skip to main content | skip to footer
North Carolina Department of Environment Quality

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - 28 Sharks SSR 2016

Marine Fisheries

Web Content Display Web Content Display

Shark

Sharks — 2016

Stock Status Concern – Stock status is assessed by species complex for most coastal shark species and by species where data are adequate for an individual assessment. The current status is concern due to the overfished, overfishing or unknown status of sandbar, dusky, blacknose, blacktip, porbeagle and bonnethead sharks. In 2015, a benchmark assessment of Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) stocks was conducted through the Southeast Data Assessment Review (SEDAR). Results indicated that both stocks were not overfished and not experiencing overfishing. SEDAR 34 assessed Atlantic sharpnose and bonnethead sharks in 2013. The assessment indicated that neither Atlantic sharpnose nor bonnethead sharks are overfished or undergoing overfishing. However, due to concerns of a split bonnethead stock between the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the bonnethead results were deemed not suitable for management. A 2011 benchmark assessment (SEDAR 21) of dusky, sandbar, and blacknose sharks indicated that both sandbar and dusky sharks continue to be overfished with overfishing occurring for dusky sharks. Blacknose sharks are overfished with overfishing occurring.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2006-2015 628,911 lbs./$309,865

2015 Commercial Landings and Value 754,071 lbs./$330,336 (quota managed)

Large Coastal Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 – 7,146 lbs., 2015 – 0 lbs.

Small Coastal Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 – 21,826 lbs., 2015 – 24,188 lbs.

Smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 – 5,579 lbs., 2015 – 1,866 lbs.

Pelagic Average Recreational Landings 2006-2015 – 14,182 lbs., 2015 – 63,862 lbs.

Average Number of Award Citations (150 lb/80 in.) 2006-2015 47, 2015 65 (5 kept, 60 released) 

Status of Fishery Management Plan (FMP) In North Carolina, coastal sharks are included in an Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Coastal Sharks (FMP) implemented in August 2008 by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) to compliment federal management actions. The FMP regulates 40 different species of coastal sharks found on the Atlantic coast. Coastal sharks are managed under this plan as six different species complexes: prohibited, research, small coastal, non-sandbar large coastal, pelagic and smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish). The spiny dogfish and coastal shark management board (Board) does not set quotas and follows NOAA fisheries openings and closures for small coastal sharks, non-sandbar large coastal shark and pelagic sharks. Addendum I to the FMP was approved in 2009 allowing limited smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) processing at sea (removal of fins from the carcass) from March through June as long as the total wet weight of fins found on board the vessel does not exceed 5% of the total dressed weight of the smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) carcasses. Addendum I also removed smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) recreational possession limits and removed gillnet check requirements for smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) fishermen. Addendum II and Addendum III effective in 2013 addressed changes in the federal management of coastal sharks. Addendum II allocated state-shares of the smoothhound coastwide quota, modified the FMP to allow year round smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) processing at sea and modified the maximum fin-to-carcass ratio from 5% to 12% of the total dressed weight of the smoothhound shark (smooth dogfish) carcasses, consistent with the Shark Conservation Act of 2010. Addendum III created two new species groups (‘Hammerhead’ and ‘Blacknose’) and increased the recreational size limit for hammerheads. Effective in 2012, NOAA Fisheries changed the name of smooth dogfish to smoothhound shark to minimize confusion with spiny dogfish regulations.

Research and Data Needs Update stock assessments for sandbar and dusky shark; continue to acquire better species-specific landings information on number of species, by weight, from dealers; better identify and quantify the use of essential fish habitat and nursery areas for shark species found along the Atlantic Coast of the U.S.; continue to expand long term shark monitoring programs to assess population status, and trends in demographic parameters; identify and evaluate the effects of shark bycatch in other fisheries; initiate or expand species identification of bycatch in shrimp trawls to allow for better bycatch estimates particularly of blacknose sharks and other shark species.

2015 Regulations –Refer to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shark proclamation for commercial and recreational regulations. Commercial and recreational regulations in state waters are equivalent to regulations established by NOAA Fisheries in federal waters. Federal regulations have been in place since 1993, and a closure to commercial harvest in state waters occurred from 1997 to 2006.

Harvest Season Refer to the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) shark proclamation for commercial harvest seasons. Commercial open seasons in state waters are equivalent to open seasons established by NOAA Fisheries in federal waters and are dependent upon quotas.

Size and Age at Maturity Variable, depending upon species

Maximum Age – Variable, depending upon species

Juvenile Abundance Index Not Available

Habits and Habitats – Sharks belong to the class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish) that also includes rays, skates, and deepwater chimaeras (ratfishes). Relative to other marine fish, sharks have a very low reproductive potential. The low reproductive rate is due to sharks slow growth, late sexual maturity, one to two-year reproductive cycles, a small number of young per brood, and specific requirements for nursery areas. These biological factors leave many species of sharks vulnerable to overfishing.

Sharks have internal fertilization and the embryo of most species spend their entire developmental period protected within their mother's body, although some species lay eggs. Females produce a small number (2 - 25) of large pups, which have an increased chance of survival due to their size. Adults usually congregate in specific areas to mate and females travel to specific nursery areas to pup. These nursery areas are discrete geographic areas, usually in waters shallower than those inhabited by the adults. Frequently, the nursery areas are in highly productive coastal or estuarine waters where abundant small fish and crustaceans provide food for the growing pups. These shallow areas have fewer large predators than deeper waters, thus enhancing the chances of survival of the young sharks.

Sharks are a vital part of ocean ecosystems all over the world. Scientists consider them to be a keystone species because they generally reside at the top of the food chain having a strong impact on other species either directly or indirectly. Removing or reducing shark populations in an area can cause an imbalance in the food chain and produce far reaching negative impacts. Because of this, the health of shark populations in an ecosystem is often an accurate indicator of the overall health of the system.

For more information, contact Holly White at Holly.White@ncdenr.gov or 800-338-7805 or 252-264-3911.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • 252-726-7021 or 800-682-2632

NC logo

38337 FEEDBACK

Your input is valuable to us. Please send us your feedback.

What type of feedback would you like to send?*

Ask a Question Report a Problem Have a Concern Make a Comment

(If you would like us to respond please include your phone or e-mail.)

Your Question has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Problem has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Concern has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

Your Comment has been sent. Thank you!

An internal server error prevented Your Question from being sent.
Please try again later, or call Toll-Free (877) 623-6748 for immediate assistance.

Please complete all highlighted items

*If you are a DENR employee with an I.T. issue, please submit a DOTS ticket.