NOAA Fisheries announces its intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement and Fishery Management Plan Amendment to comply with International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna Recommendation 17-08 and address overfishing and establish the foundation for a rebuilding plan for North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks. The measures initially will be implemented through an interim final rule, under the emergency rulemaking authority of section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act, and the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, 16 U.S.C. 971 et seq. Since the interim final rule may only be effective for up to 366 days, NOAA Fisheries is developing a regulatory amendment to the 2006 Consolidated Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan that will consider and evaluate conservation and management options to address overfishing and to establish a foundation for a rebuilding plan the North Atlantic shortfin mako shark stock when the interim rule has expired.
NOAA Fisheries announces the scoping phase of this rulemaking process. NOAA Fisheries has drafted an issues and options document that summarizes the North Atlantic shortfin mako shark stock assessment and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna recommendation and offers preliminary ideas on potential management approaches to address overfishing on the stock in order to encourage and initiate public comment. NOAA Fisheries has scheduled the following scoping meetings and conference call to take public comment.
March 15, 2018 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.NOAA FisheriesSoutheast Fisheries Science Center3500 Delwood Beach RoadPanama City, FL 32408
March 21, 2018 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.Commissioners Meeting RoomDare County Administration Building954 Marshall C. Collins Dr.Manteo, NC 27954
April 12, 2018 from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m.Stafford Branch Public Library129 North Main StManahawkin, NJ 08050
Because the rulemakings overlap for some gear types, the public scoping meetings being held in Panama City, Florida, Manteo, North Carolina, and Manahawkin, New Jersey will be held in conjunction with public scoping meetings for pelagic longline bluefin tuna area-based and weak hook management. The shortfin mako shark management measure presentation will likely be given first unless polling of the audience indicates another approach is appropriate. After each presentation, public comment for that issue will be received. Meeting attendees interested in this issue are encouraged to show up at the beginning of the meeting to help determine the order of the presentations. The second presentation will not start any later than 6 pm.
In addition to the four scoping meetings and conference call, NOAA Fisheries has requested to present the issues and options presentation to the five Atlantic Regional Fishery Management Councils (the New England, Mid-Atlantic, South Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Fishery Management Councils) and the Atlantic and Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commissions during the public comment period. Please see the Councils’ and Commissions’ spring meeting notices for times and locations. NOAA Fisheries welcomes additional thoughts and comments on appropriate management measures. The issues and options document is available on the Highly Migratory Species website.
Specifically, NOAA Fisheries requests comments on commercial management options including, but not limited to, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna recommendations, quota levels, electronic monitoring, minimum sizes, retention restrictions, and prohibited species. In addition, NOAA Fisheries is seeking comments on recreational management options including, but not limited to, retention limits and restrictions, minimum sizes, gear modifications, landings restrictions and prohibited species. NOAA Fisheries also seeks comments on recreational monitoring requirements and the rebuilding program options for shortfin mako sharks. Comments received during scoping will assist NOAA Fisheries in determining the options for future proposed rulemaking to conserve and manage shark resources and shark fisheries, consistent with the Magnuson-Stevens Act and other applicable laws.
Written comments, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2018-0011”, 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.