February 28, 2017 — The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has officially made final some new recreational shark fishing regulations to fulfill a legal obligation they have to provide additional conservation for dusky sharks which will likely take effect in 2018.
The news will probably confuse some anglers who know a thing or two about shark fishing and shark regulations as dusky sharks have been a no-take-prohibited species for more than a decade.
So how could they, and why would they initiate new fishing regulations for a fish anglers are not allowed to fish for in the first place?
The short answer to that question is that according to the (very questionable) catch data that NMFS has to work with, recreational anglers along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico are catching and keeping a fair number of dusky sharks that they mistakenly think are legal species of sharks.
According to NMFS, even though the reported number of dusky sharks harvested is low, they are required by law to do something that will help reduce the mortality of these sharks by the recreational fishery.