DEEP: ASMFC Comment Period for Draft Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks

ASMFC Comment Period for Draft Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Coastal Sharks

February 26, 2008

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) is accepting comments on the Draft Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Coastal Sharks. The Draft FMP addresses the management of 39 shark species. It proposes management measures for state recreational and commercial shark fisheries, including permitted species, regions, seasons, quotas, possession limits, size limits, protection of nursing and pupping grounds, authorized gear, dealer reporting, research, display, finning, and bycatch reduction.

Coordinated state management is a vital step towards establishing healthy self-sustaining populations of Atlantic coastal sharks. Many species have been in a depleted state and are vulnerable to collapse if fishing pressure continues as it has in recent years. Most of these sharks utilize state water coastal estuaries and bays from Florida northward as pupping grounds and nurseries. The Draft FMP proposes to protect depleted shark stocks while they are in these areas during the most vulnerable stages of their life cycles.

Another goal of the Draft FMP is to establish complementary state and federal shark management. Currently some states mirror federal regulations for Atlantic sharks while other states have no management (other than for spiny dogfish) or have regulations inconsistent with the federal FMP. Coordinating management between state and federal waters will close loopholes between jurisdictions and simplify regulations for law enforcement officials.

Copies of the Draft FMP can be obtained via the Commission’s website at under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission as directed below.

There is no hearing scheduled in Connecticut. Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft FMP by providing written comments to the ASMFC. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM on March 28, 2008 and must be forwarded to Chris Vonderweidt, Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator, at 1444 ‘Eye’ Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; 202.289.6051 (fax) or (subject line: Sharks). For more information, please contact Chris Vonderweidt of the ASMFC at 202.289.6400 or Matt Gates at the DEP Marine Fisheries Division at 860.434.6043.  (N08-04)

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