Proposed Rule to Revise Shark Fishery Closure Regulations

February 22, 2018

This notice is a courtesy to the Highly Migratory Species fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fishery. 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). For further information on this proposed rule and its requirements, contact Guý DuBeck or Lauren Latchford at 301-427-8503, or Delisse Ortiz at 240-681-9037.

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NOAA Fisheries announces a proposed rule that would revise the regulations related to closures of the Atlantic commercial shark fisheries. The proposed action addresses previous public comments asking for consideration of revisions to the shark fishery closure procedures. 

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 proposed revisions to the closure regulations include:

  • Maintaining the current 80-percent closure threshold but allowing a shark fishery to remain open after this landings threshold has been reached or has been projected to be reached, if NOAA Fisheries determines the landings are not expected to exceed 100 percent of that quota before the end of the season (Alternative 1f).

  • Decreasing the minimum notice of a shark fishery closure from the current five days to three days (Alternative 2b), given reduced trip lengths and electronic reporting obligations, which have resulted in less need for extended notice of closures to avoid trip interruption.

Submit Comments by March 26, 2018:

During the comment period, NOAA Fisheries will hold one public hearing by phone for this proposed rule (see below). The public is reminded that NOAA Fisheries expects participants at the public hearings to conduct themselves appropriately. At the beginning of the conference call, the moderator will explain how the call will be conducted and how and when attendees can provide comments. NOAA Fisheries representative will attempt to structure the meeting so that all the attending members of the public will be able to comment, if they so choose, regardless of the controversial nature of the subject(s). Attendees are expected to respect the ground rules, and, if they do not they may be asked to leave the hearing or may not be allowed to speak during the conference call.

Information for Upcoming Conference Call/Webinar

During the public hearing call, NOAA Fisheries will receive public feedback on the proposed management measures. Written comments, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2017-0070”, may be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal, or mail to the contact information included below. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to Federal 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. NOAA Fisheries 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.

Last updated by Office of Sustainable Fisheries on February 22, 2018

Sharks Fishery Closures