Capstone Title

A Review of the Commercial and Recreational Shark Fishing Industry and its Management Within the South Eastern United States Atlantic Ocean; with Sugguestions for Management

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Curtis Burney

Second Advisor

Keith Ronald


The current Federal management plans for sharks in the SE Atlantic Ocean do not effectively manage nor protect commercially important species of sharks. According to the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Plan, fisheries managers must: halt over-fishing; rebuild over-fished fisheries; minimize by-catch and by-catch mortality; and describe, identify and conserve Essential Fish Habitats (NMFS, 2000). The following paper will illustrate the problems current management plans have and why they are not accurately conforming to the Magnuson-Stevens requirements.

There are several important aspects of commercial shark fishing that must be considered in order to determine how well management plans are working. These areas include: the biology and reproduction of sharks, fishing gear used in both the commercial and recreational shark fishery, the types of fisheries that are catching and/or landing sharks and how the sharks are utilized. A careful analysis of the current knowledge has led to the conclusion that several major changes need to be made to the current Federal Fisheries Management Plan for Sharks. The scientific information available on the biology and reproduction of shark species is filled with gaps and varies tremendously from species to species. The data, which exist for fishing gear and the utilization of sharks, are incomplete, not accurately reported, and lack several key components. The section on the types of fisheries includes: directed, incidental and recreational fisheries. These sections outline past problems with shark fisheries, the problems with shark bycatch and the impact of recreational fishing.

The conclusion of this paper outlines the problems and gives specific proposals for changes that should be made to the current Federal Fisheries Management Plan for sharks. The problems with shark management are all clearly illustrated through this paper, and the proposed changes include both personal perceptions and conclusions drawn from an intensive search of the literature. !he proposed changes are both extreme and purposeful.

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