NMFS accepting applications for longline fishing permits
The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has encouraged members of the local fishing industry to apply for the 12 American Samoa pelagic longline fishing permits, now available for 2013, with August 19, 2013, AS the deadline to submit applications.
The permits are available in two size classes—eleven for Class A and one for Class C—according to Walter Ikehara, with the NMFS Pacific Islands Region. “Applicants must specify which permit class they are applying for,” he said via email from Honolulu responding to Samoa News inquiries.
Ikehara also says applications will be available from NMFS offices in Honolulu and American Samoa (located on the 2nd Floor of the Pago Plaza) and applicants are reminded to submit a complete application including “evidence of documented participation”.
NMFS in a notice published in the Federal Registry states that “documented participation” means participation proved by, but not necessarily limited to, a properly submitted NMFS or American Samoa logbook, an American Samoa creel survey record, a delivery or payment record from an American Samoa-based cannery, retailer or wholesaler, an American Samoa tax record, an individual wage record, ownership title, vessel registration, or other official documents.
Additionally, documents must show either ownership of a vessel that was used to fish in the EEZ around American Samoa, or evidence of work on a fishing trip during which longline gear was used to harvest western Pacific pelagic MUS in the EEZ around American Samoa.
If an applicant does not possess the necessary documentation of evidence of work on a fishing trip based on records available only from NMFS or the American Samoa Government, the applicant may issue a request to NMFS to obtain such records from the appropriate agencies, if available.
According to the federal agency, the applicant should provide sufficient information on the fishing trip to allow NMFS to retrieve the records. If the applicant requests NMFS in writing to use longline logbook data for evidence of documented participation, the applicant must specify the qualifying vessel, official number, and month(s) and year(s) of the logbook records for NMFS to search.
“NMFS will reject incomplete applications,” it says.
And if NMFS receives more complete applications than available permits for a given permit class, NMFS will prioritize applicants using only the information in the applications and documentation provided by the applicants. Moreover, NMFS will assign the highest priority for permits in any size class to applicants with the earliest documented participation in the fishery on a Class A vessel, followed by applicants with the earliest documented participation in Class C. If there is a tie in priority, NMFS will rank higher the applicant whose second documented participation in the fishery is earlier.