The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
Written comments must be submitted on or before May 25, 2012.
Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at JJessup@doc.gov).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Chris Rilling, (301) 427-8168, (Chris.Rilling@noaa.gov).
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) deploys fishery observers on United States (U.S.) commercial fishing vessels and to fish processing plants in order to collect biological and economic data. NMFS has at least one observer program in each of its six Regions. These observer programs provide the most reliable and effective method for obtaining information that is critical for the conservation and management of living marine resources. Observer programs primarily obtain information through direct observations by employees or agents of NMFS; and such observations are not subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA). However, observer programs also collect the following information that requires clearance under the PRA: (1) Standardized questions of fishing vessel captains/crew or fish processing plant managers/staff, which include gear and performance questions, safety questions, and trip costs, crew size and other economic questions; (2) questions asked by observer program staff/contractors to plan observer deployments; (3) forms that are completed by observers and that fishing vessel captains are asked to review and sign; (4) questionnaires to evaluate observer performance; and (5) a form to certify that a fisherman is the permit holder when requesting observer data from the observer on the vessel. NMFS seeks to renew OMB PRA clearance for these information collections.
The information collected will be used to: (1) Monitor catch and bycatch in federally-managed commercial fisheries; (2) understand the population status and trends of fish stocks and protected species, as well as the interactions between them; (3) determine the quantity and distribution of net benefits derived from living marine resources; (4) predict the biological, ecological, and economic impacts of existing management action and proposed management options; and (5) ensure that the observer programs can safely and efficiently collect the information required for the previous four uses. In particular, these biological and economic data collection programs contribute to legally mandated analyses required under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), Executive Order 12866 (EO 12866), as well as a variety of state statutes. The confidentiality of the data will be protected as required by the MSA, Section 402(b).
II. Method of Collection
The information will be collected by (1) NMFS observers while they are deployed on a vessel to observe a particular fishing trip; questions will be asked in-person to the captain, crew and/or owner (if on board the vessel) during the course of the observed trip; (2) via mail through a follow up surveys of economic information not available during the trip; (3) via telephone or mail survey by the observer program staff or contractor planning to deploy observers; or (4) via feedback questionnaires mailed to the vessel owners or captains to evaluate observer performance.
OMB Control Number: 0648-0593.
Form Number: None.
Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a currently approved information collection).
Affected Public: Business or other for-profit organizations.
Estimated Number of Respondents: 20,643.
Estimated Time per Response: 51 minutes. Information will be collected for observed fishing trips and deployments to fish processing plants; therefore, there will be multiple responses for some respondents, but counted as one response per trip or plant visit.
Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 26,172.
Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $1,160.
IV. Request for Comments
Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.
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.
Dated: March 21, 2012.
Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer.
[FR Doc. 2012-7211 Filed 3-23-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P