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NOAA Fisheries a Final Rule Regarding the 2016 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season

Posted November 30, 2015

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces a final rule that establishes quotas and opening dates for the 2016 Atlantic commercial shark fisheries.  Some of the quotas have changed from the proposed rule based on adjustments to account for additional landings reported as of October 16, 2015.  Additionally, based on public comment and to promote equitable fishing opportunities in the Atlantic region, NMFS is esablishing the retention limit for directed shark limited access permit holders at 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip for the aggregated LCS and hammerhead shark management groups in the Atlantic region to start the 2016 fishing season.  The final adjusted quotas, retention limits, and opening dates are:

Region or Sub-region

Management Group

2016 Annual Adjusted Quota*

Quota Linkages

Commercial Retention Limits for Directed Shark Limited Access Permit Holders (inseason adjustments are available)

Season Opening Dates

Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Blacktip Sharks

28.9 mt dw 
(63,819 lb dw)**

Not Linked

45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip

January 1, 2016

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

85.5 mt dw
(188,593 lb dw)

Linked

Hammerhead Sharks

13.4 mt dw
(29,421 lb dw)

Western Gulf of Mexico

Blacktip Sharks

266.5 mt dw
(587,396 lb dw)**

Not Linked

45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

72.0 mt dw
(158,724 lb dw)

Linked

Hammerhead Sharks

11.9 mt dw
(23,301 lb dw)

Gulf of Mexico

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

107.3 mt dw
(236,603 lb dw)

Not Linked

N/A

 

Atlantic

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

168.9 mt dw
(372,552 lb dw)

Linked

36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip
[If quota is landed too quickly (e.g. if approximately 20 percent of quota is caught at the beginning of the year), NMFS anticipates inseason reduction (e.g. to 3 or fewer LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip), then inseason increase to 45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip around July 15, 2016]

January 1, 2016

 

 

Hammerhead Sharks

27.1 mt dw
(59,736  lb dw)

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

264.1 mt dw
(582,333 lb dw)

Linked
(South of 34° N. lat. only)

N/A

January 1, 2016

Blacknose Sharks
(South of 34° N. lat. only)

15.7 mt dw
(34,653 lb dw)**

No
regional
quotas

Non-Sandbar LCS Research

50.0 mt dw
(110,230 lb dw)

Linked

N/A

January 1, 2016

Sandbar Shark Research

90.7 mt dw
(199,943 lb dw)

Blue Sharks

273.0 mt dw
(601,856 lb dw)

Not Linked

N/A

Porbeagle Sharks

1.7 mt dw
(3,748 lb dw)

Pelagic Sharks Other Than Porbeagle or Blue

488.0 mt dw
(1,075,856 lb dw)

*1 mt dw = 2,204.6 lb dw

**Change from proposed rule

All of the shark fisheries will remain open until December 31, 2016, unless NMFS calculates that the fishing season landings have reached, or are projected to reach, 80 percent of the available quota.  In that case, NMFS will publish a notice in the Federal Register of the closure for that shark species group that will be effective no fewer than 5 days from the date of filing.

This notice is a courtesy to the HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery.  More details on the reasons regarding the decisions and responses to the public comments received are provided in the final rule for this action.  Copies of these documents 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) or on the HMS website at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.  For further information on this final rule and its requirements, contact Karyl Brewster-Geisz or Guý DuBeck at 301-427-8503. The information will also be posted on the HMS website at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/.


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