Paperwork Reduction Act Renewal, Opportunity for Comment, Vessel Monitoring System
This is a request for a revision and extension of a currently approved information collection. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) implemented a Vessel Monitoring Program in 2004, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) and the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Under this program described at 50 CFR 660.13 and 660.14, all commercial fishing vessels fishing in the exclusive economic zone off the West Coast that take and retain groundfish in federal waters, or transit through federal waters with groundfish on board, are required to have a working vessel monitoring system (VMS). To support the VMS monitoring program, the following information must be submitted to NMFS: (1) VMS installation/activation certification reports, (2) position reports, (3) exemption reports, and (4) declaration reports. The VMS, along with the fishing declaration reporting requirements, allows for monitoring and enforcement of areas closed to fishing by gear type as traditional enforcement methods (such as aerial surveillance, boarding at sea via patrol boats, landing inspections and documentary investigation) are especially difficult to use when the closed areas are large-scale and the lines defining the areas are irregular.
The purpose of this notice is to allow for 60 days of public comment preceding submission of the collection to OMB.