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NOAA Fisheries Announces a Proposed Rule to Implement the ICCAT Recommendation Requiring Release of Live Porbeagle Sharks

June 14, 2016

Actions being taken and important information/dates

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposes to implement International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) Recommendation 15-06 that requires “ vessels to promptly release unharmed, to the extent practicable, porbeagle sharks caught in association with ICCAT fisheries when brought alive alongside for taking on board the vessel.”  
This proposed rule would require the following fishermen to release unharmed, to the extent practicable, porbeagle sharks that are live at the time of haulback:

• HMS commercial fishermen that deploy pelagic longline gear;
• Recreational fishermen that hold an HMS Angling category permit, an HMS Charter/Headboat category permit, or an Atlantic Tunas General category permit that are participating in an HMS registered tournament and are retaining tunas, swordfish, and billfish.

This rule would not affect HMS permitted fishermen who target sharks and do not retain tunas, swordfish, and billfish.     

Public Comment Requested

You may submit comments (identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2016-0066”) through July 15, 2016, by using any one of the following methods:

• Electronic Submissions:  Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.  Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2016-0066, click the “Comment Now!” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
• Mail:  Margo Schulze-Haugen, NMFS/SF1, 1315 East-West Highway, National Marine Fisheries Service, SSMC3, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and generally will be posted for public viewing on without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter "N/A" in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

Public Hearing/Webinar

NMFS will hold a public hearing conference call and webinar on July 5, 2016, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  The public hearing conference call information is phone number 1 (888) 989-4573; participant passcode 9905999. Participants are strongly encouraged to log/dial in 15 minutes prior to the meeting. NMFS will show a brief presentation via webinar followed by public comment. To join the webinar, go to:; meeting number: 990 192 262; password: NOAA. Participants who have not used WebEx before will be prompted to download and run a plug-in program that will enable them to view the webinar.

This notice is a courtesy to fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery. Official notice of Federal fishery actions is made through filing such notice with the Office of the Federal Register. For further information, contact Larry Redd, Carrie Soltanoff, or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at (301) 427-8503.  


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