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States Schedule Hearings on Draft FMP for Atlantic Coastal Sharks
Public Comment Accepted Until March 28, 2008

Washington, DC - States and jurisdictions from Maine through Florida have scheduled their hearings to gather public comment on the Interstate Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Atlantic Coastal Sharks. The dates, times, and locations of the scheduled meetings follow:

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
February 19, 2008; 6:30 pm
Plymouth Harbor Radisson
180 Water Street
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Contact: Melanie Griffin (617)626-1528

Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife
February 20 2008; 6:00 pm
Oliver Stedman Government Center
(Second Floor Conference Room)
4808 Tower Hill Road
Wakefield, Rhode Island
Contact: Nancy Scarduzio (401)423-1927

New York Dept. of Environmental Conservation
March 3, 2008; 6:00 pm
Bureau of Marine Resources Headquarters
205 North Belle Mead Road
East Setauket, New York
Contact: Steve Heins (630)444-0436

New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife
March 4, 2008; 7:00 pm
Ocean County Administrative Building
101 Hooper Avenue, Room 119
Toms River, New Jersey
Contact: Peter Himchak (609)748-2020

Delaware Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

March 11, 2008; 6:00 pm
OC Airport Conference Room
12724 Airport Road
Berlin, Maryland
Contact: Roy Miller (302)739-9914

Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources

March 11, 2008; 6:00 pm
OC Airport Conference Room
12724 Airport Road
Berlin, Maryland
Contact: Michael Luisi (410)260-8341

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

February 11, 2008; 6:00 pm
2600 Washington Ave, 4th floor
Newport News, Virginia
Contact: Jack Travelstead (757)247-2247

North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries

February 26, 2008; 6:00 pm
Roanoke Island Festival Park
One Festival Park
Manteo, North Carolina
Contact: Fritz Rohde (910)796-7215

South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources

February 27, 2008; 6:00 pm
Marine Resources Division Auditorium at Ft. Johnson 217 Ft. Johnson Rd.
Charleston, South Carolina
Contact: Bryan Frazier (843)953-9843

Georgia Coastal Resources Division

February 2, 2008; 6:00 pm
Stellar Conference Center
125 Venture Drive
Brunswick, Georgia
Contact: Doug Haymans (912)265-4600

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

February 25, 2008; 6:00 pm
Cocoa Agriculture and Extension Office
Lecture Room
3695 Lake Drive
Cocoa, Florida
Contact: Jasmine Cumberbatch (850)487-0554

The Draft FMP addresses the management of 39 shark species. It proposes management measures for state recreational and commercial shark fisheries, including permitted species,regions,seasons, quotas, possession limits, size limits, protection of nursing and pupping grounds, authorized gear, dealer reporting, research, display, finning, and bycatch reduction.

Coordinated state management is a vital step towards establishing healthy self-sustaining populations of Atlantic coastal sharks. Many species have been in a depleted state and are vulnerable to collapse if fishing pressure continues as it has in recent years. Most of these sharks utilize state water coastal estuaries and bays as pupping grounds and nurseries. The Draft FMP proposes to protect depleted shark stocks while they are in these areas during the most vulnerable stages of their life cycles.

Another goal of Draft FMP is to establish complementary state and federal shark management. Currently some states mirror federal regulations for Atlantic sharks while other states have no management (other than spiny dogfish) or have regulations inconsistent with the federal FMP. Coordinating management between state and federal waters will close loopholes between jurisdictions and simplify regulations for law enforcement officials.

Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the Draft FMP, either by attending public hearings or providing written comments. Copies of the Draft FMP can be obtained via the Commission?s website at www.asmfc.org under Breaking News or by contacting the Commission at (202) 289-6400. Public comment will be accepted until 5:00 PM on March 28, 2008, and should be forwarded to Chris Vonderweidt, Fisheries Management Plan Coordinator, 1444 Eye Street, NW, Sixth Floor, Washington, DC 20005; (202) 289-6051 (FAX) or at [email protected] (Subject line: Sharks). For more information, please contact Chris Vonderweidt at (202) 289-6400 or [email protected].
 
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