Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted via Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.
The Georges Bank (GB) Closed Area has been closed to the harvest of surfclams and ocean quahogs since 1990 due to red tide blooms that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). The action associated with the collection of information requirements discussed in this
Additionally, to monitor and control the harvest of surfclams and ocean quahogs from the area, and to ensure vessels adhere to the protocol, vessels fishing in the area would be required to apply for and obtain a letter of authorization (LOA) from NMFS. The LOA would help to ensure that vessels are adhering to the regulations for harvesting within the area and would provide a mechanism for NMFS to restrict harvesting in the area should a vessel not comply with the terms and conditions of the LOA and/or the PSP testing protocol. The full protocol is available for viewing at
In regards to the requirement to obtain an LOA, in 2011, there were 47 Federal open-access surfclam and/or ocean quahog permitted vessels that landed surfclams and/or ocean quahogs that may wish to fish in the area proposed to be reopened. Each vessel could apply up to once a year, for a maximum of 47 applications. It is expected that each application would take 5 minutes to complete, for a fleet maximum of 4 hours. There is no additional public cost associated with this change as the application would be submitted with the previously existing annual permit renewal package.
In regards to the information collection required under the protocol, if all of the permitted vessels in 2011 fished in the area, there would be a total of 47 entities, as well as 11 states, that would be required to adhere to the terms and conditions of the PSP testing protocol. While the PSP testing protocol outlines what is required, there would be differences in the complexity of the documents as well as varying methods of submission. For this PRA analysis, it is assumed that the traditional method of submission will be used, physical mail at 45 cents per submission; however, it is likely that many submissions will be completed electronically and, therefore, the overall cost would be reduced.
The testing protocol requires numerous elements that contain collection of information requirements, including elements that are submitted to NMFS, as well as to state and private entities. The submission of concurrence from state of landing element is required only of the state, which would total 11 entities. This submission would be in the form of an annual written letter, with a total time burden estimate of 11 hr (11 submissions × 1 hr) and would cost $5 (11 submissions × $0.45).
The remainder of the requirements in the protocol apply to individual vessels, and is based on the maximum number of trips that occurred in the area in 2011 (46 trips). Three of these elements would require document submission, one of which is an annual submission, and the other two which are required on each trip. The result is 4,370 submissions (((47 × 46) ×2) + 46) with a total public cost burden of $1,967 (4,370 × $0.45). The offload notification requirement does not impose any additional costs, as the notification would be completed through a pre-existing email or cellular phone account and is not required to be submitted in writing.
It is estimated that both the requirement to submit and maintain harvest records and compile and submit laboratory test results would take 30 minutes each to complete. Based on the number of anticipated trips into the area, there would be 4,324 submissions and a public burden of 2,162 hr (4,324 submissions × 30 min). The element to create and maintain a written onboard lot segregation plan is required annually and would take approximately 60 min to complete for a public burden of 47 hr (47 submissions × 1 hr). The notification element is required on each trip and is estimated to take 5 min per notification, resulting in 180 hr of burden (2,162 notifications × 5 min). The total resulting time burden to the public from all of the requirements to fish in the reopened portion of the GB Closed Area is 2,404 hr (4 + 11 + 2,162 + 47 + 180).
Surfclam/Ocean Quahog Administration.
Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information
Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.
16 U.S.C. 1801