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Notice

Schedules for Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops

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AGENCY:

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:

Notice of public workshops.

SUMMARY:

Free Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops and Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops will be held in October, November, and December of 2018. Certain fishermen and shark dealers are required to attend a workshop to meet regulatory requirements and to maintain valid permits. Specifically, the Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop is mandatory for all federally permitted Atlantic shark dealers. The Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop is mandatory for vessel owners and operators who use bottom longline, pelagic longline, or gillnet gear, and who have also been issued shark or swordfish limited access permits. Additional free workshops will be conducted during 2019 and will be announced in a future notice.

DATES:

The Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops will be held on October 18, November 15, and December 12, 2018. The Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops will be held on October 1, October 4, November 13, November 15, December 3, and December 13, 2018. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for further details.

ADDRESSES:

The Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops will be held in Somerville, MA; Mount Pleasant, SC; and Largo, FL. The Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops will be held in Manahawkin, NJ; Largo, FL; Port Saint Lucie, FL; Kenner, LA; Kitty Hawk, NC; and Ronkonkoma, NY. See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for further details on workshop locations.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Rick Pearson by phone: (727) 824-5399.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The workshop schedules, registration information, and a list of frequently asked questions regarding the Atlantic Shark ID and Safe Handling, Release, and ID workshops are posted on the internet at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​atlantic-highly-migratory-species/​atlantic-shark-identification-workshops, and https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/​atlantic-highly-migratory-species/​atlantic-protected-species-safe-handling-release-and.

Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops

Since January 1, 2008, Atlantic shark dealers have been prohibited from receiving, purchasing, trading, or bartering for Atlantic sharks unless a valid Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop certificate is on the premises of each business listed under the shark dealer permit that first receives Atlantic sharks (71 FR 58057; October 2, 2006). Dealers who attend and successfully complete a workshop are issued a certificate for each place of business that is permitted to receive sharks. These certificate(s) are valid for 3 years. Thus, certificates that were initially issued in 2015 will be expiring in 2018. Approximately 148 free Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops have been conducted since January 2008.

Currently, permitted dealers may send a proxy to an Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop. However, if a dealer opts to send a proxy, the dealer must designate a proxy for each place of business covered by the dealer's permit which first receives Atlantic sharks. Only one certificate will be issued to each proxy. A proxy must be a person Start Printed Page 42877who is currently employed by a place of business covered by the dealer's permit; is a primary participant in the identification, weighing, and/or first receipt of fish as they are offloaded from a vessel; and who fills out dealer reports. Atlantic shark dealers are prohibited from renewing a Federal shark dealer permit unless a valid Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop certificate for each business location that first receives Atlantic sharks has been submitted with the permit renewal application. Additionally, trucks or other conveyances that are extensions of a dealer's place of business must possess a copy of a valid dealer or proxy Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop certificate.

Workshop Dates, Times, and Locations

1. October 18, 2018, 12 p.m.-4 p.m., Quality Inn, 23 Cummings Street, Somerville, MA 02145.

2. November 15, 2018, 12 p.m.-4 p.m., Hampton Inn, 1104 Isle of Palms Connector, Mount Pleasant, SC 29464.

3. December 12, 2018, 12 p.m.-4 p.m., Hampton Inn, 100 East Bay Drive, Largo, FL 33770.

Registration

To register for a scheduled Atlantic Shark Identification Workshop, please contact Eric Sander at ericssharkguide@yahoo.com or at (386) 852-8588. Pre-registration is highly recommended, but not required.

Registration Materials

To ensure that workshop certificates are linked to the correct permits, participants will need to bring the following specific items to the workshop:

  • Atlantic shark dealer permit holders must bring proof that the attendee is an owner or agent of the business (such as articles of incorporation), a copy of the applicable permit, and proof of identification.
  • Atlantic shark dealer proxies must bring documentation from the permitted dealer acknowledging that the proxy is attending the workshop on behalf of the permitted Atlantic shark dealer for a specific business location, a copy of the appropriate valid permit, and proof of identification.

Workshop Objectives

The Atlantic Shark Identification Workshops are designed to reduce the number of unknown and improperly identified sharks reported in the dealer reporting form and increase the accuracy of species-specific dealer-reported information. Reducing the number of unknown and improperly identified sharks will improve quota monitoring and the data used in stock assessments. These workshops will train shark dealer permit holders or their proxies to properly identify Atlantic shark carcasses.

Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops

Since January 1, 2007, shark limited-access and swordfish limited-access permit holders who fish with longline or gillnet gear have been required to submit a copy of their Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop certificate in order to renew either permit (71 FR 58057; October 2, 2006). These certificate(s) are valid for 3 years. Certificates issued in 2015 will be expiring in 2018. As such, vessel owners who have not already attended a workshop and received a NMFS certificate, or vessel owners whose certificate(s) will expire prior to the next permit renewal, must attend a workshop to fish with, or renew, their swordfish and shark limited-access permits. Additionally, new shark and swordfish limited-access permit applicants who intend to fish with longline or gillnet gear must attend a Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop and submit a copy of their workshop certificate before either of the permits will be issued. Approximately 286 free Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops have been conducted since 2006.

In addition to certifying vessel owners, at least one operator on board vessels issued a limited-access swordfish or shark permit that uses longline or gillnet gear is required to attend a Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop and receive a certificate. Vessels that have been issued a limited-access swordfish or shark permit and that use longline or gillnet gear may not fish unless both the vessel owner and operator have valid workshop certificates onboard at all times. Vessel operators who have not already attended a workshop and received a NMFS certificate, or vessel operators whose certificate(s) will expire prior to their next fishing trip, must attend a workshop to operate a vessel with swordfish and shark limited-access permits that uses longline or gillnet gear.

Workshop Dates, Times, and Locations

1. October 1, 2018, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Holiday Inn, 151 Route 72, Manahawkin, NJ 08050.

2. October 4, 2018, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Holiday Inn Express, 210 Seminole Boulevard, Largo, FL 33774.

3. November 13, 2018, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Holiday Inn, 10120 South U.S. Highway 1, Port Saint Lucie, FL 34952.

4. November 15, 2018, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Hilton Hotel, 901 Airline Drive, Kenner, LA 70062.

5. December 3, 2018, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 North Virginia Dare Trail, Kitty Hawk, NC 27949.

6. December 13, 2018, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Marriott Courtyard, 5000 Express Drive South, Ronkonkoma, NY 11779.

Registration

To register for a scheduled Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshop, please contact Angler Conservation Education at (386) 682-0158. Pre-registration is highly recommended, but not required.

Registration Materials

To ensure that workshop certificates are linked to the correct permits, participants will need to bring the following specific items with them to the workshop:

  • Individual vessel owners must bring a copy of the appropriate swordfish and/or shark permit(s), a copy of the vessel registration or documentation, and proof of identification.
  • Representatives of a business-owned or co-owned vessel must bring proof that the individual is an agent of the business (such as articles of incorporation), a copy of the applicable swordfish and/or shark permit(s), and proof of identification.
  • Vessel operators must bring proof of identification.

Workshop Objectives

The Safe Handling, Release, and Identification Workshops are designed to teach longline and gillnet fishermen the required techniques for the safe handling and release of entangled and/or hooked protected species, such as sea turtles, marine mammals, and smalltooth sawfish, and prohibited sharks. In an effort to improve reporting, the proper identification of protected species and prohibited sharks will also be taught at these workshops. Additionally, individuals attending these workshops will gain a better understanding of the requirements for participating in these fisheries. The overall goal of these workshops is to provide participants with the skills needed to reduce the mortality of protected species and prohibited sharks, which may prevent additional regulations on these fisheries in the future.

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Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.

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Start Printed Page 42878

Dated: August 21, 2018.

Margo B. Schulze-Haugen,

Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service.

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[FR Doc. 2018-18349 Filed 8-23-18; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3510-22-P