Shark Motion presented to the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012

IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012

6–15 September
Jeju Island, Republic of Korea


Motion M037 presented to the 2012 IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju.

Conservation measures for threatened and Near Threatened sharks

ACKNOWLEDGING the increasing concern by the international community that many shark species are threatened and are continuing to decline because of unregulated fishing and bycatch;

FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGING the Red List Assessment of sharks from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Shark Specialist Group conducted since the 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress;

CONCERNED that 30% of assessed shark and ray species around the world are classified as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable (i.e. jointly referred to as Threatened) or Near Threatened with extinction by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species;

ALARMED that approximately two-thirds of the shark species commonly caught in high seas fisheries are classified as Vulnerable;

AWARE that the loss of sharks can cause dramatic shifts in the marine environment, including a cascade of indirect effects resulting from changes in the abundance of other organisms;

RECALLING that Recommendation 4.113 Conserving migratory and oceanic sharks adopted by the 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress (Barcelona, 2008) urged all shark range States, fishing States, and other entities to develop shark plans in accordance with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations Technical Guidelines for the Implementation of the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks), to review these plans regularly, and to evaluate the effectiveness of their shark plans and regulations, particularly by improving catch, discard and landings data collection, strictly regulating the catch of sharks, and protecting threatened species;

NOTING with concern that seven of the Top 20 “shark catchers” (countries, territories and other political entities that report shark catch to the FAO) are currently without a National Plan of Action (NPOA) for sharks;

WELCOMING FAO’s report on the extent of the implementation of the 1999 FAO IPOA-Sharks and the challenges being faced by members of the Committee on Fisheries (COFI) in implementing the instrument, as requested by COFI members at the 29th Session in February 2011;

ACKNOWLEDGING Recommendation 4.113 Conserving Migratory and Oceanic Sharks adopted by the 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress (Barcelona, 2008) which encourages, inter alia, prompt, coordinated national and regional shark fisheries management and, in particular, science-based and/or precautionary limits on catches of trans-zone, straddling, migratory and oceanic sharks, based on the high percentage of oceanic pelagic sharks listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species;

RECALLING that Recommendation 4.111 Conservation of leatherback turtles Dermochelys coriacea and hammerhead sharks Sphyrna spp. in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor adopted by the 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress (Barcelona, 2008) called on relevant coastal States and fishing entities to adopt and immediately implement policies to provide broad protection to threatened species and to gather information on the bycatch of sharks and facilitate public access to such information;

RECOGNIZING that the Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) is listed as Endangered

RECALLING that during the 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES COP15, 2010), proposals were made to include four species of shark in CITES Appendix II, including the Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini);

NOTING that in the abovementioned COP15, the FAO ad hoc Expert Advisory Panel reached the conclusion that there was sufficient information to include the Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) in CITES Appendix II;

FURTHER RECALLING paragraph 14 from the United Nations General Assembly Sustainable Fisheries Resolution 2011 (Resolution A/66/L.22), which calls upon States, including through regional fisheries management organizations or arrangements, to urgently adopt measures to fully implement the IPOA-Sharks for directed and non-directed shark fisheries, based on the best available scientific information, through, inter alia, limits on catch or fishing effort, by requiring that vessels flying their flag collect and regularly report data on shark catches, including species specific data, discards and landings, undertaking, including through international cooperation, comprehensive stock assessments of sharks, reducing shark bycatch and bycatch mortality;

DEEPLY CONCERNED that due to the inefficient implementation of IPOA-Sharks there is still a need for a framework of specific actions to control the indiscriminate fishing of the Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) in the Mesoamerican Region and in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor;

CONCERNED that conservation measures adopted by Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) since the last IUCN World Conservation Congress have yet to control the catch of the most commercially valuable of all oceanic shark species – the Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus);

STRESSING that Shortfin and Longfin Mako (Isurus paucus) are classified as globally Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List, and were also listed on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in 2008; that scientists with the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) concluded in 2004 that measures to reduce fishing mortality were necessary to improve the status of the North Atlantic Shortfin Mako shark population, and will update this assessment in 2012; that an ICCAT Ecological Risk Assessment found both mako species to be among the shark species most vulnerable to overfishing by Atlantic pelagic fisheries; and that the Scientific Committee of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) reported that available evidence indicates considerable risk to Shortfin Mako stock status at current levels of fishing effort;

COMMENDING efforts by several regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) to prohibit retaining onboard, transshipping, landing, storing, selling or offering for sale certain shark species taken in their respective convention areas, but noting that only a small number of threatened or endangered shark species are protected in this manner; and

APPLAUDING the proclamations by the Republic of Palau, the Republic of Maldives, the Republic of Honduras, the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Tokelau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands to establish their waters as “shark sanctuaries” through protection measures including the prohibition of commercial fishing of sharks throughout their exclusive economic zones;

The World Conservation Congress, at its session in Jeju, Republic of Korea, 6–15 September 2012:

1. URGES all shark range States, fishing States, other entities, and relevant RFMOs to prohibit retaining onboard, transshipping, landing, storing, selling or offering for sale any part or whole carcass of sharks listed as Critically Endangered, Endangered, Vulnerable or Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in the fisheries under their management unless a precautionary science-based management plan with strong monitoring and enforcement controls is in place to prevent IUU fishing and ensure of that overfishing of sharks does not occur, and that shark populations are rebuilt;

2. ENCOURAGES relevant coastal States to take science-based measures to conserve and sustainably manage sharks, including, inter alia, limits on catch or fishing effort, technical measures, including by-catch reduction measures, sanctuaries, closed seasons, and monitoring, control and surveillance;

3. URGES all fishing nations and entities, particularly Parties to CMS, to support implementation of the CMS MoU for Migratory Sharks, including development of regional conservation plans for Shortfin and Longfin Mako Sharks;

4. ENCOURAGES all fishing nations and entities to continue to strive for close coordination between their fisheries and wildlife management authorities on these matters;

5. CALLS on all shark range States, fishing States, and other entities to take appropriate action to improve the implementation of the IPOA-Sharks, based on the review by FAO, and relevant States and entities to develop NPOA for sharks, and do so as a matter of priority if their vessels conduct directed fisheries for sharks or if their vessels routinely catch sharks in non-directed fisheries or as bycatch;

6. FURTHER CALLS ON the States and RFMOs in the areas where the Scalloped Hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini) is found, whilst breeding, feeding and/or migrating, to protect its population permanently, as well as other species in the same genus, the Smooth Hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena) and the Squat-headed Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran), through the control and management of fishing operations, the strengthening of regulations, improvement in communication channels, and the identification and strict protection of habitats critical for their breeding and feeding;

7. RECOMMENDS that Parties to CITES take into account the data generated by the Red List Assessment of sharks from the IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group, and examine these data to consider the inclusion of additional species of sharks on CITES Appendices I or II; and

8. CALLS on the Director General to promote and strive to achieve the actions described in paragraphs 1–5, above.

Pew Charitable Trusts, USA
Programa de Restauración de Tortugas Marinas (PRETOMA), Costa Rica
Fundación MarViva
Project AWARE Foundation

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, United Kingdom
Ministerio de Ambiente, Energía y Telecomunicaciones, Costa Rica
Asociación Preserve Planet. Código, Costa Rica
Asociación Mesoamericana para la Biología y la Conservación, Costa Rica
Asociación Terra Nostra, Costa Rica
Asociación del Corredor Biológico Talamanca Caribe, Costa Rica
Asociación Conservacionista de Monteverde, Costa Rica
Bahamas National Trust, Bahamas
Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit, Germany
Fundación Malpelo y Otros Ecosistemas Marinos, Colombia
Fundación para la Promoción del Desarrollo Sustentable, Chile
Fundecooperación para el Desarrollo Sostenible, Costa Rica
Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras José Benito Vives de Andreis, Colombia
Marine Conservation Biology Institute, USA
Natural Resources Defense Council, USA
Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional, Canada
Australian Marine Conservation Society
Coastal Oceans Research and Development – Indian Ocean (East Africa)
Ecologistas en Acción
Endangered Wildlife Trust
Island Conservation Society
Programa Restauración de Tortugas Marinas
Save Our Seas Foundation
Wildlife Conservation Society
Zoological Society of London

Source: IUCN World Conservation Congress – PDF : M-037-2012



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