50 CFR 270.21 - Petition of objection.
(a) Filing a petition. Any person issued a notice of assessment under § 270.19 may request that NMFS modify or take other appropriate action regarding the assessment or promotion plan by filing a written petition of objection with NMFS. Petitions of objection may be filed:
(1) Only if the petitioner determines one or more of the following criteria is not in accordance with the law:
(i) The assessment;
(ii) The plan upon which the assessment is based; or
(iii) Any obligation imposed on the petitioner under the plan.
(2) Only during the time period to which the assessment applies.
(b) Contents of the petition of objection. A petition must be addressed to Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, and must contain the following:
(1) The petitioner's correct name, address, and principal place of business. If the petitioner is a corporation, this must be stated, together with the date and state of incorporation, and the names, addresses, and respective positions of its officers; if a partnership, the date and place of formation and the name and address of each partner;
(2) The grounds upon which the petition of objection is based, including the specific terms or provisions of the assessment, the marketing and promotion plan, or obligation imposed by the plan, to which the petitioner objects;
(3) A full statement of the facts upon which the petition is based, set forth clearly and concisely, accompanied by any supporting documentation;
(4) The specific relief requested; and
(5) A statement as to whether or not the petitioner requests a hearing.
(d) Opportunity for informal hearing.
(1) Any person filing a petition of objection may request an informal hearing on the petition. The hearing request must be submitted with the petition of objection.
(2) If a request for hearing is timely filed, or if NMFS determines that a hearing is advisable, NMFS will so notify the petitioner and the Council. NMFS will establish the applicable procedures, and designate who will be responsible for conducting a hearing. The petitioner, the Council, and any other interested party, may appear at the hearing in person or through a representative, and may submit any relevant materials, data, comments, arguments, or exhibits. NMFS may consolidate two or more hearing requests into a single proceeding.
(3) Final decision. Following the hearing, or if no hearing is held, as soon as practicable, NMFS will decide the matter and serve written notice of the decision on the petitioner and the Council. NMFS's decision will be based on a consideration of all relevant documentation and other evidence submitted, and will constitute the final administrative decision and order of the agency. NMFS will have the discretion to waive collection of a contested assessment or revise, modify, or alter the assessment amount based on a Council method of assessment.