Future of Sharks: New Plan Adopted at UN Meeting

Written by on October 5, 2012 in Policy & Ocean Law
Whale sharks (above) along with mako, spiny dogfish, porbeagle, basking and white sharks are the focus of the new conservation agreement.

Whale sharks (above) along with mako, spiny dogfish, porbeagle, basking and white sharks are the focus of the new conservation agreement. Photo credit: NOAA.

Government representatives from 50 countries have adopted a new plan for global shark conservation.

The decision, which involves lessening the threats to migratory sharks, was made at the first meeting of signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks in Bonn, Germany, last week.

Seventeen percent of the 1,000+ shark species are classified as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Most sharks grow slowly, mature late, and produce few offspring.  This makes them particularly vulnerable to overfishing and means it is harder for them to recover once their populations have been depleted.

Under the new agreement, the participating countries will share information among governments, scientific institutions, international organizations and NGOs.  Such an agreement is necessary because migratory sharks swim across international borders and high seas; collaboration is required for proper management.

Governments will also work with the fishing industry in order to reduce and eliminate “by-catch,” the accidental catch of unwanted species.

To learn more about the decisions of the meeting, read the report from UNEP: Countries Agree New Plan for Global Shark Conservation.

Spiny dogfish. Photo credit NOAA.

Spiny dogfish. Photo credit NOAA.

Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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