Skip to Content
Unified Agenda 0648-BA89

Regulatory Amendments To Implement the Shark Conservation Act and Revise the Definition of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing

Summary

NMFS is amending identification and certification procedures under the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act to help achieve shark conservation in international fisheries. NMFS must identify nations whose fishing vessels have engaged in high seas fisheries targeting or incidentally catching sharks not subject to a regulatory program for the conservation of sharks comparable to that of the United States, taking into account different conditions, as required under the Shark Conservation Act (Pub. L. 111-348). NMFS would subsequently certify whether identified nations have adopted regulatory programs governing the conservation of sharks that are comparable to U.S. programs, taking into account different conditions, and established management plans for sharks. The absence of sufficient steps may lead to prohibitions on the importation of certain fisheries products into the United States and other measures.

NMFS is also amending the regulatory definition of "illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing" under the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act.

The procedures for identification and certification would entail a multilateral approach of consultations and negotiations with other nations to achieve shark conservation.

This action is not expected to have adverse economic impacts, and any such impacts would be well below the economic threshold of impact pursuant to E.O. 12866. In addition, there are no novel legal or policy issues associated with this action since identification and certification procedures have already been established in regulations (50 CFR part 300). However, this action is significant under the meaning of E.O. 12866 because it could lead to trade restrictive measures applied against foreign nations.

Statement of need

These regulatory amendments are required to implement the international provisions of the Shark Conservation Act to identify and certify nations whose vessels are engaged in shark finning and/or fishing for sharks in a manner that is not consistent with international management efforts. Additionally, this rule would revise the definition of Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing in response to comments on a prior rulemaking (0648-AV51) that set out the regulatory definition of IUU fishing.

Legal Basis

Shark Conservation Act (Pub. L. 111-348) and 16 U.S.C. 1826d to 1826k.

Alternatives

This action is categorically excluded from analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act because the proposed action is the promulgation of regulations of an administrative, financial, legal, technical, or procedural nature and the environmental effects of which are too broad, speculative, or conjectural to lend themselves to meaningful analysis and for which any potential cumulative effects are negligible. Consequently, no alternatives were analyzed.

Costs and Benefits

This action is not expected to have adverse economic impacts, and any such impacts would be well below the economic threshold of impact pursuant to E.O. 12866. Potential benefits, if any, would be indirect and accrue to internationally managed fisheries by strengthening Regional Fishery Management Organizations and by restricting U.S. market access through prohibiting illegally harvested fishery products.

Risks

There are no novel legal or policy issues associated with this action since identification and certification procedures have already been established in regulations (50 CFR part 300). However, this action is significant under the meaning of E.O. 12866 because it could lead to trade restrictive measures applied against foreign nations.

Timeline

2 actions from December 2011 to June 2012

  • December 2011
    • NPRM
  • June 2012
    • Final Action

Contacts

  • Christopher Rogers
    Division Chief
    Phone 301 713-9090
    Fax 301 713-9106
    1315 East-West Highway,
    Silver Spring MD 20910

Federal Register Activity

Site Feedback