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The Commission's Spiny Dogfish & Coastal Sharks Management Board approved
release of the Public Information Document (PID) for the Interstate Fishery
Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Coastal Sharks for public review and
comment. As the first step in the development of an interstate FMP, the PID
presents a broad overview of the issues facing Atlantic coastal sharks and
the fishing industry. It provides the public with the opportunity to tell
the Commission about changes observed in the fishery, things that should or
should not be done in terms of management, regulation, enforcement,
research, development, enhancement, and any other concerns about the
resource or the fishery as well as the reasons for those concerns. The PID
can be obtained via the Commission's website at www.asmfc.org under
Breaking News. It is anticipated that the majority of coastal states will
be conducting public meetings on the PID; information on those meetings
will be released once they become finalized.

The PID and subsequent FMP are being developed to help coordinate the
conservation and management of coastal sharks among the Atlantic coastal
states and between the states and the federal government. Currently,
Atlantic coastal sharks are managed by individual states in inshore waters
(0 to 3 miles from shore) and by the federal government through the 1999
Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Tunas, Swordfish and Sharks in
offshore waters (3 to 200 miles from shore). Cooperation between federal
and state governments in developing coordinated conservation measures is
important to successful domestic management of coastal shark species
because range, migrations, mating and pupping areas overlap state and
federal jurisdictions. Many coastal species utilize highly productive bays
and estuaries within state waters as nursery habitat. In addition, because
the unique nature of shark biology (late maturity, low fecundity) makes
shark species more susceptible to overfishing, traditional fisheries
management methods become less effective.

Following the initial phase of information-gathering and public comment,
the Commission will evaluate potential management alternatives and develop
a draft FMP with preferred management measures identified for public
review. Following that review and public comment, the Commission will
specify the management measures to be included in the new FMP. A tentative
schedule for the completion of the FMP for Atlantic Coastal Sharks is
included in PID.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on
the PID, either through attending public hearings or providing written
comments. Copies can be obtained by contacting the Commission at (202)
289-6400 or via the Commission's website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking
News. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM on July 14, 2006 and
should be forwarded to Ruth Christiansen, Fisheries Management Plan
Coordinator, 1444 'Eye' Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005;
(202) 289-6051 (FAX) or at [email protected] (Subject line: Coastal
Sharks). For more information, please contact Ruth Christiansen at (202)
289-6400.
 
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