Pew Will Push Shark Conservation at World Fisheries Meeting
The IUCN report was released just days before a joint meeting of the world’s fishery managers in San Sebastian,
“Up to 70 million sharks are killed around the world every year for the shark fin market, virtually all of which are caught in areas where there is no management regime in place to ensure their sustainability,” said
The shark fin trade is a driving force in the overfishing of sharks. Shark fins are highly valued for use in the Asian delicacy shark fin soup. Often, shark meat is worth much less and takes up more cargo space. As a result, the practice of shark finning has evolved: the shark is brought on board a fishing vessel, the fins are sliced off, and the body is dumped back into the ocean.
According to the IUCN report, overfishing is the primary reason why a number of sharks in U.S. waters are threatened, including two species of thresher sharks, basking sharks, great whites, shortfin and longfin makos, porbeagles, oceanic whitetip sharks, dusky sharks, sandbar sharks, and three species of hammerheads.
At the San Sebastian meeting of the world’s fisheries managers, Pew is joining other conservation groups in calling for precautionary, science-based management plans for sharks, starting with the immediate adoption of binding measures to:
- Prohibit retention of particularly vulnerable and/or depleted shark species taken in tuna fisheries, including hammerheads, threshers, porbeagles and oceanic whitetips;
- Establish catch limits that significantly reduce fishing pressure on globally vulnerable shortfin mako sharks;
- Cap catches of near-threatened blue and silky sharks until safe catch levels are determined;
- Close off areas of high shark concentration to commercial fishing; and
- Prohibit removal of shark fins at sea.
To improve enforcement of the U.S. finning ban and enhance understanding of dwindling shark populations, the Pew Environment Group supports the Shark Conservation Act of 2009 (S. 850/H.R. 81), introduced by Senator
The Pew Environment Group is the conservation arm of The Pew Charitable Trusts, a non-governmental organization that applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improving public policy, informing the public and stimulating civic life.
The report can be found at http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/ssg_pelagic_report_final.pdf. For more information, please visit www.pewsharks.org.
SOURCE Pew Environment Group