Skip to Page Content
Delaware.gov  |  Text OnlyGovernor | General Assembly | Courts | Elected Officials | State Agencies
 Photo: Featured Delaware Photo
 
 
 Phone Numbers Mobile Help Size Print Email

Delaware General AssemblyDelaware RegulationsMonthly Register of RegulationsMarch 2015

Table of Contents Previous Next

Authenticated PDF Version

(7 Del.C. §§901(c & d), 903(e)(2)a and 903(e)(3))
7 DE Admin. Code 3541
Under the authority vested in the Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control ("Department" or "DNREC") pursuant to 7 Del.C. §§6006, 6010, the following findings of fact based on the record, reasons and conclusions are entered as an Order of the Secretary in the above-referenced regulatory proceeding.
This Order relates to proposed regulation amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3541: Atlantic Sharks. The Department's Division of Fish and Wildlife commenced the regulatory development process with Start Action Notice 2014-07 dated October 24, 2014. The Department published its initial proposed regulation amendments in the January 1, 2015 Delaware Register of Regulations. The Department then held a public hearing on January 22, 2015. Consistent with 29 Del.C. §10118(a), the public hearing record remained open for public comment through February 6, 2015.
Consistent with Addendum III, the proposed Amendments adjust species groupings for management purposes. Most significantly, the proposed Amendments group scalloped (Sphyrna lewini), great (S.mokarran) and smooth (S.zygaena) hammerhead sharks into a single complex, as it is difficult to differentiate the species. A recent assessment of scalloped hammerhead sharks indicated that the species is overfished, and that overfishing is occurring. It was also determined that female scalloped hammerhead sharks reach maturity at 78 inches fork length (Hazin, et al. 2001, NOAA Fisheries FEIS for Amendment 5a, pp. 2-19). Therefore, NOAA Fisheries changed the recreational size limit for all hammerhead sharks to 78 inches, and the proposed Amendments adopt this restriction. The proposed Amendments also separate the blacknose shark (Carcharhinus acronotus) from the small coastal shark complex.
The proposed Amendments to Delaware's existing Atlantic Sharks regulations were presented and thoroughly vetted by the Department at the public hearing on January 22, 2015. It should be noted that no members of the public attended said public hearing, nor was any comment received by the Department from the public at any time during the course of this proposed promulgation. It should also be noted that all proper notification and noticing requirements concerning this matter were met by the Department. Proper notice of the hearing was provided as required by law.
Based on the record developed by the Department's experts and established by the Hearing Officer's Report, I find that the proposed regulatory amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3541: Atlantic Sharks are well-supported. Therefore, the recommendations of the Hearing Officer are hereby adopted, and I direct that the proposed regulatory amendments be promulgated as final.
I find that the Department's experts in the Division of Fish and Wildlife fully developed the record to support adoption of these regulatory amendments. The adoption of these regulatory amendments will allow Delaware to (1) maintain consistency between the federal 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (as amended) and ASMFC management plans; (2) preserve the historical distribution of smoothhound (Mustelus canis and Mustelis norrisi) landings; (3) protect hammerhead sharks to maturity; (4) implement quota-based management for smoothhound (smooth dogfish); (5) implement shark finning limits consistent with the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 and 7 Del.C. §928A; (6) adjust the shark species groupings for management purposes; and (7) formally adopt a 78-inch minimum size limit for hammerhead sharks.
1. The Department has the statutory basis and legal authority to act with regard to the proposed amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3541, pursuant to 7 Delaware Code, Sections 901 (c) & (d), 903(e)(2)a, and 903(e)(3);
2. The Department has jurisdiction under its statutory authority, pursuant to 7 Del.C. Ch. 60, to issue an Order adopting these proposed regulatory amendments as final;
5. The adoption of these proposed regulatory amendments will allow Delaware to (1) maintain consistency between the federal 2006 Consolidated Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan (as amended) and ASMFC management plans; (2) preserve the historical distribution of smoothhound (Mustelus canis and Mustelis norrisi) landings; (3) protect hammerhead sharks to maturity; (4) implement quota-based management for smoothhound (smooth dogfish); (5) implement shark finning limits consistent with the Shark Conservation Act of 2010 and 7 Del.C. §928A; (6) adjust the shark species groupings for management purposes; and (7) formally adopt a 78-inch minimum size limit for hammerhead sharks;
6. The Department has reviewed these proposed regulatory amendments in the light of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, consistent with 29 Del.C. Ch. 104, and believes the same to be lawful, feasible and desirable, and that the recommendations as proposed should be applicable to all Delaware citizens equally;
7. The Department's proposed regulatory amendments, as published in the January 1, 2015 Delaware Register of Regulations, and as set forth in Appendix "A" hereto, are adequately supported, are not arbitrary or capricious, and are consistent with the applicable laws and regulations. Consequently, they are approved as final regulatory amendments, which shall go into effect ten days after their publication in the next available issue of the Delaware Register of Regulations; and
8. The Department shall submit this Order approving as final the proposed amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 3541: Atlantic Sharks to the Delaware Register of Regulations for publication in its next available issue, and provide such other notice as the law and regulation require and the Department determines is appropriate.
(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §936(b)(2))
Non-Sandbar Aggregated large coastal species shall means any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Great hammerhead, Sphyrna mokarran
Smooth hammerhead, Sphyrna zyqaena
Nurse shark, Ginglymostoma cirratum
Blacktip shark, Carcharhinus limbatus
Bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas
Lemon shark, Neqaprion brevirostris
Silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis
Spinner shark, Carcharhinus brevipinna
Tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvieri
Blacknose shark” means Carcharhinus acronotus or any parts thereof.
Fillet” shall means to remove slices of fish flesh, of irregular size and shape, from the carcass by cuts made parallel to the backbone.
Hammerhead species” means any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Great hammerhead, Sphyrna mokarran
Smooth hammerhead, Sphyrna zygaena
“Land or landing” shall means to put or cause to go on shore from a vessel.
Management unit shall means any of the non-sandbar aggregated large coastal species, small coastal species, blacknose shark, hammerhead species, pelagic species and prohibited species of sharks or parts thereof defined in this regulation. Smooth dogfish (Mustelus canus), although they are a species of shark, are not presently part of the management unit as defined above, and are not subject to minimum size or daily harvest restrictions. They are subject to the provisions of Regulation 3541, Sections 3.0 and 4.0.
NOAA Fisheries” means National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service.
“Pelagic species” shall means any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus
Blue shark, Prionace qlauca
Oceanic whitetip shark, Carcharhinus longimanus
Thresher Common thresher shark, Alopias vulpinus
“Prohibited species” shall means any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Basking shark, Cetorhinidae maximus
White shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Bigeye sand tiger, Odontaspis noronhai
Sand tiger, Odontaspis taurus
Whale shark, Rhincodon typus
Bignose shark, Carcharhinus altimus
Caribbean reef shark, Carcharhinus perezi
Dusky shark, Carcharhinus obscurus
Galapagos shark, Carcharhinus galapaqensis
Narrowtooth shark, Carcharhinus brachyurus
Night shark, Carcharhinus siqnatus
Atlantic angel shark, Squatina dumerili
Caribbean sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon porosus
Smalltail shark, Carcharhinus porosus
Bigeye sixgill shark, Hexanchus vitulus
Sevengill shark, Heptranchias perlo
Sixgill shark, Hexanchus griseus
Longfin mako, Isurus paucus
Bigeye thresher, Alopias superciliosus
"Sandbar shark" or “research speciesshall means Carcharhinus plumbeus or any parts thereof.
"Shore fishing" or “shore angler shall means any fishing that does not take place on board a vessel. The terms "shore fishing" and "shore angler" are synonymous.
Small coastal species shall means any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Bonnethead, Sphyrna tiburo
Atlantic sharpnose shark, Rhizoprionodon terraenovae
Blacknose shark, Carcharhinus acronotus
Finetooth shark, Carcharhinus isodon
Smoothhound” means any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Smooth dogfish, Mustelus canis
Florida smoothhound, Mustelus norrisi
2.0 Prohibited Species
2.1 It shall be is unlawful for any person to land, purchase, trade, barter, or possess or attempt to land, purchase, trade, barter, or possess a prohibited species [(1.9)].
2.12 It shall be is unlawful for any hook and line fisherman to remove from the water sandbar shark, or any other species of shark when prohibited from harvest under §3541.
3.01 It shall be Except as provided in 3.2, it is unlawful for any person to possess the fins from any shark in the management unit [(1.6)] prior to landing said shark unless said fins are naturally attached to the body of said shark.
4.0 It shall be is unlawful for any person to fish for any shark while in state waters with any fishing equipment or by any method, except: (1) Hook and Line; (2) Gill Net.
5.0 It shall be is unlawful for any person to fillet a shark in the management unit [(1.6)] prior to landing said shark. A shark may be eviscerated prior to landing said shark, but the head, tail, and fins must remain naturally attached to the carcass, except that as provided in 3.2 and commercial fishermen may eviscerate and remove the head of any shark reduced to possession, but the tail and fins must remain attached to the carcass.
6.0 It shall be is unlawful to release any shark in the management unit [(1.6)] or any sandbar shark in a manner that will not ensure said sharks maximum probability of survival. All species of shark when prohibited from harvest under §3541 must be immediately released.
7.01 It shall be is unlawful for the operator of any vessel without a commercial food fishing license to have on board said vessel more than one non-prohibited shark per trip from among those species in the management unit [(1.6)], regardless of the number of people on board the vessel. In addition each recreational angler fishing from a vessel may harvest and possess one bonnethead, and one Atlantic sharpnose shark per trip.
7.2 It is unlawful for any shore angler without a commercial foodfishing license to take and reduce to possession more than one non-prohibited shark from among those species in the management unit [(1.6)] per day (a day being 24 hours). Recreational shore anglers may also harvest one additional bonnethead, and one additional Atlantic sharpnose shark per day.
7.1 It shall be is unlawful for any shark from the management unit [(1.6)] caught in state waters to be bought and sold without a federal Commercial shark dealer permit.
9.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in a directed commercial fishery for a prohibited species. Commercial Quotas and Limits
8.09.1 It shall be is unlawful for any person who has been issued a valid commercial food fishing license while on board any vessel to possess any non-prohibited shark from among those species in the management unit [(1.6)] during the remainder of any period after the effective date a commercial quota for that group of sharks has been reached in said period or is projected to be reached in said period by the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce after the closure date set by NOAA Fisheries for that fishery. Further, it shall be is unlawful for any person who has been issued a valid commercial food fishing license while on board any vessel to possess any non-sandbar large coastal sharks, small coastal sharks, or pelagic non-prohibited sharks from the management unit in excesss excess of current federal daily harvest limits administered by the National Marine Fisheries Service NOAA Fisheries.
10.01 It shall be is unlawful for the operator of any vessel to possess without a valid commercial foodfishing license to have on board said vessel any non-prohibited shark from among those species in the management unit [(1.6)] that measures less than 54 inches, fork length (tip of snout to indentation between dorsal and ventral tail lobes), with the exception of Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, finetooth, bonnethead, and smooth dogfish sharks, for which no minimum size limit applies except as provided in 10.2 and 10.3.
10.2 It is unlawful to possess without a valid commercial food fishing license any hammerhead species [(1.4)] that measures less than 78 inches, fork length (tip of snout to indentation between dorsal and ventral tail lobes).
11.0 It shall be unlawful for any shore angler without a commercial foodfishing license to take and reduce to possession any non-prohibited shark from among those species in the management unit less than 54 inches, with the exception of Atlantic sharpnose, blacknose, finetooth, bonnethead, and smooth dogfish sharks, for which no size limit applies. Aggregated Large Coastal Sharks Closed Season
13.0 It shall be is unlawful for any recreational or commercial fisherman to possess silky, tiger, blacktip, spinner, bull, lemon, nurse, scalloped hammerhead, great hammerhead, and smooth hammerhead sharks from May 15 through July 15, regardless of where the shark was caught. Fishermen who catch any of these species in federal waters may not transport them through Delaware state waters during the aforementioned closed season.
14.0 It shall be is unlawful for any recreational or commercial fisherman to land or possess any sandbar sharks, except for a commercial fisherman in possession of a valid sandbar shark research permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service NOAA Fisheries. There must be a qualified observer aboard any vessel that lands and possesses sandbar sharks fishing under the auspices of a valid federal research permit.
15.0 It shall is unlawful for any Delaware recreational or commercial fisherman to land or possess any species of shark in state waters that is illegal to catch or land or possess in federal waters. Presently it is unlawful for recreational fishermen to take and possess silky sharks in federal waters at any time of the year.
16.0 The Department may grant anyone permission to take and possess sharks that would otherwise be illegal to take and possess when used for display and/or research purposes. Applicants will need a current State of Delaware scientific collecting permit and a valid federal sandbar shark research permit, if collecting sandbar sharks. Applicants must annually report the number, weight, species, location caught, and gear used for each shark collected for research or display purposes, and the annual disposition of said sharks throughout the life of each shark so taken. The Division reserves the right to place limits on or deny any request to take prohibited species of sharks under the auspices of a scientific collecting permit.
Last Updated: December 31 1969 19:00:00.
site map   |   about this site   |    contact us   |    translate   |    delaware.gov