Final Regulatory Impact Review Changes to Authorized Cost Recovery Fee Payment Methods
This Regulatory Impact Review analyzes proposed changes to the cost recovery programs for the Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Program and the Bering Sea and the Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization program. Changes to the authorized payment methods are considered. The purpose of this action is to improve security procedures for processing cost recovery fee payments and to reduce administrative costs of cost recovery payment processing.
The proposed action would amend existing regulations for the cost recovery fee programs for the Halibut and Sablefish Individual Fishing Quota Program (IFQ Program) and the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization Program (CR Program). Changes to the authorized fee payment methods are proposed. The purpose of this action is to improve security procedures for processing cost recovery fee payments and to reduce administrative costs of cost recovery payment processing.
The purpose of this action is to address potential security vulnerabilities and administrative costs that result from NMFS staff manually processing credit card, paper check, and money order payments for cost recovery fees. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) authorizes and requires the collection of cost recovery fees for fishery management programs that issue a permit allocating exclusive harvest privileges. Cost recovery fees recover the actual costs directly related to the management, data collection, and enforcement of the programs. Permit holders are required to submit cost recovery fee payments to NMFS annually. The existing regulations for the cost recovery programs for the IFQ Program and the CR Program allow permit holders to submit credit card information for manual processing by NMFS staff (in-house credit card processing). This results in the possession and electronic transmission of sensitive financial information on the NMFS Alaska Region’s information network, which is a significant security vulnerability and administrative cost to both the permit holder and to NMFS. As a result of this security vulnerability, the Alaska Region has been directed by the NOAA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer to cease manual processing of credit card payments for cost recovery fees. All manual processing of cost recovery payments generates significant costs for the administration of these programs. Therefore, the purpose of this action is also to reduce administrative costs by eliminating payment methods that require in-house processing.