Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
* Mail to NMFS, Northeast Regional Office, 55 Great Republic Dr. Gloucester, MA 01930. Mark the outside of the envelope "Comments on MSB Framework Adjustment 5."
Amendment 11 to the MSB FMP (76 FR 68642, November 7, 2011) implemented a three tiered mackerel limited access program in which all qualifiers were required to have possessed a valid permit on March 21, 2007. A vessel must have landed at least 400,000 lb (181.44 mt) in any one year 1997-2005 to qualify for a Tier 1 permit; at least 100,000 lb (45.36 mt) in any one year March 1, 1994-December 31, 2005, to qualify for a Tier 2 permit; or at least 1,000 lb (0.45 mt) in any one year March 1, 1994-December 31, 2005, to qualify for a Tier 3 permit. Trip limits for each tier are established annually through the specification process. The trip limits approved for 2012 are unlimited for Tier 1; 135,000 lb (61.23 mt) for Tier 2; and 100,000 lb (45.36 mt) for Tier 3.
The tiered limited access program went into effect on March 1, 2012, and permit applications are being accepted through February 28, 2013. Vessel owners whose vessels are issued Tier 1 and 2 mackerel permits (the tiers with the highest access) are required to obtain a certification of the capacity of the vessel's fish hold(s). The final rule implementing Amendment 11 provided that a fish hold capacity certification must be made by an individual credentialed as a Certified Marine Surveyor with a fishing specialty by the National Association of Marine Surveyors, or by an individual credentialed as an Accredited Marine Surveyor with a fishing specialty by the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors. Vessel owners who have received a certification of their vessel's fish hold capacity by the Maine State Sealer of Weights and Measures also meet the fish hold capacity requirement. Vessel owners are required to submit documentation in support of their vessel's certified fish hold capacity to NMFS by December 31, 2012, or their first vessel replacement or upgrade, whichever comes first. The certified fish hold capacity will be considered a new baseline specification to control future vessel upgrades for vessels with Tier 1 and 2 mackerel permits. In addition to limiting vessel upgrades to 10 percent above the baseline gross registered tonnage, net tonnage, and length overall and 20 percent above the baseline horsepower, future upgrades to Tier 1 and 2 mackerel permits will be limited to 10 percent above the certified baseline fish hold capacity. Council staff and the Council developed the original credentialing requirements through background research, advisory panel meetings, input from several marine surveyors in the Mid-Atlantic and New England, and input during several rounds of public comment on the amendment. Since publication of the final rule for Amendment 11, two marine professionals commented that additional qualified individuals or entities should be approved to complete fish hold capacity certifications. Industry representatives suggested that individuals other than those with the credentials approved in Amendment 11 may be qualified to complete fish hold capacity certifications. To address this concern, the Council adopted Framework 5 on April 12, 2012, and submitted it to NMFS on April 18, 2012, for review and approval.
This action proposes revising the fish hold capacity certification requirement to allow additional individuals or entities beyond those with credentials approved in Amendment 11 to complete fish hold capacity certifications. This framework action would expand the range of individuals and entities that are approved to complete hold capacity certifications and allow them also to be completed by employees or agents of a classification society approved by the Coast Guard pursuant to 46 U.S.C. 3316(c), Maine State Sealer of Weights and Measures, a professionally-licensed and/or registered Marine Engineer, or a Naval Architect with a professional engineer license. NMFS invites the public to comment on whether this expanded list is too broad or there are other individuals who should be added to this list because they have credentials reflecting their competence to make a fish hold certification of which NMFS is currently unaware. In addition, we invite public comment on whether there is a need for additional mechanisms to ensure that individuals and/or entities are qualified to perform fish hold capacity certifications. This list could be expanded in the final rule to include such individuals if NMFS determines it has a reasonable basis upon which to assess an individual's competence to make a fish hold certification. This action also proposes extending the date that vessels are required to submit fish hold capacity measurements by one year. Due to a delay in rulemaking, vessels with mackerel Tier 1 and 2 permits would be required to submit fish hold capacity measurements by December 31, 2013, instead of December 31, 2012.
Pursuant to section 304(b)(1)(A) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, the NMFS Assistant Administrator has determined that this proposed rule is consistent with the Atlantic Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish FMP, other provision of the
This proposed rule has been determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866.
The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce certified to the Chief Council 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. For the reasons described below, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required for this framework action and none has been prepared.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines a small business in the commercial fishing sector as a firm with receipts (gross revenues) of up to $4.0 million. Party/charter small businesses are included in NAICS code 487210 and are defined as a firm with gross receipts of up to $7 million. Depending on the year, all 74 of the vessels required to complete hold certifications may qualify as small businesses, or a few may be above the 4.0 million dollar threshold depending on their landings in a given year. However, this action will not negatively impact any fishery participants, regardless of size.
Amendment 11 analyzed the impacts from requiring Tier 1 and 2 mackerel vessels to obtain fish hold capacity measurements from an individual credentialed as a Certified Marine Surveyor with a fishing specialty by the National Association of Marine Surveyors, from an individual credentialed as an Accredited Marine Surveyor with a fishing specialty by the Society of Accredited Marine Surveyors, or with certification by the Maine State Sealer of Weights and Measures. This action proposes to broaden the scope of individuals who are approved to complete the fish hold capacity measurement, but does not have any impact on small entities outside of the scope of those analyzed in Amendment 11. Although vessel owners will have more flexibility for obtaining a fish hold capacity measurement completed by a qualified individual under this action, this action is not expected to result in any change in the cost associated with obtaining the certification.
Fisheries, Fishing, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
For the reasons set out in the preamble, 50 CFR part 648 is proposed to be amended as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 648 continues to read as follows:
16 U.S.C. 1801
2. In § 648.4, paragraph (a)(5) (iii)(H)(
(a) * * *
(5) * * *
(iii) * * *