At the recommendation of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), NOAA Fisheries has modified the retention limit for shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) in order to provide the stock an opportunity to rebuild to a sustainable level.
The retention limit for both the commercial and recreational fisheries in all state and federal waters is zero fish, effective July 5, 2022.
Assessments will be conducted annually to determine any future harvest limits.
What does this final rule do?
This final rule establishes a shortfin mako shark retention limit of zero in the commercial and recreational Atlantic HMS fisheries, consistent with the management measure adopted in 2021 by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) recommendation. If ICCAT provides for U.S. harvest in the future, NOAA Fisheries could increase the shortfin mako shark retention limit, based on regulatory criteria and the amount of retention allowed by ICCAT. Until that happens, the retention limit will remain at zero.
Who is affected?
- Any commercial fishermen with HMS permits using pelagic longline, bottom longline, or gillnet gear.
- Any recreational fishermen who target or catch shortfin mako sharks.
- Any dealers who buy or sell sharks or shark products.
What do fishermen need to do to comply with new requirements?
To comply with this rule, commercial and recreational fishermen (including those fishing in tournaments or on for-hire vessels) with HMS permits must release any shortfin mako sharks captured while the retention limit is zero, whether the shark is dead or alive at haulback. NOAA Fisheries will notify the public of any change to the commercial and/or recreational shortfin mako shark retention limit via Federal Register notice and email. Fishermen must continue to follow other relevant fishery regulations, which are summarized in the Atlantic HMS compliance guides.