2021 Atlantic Shark Fishery Year Quotas, Opening Dates, and Retention Limits

September 28, 2020

NOAA Fisheries announces a proposed rule to adjust quotas for Atlantic commercial shark fisheries in 2021. The rule would also propose opening dates and retention limits for the 2021 fishing year.

This action proposes adjustments to 2021 quotas to account for over- and underharvests as allowable under existing regulations, which take into account stock status.  It also proposes a January 1, 2021 opening date for the shark fishing season and shark retention limits.

Quotas and other provisions in the proposed rule are subject to change in the final rule. The proposed rule uses landings data received as of July 10, 2020. The final rule will be based on public comment and updated data received in dealer reports as of by late October to mid-November 2020. We anticipate that dealer reports received after the date of the final rule would be used to adjust the 2021 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.

The 2021 proposed adjusted quotas, retention limits, and opening dates are:

Region or Sub-region

Management Group

Quota Linkages

Season

Opening Date

Commercial Retention Limits for Directed Shark Limited Access Permit Holders

(inseason adjustments are possible)

Western

Gulf of Mexico

Blacktip Sharks

Not Linked

January 1, 2021

45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

Linked

Hammerhead Sharks

Eastern

Gulf of Mexico

Blacktip Sharks

Not Linked

January 1, 2021

45 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

Linked

Hammerhead Sharks

Gulf of Mexico

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

Not Linked

January 1, 2021

N/A

Smoothhound Sharks

Not Linked

January 1, 2021

N/A

Atlantic

Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks

Linked

January 1, 2021

36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip

 

If quota is landed quickly (e.g., if approximately 40 percent of quota is caught at the beginning of the year), NMFS anticipates considering an inseason reduction (e.g., to 3 or fewer LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip), then an inseason increase to 36 LCS other than sandbar sharks per vessel per trip around July 15, 20211

Hammerhead Sharks

Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks

Linked

(South of 34° N. lat. only)

January 1, 2021

N/A

 

Blacknose Sharks

(South of 34° N. lat. only)

8 Blacknose sharks per vessel per trip

(applies to directed and incidental permit holders)

Smoothhound Sharks

Not Linked

January 1, 2021

N/A

No

regional

quotas

Non-Sandbar LCS Research

Linked

January 1, 2021

N/A

Sandbar Shark Research

Blue Sharks

Not Linked

January 1, 2021

N/A

Porbeagle Sharks

Pelagic Sharks Other Than Porbeagle or Blue

1 NMFS is proposing changing the percent of quota harvested at which it considers adjusting the retention limit.  Rather than 35 percent, NMFS would consider adjustment to 40 percent to allow fishermen in the Atlantic region to more fully utilize the quota

 

Submit Comments by October 29, 2020:

Written comments, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2020-0108”, may be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to the eRulemaking Portal 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. We 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.

For further information on this proposed rule and its requirements, contact Lauren Latchford, Guy Eroh, or Karyl Brewster-Geisz at 301-427-8503.  

 

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on September 28, 2020