Fishing nations at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have once again failed to adopt scientific advice and best practices to safeguard several species of oceanic sharks.
Cuba on Wednesday launched an initiative to protect sharks in some of the most pristine habitat for the predators whose populations have been in steep decline.
The action plan, reached through two years of collaborative research with the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), will impose size and capture limits on fishermen, set aside protected areas and create closed seasons for shark-fishing, officials said.
Overfishing, including through finning and bycatch, is taking a serious toll on shark populations - threats that will continue if shark fishing remains largely unmanaged in the world’s ocean.
In November, Parties of the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)* have the opportunity and the scientific basis to take positive steps towards effective shark management in the Atlantic.
An effort by the European Union and the United States to better prevent shark “finning” (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea) gained support from Cuba and Norway during this week’s annual meeting of the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO). The EU and US have repeatedly proposed that NAFO and other international fisheries bodies strengthen existing finning bans by prohibiting the removal of shark fins at sea.
Sharks and rays are at a substantially higher risk of extinction than most other groups of animals. One quarter of all known species of sharks, skates and rays are listed as Threatened with Extinction on the IUCN Red List™.
Yet, over 1000 species that belong to this group play diverse, critical roles in the ocean ecosystem, are a source of food for thousands of people around the world, and provide many non-consumptive benefits to communities around the world.
Last week the world lost an ocean hero and inspirational women who dedicated her life to shark research, science and conservation - Dr. Eugenie Clark - a pioneering marine biologist, also known as the “Shark Lady” who passed away on 25 February at age 92.
The United Nations agricultural agency has today announced the launch of new technology that will allow quick identification of species of the fish while better helping to protect endangered shark species and to combat illegal trade in shark fins.