The agreement, the first of its kind to address the global conservation of sharks, was signed by Richard Benyon on behalf of the UK and a number of its Overseas Territories including the Falklands and South Georgia. Adopted under the Convention of Migratory Species it will help develop management measures to protect threatened species such as basking, longfin mako and whale sharks.
Many of these sharks are not only found in UK waters, but in the waters of British Overseas Territories making UK involvement crucial in ensuring these animals get the protection they need.
Signing the agreement Benyon said: “We must do all we can to protect these vulnerable species before they are lost forever.
“The UK is already pushing the EU to tighten controls on the wasteful and barbaric practice of shark ‘finning’, and this agreement further demonstrates our determination to ensure they do have a future.
“We will continue to lead the way on shark conservation internationally and will push for improvements wherever they’re needed.”
Under the agreement, work will focus on improving fisheries data for threatened shark species to help inform conservation and management actions. It will see better co-ordination of shark management and conservation measures at regional and international levels, including proposals to limit the catch or trade in endangered species of shark.
Benyon’s signature also extended the agreement to the UK Overseas Territories of Bermuda, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Indian Ocean Territories and the Isle of Man.
Photo courtesy of NOAA : Basking Shark, Oct 2010