An application for a charter for a seafood marketing council for one or more species of fish and fish products of that species may be filed by persons who meet the requirements specified in accordance with subsection (b)(6) of this section.
An application for a charter for a council shall be made by filing with the Secretary the text of a proposed charter in such form as shall be prescribed by regulation by the Secretary. The text of a proposed charter must contain such information as the Secretary considers necessary or appropriate for carrying out the provisions of this chapter, including—
(1) the name of the council and a provision proclaiming its establishment;
(2) a declaration of the purposes and objectives of the council;
(3) a description of the species of fish and fish products for which the council will implement marketing and promotion plans under section 4010 of this title;
(4) the identification of each sector and the number and terms of representatives of each sector that will be represented as voting members of the council;
(5) the identification of those sectors (including the sector consisting of harvesters, the sector consisting of receivers, and, if subject to assessment, the sector consisting of importers) subject to a referendum to establish a council under subsection (e) of this section;
(6) a specification for each sector described under paragraph (5) of this subsection of the minimum requirements, as measured by income, volume, or other relevant factors, that a person engaging in business in the sector must meet in order to participate in a referendum;
(7)(A) a description of the procedures for determining assessment rates under section 4012 of this title;
(B) the proposed rate or rates that will be imposed by the council on receivers and, if subject to assessment, importers during its first year of operation;
(C) the maximum amount an assessment rate for any period may be raised above the rate applicable for the immediately preceding period; and
(D) the maximum rate or rates that can be imposed by a council on receivers or importers during the operation of the council;
(8) a provision setting forth the definition of a quorum for making decisions on council business and the procedures for selecting a chairman of the council;
(9) a provision setting forth the voting procedures by which votes may be cast by proxy; and
(10) such other provisions relating to administration of the council as the Secretary considers necessary.
The text of a proposed charter shall be accompanied by a document identifying, to the extent practicable by address of place of business, the persons (hereinafter referred to as "sector participants") that are considered by the applicants to meet the requirements specified in paragraph (6) of this subsection. The text of a proposed charter shall include provisions setting forth procedures for providing refunds to those sector participants subject to assessment under section 4012 of this title, and may also include provisions which establish a maximum limit on the amount that any one sector participant may be required to pay under an assessment for any period.
The Secretary may not approve a proposed charter filed under subsection (a) of this section unless such charter provides that—
(1) the council will have voting members representing the harvesting, receiving and, if subject to assessment, importing sectors; and
(2) the members of the council shall serve without compensation, but shall be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses incurred in performing their duties as members of the council.
(1) Within 180 days of the receipt of an application to establish a council, the Secretary shall—
(A) identify, to the extent practicable, those sector participants that meet the requirements for eligibility to participate in the referendum under subsection (e) of this section;
(B) determine, to the extent practicable, if the charter is accompanied by a petition comprised of the signatures or corporate certifications, as the case may be, of no less than three sector participants in each sector identified in accordance with subsection (b)(5) of this section who collectively accounted for, in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the month in which the application was filed, not less than 10 percent of the value of the fish or fish products described in accordance with subsection (b)(3) of this section that were handled by each such sector during that period; and
(C) determine if the proposed charter is consistent with the provisions of this chapter and any other applicable law.
(2) If any negative determination is made under paragraph (1) of this subsection regarding a proposed charter, the Secretary shall advise in writing the sector participants who made the application of the reasons for such determination. A corrected application may be submitted thereafter to the Secretary for approval.
(1) Upon making affirmative determinations under subsection (d)(1) of this section regarding a proposed charter, the Secretary, within 90 days after the date of the last of such determinations, shall conduct a referendum on the adoption of the proposed charter among all sector participants identified in accordance with subsection (d)(1)(A) of this section. The Secretary shall by order establish the council and approve the proposed charter, if the referendum votes which are cast in favor of the proposed charter constitute a majority of the sector participants voting in each sector and the majority collectively accounts for, in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the month in which the proposed charter was filed under subsection (a) of this section, at least sixty-six percent of the value of the fish and fish products described in accordance with subsection (b)(3) of this section that were handled by that sector during such period.
(2) Not less than thirty days prior to holding a referendum under this subsection, the Secretary shall—
(A) publish (by such means as will result in wide publicity in regions affected by the proposed charter) the text of the proposed charter and a list of those sector participants eligible to vote in the referendum; and
(B) provide for public comment, including the opportunity for a public meeting.
(3)(A) The Secretary shall pay all costs of a referendum which establishes a council under this subsection. Within two years after a council is established the council shall reimburse the Secretary for any expenses incurred for the conduct of the referendum from assessments collected by the council. Prior to the holding of a referendum under this subsection, the Secretary shall require the applicants to post a bond or other security acceptable to the Secretary, in an amount which the Secretary determines to be sufficient to pay any expenses incurred for the conduct of the referendum, and shall immediately recover such amount if a referendum fails to result in the establishment of a council.
(B) As used in this paragraph, the term "expenses incurred for the conduct of the referendum" does not include salaries of Government employees or other administrative overhead, but is limited to those additional direct costs incurred in connection with conduct of the referendum.
(1) Within thirty days after a council is established under subsection (e) of this section, the Secretary shall solicit from the sectors represented on the council nominations for members of the council. If the harvesters and receivers represented on the council are engaged in business in two or more regions of the United States, the nominations made under this paragraph, and the appointments to the council made under paragraph (3) of this subsection, must, to the extent practicable, result in equitable representation for the constituent regions.
(2) No person is eligible for nomination or appointment as a member of a council unless such person is knowledgeable and experienced with regard to the activities of, and is or has been actively engaged in the business of, the sector which such person will represent on the council.
(3) The Secretary shall, within sixty days after the end of the thirty-day period referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, appoint the members of the council from among the nominees.
(4) A vacancy on a council shall be filled, within sixty days after the vacancy occurs, in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. A member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of such term.
(5) The Secretary shall remove any member of a council if the council concerned first recommends, by not less than two-thirds of its members, removal for cause. Such a recommendation of a council must be in writing and accompanied by a statement of the reasons upon which the recommendation is based.
A council is not an instrumentality of the United States Government.
(Pub. L. 99–659, title II, §210, Nov. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 3721.)