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Sept 30 --The Office of Science and Technology, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), invites public comments by November 29, 2021 on economic surveys in selected commercial fisheries for the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, West Coast, Hawaii, and the U.S. Pacific Islands territories.
 
The requested information will include different components of operating costs/expenditures, earnings, employment, ownership, vessel characteristics, effort/gear descriptors, employment, and demographic information for the various types of fishing vessels operating in the 16 U.S. commercial fisheries or groups of fisheries listed below.     
 
1. West Coast Limited Entry Groundfish Fixed Gear Fisheries
2. West Coast Open Access Groundfish, Non-tribal Salmon, Crab, and Shrimp Fisheries
3. American Samoa Longline Fishery
4. Hawaii Pelagic Longline Fishery
5. Hawaii Small Boat Fishery
6. American Samoa Small Boat Fishery
7. American Samoa, Guam, and The Commonwealth of The Northern Mariana Islands Small Boat-Based Fisheries
8. Mariana Archipelago Small Boat Fleet
9. USVI F Small-Scale Commercial Fisheries
10. Puerto Rico Small-Scale Commercial Fisheries
11. Gulf of Mexico Inshore Shrimp Fishery
12. U.S. South Atlantic Region Golden Crab Fishery
13. West Coast Coastal Pelagic Fishery
14. West Coast Swordfish Fishery
15. West Coast North Pacific Albacore Fishery
16. Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Fisheries

A variety of laws, Executive Orders (EOs), and NOAA Fisheries strategies and policies include requirements for economic data and the analyses they support. When met adequately, those requirements allow better-informed conservation and management decisions on the use of living marine resources and marine habitat in federally managed fisheries. Obtaining these data improves the ability of NOAA Fisheries and the Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils) to monitor, explain and predict changes in the economic performance and impacts of federally managed commercial fisheries. Measures of economic performance include costs, earnings, and profitability (net revenue); productivity and economic efficiency; capacity; economic stability; the level and distribution of net economic benefits to society; and market power. The economic impacts include sector, community or region-specific, and national employment, sales, value-added, and income impacts. Economic data are required to support more than a cursory effort to comply with or support the following laws, EOs, and NOAA Fisheries strategies and policies:

1. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA)
2. The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA)
3. The Endangered Species Act (ESA)
4. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
5. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA)
6. E.O. 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review)
7. E.O. 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs)
8. E.O. 12898 (Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations)
9. E.O. 13840 (Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security, and Environmental Interests of the United States).
10. The NOAA Fisheries Guidelines for Economic Reviews of Regulatory Actions
11. The NOAA Fisheries Strategic Plan 2019-2022 (Strategic Plan)
12. The NOAA Fisheries Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management (EBFM) Road Map
13. The NOAA Fisheries National Bycatch Reduction Strategy
14. NOAA's Catch Share Policy

Data collections will focus each year on a different set of the 16 commercial fisheries or groups of fisheries. This cycle of data collection will facilitate economic data being available and updated for all those commercial fisheries.

There will be an effort to coordinate the data collections in order to reduce the additional burden for those who participate in multiple fisheries. To further reduce the burden, the requested information for a specific fishery will be limited to that which is not available from other sources. Participation in these data collections will be voluntary.

The proposed revisions to the information collection will: (a) Add an information collection for Northeast and Mid-Atlantic fisheries; (b) increase the burden hours to account for that addition information collection: (c) make minor changes to the survey forms that primarily provide flexibility with respect to when NMFS will conduct each of the 16 information collections; and (d) extend it for three years. Though the information collection was recently renewed, an extension is requested at this time as no additional changes to the collection are anticipated before the current expiration date.
 
Commercial Fisheries Economics: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/socioeconomics#commercial-fisheries-economics
Draft survey instruments and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/s/3ji7zwc8s3zyerk/economicsurveysofspecificu_s_commercialfisheriesomb.zip?dl=0
FR notice inviting public comments: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/09/28/2021-20989/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-to-the-office-of-management-and-budget-omb-for
 
Point of contact: Joe Terry, Office of Science and Technology, NOAA  (858) 454 -2547 joe.terry@noaa.gov

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