South Africa: Draft Shark Management Plan Unveiled

south-africa-shark-flagDepartment of Environmental Affairs

02. May 2014



The draft shark biodiversity management plan (SBMP) has been published for public comment in terms of the National Environment: Biodiversity Act (2004).

The plan will set targets to improve the status of sharks within South African waters and will establish the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) as the lead agency in terms of implementation and monitoring of the plan.

The SBMP also aims to coordinate the implementation of all existing relevant initiatives for the benefit of sharks and their habitats.

The SBMP involves legislative, strategic and research-related aims for the conservation and management of sharks including the following:

  •    The appointment of an Ecosystem and Species Steering Committee to oversee applicable tasks.
  •    Indentifying and protecting critical shark species and habitats.
  •    Mitigating threats to shark populations including environmental degradation.
  •    Promoting the dissemination of scientific findings and improving scientific knowledge to be used to inform management decisions.
  •    Coordinating and undertaking conservation-orientated shark research, management and strategies for the recovery of threatened shark species and their habitats.
  •    Promoting public participation and education with regard to the socio-economic value and conservation status of sharks.
  •    Promoting bather safety and its management.

The plan’s document includes reference to the statistics on the various shark species and the main threats to their populations and habitats as indicated by current research.

The SBMP will also be implemented in conjunction with the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA) which is under development by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and which focuses on shark fisheries management.

The plan also acknowledges that certain shark species are protected from fishing under various forms of legislation including the Marine Living Resources Act (MLRA) (1998) and in terms of international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).

The deadline for the submission of comments is 20 June 2014.

Written comments should be addressed to the deputy director-general of oceans and coasts in the Department of Environmental Affairs and sent to the following email address:

Source: Sabinet Cape Town Office

Related Document 

The executive summary of the plan was published in notice 331 in Gazette 37586 on 29 April 2014 and the full plan (PDF) is available below :

pdf_sa darft plan 2014



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