(a) Petition for termination
(1) A petition to terminate a council may be filed with the Secretary by no less than three sector participants in any one sector. Any petition filed under this subsection shall be accompanied by a written document explaining the reasons for such petition.
(2) If the Secretary determines that a petition filed under paragraph (1) of this subsection is accompanied by the signatures, or corporate certifications, as the case may be, of no less than three sector participants in a sector referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection who collectively accounted for, in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the month in which such petition was filed, not less than 20 percent of the value of the fish or fish products described in accordance with section 4009(b)(3) of this title that were handled by that sector during such period, the Secretary, within 90 days after such determination, shall conduct a referendum for termination of the council among all sector participants in that sector.
(3) Not less than 30 days prior to holding a referendum under this subsection, the Secretary shall publish a notice of such referendum, including the document explaining the reasons for the petition filed under paragraph (1) of this subsection and any other relevant information the Secretary considers appropriate.
(4) If the referendum votes which are cast in favor of terminating the council constitute a majority of the sector participants voting and the majority, in the period referred to in paragraph (2) of this subsection, collectively accounted for not less than sixty-six percent of the value of such fish and fish products that were handled during such period by a sector referred to in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the Secretary shall by order terminate the council effective as of a date by which the affairs of the council may be concluded on an orderly basis.
(5) The Secretary initially shall pay all costs of a referendum conducted under this subsection. Prior to conducting such a referendum, the Secretary shall require petitioners to post a bond or other security acceptable to the Secretary in an amount which the Secretary determines to be sufficient to pay any expenses incurred for the conduct of such referendum.
(6)(A) If a referendum conducted under this subsection fails to result in the termination of the council, the Secretary shall immediately recover the amount of the bond posted by petitioners under paragraph (5) of this subsection.
(B) If a referendum conducted under this subsection results in the termination of the council, the Secretary shall recover the expenses incurred for the conduct of the referendum from the account established by the council under section 4012(e) of this title. If the amount remaining in such account is insufficient for the Secretary to recover all expenses incurred for the conduct of the referendum, the Secretary shall recover the balance of such expenses from the petitioners that posted a bond under paragraph (5) of this subsection.
(b) Payment of remaining funds
If a council is terminated under subsection (a) of this section, the Secretary, after recovering all expenses incurred for the conduct of the referendum under subsection (a) of this section, shall take such action as is necessary and practicable to ensure that moneys remaining in the account established by the council under section 4012(e) of this title are paid on a prorated basis to the sector participants from whom those moneys were collected under section 4012 of this title.
16 U.S.C. § 4015 (2018)