Apr 28, 2006

Stop Maine shark-finning!

On Wednesday May 24th, you can help put an end to the practice of "finning" sharks captured in Maine state waters.

On that day at 6pm Maine DMR will host a meeting on a rulemaking proposal to do so at their laboratory in West Boothbay Harbor (Directions below). "Shark finning" means capturing dogfish and other sharks live, cutting off and saving their fins,and tossing the maimed animal back into the water. Sharks' fins are considered a folk medicine or flavorful soup ingredient by several cultures. The price paid to harvesters for fins is much higher per pound than for shark flesh or skin, leading to an incentive to keep only the fins of sharks . The shark finning industry has led to a major drop in the number of sharks around the world, including the Gulf of Maine.

The US Government now bans shark finning in federal waters. Maine is required to enact a shark finning ban for state waters. Please get involved to make sure that Maine's regulations are strict as possible to keep our finny friends around!
Complete details, below...


PUBLIC HEARING: Wednesday, May 24, 2006, 6:00 PM*, Department of Marine Resources, Large Conference Room, 200 McKown Point Road, West Boothbay Harbor

DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS: Saturday, June 3, 2006

AGENCY CONTACT PERSON: Terry Stockwell (tel: 207-624-6550)
Mail Written Comments to: attn: L. Churchill
AGENCY NAME: Department of Marine Resources
ADDRESS: PO Box 8
West Boothbay Harbor, Maine 04575-0008
WEB SITE: www.maine.gov/dmr/rulemaking
TELEPHONE: (207) 633-9584
FAX: (207) 633-9579
TTY: (207) 633-9500 (Deaf/Hard of Hearing)
Hearing facilities: If you require accommodations due to disability, please contact Kim Pierce, at (207) 287-5055.
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Additional information:

The proposed regulations would implement a prohibition in Maine’s territorial waters for the process of “finning” spiny dogfish or coastal sharks. This measure would provide enforcement consistency with the National Marine Fisheries Service federal regulations for sharks (CFR 635.30) and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) Fisheries Management Plan for Spiny Dogfish.

Finning is the process of removing the fin or fins from a coastal shark or spiny dogfish and discarding the remaining of the animal at sea. According to the federal regulations background the strong international market for shark fins has increased the potential for fishing shark stocks at unsustainable levels as well as the waste of usable (but often relatively lower value) shark meat.

The proposed regulations would affect all harvesters of coastal shark or spiny dogfish in Maine’s territorial waters. These amendments are intended to have a positive impact on the conservation of the resource for future harvest.

Shark finning has been prohibited in Federal waters since 1993, and finning of spiny dogfish was prohibited in this region in 2000. Persons aboard a vessel issued a federal permit for coastal shark or spiny dogfish already must comply with the federal prohibitions to shore or more restrictive rules. Maine is the remaining member state of the ASMFC compact to comply with the finning prohibition.


Proposed regulations: DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES

Chapter 50- Spiny Dogfish and Coastal Sharks

50.01 Definitions

1. “Coastal Sharks” means for the purpose of these regulations any species of shark caught in Maine’s territorial waters.

2. “Finning” means the act of taking a spiny dogfish or other coastal shark removing the fins, and returning the remainder of the spiny dogfish or other coastal shark to the sea.


50.02 Harvest, Possession and Landing Restrictions Note: See separate proposed rulemaking

50.10 Finning Prohibited

Finning is prohibited in Maine territorial waters. Vessels that land spiny dogfish or other coastal shark must land fins in proportion to carcasses, with a maximum 5% fin to carcass ratio, by weight. Fins may be removed at sea, but the corresponding carcass, including the head and tail, must be retained. All fins and carcasses must be landed at the same time and in the same location. The shark or dogfish may be bled.




If you wish to submit comments on this rulemaking and are unable to attend the hearing please mail written comments at any time from the receipt of this notice to be received on or by
June 3, 2006. See contact information.

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