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NOAA Fisheries Announces Closure of the Commercial Aggregated Large Coastal Shark and Hammerhead Shark Management Groups in the Atlantic Region

Posted: November 26, 2014
 

Commercial shark dealer reports indicate that the landings for the commercial Atlantic aggregated large coastal sharks (LCS) have reached 80 percent of the available quota as of November 14, 2014.  In the Atlantic region, the quota for aggregated LCS is linked to the quota for hammerhead sharks.  Therefore, pursuant to the regulations at 50 CFR 635.28(b)(2), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is closing the commercial fisheries for both aggregated LCS and hammerhead sharks, which is linked by regulation to the aggregated LCS management group, as of 11:30 p.m. local time November 30, 2014.  From the effective date and time of the closure until and if NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register that additional quota is available and the season is reopened, these management groups will remain closed, even across fishing years. 

Dealer reports recently received through November 14, 2014, indicate that 135.0 mt dw or 80 percent of the available Atlantic aggregated LCS quota has been landed, and that 10.1 mt dw or 37 percent of the available Atlantic hammerhead shark quota has been landed. 

During the closure, aggregated LCS and hammerhead sharks in the Atlantic region are prohibited for persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit (LAP) under 50 CFR 635.4.  However, persons aboard a commercially permitted vessel that is also properly permitted to operate as a charter vessel or headboat for HMS and is engaged in a for-hire trip could fish under the recreational retention limits for sharks and “no sale” provisions (50 CFR 635.22(a) and (c)).  During this closure, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to 50 CFR 635.4 may not purchase or receive aggregated LCS and/or hammerhead sharks in the Atlantic region from a vessel issued an Atlantic Shark LAP, except that a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess aggregated LCS and/or hammerhead sharks in the Atlantic region that were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered prior to the effective date of the closure and were held in storage consistent with 50 CFR 635.28(b)(5).  Additionally, a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess aggregated LCS and/or hammerhead sharks in the Atlantic region that were harvested by a vessel issued a valid shark research fishery permit per 50 CFR 635.32 with a NMFS-approved observer onboard during the trip the sharks were taken on as long as the LCS research fishery quota remains open.  Similarly, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to 50 CFR 635.4 may, in accordance with relevant state regulations, purchase or receive aggregated LCS and/or hammerhead sharks in the Atlantic region if the sharks were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered from a vessel that fishes only in state waters and that has not been issued an Atlantic Shark LAP, HMS Angling permit, or HMS Charter/Headboat permit pursuant to 50 CFR 635.4.      

This notice is a courtesy to the HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery.  For further information on this landings update or the closure, contact Alexis Jackson or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-427-8503. 

 

 

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