Internacional Policy Aids Shark Conservation

(January 28, 2008 – San José, Costa Rica)

Last December of 2007 was an important month of hope for sharks.  The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) called on all fishing nations to apply urgent measures for shark conservation and management.  Furthermore, during this same month, the Convention of Migratory Species (CMS) celebrated the Meeting to Identify and Elaborate an Option of International Cooperation on Migratory Sharks, held from December 11 – 13, in Mahé Seychelles.

The “Sustainable Fisheries Resolution”, agreed upon by the UNGA, calls on the Parties to improve implementation and compliance of regional and domestic legislation that bans shark finning, and to consider taking other measures of control, such as requiring sharks to be landed with each fin naturally attached.  Costa Rica was one of the first countries in the world to adopt this measure, and through a formal proposal, successfully persuaded the UNGA to recommend its implementation.  Furthermore, an urgent call is made to States with vessels that fly their flags, to mandate the collection of data on shark catches by species, as well as the reduction of fishing effort and mortality, with the goal of avoiding further declines of shark populations that have been identified as vulnerable or endangered.

“This measure is of great relevance to reduce shark finning on a global scale, as it is the easiest and most efficient way of halting this cruel practice”, pointed out Miguel Gómez, Campaigns Coordinator of PRETOMA.  “Measures that require complicated calculations to figure out fin to body weight ratios, or that allow the fins to be totally separated from the body at the high seas, only serves to open loopholes that favor shark finning”, argued Gómez.

During the recent meeting of the Convention on Migratory Species, it was widely acknowledged that most migratory sharks were either critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened, and that they could benefit from effective conservation measures adopted through conservation instruments of this Convention in cooperation with other partners, such as FAO and the IUCN.  The Parties agreed to elaborate such an instrument by the end of the year 2008, which would specify not only the species that are the most urgent need of protection, but the measures to be adopted as well.  The instrument must focus on efforts to protect the three species included in the CMS appendixes (whale shark, basking shark, white shark), as well as on species that must be considered for inclusion, which due to their highly migratory nature require extended protection, sucha as the scalloped hammerhead shark (Sphyrna lewini).  Costa Rica, together with Chile, Morocco, New Zealand and Seychelles, form part of an interim commission in charge of the elaboration of a draft instrument, which will be voted at the CMS COP III in November of 2008.

“What we need now are true measures to forbid shark finning at a regional and global scale, as well as measures to promote the strict protection of endangered species and the establishment of limits on fishing effort and total catch of vulnerable species”, said Randall Arauz, of PRETOMA.  The challenge will be getting the Regional Fisheries Management Organizations to abandon the cosmetic measures they have adopted up to now”, warned Arauz.
Other releases:

The United Nations Bares its Teeth to Protect Sharks (en español)

Seychelles Meeting Realises Breakthrough For Shark Conservation (en español)

For more information:
PRETOMA
Telf: (506) 241-5227
Fax: (506) 236-6017
info@tortugamarina.org
www.tortugamarina.org

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    Internacional Policy Aids Shark Conservation (January 28, 2008 – San José, Costa Rica) Last December of 2007 was an important month of hope for sharks.  The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) called on all fishing nations to apply urgent measures for shark conservation and management.  Furthermore,...