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NOAA Fisheries Announces a Proposed Rule to Establish the Quotas and Opening Dates for the 2015 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season

Posted: September 11, 2014

 

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces a proposed rule that would establish quota levels and opening dates for the 2015 Atlantic commercial shark fisheries.

The proposed 2015 quotas, adjusted as appropriate to account for over- and underharvests, are summarized in Table 1 by management group.  Adjustments based on over- and underharvests depend on stock status.  The proposed rule uses landings data received as of August 15, 2014.  The final rule will be based on updated data received in dealer reports as of October or November 2014.  Thus, the quotas in the proposed rule are subject to change in the final rule.  All dealer reports that are received after that date will be used to adjust the 2016 quotas, as appropriate.

Specifically, we propose to:
• Open all shark management groups, except the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region, on the effective date for this action (i.e., on or about January 1, 2015).  
• Open the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region on June 1, 2015.
• Adjust the Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark management group quota based on underharvest in 2014.
• Adjust the Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS management group quota based on overharvest from 2013 and 2014.
• Adjust the regional blacknose shark management group quotas over a five-year timeframe based on an overharvest in 2012 and reduce the blacknose shark management group in the Atlantic region based on the additional 2014 overharvest.

Public hearings are currently not scheduled.  If you are interested in public hearings for the proposed rule, please contact Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Guý DuBeck by phone 301-427-8503.

The comment period for this proposed rule is open until October 14, 2014.  Written comments, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2014-0077”, may be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http://www.regulations.gov, or sent by fax or mail to the contact information included below.   All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http://www.regulations.gov without change.  All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible.  Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.  NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous).  You may submit attachments to electronic comments in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only.

This notice is a courtesy to the HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery.  Official notice of Federal actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of Federal Register. For further information on this proposed rule, contact Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Guý DuBeck at 301-427-8503.  Copies of the proposed rule are available upon request from the Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (phone: 301-427-8503, fax: 301-713-1917). The information will also be posted on the HMS website at:  http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/news/news_list/index.html

 

Table 1.  2015 proposed quotas and opening dates for the Atlantic shark fisheries.  All quotas and landings are dressed weight (dw), in metric tons (mt), unless specified otherwise. Table includes landings data as of August 15, 2014; final quotas are subject to change based on landings as of October or November 2014.  1 mt = 2,204.6 lb. 

Management Group

Region

2014

Annual Quota

(A)

Preliminary

2014

Landings 1

(B)

Adjustments

(C)

2015

Base Annual

Quota

(D)

2015

Proposed Annual Quota

(D+C)

Season Opening

Dates

Blacktip Sharks

Gulf of Mexico

274.3 mt dw

(604,626 lb dw)

200.9 mt dw

(442,861 lb dw)

73.4 mt dw

(161765 lb dw) 2

256.6 mt dw (565,700 lb dw)

330.0 mt dw

(727,465 lb dw)

January 1, 2015

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

151.2 mt dw (333,828 lb dw)

152.7 mt dw

(336,466 lb dw)

- 1.4 mt dw

(3,046 lb dw) 3

157.5 mt dw (347,317 lb dw)

156.1 mt dw (344,271 lb dw)

Hammerhead Sharks

25.3 mt dw (55,722 lb dw)

13.8 mt dw

(30,447 lb dw)

-

25.3 mt dw (55,722 lb dw)

25.3 mt dw (55,722 lb dw)

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

Atlantic

168.9 mt dw (372,552 lb dw)

56.7 mt dw

(124,931 lb dw)

-

168.9 mt dw (372,552 lb dw)

168.9 mt dw (372,552 lb dw)

June 1, 2015

Hammerhead Sharks

27.1 mt dw (59,736  lb dw)

3.3 mt dw

(7,381 lb dw)

-

27.1 mt dw (59,736  lb dw)

27.1 mt dw (59,736  lb dw)

Non-Sandbar LCS Research

No

regional

quotas

50.0 mt dw

(110,230 lb dw)

9.9 mt dw

(21,752 lb dw)

-

50.0 mt dw

(110,230 lb dw)

50.0 mt dw

(110,230 lb dw)

January 1, 2015

Sandbar Shark Research

116.6 mt dw

(257,056 lb dw)

30.1 mt dw

(66,265 lb dw)

-

116.6 mt dw

(257,056 lb dw)

116.6 mt dw

(257,056 lb dw)

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

Gulf of Mexico

 

68.3 mt dw

(150,476 lb dw)

44.4 mt dw

(97,960 lb dw)

-

45.5 mt dw

(100,317 lb dw)

45.5mt dw

(100,317 lb dw)

Blacknose Sharks

1.8 mt dw

(4,076 lb dw)

0.8 mt dw

(1,724 lb dw)

-0.2 mt dw

(-437 lb dw) 4

2.0 mt dw

(4,513 lb dw)

1.8 mt dw

(4,076 lb dw)

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

Atlantic

264.1 mt dw

(582,333 lb dw)

100.7 mt dw

(222,010 lb dw)

-

176.1 mt dw

(388,222 lb dw)

176.1 mt dw

(388,222 lb dw)

Blacknose Sharks

17.5 mt dw

(38,638 lb dw)

17.5 mt dw

(38,681 lb dw)

-0.5 mt dw

(-1,154 lb dw) 4

18.0 mt dw (39,749 lb dw)

17.5 mt dw

(38,638 lb dw)

Blue Sharks

No

regional quotas

273.0 mt dw

(601,856 lb dw)

7.8 mt dw

(17,157 lb dw)

-

273.0 mt dw

(601,856 lb dw)

273.0 mt dw

(601,856 lb dw)

Porbeagle Sharks

1.3 mt dw

(2,874 lb dw)

0.1 mt dw

(248 lb dw)

-

1.7 mt dw

(3,748 lb dw)

1.7 mt dw

(3,748 lb dw)

Pelagic Sharks Other Than Porbeagle or Blue

488 mt dw

(1,075,856 lb dw)

109.3 mt dw

(241,013 lb dw)

-

488.0 mt dw

(1,075,856 lb dw)

488.0 mt dw

(1,075,856 lb dw)

1 Landings are from January 1, 2014, through August 15, 2014, and are subject to change.

2 This adjustment accounts for underharvest in 2014.  Therefore, the Gulf of Mexico blacktip shark adjusted would be 330.0 mt dw for the 2015 fishing season.    

3 This adjustment accounts for overharvest in 2013 and 2014.  In the final rule establishing the 2014 quotas (78 FR 70500; November 26, 2013), the 2013 Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS quota was overharvested by 6.2 mt dw (13,489 lb dw).  After the final rule establishing the 2014 quotas published, late dealer reports indicated the  quota was overharvested by an additional 0.1 mt dw (408 lb dw).  In 2014, the 2014 Gulf of Mexico aggregated LCS quota was overharvested by 1.3 mt dw (2,638 lb dw).  While the numbers in the table shows the landings were overharvested by 1.5 mt dw (152.7 - 151.2 mt dw), this result is due to multiple rounding errors when converting between lb dw and mt dw.  NMFS establishes the quota in mt dw but dealers report in lb dw.  When the same calculation is conducted in lb dw and then converted to mt dw, the overharvest equals 1.4 mt dw (336,466-333,828= 2,638 lb dw)    Thus, NMFS is proposing to reduce the 2015 base annual quota based on the additional 2013 overharvest and overharvest from 2014. 

4 This adjustment accounts for overharvest in 2012 and 2014.  After the final rule establishing the 2012 quotas published, late dealer reports indicated the blacknose shark quota was overharvested by 3.5 mt dw (7,742 lb dw).  In the final rule establishing the 2014 quotas, NMFS implemented a 5-year adjustment of the overharvest amount by the percentage of landings in 2012.  Thus, NMFS will reduce the Gulf of Mexico blacknose sharks by 0.2 mt dw (437 lb dw) and the Atlantic blacknose sharks by 0.5 mt dw (1,111 lb dw) for the next 5 years.  In 2014, the 2014 Atlantic blacknose shark quota was overharvested by less than 0.1 mt dw (43 lb dw).  Thus, NMFS is proposing to reduce the 2015 base annual quota based on the additional 2014 overharvest and overharvest from 2012.