department of natural resources and environmental control
Division of Fish and Wildlife
REGISTER NOTICE #2011-03
3541 Atlantic Sharks
1. TYPE OF ACTION:
Amend the Tidal Finfish Regulations for Atlantic sharks (Title 7 §3541)
2. PURPOSE OF ACTION:
A number of shark species, including sandbar shark (Carcharhinus plumbeus) and sand tiger (Odontaspis taurus), are prohibited from harvest and should not be targeted by recreational anglers. These species are extremely vulnerable to fishing pressure and Delaware’s nearshore waters serve as important pupping, nursery, and feeding grounds. Studies indicate that these sharks suffer significant injury or death as a result of being caught by hook and line and need to be treated with the utmost care when hooked. It has become evident that a growing segment of the recreational fishery is illegally targeting these species for sport, despite the fact that this activity is expressly prohibited under §3541 (2.0). Further, many anglers are not immediately releasing these species in a manner that ensures the greatest chance of survival. Unfortunately, it is difficult to enforce fishing intent. Thus, the Department is seeking to amend the regulations in Title 7 §3541 to improve enforceability of the shark regulations and to better define measures that will ensure a shark’s maximum probability of survival.
3. STATUTORY BASIS:
Title 7 Delaware Code §903(e)(3)
4. LIKELY AFFECTED PUBLIC:
Recreational shark fishermen
5. NOTICE OF PUBLIC COMMENT:
Individuals may present their comments or request additional information by contacting the Fisheries Section, Division of Fish and Wildlife, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, (302) 739-9914. A public hearing on the proposed amendment will be held in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control auditorium located at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901 on March 25, 2011Membershe hearing will begin immediately following the artificial reef gear restriction public hearing that begins at 6 PM.
6. REVIEW COMMITTEE:
Advisory Council on Tidal Finfisheries
7. RESPONSIBLE STAFF MEMBER(s):
Craig Shirey (office) 302-739-9914; (fax) 302-739-6157; email firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Newlin (office) 302-735-2960; (fax) 302-739-6780; email email@example.com
3541 Atlantic Sharks
(Penalty Section 7 Del.C. §936(b)(2))
“Fillet” shall mean to remove slices of fish flesh, of irregular size and shape, from the carcass by cuts made parallel to the backbone.
“Land or Landing” shall mean to put or cause to go on shore from a vessel.
“Management Unit” shall mean any of the non-sandbar large coastal species, small coastal 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.
“Non-Sandbar Large Coastal Species” shall mean any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Great hammerhead, Sphyrna mokarran
Scalloped hammerhead, Sphyrna lewini
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
“Pelagic Species” shall mean any of the following species of sharks or parts thereof:
Porbeagle shark, Lamna nasus
Shortfin mako, Isurus oxyrinchus
Blue shark, Prionace qlauca
Oceanic whitetip shark, Carcharhinus longimanus
Thresher shark, Alopias vulpinus
“Prohibited Species” shall mean 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" shall mean Carcharhinus plumbeus
"Shore fishing" shall mean any fishing that does not take place on board a vessel. The terms "shore fishing" and "shore angler" are synonymous.
“Small Coastal Species” shall mean 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
2.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to land, purchase, trade, barter, or possess or attempt to land, purchase, trade, barter, or possess a prohibited species.
2.1 It shall be 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.
3.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to possess the fins from any shark in the management unit prior to landing said shark unless said fins are naturally attached to the body of said shark.
4.0 It shall be 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 unlawful for any person to fillet a shark in the management unit 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 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 unlawful to release any shark in the management unit 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.
7.0 It shall be 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, 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.
7.1 It shall be unlawful for any shark caught in state waters to be bought and sold without a federal Commercial Shark Dealer Permit.
8.0 It shall be 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 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. Further, it shall be 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 sharts, or pelagic sharks in exesss of current federal daily harvest limits administered by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
9.0 It shall be unlawful for any person to engage in a directed commercial fishery for a prohibited species.
10.0 It shall be unlawful for the operator of any vessel without a commercial foodfishing license to have on board said vessel any non-prohibited shark from among those species in the management unit 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.
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.
12.0 It shall be 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 per day (a day being 24 hours). Recreational shore anglers may also harvest one additional bonnethead, and one additional Atlantic sharpnose shark per day.
13.0 It shall be 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 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. 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 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 unlawfil 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. 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.