At the Intersection of Science & Policy: International Shark Conservation & Management

By Futerman, Andrew M. | Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum, Spring 2018 | Go to article overview

At the Intersection of Science & Policy: International Shark Conservation & Management


Futerman, Andrew M., Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum


I. Introduction                                                   259 II. Global Declines in Shark Populations Driven Largely by        263        Negative Interactions with the World's Fisheries        A. The Declining Conservation Status of Sharks             264        B. The Global Tuna Fishery                                 265 III. Regional Fisheries Management Organization Conservation and  267        Management Measures Concerning Global Key Shark        Species        A. Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs)     268        B. Current Conservation Measures                           269           i. Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission     271              (WCPFC)           ii. International Commission for the Conservation of    274               Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)           iii. Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission            276                (IATTC)           iv. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)                 278           v. Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)     281           vi. Commission for the Conservation of Southern         282               Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) IV. Scientific Knowledge and Stock Assessments for Key Shark      282        Species        A. The Blue Shark (Prionace glauca)                        284        B. Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus)                       286        C. Oceanic Whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus)              288        D. Silky Shark (Carcharhinus falciformis)                  290        E. Thresher Sharks (Pelagic Thresher--Alopias pelagicus;   292           Bigeye Thresher--Alopias supercilious)        F. Hammerhead Shark (Scalloped hammerhead--Sphyrna         295           lewini)        G. Porbeagle (Lamna nasus)                                 296 V. Integrating Scientific Knowledge into Future Conservation      297        Measures        A. Issues with the Current Approach to Conservation        297           Management Measuress        B. Maximizing the Effectiveness of Future Conservation     301           Measures           i. Generally Applicable Case Study                      302           ii. Species Specific Case Study                         304           iii. Socioeconomics: Why Effective, Narrowly Tailored   304                Conservation is Necessary VI. Conclusion                                                    305 

I. INTRODUCTION

For the past few decades, global shark populations have been in a near-constant state of decline, (1) while extractive pressures from the world's fisheries have continued to reduce shark populations in the world's oceans. At least 28 different shark populations have been extirpated from portions of their historical ranges including the "now ironically-named and critically endangered... [c]ommon angel shark (Squatina squatina) [which is] regionally extinct from much of [its] former geographic range in European waters." (2) Other shark species have essentially disappeared altogether, such as the "[c]ritically [e]ndangered Pondicherry shark (Charcharhinus hemiodon) [which]... has not been seen [in the wild] since 1979." (3) Yet, despite decreasing global populations and an estimated one-quarter of all shark species threatened with extinction, (4) sharks are still regularly targeted or caught as bycatch in the world's fisheries, and the ever-increasing market price of shark fins and other products indicate that this trend is unlikely to stop anytime soon. (5)

As a result, numerous shark species have begun to receive attention from Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs), international organizations that manage and protect high seas fisheries for a particular area. (6) RFMOs have passed numerous resolutions and conservation measures focused on the conservation of shark species, such as gear restrictions preventing the use of certain types of shark-specific fishing gear and retention bans prohibiting the catch of individual shark species. …

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