NOAA Fisheries will consider issuing exempted fishing permits, scientific research permits, display permits, letters of acknowledgment, and shark research fishery permits for the research and collection of Atlantic highly migratory species in 2019.
In general, exempted fishing and related permits authorize the collection of a limited number of tunas, swordfish, billfishes, and sharks from federal waters in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico. The purpose of these collections is scientific data, bycatch research, public display, and to evaluate the efficacy of environmental clean-up efforts, among other things. Letters of acknowledgment will document that scientific research activity is being conducted aboard scientific research vessels. The shark research fishery assists NOAA Fisheries in collecting valuable shark life history and other scientific data required in shark stock assessments.
Generally, NOAA Fisheries receives fewer than 50 applications with most relating to scientific sampling and tagging of Atlantic highly migratory species. This will be the only public comment opportunity before NOAA Fisheries issues this type permits. We will provide additional opportunity for public comment for applications outside of this scope.
Comments must have been received on or before November 30, 2018.