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Notice

Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone Off Alaska; Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Cost Recovery Program

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

ACTION:

Notification of fee percentage.

SUMMARY:

NMFS publishes a notification of a zero (0) percent fee for cost recovery under the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program. This action is intended to provide holders of crab allocations with the fee percentage for the 2012/2013 crab fishing year.

DATES:

Fee liability payments made by the Crab Rationalization Program Registered Crab Receiver permit holders, if necessary, are due to NMFS on or before July 31, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Karen Palmigiano, 907-586-7240.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

NMFS Alaska Region administers the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program (Program) in the North Pacific. Fishing under the Program began on August 15, 2005. Regulations implementing the Program are set forth at 50 CFR part 680.

The Program is a limited access system authorized by section 313(j) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The Program includes a cost recovery provision to collect fees to recover the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the Program. NMFS developed the cost recovery provision to conform to statutory requirements and to partially reimburse the agency for the unique added costs of management, data collection, and enforcement of the Program. Section 313(j) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act provided supplementary authority to section 304(d)(2)(A) and additional detail for cost recovery provisions specific to the Program. The cost recovery provision allows collection of 133 percent of the actual management, data collection, and enforcement costs up to 3 percent of the ex-vessel value of crab harvested under the Program. Additionally, section 313(j) requires the harvesting and processing sectors to each pay half the cost recovery fees. Catcher/processor quota share holders are required to pay the full fee percentage for crab processed at sea.

A crab allocation holder generally incurs a cost recovery fee liability for every pound of crab landed. The crab allocations include Individual Fishing Quota, Crew Individual Fishing Quota, Individual Processing Quota, Community Development Quota, and the Adak community allocation. The Registered Crab Receiver (RCR) permit holder must collect the fee liability from the crab allocation holder who is landing crab. Additionally, the RCR permit holder must collect his or her own fee liability for all crab delivered to the RCR. The RCR permit holder is responsible for submitting this payment to NMFS on or before the due date of July 31, in the year following the crab fishing year in which landings of crab were made.

The dollar amount of the fee due is determined by multiplying the fee percentage (not to exceed 3 percent) by the ex-vessel value of crab debited from the allocation. Specific details on the Program's cost recovery provision may be found in the implementing regulations set forth at § 680.44.

Fee Percentage

Each year, NMFS calculates and publishes in the Federal Register the fee percentage according to the factors and methodology described in Federal regulations at § 680.44(c)(2). The formula for determining the fee percentage is the “direct program costs” divided by “value of the fishery,” where “direct program costs” are the direct program costs for the Program for the previous fiscal year, and “value of the fishery” is the ex-vessel value of the catch subject to the crab cost recovery fee liability for the current year. Fee collections for any given year may be less than, or greater than, the actual costs and fishery value for that year, because, by regulation, the fee percentage is established in the first quarter of a crab fishery year based on the fishery value and the costs of the prior year.

The fee percentage has declined over time because of a variety of factors, including the increasing value of the fishery due to increased total allowable catch limits for various crab species such as Bristol Bay red king crab (Paralithodes camtshaticus) and Bering Sea snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), increased ex-vessel price per pound of crab relative to previous years, and decreased management costs relative to previous years primarily due to decreased staff and contract costs.

Using the fee percentage formula described above, the estimated percentage of costs to value for the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 crab fishing years was 2.67 percent and 1.23 percent, respectively. These fee levels have resulted in a fee collection greater than the actual management, data collection, and enforcement costs for the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 crab fishing years. Therefore, fee revenues remain to cover projected actual costs for 2012/2013. As a result, NMFS has determined that the fee percentage will be zero (0) percent for the 2012/2013 fishing year.

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1862; Pub. L. 109-241; Pub. L. 109-479.

Dated: July 24, 2012.

James P. Burgess,

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

[FR Doc. 2012-18403 Filed 7-26-12; 8:45 am]

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