Environmental Policy News

NMFS Requests Info on Thresher Shark

On 26 August 2014, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) received a petition from Friends of Animals requesting that NMFS list the common thresher shark (Alopias vulpinus) as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or, in the alternative, delineate six distinct population segments (DPSs) of the common thresher shark, as described in the petition, and list them as endangered or threatened. Friends of Animals also requested that critical habitat be designated for this species in U.S. waters concurrent with final ESA listing.

The petitioner states that the common thresher shark merits listing as an endangered or threatened species under the ESA because of the following: (1) The species faces threats from historical and continued fishing for both commercial and recreational purposes; (2) life history characteristics and limited ability to recover from fishing pressure makes the species particularly vulnerable to overexploitation; and (3) there is a lack of regulations that specifically protect the common thresher shark.

NMFS finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for the species worldwide. NMFS also finds that the petition fails to present substantial scientific or commercial information to support the identification of DPSs of the common thresher suggested by the petitioners, and, as such, NMFS finds that the petitioned action of listing one or more of these DPSs is not warranted. Accordingly, NMFS will initiate a review of the status of the common thresher shark at this time. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, NMFS is soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding this species.

Information and comments on the subject action must be received by 4 May 2015.

You may submit comments, information, or data, identified by “NOAA-NMFS-2015-0025” by either of the following methods:

• Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2015-0025. Click the “Comment Now” icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments.

• Mail or hand-delivery: Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

For more information on the common thresher shark and ESA provisions and policy, visit www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/03/03/2015-04409/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-90-day-finding-on-a-petition-to-list-the-common-thresher-shark-as.

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