FOLLOW US:

Stay connected with us
around the nation »


 
 

NOAA Fisheries Announces the Closure of the Commercial Fishery for Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks in the Gulf of Mexico Region

Posted November 30, 2015

Commercial shark dealer reports indicate that landings for commercial Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose small coastal sharks (SCS) are expected to exceed 80 percent of the available quota by November 27, 2015.  Therefore, as required by the regulations at 50 CFR 635.28(b)(2), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is closing the commercial fishery for non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region as of 11:30 p.m. local time December 5, 2015.  The only shark species or management groups that remain open in the Gulf of Mexico region at this time are the research large coastal sharks, sandbar sharks within the shark research fishery, the blue shark, and pelagic sharks other than porbeagle or blue shark management groups.  In the 2016 shark season final rule, NMFS recently announced that the Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS fishery will be opening on January 1, 2016.  Thus, from the effective date and time of the closure until January 1, 2016, the Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS management group quota is closed. 

Dealer reports recently received through November 20, 2015, indicate that 89.4 mt dw or 79 percent of the available Gulf of Mexico non-blacknose SCS quota has been landed. 

During the closure, retention of non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region is prohibited for persons fishing aboard vessels issued a commercial shark limited access permit 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 blacknose sharks or non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico region from a vessel issued a shark limited access permit (LAP), except that a permitted shark dealer or processor may possess blacknose sharks and/or non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico 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)(6).  Similarly, a shark dealer issued a permit pursuant to 50 CFR 635.4 may, in accordance with relevant state regulations, purchase or receive blacknose sharks and/or non-blacknose SCS in the Gulf of Mexico 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 a 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 Guỳ DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-427-8503. The information will also be posted on the HMS website at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/


Sign up for Atlantic HMS News
An electronic newsletter informing you of the latest HMS-related actions