NOAA Fisheries Announces Start Date for 2016 Atlantic Commercial Shark Fisheries

Cape Cod SharksHYANNIS – NOAA Fisheries has announced January 1 as the start date for the 2016 Atlantic commercial shark fisheries.

The agency has managed the Atlantic shark fisheries for more than 20 years and except for a few years, shark fisheries have opened on New Year’s Day.

NOAA Fisheries’ decision to open the season on January 1 instead of July 15 was based on comments from the industry and states.

An online petition began recently requesting that NOAA Fisheries end commercial shark fishing, but the agency said that regulations in place are designed to prevent the overcrowding of sharks and rebuild depleted shark stocks.

“Our information is for the entire shark fishery, which is from Maine to Texas, including the Gulf of Mexico,” said Margo Schulze-Haugen with NOAA Fisheries.

In the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, there are strict requirements for both commercial and recreational fisherman including quotas, permits, gear limitations and 20 prohibited species that cannot be landed at all.

“We’re required to make sure that the populations are sustainable in the long-term, but also to provide access to those resources to benefit the public in a sustainable way,” said Schulze-Haugen.

All fisherman also must land shark carcasses with their fins naturally attached.

The U.S. was one of the first in the world to implement fins attached regulations.

By JUSTIN SAUNDERS, CapeCod.com Newscenter

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