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NOAA Fisheries Announces a Proposed Rule to to Establish the Quotas, Opening Dates, and Retention Limits for the 2017 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season

August 26, 2016

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announces a proposed rule that would establish quota levels, opening dates, and retention limits for the 2017 Atlantic commercial shark fisheries.

The proposed 2017 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 July 15, 2016.  The final rule will be based on updated data received in dealer reports as of October 2016.  Thus, the quotas in the proposed rule are subject to change in the final rule.  All dealer reports that are received after the date of the final rule will be used to adjust the 2018 quotas, as appropriate.  In addition, NMFS will soon be publishing a Notice of Availability for Amendment 10 to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, which will address essential fish habitat and potential habitat areas of particular concern for HMS species, including lemon sharks.
 

Who is affected?

This action could affect:

What will it do?

The proposed adjusted quotas, retention limits, and opening dates are:

 

Region or Sub-region

Management Group

2017 Annual Adjusted Quota*

Quota Linkages

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

Season Opening
Dates

Eastern
Gulf of Mexico

Blacktip Sharks

36.0 mt dw
(79,400 lb dw)**

Not Linked

45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip

January 1, 2017

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

331.8 mt dw
(730,803 lb dw)**

Not Linked

30 large coastal sharks 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

112.6 mt dw
(248,215 lb dw)

Not Linked

N/A

Smoothhound Sharks

504.6 mt dw
(1,112,441 lb dw)**

Not Linked

N/A

Atlantic

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

168.9 mt dw 
(372,552 lb dw)

Linked

36 large coastal sharks 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 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip), then inseason increase to 45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip around July 15, 2017

January 1, 2017

 

 

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, 2017

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

17.2 mt dw
(37,921 lb dw)

Smoothhound Sharks

1,802.6 mt dw
(3,971,587 lb dw)**

Not Linked

N/A

No

regional

quotas

Non-Sandbar LCS Research

50.0 mt dw
(110,230 lb dw)

Linked

N/A

January 1, 2017

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
**Base quota adjusted based on over- or underharvest in 2016.
***NMFS proposes to use the 2016 underharvest to cover the remainder of the 2012 and 2015 overharvests.

Submit Comments by September 28, 2016:

During the comment period, NMFS will hold 1 conference call and webinar for this proposed rule, and will also present this rule at the September HMS Advisory Panel meeting in Silver Spring, MD during the public comment period:
 

Venue

Date/time

Meeting locations

Location contact information

Conference call

September 22,

2 p.m. – 4 p.m.

N/A

To participate in conference call, call: (888) 635-5002
Passcode: 5315520
To participate in webinar, RSVP at: https://noaaevents2.webex.com/noaaevents2/onstage/g.php?MTID=ea9172a6c1907b6efc462ce9117952e21, A confirmation email with webinar log-in information will be sent after RSVP is registered.  

 

Written comments, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2016-0096”, 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.  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 Guý DuBeck or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-427-8503 or Tobey Curtis at 978-281-9260.


 

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