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sources survey by allowing the contractor to retain for sale fish harvested during the survey voyage;

(B) in the case of a survey during which the quantity or quality of fish harvested is not expected to be adequately compensatory, may structure those solicitations so as to provide that compensation by permitting the contractor to harvest on a subsequent voyage and retain for sale a portion of the allowable catch of the surveyed fish

ery; and

(C) may permit fish harvested during such survey to count toward a vessel's catch history under a fishery management plan if such survey was conducted in a manner that precluded a vessel's participation in a fishery that counted under the plan for purposes of determining catch

history. (3) The Secretary shall undertake efforts to expand annual fishery resource assessments in all regions of the Nation. SEC. 403. (16 U.S.C. 1881b) OBSERVERS.

(a) GUIDELINES FOR CARRYING OBSERVERS. Within one year after the date of enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations, after notice and opportunity for public comment, for fishing vessels that carry observers. The regulations shall include guidelines for determining

(1) when a vessel is not required to carry an observer on board because the facilities of such vessel for the quartering of an observer, or for carrying out observer functions, are so inadequate or unsafe that the health or safety of the observer or the safe operation of the vessel would be jeopardized; and

(2) actions which vessel owners or operators may reasonably be required to take to render such facilities adequate and safe.

(b) TRAINING.—The Secretary, in cooperation with the appropriate States and the National Sea Grant College Program, shall

(1) establish programs to ensure that each observer receives adequate training in collecting and analyzing the information necessary for the conservation and management purposes of the fishery to which such observer is assigned

(2) require that an observer demonstrate competence in fisheries science and statistical analysis at a level sufficient to enable such person to fulfill the responsibilities of the position;

(3) ensure that an observer has received adequate training in basic vessel safety; and

(4) make use of university and any appropriate private nonprofit organization training facilities and resources, where possible, in carrying out this subsection.

(c) OBSERVER STATUS.-An observer on a vessel and under contract to carry out responsibilities under this Act or the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) shall be deemed to be a Federal employee for the purpose of compensation under the Federal Employee Compensation Act (5 U.S.C. 8101 et seq.). SEC. 404. (16 U.S.C. 1881c] FISHERIES RESEARCH.

(a) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall initiate and maintain, in cooperation with the Councils, a comprehensive program of fishery research to carry out and further the purposes, policy, and provisions of this Act. Such program shall be designed to acquire knowledge and information, including statistics, on fishery conservation and management and on the economics and social characteristics of the fisheries.

(b) STRATEGIC PLAN.—Within one year after the date of enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, and at least every 3 years thereafter, the Secretary shall develop and publish in the Federal Register a strategic plan for fisheries research for the 5 years immediately following such publication. The plan shall—

(1) identify and describe a comprehensive program with a limited number of priority objectives for research in each of the areas specified in subsection (c);

(2) indicate goals and timetables for the program described in paragraph (1);

(3) provide a role for commercial fishermen in such research, including involvement in field testing;

(4) provide for collection and dissemination, in a timely manner, of complete and accurate information concerning fishing activities, catch, effort, stock assessments, and other research conducted under this section; and

(5) be developed in cooperation with the Councils and affected States, and provide for coordination with the Councils, affected States, and other research entities. (c) AREAS OF RESEARCH.—Areas of research are as follows:

(1) Research to support fishery conservation and management, including but not limited to, biological research concerning the abundance and life history parameters of stocks of fish, the interdependence of fisheries or stocks of fish, the identification of essential fish habitat, the impact of pollution on fish populations, the impact of wetland and estuarine degradation, and other factors affecting the abundance and availability of fish.

(2) Conservation engineering research, including the study of fish behavior and the development and testing of new gear technology and fishing techniques to minimize bycatch and any adverse effects on essential fish habitat and promote efficient harvest of target species.

(3) Research on the fisheries, including the social, cultural, and economic relationships among fishing vessel owners, crew, United States fish processors, associated shoreside labor, seafood markets and fishing communities.

(4) Information management research, including the development of a fishery information base and an information management system under section 401 that will permit the full use of information in the support of effective fishery conservation and management.

(d) PUBLIC NOTICE.—In developing the plan required under subsection (a), the Secretary shall consult with relevant Federal, State, and international agencies, scientific and technical experts, and other interested persons, public and private, and shall publish a proposed plan in the Federal Register for the purpose of receiving public comment on the plan. The Secretary shall ensure that affected commercial fishermen are actively involved in the development of the portion of the plan pertaining to conservation engineering research. Upon final publication in the Federal Register, the plan shall be submitted by the Secretary to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives. SEC. 405. (16 U.S.C. 1881d) INCIDENTAL HARVEST RESEARCH.

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(a) COLLECTION OF INFORMATION.— Within nine months after the date of enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, the Secretary shall, after consultation with the Gulf Council and South Atlantic Council, conclude the collection of information in the program to assess the impact on fishery resources of incidental harvest by the shrimp trawl fishery within the authority of such Councils. Within the same time period, the Secretary shall make available to the public aggregated summaries of information collected prior to June 30, 1994 under such program.

(b) IDENTIFICATION OF STOCK.—The program concluded pursuant to subsection (a) shall provide for the identification of stocks of fish which are subject to significant incidental harvest in the course of normal shrimp trawl fishing activity.

(c) COLLECTION AND ASSESSMENT OF SPECIFIC STOCK INFORMATION.–For stocks of fish identified pursuant to subsection (b), with priority given to stocks which (based upon the best available scientific information) are considered to be overfished, the Secretary shall conduct

(1) a program to collect and evaluate information on the nature and extent (including the spatial and temporal distribution) of incidental mortality of such stocks as a direct result of shrimp trawl fishing activities;

(2) an assessment of the status and condition of such stocks, including collection of information which would allow the estimation of life history parameters with sufficient accuracy and precision to support sound scientific evaluation of the effects of various management alternatives on the status of such stocks; and

(3) a program of information collection and evaluation for such stocks on the magnitude and distribution of fishing mortality and fishing effort by sources of fishing mortality other than shrimp trawl fishing activity.

(d) BYCATCH REDUCTION PROGRAM.—Not later than 12 months after the enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, the Secretary shall, in cooperation with affected interests, and based upon the best scientific information available, complete a program to

(1) develop technological devices and other changes in fishing operations necessary and appropriate to minimize the incidental mortality of bycatch in the course of shrimp trawl activity to the extent practicable, taking into account the level of bycatch mortality in the fishery on November 28, 1990;

(2) evaluate the ecological impacts and the benefits and costs of such devices and changes in fishing operations; and

(3) assess whether it is practicable to utilize bycatch which is not avoidable.

(e) REPORT TO CONGRESS.—The Secretary shall, within one year of completing the programs required by this section, submit a detailed report on the results of such programs to the Committee

on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Resources of the House of Representatives.

(f) IMPLEMENTATION CRITERIA.—To the extent practicable, any conservation and management measure implemented under this Act to reduce the incidental mortality of bycatch in the course of shrimp trawl fishing shall be consistent with

(1) measures applicable to fishing throughout the range in United States waters of the bycatch species concerned; and

(2) the need to avoid any serious adverse environmental impacts on such bycatch species or the ecology of the affected

area.

SEC. 406. (16 U.S.C. 1882] FISHERIES SYSTEMS RESEARCH.

(a) ESTABLISHMENT OF PANEL.-Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, the Secretary shall establish an advisory panel under this Act to develop recommendations to expand the application of ecosystem principles in fishery conservation and management activities.

(b) PANEL MEMBERSHIP.—The advisory panel shall consist of not more than 20 individuals and include

(1) individuals with expertise in the structures, functions, and physical and biological characteristics of ecosystems; and

(2) representatives from the Councils, States, fishing industry, conservation organizations, or others with expertise in the management of marine resources.

(c) RECOMMENDATIONS.—Prior to selecting advisory panel members, the Secretary shall, with respect to panel members described in subsection (b)(1), solicit recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences.

(d) REPORT.—Within 2 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to the Congress a completed report of the panel established under this section, which shall include

(1) an analysis of the extent to which ecosystem principles are being applied in fishery conservation and management activities, including research activities;

(2) proposed actions by the Secretary and by the Congress that should be undertaken to expand the application of ecosystem principles in fishery conservation and management; and

(3) such other information as may be appropriate. (e) PROCEDURAL MATTER.—The advisory panel established under this section shall be deemed an advisory panel under section 302(g). SEC. 407. (16 U.S.C. 1883) GULF OF MEXICO RED SNAPPER RESEARCH.

(a) INDEPENDENT PEER REVIEW.-(1) Within 30 days of the date of enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, the Secretary shall initiate an independent peer review to evaluate

(A) the accuracy and adequacy of fishery statistics used by the Secretary for the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico to account for all commercial, recreational, and charter fishing harvests and fishing effort on the stock;

(B) the appropriateness of the scientific methods, information, and models used by the Secretary to assess the status and trends of the Gulf of Mexico red snapper stock and as the basis for the fishery management plan for the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery;

(C) the appropriateness and adequacy of the management measures in the fishery management plan for red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico for conserving and managing the red snapper fishery under this Act; and

(D) the costs and benefits of all reasonable alternatives to an individual fishing quota program for the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico.

(2) The Secretary shall ensure that commercial, recreational, and charter fishermen in the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico are provided an opportunity to

(A) participate in the peer review under this subsection; and

(B) provide information to the Secretary concerning the review of fishery statistics under this subsection without being subject to penalty under this Act or other applicable law for any past violation of a requirement to report such information to the Secretary.

(3) The Secretary shall submit a detailed written report on the findings of the peer review conducted under this subsection to the Gulf Council no later than one year after the date of enactment of the Sustainable Fisheries Act.

(b) PROHIBITION.—In addition to the restrictions under section 303(d)(1)(A), the Gulf Council may not, prior to October 1, 2002, undertake or continue the preparation of any fishery management plan, plan amendment or regulation under this Act for the Gulf of Mexico commercial red snapper fishery that creates an individual fishing quota program or that authorizes the consolidation of licenses, permits, or endorsements that result in different trip limits for vessels in the same class. (c) REFERENDUM.

(1) On or after October 1, 2002, the Gulf Council may prepare and submit a fishery management plan, plan amendment, or regulation for the Gulf of Mexico commercial red snapper fishery that creates an individual fishing quota program or that authorizes the consolidation of licenses, permits, or endorsements that result in different trip limits for vessels in the same class, only if the preparation of such plan, amendment, or regulation is approved in a referendum conducted under paragraph (2) and only if the submission to the Secretary of such plan, amendment, or regulation is approved in a subsequent referendum conducted under paragraph (2).

(2) The Secretary, at the request of the Gulf Council, shall conduct referendums under this subsection. Only a person who held an annual vessel permit with a red snapper endorsement for such permit on September 1, 1996 (or any person to whom such permit with such endorsement was transferred after such date) and vessel captains who harvested red snapper in a commercial fishery using such endorsement in each red snapper fishing season occurring between January 1, 1993, and such date may vote in a referendum under this subsection. The referendum shall be decided by a majority of the votes cast. The Secretary shall develop a formula to weigh votes based on the proportional harvest under each such permit and endorsement

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