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.
The Internet erupted with praise in August when United Parcel Service tweeted that it would stop shipping shark fins. But the decision — after a petition to the delivery giant garnered 178,000 signatures — addressed just one of many concerns about the ecologically vital but often threatened marine species.
Let’s start with the good news: Fisheries around the world are catching far fewer sharks than they used to.
Shark catches are down more than 20 percent from their peak in 2003. That year fishing fleets around the world netted 900,000 metric tons of sharks.
Sharks and related species such as rays and skates—collectively known as chondrichthyans—have been overfished for so long that at least 25 percent of the 1,000-plus known species are threatened with extinction.
The National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) clarified it will not grant authorisation to export hammerhead shark fins until the non-detriment removal ruling (DNP) is issued, an instrument that is expected to be completed within six months.
"There will be no export permits until the DNP is ready," stated Julio Jurado, SINAC director, in response to the fact that the Sea Turtle Recovery Programme (PRETOMA) questioned the permit granted to export 239 kilograms of common hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini) and smooth hammerhead shark (Sphyrna zygaena) fins.
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.
This week, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) holds its annual meeting in Europe’s largest fishing port: Vigo, Spain. We’ve been working with various colleagues, including Shark Advocates International and Shark Trust to encourage NAFO decisions toward more responsible regional fisheries for sharks and skates.
The setting of Total Allowable Catch for NAFO fish stocks will take centre stage at the 36th Annual Meeting to be held in Vigo, Galicia from 22-26 September 2014.
The meeting, hosted by Spain with support from the European Commission, will see the representatives of 12 NAFO Contracting Parties discuss the setting of catch limits based on the best scientific advice.