NMFS Seeks Comments on New Rule to Protect Sharks and Rays

The National Marine Fisheries Service has announced its intention to promulgate rules related to the use of purse seine nets to ensure the sustainability of Bigeye, Yellowfin, and Skipjack Tunafish stocks, and to reduce bycatch of sharks, rays, and sea turtles. The agency has determined these rules are necessary to fulfill its obligations under the Convention on the Conservation and Management of Highly Migratory Fish Stocks in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. In pertinent part, the new rules would mandate the release of any oceanic whitetip sharks, silky sharks, and mobulid rays (which include manta rays and devil rays) from bycatch by U.S. fishers in the areas covered by the Convention. The agency is accepting comments through November 8, 2021.