H.R. 6350 (112th): Transparent and Science-Based Fishery Management Act of 2012

112th Congress, 2011–2013. Text as of Aug 02, 2012 (Introduced).

Status & Summary | PDF | Source: GPO

I

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6350

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

August 2, 2012

(for himself, Mr. Southerland, Mr. Rivera, Mr. LoBiondo, Ms. Ros-Lehtinen, and Mr. Guinta) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

A BILL

To amend the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to provide additional flexibility for fishery managers, additional transparency for fishermen, a referendum for catch shares, and additional sources for fishery survey funding, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title; table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Transparent and Science-Based Fishery Management Act of 2012.

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

Sec. 2. References.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. Annual catch limits.

Sec. 5. Catch share referendum requirement.

Sec. 6. Extension of time period for rebuilding certain overfished fisheries.

Sec. 7. Authority to suspend annual catch limits.

Sec. 8. Use of fishery enforcement penalties for fishery independent data collection.

Sec. 9. Response on disaster assistance requests.

Sec. 10. SSC and Council transparency.

Sec. 11. State management.

Sec. 12. Report to Congress on closures.

2.

References

Except as otherwise specifically provided, whenever in this Act an amendment or repeal is expressed in terms of an amendment to, or repeal of, a provision, the reference shall be considered to be made to a provision of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.).

3.

Definitions

Section 3 (16 U.S.C. 1802) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(51)

The term catch share means any fishery management program that allocates a specific percentage of the total allowable catch for a fishery, or a specific fishing area, to an individual, cooperative, community, sector, processor, regional fishery organization established in accordance with section 303A(c)(4), or other entity.

(52)

The term ecosystem component species means a stock of fish that is a nontarget, incidentally harvested stock of fish in a fishery, or a nontarget, incidentally harvested stock of fish, that a Council or the Secretary has determined—

(A)

is not subject to overfishing, approaching an overfished condition, or overfished; and

(B)

is not be likely to become subject to overfishing or overfished in the absence of conservation and management measures.

.

4.

Annual catch limits

(a)

Implementation of annual catch limit requirement

Section 302 (16 U.S.C. 1852) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(m)

Implementation of annual catch limit requirement

(1)

Limitation on annual catch limit requirement

Notwithstanding subsection (h)(6), a Council is not required to develop an annual catch limit for—

(A)

an ecosystem component species, or

(B)

a species, fishery, or stock, for which a survey and stock assessment have not been performed within the preceding 5-year period.

(2)

Relationship to international efforts

Each annual catch limit shall take into account—

(A)

management measures under international agreements in which the United States participates; and

(B)

informal transboundary agreements under which management activities outside the exclusive economic zone by another country may hinder conservation efforts by United States fishermen for a species for which any of the recruitment, distribution, life history, or fishing activities are transboundary.

.

(b)

Stock surveys or peer-Reviewed stock assessments

Section 304 (16 U.S.C. 1854) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating the second subsection (i) (as added by section 406(a) of Public Law 109–479) as subsection (j); and

(2)

by adding at the end the following:

(k)

Stock surveys or peer-Reviewed stock assessments

The Secretary shall, on an annual basis and for each region under section 302(a)—

(1)

determine which fisheries and stocks of fish have not been the subject of a stock survey or peer-reviewed stock assessment within the previous 5 years;

(2)

create—

(A)

a priority list, based on input from the Councils, for determining which fisheries or stocks of fish of the fisheries identified under paragraph (1) shall be surveyed in that year; and

(B)

a proposed budget for such surveys; and

(3)

identify opportunities for the use of State or private vessels for conducting such surveys.

.

5.

Catch share referendum requirement

(a)

In general

Section 303A(c)(6)(D) (16 U.S.C. 1853a(c)(6)(D)) is amended by redesignating clauses (iii) through (vi) as clauses (v) through (viii), and by striking clauses (i) and (ii) and inserting the following:

(i)

Except as provided in clause (v) for the Gulf of Mexico commercial red snapper fishery, the New England, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico Councils may not submit a fishery management plan or amendment that creates a catch share program for a fishery, and the Secretary may not approve or implement such a plan or amendment submitted by such a Council or a Secretarial plan or amendment under section 304(c) that creates such a program, unless the final program has been approved, in a referendum in accordance with this subparagraph, by a majority of the permit holders eligible to participate in the fishery. For multi-species permits in the Gulf of Mexico, any permit holder with landings from the fishery being considered for the catch share program within the 5-year period preceding the date of the referendum and still active in fishing in the fishery shall be eligible to participate in such a referendum. If a catch share program is not approved by the requisite number of permit holders, it may be revised and submitted for approval in a subsequent referendum.

(ii)

The Secretary shall conduct a referendum under this subparagraph, including notifying all permit holders eligible to participate in the referendum and making available to them—

(I)

a copy of the proposed program;

(II)

an estimate of the costs of the program, including costs to participants;

(III)

an estimate of the amount of fish or percentage of quota each permit holder would be allocated; and

(IV)

information concerning the schedule, procedures, and eligibility requirements for the referendum process.

(iii)

For the purposes of this subparagraph, the term permit holder eligible to participate does not include the holder of a permit for a fishery under which fishing has not occurred in 3 of the 5 years preceding a referendum for the fishery unless sickness, injury, or other unavoidable hardship prevented the permit holder from engaging in such fishing.

(iv)

The Secretary may not implement any catch share program for any fishery managed exclusively by the Secretary unless first petitioned by a majority of those eligible to participate in the fishery.

.

(b)

Limitation on application

The amendment made by subsection (a) shall not apply to a catch share program that is submitted to, or proposed by, the Secretary of Commerce before the date of enactment of this Act.

(c)

Regulations

Not later than 3 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce shall issue regulations implementing this section.

6.

Extension of time period for rebuilding certain overfished fisheries

Section 304(e) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1854(e)(4)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (4)(A)—

(A)

in clause (i) by striking possible and inserting practicable; and

(B)

by amending clause (ii) to read as follows:

(ii)

not exceed 10 years, except in cases where—

(I)

another time period is appropriate because of the biology of the stock of fish, other environmental conditions, management measures under an international agreement in which the United States participates, or an informal transboundary agreement under which management activities outside the exclusive economic zone by another country may hinder conservation efforts by United States fishermen for a species for which any of the recruitment, distribution, life history, or fishing activities are transboundary;

(II)

the Secretary determines that such 10-year period should be extended because the cause of the fishery decline is outside the jurisdiction of the Council or the rebuilding program cannot be effective only by limiting fishing activities;

(III)

the Secretary determines that such 10-year period should be extended to provide for the sustained participation of fishing communities or to minimize the economic impacts on such communities, if there is evidence that the stock of fish is on a positive rebuilding trend;

(IV)

the Secretary determines that such 10-year period should be extended for one or more stocks of fish of a multi-species fishery, provided that there is evidence that those stocks are on a positive rebuilding trend;

(V)

the Secretary determines that such 10-year period should be extended because of a substantial change to the biomass rebuilding target for the stock of fish concerned after the rebuilding plan has taken effect; or

(VI)

the Secretary determines that such 10-year period should be extended because the biomass rebuilding target exceeds the highest abundance of the stock of fish in the 25-year period preceding and there is evidence that the stock is on a positive rebuilding trend;

; or

(2)

in paragraph (7), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by inserting after the first sentence the following: In evaluating progress to end overfishing and to rebuild overfished stocks of fish, the Secretary shall review factors, other than commercial fishing and recreational fishing, that may contribute to a stock’s overfished status, such as commercial, residential, and industrial development of, or agricultural activity in, coastal areas and their impact on the marine environment, predator-prey relationships of target and related species, and other environmental and ecological changes to the marine conditions.; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(8)

If the Secretary determines that extended rebuilding time is warranted under subclause (III), (IV), (V), or (VI) of paragraph (4)(A)(ii), the maximum time allowed for rebuilding the stock of fish concerned may not exceed the sum of the following time periods:

(A)

The initial 10-year rebuilding period.

(B)

The expected time to rebuild the stock absent any fishing mortality and under prevailing environmental conditions.

(C)

The mean generation time of the stock.

(9)

In this subsection the term on a positive rebuilding trend means that the biomass of the stock of fish has shown a substantial increase in abundance since the implementation of the rebuilding plan.

.

7.

Authority to suspend annual catch limits

Section 304 (16 U.S.C. 1854) is further amended by adding at the end the following:

(l)

Authority To suspend annual catch limits

The Secretary may suspend the application of annual catch limits to a fishery for any period for which the Secretary determines that—

(1)

the fishery is not overfished or approaching a condition of being overfished;

(2)

any stock of fish in the fishery previously affected by overfishing is rebuilt; and

(3)

the scientific advice relating to such annual catch limits provided by the scientific and statistical committee of the Council with jurisdiction over the fishery is based on a level of uncertainty that is insufficient to ensure that the fishery management plan for the fishery is consistent with the national standard set forth in section 301(a)(8).

.

8.

Use of fishery enforcement penalties for fishery independent data collection

Section 404 (16 U.S.C. 1881c) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(e)

Use of the asset forfeiture fund for fishery independent data collection

(1)

In general

The Secretary, subject to appropriations, may obligate for data collection purposes in accordance with prioritizations under paragraph (3) a portion of amounts received by the United States as fisheries enforcement penalties.

(2)

Included purposes

The purposes referred to in paragraph (1) include—

(A)

the use of State personnel and resources, including fishery survey vessels owned and maintained by States to survey or assess data-poor fisheries for which fishery management plans are in effect under this Act; and

(B)

cooperative research activities to improve or enhance the fishery independent data used in fishery stock assessments.

(3)

Data-poor fisheries priority lists

Each Council shall—

(A)

identify those fisheries in its region considered to be data-poor fisheries;

(B)

prioritize those fisheries based on the need of each fishery for up-to-date information; and

(C)

provide those priorities to the Secretary.

(4)

Definitions

In this subsection:

(A)

Data-poor fisheries

The term data-poor fishery means a fishery—

(i)

that has not been surveyed in the preceding 5-year period;

(ii)

for which a fishery stock assessment has not been performed within the preceding 5-year period; or

(iii)

for which limited information on the status of the fishery is available for management purposes.

(B)

Fisheries enforcement penalties

The term fisheries enforcement penalties means any fine or penalty imposed, or proceeds of any property seized, for a violation of this Act or of any other marine resource law enforced by the Secretary, including the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 (16 U.S.C. 3371 et seq.).

(5)

Authorization of appropriations

There is authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for each fiscal year to carry out this subsection up to 80 percent of the fisheries enforcement penalties collected during the preceding fiscal year.

.

9.

Response on disaster assistance requests

Section 312(a)(1) (16 U.S.C. 1861a(1)) is amended—

(1)

by inserting (A) after (1);

(2)

by redesignating subparagraphs (A) through (C) as clauses (i) through (iii), respectively; and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

When acting under this paragraph at the request of the Governor of an affected State or a fishing community, the Secretary shall make the determination not later than 60 days after the date on which the Secretary receives the request.

.

10.

SSC and Council transparency

Section 302(i)(2) (16 U.S.C. 1852(i)(2)) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(G)

Each Council shall make available, to the extent practicable, on the Internet website of the Council—

(i)

a live broadcast of each meeting of the Council, and of the Council Coordination Committee established under subsection (l), that is not closed in accordance with paragraph (3); and

(ii)

audio, video (if the meeting was in person or by video conference), and a complete transcript of each meeting of the Council and the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Council—

(I)

by not later than 30 days after the conclusion of the meeting; and

(II)

for 3 years after the conclusion of the meeting.

.

11.

State management

Section 306(a)(3)(C) (16 U.S.C. 1856(C)) is amended to read as follows:

(C)

The fishing vessel is not registered under the law of the State of Alaska and is operating in a fishery in the exclusive economic zone off Alaska for which there is no fishery management plan in place, and the Secretary and the North Pacific Council find that there is a legitimate interest of the State of Alaska in the conservation and management of such fishery. The authority provided under this subparagraph shall terminate when a fishery management plan under this Act is approved and implemented for such fishery.

.

12.

Report to Congress on closures

The Secretary of Commerce shall—

(1)

review each fishery closure under Federal law for which notice was published in the Federal Register that was not a normal and expected occurrence under the fishery management plan for the fishery concerned and was therefore considered disruptive to sport, charter, or commercial fishing operations, and that was in effect for more than 120 days within the 5-year period preceding the date of enactment of this Act; and

(2)

report to Congress regarding each such closure, including the reason for the closure, the duration of the closure, the estimated loss of income by those directly affected by the closure, the impact of the closure on coastal communities, and when the most recent fishery survey and stock assessment for each stock of fish to which the closure applied were completed.