Atlantic Shark Depredation Out of Control
Capitol Hill must act as Atlantic sharks are everywhere taking angler-hooked fish, not occasionally, but all the time.
The NMFS has no plans to check the occurrence other than to provide information material to the recreational fishery on “how to avoid sharks while fishing.” That should be very interesting. And they will host workshops to help captains and anglers to learn how to identify the offending sharks. Identity isn’t crucial, it is stopping the practice by reinvigorating the shark fishery and markets.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel met on Feb. 11, 2022, to consider a Draft Proposed Plan Amendment that would establish a “framework” process for implementing Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Regulations for Atlantic sharks. TBF opposed the measure for the data is inadequate, provides a lot of uneasiness and uncertainty. The measure could give the agency a “blank check” to do what they want to do.
While NMFS assured us that it will go through a traditional rule-making process and provide more transparency, that action doesn’t provide better data. NMFS states it will use the “best available science” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that is the best data. Many of us have seen discrepancies in the science and what we see and hear on the water. The environmental groups want the proposed Amendment passed to allow the agency more flexibility to manage sharks under a full “precautionary approach.” This would mean no actions that could harm sharks, as billfish and other species and businesses collapse or falter. Final action will not be taken until later this year.