owners or operators would be kept 
confidential according to IATTC confidentiality standards. Further 
instructions about reporting would be included in a compliance guide 
available with the final rule. The proposed changes to 50 CFR 300.21 
would add definitions for ``activation of a satellite buoy,'' 
``deactivation of a satellite buoy,'' ``reactivation of a satellite 
buoy,'' ``signal loss,'' and would revise the ``Active FAD'' 
definition. The corresponding prohibitions listed in proposed 50 CFR 
300.24 are also updated accordingly. Finally, this action also notifies 
the public that, consistent with the VMS reporting requirements 
specified in paragraph 25 of Resolution C-21-04 and beginning on 
January 1, 2023. NMFS would report VMS data, which vessels are 
currently required to submit under 50 CFR 300.26, to the IATTC. VMS 
data reported from NMFS to the IATTC would be kept confidential 
according to IATTC confidentiality standards.
    In addition to implementing the measures in the tropical tuna 
resolution, the proposed rule would also slightly reorganize 50 CFR 
part 300, subpart C and clarify existing regulations pertaining to the 
IATTC Regional Vessel Register (RVR). Specifically, the regulations in 
50 CFR 300.23, ``Persons and vessels exempted,'' would be moved to 50 
CFR 300.20, ``Purpose and scope,'' and the regulations pertaining to 
the RVR, currently found in 50 CFR 300.22(b), would be moved to 50 CFR 
300.23, which would be renamed ``IATTC Regional Vessel Register.'' This 
change is intended to provide easier access to the RVR regulations. The 
RVR regulations in 50 CFR 300.23 would also include some minor 
housekeeping edits for clarifying purposes.

Silky Shark Regulations

    The IATTC also extended existing conservation measures for silky 
shark without change (see Resolution C-21-06). Therefore, under this 
proposed rule the silky shark regulations in 50 CFR 300.27 (e) and (f) 
would continue to be in effect without change. Those regulations 
prohibit U.S. purse seine and longline vessels from retaining on board, 
transshipping, storing, or landing any part or whole carcass of a silky 
shark, with the exception of silky shark caught by purse seine that is 
not seen during fishing operations and is delivered into the vessel 
hold. Even though the text of those regulations will remain unchanged, 
NMFS is proposing to change the title of Sec.  300.27(e) to make clear 
that paragraph applies to both purse seine and longline vessels.

Classification

    The NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed 
rule is consistent with the TCA and other applicable laws, subject to 
further consideration after public comment.
    This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    This proposed rule includes changes to collection of information 
requirements for purposes of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The 
existing collection of information requirements for longline vessels 
would continue to apply under OMB Control Number 0648-0214 (Pacific 
Islands Region Logbook Family of Forms). NMFS is amending the 
supporting statement for the West Coast Region Pacific Tuna Fisheries 
Logbook, Fish Aggregating Device Form, and Observer Safety Reporting, 
Office of Management and Business (OMB) Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) 
requirements (OMB Control No. 0648-0148) to include the new data 
collection requirements for deactivations and reactivations of 
satellite buoys associated with FADs and for cannery data as described 
in the preamble. NMFS estimates that the public reporting burden for 
the collection of information for satellite buoys associated with FADs 
will average 3 minutes per form and average 5 minutes for cannery data, 
including time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data 
sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and 
reviewing the collection of information.
    NMFS requests any comments on the addition of the FAD buoy and 
cannery data collection to the PRA package, including whether the 
paperwork would unnecessarily burden any vessel owners and operators. 
Public comment is sought regarding: Whether this proposed collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of 
the agency, including

[[Page 17252]]

whether the information shall have practical utility; the accuracy of 
the burden estimate; ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity 
of the information to be collected; and ways to minimize the burden of 
the collection of information, including through the use of automated 
collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Send 
comments on these or any other aspects of the collection of information 
to the ADDRESSES above, and by email to [email protected], or 
fax to (202) 395-5806.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no person is 
required to respond to, and no person shall be subject to penalty for 
failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the 
requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays 
a currently valid OMB control number. All currently approved NOAA 
collections of information may be viewed at: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain.
    Pursuant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b), the 
Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to 
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration 
that this proposed rule, if adopted, would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
rationale for the certification is provided in the following 
paragraphs.
    The action proposed would implement provisions of Resolution C-21-
04 and C-21-06. This action would apply to U.S. commercial fishing 
vessels using longline and purse seine gear and fishing for tropical 
tuna stocks in the IATTC Convention Area. There are three objectives of 
the proposed action: (1) Manage U.S. fishing activities for tropical 
tuna in the EPO for the benefit of maximizing harvests while avoiding 
overfishing, (2) maintain mitigation measures for silky shark, and (3) 
fulfill the international obligations of the United States as a member 
of the IATTC.
    As described under ``Proposed Regulations'' several regulations are 
already in place and would not be substantively amended through this 
rulemaking. Without the proposed action, U.S. fisheries would be 
allowed to target tropical tuna in the Convention Area without 
restrictions (except for existing permit requirements). This may 
contribute to overfishing conditions of tuna resources and fewer 
conservation measures for silk sharks. Managing stocks at or above 
levels able to produce maximum sustainable yield is intended to benefit 
both the stocks and the fisheries in the EPO by allowing for the 
production of the stocks to be maintained at levels where the largest 
catch can be taken over time. The implementation of Resolution C-21-04 
and C-21-06 through the proposed action will result in the sharing of 
sustainable benefits from Pacific tuna fishery resources among the 
IATTC member and cooperating non-member countries. The entities 
directly affected by the actions of this proposed rule are: (1) U.S. 
purse seine vessels that fish for tuna or tuna-like species in the 
IATTC Convention Area, and (2) U.S. longline vessels greater than 24 
meters in overall length that catch bigeye tuna in the IATTC Convention 
Area.
    For Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) compliance purposes only, NMFS 
issued a final rule establishing a small business size standard of $11 
million in annual gross receipts for all businesses primarily engaged 
in the commercial fishing industry (NAICS 11411) (80 FR 81194, Dec. 29, 
2015). The $11 million standard became effective on July 1, 2016 and 
replaced previous U.S. Small Business Administration small business 
standards for the finfish (NAICS 114111), shellfish (NAICS 114112), and 
other marine fishing (NAICS 114119) sectors of the U.S. commercial 
fishing industry in all NMFS rules subject to the RFA after July 1, 
2016. Id. at 81194.
    NMFS prepared analyses for this regulatory action based on these 
size standards. All of the entities directly regulated by this 
regulatory action are commercial finfish fishing businesses. Under 
these size standards, the U.S. purse seine vessels regulated by this 
action include both large and small businesses. The longline vessels 
this action applies to are considered to be small businesses.

U.S. Purse Seine Vessels Fishing in the IATTC Convention Area

    There are two components to the U.S. tuna purse seine fishery in 
the EPO: (1) Large purse seine vessels (class size 6; greater than 363 
mt carrying capacity) that typically have been based in the western and 
central Pacific Ocean (WCPO), and (2) coastal purse seine vessels with 
smaller fish hold volumes (size class 2-3; between 46-181 mt carrying 
capacity) that are based on the U.S. West Coast. Although Resolution C-
21-04 and the proposed regulations include restrictions for class size 
4-5 (182-363 mt carrying capacity) purse seine vessels, there are 
currently no U.S. vessels of class sizes 4-5 registered to fish in the 
IATTC Convention Area, nor have there been in the past ten years. 
Therefore, the proposed regulations for class size 4-5 purse seine 
vessels are not expected to have any impact on U.S. vessel owners or 
operators.
    As of January 2022, there are 15 class size 6 U.S. purse seine 
vessels registered to fish in the IATTC Convention Area. From 2005 
through 2014, three or fewer class 6 purse seine vessels fished in the 
Convention Area. From 2015 and onward, more than three purse seine 
vessels fished in the Convention Area. The U.S. class size 6 purse 
seine vessels target skipjack tuna by fishing on floating objects and 
unassociated sets; they also catch and retain yellowfin and bigeye 
tuna. In addition, one U.S. class 6 purse seine vessel has permission 
to fish on dolphins in 2022 and may be eligible to fish on dolphins in 
the future. This vessel could also fish on floating objects and 
unassociated sets as it has done in the past. Prior to 2017, no U.S. 
purse seine vessel had fished on dolphins in over 10 years.
    For large purse seine vessels that fished exclusively in the EPO, 
ex-vessel price information is not available to NMFS because these 
vessels did not land on the U.S. West Coast, and the cannery receipts 
are not available through the IATTC. However, Regional Purse Seine 
Logbook (RPL) data from NMFS' Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center 
(PIFSC), and observer data from the IATTC may be used as a proxy for 
fish landings by large U.S. purse seiners, in lieu of cannery receipts. 
Because neither gross receipts nor ex-vessel price information specific 
to individual fishing vessels are available to NMFS, NMFS applied 
indicative regional cannery prices--as approximations of ex-vessel 
prices--to annual catches of individual vessels obtained from RPLs and 
IATTC observer data, to estimate the vessels' annual receipts. 
Indicative regional cannery prices are available through 2020 
(developed by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency; available at 
https://www.ffa.int/node/425). NMFS estimated vessels' annual receipts 
during 2019-2020. Using this approach, NMFS estimates that, among the 
affected vessels, the range in annual average receipts in 2019-2020 was 
$400,000 to $15 million with an average of approximately $8 million.
    NMFS estimates the number of affected U.S. purse seine vessels 
using the number with Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission 
(WCPFC) Area Endorsements, which are the NMFS-issued authorizations 
required for a vessel to fish commercially for highly migratory species 
(HMS) on the high seas in the WCPFC Convention Area. As of January 
2021, the number of U.S. purse seine vessels with WCPFC Area 
Endorsements was 14. Based on limited financial information about the

[[Page 17253]]

affected fishing fleets, and using individual vessels as proxies for 
individual businesses, NMFS believes that over half of the vessels in 
the purse seine fleet are considered to be small entities for purposes 
of the RFA; that is, they are independently owned and operated and not 
dominant in their fields of operation, and have annual receipts of no 
more than $11 million.

U.S. Longline Vessels That Fish in the IATTC Convention Area

    As of January 2021, the IATTC Regional Vessel Register lists 149 
U.S. longline vessels that have the option to fish in the IATTC 
Convention Area, 35 of which are large-scale longline vessels (i.e., 
greater than 24 m in overall length). The majority of these longline 
vessels have Hawaii Longline Limited Access Permits (issued under 50 
CFR 665.13). Under the Hawaii longline limited access program, no more 
than 164 permits may be issued. The Hawaii longline fisheries include a 
tuna-targeting (including bigeye tuna) deep-set fishery and swordfish-
targeting shallow set fishery. Additionally, there are U.S. longline 
vessels based on the U.S. West Coast, some of which operate under the 
Pacific Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit and high seas permits. 
U.S. West Coast-based longline vessels operating under the Pacific HMS 
permit fish primarily in the EPO and are currently restricted to 
fishing with deep-set longline gear outside of the U.S. West Coast 
exclusive economic zone.
    There have been fewer than three U.S. West Coast-based vessels 
operating under the HMS permit since 2005; therefore, landings and ex-
vessel revenue information is not disclosed. However, the number of 
Hawaii-permitted longline vessels that have landed in U.S. West Coast 
ports has increased from one vessel in 2006 to 12 vessels in 2020. In 
2020, 837 mt of HMS (excluding striped marlin, pelagic thresher shark, 
and bigeye thresher shark) were landed in West Coast ports by Hawaii 
permitted longline vessels with a total ex-vessel revenue of about $4.7 
million. The average ex-vessel revenue for each vessel is approximately 
$393,000. This is well below the $11 million threshold for finfish 
harvesting businesses.

Economic Impacts

    The proposed action is not expected to have a significant adverse 
economic impact on the profitability of a substantial number of small 
entities or a disproportionate economic effect on small entities 
relative to large entities. The entities impacted by the action related 
to purse seine vessels are considered to include both large and small 
businesses, and the entities impacted by the action related to longline 
vessels are considered to be small businesses. All of the measures in 
the Resolution on silky shark have been in place for years and 
therefore make no changes to current requirements. The majority of the 
provisions in the tropical tuna Resolution maintain purse seine 
regulations that have been in place for years and are therefore routine 
for the purse seine fleet. However, as described above, there are some 
new provisions included in the new tropical tuna Resolution. The 
proposed changes to the 2022 regulations to implement these new 
provisions, and the expected economic effects of these changes, are 
discussed in detail below.
    Additional closure days: The proposed action would add 10 closure 
days for purse seine vessels that catch more than 1,200 mt of bigeye 
tuna, and would add 3 additional closure days for every additional 300 
mt caught beyond the 1,200 mt. In reviewing catch levels for U.S. purse 
seine vessels from 2017-2020, only one U.S. vessel caught more than 
1,200 mt in a single year. Thus, it is not expected that many, if any, 
U.S. vessels will need to adhere to additional closure days. For 
vessels that may need to observe additional closure days, the majority 
of vessels have the option to fish in the WCPO, pending closures in the 
WCPFC Convention Area.
    FAD limits and buoy restrictions: With respect to limits on active 
FADs, all large U.S. purse seine vessels currently on the IATTC 
Regional Vessel Register have a well volume of 1,200 m\3\ or more. 
Therefore, the limits of 400 and 340 active FADs per large U.S. purse 
seine vessel would apply in 2022 and beyond, respectively. According to 
2018-2020 purse seine effort data provided by IATTC scientific staff, 
the average number of active FADs per U.S. vessel is approximately 90 
and the maximum number per vessel is 271. Thus, these proposed 
regulations are not expected to reduce the number of active FADs any 
U.S. purse seine vessel has in the water. As a result, these measures 
are not expected to reduce the profitability of the fishery, and no 
disproportionate impacts between small and large businesses are 
expected. The proposed action to impose restrictions on buoy 
deactivations and reactivations are not expected to change the fishing 
behavior of the U.S. fleet. In addition, although there are additional 
reporting requirements for active FADs, deactivations, and 
reactivations, vessel operators are already expected to be collecting 
the necessary information from satellite companies as part of current 
operations, and therefore reporting this additional information is not 
expected to impose an additional burden that would reduce 
profitability.
    Reporting requirements: The proposed action would also implement 
requirements for reporting cannery data to the IATTC and making data 
available to NMFS upon request, as well as requirements for NMFS to 
report VMS data to the IATTC beginning in 2023. Cannery data is already 
collected by purse seine vessel owners as a part of current operations. 
Vessel owners would not need to change any reporting requirements for 
VMS data because data is already provided to NMFS and NMFS would 
provide to IATTC. Therefore, neither of these reporting requirements 
are expected to reduce the profitability of the fishery or have 
disproportionate impacts between small and large businesses.
    Force Majeure: The proposed action would make minor revisions to 
force majeure regulations for consistency with the Resolution and for 
clarification purposes. For example, the revisions would clarify that 
U.S. vessel managers send NMFS requests ``no later than 20 calendar 
days after the end of the period of inactivity due to force majeure,'' 
versus the existing ``within 20 calendar days after the vessel has been 
unable to proceed to sea for 72 days.'' This would give vessels more 
flexibility, consistent with the Resolution, on the timing of when they 
submit their requests. The proposed action would also make minor edits 
such as updating contact information for force majeure requests and 
clarifying that force majeure does not apply to additional closure days 
for exceeding bigeye tuna catch levels. Since 2013, when the force 
majeure provisions first went into effect, the United States has 
requested force majeure exemptions five times. Because U.S. force 
majeure events are rare and unpredictable, it is difficult to speculate 
future situations where a U.S. vessel would need to request force 
majeure. The economic effects from these revisions would likely be 
positive for vessels that are granted an exemption due to force 
majeure, as the proposed measure is expected to provide relief to U.S. 
purse seine vessels that experience an unforeseen circumstance and 
would otherwise fish fewer days in a calendar year.
    Silky shark: Under the proposed action, existing silky shark 
regulations would continue to be in effect without change. The existing 
regulations prohibit retention on longline vessels and purse seine 
vessels, with an exception for silky shark that is not seen during 
fishing operations and is

[[Page 17254]]

delivered into the vessel hold. U.S. longline vessels fishing in the 
IATTC Convention Area, whether under the Hawaii Longline Limited Access 
Permit or the Pacific HMS permit, do not target silky shark and all 
those caught incidentally, are released. For purse seine vessels, the 
proposed action would continue to allow exemptions for silky shark not 
seen during fishing operations and delivered into the vessel hold. In 
these situations, the silky shark may be stored on board and landed, 
but the vessel owner or operator must surrender the whole silky shark 
to the responsible government authority present at the point of 
landing. If the governmental authorities are unavailable, the whole 
silky shark surrendered must not be sold or bartered but must be 
donated for purposes of domestic human consumption. It is not expected 
that the proposed rule would change the vessels' fishing practices, due 
to the continuation of existing regulations. The proposed action is not 
expected to reduce profitability; thus, compliance with this measure is 
not expected to impose negative economic impacts on U.S. longline 
vessels fishing in the IATTC Convention Area.
    In summary, the proposed action is not expected to substantially 
change the typical fishing practices of affected vessels. Any impact to 
the income of U.S. vessels is expected to be minor. Therefore, NMFS has 
determined that the action is not expected to have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, or a 
disproportionate economic impact on the small entities relative to the 
large entities. Therefore, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis 
is not required and none has been prepared.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 300

    Administrative practice and procedure, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, 
Marine resources, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Treaties.

    Dated: March 22, 2022.
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 300, subpart C 
is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 300--INTERNATIONAL FISHERIES REGULATIONS

0
1. The authority citation for 50 CFR part 300, subpart C, continues to 
read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 951 et seq.

0
2. Revise Sec.  300.20 to read as follows:


Sec.  300.20  Purpose and scope.

    (a) The regulations in this subpart are issued under the authority 
of the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, as amended, (Act) and apply to 
persons and vessels subject to the jurisdiction of the United States. 
The regulations implement recommendations and other decisions of the 
Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) for the conservation 
and management of stocks of tunas and tuna-like species and other 
species of fish taken by vessels fishing for tunas and tuna-like 
species in the IATTC Convention Area. The Secretary of Commerce, in 
consultation with the Secretary of State and, with respect to 
enforcement measures, the U.S. Coast Guard, may promulgate such 
regulations as may be necessary to carry out the U.S. international 
obligations under the Convention for the Establishment of an Inter-
American Tropical Tuna Commission (Convention), the Convention for the 
Strengthening of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission 
Established by the 1949 Convention between the United States of America 
and the Republic of Costa Rica (Antigua Convention), and the Act, 
including recommendations and other decisions adopted by the IATTC.
    (b) This subpart does not apply to:
    (1) any person or vessel authorized by the IATTC, the Assistant 
Administrator, or any state of the United States to engage in fishing 
for research purposes; or
    (2) any person or vessel engaged in sport fishing for personal use.
0
3. Amend Sec.  300.21 by revising ``Active FAD'' and ``Fish aggregating 
device (FAD)'' and adding definitions, in alphabetical order, for 
``Activation of a satellite buoy,'' ``Deactivation of a satellite 
buoy,'' ``Reactivation of a satellite buoy,'' ``Satellite buoy,'' and 
``Signal loss,'' to read as follows:


Sec.  300.21  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Active FAD means a FAD deployed at sea where activation of the 
satellite buoy has occurred and the satellite buoy is transmitting its 
location and is being tracked by the vessel owner or operator. A FAD 
shall be considered an Active FAD unless/until the vessel owner or 
operator is no longer tracking its location and the vessel owner or 
operator notifies the IATTC that the FAD is deactivated.
    Activation of a satellite buoy means the act of initializing 
network service for receiving the satellite buoy's position. Activation 
is done by the buoy supplier company at the request of the vessel owner 
or manager. Following activation, the vessel owner pays for the 
communication service. The buoy can be transmitting or not, depending 
if it has been switched on.
* * * * *
    Deactivation of a satellite buoy means the act of canceling network 
service for receiving the satellite buoy's position. Deactivation is 
done by the buoy supplier company at the request of the vessel owner or 
manager. Following deactivation, the communication service is no longer 
paid for and the buoy stops transmitting.
* * * * *
    Fish aggregating device (FAD) means anchored, drifting, floating or 
submerged objects deployed and/or tracked by vessels, including through 
the use of radio and/or satellite buoys, for the purpose of aggregating 
target tuna species for purse-seine fishing operations.
* * * * *
    Reactivation of a satellite buoy means the act of re-initializing 
network service for transmission of a satellite buoy's position after 
deactivation. The procedure is the same as the one to be followed for 
activation of a satellite buoy.
* * * * *
    Satellite buoy means a buoy that uses a satellite network service 
to indicate its geographical position and is compliant with 
requirements in Sec.  300.28(a) of this section to be clearly marked 
with a unique identification code.
* * * * *
    Signal loss means the situation in which, without any intervention 
of the owner, operator, or manager, a satellite buoy cannot be located 
by the owner on a monitoring device. The main causes of signal loss are 
buoy retrieved by another vessel or person (at-sea or on-shore), FAD 
sinking, and buoy failure.
* * * * *
0
4. Revise Sec.  300.22 to read as follows:


Sec.  300.22  Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    (a) Logbooks--(1) General logbook reporting. The master or other 
person in charge of a commercial fishing vessel or commercial passenger 
fishing vessel (CPFV) authorized to fish for tuna and tuna-like species 
in the Convention Area, or a person authorized in writing to serve as 
the agent for either person, must keep an accurate log of operations 
conducted from the fishing vessel.
    (2) Longline and other non-purse seine logbooks. Maintaining and 
submitting any logbook required by existing state or federal regulation 
will

[[Page 17255]]

be sufficient to comply with paragraph (a)(1) of this section.
    (3) Purse seine logbooks. For purse seine vessels greater than 400 
st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity that are authorized to purse seine for 
tuna in the Convention Area, the log must include for each day the 
date, noon position (stated in latitude and longitude or in relation to 
known physical features), and the tonnage of fish on board, by species. 
The record and bridge log maintained and submitted at the request of 
the IATTC will be sufficient to comply with this paragraph (a)(3) and 
with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, provided the items of 
information specified by the IATTC are accurately entered in the log. 
For purse seine vessels of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less, 
maintaining and submitting any logbook required by existing state or 
federal regulation will be sufficient to comply with paragraph (a)(1) 
of this section.
    (b) Whale shark encirclement reporting. The owner and operator of a 
purse seine fishing vessel of the United States that encircles a whale 
shark (Rhincodon typus) while commercially fishing in the Convention 
Area must ensure that the incident is recorded on the log that is 
required by paragraphs (a)(1) and (a)(3) of this section. The log must 
include the following information: The number of individual whale 
sharks with which the vessel interacted, details of how and why the 
encirclement happened, where it occurred, steps taken to ensure safe 
release, and an assessment of the life status of the whale shark upon 
release (including whether the animal was released alive, but 
subsequently died), as may be further specified by NMFS.
    (c) FAD reporting--(1) Reporting on FAD interactions. U.S. purse 
seine vessel operators must provide the observer with the FAD 
identification code and, as appropriate, the other information in the 
FAD interaction standard format provided by the HMS Branch. U.S. vessel 
owners and operators, without an observer onboard, must ensure that any 
interaction or activity with a FAD is reported using a FAD interaction 
standard format provided by the HMS Branch. The owner and operator 
shall ensure that the form is submitted within 30 days of each landing 
or transshipment of tuna or tuna-like species to the address specified 
by the HMS Branch.
    (2) Reporting on Active FADs. U.S. vessel owners and operators must 
record or maintain daily information on buoy location and acoustic data 
for all Active FADs that have been deployed in the water in the IATTC 
Convention Area and report that information to the IATTC, using a 
format and address provided by the HMS Branch. Daily information on 
buoy location must include date, time, buoy identifier, latitude, 
longitude, IMO number, and speed. Daily acoustic data will vary 
depending on the buoy company, but must include company, buoy 
identifier, latitude, longitude, date, time, and available layers of 
data. Further instructions on reporting data specific for different 
buoys companies are available in a compliance guide. This information 
must be submitted for each calendar month no later than 90 days after 
the month covered by the report.
    (3) Deactivation of Active FADs. U.S. vessel owners and operators 
must report any deactivation of a satellite buoy, including the reason 
for deactivation, date, latitude, longitude, buoy identifier, and 
speed. This information must be reported to the IATTC, using a format 
and address provided by the HMS Branch. This information must be 
submitted for each calendar month no later than 90 days after the month 
covered by the report.
    (4) Reactivation of Active FADs. U.S. vessel owners and operators 
must report any remote reactivation of a satellite buoy, including the 
reason for remote reactivation, date, latitude, longitude, buoy 
identifier, speed. This information must be reported to the IATTC, 
using a format and address provided by the HMS Branch. This information 
must be submitted for each calendar month no later than 90 days after 
the month covered by the report.
    (d) Cannery reporting. U.S. vessel owners and operators must report 
processing plant data for fish caught in the IATTC Convention Area to 
the IATTC, and also make the data available to NMFS upon request, no 
later than 10 days after completion of unloading and the last day of 
grading by size. Instructions for reporting are available in a 
compliance guide.
0
5. Revise Sec.  300.23 to read as follows:


Sec.  300.23  IATTC Regional Vessel Register.

    (a) IATTC Regional Vessel Register (Vessel Register). The Vessel 
Register shall include, consistent with resolutions of the IATTC, all 
commercial fishing vessels and CPFVs authorized to fish for tuna and 
tuna-like species in the Convention Area. Except as provided under 
paragraph (a)(1) of this section, tuna purse seine vessels must be 
listed on the Vessel Register and categorized as active under paragraph 
(c)(2) of this section in order to fish for tuna and tuna-like species 
in the Convention Area.
    (1) Exception from requirement for inclusion on the Vessel 
Register. Once per year, a vessel that is permitted and authorized 
under an alternative international tuna purse seine fisheries 
management regime in the Pacific Ocean may exercise an option to fish 
with purse seine gear to target tuna in the Convention Area without the 
vessel's capacity counted towards the cumulative carrying capacity 
described under paragraph (c)(1)(i) of this section. This exception is 
for a single fishing trip that does not exceed 90 days in duration. At 
any time during the calendar year, a vessel exercising this exception 
shall follow the procedures, where applicable, described in paragraph 
(c) of this section. No more than 32 of such trips are allowed each 
calendar year. After the commencement of the 32nd such trip, the 
Regional Administrator shall announce, in the Federal Register and by 
other appropriate means, that no more such trips are allowed for the 
remainder of the calendar year. Under Sec.  216.24(b)(6)(iii)(C) of 
this title, vessel assessment fees must be paid for vessels exercising 
this option.
    (2) Requirements for inclusion of purse seine vessels on the Vessel 
Register. Inclusion on the tuna purse seine portion of the Vessel 
Register is valid through December 31 of each year. New tuna purse 
seine vessels may be added to the Vessel Register at any time to 
replace those previously removed by the Regional Administrator, 
provided that the total capacity of the replacement vessel or vessels 
does not exceed that of the tuna purse seine vessel or vessels being 
replaced.
    (b) Vessel information to be collected for the Vessel Register.
    (1) Required information. Information on each commercial fishing 
vessel or CPFV authorized to use purse seine, longline, drift gillnet, 
harpoon, troll, rod and reel, or pole and line fishing gear to fish for 
tuna and tuna-like species in the Convention Area for sale shall be 
collected by the Regional Administrator to conform to IATTC resolutions 
governing the Vessel Register. This information initially includes, but 
is not limited to, the vessel name and registration number; the name 
and business address of the owner(s) and managing owner(s); a 
photograph of the vessel with the registration number legible; previous 
vessel name(s) and previous flag (if known and if any); port of 
registry; International Radio Call Sign; IMO number (if applicable); 
vessel length, beam, and moulded depth; gross tonnage, fish hold 
capacity in cubic meters, and carrying capacity in metric tons and 
cubic meters; engine

[[Page 17256]]

horsepower; date and place where built; and type of fishing method or 
methods used. The required information shall be collected as part of 
existing information collections as described in this and other parts 
of the CFR.
    (2) IMO numbers. For the purpose of this section, an ``IMO number'' 
is the unique six or seven digit number issued for a vessel under the 
ship identification number scheme adopted by the International Maritime 
Organization (IMO) and managed by the entity identified by the IMO 
(currently IHS Maritime) and is also known as a Lloyd's Register 
number.
    (3) Requirements for IMO numbers. The owner of a fishing vessel of 
the United States used for commercial fishing for tuna and tuna-like 
species in the IATTC Convention Area shall ensure that an IMO number 
has been issued for the vessel if the vessel's Certificate of 
Documentation issued under 46 CFR part 67 indicates that the vessel's 
total internal volume is 100 gross register tons or greater or 100 
gross tonnage or greater. In addition, the owner of a fishing vessel of 
the United States engaging in fishing activities for tuna or tuna-like 
species in the IATTC Convention Area, and for which a high seas fishing 
permit under Sec.  300.333 is required, shall ensure that an IMO number 
has been issued for the vessel if the vessel's total internal volume is 
less than 100 gross registered tons or less than 100 gross tons, but 
equal to or greater than 12 meters in overall length, as indicated in 
the vessel's Certificate of Documentation issued under 46 CFR part 67 
or State documentation. A vessel owner may request that an IMO number 
be issued for a vessel by following the instructions given by the 
administrator of the IMO ship identification number scheme; those 
instructions are currently available on the website of IHS Markit, 
https://imonumbers.lrfairplay.com/.
    (4) Request for exemption. In the event that a fishing vessel 
owner, after following the instructions given by the designated manager 
of the IMO ship identification number scheme, is unable to ensure that 
an IMO number is issued for the fishing vessel, the fishing vessel 
owner may request an exemption from the requirement from the Regional 
Administrator. The request must be sent by mail to NMFS HMS Branch, 
West Coast Region, 501 W Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802, 
or by email to [email protected], and must include the vessel's name, 
the vessel's official number, a description of the steps taken to 
request an IMO number, and a description of any responses from the 
administrator of the IMO ship identification number scheme.
    (5) Exemption process. Upon receipt of a request for an exemption 
under paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the Regional Administrator 
will, to the extent they determine appropriate, assist the fishing 
vessel owner in requesting an IMO number. If the Regional Administrator 
determines that the fishing vessel owner has followed all appropriate 
procedures and yet is unable to obtain an IMO number for the fishing 
vessel, they will issue an exemption from the requirements of paragraph 
(b)(3) of this section for the vessel and its owner and notify the 
owner of the exemption. The Regional Administrator may limit the 
duration of the exemption. The Regional Administrator may rescind an 
exemption at any time. If an exemption is rescinded, the fishing vessel 
owner must comply with the requirements of paragraph (b)(3) of this 
section within 30 days of being notified of the rescission. If the 
ownership of a fishing vessel changes, an exemption issued to the 
former fishing vessel owner becomes void.
    (c) Purse seine Vessel Register listing. For a tuna purse seine 
vessel to be listed on the Vessel Register and to be categorized as 
either ``active'' or ``inactive'' in the following calendar year, the 
vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the Regional 
Administrator the required permit applications, written notifications, 
and fees as described under Sec.  216.24(b) of this title and under 
paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section as well as payment of the 
vessel assessment fee, where applicable, to the IATTC.
    (1) Restrictions for purse seine vessels. The following 
restrictions apply:
    (i) The cumulative carrying capacity of all tuna purse seine 
vessels on the Vessel Register may not exceed 31,866 cubic meters in a 
given year; and
    (ii) A purse seine vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying 
capacity may not be added to active status on the Vessel Register 
unless the captain of the vessel has obtained a valid operator permit 
under Sec.  216.24(b)(2) of this title.
    (2) Active status for purse seine vessels. As early as August 1 of 
each year, vessel owners or managing owners may request that a purse 
seine vessel qualified to be listed on the Vessel Register under 
paragraph (a)(2) of this section be categorized as active for the 
following calendar year. To request a purse seine vessel in excess of 
400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be listed on the Vessel Register 
and be categorized as active, the vessel owner or managing owner must 
submit to the Regional Administrator the vessel permit application and 
payment of the permit application fee and submit to the IATTC payment 
of the vessel assessment fee.
    (i) To request a purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying 
capacity or less be listed on the Vessel Register and be categorized as 
active, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS 
Branch written notification including, but not limited to, a vessel 
photograph, the vessel information as described under paragraph (b) of 
this section, and the owner or managing owner's signature, business 
email address, and business telephone and fax numbers. If a purse seine 
vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less is required by 
the Agreement on the IDCP to carry an observer, the vessel owner or 
managing owner must also submit payment of the vessel assessment fee to 
the IATTC.
    (ii) The Regional Administrator must receive the vessel permit 
application or written notification and payment of the permit 
application fee and payment confirmation of the vessel assessment fee 
no later than September 15 for vessels for which a DML was requested 
for the following year and no later than November 30 for vessels for 
which a DML was not requested for the following year. Submission of the 
vessel permit application or written notification and payment of the 
vessel assessment fee and permit application fee will be interpreted by 
the Regional Administrator as a request for a vessel to be categorized 
as active.
    (3) Inactive status for purse seine vessels.
    (i) From August 1 through November 30 of each year, vessel owners 
or managing owners may request that purse seine vessels qualified to be 
listed on the Vessel Register under paragraph (a)(2) of this section be 
categorized as inactive for the following calendar year. To request a 
purse seine vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be 
listed on the Vessel Register and categorized as inactive for the 
following calendar year, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit 
to the IATTC payment of the associated vessel assessment fee. Payment 
of the vessel assessment fee consistent with inactive status will be 
interpreted by the Regional Administrator as a request for the vessel 
to be categorized as inactive.
    (ii) To request a tuna purse seine vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) 
carrying capacity or less be listed on the Vessel Register and 
categorized as inactive for the following calendar year, the vessel 
owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch a written 
notification including, but not limited to, the vessel name and 
registration number and the vessel owner or

[[Page 17257]]

managing owner's name, signature, business address, business email 
address, and business telephone and fax numbers. Payment of the vessel 
assessment fee is not required for vessels of 400 st (362.8 mt) 
carrying capacity or less to be categorized as inactive.
    (iii) At any time during the year, a vessel owner or managing owner 
may request that a tuna purse seine vessel qualified to be listed on 
the Vessel Register under paragraph (a)(2) of this section be 
categorized as inactive for the remainder of the calendar year, 
provided the cumulative carrying capacity described in (c)(1)(i) of 
this section is not exceeded. To request a purse seine vessel in excess 
of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be listed on the Vessel Register 
and categorized as inactive for the remainder of the calendar year, the 
vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the IATTC payment of the 
associated vessel assessment fee. To request a tuna purse seine vessel 
of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less be listed on the Vessel 
Register and categorized as inactive for the remainder of the calendar 
year, the vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch 
written notification as described in (c)(3)(i) of this section. Payment 
of the vessel assessment fee is not required for such vessels.
    (iv) The vessel owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel 
listed as active on the Vessel Register that has sunk may request the 
vessel be listed as sunk and categorized as inactive on the Vessel 
Register. To request the vessel be listed as sunk and categorized as 
inactive on the Vessel Register, the vessel owner or managing owner 
must submit to the HMS Branch written notification within 30 days of 
the vessel's sinking. Written notification shall include, but is not 
limited to, the vessel name, date of sinking, registration number, the 
vessel owner or managing owner's name, signature, business address, 
business email address, and business telephone and fax numbers. For 
subsequent calendar years, vessel assessment fee payment shall be made 
as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
    (v) A vessel listed as inactive or sunk on the Vessel Register for 
more than two consecutive calendar years after January 21, 2020, 
requesting active status will be prioritized according to the hierarchy 
under paragraph (e) of this section. A vessel listed as inactive or 
sunk on the Vessel Register for more than two consecutive calendar 
years after January 21, 2020, will be removed from the Vessel Register 
as described in paragraph (f)(9) of this section.
    (d) Frivolous requests for purse seine vessels on the Vessel 
Register.
    (1) Except as described under paragraph (d)(2) of this section, 
requests for active status under paragraph (c)(2) of this section will 
be considered frivolous if, for a vessel categorized as active on the 
Vessel Register in a given calendar year:
    (i) Less than 20 percent of the vessel's total landings, by weight, 
in that same year is comprised of tuna harvested by purse seine in the 
Convention Area; or
    (ii) The vessel did not fish for tuna at all in the Convention Area 
in that same year.
    (2) Requests described under paragraph (d)(1) of this section will 
not be considered frivolous requests if:
    (i) The vessel's catch pattern fell within the criteria described 
in paragraph (d)(1) of this section as a result of force majeure or 
other extraordinary circumstances as determined by the Regional 
Administrator; or
    (ii) The vessel's carrying capacity is 400 st (362.8 mt) or less 
and there was at least one documented landing of tuna caught by the 
vessel in the Convention Area in the calendar year prior to the year in 
which the request is made and through November 15 of the year of the 
request, unless the vessel was not able to make a landing as a result 
of force majeure or other extraordinary circumstances as determined by 
the Regional Administrator.
    (iii) The vessel was listed as inactive before January 21, 2020, 
and has not been listed as inactive for more than two consecutive 
calendar years since January 21, 2020.
    (e) Listing hierarchy for purse seine vessels on the Vessel 
Register. Requests for active status and inactive status will be 
prioritized according to the following hierarchy:
    (1) Requests received for replacement vessels with a carrying 
capacity equal to or less than a vessel removed from the Vessel 
Register under a request described in paragraph (j) of this section;
    (2) Requests received for vessels that were categorized as active 
in the previous year, unless the request was determined to be frivolous 
by the Regional Administrator under paragraph (c)(2) of this section;
    (3) Requests received for vessels that were categorized as inactive 
under paragraph (c)(3) of this section in the previous year, unless 
that vessel has been listed as inactive or sunk under paragraph (c)(3) 
of this section for more than 2 consecutive calendar years after 
January 21, 2020;
    (4) Requests for vessels not described in paragraphs (e)(1) through 
(3) of this section, and requests, if applicable, by replacement 
vessels for the portion of the carrying capacity greater than the 
amount authorized to the vessel that was replaced under paragraph (j) 
of this section, will be prioritized on a first-come, first-served 
basis according to the date and time of receipt, provided that the 
associated vessel assessment fee is paid by the applicable deadline 
described in Sec.  216.24(b)(6)(iii) of this title; and
    (5) Requests received from owners or managing owners of vessels 
that were determined by the Regional Administrator to have made a 
frivolous request for active status under paragraph (d) of this section 
or that have been listed as inactive or sunk as described in paragraph 
(c)(3) of this section for more than two consecutive calendar years 
after January 21, 2020.
    (f) Removal from the Vessel Register. A vessel may be removed from 
the Vessel Register by the Regional Administrator under any of the 
following circumstances:
    (1) The vessel has sunk and the vessel owner or managing owner has 
not submitted written notification as described in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) 
of this section.
    (2) By written request of the vessel's owner or managing owner.
    (3) Following a final agency action on a permit sanction for a 
violation.
    (4) For failure to pay a penalty or for default on a penalty 
payment agreement resulting from a final agency action for a violation.
    (5) The U.S. Maritime Administration or the U.S. Coast Guard 
notifies NMFS that:
    (i) The owner has submitted an application for transfer of the 
vessel to foreign registry and flag; or
    (ii) The documentation for the vessel has been or will be deleted 
for any reason.
    (6) The vessel does not have a valid state registration or U.S. 
Coast Guard certificate of documentation.
    (7) For tuna purse seine vessels, by written notification from the 
owner or managing owner of the intent to transfer the vessel to foreign 
registry and flag, as described in paragraph (i) of this section.
    (8) For tuna purse seine vessels, the request for active status on 
the Vessel Register has been determined to be a frivolous request.
    (9) For tuna purse seine vessels, the vessel has been listed as 
inactive or sunk on the Vessel Register for more

[[Page 17258]]

than two consecutive calendar years after January 21, 2020.
    (g) Process for removal from the Vessel Register. When a vessel is 
removed from the Vessel Register under paragraph (f) of this section, 
the Regional Administrator shall promptly notify the vessel owner in 
writing of the removal and the reasons therefore. For a removal from 
the Vessel Register under Sec.  300.30(f)(3), the Regional 
Administrator will not accept a request to reinstate the vessel to the 
Vessel Register for the term of the permit sanction. For a removal from 
the Vessel Register under Sec.  300.30(f)(4), the Regional 
Administrator will not accept a request to reinstate the vessel to the 
Vessel Register until such time as payment is made on the penalty or 
penalty agreement, or such other duration as NOAA and the vessel owner 
may agree upon.
    (h) Procedures for replacing purse seine vessels removed from the 
Vessel Register.
    (1) A purse seine vessel that was previously listed on the Vessel 
Register, but not included for a given year or years, may be added back 
to the Vessel Register and categorized as inactive at any time during 
the year, provided the cumulative carrying capacity described in 
(c)(1)(i) of this section is not exceeded. The owner or managing owner 
of a purse seine vessel of more than 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying 
capacity must pay the vessel assessment fee associated with inactive 
status. The owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel of 400 st 
(362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less must submit written notification 
as described in paragraph (c)(3) of this section.
    (2) A purse seine vessel may be added to the Vessel Register and 
categorized as active in order to replace a vessel or vessels removed 
from active or inactive status under paragraph (f) of this section, 
provided the total carrying capacity described in (c)(1)(i) of this 
section is not exceeded and the owner submits a complete request under 
paragraph (h)(4) of this section.
    (3) Notification of available capacity after a purse seine vessel 
has been removed from the Vessel Register will be conducted as follows:
    (i) After a purse seine vessel categorized as active or inactive is 
removed from the Vessel Register, the Regional Administrator will 
notify owners or managing owners of vessels eligible for, but not 
included on, the Vessel Register that replacement capacity is available 
on the active or inactive list of the Vessel Register.
    (ii) When a purse seine vessel categorized as active or inactive on 
the Vessel Register has been removed from the Vessel Register under the 
procedures described in paragraph (j) of this section, the Regional 
Administrator will not make available the capacity of the vessel 
removed from the Vessel Register, and will reserve that capacity for a 
replacement vessel for a period of 2 years from the date of 
notification described in (j)(4) of this section. The replacement 
vessel will be eligible to be listed as active on the Vessel Register 
at the same carrying capacity or less as that of the vessel it is 
replacing. If the replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater 
than the vessel being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may 
request additional carrying capacity allocated to the vessel in 
accordance with paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional 
carrying capacity is not available, the replacement vessel must reduce 
its carrying capacity to no more than the previously authorized 
carrying capacity amount for the vessel being replaced by complying 
with the protocol for sealing wells adopted by the IATTC, prior to it 
being listed as active on the Vessel Register. Such a vessel may apply 
for additional carrying capacity as it becomes available under the 
procedures described in (e)(4) of this section.
    (4) Vessel owners or managing owners may request a purse seine 
vessel of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity or less be categorized as 
active to replace a vessel or vessels removed from the Vessel Register 
by submitting to the HMS Branch written notification as described in 
paragraph (c)(2) of this section and, only if the vessel is required by 
the Agreement on the IDCP to carry an observer, payment of the vessel 
assessment fee to the IATTC within 10 business days after submission of 
the written notification. The replacement vessel will be eligible to be 
categorized as active on the Vessel Register at the same carrying 
capacity or less as that of the vessel or vessels it is replacing. If 
the replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater than the vessel 
being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may request 
additional carrying capacity allocated to the vessel in accordance with 
paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional carrying capacity is 
not available, the replacement vessel must reduce its capacity to no 
more than the previously authorized carrying capacity for the vessel or 
vessels being replaced by complying with the protocol for sealing wells 
adopted by the IATTC, prior to it being listed as active on the Vessel 
Register. Such a vessel may apply for additional carrying capacity as 
it becomes available. Payments received will be subject to a 10 percent 
surcharge for vessels that were listed as active on the Vessel Register 
in the previous calendar year, but not listed as inactive at the 
beginning of the calendar year for which active status was requested.
    (5) Vessel owners or managing owners may request a purse seine 
vessel in excess of 400 st (362.8 mt) carrying capacity be categorized 
as active to replace a vessel or vessels removed from the Vessel 
Register by submitting to the Regional Administrator the vessel permit 
application as described under Sec.  216.24(b) of this title and 
payment of the vessel assessment fee to the IATTC and payment of the 
permit application fee to the Regional Administrator within 10 business 
days after submission of the vessel permit application for the 
replacement vessel. The replacement vessel will be eligible to be 
categorized as active on the Vessel Register at the same carrying 
capacity as that of the vessel or vessels it is replacing. If the 
replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater than the vessel 
being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may request 
additional carrying capacity allocated to the vessel in accordance with 
paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional carrying capacity is 
not available, the replacement vessel must reduce its carrying capacity 
to no more than the previously authorized carrying capacity for the 
vessel or vessels being replaced by complying with the protocol for 
sealing wells adopted by the IATTC, prior to it being listed as active 
on the Vessel Register. Such a vessel may apply for additional carrying 
capacity as it becomes available. The replacement vessel will also only 
be eligible to be categorized as active on the Vessel Register if the 
captain of the replacement vessel possesses an operator permit under 
Sec.  216.24(b) of this title. Payments received will be subject to a 
10 percent surcharge for vessels that were listed as active on the 
Vessel Register in the previous calendar year, but not listed as 
inactive at the beginning of the calendar year for which active status 
was requested.
    (6) The Regional Administrator will forward requests to replace 
vessels removed from the Vessel Register within 15 days of receiving 
each request.
    (i) Transfers of purse seine vessels to a foreign registry and 
flag. The owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel listed on the 
Vessel Register must provide written notification to the Regional 
Administrator prior to submitting an application for transfer of the 
vessel to foreign registry and flag. Written notification must be 
submitted

[[Page 17259]]

to the Regional Administrator at least 10 business days prior to 
submission of the application for transfer. The written notification 
must include the vessel name and registration number; the expected date 
that the application for transfer will be submitted; and the vessel 
owner or managing owner's name and signature. Vessels that require 
approval by the U.S. Maritime Administration prior to transfer of the 
vessel to foreign registry and flag will not be subject to the 
notification requirement described in this paragraph.
    (j) Aging fleet provision for purse seine vessels.
    (1) The vessel owner or managing owner of a purse seine vessel 
listed as active or inactive on the Vessel Register may request to 
replace the current vessel with a new or used vessel without losing the 
vessel's placement in the hierarchy of requests for active status as 
described in paragraph (e) of this section. The replacement vessel will 
be eligible to be listed as active on the Vessel Register at the same 
carrying capacity or less as that of the vessel it is replacing. If the 
replacement vessel has a carrying capacity greater than the vessel 
being replaced, the vessel owner or managing owner may request 
additional carrying capacity be allocated to the vessel in accordance 
with paragraph (e)(4) of this section. If additional carrying capacity 
is not available at the time the request to be listed as active on the 
Vessel Register is received by the Regional Administrator, the 
replacement vessel must reduce its carrying capacity to no more than 
the previously authorized carrying capacity of the vessel being 
replaced by complying with the protocol for sealing wells adopted by 
the IATTC, prior to it being listed as active on the Vessel Register. 
Such a vessel may apply for additional carrying capacity as it becomes 
available under the procedures described in paragraph (e)(4) of this 
section. This aging fleet provision may be used only once per vessel by 
the vessel owner or managing owner.
    (2) A request made under this provision may include a request to 
remove the vessel from the Vessel Register. The Regional Administrator 
will ensure the amount of carrying capacity equal to or less of the 
vessel being replaced will be available for the replacement vessel for 
up to 2 years from the date of notification described in paragraph 
(j)(4) of this section.
    (3) To request a vessel be replaced under this provision, the 
vessel owner or managing owner must submit to the HMS Branch written 
notification including, but not limited to, the vessel name and 
registration number, the vessel owner or managing owner's name, 
signature, business address, business email address, and business 
telephone and fax numbers, and the expected month and year the 
replacement vessel will be ready to fish in the Convention Area.
    (4) Within 30 days of receiving each request described in (j)(3) of 
this section, the Regional Administrator shall notify the vessel owner 
or managing owner in writing whether the request has been accepted or 
denied, and the reasons therefore.
0
6. Amend Sec.  300.24 by revising paragraphs (n), (ff), (kk), and (ll) 
to read as follows:


Sec.  300.24   Prohibitions.

* * * * *
    (n) Use a fishing vessel of class size 4-6 to fish with purse seine 
gear in the IATTC Convention Area in contravention of Sec.  300.25(e).
* * * * *
    (ff) Fail to provide information to an observer or record or report 
data on FADs as required in Sec.  300.22(c).
* * * * *
    (kk) When deploying a FAD, activate the satellite buoy attached to 
a FAD in a location other than on a purse seine vessel at sea as 
required in Sec.  300.28(b).
    (ll) Fail to activate a satellite buoy before deploying a FAD at 
sea as required in Sec.  300.28(b).
* * * * *
0
7. Amend Sec.  300.25 by revising paragraphs (a)(2) and (e) as follows:


Sec.  300.25   Fisheries management.

    (a) * * *
    (2) There is a limit of 750 metric tons of bigeye tuna that may be 
caught by longline gear in the Convention Area by U.S. commercial 
fishing vessels that are over 24 meters in overall length. The catch 
limit within a calendar year is subject to increase if the United 
States receives a transfer of catch limit from another IATTC member or 
cooperating non-member, per paragraph (a)(5) of this section.
* * * * *
    (e) Purse seine closures--(1) 72-day closure. A U.S. commercial 
purse seine fishing vessel that is of class size 4-6 (more than 182 
metric tons carrying capacity) may not be used to fish with purse seine 
gear in the Convention Area for 72 days during one of the following two 
periods:
    (i) From 0000 hours Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) July 29 to 
2400 hours UTC October 8, or
    (ii) From 0000 hours UTC November 9 to 2400 hours UTC January 19 of 
the following year.
    (2) Additional closure days for vessels that exceed bigeye tuna 
catch levels. In 2023 and 2024, U.S. purse seine vessels that exceed a 
certain annual catch level of bigeye tuna must increase the number of 
closure days they observe in the following year, as specified in the 
following table.

                       Table 1 to Paragraph (e)(2)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Catch level (mt)  exceeded       Additional  closure days  observed
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    1,200                                   10
                    1,500                                   13
                    1,800                                   16
                    2,100                                   19
                    2,400                                   22
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (i) The additional days of closure must be added to one of the two 
closure periods indicated in paragraph (e)(1). For vessels observing 
the first closure period, the additional days must be added at the 
beginning of the closure period. For vessels observing the second 
closure period, the additional days must be added to the end of the 
closure period. The HMS Branch will confirm the determination of annual 
catch levels for U.S. purse vessels based on information provided by 
the IATTC and notify any U.S. vessel that exceeds a given catch level.
    (ii) [Reserved]
    (3) Choice of closure period. A vessel owner, manager, or 
association representative of a vessel that is subject to the 
requirements of paragraph (e)(1) of this section must provide written 
notification to the Regional Administrator declaring which one of the 
two closure periods identified in paragraph (e)(1) of this section 
their vessel will observe in that year. This written notification must 
be submitted by email to [email protected] and must be received no later 
than May 15 of the relevant calendar year. The written notification 
must include the vessel name and registration number, the closure dates 
that will be observed by that vessel, and the vessel owner or managing 
owner's name, signature, business address, and business telephone 
number.
    (4) Default closure period. If written notification is not 
submitted per paragraph (e)(3) of this section for a vessel subject to 
the requirements under paragraph (e)(1) of this section, that vessel 
must observe the second closure period under paragraph (e)(1)(ii) of 
this section.
    (5) Request for exemption due to force majeure. A vessel may 
request a reduced closure period if a force majeure event renders the 
vessel unable

[[Page 17260]]

to proceed to sea outside one of the two closure periods specified in 
paragraph (e)(1) of this section for at least 75 continuous days. A 
vessel will only be eligible for an exemption due to force majeure if 
the vessel was disabled in the course of fishing operations by 
mechanical and/or structural failure, fire, or explosion.
    (i) A request for an exemption due to force majeure must be made to 
the Highly Migratory Species Branch no later than 20 calendar days 
after the end of the period of inactivity due to force majeure. The 
request must be made via email to [email protected] or by contacting the 
HMS Branch. The request must include the name and official number of 
the vessel, vessel owner or manager's name and signature, and evidence 
to support the request, which may include but is not limited to 
photographs, repair bills, certificates of departure from port, and in 
the case of a marine casualty, a completed copy of the U.S. Coast Guard 
Form CG-2692A (See 46 CFR 4.05-10).
    (ii) If accepted by the Sustainable Fisheries Division, the request 
for exemption due to force majeure will be forwarded to the IATTC 
Director. If declined by the Sustainable Fisheries Division, the 
applicant may provide additional information or documentation to the 
Sustainable Fisheries Division with a request that the initial decision 
be reconsidered by email to [email protected], or by contacting the HMS 
Branch Chief.
    (iii) If the request for an exemption due to force majeure is 
accepted by the IATTC, the vessel may observe a reduced closure period 
of 40 consecutive days in the same year during which the force majeure 
event occurred, in one of the two closure periods described in 
paragraph (e)(1) of this section. After a request is accepted by the 
IATTC, the vessel owner or manager must specify to the HMS Branch which 
40 consecutive days the vessel will observe for their reduced closure 
period.
    (iv) If the request for an exemption due to force majeure is 
accepted by the IATTC and the vessel has already observed a closure 
period described in paragraph (e)(1) of this section in the same year 
during which the force majeure event occurred, the vessel may observe a 
reduced closure period of 40 consecutive days the following year, in 
one of the two closure periods described in paragraph (e)(1) of this 
section.
    (v) An exemption due to force majeure will only apply to the 72-day 
closure period required under paragraph (e)(1) of this section. Vessels 
that are both granted a reduced 40-day initial closure period due to 
force majeure under paragraph (e)(5) and required to observe additional 
closure days for exceeding bigeye tuna catch levels under paragraph 
(e)(2) must observe the reduced closure period consecutively with the 
additional closure days by adding the additional closure days to either 
the beginning of the first reduced closure period or the end of the 
second reduced closure period.
    (vi) Any purse seine vessel for which a force majeure request is 
accepted by the IATTC must carry an observer aboard authorized pursuant 
to the International Agreement on the International Dolphin 
Conservation Program, unless that vessel has been granted an exemption 
from the Regional Administrator.
    (6) 31-day area closure. A U.S. fishing vessel of class size 4-6 
(more than 182 metric tons carrying capacity) may not be used from 0000 
hours on October 9 to 2400 hours on November 8 to fish with purse seine 
gear within the area bounded at the east and west by 96[deg] and 
110[deg] W longitude and bounded at the north and south by 4[deg] N and 
3[deg] S latitude.
    (7) Requirement to stow gear. At all times while a vessel is in a 
time/area closed period established under paragraphs (e)(1) or (6) of 
this section, unless fishing under the exception under paragraph (e)(5) 
of this section, the fishing gear of the vessel must be stowed in a 
manner as not to be readily available for fishing. In particular, the 
boom must be lowered as far as possible so that the vessel cannot be 
used for fishing, but so that the skiff is accessible for use in 
emergency situations; the helicopter, if any, must be tied down; and 
launches must be secured.
* * * * *
0
8. Amend Sec.  300.27 by revising paragraph (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  300.27   Incidental catch and tuna retention requirements.

* * * * *
    (e) Silky shark restrictions for purse seine and longline vessels. 
The crew, operator, and owner of a commercial purse seine or longline 
fishing vessel of the United States used to fish for tuna or tuna-like 
species is prohibited from retaining on board, transshipping, storing, 
or landing any part or whole carcass of a silky shark (Carcharhinus 
falciformis) that is caught in the IATTC Convention Area, except as 
provided in paragraph (f) of this section.
* * * * *
0
9. Amend Sec.  300.28 by:
0
(a) Revising paragraphs (b) and (c),
0
(b) Redesignating paragraphs (d)-(e) as paragraphs (f)-(g),
0
(c) Adding new paragraphs (d) and (e), and,
0
(d) Revising the introductory text to newly redesignated paragraph (g).
    The revisions and additions read as follows:


Sec.  300.28   FAD restrictions.

* * * * *
    (b) Activating FADs for purse seine vessels. When deploying a FAD 
in the IATTC Convention Area, a vessel owner, operator, or crew must 
activate the satellite buoy while the FAD is onboard the purse seine 
vessel and before it is deployed in the water.
    (c) Restrictions on Active FADs for purse seine vessels. U.S. 
vessel owners and operators of purse-seine vessels with the following 
well volume in cubic meters (m\3\) must not have more than the 
following number of Active FADs per vessel in the IATTC Convention Area 
at any one time during the following years.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Active FAD
                   Well volume (m\3\)                          limit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         For 2022 calendar year
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1,200 or more...........................................             400
426-1,199...............................................             270
213-425.................................................             110
0-212...................................................              66
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         For 2023 calendar year
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1,200 or more...........................................             340
426-1,199...............................................             255
213-425.................................................             105
0-212...................................................              64
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    For 2024 calendar year and beyond
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1,200 or more...........................................             340
426-1,199...............................................             210
213-425.................................................              85
0-212...................................................              50
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (d) Restrictions on satellite buoy deactivations. A vessel owner or 
operator that deactivates a satellite buoy attached to a FAD must 
comply with the reporting requirements for buoy deactivations in Sec.  
300.22 (c)(3) of this subpart. A U.S. vessel owner or operator shall 
only deactivate a satellite buoy attached to a FAD that was activated 
in the IATTC Convention Area in the following circumstances:
    (1) Complete loss of signal reception;
    (2) Beaching;
    (3) Appropriation of a FAD by a third party;
    (4) Temporarily during a selected closure period;
    (5) For being outside of the area between the meridians 150[deg] W 
and 100[deg] W, and the parallels 8[deg] N and 10[deg]S; the area 
between the meridian 100[deg] W and

[[Page 17261]]

the coast of the American continent and the parallels 5[deg] N and 
15[deg]S; or
    (6) Transfer of ownership.
    (e) Restrictions on satellite buoy reactivations. A vessel owner or 
operator that reactivates a satellite buoy must comply with the 
reporting requirements for satellite buoy reactivations in Sec.  300.22 
(c)(4) of this subpart. A U.S. vessel owner or operator shall only 
remotely reactivate a satellite buoy at sea that was activated in the 
IATTC Convention Area in the following circumstances:
    (1) To assist in the recovery of a beached FAD;
    (2) After a temporary deactivation during the closure period; or
    (3) Transfer of ownership while the FAD is at sea.
* * * * *
    (g) FAD design requirements to reduce entanglements. All FADs 
onboard or deployed in the IATTC Convention Area by U.S. vessel owners, 
operators, or crew, must comply with the following design requirements:
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2022-06345 Filed 3-25-22; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P