An online petition signed by thousands of outraged divers aimed at preventing the upcoming shark fishing season in the Atlantic region has drawn the attention of the federally run National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

On Tuesday morning, officials from NOAA’s Fisheries Department hosted a conference call for DivePhotoGuide and other various news outlets in hopes of reducing the ire in the underwater community sparked by the petition, “STOP Commercial Shark Fishing Set for January 1, 2016!” The petition blew up on social media and has amassed more than 12,000 signatures in its first week.

“While we appreciate the sentiment and agree that sharks are a valuable and incredible resource and need conservation, please know that the regulations we have in place were carefully designed based on the best scientific information available to prevent overfishing and rebuild depleted stocks,” Margo Schultz-Haugen, the Highly Migratory Species Division Chief, told reporters in the call.

The petition is in response to NOAA’s release of the quotas for commercial and recreational shark fishing for the 2016 season. The 2016 season will start with a catch limit of 36 large coastal sharks per vessel, per day. No finning is allowed.

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