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Title: Shark news
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090496/00004
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Title: Shark news
Series Title: Shark news
Physical Description: Serial
Language: English
Creator: Ichthology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Publisher: Ichthology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: July 1995
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Bibliographic ID: UF00090496
Volume ID: VID00004
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Search Fis Selections...
List of Articles
Shark control measures: the
Natal Sharks Board and shark
conservation
Sheldon Dudley
Editorial
Yvonne Sadovy -
The American Elasmobranch
CeSociety's Captive Elasmobranch
Census
Beth Firchau and Warren W.-
Pryor
Status of the largetooth sawfish
Sid F. Cook, Leonard J.V.
Compagno and Madeline Illustation @ RL Williams 193
Oetinger
Risk-prone management of the US Atlantic shark fishery
Merry Camhi
Elasmobranch research and conservation initiatives

News

Bibliography: technical reports and publications

Columbus Zoo

Meetings
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Shark control measures: the Natal Sharks Board and
shark conservation

Sheldon Dudley
Introduction
Shark control measures exist to reduce the likelihood of an encounter between a large
shark and a recreational user of the nearshore zone. This is achieved by locally
reducing numbers of large sharks. The world's three major shark control programmes,
which were introduced in response to public demand, are located in New South Wales -
(NSW) and Queensland, Australia, and in KwaZulu/Natal, South Africa. The
programmes are controversial in both the scientific and the environmental arenas. The .
views of respondents to a recent opinion survey of members of the American
Elasmobranch Society illustrate the controversy: of 65 respondents, 39 (60%) believed
that shark control "is never justified -the Ocean is a wilderness area, and people who
enter it do so at their own risk". AES President Don Nelson, in a plenary address to the
Society's annual meeting in June 1994 expressed the personal opinion that it is
"unethical to cleanse a wilderness area of its natural inhabitants to make it safer than
natural for human use". Nelson did, however, concede that "certain well defined
bathing beaches" might be excluded from the wilderness.

If one includes a prohibition of economic activity in one's definition of wilderness, the
existence of commercial fishing immediately precludes the ocean from being
considered a wilderness area. Be this as it may, I believe that to regard the ocean as a
wilderness with regard to shark control but not recreational angling is inconsistent.
Ethically, shark control differs little from angling in that both consist of the exploitation
of marine resources for the benefit of human recreation. In the case of both angling
and shark control, however, it is the function of scientists and managers to try to
ensure that the utilisation of those resources is sustainable.

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A meshing crew services a shark net off Durban. Photo: Natal Sharks Board.


Current practice
The current modus operandi of the Natal Sharks Board (NSB), the organisation which
runs the KwaZulu/Natal programme, entails the permanent maintenance of large-mesh
(50 cm stretched) set-nets off a number of bathing beaches. Three 213 m x 6.2 m nets
are used to provide protection at most beaches, although some beaches have more.
The nets are not a barrier to sharks; about 35% of the catch consists of sharks moving
offshore from within the protected area. The nets have an impressive record in terms of
reducing the number of shark attacks at netted beaches. Between 1906 and the time
nets were introduced in the 1950s and 1960s, there were 38 attacks resulting in either
a fatality or a non-fatal but serious injury (e.g. limb amputation). Since nets were
installed, and despite increasing bather numbers, there have been no fatalities and
only three serious injuries.

The nets take an annual catch of some 1,345 large sharks of 14 species, of which
about 13% are tagged and released. About 901 (whole weight) of shark is killed
annually. There is a by-catch of some 80 dolphins (three species, 3% released), 380
rays (about ten species, 71 % released), 70 turtles (five species, 36% released) and,
because the mesh size is large, only a few teleosts.

Investigations to date indicate that the effect of the nets on shark numbers is localised
and that the catches are sustainable, although the dynamics of this multi-species,
constant-effort, constant-locality fishery are not well understood. Despite this apparent
sustainability, the NSB attempts to minimise mortalities by releasing all live animals
and by temporarily lifting the nets during the annual 'sardine run', the winter influx of
pilchard Sardinops sagax shoals which are accompanied by large numbers of sharks
and dolphins.

The NSB is also in the process of trying to determine whether fishing effort can be
reduced without substantially reducing bather safety. A reduction in effort would have
the dual benefit of reducing both catches and operating costs.

Investigations into effort reduction
The first step in the investigation into effort reduction was to conduct a comparison of
the three major shark control programmes. Large- mesh set-nets are used in all three
and in Queensland baited lines, or drumlines, are used as well. In NSW,the fishing
gear is intermittently deployed off each protected beach for a total of about nine nights
per month in an eight month season. In Queensland, the gear is continuously deployed
offeach beach in a 10-12 month season. In KwaZulu/Natal, deployment is continuous
at each beach throughout the year. The monthly fishing effort, expressed as standard
(100 m) net days per beach, deployed in season at a NSW beach and at a Queensland
beach, is about 14% and 30% respectively of that deployed at a KwaZulu/Natal beach.


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The same three shark species are believed to have been responsible for most of the
attacks in the three regions the bull, or Zambezi, shark Carcharhinus leucas, the greal
white shark Carcharodon carcharias and the tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier. While there
are differences between the regions in terms of both shark distribution and the
nearshore physical environment, these don't appear to have led to the differences in
levels of effort. There is, therefore, an a priori case for considering effort reduction in
the KwaZulu/Natal programme.

A workshop was held at the NSB headquarters near Durban on 29 November 1994 at
which scientists from the NSB and other institutions discussed ways of determining the
extent to which effort could be reduced. A number of proposals were put forward
concerning ways of improving current understanding of the relationship between near-
shore shark densities and the number of nets.

Additional experimentation
In addition to considering net reduction, the NSB is conducting two sets of experiments
with the objective of reducing the by-catch both of small sharks and of other animals.
Experiments with nets with a larger (70 cm) mesh size have been running for several
years and the results are promising, the larger mesh continuing to catch sharks of a
size considered to be potentially dangerous but at the same time taking fewer of the
smaller sharks. Secondly, bailed drumlines similar to those used in Queensland, have
been successful in catching large bull and tiger sharks but it is too early to compare
catch rates with those of sharks taken in the nets. Very little non-shark by-catch is
taken on the lines.

A third set of experiments aimed specifically at reducing the by- catch of dolphins
entails the incorporation of air-filled floats into a number of nets in an attempt to
improve the acoustic visibility of the nets to dolphin sonar.

Low catch rates dictate that all the experiments will have to run for some time in order
to accumulate a statistically adequate sample.

A final research project consists of the development of an electrical shark repellent as
an alternative means of providing bather protection. Although the repulsion of sharks
using electricity is not a new concept, the NSB is hopeful that it may be able to develop
a practical and affordable device.

In summary, the Natal Sharks Board is committed to carrying out its mandate of
protecting bathers from shark attack, but is also committed to ongoing research into
methods of reducing mortalities of marine organisms.


Sheldon Dudley
Natal Sharks Board, Private Bag 2,
Umhlanga Rocks, 4320, Republic of South Africa







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Editorial
Shark control measures
Shark meshing programmes have now been underway in Australia and South Africa fo
several decades, from 1937 in New South Wales, 1952 in Natal and 1963 in
Queensland. A number of other less well- documented shark control initiatives
(frequently short-term and unplanned) have been undertaken elsewhere for swimmer
protection, apparently all too often as a panic or public-relations response to one or
more local shark attack incidents. Despite the potentially very high cost of shark control
programmes in relation to the risk that they pose to the local population (Hamer 1993 -.
suggested a risk of 1:107 or 108 for shark attack in New South Wales without beach
meshing and queried the economic rationality of the programme), the 1991 Shark
Conservation Workshop held in Sydney, Australia, appears to have been the only
international meeting to consider their results.

What has been learnt from the case studies presented in the proceedings of this
workshop (Pepperell et al. 1993), in this issue of Shark News and from other sources?

There is a clear pattern of effect: all regular beach meshing programmes have
produced a large initial catch of sharks during the first year or two of operation,
followed by very marked decline and then a low and relatively steady catch rate. All
have successfully protected the public, in that the (already infrequent) incidence of
shark attacks ceased or fell to a very low level after meshing.

However, none of the programmes provide much if any information on shark population
levels before or after meshing and the level of scientific information obtained (with the
notable exception of the Natal Sharks Board programme) is generally poor. It is
therefore difficult to determine whether the methods used for shark control were
appropriate, whether judged in terms of economic costs, yield of scientific data, or
impact on dangerous sharks versus other sharks and non-target animals. Virtually all
have resulted in concern that the control programmes, particularly when using beach
meshing, may be having unacceptable effects on by-catch including non-target sharks,
rays or threatened species such as small cetaceans and turtles.
It also seems clear that once shark control has been introduced to areas where there is
a history of shark attack (whether or not the programme is necessary or effective), it is
viewed by the beach tourist industry and local bathing population as essential to
safeguard their continued economic health and survival. For political reasons,
therefore, it is almost impossible to abandon control programmes once they have been
initiated a warning that it is very unwise to rush into poorly planned and expensive
responses to shark attack incidents. It is therefore reassuring to see that shark control *
programmes are now being more critically assessed and that at least some new
initiatives are being designed with more care (see opposite).

The organizers of the Second World Fisheries Congress next year in Australia (see p.
12) plan to run a shark control programme (public safety/swimmer protection) workshop





as an adjunct to the congress, targeted to the relatively small group of biologists and
managers involved in this field. It will be interesting to find out how attitudes towards
control programmes have changed during the five years since the Sydney meeting as
concern over the status of elasmobranch populations, dangerous or not, has grown.

Hawaii
The following is the abstract of a paper by Wetherbee, B.M., Lowe, C.G., and Crow, G.
L. 1994. A review of shark control in Hawaii with recommendations for future research.
Pacific Science, 48(2): 95-115.

In an attempt to allay public fears and to reduce the risk of shark attack, the state
government of Hawaii has spent over US$300,000 on shark control programmes
between 1959 and 1976. Six control programmes of varying intensity resulted in the
killing of 4,668 sharks at an average cost of $182 per shark. The programmes
furnished information on diet, reproduction and distribution of sharks in Hawaii, but
research efforts had a number of shortcomings.

Analysis of the biological data gathered was not directed towards the tiger shark
Galeocerdo cuvier, which is responsible for most attacks in Hawaii. Reliable estimates
of shark populations in Hawaii cannot be made based on catch data from control
programmes because of sampling biases. Most of the information gained from the
control programmes was not published in reviewed journals and is not readily available
to the scientific community. The ability of the control programmes to reduce shark
populations and to remove laree sharks from coastal waters appears to have been
stated with more confidence that is warranted, considering seasonal changes observed
in shark abundance and variable fishing effort. Shark control programmes do not
appear to have had measurable effects on the rate of shark attacks in Hawaiian
waters.

Implementation of large-scale control programmes in the future in Hawaii may not be
appropriate. Increased understanding of the behavior and biology of target species is
necessary for evaluation of the effectiveness of small-scale control efforts, such as
selective fishing after an attack. Acoustic telemetry, conventional tagging, and studies
on population dynamics concentrating primarily on the tiger shark may be used to
obtain data about activity patterns, distribution, and population parameters, providing
information useful for reducing the risk of shark attack in Hawaii and elsewhere.

Queensland, Australia
The following text is abstracted from Simpfendorfer, C. 1993. The Queensland Shark
Meshing Program: Analysis of the results from Townsville, North Queensland. In:J.
Pepperell,J. West and P. Woon, Shark Conservation. Zoological Parks Board of NSW,
Australia.

Data from the Queensland Shark Meshing Program in the Townsville area were
analysed for the period 1964 to 1986. The programme uses both anchored gillnets and
baited drumlines, during 47 weeks of the year. Catch per unit effort data indicate that
the programme has reduced the populations of hammerhead, blacktip and whaler
sharks in the Townsville area by up to 80%, but has had little effect on the population
of tiger sharks (thought to be a wide ranging species). Catches of hammerhead,
blacktip and whaler sharks were highest in spring and summer, associated with
nearshore migrations for pupping and mating. Tiger sharks showed no seasonal
variation in the catch. Drumlines are more effective than nets at catching the more
dangerous larger sharks and have a lower by- catch. The review recommended greater
use of lines to reduce impacts on non-target species and more collection of scientific
data from the catch (the latter has been attempted since a review in 1992).

The programme was effective in its aim of reducing shark attacks by cutting the
numbers of dangerous sharks near popular beaches: there were 11 attacks prior to its
introduction in 1963, but none subsequently. Withdrawing the programme would allow
shark numbers and the likelihood of attacks to increase. There have been
environmental effects, both on sharks and by-catch, but the species concerned are
widely dispersed and often wide-ranging, and the areas affected by the programme are


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small and scattered. The effects on populations as a whole are therefore considered to
be minimal.

Shark nets in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is famous for many things ... shark attack is not generally considered one
of them. In the early 1990s, however, a number of incidents, including several fatalities,
put sharks under the spotlight and sent government officials scurrying for a solution.
The immediate reaction was to bring in a shark hunter from Australia to catch what was
believed to be a large tiger shark (although the species was never confirmed). The
privately-funded hunt was unsuccessful, but did dissipate public concern; an emotional
response to an emotionally-charged situation.

Once the initial furore had died down, the government established a working committee
which included representatives from the police force, fisheries, public safety, academia
etc. to develop a 'shark attack response strategy'. This was in 1994 and the absence of
incidents that year meant that this committee could discuss the issue rationally, taking
time to look at responses to similar situations elsewhere, to learn more about what is
and is not known about shark biology and attack, and to develop a plan that responded
to local concerns and needs.


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Structure of shark prevention net used in Hong Kong. Maritime Mechanic Ltd.
1994.


The plan that emerged included an education initiative introduced in the swimming
season of 1994. Posters and leaflets were produced to advise the public of what to do
in the event of shark sighting or attack and a contingency plan was established to deal
with such events. Swimmers were warned of times and places to avoid swimming
(based on the rather consistent profiles of the recent attacks) and aerial surveys were
conducted at weekends. Shark exclusion nets were set-up as part of a pilot project at
three popular swimming beaches to provide protection and peace of mind for bathers.
The mesh characteristics of the netting were also selected to minimise by-catch, which
totalled little more than a few cuttlefish and filefish last summer, according to weekly
surveys by the company contracted to supply and maintain the netting. The final plan
makes sense for Hong Kong and for addressing the apparently low risks of shark
attack in the area.







Nations










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The American Elasmobranch Society's Captive -
Elasmobranch Census
With its first publication in 1989, the Captive Elasmobranch Census began
documenting the numbers and species of elasmobranchs in captivity. The first census
included 14 institutions located in the mid- western United States. A total of 137
specimens of 27 species were counted. In the census's second year those same
institutions held 151 specimens of 29 species.

The census went national in 1991, with 47 facilities throughout the USA, keeping 1,649
specimens of 65 species. In 1992, the census went international for the first time,
swelling the number of facilities to 107, holding 7,869 specimens representing 157 .
species.








I













Photo: Sea Life Centres, UK.


The 1993 and 1994 censuses included 86 facilities from over 10 countries. A total of 60
species of sharks, 60 species of ray, and, although not technically elasmobranchs, 18 *
species of chimaera were documented. The 1995 census is still in press. .
The Captive Elasmobranch Census is published each year through the generous help
of several coordinators through the world. Census forms are distributed to each facility
at the end of each calendar year. These forms are then compiled, published, and





distributed later the following year. The census is organised by species, with a
completed institutional directory and 'contact person' index following the census
documentation. Each contributing institution is given a copy of the completed census in
return for their participation.

The census is a valuable tool for enhancing captive husbandry, experimental
collaboration, and general information exchange between individuals with
elasmobranch interests. Through the use of the census, captive breeding programmes
have been initiated, and specimen surplusing and exchanges have been solicited.
Advances have occurred in nutrition, exhibit design, and understanding behaviour.

With the current efforts to make the economic community aware of the devastating
effects improper management of elasmobranch populations can have on their futures,
the census can be used by lawmakers to extrapolate the value of elasmobranchs as
tourist attractions. By examining gate attendance records of those institutions which
display elasmobranchs, policy-makers can determine what effect not displaying
elasmobranchs can have on the economy of states and cities which have institutions
exhibiting them. In doing so the economic importance of these creatures takes on a
new dimension and gives weight to the arguments of conservationists and researchers
working towards proper recognition of these creatures as more than just a simple
protein source or vicious eating nuisance.

The Captive Elasmobranch Census is still not complete. With each passing year more
institutions are added. Eventually, it is hoped that all institutions holding sharks and
their relatives will be included,. This can only better communication and thus our
understanding of these fascinating creatures.

If your institution would like to take part in the America Elasmobranch Society's Captive
Elasmobranch Census, please forward your institution's name, address, phone
number, and fax number to:

Beth Firchau, Virginia Marine Science Museum, 717 General Booth Boulevard, Virginia
Beach, Virginia 23451 USA.

Please include the name of a contact person to facilitate ease in communications.


Beth Firchau, Virginia Marine Science Museum,
and
Warren W. Pryor, Animal Curator, Fort Wayne Children's Zoo


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Status of the largetooth sawfish -*
Pristis perotteti Muller and Henle, 1841

Compiled by Sid Cook, Leonard Compagno and Madeline Oetinger *
Taxonomy
The largetooth [southern] sawfish is one of three to eight species of large to gigantic
sawfishes in the genus Pristis which, with the monotypic Anoxypristis cuspidata
(Latham) [knifetooth sawfish], comprise the Family Pristidae. The holotype was
collected from freshwater in Senegal, West Africa. As with other species of this genus -
the taxonomy has been chaotic with a complex history of problems exacerbated by
lack of adult specimens in collections, questioned identifications and a plethora of .
synonymies, which remain to be fully resolved. At the present time there is
considerable difficulty determining how many valid species actually exist. For the
purpose of this account we assign P. zephyreus [eastern Pacific] as a junior synonym
for P. perotteti. Likewise we group this species into the P. pristis species complex
along with P. microdon, a species from which P. perotteti may possibly prove not to be
distinct (Compagno and Cook, in press).




*












Largetooth sawfish. Artist: Sid F. Cook.
1991 by M.I. Oetinger. All rights reserved.


Distribution and ecology
This is a relatively common (in a historical context), large-bodied euryhaline sawfish of
the warm- temperate/tropical (>18C to at least 30OC) eastern Pacific [from Mazatlan,
Mexico to Guayaquil, Ecuador] and Atlantic Oceans [from northern Texas and Florida
to Brazil (West Atlantic) and Gibraltar, Spain to Angola, south-west Africa (East
Atlantic), also possibly the Mediterranean Sea]. It is widely but disjunctly distributed,





being strictly confined to shallow (<10 m) nearshore marine, brackish and freshwater
(river/ lake) environments (Bigelow and Schroeder, 1953). Though not precisely
known, it probably spends most of its time near or on the bottom. However, it is also
commonly observed in the wild and in public aquaria swimming quite near the surface
for extended periods of time.

In the Pacific it is reported from freshwater in the Tuyra, Culebra, Tilapa, Chucunaque,
and Bayeno Rivers and at the Balboa and Miraflores locks in the Panama Canal,
Panama; the Rio San Juan, Colombia; and in the Rio-Goascoran, along the border
between El Salvador and Honduras.

In its Atlantic distribution it is commonly found in freshwater rivers and lakes. It is noted
for running far upstream in freshwater and has been recorded at least 1,340 km from
the ocean in the Amazon (Manacapuru, Brazil); in Lake Nicaragua and the San Juan
and other various east coast rivers of Nicaragua; Lake Yzabal and Rio Dulce,
Guatemala; Rio San Juan and Magdalena River, Colombia; Mali or Senegal in the
Faleme River; Saloum River of Senegal; Gambia; and the Ceba River of Guinea-
Bissau.

The largetooth sawfish is an adept predator feeding on a variety of small bony fishes,
which it stuns with its saw before consuming, and animals (fish and invertebrates) it
stirs from the substrate.

It is ovoviviparous giving birth to 1-11 fully developed young per litter with 7-9 young
being the most common litter sizes. Size at birth is about 76 cm (TL) [Nicaraguan
specimens]. In Lake Nicaraguan stocks the breeding season has been reported to be
in early June and sometimes into July. After a five month gestation, young are born
from early October to perhaps early December. Size at sexual maturity for both males
and females is 2.4-3.0 m, at ten years of age (Thorson 1982). Maximum adult size is at
least 5.7 m (TL) and possibly to 6.1 m (TL). It attains a maximum weight of at least 600
kg. Lifespan in the wild is unknown; Thorson (1982) suggests 30 years.

Conservation status
This species has been fished intensively at various locations within its range, with
dramatic declines in local stocks noted as a result. In Lake Nicaragua (Central
America) Thorson noted large catches during his preliminary visits to Granada in 1963
(T.B. Thorson, personal communication). However, intense efforts for both this species
and the bull shark, Carcarhinus leucas, which occurred sympatrically in the lake led to
rapid decline of stocks. Taniuchi (1992) did not see any sawfish or sharks in the lake
during his survey of Central American freshwater elasmobranchs. He noted that during
the entire previous season only one of each species had been reported in the fishery.

The fisheries for this species have been characterized by continued effort long after
local stocks are completely decimated. Because of the long tooth-studded saw, all
sawfish species are disproportionately subject to incidental capture in net gear set for
other species in both marine and freshwater environments.

Products recovered from this species are typical of those for other species of sawfishes
and include dried saws for curios (primary product), meat for human consumption, and
to a lesser degree hides for leather. It is unknown if useable fins are recovered for the
shark fin trade. Since stocks of the largetooth sawfish in Central America were fished
down well before the current surge in interest in shark fins in the mid 1980s, the impact
that practice might have had is indeterminable. However, the authors saw other batoids
(i.e., Rhina ancylostoma, [bowmouth guitarfish] and two species of Rhynchobatus
[white-spotted guitarfish]) in the markets of Thailand [December 1993] that had been
trimmed of fins for the market.

Recent collection of seven specimens of a closely-related species (P. microdon,
Australia) for public aquarial display raises concern. Sawfishes, in general, tend to be
of low to moderate abundance in freshwater habitats. Zealous collection efforts, even
in the name of research, may seriously compromise a stressed reproductive
population.


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Selected bibliography
Bigelow, H.B., and Schroeder, W.C. 1953. Sawfishes, guitarfishes, skates, and rays.
Chimaeras. Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Memoirs of the Sears Memorial
Foundation for Marine Research 1(2): 1-514.

Compagno, L.J.V., and Cook, S.F. In Press. The exploitation and conservation of
freshwater elasmobranchs: status of taxa and prospects for the future. [Journal of
Aquaculture and Aquatic Science (USA)].

Taniuchi, T. 1992. Report on preliminary investigation of freshwater elasmobranchs in
Mexico and Central America. Report of Japanese Society for Elasmobranch Studies
29: 33-49. [Japanese with English abstract].

Thorson, T. B. 1982. Life history implications of a tagging study Of the large-tooth
sawfish, Pristis perotteti, in the Lake Nicaragua- Rio San Juan System. Environ. Biol.
Fishes, 7(3): 207-228.



















S elections...
Risk-prone management of the US Atlantic shark fishery

Merry Camhi, National Audubon Society S
Introduction
It is widely accepted that sharks are highly vulnerable to overfishing because of their K-
selected life history strategies. Indeed, shark fishery failure is the rule rather than the
exception, and it has been estimated that nearly 90% of the shark fisheries in the 20th
century have failed because of a lack of aggressive management once shark
populations begin to decline (Compagno and Cook, in press). The United States is one. -
of only three major shark-fishing nations that actively manage their shark fisheries
(Australia and New Zealand are the others)(Bonfil 1994). In April 1993, after five years
in development, the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) finally implemented
the Fishery Management Plan for Sharks of the Atlantic Ocean (NOAA, 1993). In this
plan NMFS has proclaimed that "sharks must be managed very conservatively". *
However, the current quotas and slowness to implement other conservation measures
recommended by its own scientific experts suggest that NMFS has adopted a risk-
prone agenda for shark management in the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean
Sea.

A brief history
Commercial fishing for Atlantic sharks in the US began in the 1930s, and landings were
relatively low (less than 2,000 mt) prior to 1986 (see graph below). By the mid-1980s,
the popularity of shark meat had increased and the skyrocketing demand for shark fin
soup in Asia led to rapid expansion of the Atlantic commercial shark fishery. At that
time, NMFS was actively encouraging longliners from the over- capitalised tuna and
swordfish fisheries to switch over to sharks, despite lack of an adequate assessment,
data collection programme, or management plan. As landings grew to a peak of 7,122
mt in 1989 (NOAA 1993), so did concern over the status of previously abundant
sharks. Many historical shark angling tournaments were abandoned because of
declining catch rates. A fishery management plan (FMP) was finally drafted in 1989,
but implementation was delayed until 1993 mainly because of uncertainty in estimating
maximum sustainable yield (MSY) and overfishing (Hoff 1990). Unfortunately, this
reluctance to take precautionary measures in the face of scientific uncertainty has
become the operational mode of NMFS shark management. i
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Landings of shark on the US Atlantic coast



Although the FMP needs much improvement, a number of beneficial conservation
provisions were built into the plan. The FMP grouped 39 shark species in the
management unit into three categories because species-specific data were lacking:
large coastal sharks (22 species), small coastal sharks (7 species), and pelagic sharks
(10 species). Although spiny Squalus acanthias and smooth Mustelus canis dogfish

are taken in large numbers in directed fisheries they are not included in the
management unit. Quotas were established for the large coastal and pelagic
categories, and recreational bag limits were also implemented as an important first
step toward reducing fishing pressure. Trip limits for large coastal (4,000 Ibs) were
/ \

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i19794. 11 83 185 1987 168 11
To improve management andings of shark collection the US, commercial shark fishers must now








obtain permits. Less than 200 of the 1,631 permit holders actively fish for sharks.
AlthoughNMFS is considering limiting access to reduce over- capitalisation in the fishery (M.vation







Bailey, pers. comm.). Mandatory dealer reporting has been recently implemented. In
an effort to discourage fnito the plan. The FMP prohibits landing only the finuped 39 shark species and discarding
the arcass. Yet this approach has not worked to reduce shark mortalitcategories because species-specific data were lacking:
export of fins fromastal sharks that(22 species small coastl sharks (7 species), behind pelagic sharks
(10 species). Although spiny Squalus acanthias and smooth Mustelus canis dogfish
are taken in large numbers in directed fisheries they are not included in the
management unit. Quotas were established for the large coastal and pelagic
categories, and recreational bag limits were also implemented as an important first
step toward reducing fishing pressure. Trip limits for large coastal (4,000 Ibs) were
imposed as well in 1994.

To improve management and data collection, commercial shark fishers must now
obtain permits. Less than 200 of the 1,631 permit holders actively fish for sharks.
NMFS is considering limiting access to reduce over- capitalisation in the fishery (M.
Bailey, pers. comm.). Mandatory dealer reporting has been recently implemented. In
an effort to discourage finning, the FMP prohibits landing only the fins and discarding
the carcass. Yet this approach has not worked to reduce shark mortalities because the
export of fins from sharks that are landed is still the driving force behind the fishery.


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Risk-prone management
Almost all indicators suggest that Atlantic shark populations, especially those in the
large coastal category, are in trouble. Total fishing mortality has greatly exceeded the
MSY every year since 1979 (Hoff 1990). In 1994, NMFS convened a Shark Evaluation
Workshop (SEW) (NOAA, 1994) composed of NMFS scientists and outside scientific
experts to undertake a new stock assessment. The SEW confirmed that by 1986 the
abundance of many of the large coastal species may have already declined by 50-75%
from the 1970s levels. Ongoing declines in catch per unit effort estimates, average
weight, and species richness all suggest that the large coastal assemblage is still
declining (NOAA, 1994).

The FMP is considered by many scientists to be overly optimistic in its estimation of
sustainable yields and recovery times (Burgess, 1995). To wit, NMFS used the period
of maximum production (1986 to 1991 landings) as a biological reference and assume
that "any annual production, including the maximum, is sustainable." More reasonable
and precautionary estimates of MSY would have been based on the entire data set
from 1979, since many species had already undergone serious decline by 1986. In
addition, although data on by-catch are notoriously incomplete, the FMP estimates that
annual discards between 1979 and 1988 averaged 16,000 mt. This suggests that
incidental catch of sharks in the swordfish, tuna, and shrimp fisheries exceeds the
directed catch (Hoff, 1990). Yet it is not clear how this discard mortality is incorporated
into the estimates of MSY, and little has been done to date to reduce the incidental
catch of sharks on pelagic longlines or in gillnets.

NMFS has legitimately argued that an incomplete and inconclusive data base has
hindered effective management. But so has NMFS's use of unrealistic life history traits
in the FMP's population model. For example, the model relies on an annual
replacement rate of 26%, which is 2 to 10 times higher than is biologically realistic ever
for the fastest-growing species in the large coastal group (Musick 1994). Sandbar
sharks Carcharinus plumbeus, which comprise almost 80% of the large coastal
landings, have an intrinsic rate of increase of from 2% to 12% depending on the age of
sexual maturity, fertility, and longevity modelled (Musick, 1994; Hoff, 1990). Estimates
of survivorship employed in the FMP model (0.97 for sandbar sharks) are also
unreasonably high (Hoff, 1990; Manire and Gruber, 1993). These erroneous
assumptions led NMFS to predict a two-year recovery for the overfished large coastal





species in the FMP (which was rejected outright by the SEW in 1994).

Yet almost all evidence on depleted shark populations suggests how wildly unrealistic
a 2- to 6-year recovery is for these slow- growing creatures. The devastated porbeagle
Lamna nasus fishery in the North Atlantic in the 1960s is just one example. When this
fishery collapsed (after only 6 years), the population could not have been in much
worse condition than some of the species that are currently managed under the FMP.
The relatively fast-growing porbeagle should be more resilient to over-fishing than such
slow-growing species as the sandbar shark. Yet the porbeagle has still not recovered
even 30 years after commercial fishing essentially stopped. The Shark Evaluation
Workshop advised NMFS that recovery of shark populations to 1970s level could take
decades because of the low reproductive potential of most species. NMFS, however,
seems content to 'recover' sharks to their already depleted 1986 levels.

Reversing the trends
Have the management measures instituted by NMFS, such as quotas and bag limits,
been effective in reversing the decline of Atlantic shark populations? NMFS and the
Shark Evaluation Workshop argue that it is too soon to tell. But the 1995 stock
assessment (NOAA, 1995), based on 31 catch per unit effort time series, confirmed the
warning of the 1994 SEW that "any total allowable catch might be considered risk
prone" (SEW, 1994). In response, NMFS wisely agreed to cancel a previously
scheduled quota increase for 1995. But because off laws in the population model,
many scientists, fishers, and conservationists have argued that the current quotas for
large coastal sharks are still too high to permit recovery. Precautionary
recommendations have ranged from reducing the current quota by 30% to a complete
closure of the large coastal fishery until clear signs of recovery are evident.

Beyond reducing annual fishing mortality, the closure of nursery grounds during the
pupping season was the single most important measure recommended by the 1994
SEW, The NMFS has not proposed action on nursery protection, although discussions
are underway (M. Bailey, pers. comm.).

Small coastal sharks are subjected to high, but under-reported by- catch mortality in
the Gulf of Mexico (Burgess, 1994). The NMFS has acknowledged that "declining
catch per unit effort and life history characteristics indicating low productivity for
pelagics and small coastal also suggest that a prudent approach is warranted for
these groups." Still NMFS has failed to institute a quota for small coastal, to lower the
large pelagics quota, or to address by-catch problems, all on the grounds of insufficient
data.

For a shark fishery to be sustainable, management must be based on the biological
constraints of the fish rather than driven by the short- term economic interests of the
fishery. The NMFS repeatedly acknowledges the vulnerable nature of shark fisheries,
yet continues to favour risk-prone policies while invoking scientific uncertainty as an
excuse to avoid making tough management decisions, it may be many years before we
have the kind of data we need to build robust population models or defensible
estimates of MSY. In the meantime, given the life history traits of sharks, common
sense alone argues for a more risk-averse management regime. We only need to look
to the collapse of the New England groundfishery or practically any shark fishery
worldwide to see the consequences of foot-dragging and reactive management.

Literature cited
Bonfil, R. 1994. Overview of world elasmobranch fisheries. FAO Fish. Tech. Paper
341, FAO Rome. 119 pp.

Burgess, G.H. 1995. Status of shark populations in the western North Atlantic. In:
Global Shark Action Plan. IUCN Shark Specialist Group. In preparation.

Cook, S.F., and L.J.V.Campagno. 1995. The failure of shark fisheries: implications for
management in southern Africa. In preparation.

Hoff, T.B. 1990. Conservation and management of the western North Atlantic shark





resource based on the life history strategy limitations of sandbar sharks. Ph.D. Diss.,
Univ. Delaware, Newark, DE. 282pp.

Hoff, T.B., and J.A. Musick. 1990. Western North Atlantic shark- fishery management
problems and informational requirements. In: Elasmobranchs as living resources:
advances in biology, ecology, systematics, and the status of the fisheries. (H.L. Pratt
Jr., S.H. Gruber, and T. Taniuchi, eds.), pp. 455-472. U.S. Dept. Comm., NOAA Tech.
Rep. NMFS 90.

Manire, C.A., and S.H. Gruber. 1993. A preliminary estimate of natural mortality of age-
0 lemon sharks, Negaprion brevirostris. In: Conservation biology of elasmobranchs (S.
Branstetter, ed.), pp. 65-71. U.S. Dept. Comm, NOAA Tech. Rep. NMFS 115.

Musick, J.A. 1994. Comments on proposed modifications of the fisheries management
plan for sharks of the Atlantic Ocean. Submitted to NMFS Nov. 17, 1994.

NOAA. 1993. Fishery management plan for sharks of the Atlantic Ocean. NOAA,
NMFS, U.S. Dept. Comm. Feb. 25, 1993.

NOAA. 1994, Report of the shark evaluation workshop, March 14- 18, 1994. NOAA,
NMFS. U.S. Dept. Comm. 47 pp.

NOAA. 1995. 1995 Shark evaluation annual report. NOAA, NMFS. U.S. Dept.
Commerce. 23 pp.

















S elections...
Elasmobranch research and conservation initiatives

Ocean Wildlife Campaign for the conservation of large pelagic fishes
Large pelagic fish sharks, tunas, swordfish and marlin are among the most
threatened creatures in the oceans. These long-lived, apex predators, who play an
important role in the structure and function of marine communities, have been seriously
depleted because of relentless over-fishing and chronic mismanagement.
A coalition of US conservation organizations has recently established the Ocean
Wildlife Campaign to strengthen management for these species from national to global
levels. The aims of the Campaign are to reverse the declines in large pelagic fish
populations and begin the hard work towards their restoration. Campaign steering
members are the National Audubon Society, National Coalition for Marine
Conservation, Natural Resources Defense Council, New England Aquarium, Wildlife
Conservation Society, and World Wildlife Fund.
Shark conservation will be one of the primary targets of the Ocean Wildlife Campaign
(OWC). The OWC is planning to produce an identification guide to sharks and shark
parts (including fins) for species most threatened by international trade. The guide is
intended to help shark fishers and fishery managers identify to species the sharks they
are catching and monitoring, and to help CITES parties fulfil the recent CITES shark
resolution (see opposite). The Campaign will also provide some sponsorship for the
production and expanded distribution of Shark News. On a domestic level, the OWC
will continue to push for more rational management of the US Atlantic shark fishery,
including a reduction in quota for the heavily depleted large coastal shark category.
For more information on the Campaign, please contact David Wilmot, 666
Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Washington, DC 20003 USA. Fax: (+1) 202-547-9112; e-
mail: dwilmot@audubon.org





clean .l l.

SWildlife

o Campaign



Action Plan





The Shark Specialist Group has just received news of a grant from the Peter Scott
Fund towards the costs of completing the compilation of the Global Shark Action Plan.
Shark Group members should receive a copy of a letter with their mailings of Shark
News asking for thier contributions to the section on conservation priorities for
elasmobranch conservation. However, all readers are very welcome to send in their
comments to Sarah Fowler or Merry Camhi, Shark News Editors and Action Plan
compilers. We are particularly interested in obtaining information on the socioeconomic
importance of elasmobranchs for subsistence fishing communities and their value for
tourism. Information on any other non-consumptive uses of these fish would be very
useful.

Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species
The Shark Specialist Group has recently been awarded a grant from the UK
government's Darwin Initiative for conserving global biodiversity. The grant will fund a
collaborative study with the Sabah Fisheries Department(also in liaison with projects
being run by WWF Malaysia) of the problems facing sharks, rays and sawfish in the
rivers, estuaries and inshore waters of Sabah, East Malaysia (north Borneo). This
study will be the first detailed regional investigation of the biodiversity, distribution and
conservation needs of elasmobranchs, which are threatened in South East Asia by
habitat degradation, fisheries and trade. Planning is still at an early stage but, in
addition to taxonomic and biodiversity studies, it is hoped that the project will address
the socioeconomic importance of elasmobranchs, the need for fisheries management,
protected areas and education of local people, and provide the information needed by
decision-makers for elasmobranch conservation. It will also be used to highlight
freshwater elasmobranch conservation issues world-wide. Field work should take place
mainly in 1996, and a final international workshop is planned for early 1997.

Contact Sarah Fowler (Shark News editor) for more information.


European Elasmobranch Society
The establishment of the proposed EES has come a step closer with the decision of a
government conservation agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, to fund a feasibility study
into setting up this European-wide non-governmental organisation. A meeting of
potential national partners in the initiative should be held in Brussels later this year.

Elasmobranch Red List
The IUCN has recently published its revised Red List categories and criteria (IUCN,
1994). These new criteria make it possible to include long-lived, slow-breeding (i.e. K-
selected) species on the global IUCN Red List even where precise data on population
size and declines are not available. This is because the new criteria measure
population decline in terms of generations, in other words the capacity of the species to
recover its number following exploitation It is therefore likely that a considerable
number of elasmobranch species could qualify for listing under the new system. The


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1994 IUCN Red List, using the old system of categories, included just three
elasmobranchs, but the 1996 List should include many more, several of which are
likely to be of high priority for conservation attention.

However, no systematic, global evaluation of the elasmobranchs for their threat status
has ever been carried out before, and the size of the task of attempting to assign Red
List categories for the roughly 1,000 known species of elasmobranch species must not
be underestimated. One of the difficulties that will arise is the paucity of population date
and the lack of species-specific fishery data. However, this is not a cause for
pessimism, since the new IUCN criteria provide a means for projecting and inferring
the status from what little is known. For example, the South Australian shark fishery
has been exquisitely modelled by CSIRO biologists. Using this multi-species model as
a framework, combined with other historical fishery data and fishery-independent
biological data, it may be possible to extrapolate results to other, less well-known
elasmobranch fisheries, and thus predict the likelihood of their decline and collapse.

With results required by 1996, for the CITES Animals Committee (see opposite), the
next IUCN Red List and the Shark Action Plan, the Shark Specialist Group urgently
needs to raise funds to enable this work to be undertaken.

Canadian Atlantic shark management plan
The results of a seminar on shark management held on 28 March in Halifax, Nova
Scotia, have now been released by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans
(DFO).The seminar was attended by some 90 individual resource-users representing
commercial, recreational and native interests, and operated on a workshop format with
cross-sector representation. Its objectives were to identify and develop management
policies for the developing Canadian Atlantic fishery for pelagic sharks (porbeagle,
shortfin mako and blue sharks), under the DFO's mandate of resource conservation
and sustainable development.













Shorfin mako Isurus oxyrinchus. 1989 by Sid F. Cook. All rights reserved.


The DFO's News Release (17 May 1995) stated that all workshops reached consensus
on a number of basic policy objectives.

1. Given the lack of scientific information and the cautious approach recommended
by science, this fishery should be considered exploratory, not commercial, and
directed primarily at data collection for stock assessment purposes.
2. Entry to the exploratory fishery should be strictly limited to those with historical
attachment (past participants).
3. The recreational sector should also have access, linked to data collection.
4. Existing established fisheries with by-catches of shark (e.g. swordfish) should
not be negatively affected by the licensing of a directed shark fishery or the
setting of precautionary catch levels.
5. There must be strict adherence to monitoring and enforcement of the measures
governing the exploratory shark fishery.

The scientific advice concerning the shark resource is unchanged from last year and





continued caution should be exercised in the shark fishery. Once the status of the
stocks has been determined, additional measures may be required to further restrict
access to this fishery. The scientific advice also recommends precautionary catch
levels be set as it is not possible to make recommendations concerning harvest levels
at this time, given the lack of data available to carry out an assessment.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Brian Tobin, will be reviewing the results of the
seminar and will shortly announce the 1995 Shark Management Plan, which was being
drafted in Ottawa during May.

Copies of the seminar summary and report are available from Mike Calcutt, Resource
Management Branch. Department of Fisheries and Oceans, 200 Kent Street, Ottawa,
Ontario, Canada K1A 0E6.

Status of international trade in shark species
The full text of this Resolution (Conf. 9.17), passed at the 9th Meeting of the
Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) in 1994, is:

NOTING the increase in the international trade in parts and derivatives of sharks, and
the document on this issue (Doc. 9.58) submitted by the United States of America;

CONCERNED that some shark species are heavily utilized around the world for their
fins, skins and meat;

NOTING that levels of exploitation in some cases are unsustainable and may be
detrimental to the long-term survival of certain shark species;

NOTING that, at present, sharks are not specifically managed or conserved by any
multilateral or regional agreement forthe management of marine fisheries;

NOTING further the ongoing initiatives to foster international co- operation in the
management of fisheries resources;

CONCERNED that the international trade in parts and products of sharks lacks
adequate monitoring and control;

RECOGNIZING that the members of the IUCN Species Survival Commissions's Shark
Specialist Group are currently reviewing the status of sharks and the global trade in
their parts and derivatives in the course of developing an action plan on shark
conservation;

CONSIDERING that the Conference of the Parties has competence to consider any
species subject to international trade;

RECOGNIZING that other intergovernmental organizations and bodies, including the
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, and the International
Commission for Conservation of

Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), have undertaken efforts to collect elaborate statistical data on
catches and landings of diverse marine species, including sharks;

RECOGNIZING further that the collection of species-specific data is a complex task,
considering that there are some 100 species of sharks being exploited both
commercially and for recreation, and that numerous countries utilize this marine
resource;

THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION URGES the Parties
to submit to the Secretariat all available information concerning the trade and biological
status of sharks, including historical catch and trade data on shark fisheries;

DIRECTS the Animals Committee, with the assistance of experts as may be needed,
to:






a) review such information, and information made available through consultation with
FAO and other international fisheries management organizations and, where
appropriate, to include information made available by non-governmental organizations;

b) summarize the biological and trade status of sharks subject to international trade;
and

c) prepare a discussion paper on the biological and trade status of sharks, at least six
months prior to the tenth meeting of the conference of the Parties; and

REQUESTS
a) FAO and other international fisheries management organizations to establish
programmes to further collect and assemble the necessary biological and trade data or
shark species, and that such additional information be provided no later than six
months prior to the 11th meeting of the Conference of the Parties;

b) all nations utilizing and trading specimens of shark species to co- operate with FAO
and other international fisheries management organizations, and to assist developing
States in the collection of species-specific data; and

c) FAO and other international fisheries management organization to fully inform the
CITES Secretariat of progress on collection elaboration and analyses of data.







Nations










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News
Shark by-catch in longline and gillnet fisheries operating from the south of Spain
A paper recently submitted to the Fishery Bulletin (V. Buencuerpo, S. Rios and J.
Moron) gives some interesting figures on the importance of shark by-catch in swordfish
fisheries in the eastern North Atlantic and Mediterranean Sea. Of 51,205 fish sampled
in landings during 12 months from July 1991,40,198 were sharks, 9,990 were
swordfish and the rest other bony fish. A large number of immature sharks were taken.
The paper also presents information about the population structure of shark species
and suggests patterns of shortfin mako movements from catch data. -.

The authors suggest that the shortfin mako could be the species most seriously
affected by this fishing pressure, although the blue shark is most commonly caught and
large numbers of discards of this species at sea go unreported. Thresher sharks could
also be very sensitive to fishing pressure because of their low reproductive rate and the
small populations in the area. Hammerhead catches appear to have declined, although
historical by-catch data are not available for any species of shark.

They conclude that international organizations such as the Tuna Commissions should
be involved in the collection of fisheries statistics on the by-catch of pelagic shark
populations. Studies of gear selectivity and discards are needed to properly evaluate
shark by-catch in these fisheries. Management of the Atlantic swordfish fishery should
be reoriented to a multi- species approach, with the effect of the pelagic shark by-
catch and its economic implications included in the management model. However, the
joint efforts of all nations operating longline fleets in the eastern Atlantic are required to
provide a full assessment of the status of shark populations in the area.

















Editorial note:





The possibility of imposing an additional duty on the international tuna management
bodies (i.e. IATTC, ICCAT, IPTP/IOTC, SEAFDEC and SPC/FFA), namely to
undertake the monitoring of high seas shark catches, has been put forward by a
number of readers of Shark News recently.

As one correspondent points out: they might not do so willingly, because of the extra
work involved and because it appears to be outside their mandates. However, on this
second point there are two reasons why it should be included in their remit.

First, sharks are a significant by-catch of most tuna fleets; with present high fin prices
they cannot be disregarded from economic analyses.

Secondly, oceanic sharks and tunas often school together; a full understanding of tuna
ecology and population dynamics cannot be achieved without an understanding of their
associations with sharks.

Readers' comments on this suggestion would be received with interest.


Letter to the editor

Dear shark lovers,
It pleases me immensely to announce that the Portuguese Fisheries Department is
finally devoting some attention to sharks. The project focuses on deep-sea fish and
crustaceans and I have been invited to deal with the shark component. At this point we
are studying age and growth of black-mouthed catsharks Caleus melastomus using the
sharks' vertebrae but, eventually, we'll move on to other deep sea sharks and also
stomach contents. The overall objective is to understand the food chain processes that
occur in deep waters.

Sincerely,
Joao Pedro Correia,
Curator of Sharks (Lisbon Zoo) and
Researcher (Portuguese Institute of Marine Research)

Editors' note:
This is the first letter to the editor received by Shark News, and it was most gratefully
received! Please remember that we are interested in receiving more information from
our readers, although we do not guarantee to publish every communication sent to us.


Occurrence of Odontaspis ferox in the Western Equatorial Atlantic
A dry jaw received from fishermen operating off Natal, north-eastern Brazil, has been
deposited in the Departamento de Pesca of the Universidade Federal Rural de
Pemambuco, Recife, Brazil. The researchers who identified the species from its
dentition (Roberto Menni, Fabio Hazin and Rosangela Lessa) note that this represents
a notable large new extension to its known range.

[More details are available from the above-named at Depart.de Pesca, Univ. Fed.
Rural de Pemambuco, Brazil.]


New readers of Shark News?
The notice opposite explains that we do not want to continue to go to the expense of
posting copies of Shark News to people who do not want to continue to receive it.
However, we are very keen to continue to expand our readership, particularly in
countries where shark, rays and chimaeras are of existing or potential importance to
fisheries or tourism or significant for other reasons. We are particularly aware that our
readership in tropical and developing countries is low.

Please, therefore, send in the names and addresses of any individuals or institutes you
think might benefit from receiving this newsletter. While the generous provision of
sponsorship and reader donations is maintained we will continue to distribute copies


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free of charge.







Nations

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Bibliography: technical reports and publications

Report of Japanese Society for Elasmobranch Studies, no. 31. December 1994.
The 44 page volume contains an editorial and six papers in Japanese, including the
following. Those marked have English abstracts.
*Taniuchi, T. Some biological aspects of sharks caught by floating longlines. I. Species,
distribution, species composition and hook rates.
*Takada, K. Stranding of a megamouth shark in Hakata Bay.
*Kitamura, T. Electrophoretic analysis of the sharks.
Tanaka. S. Research of freshwater elasmobranchs in Lake Nicaragua. -

The status and conservation of sharks in Britain
Philip Vas, 1995. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems, 5:67-79.
This 'viewpoint' article notes the comparative lack of knowledge on British sharks and
their fisheries, and their lack of statutory regulation despite the large numbers of sharks l
taken by both commercial and recreational fisheries. The author sets out to review the
current landings of sharks in the British Isles and uses the data to support the
contention that immediate research should be undertaken to collect essential life-
history information so that: (i) accurate assessments of current stock levels can be
made and (ii) a long-term fishery management plan can be developed.

Subscription information for Chondros
Chondros is a semi-technical periodical publication [ISSN: 1021-0253] related to work
with biology, fisheries, use, management, conservation and human interactions with
sharks, skates, rays, sawfishes and chimaeras worldwide. Its style is understandable to
a broad range of educational backgrounds (readership ranges from age 11 to adults).
Current readers include: scientists, fisheries managers, international agencies, national
& stategovernments, students, libraries, commercial & recreational fishermen,
conservationists, divers/other recreational ocean users and the general public
interested in learning more about sharks and related species. A focus of the publication
is the reporting of ongoing work in a timely manner through original articles and
scientific notes. It also includes book reviews, conference notes, job announcements,
cooperative research and information sharing requests (Currents), periodic
bibliographic updates (SharkLit), a coastal-estuarine-insular report section, editorials,
new publications, news, reader comments (Rahs! and Jaws! and Letters to the
Editors), and reader submitted cartoons (Cartoon Corner).

We are currently in V6(1995). CHR is published quarterly (4x/yr). Each issue runs at
between 14-22 pages. Subscription rates [in US funds]: $22/yr in US, Canada and
Mexico; $26/yr in all other countries. Student rates: subtract$5/yr from the rate for your
country. Contact: Madeline Oetinger, Managing Editor, Chondros, 1003 Hermitage
Drive, Owensboro, KY (USA) 42301 -6004. E-Mail address [madelino@ndk.occ.uky.
edu]; Phn: (502) 683-7681; Fax: (502) 926- 3196. Other information requests or
submission inquiries can be directed via e-mail to [74361,2215@compuserve.com]
(Sid Cook, Senior Editor). Previous volumes are also available. A bound volume -






containing VI (1 ),V2 and V3 [14 issues) is priced at $20 in USA, Canada and Mexico;
$22 in all other countries, including postage and handling. V4 and V5 are available at
the current subscription rates as unbound, individual issues.


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Columbus Zoo
The Columbus Zoo is proud to be a sponsor of the fourth publication of Shark News.
As part of the Zoo's ongoing attempts to support conservation and education
internationally, we hope this issue continues to be a vital link between the members of
the Shark Specialist Group and others.












The mission of the Columbus Zoo is to promote an awareness and understanding of
our natural world through the encouragement of responsible conservation and the
dynamics of education. Under the guidance of the Zoo's Animal Mangement, Health
and Scientific Studies Committee, the Zoo promotes global awareness by assisting in
legislative sponsorship and supporting over thrity international research and
conservation initiatives. At home, the Zoo continues to make advances in education
and environmental interpretation. Programming designed to encourage a holistic
approach to conservation is offered throughout the year, in hundreds of programming
efforts, reaching an audience of over 1 million annually.

Understanding our world allows us to understand ourselves. With each new advance
towards this goal we insure our future. If we encourage proper management of our
resources, creative information exchanges and exciting educational opportunities, we
will promote understanding through true appreciation of the uniqueness and diversity o
our natural world.

Beth Firchau, Columbus Zoo, Box 400, Powell, Ohio 43065-0400.


The Shark Specialist Group would also like to acknowledge the generous grant for this
issue provided by the Natal Shark Board and the personal donations send by the
following: R.C. Anderson, T. Anderson, J.M.N. Azevedo, J. Barrull, 1. Bianchi, C.
Birkeland, D.P.S. Correia, G.C. Croft, C.J. Davies, S. Eastwood, M.P. Francis, M.J.
Holden, E. Jones, J.W. Kirby, J.C. Krause, P.E. Roth, J.A. Seigel, B. Seret, S. Tanaka,
G. Walker.
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S elections...

Meetings

ICES Study Group on Elasmobranch Fishes
15-18 August 1995. First meeting, ICES headquarters.


Symposium, 30 August 1995, Tampa, Florida, USA. To be followed by a workshop at
the Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, on 1-2 September. Contact Bob Hueter, fax:
(813) 388 4312, for information.
4th Asian Fisheries Forum: towards sustainable fisheries
Beijing International Aquaculture and Fisheries Exposition, China. October 16-20,
1995. Contact: FISHASIA'95, 31 Min Feng Lane, Xidan, Beijing, China. Fax: (861)
6062346.

Symposium on the Systematics, Ecology and Resources of the Elasmobranchs


Fisheries, Tokai University, 3-20-1a rido, Shimizu City, 424 Japan.

Second World Fisheries Congress
Developing and Sustaining World Fisheries
Resources: the state of science and management
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. 28 July-2 August 1996.

Suggested themes and issues include: why do some fisheries survive while others
collapse? How can fisheries resources be allocated? What is the scope for
development of wild stock fisheries? What is needed to manage fisheries sustainable?

Abstracts invited by 31 August 1995. Contact the Congress Secretariat, PO Box 1280,
Milton, Brisbane, QId 4064, Australia. Fax: (07) 369 1512. Email: im@cc.qu.oz.au

IUCN World Conservation Congress
Montreal Conference Centre, Canada. 14-23 October 1996.
Details from IUCN, 28 rue Mauverney, 1196 Gland, Switzerland.

5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference
Noumea (New Caledonia). October 1997.
A symposium will be devoted to Chondrichthyan fishes. Contact B, Seret, Antenne
ORSTOM, Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Laboratoire d'lchtyologie, 43 Rue
Cuvier, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France. Fax: (33) 1 40 79 37 71. Email: seret@mnhn.fr
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