At the 2023 ICCAT Annual Meeting, Parties have the opportunity to continue leading the world in international management of heavily fished blue sharks while catching up to other Regional Fishery Management Organizations (RFMOs) in the protection of endangered, filter-feeding elasmobranchs and the prevention of finning. Immediate action — based on science and the precautionary approach — is clearly warranted to safeguard these and other exceptionally vulnerable species.
London, November 9, 2023. A new Shark League gap analysis highlights where shark fishing and trading nations are falling short after decades of conservation commitments made through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES, a global wildlife treaty) and the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT, a regional fishery management organization). The authors:
An analysis of ICCAT Parties’ policies for CITES-listed Atlantic elasmobranchs
Analyzing pivotal international agreements such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), the Shark League’s latest analysis, “Bridging the Gaps that Hinder Shark Conservation,” scrutinizes the efficacy of existing conservation initiatives and recommends essential improvements.
Conservation treaties are only as strong as their implementation, both internationally and at the national level. The Shark League’s analysis zeroes in on the performance of ICCAT Parties, evaluating their adherence to obligations for CITES-listed elasmobranchs. By identifying gaps between restrictions and conservation needs, the report serves as a compass for actionable change.
The report highlights essential areas where current measures fall short of safeguarding Atlantic elasmobranchs. By pinpointing these gaps, the analysis sets the stage for recommended improvements, creating a roadmap for policymakers and conservationists alike. The success of conservation efforts hinges on addressing these key discrepancies to ensure a thriving future for sharks and rays.
As part of the release, the Shark League is organising a Side Event during the 28th Regular Meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) on Saturday, November 11th, from 18:00 to 20:00 EGY. The event will take place at the Triumph Hotel in the Vienna Ballroom. Speakers include Shark League partners – Sonja Fordham from Shark Advocates International, Shannon Arnold from Ecology Action Centre, and Ali Hood from Shark Trust. The Side Events provide opportunities to gain insights into the latest analysis of Atlantic shark and ray protection measures under CITES and ICCAT, and learn about recommended improvements at both national and international levels.
A collective effort by 20 Environmental Organizations is underway to address pressing issues in Atlantic tuna fisheries and ecosystems at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). The letter, directed to Heads of Delegation, provides specific recommendations for sustainable tuna management.
Faro, Portugal. November 21, 2022. The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) today agreed the world’s first population-wide fishing quota for highly vulnerable shortfin mako sharks. ICCAT set a South Atlantic catch limit (to cover landings as well as mortality from discarding) within the level recommended by scientists in 2019 and made allocations to individual fishing Parties that are calculated to cut their landings of the Endangered species by 40-60%. The agreement stems from a more precautionary proposal by the European Union and United Kingdom to extend a 2021 ban on particularly depleted North Atlantic shortfin makos to the South Atlantic. Pushback from Namibia and South Africa resulted in negotiations for short-term limits instead.
Fishing and Trade of Shortfin Mako Sharks Banned in Country Ranked Second for Regional Landings
The government of Morocco has announced a national prohibition on the fishing, storage, and trade of shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus), in line with a broader measure agreed in November 2021 through the International Commission for Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Although the hard-won ICCAT ban could be weakened after two years (due to EU insistence), Morocco’s ban is set to remain in place for five.