NOAA Fisheries Announces Emergency Regulations to Address Overfishing of North Atlantic Shortfin Mako Sharks

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Atlantic HMS

MARCH 1, 2018


NOAA Fisheries Announces Emergency Regulations to Address Overfishing of North Atlantic Shortfin Mako Sharks

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announces an interim final rule to adopt internationally recommended management measures in the Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) fisheries.  The emergency rule implements management measures to address overfishing of North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks.  These measures are based on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna's (ICCAT’s) Standing Committee for Research and Statistics (SCRS) benchmark stock assessment for North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks, which found the stock to be overfished with overfishing occurring. 

Who is affected?

  • Any commercial fishermen with HMS permits who interacts with shortfin mako sharks.
  • Any recreational fishermen who catches or targets shortfin mako sharks.
  • Any tournament that has a prize category for shortfin mako sharks.
  • Any dealers who buys or sells shortfin mako sharks or products.

 What are the measures?


NOAA Fisheries has been promoting the live release of shortfin mako sharks since 2013 through the "Release Makoapp.  It is a free app for mobile devices that allows fishermen to share information about releasing North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks. Download the free Release Mako app.

When will this happen?

Measures are immediately effective on March 2, 2018.  These measures are effective for up to 180 days from publication of the emergency rule, with a possible extension of up to 186 days, but are expected to be replaced by measures being considered in a proposed and final regulatory amendment currently under development. 

Is there an Environmental Assessment for this emergency rule?

Yes. The Environmental Assessment for the emergency rule is available on the HMS website

Can I comment on this emergency rule?

Yes.  Written comments may be submitted by May 7, 2018, to the HMS Management Division by either of the following methods:

  • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking portal. Go to!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0010, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.
  • Mail: Submit written comments to NMFS, Highly Migratory Species Management Division, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.  Mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on Atlantic Shortfin Mako Emergency Rule.’’

Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NOAA Fisheries.  All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on without change.  All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible.  NOAA Fisheries will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/ A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous).

During the comment period, NOAA Fisheries will hold one public hearing for this interim final rule. 

Public Hearing – March 7, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
            HMS Advisory Panel Meeting
            Sheraton Silver Spring
            8777 Georgia Avenue
            Silver Spring, MD 20910

 This notice is a courtesy to Atlantic HMS fishery participants to help keep you informed about the fisheries.  For further information on these emergency measures, contact the HMS Management Division at (301) 427-8503 or visit the HMS website