NOAA halts commercial fishing in Atlantic for blacknose sharks and small coastal sharks

Prohibition goes into effect June 7 - great whites not affected
Blacknose sharks have never been implicated in an attack on humans. NOAA photo.

Warming ocean waters bring sharks farther north

Climate change continues to affect the species swimming in our waters. The multitude of sharks now common off our Atlantic beaches are a good example.

The Marine Stewardship Council predicts that as sea temperatures change, fish numbers will change and fish will move to different areas and predators and prey will move to different areas, disrupting food chains.

Despite the movie Jaws and its ilk, there hasn't been a death due to a shark since 1936 as the New Bedford newspaper reports on the right. Click the newspaper image to see it larger.

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is now closing the fisheries for commercial blacknose sharks and non-blacknose small coastal sharks (SCS) in the Atlantic region. This action is necessary because the commercial landings of Atlantic blacknose sharks for the 2015 fishing season have exceeded 80 percent of the available commercial quota as of May 29, 2015, and the blacknose shark and non-blacknose SCS fisheries are quota-linked under current regulations.

The Department of Commerce published the following rule in the Federal Register from the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration: Atlantic Highly Migratory Species; Commercial Blacknose Sharks and Non-Blacknose Small Coastal Sharks in the Atlantic Region.

The blacknose shark has never been implicated in an attack on humans. This shark has a slender, streamlined body with a long, rounded snout and large eyes. There is a well-developed flap of skin in front of each nostril, defining the inflow and outflow openings.

The commercial fisheries for blacknose sharks and non-blacknose SCS in the Atlantic region are closed effective 11:30 p.m. local time June 7, 2015 until the end of the 2015 fishing season on December 31, 2015, or until and if NMFS announces via a notice in the Federal Register that additional quota is available and the season is reopened.

On December 2, 2014 (79 FR 71331), NMFS announced that the 2015 commercial Atlantic blacknose shark quota is 17.5 metric tons (mt) dressed weight (dw) (38,638 lb dw) and the non-blacknose SCS quota is 176.1 mt dw (388,222 lb dw).

Dealer reports recently received through May 29, 2015, indicated that 16.3 mt dw or 93 percent of the available Atlantic blacknose shark quota had been landed and 86.1 mt dw or 49 percent of the available Atlantic non-blacknose SCS quota had been landed. Based on these dealer reports, landings of Atlantic blacknose sharks have already exceeded 80 percent of the quota. Accordingly, NMFS is closing both the commercial blacknose shark fishery and non-blacknose SCS management group in the Atlantic region as of 11:30 p.m. local time June 7, 2015. The only shark species or management groups that remain open in the Atlantic region are research large coastal sharks, sandbar sharks within the shark research fishery, blue shark, and pelagic sharks other than porbeagle or blue shark management groups. On July 1, 2015, in the Atlantic region, the aggregated large coastal shark and hammerhead shark management groups will open.

For more info on this species, see here and here. Read the NOAA announcement in the Federal Register here.


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