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Oct 6 -- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce invites comments to OMB by November 7, 2022 regarding Economic Surveys of the Commercial and Charter Harvesting Sectors of Federally Managed Fisheries.

This request is for a new hybrid-generic clearance for economic information collections (i.e., surveys) for the commercial and charter harvesting sectors of federally managed fisheries. Once approved, this clearance will allow the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to:

1. Conduct charter sector surveys similar to those it had conducted under previously approved but now discontinued collections.
2. As needed, conduct under the hybrid-generic clearance, commercial sector surveys currently approved under OMB Control Number 0648-0773 as that clearance approaches its expiration date or as changes to those surveys become necessary; and
3. Conduct additional commercial and/or charter sector surveys.

The requested hybrid-generic clearance is for information from the commercial and charter harvesting sectors. That information includes different components of operating costs/expenditures, earnings, employment, ownership, vessel characteristics, effort/gear descriptors, and demographic information. NMFS or its contractors would collect that information principally from the owners and operators of fishing vessel that participated in the commercial and/or charter harvesting sectors.

NMFS and Regional Fishery Management Council economists would use these data to monitor, explain and predict changes in the economic performance and impacts of federally managed fisheries. Those uses of the data would allow more than cursory efforts to comply with or support a variety of laws (e.g. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act), Executive Orders (EOs), and NOAA strategies and policies. In addition, those uses of the data would contribute to a well-informed, science-based fisheries conservation and management decisions making process, which should increase the net benefits to the Nation.
 
NMFS and/or its contractors would collect the information from the owners or operators of active vessels, permit owners, or other well-defined groups of fishermen or license/permit holders and, in some cases, from other individuals associated with their fishing activities.  The question bank for the proposed generic clearance identifies the “other individuals” as spotter plane pilots who assist in finding fish, former fishing vessel owners or operators or permit owners, and the operators of fish processing businesses.

The surveys would collect information, which NMFS and Council economists would uses to monitor, explain and predict changes in the economic performance and impacts of the commercial and charter harvesting sectors of federally managed fisheries, as well as the associated changes in the magnitude and distribution of the net National benefits provided by those two sectors.  As noted above in the response to Item 1, that use of the data would allow more than cursory efforts to comply with or support a variety of laws, EOs, and NOAA policies and strategies, which would contribute to a well-informed, science-based fisheries conservation and management decisions making process and should increase the net benefits to the Nation.

The relevant 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.  

NMFS would collect the following general categories of data under the proposed hybrid-generic clearance when adequate data are not available from other sources:

Vessel characteristics;  
Vessel ownership;  
Capital and other asset costs;
Fixed and variable costs and in some cases the quantities and prices of specific inputs used, such as fuel;  
Effort and gear;  
Catch and revenue, including revenue from a variety of fishing and non-fishing activities;
Opportunity cost of capital;
Links to communities and regions;   
Labor and demographic characteristics of fishing vessel owners or operators;
Fishing strategies and other.  

Each survey approved under this hybrid-generic clearance would include a subset of the questions in the question bank, which is in a supplemental document.
 
Fisheries Economics of the United States https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/sustainable-fisheries/fisheries-economics-united-states
NOAA submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202208-0648-008 Click IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for newly added technical documentation. Submit comments through this webpage.
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2022-21676

For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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