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12-month Finding on Petitions to List the Northwest Atlantic population of Dusky Sharks under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Posted: December 15, 2014

After conducting a comprehensive status review of the Northwest Atlantic (NWA) dusky shark as a distinct population segment (DPS), NOAA Fisheries is issuing a 12-month determination that the NWA population of dusky shark constitutes a DPS of the species but does not warrant listing under the ESA at this time.

NWA DPS has suffered significant declines since the late 1980s, with an estimated 74% decrease in abundance from virgin (unexploited) levels by 2004.  However, the recent stock assessment of the DPS indicates that the present level of exploitation (and associated fishery-related mortality) does not appear to pose a risk of extinction to the species.

Trends in bycatch and catch data, landings, and fishing effort, and results from analyses of updated fishery-independent time series since the terminal year of the stock assessment, do not suggest that exploitation rates will increase or significantly contribute to the species’ extinction risk through the foreseeable future.  

Existing regulatory mechanisms throughout the DPS’ range, including the U.S. retention prohibition as well as time and area closures in both U.S. and Mexican waters, strict management of the U.S. line fisheries, and continued regulation and monitoring of Mexican fisheries, appear effective in addressing the most important threat to the species (i.e., exploitation through bycatch mortality and harvest).

For more information please go to the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Species website at: or contact Maggie Miller at 301-427-8403. The Federal Register notice can be viewed here.



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