[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 204 (Friday, October 21, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 72783-72784]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-25540]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE901


International Fisheries; Pacific Tuna Fisheries; Well Volume in 
the Regional Vessel Register of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna 
Commission

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

ACTION: Notice to the U.S. purse seine fleet fishing for tuna and tuna-
like species in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

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SUMMARY: The intent of this notice is to inform the U.S. purse seine 
fleet fishing for tuna or tuna-like species in the Eastern Pacific 
Ocean (EPO) about Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) 
Resolution C-15-02 (Resolution on the Deadline Applicable to Revisions 
of Well Volume in Paragraph 6 of Resolution C-02-03).

DATES: IATTC Resolution C-15-02 will become effective January 1, 2017.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chris Fanning, West Coast Region, 
NMFS, at Chris.Fanning@noaa.gov, or at (562) 980-4198.

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. In 2003, the IATTC adopted 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), which 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/PDFFiles2/Antigua_Convention_Jun_2003.pdf.
    The IATTC consists of 21 member nations and four cooperating non-
member nations and facilitates scientific research into, as well as the 
conservation and management of, highly migratory species of fish in the 
IATTC Convention Area. The IATTC Convention Area is defined as the 
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 has maintained a scientific research and fishery 
monitoring program for many years, which includes a Regional Vessel 
Register (Register) to maintain a record of vessels that are authorized 
to fish for tuna and tuna-like species in the Convention Area.

International Obligations of the United States Under the Convention

    As a member of the IATTC, the United States is legally bound to 
implement decisions of the IATTC. The Tuna Conventions Act (16 U.S.C. 
951-962) provides that the Secretary of Commerce, in consultation with 
the Secretary of State and, with respect to enforcement measures, the 
Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, may promulgate such 
regulations as may be necessary to carry out the United States' 
international obligations under the Convention, including 
recommendations and decisions adopted by the IATTC. The Secretary's 
authority to promulgate such regulations has been delegated to NMFS.

IATTC Resolution C-15-02

    Resolution C-02-03 was agreed to at the 69th meeting of the IATTC 
in Manzanillo, Mexico in 2002. Among other things, the Resolution 
stated that, ``the well volume of each purse-seine vessel, once 
confirmed. . ., shall be reflected in the Register.'' This Resolution 
was implemented domestically through regulations at 50 CFR 300.22(b). 
At the 89th meeting of the IATTC in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 2015, 
Resolution C-02-03 was amended to Resolution C-15-02. This Resolution 
required that a deadline be set for all purse seine well volumes 
(identified as ``Fish Hold Volume (m\3\)'' in the Register) to be 
confirmed. Resolution C-15-02 states that on January 1, 2017, all purse 
seine well volumes in the Register will be considered confirmed, and 
the well volume of any new purse seine vessel added to the Register 
after that date will be considered confirmed at the time they are added 
to the Register.

Impact on the U.S. Purse Seine Fleet

    For purse seine vessels currently listed on the Register, the well 
volume listed in the Register on January 1, 2017, will be considered 
confirmed, even if documentation (e.g., blueprints, marine survey) 
verifying well volume has never been submitted. Additionally, if a new 
purse seine vessel is added to the Register, the well volume submitted 
at the time it is added will be considered confirmed whether or not it 
is accompanied by documentation.
    If the owner of a vessel currently listed on the Register would 
like to submit documentation to verify the

[[Page 72784]]

vessel's well volume and update it before January 1, 2017, please 
submit any such documentation no later than December 15, 2016 (See FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

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

    Dated: October 18, 2016.
Emily H. Menashes,
Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-25540 Filed 10-20-16; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P