Yesterday, the National Marine Fisheries Service implemented strong conservation measures for severely depleted coastal sharks in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Stock assessments conducted in 2006 revealed that sandbar, porbeagle and dusky shark populations have been severely overfished, and rebuilding timeframes are projected at 66, 100 and 400 years, respectively. Thanks to numerous comments filed last winter by conservation and fishing groups, including NCMC and its members, a tough program to protect and restore these species is now in place.
The new regulations, known as Amendment 2 to the Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, will impose a dramatic 80% cut in the commercial quota for sandbar sharks and all sandbar must be landed as part of a research program limited to 5-10 vessels carrying observers at all times. Porbeagle catch has also been cut to a fraction of previous levels, with the majority of the quota allocated to the recreational fishery.
The most significant change in Amendment 2 is a new requirement that all sharks be landed with fins naturally attached. The fins-on measure will facilitate identification of sharks at the dock and dealer, improve data collection and stock assessments, and will greatly aid authorities in enforcing the U.S. ban on shark finning.
Read the full story. http://www.savethefish.org/conservation_news_sharkamend.htm