[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 126 (Friday, June 29, 2018)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 30528-30533]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-14071]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

15 CFR Part 902

50 CFR Part 679

[Docket No. 170621579-8522-02]
RIN 0648-BG96


Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Nontrawl 
Lead Level 2 Observers

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

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: NMFS issues regulations to modify specific provisions of the 
North Pacific Observer Program. The first two elements of this final 
rule implement requirements for an observer to obtain a nontrawl lead 
level 2 (LL2) deployment endorsement and implement a pre-cruise meeting 
requirement for vessels required to carry an observer with a nontrawl 
LL2 deployment endorsement. These two elements are intended to increase 
the number of observers that qualify for a nontrawl LL2 deployment 
endorsement and maintain observer safety and data quality. The third 
element of this final rule removes duplicative and unnecessary 
reporting requirements and makes minor changes to reduce observer 
requirements for specific vessels when participating in the Western 
Alaska Community Development Quota (CDQ) Program. This action is 
intended to promote the goals and objectives of the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska, and the Fishery Management Plan 
for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area, 
and other applicable law.

DATES: Effective July 30, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) and 
the Categorical Exclusion prepared for this action are available from 
www.regulations.gov or from the NMFS Alaska Region website at 
alaskafisheries.noaa.gov. All public comment letters submitted during 
the comment period may be obtained from www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2017-0071.
    Written comments regarding the burden-hour estimates or other 
aspects of the collection-of-information requirements contained in this 
final rule may be submitted by mail to NMFS Alaska Region, P.O. Box 
21668, Juneau, AK 99802-1668, Attn: Ellen Sebastian, Records Officer; 
in person at NMFS Alaska Region, 709 West 9th Street, Room 420A, 
Juneau, AK; and to OIRA by email to OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov or by 
fax to 202-395-5806.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Alicia M Miller, (907) 586-7228 or 
alicia.m.miller@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Authority for Action

    NMFS manages the groundfish fisheries in the exclusive economic 
zone under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of 
Alaska (GOA FMP) and under the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish 
of the

[[Page 30529]]

Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area (BSAI FMP). The North 
Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) prepared the FMPs under 
the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and 
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. 
Regulations governing U.S. fisheries and implementing the FMPs appear 
at 50 CFR parts 600 and 679.
    NMFS published the proposed rule for this action on December 27, 
2017 (82 FR 61243), with comments invited through January 26, 2018.
    NMFS received five comment letters during the applicable comment 
period. Four of these comment letters were on topics that were outside 
the scope of this action. One comment letter addressed the proposed 
rule and contained five substantive comments which are summarized and 
responded to under the heading ``Response to Comments'' below.
    A detailed review of the provisions of the regulations to modify 
specific provisions of the North Pacific Observer Program (Observer 
Program) and the rationale for these regulations are provided in the 
preamble to the proposed rule (82 FR 61243, December 27, 2017) and are 
briefly summarized in this final rule.

Background

    Regulations at subpart E of 50 CFR part 679 require that most 
vessels fishing for groundfish or halibut must carry an observer for 
some or all fishing activities to ensure the collection of data 
necessary to manage the groundfish and halibut fisheries.
    The Observer Program is an integral component in the management of 
North Pacific fisheries. The Observer Program has two observer coverage 
categories: Partial and full. Regulations at 50 CFR 679.51 require 
vessels and processors in the full coverage category to carry an 
observer at all times when fish are caught or processed. This final 
rule affects catcher/processors in the full coverage category (i.e., 
vessels that catch and process their own catch at-sea), and all 
motherships (i.e., those vessels that receive unsorted catch from other 
vessels and process that catch at-sea). Owners of vessels or processors 
in the full coverage category must contract directly with a permitted 
observer provider and pay for required observer coverage. Two groups of 
vessels are required to carry an observer with a nontrawl LL2 
deployment endorsement.
    The first group of vessels includes vessels named on a License 
Limitation Program license with a Pacific cod catcher/processor hook-
and-line endorsement for the Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, or both the 
Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI). These vessels are subject to 
monitoring requirements at 50 CFR 679.100 and are referred to as 
``freezer longline vessels'' throughout this final rule. Pursuant to 50 
CFR 679.100, a freezer longline vessel must carry an observer with a 
nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement when the vessel (1) operates in 
either the BSAI or Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries and directed 
fishing for Pacific cod is open in the BSAI, or (2) when the vessel 
participates in the CDQ groundfish fisheries. These monitoring 
requirements for freezer longline vessels were implemented in 2012 and 
require freezer longline vessel owners and operators to select between 
one of two monitoring options: Either carry two observers so that all 
catch can be sampled, or carry one observer and use a motion-
compensated flow scale to weigh Pacific cod before it is processed. 
Both monitoring options require the vessel to carry one observer 
endorsed as a nontrawl LL2 observer (77 FR 59053; September 26, 2012).
    The second group of vessels that is required to carry an observer 
with a nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement includes catcher/processors 
that use pot gear when participating in the CDQ groundfish fisheries 
(groundfish CDQ fishing) (77 FR 6492; February 8, 2012). These pot 
catcher/processors are required to carry an observer with a nontrawl 
LL2 deployment endorsement when groundfish CDQ fishing and may 
participate in other fisheries that do not require a nontrawl LL2 
observer. Regulations at 50 CFR 679.32 describe the specific monitoring 
requirements for vessels when participating in the sablefish CDQ, 
pollock CDQ, and other groundfish CDQ fisheries.
    Since 2014, observer providers contracted by vessels in the full 
coverage category have reported that they have been unable to create 
and retain an adequate pool of qualified nontrawl LL2 observers 
resulting in a diminishing pool of qualified observers employed by 
those observer providers. The requirements in this final rule are 
intended to increase the number of observers that qualify for a 
nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement and thereby minimize additional 
costs to affected entities for an observer to obtain a nontrawl LL2 
deployment endorsement. This final rule also implements provisions that 
are intended to maintain observer safety and data quality.

This Final Rule

    This final rule includes three elements. The first element 
implements new sampling experience requirements for an observer to 
obtain a nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement. These sampling 
requirements allow sampling experience on a trawl catcher/processor or 
mothership vessel to count toward a nontrawl LL2 deployment 
endorsement. These requirements also authorize the Observer Program to 
require additional training for observers as necessary to adequately 
prepare them to safely perform data collection duties relevant to the 
nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement.
    The second element of this final rule requires the operator or 
manager of a vessel that carries nontrawl LL2 observers to participate 
in a pre-cruise meeting with the observer assigned to the vessel if 
notified to do so by NMFS. This final rule requires freezer longline 
vessels and pot catcher/processors when groundfish CDQ fishing to 
notify the Observer Program prior to embarking on a trip with a 
nontrawl LL2 observer who has not deployed on that vessel in the past 
12 months. Subsequently, the Observer Program may contact the vessel 
and require the vessel operator or manager and the observer assigned to 
the vessel to participate in a pre-cruise meeting prior to embarking on 
a trip.
    The third element of this final rule removes duplicative and 
unnecessary reporting requirements and makes minor changes to reduce 
observer requirements for specific vessels participating in the CDQ 
Program.

Response to Comments

    NMFS received five comment letters during the comment period. Four 
of these comment letters were outside the scope of this action. These 
letters raised issues not relevant to this rulemaking and are not 
addressed in this final rule. One comment letter directly addressed the 
proposed rule and contained five substantive comments that are 
summarized and responded to below. This comment letter was from the 
Freezer Longline Coalition (FLC) that represents members of the Freezer 
Longline Conservation Cooperative (FLCC), which includes freezer 
longline vessels impacted by this action.
    Comment 1: We support implementing new requirements for an observer 
to obtain a nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement, and for the operator 
or manager of a vessel required to carry an observer with a nontrawl 
LL2 deployment endorsement to participate in a pre-cruise meeting with

[[Page 30530]]

the observer if notified by NMFS to do so.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment.
    Comment 2: We agree that increasing the number of observers that 
may qualify for a nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement will reduce costs 
to vessel owners required to carry a nontrawl LL2 endorsed observer.
    Response: NMFS acknowledges this comment.
    Comment 3: NMFS' proposed rule did not include sufficient 
explanation about how the implementation of the nontrawl LL2 observer 
training class will result in enough observers receiving a nontrawl LL2 
deployment endorsement to minimize additional costs to the industry.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. The preamble to the proposed rule 
includes a description of the minimum and potential maximum demand for 
nontrawl LL2 observer training classes (82 FR 61243, December 27, 
2017). As described in the preamble to the proposed rule and the RIR, 
observer providers and representatives of freezer longline vessels 
reported shortages in 2014 of nontrawl LL2 observers on freezer 
longline vessels, and that this shortage resulted in delayed fishing 
operations in some cases. This final rule provides a path for observers 
with sampling experience on trawl vessels to qualify for a nontrawl LL2 
deployment endorsement. NMFS expects this to increase the availability 
of qualified nontrawl LL2 observers, which would reduce the potential 
for delayed fishing operations and would reduce costs associated with 
delays, such as costs for crew time, food, and missed fishing 
opportunities. Section 4.3.2 and Table 16 of the RIR and the preamble 
to the proposed rule include additional information about the costs to 
industry created by a shortage of nontrawl LL2 observers.
    In addition, the proposed rule cites the best scientific 
information available, and Section 3.3.5 of the RIR provided a 
description of the estimated costs to the freezer longline fleet due to 
the shortage of nontrawl LL2 endorsed observers. Specifically, Section 
3.3.5 of the RIR summarizes the costs of voluntarily carrying a second 
observer to allow the observer to gain experience required for a 
nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement. That cost is estimated to be 
$11,130 per observer for a 30-day trip. NMFS estimated this cost per 
trip by using information provided in Table 16 of the RIR. NMFS 
multiplied the estimated length of a freezer longline trip (30 days) by 
the estimated cost per day to deploy an observer ($371). NMFS then 
multiplied that total by the number of trips for which a freezer 
longline vessel voluntarily carried a second observer to obtain the 
total annual estimated cost.
    NMFS expects that the cost for an observer with the requisite 
experience aboard a vessel using trawl gear to obtain a LL2 deployment 
endorsement through a two to three day training course will be 
significantly lower than the cost associated with a 30-day deployment. 
Based on the best available scientific information, NMFS anticipates 
that providing at least one nontrawl LL2 observer training class 
annually will meet the demand for additional nontrawl LL2 deployment 
endorsements, and freezer longline vessels will not need to voluntarily 
carry a second observer and incur associated additional costs.
    In addition, the Observer Program routinely determines the training 
necessary for an observer to receive certification, annual endorsements 
and deployment endorsements, and responds to requests from observer 
providers to schedule training classes at NMFS facilities. The Observer 
Program may adjust the number of nontrawl LL2 training classes offered 
each year if required to meet demand.
    Comment 4: NMFS should not apply the Small Business Administration 
(SBA) principles of affiliation for the purpose of determining if 
members of the FLCC are considered small entities under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (RFA). In addition, SBA's principles are not the best 
guide for considering affiliation for RFA analyses performed by NMFS.
    Response: NMFS disagrees. Under Executive Order 13272, signed on 
August 13, 2002, the SBA's Office of Advocacy is directed to provide 
Federal agencies with training and information on how to comply with 
the RFA. The SBA provides information about how to comply with the RFA 
through its regulations at 13 CFR part 121 and guidance posted on its 
website at www.sba.gov. Therefore, it is appropriate for NMFS to apply 
regulations and guidelines developed by the SBA in classifying entities 
for RFA analyses.
    Based on the contractual relationships, recognized since the 
formation of the FLCC in August 2010, NMFS determined that all members 
of the FLCC are affiliated as described under 13 CFR 121.103(f) for the 
purpose of analyses prepared under the RFA. This application of the SBA 
principles of affiliation is consistent with how NMFS has applied this 
size standard to vessels and processors in fishing cooperatives in the 
North Pacific since at least 2001 (66 FR 65028; December 17, 2001). 
NMFS has applied this same determination to vessels and processors in 
fishing cooperatives under the American Fisheries Act, the Crab 
Rationalization Program, the Amendment 80 Program, the Gulf of Alaska 
Rockfish Program, and for the FLCC.
    The FLCC is a registered active non-profit corporation in the State 
of Washington and, through the FLC, maintains an active website 
identifying all member vessels (http://www.freezerlonglinecoalition.com/members.html). In addition, the FLC 
affirms that the FLCC operates as a voluntary fishery cooperative in 
its letter of comment on the proposed rule by stating that ``All 
members of the FLC [Freezer Longline Coalition] are also members of the 
Freezer Longline Conservation Cooperative (FLCC), a voluntary fishing 
cooperative established in 2010.''
    Thus, NMFS maintains that the members of the FLCC are recognized as 
members of a voluntary fishing cooperative with a single identity of 
interest in the harvest of the annual allocation of Pacific cod to the 
BSAI freezer longline vessels such that interests should be aggregated 
for the purpose of analysis prepared under the RFA. The contractual 
relationship among vessels in the cooperative allows members to work 
together to more efficiently harvest fishery allocations. The ability 
to plan ahead, cooperate in harvest decisions, and share some expenses 
constitutes a degree of economic dependence not available to 
independent fishing vessels. In addition, the conclusion that the 
members of the FLCC are affiliated for purposes of the RFA is 
consistent with previous actions implemented since the formation of the 
FLCC in 2010 and impacting the same fleet prosecuting the same 
resources (77 FR 59053, September 26, 2012; 77 FR 58775, September 24, 
2012; 79 FR 603, January 6, 2014; 79 FR 68610, November 18, 2014).
    Comment 5: NMFS incorrectly classifies freezer longline vessels as 
predominantly engaged in fish harvesting rather than fish processing 
for the purpose of analysis required under the RFA. The commenter 
asserts that catcher/processors should be classified as predominantly 
involved in fish processing and the associated threshold of employing 
750 or fewer persons on a full-time, part-time, temporary, or other 
basis, at all affiliated operations worldwide should be applied to 
determine if an entity is considered small under the RFA.

[[Page 30531]]

    Response: NMFS disagrees. As described in the response to Comment 
4, all freezer longline vessels impacted by this action are members of 
the FLCC. In a letter received by NMFS on May 19, 2011 from the FLCC, 
the FLCC describes itself as a voluntary fishing cooperative with the 
purpose of ``promoting, fostering, and encouraging the intelligent and 
orderly harvest of Pacific cod and other groundfish species in the 
Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands longline fisheries off Alaska . . .'' The 
FLCC's description of its members refers to coordinating the harvest of 
finfish and does not refer to processing as a primary activity. 
Further, the members of the FLCC have exclusive harvesting rights to 
the annual allocation in the BSAI to the defined class of longline 
catcher/processor subsector participants rather than exclusive 
processing rights. Additionally, none of the FLCC members purchase 
unprocessed catch for the sole purpose of increasing processing 
activity; therefore, the processing activity of an individual freezer 
longline vessel is limited by its harvesting activity. Without the 
primary harvesting activity, the secondary processing activity does not 
occur. For these reasons, NMFS affirms its determination that, for 
purposes of RFA analyses, the freezer longline vessels affected by this 
action are primarily engaged in commercial fishing. Therefore, it is 
appropriate for NMFS to classify freezer longline vessels in the 
commercial fishing industry category (NAICS 11411), and to apply the 
small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts to 
the group of affiliated vessels.

Changes From Proposed to Final Rule

    NMFS made three changes to this final rule. These changes provide 
minor clarifications that do not substantively modify the regulations 
as proposed.
    The first change adds the word ``either'' and the regulatory text 
in paragraph (a)(5)(v)(C)(4) of the proposed rule to paragraph Sec.  
679.53(a)(5)(v)(C)(3) to clarify that either one of the two minimum 
sampling experience requirements may satisfy one of the three 
conditions set forth in paragraph (a)(5)(v)(C) necessary to deploy as a 
nontrawl lead level 2 observer.
    The second change adds the words ``at least'' to Sec.  
679.53(a)(5)(v)(C)(3) to clarify that at least 100 or more sampled 
hauls on catcher/processors using trawl gear satisfies the minimum 
sampling experience requirement specified in this paragraph.
    The third change correctly identifies the locations in 50 CFR part 
679 where the term ``Observer Program Office'' will be replaced with 
the term ``Observer Program'' by including Sec.  679.52(a)(2), 
(b)(1)(iii)(A), (b)(2)(iv), (b)(3)(ii)(B), and (b)(8) introductory 
text. These paragraphs were inadvertently incorrectly listed in the 
table as paragraphs of Sec.  679.51 in the proposed rule.

OMB Revisions to PRA References in 15 CFR 902.1(b)

    Section 3507(c)(B)(i) of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) requires 
that agencies inventory and display a current control number assigned 
by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), for each 
agency information collection. Section 902.1(b) identifies the location 
of NOAA regulations for which OMB control numbers have been issued. 
Because this final rule revises and adds data elements within a 
collection-of-information for recordkeeping and reporting requirements, 
this final rule includes revisions to 15 CFR 902.1(b) to correctly 
reference the control number and associated regulation sections 
included in this final rule.

Classification

    The Administrator, Alaska Region, NMFS, has determined that this 
final rule is necessary for the conservation and management of the 
groundfish fishery and is consistent with the GOA and BSAI FMPs, the 
Magnuson-Stevens Act, and other applicable law.
    This final rule has been determined to be not significant for the 
purposes of Executive Order 12866.
    The Chief Counsel for Regulation of the Department of Commerce 
certified to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business 
Administration (SBA) that this final rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. NMFS 
published a proposed rule on December 27, 2017 (82 FR 61243). An IRFA 
was prepared and included in the ``Classification'' section of the 
preamble to the proposed rule. The comment period closed on January 26, 
2018. NMFS received five letters of comment on the proposed rule. One 
comment letter contained two comments on the IRFA, which are summarized 
in the ``Response to Comments'' section (Comments 4 and 5). The 
comments on the IRFA were considered by NMFS in the decision to certify 
this final rule. The Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the SBA did not file 
any comments on the proposed rule.
    The factual basis for certification of this final rule is described 
below. This action includes three elements that modify specific 
provisions of the Observer Program. The first element modifies sampling 
experience requirements for an observer to obtain a nontrawl LL2 
deployment endorsement. The second element requires the operator or 
manager of a vessel required to carry an observer with a nontrawl LL2 
deployment endorsement to participate in a pre-cruise meeting when 
notified to do so by NMFS. The third element removes duplicative and 
unnecessary reporting requirements and makes minor changes to reduce or 
remove observer-related requirements for specific vessels when 
participating in the CDQ Program.
    This action directly regulates observers and owners and operators 
of the following vessels: (1) Freezer longline vessels that participate 
in the BSAI hook-and-line Pacific cod fishery; and (2) pot catcher/
processors, trawl catcher/processors, nontrawl catcher/processors, and 
motherships when groundfish CDQ fishing. For reasons explained in more 
detail in the IRFA and in responses to Comment 4 and Comment 5 in the 
preamble to this final rule, NMFS has determined that there are no 
small entities directly regulated by this final rule.
    In addition, this action is expected to reduce the cost for vessels 
to comply with observer coverage requirements and is not expected to 
impose significant costs of complying with new reporting requirements. 
This action will benefit all affected vessels by increasing the number 
of observers that may qualify for a nontrawl LL2 deployment endorsement 
and will remove observer-related requirements for specific vessels when 
participating in the CDQ Program.
    For all of these reasons, this action is not expected to have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
As a result, a final regulatory flexibility analysis is not required, 
and none has been prepared. The economic analysis contained in the RIR 
(see ADDRESSES) and in the IRFA included in the ``Classification'' 
section of the proposed rule prepared for this action further describes 
the regulatory and operational characteristics of the affected vessels, 
including the history of this action, and the details of the 
alternatives considered for this action, including the preferred 
alternative.

Collection-of-Information Requirements

    This final rule contains collection-of-information requirements 
subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) and which have been 
approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under OMB control 
number 0648-0318 (North Pacific Observer Program). The public reporting 
burden for these

[[Page 30532]]

collection-of-information requirements includes the time for reviewing 
instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and 
maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the 
collection of information.
    This final rule will require that the Observer Program be notified 
by phone at least 24 hours prior to departure when a vessel will carry 
an observer who has not deployed on that vessel in the past 12 months. 
Public reporting burden per response to notify the Observer Program by 
phone is estimated to be five minutes.
    Send comments on these burden estimates or any other aspect of this 
data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to NMFS 
Alaska Region (see ADDRESSES), and by email to 
OIRA_Submission@omb.eop.gov, or by 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 http://www.cio.noaa.gov/services_programs/prasubs.html.

List of Subjects

15 CFR Part 902

    Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

50 CFR Part 679

    Alaska, Fisheries, Recordkeeping and reporting requirements.

    Dated: June 26, 2018.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, NMFS amends 15 CFR part 
902 and 50 CFR part 679 as follows:

Title 15--Commerce and Foreign Trade

PART 902--NOAA INFORMATION COLLECTION REQUIREMENTS UNDER THE 
PAPERWORK REDUCTION ACT: OMB CONTROL NUMBERS

0
1. The authority citation for part 902 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.


0
2. In Sec.  [thinsp]902.1, in the table in paragraph (b), under the 
entry ``50 CFR'', add entries in alphanumeric order for 
``679.84(c)(7)'' and ``679.93(c)(7)''; remove the entry for ``679.100 
(a) and (b)''; and add entries in alphanumeric order for ``679.100(a)'' 
and ``679.100(b)'' to read as follows:


Sec.  [thinsp]902.1  OMB control numbers assigned pursuant to the 
Paperwork Reduction Act.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Current OMB control number
 CFR part or section where the information  (all numbers begin with 0648-
     collection requirement is located                    )
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                * * * * *
50 CFR:
 
                                * * * * *
679.84(c)(7)..............................  -0318.
 
                                * * * * *
679.93(c)(7)..............................  -0318.
 
                                * * * * *
679.100(a)................................  -0330 and -0515.
679.100(b)................................  -0318, -0330, and -0515.
 
                                * * * * *
------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

Title 50--Wildlife and Fisheries

PART 679--FISHERIES OF THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE OFF ALASKA

0
3. The authority citation for part 679 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 773 et seq.; 1801 et seq.; 3631 et seq.; 
Pub. L. 108-447; Pub. L. 111-281.


0
4. In Sec.  679.2:
0
a. Remove the definition for ``Observer Program Office''; and
0
b. Add the definitions for ``Cruise'' and ``Observer Program'' in 
alphabetical order to read as follows:


Sec.  679.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Cruise means an observer deployment with a unique cruise number. A 
cruise begins when an observer receives an endorsement to deploy and 
ends when the observer completes all debriefing responsibilities.
* * * * *
    Observer Program means the administrative office of the North 
Pacific Observer Program located at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center 
(See Sec.  679.51(c)(3) for contact information).
* * * * *

0
5. In Sec.  679.32:
0
a. Remove and reserve paragraphs (c)(3)(i)(B)(2), (c)(3)(i)(C)(2), and 
(c)(3)(i)(E)(2); and
0
b. Add paragraph (c)(3)(i)(E)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.32  Groundfish and halibut CDQ catch monitoring.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (3) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (E) * * *
    (4) Notify the Observer Program by phone at 1 (907) 581-2060 (Dutch 
Harbor, AK) or 1 (907) 481-1770 (Kodiak, AK) at least 24 hours prior to 
departure when the vessel will be carrying an observer who has not 
previously been deployed on that vessel within the last 12 months. 
Subsequent to the vessel's departure notification, but prior to 
departure, NMFS may contact the vessel to arrange for a pre-cruise 
meeting. The pre-cruise meeting must minimally include the vessel 
operator or manager and any observers assigned to the vessel.
* * * * *

0
6. Revise the heading of subpart E to read as follows:

Subpart E--North Pacific Observer Program

0
7. In Sec.  679.50, revise paragraph (a)(2) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.50  Applicability.

    (a) * * *
    (2) Exceptions. A catcher vessel is not subject to the requirements 
of this subpart when delivering unsorted codends to a mothership.
* * * * *

0
8. In Sec.  679.51, revise paragraph (a)(2)(vi)(A)(5) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  679.51  Observer and Electronic Monitoring System requirements 
for vessels and plants.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (vi) * * *
    (A) * * *
    (5) Motherships. A mothership that receives unsorted codends from 
catcher vessels groundfish CDQ fishing must have at least two observers 
aboard the mothership, at least one of whom must be endorsed as a lead 
level 2 observer. More than two observers must be aboard if the 
observer workload restriction would otherwise preclude sampling as 
required.
* * * * *

0
9. In Sec.  679.53:
0
a. Remove and reserve paragraph (a)(5)(v)(B); and
0
b. Revise paragraph (a)(5)(v)(C) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.53  Observer certification and responsibilities.

    (a) * * *

[[Page 30533]]

    (5) * * *
    (v) * * *
    (C) A lead level 2 observer on a vessel using nontrawl gear must 
have completed the following:
    (1) Two observer cruises (contracts) of at least 10 days each;
    (2) Successfully completed training or briefing as prescribed by 
the Observer Program; and
    (3) Either sampled at least 30 sets on a vessel using nontrawl gear 
or sampled at least 100 hauls on a catcher/processor using trawl gear 
or on a mothership.
* * * * *


Sec. Sec.  679.51, 679.52, and 679.53  [Amended]

0
10. In the table below, for each section indicated in the ``Location'' 
column, remove the phrase indicated in the ``Remove'' column from 
wherever it appears in the section and add the word indicated in the 
``Add'' column:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Location                            Remove                        Add                Frequency
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   679.51(a)(2)(vi)(B)(1),            certified.................  endorsed..................               1
 (a)(2)(vi)(B)(3), (a)(2)(vi)(B)(4),
 (a)(2)(vi)(C), (a)(2)(vi)(D)(1),
 (a)(2)(vi)(D)(2), and (a)(2)(vi)(E)(1).
Sec.   679.51(c)(3).....................  Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               1
Sec.   679.52(a)(2), (b)(1)(iii)(A),      Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               1
 (b)(2)(iv), (b)(3)(ii)(B), and (b)(8)
 introductory text.
Sec.   679.52(b)(11) introductory text..  Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               2
Sec.   679.52(b)(11)(i) introductory      Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               1
 text, (b)(11)(ii), (b)(11)(iii), and
 (b)(11)(vi) introductory text.
Sec.   679.52(b)(11)(vii) introductory    Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               3
 text.
Sec.   679.52(b)(11)(viii) introductory   Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               1
 text, (b)(11)(viii)(A), (b)(11)(ix),
 (b)(11)(x) introductory text, and
 (b)(12).
Sec.   679.53(a)(1).....................  Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               1
Sec.   679.53(a)(5)(v) introductory       ``lead''..................  lead......................               1
 text, and (a)(5)(v)(A).
Sec.   679.53(b)(2)(i)..................  Observer Program Office...  Observer Program..........               1
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
11. In Sec.  679.84, revise paragraph (c)(7) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.84  Rockfish Program Recordkeeping, permits, monitoring, and 
catch accounting.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (7) Pre-cruise meeting. The Observer Program is notified by phone 
at 1 (907) 481-1770 (Kodiak, AK) at least 24 hours prior to departure 
when the vessel will be carrying an observer who has not previously 
been deployed on that vessel within the last 12 months. Subsequent to 
the vessel's departure notification, but prior to departure, NMFS may 
contact the vessel to arrange for a pre-cruise meeting. The pre-cruise 
meeting must minimally include the vessel operator or manager and any 
observers assigned to the vessel.
* * * * *

0
12. In Sec.  679.93, revise paragraph (c)(7) to read as follows:


Sec.  679.93  Amendment 80 Program recordkeeping, permits, monitoring, 
and catch accounting.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (7) Pre-cruise meeting. The Observer Program is notified by phone 
at 1 (907) 581-2060 (Dutch Harbor, AK) or 1 (907) 481-1770 (Kodiak, AK) 
at least 24 hours prior to departure when the vessel will be carrying 
an observer who has not previously been deployed on that vessel within 
the last 12 months. Subsequent to the vessel's departure notification, 
but prior to departure, NMFS may contact the vessel to arrange for a 
pre-cruise meeting. The pre-cruise meeting must minimally include the 
vessel operator or manager and any observers assigned to the vessel.
* * * * *

0
13. In Sec.  679.100, add paragraphs (b)(1)(v) and (b)(2)(i)(E) to read 
as follows:


Sec.  679.100  Applicability.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (v) The Observer Program is notified by phone at 1 (907) 581-2060 
(Dutch Harbor, AK) or 1 (907) 481-1770 (Kodiak, AK) at least 24 hours 
prior to departure when the vessel will be carrying an observer who has 
not previously been deployed on that vessel within the last 12 months. 
Subsequent to the vessel's departure notification, but prior to 
departure, NMFS may contact the vessel to arrange for a pre-cruise 
meeting. The pre-cruise meeting must minimally include the vessel 
operator or manager and any observers assigned to the vessel.
    (2) * * *
    (i) * * *
    (E) The Observer Program is notified by phone at 1 (907) 581-2060 
(Dutch Harbor, AK) or 1 (907) 481-1770 (Kodiak, AK) at least 24 hours 
prior to departure when the vessel will be carrying an observer who has 
not previously been deployed on that vessel within the last 12 months. 
Subsequent to the vessel's departure notification, but prior to 
departure, NMFS may contact the vessel to arrange for a pre-cruise 
meeting. The pre-cruise meeting must minimally include the vessel 
operator or manager and any observers assigned to the vessel.
* * * * *
[FR Doc. 2018-14071 Filed 6-28-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P