At its Aug. 7 meeting, the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission issued a declaration of emergency and notice of intent to modify rules for the harvest of shark in the large coastal shark species group (great hammerhead, scalloped hammerhead, smooth hammerhead, nurse shark, blacktip shark, bull shark, lemon shark, sandbar shark, silky shark, spinner shark and tiger shark).
The modifications to the existing rules are summarized below.
The commercial fishery for large coastal shark in Louisiana state waters will open at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 11, 2008 under the regulations provided below. The pertinent parts of these rules will also be effective for the recreational fishery for large coastal shark at 12:01 a.m. Aug. 11, 2008.
No sandbar or silky sharks may be retained under a recreational bag limit.
These species are in addition to those species included in the prohibited species group (basking shark, white shark, bigeye sand tiger, sand tiger, whale shark, smalltooth sawfish, largetooth sawfish, Atlantic angel shark, Caribbean sharpnose shark, smalltail shark, bignose shark, Caribbean reef shark, dusky shark, Galapagos shark, narrowtooth shark, night shark, bigeye sixgill shark, bigeye thresher shark, longfin mako, sevengill shark and sixgill shark).
Persons possessing a Commercial State Shark Permit but no Federal Shark Permit shall not possess on any trip, or land from any trip, or sell, barter, trade, or exchange in excess of 33 sharks from the large coastal species group, taken from Louisiana state waters. Persons possessing a Commercial State Shark Permit shall not possess any sandbar sharks unless they also have in their name and in possession a valid Federal Shark Research Permit under 50CFR635.32(1).
Shark fins shall not be possessed aboard a fishing vessel unless naturally attached to the original shark carcass by at least some portion of uncut skin. All sharks possessed aboard a commercial fishing vessel shall have fins including the tail intact and naturally attached to the shark carcass by at least some portion of uncut skin. It is illegal to replace sharks that are onboard a fishing vessel for retention with sharks of higher quality or size that are caught later in a particular trip.
Dealers purchasing sharks from state or federal waters must report the landings by species, and must specify the total shark fin numbers, values and weights separately from the weights, values and numbers of the shark carcasses.
If a harvester retains the fins after offloading from the fishing vessel, the harvester must also be licensed as a wholesale/retail dealer, and must complete and file a trip ticket that includes the numbers and weights of fins retained immediately after being offloaded from the fishing vessel. Later transactions of fins must have documentation referring to the original trip ticket number for those fins. Such numbers and weights must be recorded on dealer records in compliance with R.S. 56:306.5 and R.S. 56:306.6. Wholesale/Retail Dealers handling federal and state regulated shark species should contact the LDWF Trip Ticket office at 225-765-2393 for detailed instructions on these requirements.
Public comments on the Notice of Intent will be accepted prior to Thursday, Oct. 7, 2008. Comments should be submitted to Harry Blanchet, Marine Fisheries Division, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, PO Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "August Large Coastal Shark Notice of Intent" in the subject line.
For more information, contact Harry Blanchet at 225/765-2889 or email@example.com.