[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 82 (Thursday, April 28, 2022)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 25209-25213]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2022-09032]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Parts 223 and 224

[Docket No. 220421-0103]
RTID 0648-XR121

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition 
To List the Tope Shark as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered 
Species Act

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

ACTION: 90-Day petition finding, request for information, and 
initiation of status review.


SUMMARY: We, NMFS, announce a 90-day finding on a petition under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA) to list the tope shark (Galeorhinus 
galeus) as a threatened or endangered species and to designate critical 
habitat concurrent with the listing. We find that the petition presents 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, we are commencing a 
review of the status of the tope shark to determine whether listing 
under the ESA is warranted. To support a comprehensive status review, 
we are soliciting scientific and commercial data regarding this 

DATES: Scientific and commercial data pertinent to the petitioned 
action must be received by June 27, 2022.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on this document, identified by 
NOAA-NMFS-2022-0048 by the following method:
     Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Go to https://www.regulations.gov and enter NOAA-NMFS-2022-0048 in the Search box. 
Click on the ``Comment'' icon, complete the required fields, and enter 
or attach your comments.
    Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other 
address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, 
may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
    Interested persons may obtain a copy of the petition online at the 
NMFS website: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/endangered-species-conservation/petitions-awaiting-90-day-findings.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Manning, NMFS Office of Protected 
Resources, (301) 427-8466, [email protected].



    On February 15, 2022, we received a petition from the Center for 
Biological Diversity and Defend Them All Foundation to list the tope 
shark, Galeorhinus galeus, as a threatened or endangered species under 
the ESA and to designate critical habitat concurrent with the listing. 
The petition asserts that G. galeus is threatened by four of the five 
ESA section 4(a)(1) factors: (1) Present and threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) 
overutilization for commercial and recreational purposes; (3) 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and (4) other natural or 
manmade factors. In addition to requesting that we analyze whether the

[[Page 25210]]

tope shark warrants listing based on its status throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range, the petition requests that we analyze 
whether any distinct population segments (DPS) of tope shark warrant 
listing. The petition also requests that, if we determine the tope 
shark or any DPSs of tope shark warrant listing as a threatened 
species, we promulgate a protective regulation under section 4(d) of 
the ESA, and requests that we promulgate a regulation under section 
4(e) of the ESA for species similar in appearance to the tope shark. 
The petition is available online (see ADDRESSES).

ESA Statutory, Regulatory, and Policy Provisions and Evaluation 

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.), requires, to the maximum extent practicable, that within 90 
days of receipt of a petition to list a species as threatened or 
endangered, the Secretary of Commerce make a finding on whether that 
petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information 
indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted, and to promptly 
publish such finding in the Federal Register (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(A)). 
When it is found that substantial scientific or commercial information 
in a petition indicates the petitioned action may be warranted (a 
``positive 90-day finding''), we are required to promptly commence a 
review of the status of the species concerned during which we will 
conduct a comprehensive review of the best available scientific and 
commercial information. In such cases, we conclude the review with a 
finding as to whether, in fact, the petitioned action is warranted 
within 12 months of receipt of the petition. Because the finding at the 
12-month stage is based on a more thorough review of the available 
information, as compared to the narrow scope of review at the 90-day 
stage, a ``may be warranted'' finding does not prejudge the outcome of 
the status review.
    Under the ESA, a listing determination may address a species, which 
is defined to also include subspecies and any vertebrate DPS that 
interbreeds when mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). A joint NMFS-U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (USFWS) (jointly, ``the Services'') policy 
clarifies the Services' interpretation of DPSs for the purposes of 
listing, delisting, and reclassifying a species under the ESA (61 FR 
4722; February 7, 1996). A species, subspecies, or DPS is 
``endangered'' if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range, and ``threatened'' if it is likely to 
become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range (ESA sections 3(6) and 3(20), 
respectively, 16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and (20)). Pursuant to the ESA and our 
implementing regulations, we determine whether species are threatened 
or endangered based on any one or a combination of the following five 
section 4(a)(1) factors: (1) The present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of habitat or range; (2) overutilization 
for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (3) 
disease or predation; (4) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms 
to address identified threats; (5) or any other natural or manmade 
factors affecting the species' existence (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(1), 50 CFR 
    ESA-implementing regulations issued jointly by NMFS and USFWS (50 
CFR 424.14(h)(1)(i)) define ``substantial scientific or commercial 
information'' in the context of reviewing a petition to list, delist, 
or reclassify a species as ``credible scientific or commercial 
information in support of the petition's claims such that a reasonable 
person conducting an impartial scientific review would conclude that 
the action proposed in the petition may be warranted.'' Conclusions 
drawn in the petition without the support of credible scientific or 
commercial information will not be considered ``substantial 
information.'' In reaching the initial (90-day) finding on the 
petition, we will consider the information described in sections 50 CFR 
424.14(c), (d), and (g) (if applicable).
    Our determination as to whether the petition provides substantial 
scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned 
action may be warranted will depend in part on the degree to which the 
petition includes the following types of information: (1) Information 
on current population status and trends and estimates of current 
population sizes and distributions, both in captivity and the wild, if 
available; (2) identification of the factors under section 4(a)(1) of 
the ESA that may affect the species and where these factors are acting 
upon the species; (3) whether and to what extent any or all of the 
factors alone or in combination identified in section 4(a)(1) of the 
ESA may cause the species to be an endangered species or threatened 
species (i.e., the species is currently in danger of extinction or is 
likely to become so within the foreseeable future), and, if so, how 
high in magnitude and how imminent the threats to the species and its 
habitat are; (4) information on adequacy of regulatory protections and 
effectiveness of conservation activities by States as well as other 
parties, that have been initiated or that are ongoing, that may protect 
the species or its habitat; and (5) a complete, balanced representation 
of the relevant facts, including information that may contradict claims 
in the petition. See 50 CFR 424.14(d).
    If the petitioner provides supplemental information before the 
initial finding is made and states that it is part of the petition, the 
new information, along with the previously submitted information, is 
treated as a new petition that supersedes the original petition, and 
the statutory timeframes will begin when such supplemental information 
is received. See 50 CFR 424.14(g).
    We may also consider information readily available at the time the 
determination is made. We are not required to consider any supporting 
materials cited by the petitioner if the petitioner does not provide 
electronic or hard copies, to the extent permitted by U.S. copyright 
law, or appropriate excerpts or quotations from those materials (e.g., 
publications, maps, reports, letters from authorities). See 50 CFR 
    At the 90-day finding stage, we do not conduct additional research, 
and we do not solicit information from parties outside the agency to 
help us in evaluating the petition. We will accept the petitioners' 
sources and characterizations of the information presented if they 
appear to be based on accepted scientific principles, unless we have 
specific information in our files that indicates the petition's 
information is incorrect, unreliable, obsolete, or otherwise irrelevant 
to the requested action. Information that is susceptible to more than 
one interpretation or that is contradicted by other available 
information will not be dismissed at the 90-day finding stage, so long 
as it is reliable and a reasonable person conducting an impartial 
scientific review would conclude it supports the petitioners' 
assertions. In other words, conclusive information indicating the 
species may meet the ESA's requirements for listing is not required to 
make a positive 90-day finding. We will not conclude that a lack of 
specific information alone necessitates a negative 90-day finding if a 
reasonable person conducting an impartial scientific review would 
conclude that the unknown information itself suggests the species may 
be at risk of extinction presently or within the foreseeable future.
    To make a 90-day finding on a petition to list a species, we first

[[Page 25211]]

evaluate whether the information presented in the petition, in light of 
the information readily available in our files, indicates that the 
petitioned entity constitutes a ``species'' eligible for listing under 
the ESA. Next, if we conclude the petition presents substantial 
scientific or commercial information suggesting that the petitioned 
entity may constitute a ``species,'' we evaluate whether the 
information indicates that the species may face an extinction risk such 
that listing, delisting, or reclassification may be warranted; this may 
be indicated in information expressly discussing the species' status 
and trends, or in information describing impacts and threats to the 
species. We evaluate whether the petition presents any information on 
specific demographic factors pertinent to evaluating extinction risk 
for the species (e.g., population abundance and trends, productivity, 
spatial structure, age structure, sex ratio, diversity, current and 
historical range, habitat integrity or fragmentation), and the 
potential contribution of identified demographic risks to extinction 
risk for the species. We then evaluate whether the petition presents 
information suggesting potential links between these demographic risks 
and the causative impacts and threats identified in section 4(a)(1) of 
the ESA.
    Information presented on impacts or threats should be specific to 
the species and should reasonably suggest that one or more of these 
factors may be operative threats that act or have acted on the species 
to the point that it may warrant protection under the ESA. Broad 
statements about generalized threats to the species, or identification 
of factors that could negatively impact a species, do not constitute 
substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted. We 
look for information indicating that not only is the particular species 
exposed to a factor, but that the species may be responding in a 
negative fashion; then we assess the potential significance of that 
negative response.
    Many petitions identify risk classifications made by 
nongovernmental organizations, such as the International Union on the 
Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the American Fisheries Society, or 
NatureServe, as evidence of extinction risk for a species. Risk 
classifications by other organizations or made under other Federal or 
state statutes may be informative, but such classification alone may 
not provide the rationale for a positive 90-day finding under the ESA. 
For example, as explained by NatureServe, their assessments of a 
species' conservation status do ``not constitute a recommendation by 
NatureServe for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act'' because 
NatureServe assessments ``have different criteria, evidence 
requirements, purposes and taxonomic coverage than government lists of 
endangered and threatened species, and therefore these two types of 
lists should not be expected to coincide'' (https://explorer.natureserve.org/AboutTheData/DataTypes/ConservationStatusCategories). Additionally, species classifications 
under IUCN and the ESA are not equivalent; data standards, criteria 
used to evaluate species, and treatment of uncertainty are also not 
necessarily the same. Thus, when a petition cites such classifications, 
we will evaluate the source of information that the classification is 
based upon in light of the standards on extinction risk and impacts or 
threats discussed above.

Tope Shark Species Description

    The tope shark, G. galeus, is one of 39 recognized species within 
the houndshark family, Triakidae, and is known by many other common 
names, including soupfin shark and school shark. The tope sharks' range 
includes most oceans, specifically the Northeast, Eastern Central, 
Southwest and Southeast Atlantic Ocean; the Southwest, Southeast, 
Western Central, Eastern Central, and Northeast Pacific Ocean; the 
Mediterranean Sea, and the Eastern Indian Ocean. They can be found in 
water depths of up to 826 meters, but prefer coastal areas and occur 
most frequently within depths up to 200 m (Walker et al. 2020). Maximum 
size varies regionally, with maximum lengths of up to about 6 feet (200 
cm, (total length) and weights of up to 98.5 pounds 44.7 kg (Walker et 
al. 2020; Florida Museum, Fish Profile 2021). Age at maturity may also 
vary regionally and has been reported to range from about 10-15 years 
for females and about 12-17 years for males (Walker et al. 2020, 
COSEWIC 2007). Maximum lifespan is 40 to 60 years, and generation 
length has been estimated to be 23 to 26.3 years (Walker et al. 2020, 
COSEWIC 2007). Tope sharks reproduce every 1 to 3 years, although a 
triennial cycle may be more common (Peres and Vooren 1991, Nosal et al. 
2021). They are ovoviviparous (i.e., eggs are fertilized internally and 
hatch internally, with no placental connection to the mother) and 
produce litters of 20-35 pups on average after a roughly 12-month 
gestation period (Walker et al. 2017, Nosal et al. 2021). The diet is 
broad, and includes many teleost fishes (e.g., herring, sardines, 
anchovies, hake, cod, salmon, halibut), as well as some invertebrates 
(e.g., squid, octopus, crabs, annelids; Walker 1999; Florida Museum, 
Fish Profile 2021).
    Tope sharks are highly migratory and have been reported to occur in 
small schools segregated by sex and age. Genetic and tagging data 
indicate that the species may be structured as six regional 
populations, delineated generally as Northeast Atlantic (includes the 
Mediterranean Sea), southern Africa (Namibia to East London, South 
Africa), Southwest Atlantic (southern Brazil to Patagonia), Northeast 
Pacific (British Columbia to Mexico, including the Gulf of California), 
Southeast Pacific (Ecuador to Chile), and Tasman Sea (Australia and New 
Zealand; Chabot and Allen 2009, Hern[aacute]ndez 2013, Walker et al. 
2020, Nosal et al. 2021).

Analysis of the Petition

    The petition addresses a single species, G. galeaus; provides the 
scientific and common names for this species; and clearly indicates the 
administrative measures being requested. The petition also contains a 
detailed, narrative justification for the requested listing under the 
ESA and provides information on the species' taxonomy, geographic 
distribution, and threats. Global abundance estimates appear to be 
lacking for this species, but information is provided in the petition 
and supporting references regarding population status and trends. The 
petition is accompanied by literature citations and electronic copies 
of supporting material, including published scientific literature, web 
pages, and unpublished reports.
    In the sections that follow, we provide a synopsis of our analysis 
of the information provided in the petition and readily available in 
our files regarding tope shark population status and trends and whether 
and to what extent factors identified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA may 
cause the tope shark to be an endangered species or a threatened 

Population Status and Trends

    The petition presents information and references indicating that 
the tope shark has declined in most parts of its range, and that these 
declines have been driven by overharvest for commercial purposes. The 
tope shark is currently categorized as ``critically endangered'' on the 
IUCN Red List based on trend analyses of abundance indices indicating 
steep declines in many parts of the range (Southwest Atlantic, southern 
Africa, Australia, and

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Northeast Atlantic) and an estimated median reduction of 88 percent for 
the global population over three generations (79 years; Walker et al. 
    The most recent IUCN assessment by Walker et al. (2020) presents 
the results of separate trend analyses completed using available data 
from multiple geographic regions of the tope shark's range. For 
instance, using standardized catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) data from 
three fishery-independent survey datasets from the northern (2005-2018) 
and southern (1997-2016) Celtic Seas ecoregion and the Azores (1990-
2015), Walker et al. (2020) estimated annual rates of reduction of tope 
shark in the Northeast Atlantic region of 1.7 percent and an estimated 
median reduction of 76.6 percent over three generations (79 years). 
Using limited CPUE data for the Southwest Atlantic (specifically 
Argentina) from 1992-2015, they estimated annual rates of decline of 
5.9 percent and a median reduction of 99.3 percent over three 
generations. For Australia, Walker et al. (2020) used 74 years of stock 
assessment abundance data, collected from 1927-2000, and estimated 
annual rates of reduction of 2.8 percent and a median reduction of 90.1 
percent over three generation lengths. Although the available data 
suggest tope sharks in New Zealand and Australia are a single 
population, Walker et al. (2020) also completed a separate trend 
analysis for New Zealand. Using standardized CPUE data collected from 
several locations off New Zealand during 1990-2016, they estimated 
annual rates of decline of 0.5 percent and an estimated median 
reduction of 29.8 percent over three generations (Walker et al. 2020).
    A stock assessment has also been completed for tope shark in South 
Africa, where it remains a commercially targeted species. Using 
commercial fisheries catch data as well as scientific survey data, the 
assessment indicated a continuous declining trend in tope shark 
abundance at a rate of about 2.7 percent per year from 1991 to 2016, 
and an estimated 85.1 percent decline over three generations (Winker et 
al. 2019). No stock assessments or abundance indices appear to be 
available for the Northeast Pacific region (COSEWIC 2007, Walker et al. 

ESA Section 4(a)(1) Factors

    The petition asserts that the tope shark is experiencing threats 
under section 4(a)(1)(A) of the ESA as a result of habitat degradation 
and destruction associated with climate change. The petition discusses 
and provides references regarding direct and indirect climate-change-
driven impacts, including physical and chemical changes to ocean 
habitats (e.g., ocean warming, increasing ocean acidity), changes in 
ocean circulation patterns, declines in primary productivity and upper-
level consumers, range shifts for shark species, and negative health 
consequences for sharks. Available scientific evidence has clearly 
established that climate change has affected and continues to affect 
the distributions of many marine species as well as their productivity 
and phenology (Bindof et al. 2019, Morely et al. 2018). Experimental 
results have also revealed that ocean warming and acidification 
occurring under levels of carbon dioxide projected to occur by the end 
of this century can impair prey detection (olfaction) and hunting 
behavior and impact body condition and growth in some shark species 
(Dixson et al. 2015, Pistevos et al. 2015, Rosa et al. 2017). Although 
these various climate-change impacts are concerning, the extent to 
which tope sharks in particular may be threatened by such impacts is 
not clear based on the information in the petition or otherwise readily 
    The petition also asserts that high voltage undersea cables are 
degrading ocean habitats used by tope sharks and are contributing to 
extinction risk for this species. Specific impacts from high voltage 
undersea cables identified in the petition include interference with 
tope sharks' navigation, feeding, and predation. However, information 
to substantiate that tope sharks are being negatively affected by 
undersea power cables is not provided and appears to be lacking in 
    The petition identifies overutilization for commercial purposes 
under section 4(a)(1)(B) of the ESA and inadequate management of 
fisheries under section 4(a)(1)(D) of the ESA as the primary threats to 
the tope shark. Information in the petition and the cited references 
indicate that tope sharks have been fished commercially, typically with 
gillnets and longlines, throughout most of their range for meat, fins, 
and livers, which are rich in vitamin A. Demand for the liver oil in 
particular led to relatively intense commercial harvest of tope sharks 
during the 1930s and 1940s in several parts of its range, including the 
Northeast Pacific, Southwest Atlantic, South Africa, Australia, and New 
Zealand. This period of increased fishing pressure subsided fairly 
quickly, however, as the demand for shark liver oil declined and, in 
some locations, as stocks were depleted (COSEWIC 2007, Walker 1999). 
For example, from 1937-1949, an estimated 840,000 tope sharks were 
harvested in the Northeast Pacific for their livers, and the recorded 
commercial catch declined from a peak of over 4,000 t in 1939 to 287 t 
by 1944 (Walker 1999, Walker et al. 2020). This population is thought 
to have collapsed as a result of overexploitation, and although it is 
currently subject to a low level of commercial and recreational fishing 
in California, its current status is unknown (COSEWIC 2007).
    Information presented in the petition and cited references 
regarding ongoing commercial fishing for and retention of tope sharks 
in other parts of the range do suggest cause for concern. For instance, 
in South Africa, results of the fairly recent stock assessment indicate 
a greater than 99 percent probability that the stock is overfished and 
subject to overfishing (Winker et al. 2019). The recent IUCN assessment 
by Walker et al. (2020), citing a stock assessment for Australia, 
states that the Australian government has classified the tope shark as 
overfished and that the current biomass of this stock is below 20 
percent of unexploited levels. The petition also notes that for the 
Northeast Atlantic, the landings limit recommended in 2018 and 2019 
(i.e., 376 t) by the International Council for the Exploration of the 
Sea (ICES) has been exceeded based on the incomplete annual landings 
reported for tope shark during 2005-2018, which ranged from 542 t to 
715 t (Walker et al. 2020).
    Directed fishing for tope sharks is prohibited in several areas, 
including the United Kingdom (since 2008, expect for rod and reel), 
Mediterranean (since 2012), and Canada (since 2012). Other management 
measures in place within some range countries to address both directed 
and incidental take of tope sharks include limits on retention of 
bycatch and daily catch limits, seasonal and spatial area closures 
(e.g., breeding and nursery areas), quotas and limited entry systems, 
and gear restrictions. Within the United States, Federal protections 
(e.g., the Shark Conservation Act), as well as regulations in 
individual States regarding possession, sale, and trade of shark fins 
are being implemented to prevent the practice of shark finning (i.e., 
removing shark fins and discarding the body at sea). In 2020, the tope 
shark was also listed on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory 
Species of Wild Animals, which does not directly confer protections on 
the species, but does establish a framework and call upon Parties to 
develop agreements to conserve the species. Evidence of stock recovery 
or stabilization following implementation of some of these management 
measures is noted for at least a few locations, including the

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Northeast Pacific and Northeast Atlantic (Walker et al. 2020); however, 
the available trend analyses and stock assessments discussed in the 
petition suggest that existing management measures may be inadequate to 
prevent population declines throughout most of the range. Recreational 
catch of tope sharks is also unreported or under-reported, and 
therefore its impact and any related management measures cannot be 
fully assessed.
    Lastly, the petition asserts that tope sharks are threatened by 
toxic pollutants in the marine environment, including 
dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), polychlorinated biphenyls 
(PCBs), and trace metals (e.g., mercury). That sharks bioaccumulate 
such contaminants has been well documented, and concentrations of 
various contaminants in sharks have been shown to vary with multiple 
factors such as diet, length, weight, sex, species, and habitat (Walker 
1999, Lyons et al. 2013, Kibria and Haroon 2015). High mercury 
concentrations in tope sharks in particular led to concerns over human 
consumption of the meat and consequently impacted demand and affected 
markets in some locations during and 1970s and 1980s (Walker 1999). The 
petition states that bioaccumulation of toxic contaminants may have 
negative health consequences for tope sharks, such as impaired immune 
function, endocrine disruption, infertility, and birth defects. 
However, information to indicate whether and how toxic contaminants are 
negatively affecting tope shark health in particular is not provided 
and may not be available.

Petition Finding

    After reviewing the petition, the literature cited in the petition, 
and other information readily available in our files, we find there is 
substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that 
listing tope sharks under the ESA may be warranted. Therefore, in 
accordance with section 4(b)(3)(A) of the ESA and NMFS' implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.14(h)(2)), we will commence a status review of 
this species. During the status review, we will determine whether G. 
galeus is in danger of extinction (endangered) or likely to become so 
(threatened) throughout all or a significant portion of its range. As 
the petition did not request that we consider listing any specific 
DPSs, we will first assess the status of the taxonomic species, and 
then based on that assessment, consider whether additional analysis of 
potential DPSs is warranted and appropriate. As required by section 
4(b)(3)(B) of the ESA, within 12 months of the receipt of the petition 
(February 15, 2023), we will make a finding as to whether listing the 
tope shark (or any DPSs) as an endangered or threatened species is 
warranted. If listing is warranted, we will publish a proposed rule and 
solicit public comments before developing and publishing a final rule. 
If applicable, the request to promulgate regulations under section 4(d) 
and section 4(e) of the ESA would be considered in accordance with the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553) and applicable Departmental 
regulations, and appropriate action would be taken (50 CFR 424.14(j)).

Information Solicited

    To ensure that the status review is based on the best available 
scientific and commercial data, we are soliciting relevant data and 
information from interested parties regarding the tope shark. 
Specifically, we are soliciting information for this species in the 
following areas:
    (1) Historical and current abundance and population trends 
throughout its range;
    (2) Historical and current distribution, population structure, and 
genetic diversity;
    (3) Current condition of its habitat and current and future threats 
to these habitats;
    (4) Historical and current data on bycatch and retention of tope 
sharks in industrial, commercial, artisanal, and recreational fisheries 
throughout its range;
    (5) Data on trade of tope shark and their products, including fins, 
meat, and liver oil; and
    (6) The effects of other known or potential threats to tope sharks 
over the short-term or long-term; and
    (7) Management, regulatory, or conservation programs for tope 
sharks, including mitigation measures related to any known or potential 
threats to the species within specific range countries.
    We request that all data and information be accompanied by 
supporting documentation such as reprints of pertinent publications or 
bibliographic references. Please send any comments in accordance with 
the instructions provided in the ADDRESSES section above. We will base 
our findings on a review of the best scientific and commercial data 
available, including relevant information received during the public 
comment period.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited herein is available upon 

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: April 22, 2022.
Samuel D. Rauch, III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2022-09032 Filed 4-27-22; 8:45 am]