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NOAA fisheries reminds recreational anglers of 83 inch minimum size limit for north Atlantic shortfin mako sharks.
By NOAA Fisheries  |  June 21, 2018

Last March, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) announced an emergency interim final rule to adopt internationally recommended management measures in the Atlantic highly migratory species (HMS) fisheries. The emergency rule implemented management measures to address overfishing of North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks including a recreational minimum size limit of 83 inches fork length (FL). These measures were based on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) 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.

Key Points

  • The recreational minimum size limit for shortfin mako sharks is 83 inches fork length.
  • Fork length (FL) is the straight line measurement along the length of the shark from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail.

Who is affected?

  • Any recreational fishermen who possesses an HMS permit who catches or targets shortfin mako sharks. An HMS permit is required to pursue or harvest sharks in federal waters.
  • Any tournament that has a prize category for shortfin mako sharks.

What is the emergency recreational measure?
Recreational minimum size limit of 83 inches (210 cm) fork length (FL) for shortfin mako sharks.

The recommendation requires the release of all shortfin mako sharks in a manner that causes the least harm, while giving due consideration to the safety of crew members. Therefore, this emergency rule implements the following measures.

  1. Fishermen that hold an HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permits, and fishermen that hold Atlantic Tunas General category and Swordfish General Commercial permits when participating in a registered HMS tournament are encouraged to practice catch and release of all shortfin mako sharks.
  2. Fishermen that hold the above permits may only land a shortfin mako shark (male or female) if the shark meets the following minimum size: 83 inches (210 cm) FL. Fork length means the straight line measurement along the length of the shark from the tip of the upper jaw to the fork of the tail.

Where can I find more information?
The emergency interim rule, Environmental Assessment, and related outreach materials are available on the HMS Website.

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