North Atlantic ban championed by Canada, Senegal, and the UK thwarted in virtual ICCAT meeting
London, UK. December 14th, 2020. Conservationists are outraged that the European Union and the United States – despite long promoting science-based shark conservation – once again served as the main obstacles to urgently needed protections for mako sharks through annual negotiations of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Canada, Senegal, and – in their first official act as an independent ICCAT Party — the United Kingdom proposed a ban on retention of seriously overfished North Atlantic shortfin makos, as ICCAT scientists have long advised. The proposal earned support from Taiwan and Gabon. The EU and US, however, refused to give up on exceptions for continuing to land the endangered species. As a result, this year’s mako negotiations end with no new conservation measures. The next opportunity for Atlantic-wide action is July 2021 through a special intersessional meeting. ICCAT scientists estimate this population could take five decades to recover, even if fishing were to stop immediately. Lack of consensus allows unsustainable fishing on this shared population to continue.