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Fishery Closure: Commercial Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks and Hammerhead Sharks Management Groups in Western Gulf of Mexico Subregion


Fishing Type
Action Status
Temporary Rule


Commercial fisheries for the linked aggregated large coastal shark (LCS) and hammerhead shark management groups in the western Gulf of Mexico subregion will close at 11:30 p.m. local time on March 8, 2021. 

Why is the fishery closing?

Commercial shark dealer reports indicate that the commercial landings of the LCS management group in the western Gulf of Mexico subregion has exceeded 80 percent of the available quota. Landings are also projected to exceed 100 percent of the available quota before the end of the fishing season. 

The hammerhead sharks management group in the western Gulf of Mexico is also being closed because it is linked via regulations to the aggregated LCS management group.

Western Gulf of Mexico Management Group

2021 Quota

Landings reported as of February 11, 2021

Closure Date

Aggregated LCS*

72.0 mt dw

58.2 mt dw

(81% of quota)

March 8, 2021

Hammerhead Sharks*

11.9 mt dw

< 1.0 mt dw

(< 6% of quota)

* Management groups are linked and close at the same time

How long is the closure in effect?

These management groups will remain closed through December 31, 2021 or until NOAA Fisheries announces a reopening in the Federal Register. 

Who is affected?

This closure applies to individuals fishing aboard vessels with a shark limited access permit. Vessels with an Atlantic HMS Charter/Headboat permit and a shark endorsement engaged in a for-hire trip may still retain sharks under the recreational retention limit. Vessels with a valid shark research permit may also retain sharks during trips with a NOAA Fisheries observer onboard. 

During this closure, federally permitted shark dealers may not purchase or receive aggregated LCS or hammerhead sharks in the western Gulf of Mexico subregion from a vessel with a shark limited access permit. Dealers may possess these species if:

  • They were harvested, off-loaded, and sold, traded, or bartered before 11:30 p.m. on March 8, 2021.  
  • They were harvested by a vessel in the shark research fishery. 
  • They were harvested by a vessel that fishes only in state waters and has not been issued a federal permit that authorizes harvesting Atlantic sharks. 

Federal Register

Last updated on 03/15/2021