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Document Type

Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Harold L. Pratt, Jr.

Samuel H. Gruber

Toru Taniuchi

Publication Date


Book Title

Elasmobranchs as Living Resources: Advances in the Biology, Ecology, Systematics, and the Status of the Fisheries


U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service


NOAA Technical Report NMFS 90


The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has primary responsibility for the development ofihe Western North Atlantic Shark Fishery Management Plan (FMP). Currently, there is a consensus among the five East Coast Councils that an FMP for sharks should be prepared. The current concerns focus on many of the same issues that were germane a decade ago when a shark FMP was initiated and then halted mainly because of inadequate information. These issues include 1) an expanded, nondiscriminant, commercial longline fishery ; (2) an existing and rapidly expanding recreational fishery; (3) concern for the extensive waste which occurs from both recreational and commercial activities (especially the rapidly increasing issue of harvesting sharks for the use ofonly fins); (4) the reproductive strategy (few offspring, late maturation , and slow growth rates) of many species; and (5) realization that increased fishing pressure on specific shark species generally results in overfishing. Essential information for stock assessment is lacking for sharks and thus management is severely handicapped. Critical data needs include: valid growth information, stock delineation, documentation of the catch by species, samples of the population size structure, mortality estimates, independent indices of population abundance through time, and documentation of all (U.S. and other nationals) user groups both recreational and commercial . Data are particularly sparse for foreign fisheries which have expanded outside U .S. controlled waters, and which could be harvesting the same stocks of sharks.


Fishery management

Western North Atlantic Shark-Fishery Management Problems and Informational Requirements