Other Fields
Agency Scheme: 
Hearing Level: Basic Structure
Name of Hearing Office (local name): 
Office of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
Name of Hearing Office (global name): 
Department of Commerce: Office of the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Hearing Officer #1 (Title): 
Hearing Examiner
Are administrative appeals permitted from final decisions at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Comments/Notes on Adjudication Structure: 

This adjudication scheme deals with debarment hearings under the authority of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), a component of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NMFS provides necessary inspection services for fish, shellfish, and fishery products to the industry pursuant to the 1946 Agricultural Act.

On a finding of certain violations, a facility normally inspected by NMFS can be temporarily suspended and subsequently debarred from using the services of NMFS inspection, essentially preventing the facility from operating legally.

NOTE: The decisions of a Hearing Examiner can be appealed to the Secretary of Commerce, who may designate any officer or employee of the NMFS to fulfill his duties.

PROCESS & PROCEDURE - General Information
Are private parties permitted to have representation at hearings?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Who may serve as a private party representative?: 
Regulations/rules of practice for hearings (please include CFR citations): 
50 CFR 260.93
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Pre-Hearing Procedure
Is discovery permitted by either party at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Briefly describe the scope and type(s) of discovery available (e.g., depositions, interrogatories, etc.): 
The scope of discovery is limited to depositions at the discretion of the Hearing Examiner. See 50 CFR 260.93(j)(1).
Are ex parte contacts prohibited?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
Are parties provided notice of hearing?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Hearing Procedure
What types of hearings are permitted at the hearing-level stage?: 
Written (Document-Only) Hearing
How is the type of hearing selected: 
By Agency
How many hearing officers preside at each hearing?: 
Is witness testimony permitted at hearings?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Witness testimony is permitted in oral hearings. This question is not applicable to document-only hearings.
Can parties cross-examine witnesses?: 
Varies by Case
If "Varies by Case," please describe: 
Cross examination is permitted in oral hearings. This question is not applicable to document-only hearings.
Are hearings recorded and/or transcribed?: 
N/A (Document-Only Hearings)
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Post-Hearing Procedure
Who typically drafts the decision at the hearing-level stage?: 
Adjudication Officer
Who has authority to issue final decisions?: 
Adjudication Officer
If "Other," please specify: 
If the Hearing Examiner who conducted the hearing is not available to make the decision, the Director of NMFS (i.e., the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries) can appoint another to make the decision.
Do agency regulations or guidance provide time limits for issuance of final decisions?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
If "Yes," please specify these time limit(s): 
Within 60 days of the receipt of all briefs. See 50 CFR 260.93(l)(1)
Is judicial review available after issuance of a final decision?: 
PROCESS & PROCEDURE - Case Management
Does the agency permit web-based electronic filing of hearing-related briefs or other documents?: 
Are final decisions published and/or posted on the agency website?: 
Do agency regulations/rules of practice specify the contents of the administrative record at the hearing-level stage?: 
Yes (All Types of Cases)
If "Yes," please provide citation(s): 
50 CFR 260.93(k)(2)
Do agency regulations/rules of practice provide for closure of the record at the hearing-level stage (subject to applicable exce: 
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Process & Procedures (Optional): 
"All parties to a hearing shall be entitled to introduce all relevant evidence on the issues as stated in the notice for hearing or as determined by the Hearing Examiner at the outset of or during the hearing." 50 CFR 260.93(i)(1) "Technical rules of evidence shall not apply to hearings conducted pursuant to this section, but rules or principles designed to assure production of the most credible evidence available and to subject testimony to test by cross-examination shall be applied where reasonably necessary." 50 CFR 260.93(i)(2) "If no appeals from the initial decision is served upon the Director within ten (10) days of the date of the initial decision, it will become the final decision on the 20th day following the date of the initial decision." 50 CFR 260.93(l)(1)
Comments/Notes on Hearing-Level Adjudicators (Optional): 
There is not a great deal of information on the Hearing Examiner, only that: "All hearing shall be held before a Hearing Examiner appointed by the Secretary or the Director." 50 CFR 260.93(c). The Director and the Secretary are the Director of NMFS and the Secretary of Commerce, respectively. The duties of a hearing examiner are described in 50 CFR 260.93(j)
ADR: General Information
Is ADR available at one or more points during the hearing process?: 
Verified by Agency: 
Not verified