Final Rule Regarding Pelagic Longline Gear and Operational Requirements
NOAA Fisheries is implementing longline gear and operational requirements to increase the survival of hooked oceanic whitetip sharks, effective May 31, 2022. This final rule prohibits the use of steel wire leaders within 1 meter of any hook deployed in the Hawaii deep-set longline fishery. In addition, this rule will require fishermen, with limited exceptions, to remove trailing gear from any oceanic whitetip sharks caught in longline fisheries operating under the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for Pelagic Fisheries of the Western Pacific, including the Hawaii deep-set and shallow-set longline fisheries and American Samoa longline fishery.
Oceanic whitetip sharks are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and a significant threat to their survival is bycatch in commercial fisheries. These measures are anticipated to increase their bycatch survival rate by 30 percent. To learn more, read our story, “New Rule Focuses on Improving Survival of Hooked Oceanic Whitetip Sharks."