2018 Atlantic Shark Commercial Fishing Season

November 21, 2017

NOAA Fisheries announces a final rule that would establish quota levels, opening dates, and retention limits for the 2018 Atlantic commercial shark fisheries.

Smoothhound shark

The 2018 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 final rule uses landings data received as of October 23, 2017. All dealer reports that are received after the date of the final rule will be used to adjust the 2019 quotas, as appropriate.

Who is affected?

This action could affect:

  • Any commercial shark fishermen in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.

  • Any dealers who buy or sell sharks or shark products in these areas.

What will it do?

The final 2018 adjusted quotas, retention limits, and opening dates are:

Region or Sub-Region Management Group

2018 Annual Adjusted Quota*

Quota Linkages

Commercial Retention Limits for Directed Shark Limited Access Permit Holders

(inseason adjustments are possible)

Season Opening Dates

Western Gulf of Mexico

Blacktip Sharks

347.2 mt dw

(765,392 lb dw)**
Not Linked 45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip January 1, 2018
Western Gulf of Mexico Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

72.0 mt dw

(158,724 lb dw)
Linked to Hammerhead 45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip January 1, 2018
Western Gulf of Mexico Hammerhead Sharks

11.9 mt dw

(26,301 lb dw)
Linked to Aggregated Large Coastal 45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip January 1, 2018

Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Blacktip Sharks

37.7 mt dw

(83,158 lb dw)**
Not Linked 45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip January 1, 2018
Eastern Gulf of Mexico Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

85.5 mt dw

(188,593 lb dw)
Linked to Hammerhead 45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip January 1, 2018
Eastern Gulf of Mexico Hammerhead Sharks

13.4 mt dw

(29,421 lb dw)
Linked to Aggregated Large Coastal 45 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip January 1, 2018
Gulf of Mexico Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

112.6 mt dw

(248,215 lb dw)
Not Linked N/A January 1, 2018
Gulf of Mexico Smoothhound Sharks

504.6 mt dw

(1,112,441 lb dw)**
Not Linked N/A January 1, 2018
Atlantic Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks 168.9 mt dw (372,552 lb dw) Linked to Hammerhead

25 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), NOAA Fisheries anticipates considering an inseason reduction (e.g. to 3 or fewer large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip), and later considering an  inseason increase to 36 large coastal sharks other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip around July 15, 2018

January 1, 2018

Atlantic Hammerhead Sharks

27.1 mt dw

(59,736  lb dw)
Linked to Aggregated Large Coastal Same as Aggregated Large Coastal January 1, 2018
Atlantic Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

264.1 mt dw

(582,333 lb dw)

Linked

(South of 34° N. lat. only)
N/A

January 1, 2018

Atlantic

Blacknose Sharks

(South of 34° N. lat. only)

17.2 mt dw

(37,921 lb dw)

Linked

(South of 34° N. lat. only)
N/A January 1, 2018
Atlantic Smoothhound Sharks

1,802.6 mt dw

(3,973,902 lb dw)**
Not Linked N/A

January 1, 2018

No regional quotas

Non-Sandbar LCS Research

50.0 mt dw

(110,230 lb dw)
Linked to Sandbar Shark Research N/A January 1, 2018
No regional quotas Sandbar Shark Research

90.7 mt dw

(199,943 lb dw)
Linked to Non-Sandbar LCS Research N/A January 1, 2018
No regional quotas Blue Sharks

273.0 mt dw

(601,856 lb dw)
Not Linked N/A January 1, 2018
No regional quotas Porbeagle Sharks

1.7 mt dw

(3,748 lb dw)
Not Linked N/A January 1, 2018
No regional quotas Pelagic Sharks Other Than Porbeagle or Blue

488.0 mt dw

(1,075,856 lb dw)
Not Linked N/A January 1, 2018

*1 mt dw = 2,204.6 lb dw

**Baseline quota adjusted based on over- or underharvest in 2017.

Circle Hook Reminder

  • The final rule for Amendment 5b to the 2006 Consolidated HMS FMP (82 FR 16478; April 4, 2017) implemented, among other things, a requirement for all HMS directed shark permit holders using bottom longline to use circle hooks, which becomes effective on January 1, 2018.

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 web page. For further information on this final rule and its requirements, contact Guý DuBeck, Gray Redding, or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-427-8503. 

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on July 30, 2018

Sharks