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Notice

Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Southeast Region Vessel and Gear Identification Requirements

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AGENCY:

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

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

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.

DATES:

Written comments must be submitted by December 18, 2017.

ADDRESSES:

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 pracomments@doc.gov).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Adam Bailey, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, telephone: 727-824-5305, or email: adam.bailey@noaa.gov.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Abstract

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Southeast Region manages the U.S. fisheries in the exclusive economic zone of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic regions under various fishery management plans (FMPs). The regional fishery management councils prepared the FMPs pursuant to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). The regulations implementing the FMPs are located at 50 CFR part 622.

The recordkeeping and reporting requirements at 50 CFR part 622 form the basis for this collection of information. The NMFS Southeast Region requires that all permitted fishing vessels must mark their vessel with the official identification number or some form of identification. A vessel's official number, under most regulations, is required to be displayed Start Printed Page 48488on the port and starboard sides of the deckhouse or hull, and weather deck. In addition, certain fisheries are required to display their assigned color code. The official number and color code identify each vessel and should be visible at distance from the sea and in the air. These markings provide law enforcement personnel with a means to monitor fishing, at-sea processing, and other related activities, to ascertain whether the vessel's observed activities are in accordance with those authorized for that vessel. The identifying official number is used by NMFS, the United States Coast Guard, and other marine agencies in issuing violations, prosecutions, and other enforcement actions. Vessels that are authorized for particular fisheries are readily identified, gear violations are more readily prosecuted, and this allows for more cost-effective enforcement.

In addition to vessel marking, requirements that fishing gear be marked are essential to facilitate enforcement. The ability to link fishing gear to the vessel owner is crucial to enforcement of regulations issued under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Act. The marking of fishing gear is also valuable in actions concerning damage, loss, and civil proceedings. The requirements imposed in the Southeast Region are for coral aquacultured live rock; golden crab traps; mackerel gillnet floats; spiny lobster traps; black sea bass pots; and buoy gear.

II. Method of Collection

Markings, such as numbers, are placed directly on the vessels and gear.

III. Data

OMB Control Number: 0648-0358.

Form Number(s): 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: 7,825.

Estimated Time per Response: Vessel marking: 45 minutes. Gear marking: aquacultured live rocks, 10 seconds each; golden crab traps, 2 minutes each; spiny lobster traps, 7 minutes each; sea bass pots, 16 minutes each; and mackerel gillnets, and buoy gear, 20 minutes each.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 50,687.

Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $670,901 in recordkeeping and reporting costs.

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.

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Dated: October 12, 2017.

Sarah Brabson,

NOAA PRA Clearance Officer.

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[FR Doc. 2017-22547 Filed 10-17-17; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P