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Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; North Pacific Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Cost Recovery Program

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notification of standard prices for the North Pacific halibut and sablefish Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) cost recovery program.

SUMMARY:

The National Marine Fisheries Service publishes IFQ standard prices for the IFQ Cost Recovery Program in the halibut and sablefish fisheries of the North Pacific. This action is intended to provide holders of halibut and sablefish IFQ permits information to calculate the payments required for IFQ cost recovery fees due by January 31, 2006.

DATES:

Effective December 15, 2005.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Troie Zuniga, Fee Coordinator, 907-586-7231.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

NMFS, Alaska Region, administers the halibut and sablefish IFQ programs in the North Pacific. The IFQ Programs are limited access systems authorized by section 303(b) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) and the Northern Pacific Halibut Act of 1982. Fishing under the IFQ Programs began in March 1995. Regulations implementing the IFQ Program are set forth at 50 CFR part 679.

In 1996, the Magnuson-Stevens Act was amended by Public Law 104-297 to, among other things, require the Secretary of Commerce to “collect a fee to recover the actual costs directly related to the management and enforcement of any . . . individual fishing quota program” (section 304(d)(2)(A)). Section 304(d)(2) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act specifies an upper limit on these fees, when the fees must be collected, and where the fees must be deposited. Section 303(d)(4) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act allows NMFS to reserve up to 25 percent of the fees collected for use in an IFQ loan program to aid in financing the purchase of IFQ or quota share (QS) by entry-level and small-vessel fishermen.

On March 20, 2000, NMFS published regulations implementing the IFQ Cost Recovery Program (65 FR 14919), which are set forth at 50 CFR 679.45. Under the regulations, an IFQ permit holder incurs a cost recovery fee liability for every pound of IFQ halibut and IFQ sablefish that is landed on his or her IFQ permit(s). The IFQ permit holder is responsible for self-collecting the fee liability for all IFQ halibut and IFQ sablefish landings on his or her permit(s). The IFQ permit holder is also responsible for submitting a fee liability payment to NMFS on or before the due date of January 31 following the year in which the IFQ landings were made. The Start Printed Page 74209dollar amount of the fee due is determined by multiplying the annual IFQ fee percentage (3 percent or less) by the ex-vessel value of each IFQ landing made on a permit and summing the totals of each permit (if more than one).

Standard Prices

The fee liability is based on the sum of all payments of monetary worth made to fishermen for the sale of the fish during the year. This includes any retro-payments (e.g., bonuses, delayed partial payments, post-season payments) made to the IFQ permit holder for previously landed IFQ halibut or sablefish.

For purposes of calculating IFQ cost recovery fees, NMFS distinguishes between two types of ex-vessel value: “actual ex-vessel value” and “standard ex-vessel value.” “Actual ex-vessel value” is the amount of all compensation, monetary or non-monetary, that an IFQ permit holder received as payment for his or her IFQ fish sold. “Standard ex-vessel value” is the default value on which to base fee liability calculations. However, IFQ permit holders have the option of using “actual ex-vessel value” if they can satisfactorily document those values.

Regulations at § 679.45(c)(2)(i) require the Regional Administrator to publish IFQ standard prices during the last quarter of each calendar year. These standard prices are used, along with estimates of IFQ halibut and IFQ sablefish landings, to calculate standard values. The standard prices are described in U.S. dollars per IFQ equivalent pound, for IFQ halibut and IFQ sablefish landings made during the year. IFQ equivalent pound(s) means the weight amount, recorded in pounds, for an IFQ landing and calculated as round weight for sablefish and headed and gutted (“net”) weight for halibut. NMFS calculates the standard prices to reflect, as closely as possible, by month and port or port-group, the variations in the actual ex-vessel values of IFQ halibut and IFQ sablefish landings. The standard prices for IFQ halibut and IFQ sablefish are listed in the following table. Data from ports are combined as necessary to protect confidentiality of data submissions.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Dated: December 12, 2005.

Alan D. Risenhoover,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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BILLING CODE 3510-22-S

[FR Doc. 05-24082 Filed 12-14-05; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C