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Feds Announce New Shark Regulations

September 21, 2007
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The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced regulations aimed at rebuilding large coastal shark populations, preventing overfishing of all sharks, protecting essential fish habitat for sharks and reducing bycatch of depleted species. The regulations will soon take effect for both commercial and recreational fisheries in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. Amendment 1 to the Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish and Sharks concludes seven years of litigation with industry stakeholders and environmental organizations that had an impact on the development and implementation of long-term shark-management programs. The new regulations are based on updated and peer-reviewed scientific shark assessments and fulfill requirements of a settlement agreement reached between NMFS and litigants on shark management. Amendment 1 includes measures to prevent bycatch of prohibited and juvenile sharks and to protect one of the only shark habitat areas of particular concern that extend into federal waters. Nineteen shark species are protected fully and may not be landed by fishermen. Certain measures in Amendment 1 became effective at the end of 2003, while others took effect in February. For more information, visit www.nmfs.noaa.gov.

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