The National Marine Fisheries Service has issued a final rule to establish a small business size standard of $11 million in annual gross receipts for the commercial fishing industry, for Regulatory Flexibility Act compliance purposes only.
For purposes of this final rule, published in the Federal Register at the end of December, NMFS identified a commercial fishing business as a business primarily engaged in commercial fishing, the commercial fishing industry as composed of all such businesses, and said the $11 million standard only applies to this industry.
The standard does not apply to businesses primarily engaged in seafood processing, seafood wholesale activities, or any other activity within the seafood industry.
NMFS said the $11 million standards would be used in RFA analyses in place of the Small Business Administration’s current standards of $20.5 million, $5.5 million and $7.5 million for the finfish, shellfish and other marine fishing sectors respectively of the US commercial fishing industry.
NMFS said establishing a single size standard of $11 million for the commercial fishing industry will simplify the RFA analyses done in support of NMFS’ rules, and better meet the RFA’s intent by more accurately representing expected disproportionate effects of NMFS’ rules between small and large commercial fishing businesses.
The new rule will also create a standard that more accurately reflects the size distribution of all businesses in the commercial fishing industry, and allow NMFS to determine when changes to the standard are necessary and appropriate.
The purpose of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, is to provide small entities with an expanded opportunity to participate in the development of certain regulations. The RFA defines “small entity” as a small business, small organization or small governmental jurisdiction.