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Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Alaska Region Arbitration (Crab)

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National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.


Notice of information collection; request for comment.


The Department of Commerce, in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on proposed, and continuing information collections, which helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment preceding submission of the collection to OMB.


To ensure consideration, comments regarding this proposed information collection must be received on or before November 13, 2020.


Interested persons are invited to submit written comments to Adrienne Thomas, NOAA PRA Officer, at Please reference OMB Control Number 0648-0516 in the subject line of your comments. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

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Requests for additional information or specific questions related to collection activities should be directed to Gabrielle Aberle, 907-586-7356.

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I. Abstract

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Alaska Regional Office, is requesting renewal of a currently approved information collection. This information collection contains the reports for the Crab Rationalization Program Arbitration System.

The Crab Rationalization Program allocates Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab resources among harvesters, processors, and coastal communities through a limited access system that balances the interests of these groups who depend on these fisheries. Under the CR Program, eligible License Limitation Program license holders were issued crab quota shares (QS), which are long term shares, based on their qualifying harvest histories. The QS yield annual individual fishing quota (IFQ), which represent a privilege to receive a certain amount of crab harvested with IFQ. Processor quota shares (PQS) are long term shares issued to processors. The PQS yield annual individual processor quota (IPQ), which represent a privilege to receive a certain amount of crab harvested with Class A IFQ.

The Crab Rationalization Program Arbitration System is a series of steps that harvesters and processors can use to negotiate delivery and price contracts. The Arbitration System allows unaffiliated Class A IFQ holders to initiate an arbitration proceeding in the event of a dispute to allow an independent third party to provide a review of harvester and processor negotiation positions and provide an independent and binding resolution to issues under dispute. To use the Arbitration System, a harvester must commit deliveries to a processor and initiate a binding arbitration proceeding in advance of the season opening. The Arbitration System is designed to minimize antitrust risks for crab harvesters and processors and is intended to ensure that a reasonable price is paid for all landings.

The Arbitration System requires several information collections that are submitted annually in accordance with the regulations at 50 CFR 680.20. The Annual Arbitration Organization Report, the Market Report, and the Non-binding Price Formula Report are the primary reports submitted to NMFS each year. Also submitted are the Contract Arbitrator Report and the Cost Allocation Agreement.

An Annual Arbitration Organization Report is compiled by each of the two Arbitration Organizations; one represents the processors, and the second represents the harvesters. This report includes information on the arbitration organization and its management personnel, the crab QS fisheries to which the report applies, the ownership interest and the QS/IFQ or PQS/IPQ held by each member; and the arbitration process.

The Non-binding Price Formula Report is a pre-season report that is designed to serve as a starting point for negotiations between fishermen and processors, or as a starting point for an arbitrator in evaluating offers in an arbitration process. This report documents how each formula was developed.

The Market Report provides an analysis of the market for products of a specific crab fishery and reports on activities occurring within three months prior to its generation. The purpose of this report is to provide background information on each crab fishery, the products generated by each fishery, and position of those products in the marketplace; discuss the historical division of wholesale revenue; and provide the methods for predicting wholesale prices before the fishery occurs.

The Contract Arbitrator Report documents arbitration proceedings if they occur within a fishery. The Cost Allocation Agreement provides combined shared arbitration accounting costs. Federal regulations for the CR Program require that the crab arbitration costs are shared equally between IPQ holders and Class A IFQ holders—processors pay half and fishermen pay half.

II. Method of Collection

The information is submitted by mail, delivery, fax, or email.

III. Data

OMB Control Number: 0648-0516.

Form Number(s): None.

Type of Review: Regular submission (extension of a current information collection).

Affected Public: Individuals or households; Business or other for-profit organizations.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 2.

Estimated Time per Response: Annual Arbitration Organization Report, 6 hours; Market Report, Nonbinding Price Formula Report, Contract Arbitrator Report, and Cost Allocation Agreement, 3 hours each.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 24.Start Printed Page 56584

Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $157,701 in recordkeeping/reporting costs.

Respondent's Obligation: Required to Obtain or Retain Benefits.

Legal Authority: Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.)

IV. Request for Comments

We are soliciting public comments to permit the Department/Bureau to: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed information collection is necessary for the proper functions of the Department, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the time and cost burden for this proposed collection, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) Evaluate ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) Minimize the reporting burden on those who are to respond, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request to OMB to approve this ICR. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you may ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

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Sheleen Dumas,

Department PRA Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Commerce Department.

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[FR Doc. 2020-20200 Filed 9-11-20; 8:45 am]