Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Salmon Fishery capacity reduction program, including fee payment and collection system.
This section implements the fishing capacity reduction program for the Southeast Alaska purse seine salmon fishery enacted by Section 209 ofPublic Law 108-447 and amended by Section 121 ofPublic Law 109-479, with appropriations authorized by Section 121 ofPublic Law 109-479 and Public Law 110-161. The intent of the program is to permanently reduce, through an industry-financed permit buyback, the most harvesting capacity in the Reduction Fishery at the least cost, increase harvesting productivity for post-reduction Permit Holders and improve flexibility in the conservation and management of the fishery. Fishery participants will finance this program through a federal loan that will be repaid over 40 years through a fee collection system. The intent of the fee collection system is to establish the post-reduction Permit Holders' obligation to repay the Reduction Loan's principal and accrued interest over the repayment term, and to ensure repayment of the loan.
Unless otherwise defined in this section, the terms defined in § 600.1000 of subpart L of this part expressly apply to this section. The following terms have the following meanings for the purpose of this section:
Acceptance means SRA acceptance of a bid.
Act means Section 209 of Title II of Division B of Public Law 108-447, Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005, as amended by Section 121 ofPublic Law 109-447, Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006.
Authorized party means the individuals authorized by the Permit Holder on the application form to execute and submit Bids, protests and other documents and/or notices on behalf of the Permit Holder.
Bid means a bidder's irrevocable offer to relinquish a permit.
Bid amount means the dollar amount submitted by a bidder.
Bidder means a permit holder who submits a bid.
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) means the Alaska state commission mandated to conserve and maintain the economic health of Alaska's commercial fisheries by limiting the number of participating fishers, by issuing permits and vessel licenses to qualified individuals in both limited and unlimited fisheries, and by providing due process hearings and appeals.
CFEC documents means any documents issued by the CFEC in connection with the Southeast Alaska purse seine salmon fishery.
means the CFEC form that any Bidder must sign and agree to abide by upon submission of a Bid Agreement (Appendix B to § 600.1107
means the CFEC form that any Permit Holder, agreeing to relinquish a permit, must sign and agree to abide by upon SRA acceptance of the bid (Appendix C to § 600.1107
means the Southeast Alaska administrative area as defined under Title 5 Alaska Administrative Code Section 33.100
for salmon with purse seine gear.
means the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act codified at 16 U.S.C. 1801
Permit (Southeast Salmon Purse Seine Entry Permit) means a valid entry permit issued by CFEC to operate in the Southeast Alaska purse seine salmon fishery.
Permit holder means an individual who at the time of bidding is the holder of record of a permit.
Reduction fishery means the Southeast Alaska Purse Seine Salmon Fishery.
Reduction loan means the loan used to purchase the relinquished permits pursuant to the approved Reduction Plan.
Reduction loan amount means the Reduction Loan's original principal amount up to $23,476,500.
Reduction plan means the aggregate of all Bids, Relinquishment Contracts, Conditional Notices, Conditional Relinquishments, and supporting documents and rationale, submitted to the Secretary for approval.
means the contract that any Permit Holder agreeing to relinquish a permit pursuant to Alaska Statute (A.S. 16.43.150(i)) must sign and agree to abide by upon acceptance of the Bid, and before payment of the bid amount (Appendix A to § 600.1107
Secretary means the Secretary of Commerce or his/her designee.
Southeast Revitalization Association (SRA) means the qualified fishery association authorized to develop and implement this capacity reduction program under Alaska Statute 16.40.250 and Federal law.
Enrollment in the capacity reduction program—
The SRA shall mail a copy of the following four documents via certified mail to each Permit Holder: Bid; Fleet Consolidation Relinquishment Contract (Relinquishment Contract); Conditional Notice to CFEC and Request by Permit Holder; and (Conditional Relinquishment of Southeast Salmon Purse Seine Entry Permit. Such mailing shall include a closing date after which the SRA will not accept new bids.
Any Permit Holder, regardless of whether having received the mailing described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section, may participate in the Capacity Reduction Program by submitting all of the following documents to the SRA no later than the bid closing date:
A fully executed Bid consistent with Appendix A to this section;
A photocopy of the permit evidencing the applicant's qualification as a participant in the fishery;
A fully executed Relinquishment Contract: Southeast Alaska Salmon Purse Seine Permit Holders consistent with the appendix B to this section;
A fully executed Conditional Notice to CFEC and Request by Permit Holder consistent with the appendix C to this section; and
A fully executed Conditional Relinquishment of Southeast Salmon Purse Seine Entry Permit consistent with the appendix D to this section.
The submitted Bid shall include the following information: Name, address, telephone number, social security number, and (if available) electronic mail address of the submitting Permit Holder, permit number, and whether any authorized party holds a security interest in the permit. Each application must be submitted to the SRA, c/o Elgee, Rehfeld, Mertz, LLC, Professional Plaza Building B, 9309 Glacier Highway, Suite B-200, Juneau, Alaska 99801. The initial determination that an application conforms to the prescribed requirements is made by this independent accounting firm and not the SRA.
The SRA or the independent accounting firm will notify the Permit Holder if the Bid is non-conforming and, in such cases, the Permit Holder may submit a revised, conforming Bid within the prescribed period (i.e., until the bid closing date).
Applications that meet all requirements will be accepted until the bid selection process is completed but no later than the bid closing date specified by the SRA. The SRA will have a period of 21 days after the bid closing date to consult with CFEC and examine bid results to complete the selection process.
The effective date of any Bid shall be when the SRA has completed the selection process and signed the Bid.
The SRA will notify each Accepted Bidder, via certified mail, of the effective date of the Bid Agreement.
Where terms and conditions in the Bid, Relinquishment Contract, Conditional Notice, and Conditional Relinquishment conflict with this regulation, the terms and conditions in the regulation are controlling.
Bid selection process.
The fishing capacity removed by the Reduction Plan shall be represented by the total number of valid CFEC permits, whether active or latent, that are voluntarily offered by Permit Holders and selected by the SRA up to an aggregate amount of $23,476,500. Due to a rescission of funds, the underlying appropriations for this Reduction Program were reduced from $250,000 to $234,765, resulting in a loan ceiling of $23,476,500.
The Selection Process shall begin upon the receipt by the SRA of the first application and shall continue until: The bid closing date specified by the SRA (paragraph (c)(1) of this section); or the ranking of the next lowest bid would cause the total program costs to exceed $23,476,500. The SRA will have a period of 21 days after the bid closing date to consult with CFEC and examine bid results to complete the selection process. When either one of these events is reached, the Selection Process shall be completed.
During the selection process, the SRA in consultation with the CFEC shall examine each submitted Bid for consistency and the necessary elements, including the validity of the permit and whether any authorized party holds a security interest in the permit.
By submitting the Bid, the bidder expressly acknowledges that he makes an irrevocable offer to relinquish to CFEC a permit for a specific price, and once having submitted the Bid, the bidder is not entitled to withdraw or in any way amend the Bid. The permit will be relinquished for the price set forth in the Bid contingent on such Bid being accepted by the SRA at the closing of the Selection Process. Any attempted withdrawal by a bidder shall be invalid, and the Bid shall remain a binding, irrevocable offer, unaffected by the attempted withdrawal. Any bid that is submitted by a Permit Holder but is not accepted by the SRA shall be deemed terminated and both the Permit Holder and the SRA will have no further obligation with respect to the Bid.
If a Permit Holder holds more than one permit, the Permit Holder must submit a separate Bid for each permit that he/she offers to relinquish.
By submitting a Bid, the Permit Holder warrants and represents that he/she has read and understands the terms of the Program Regulations, Bid, Relinquishment Contract, Conditional Notice and Conditional Relinquishment, and has had the opportunity to seek independent legal counsel regarding such documents and the consequences of submitting the Bid Agreement.
The SRA shall rank all conforming bids by using a reverse auction in which the SRA ranks the Bid with the lowest dollar amount and successively ranks each additional Bid with the next lowest dollar amount until there are no more Bids or the ranking of the next lowest bid would cause the total program cost to exceed $23,476,500. In the event of a tie with bids which results in the tied bids exceeding $23,476,500, the SRA will select the tied bid first received, if known. If the receipt time cannot be determined, neither bid will be accepted.
Acceptance and post-acceptance restriction of renewals and transfers.
Upon expiration of the bid closing date, the SRA shall determine whether the number of ranked bids it is willing to accept is sufficient to achieve a substantial reduction in harvest capacity and increased economic efficiencies for those Permit Holders remaining in the fishery. If the SRA makes such a determination and thereafter accepts bids, the SRA shall send CFEC the Conditional Notice form restricting renewal and transfer of each permit for which a bid was accepted. The Bid, Relinquishment Contract, Conditional Notice and Conditional Relinquishment are terminated for any rejected bid and the applicant is no longer bound by the terms of these documents.
Plan submission and approval—
Submitting the reduction plan.
Within 30 days of concluding the selection process, the SRA shall submit the Reduction Plan, consisting of the aggregate of all Bid Agreements, Relinquishment Contracts, Conditional Notices and Conditional Relinquishments, together with supporting documents and rationale, to NMFS for final approval on behalf of the Secretary. The Reduction Plan shall include a listing of accepted bids arranged by bid amount from lowest to highest bid, attended by a statement from the SRA that all other bids received were higher than the largest dollar amount of the last bid accepted.
In order to approve a Reduction Plan, the Assistant Administrator of NMFS, on behalf of the Secretary, must find that: The Reduction Plan is consistent with the amended Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005 and applicable sections of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, particularly that it is cost-effective; the Reduction Plan will result in the maximum sustained reduction in fishing capacity at the least cost; and the Reduction Plan will increase harvesting productivity for post-reduction Permit Holders participating in the fishery.
If NMFS approves the Reduction Plan and subsequent to the publication of a final rule resulting from this rule, NMFS shall conduct a referendum to determine the industry's willingness to repay a fishing capacity reduction loan to purchase the permits identified in the Reduction Plan. NMFS shall publish a notice in the Federal Register requesting votes by Permit Holders on whether to accept or reject the Reduction Plan for implementation. The notice shall state the starting and ending dates and times of the voting period, which shall be not less than twenty one (21) nor more than thirty (30) calendar days from the date of such notice.
Such notice shall state the name and address of record of each eligible voter, as well as the basis for having determined the eligibility of those voters. This shall constitute notice and opportunity to respond about adding eligible voters, deleting ineligible voters, and/or correcting any voter's name and address of record, and will provide a 15 day period to make these changes. If, in NMFS' discretion, the comments received in response to such notice warrants it, or for other good cause, NMFS may modify such list by publishing another notice in the Federal Register. NMFS shall issue ballots to eligible voters, tally votes, and notify voters whether the referendum was successful or unsuccessful in approving the Reduction Plan consistent with the provisions of § 600.1010.
A successful referendum by a majority of the Permit Holders in the Reduction Fishery shall bind all parties and complete the reduction process. NMFS shall publish a notice in the Federal Register advising the public that the referendum was successful. Thereafter the Reduction Program shall be implemented.
The provisions of § 600.1010 and § 600.1017(a)(1)-(4) shall apply to any referendum on the Reduction Plan of this section to the extent that they do not conflict with this section or with subpart M of this part.
Within 60 days of a successful referendum, the CFEC will provide notice to NMFS of the permits retired from the Reduction Fishery. Upon receiving such notification, NMFS will then tender the accepted bid amounts to the Permit Holders. Reduction payments may not exceed $23,476,500 and if the SRA accepts a total number of bids in an aggregate amount less than $23,476,500, any remaining funds would be available for reduction payments as part of a later, separate Reduction Plan conforming to these regulations. Upon NMFS tendering the reduction program's payments to the selected Permit Holders, each such Permit Holder must permanently stop all fishing with the relinquished permit(s).
As authorized by the Act, the Reduction Loan shall be amortized over a forty (40) year term. The Reduction Loan's original principal amount may not exceed $23,476,500, but may be less if the ultimate reduction cost is less. The final Reduction Loan periodic payment amount will be determined by NMFS' analysis of the ability of the post-reduction fishery to service debt. The provisions of §§ 600.1012-600.1017 shall apply to any reduction loan, fee payment and collection under this section to the extent they do not conflict with this section or with subpart M of this part.
Permit Holders operating in the fishery shall be obligated to pay the fee in accordance with this section. In the event that payments made under the Reduction Plan are insufficient to pay the Reduction Loan within the 40-year term, NMFS shall extend the term of the repayment until the Reduction Loan is paid in full.
The Reduction Loan's interest rate will be the U.S. Treasury's cost of borrowing equivalent maturity funds plus two percent. NMFS will determine the Reduction Loan's initial interest rate when NMFS borrows from the U.S. Treasury the funds with which to disburse reduction payments. Interest will begin accruing on the Reduction Loan from the date on which NMFS disburses such loan. The initial interest rate will change to a final interest rate at the end of the Federal fiscal year in which NMFS borrows the funds from the U.S. Treasury. The final interest rate will be two percent plus a weighted average, throughout that fiscal year, of the U.S. Treasury's cost of borrowing equivalent maturity funds. The final interest rate will be fixed and will not vary over the remainder of the reduction loan's 40-year term. The Reduction Loan will be subject to a level debt amortization. There is no prepayment penalty.
Post-reduction Permit Holders operating in the fishery shall be obligated to pay the fee in accordance with paragraph (f) of this section. The amount of such fee will be calculated by NMFS on an annual basis as the principal and interest payment amount necessary to amortize the loan over a 40-year term. The fee shall be expressed as a percentage of the ex-vessel value of all salmon harvested and landed in the fishery. In the event that payments made under the Reduction Plan are insufficient to repay the Reduction Loan within the 40-year term, NMFS shall extend the term of the repayment until the Reduction Loan is paid in full.
Fees must be assessed and collected on all salmon harvested in the fishery. Although the fee could be up to three percent of the ex-vessel price of all post-reduction landings, the fee will be less than three percent if NMFS projects that a lesser rate can amortize the Reduction Loan over the 40-year term. To verify that the fees collected do not exceed three percent of the fishery revenues, NMFS will compare the annual total of principal and interest due with the latest available annual revenues in the fishery to ensure that it is equal to or less than three percent of the total ex-vessel production revenues. In the event that any of the components necessary to calculate the next year's fee are not available, or postponed, the fee will remain at the previous year's amount until such time as new calculations are made and communicated to the post-reduction fishery participants.
If the fishery does not open during a year, interest will continue to accrue on the principal balance even though no fee revenue will be generated. When this happens, if the fee is not already at the maximum three percent, NMFS shall increase the fee to the maximum three percent, apply all subsequent fee revenue first to the payment of accrued interest, and continue the maximum fee rates until the principal and interest payments become current. Once all principal and interest payments are current, NMFS will make a determination about adjusting the fee rate.
The buyer who first purchases the salmon landed in the fishery shall be responsible for collecting and submitting the repayment fees to NMFS monthly. The fees shall be submitted to NMFS no later than fifteen (15) calendar days following the end of each calendar month.
Recordkeeping and reporting.
The dealer who first purchases the salmon landed in the fishery shall be responsible for compliance with the applicable recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
All requirements and penalties set forth in the provisions of §§ 600.1013 (Fee payment and collection), 600.1014 (Fee collection deposits, disbursements, records, and reports), 600.1015 (Late charges), and 600.1017 (Prohibitions and penalties) shall apply to any dealer who purchases salmon in the fishery, and to any fee collection under this section, to the extent they do not conflict with this section or with subpart M of this part.
Specific performance under the relinquishment contract.
The parties to the Relinquishment Contract have agreed that the opportunity to develop and submit a capacity reduction program for the fishery under the terms of the Act is both unique and finite. The failure of a Permit Holder, whose bid was accepted, to perform the obligations under the Relinquishment Contract will result in irreparable damage to the SRA and all the other Permit Holders. Accordingly, the parties to the Relinquishment Contract expressly acknowledge that money damages are an inadequate means of redress and agree, that upon failure of the Permit Holder to fulfill his/her obligations under the Relinquishment Contract, that specific performance of those obligations may be obtained by suit in equity brought by the SRA in any court of competent jurisdiction without obligation to arbitrate such action.
Enforcement for failure to pay fees.
The provisions and requirements of § 600.1016 (Enforcement) shall also apply to fish sellers and fish buyers subject to this fishery.
Prohibitions and penalties.
Fish buyers are prohibited from purchasing fish from fish sellers who do not pay the required landing fees. Fish sellers are prohibited from selling to fish buyers who do not pay the required landing fees.