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List of Articles
The Economics of Shark and
Ray Watching in the Maldives
Charles Anderson and Ali
Sarah Fowler and Jack Musick -
Western Australia's Dusky
Shark Fishery: an Example of a
Sustainable Fishery for a Long-
lived, Late Maturing, Slow a. -
Growing, Low Reproductive
Shark Fisheries in Central Illustation @ R _illiams 1993
Jorge M. Campos, Jos6 Rodrigo M. Rojas and Raul Campos
Challenges of Atlantic Shark Management for a Viable and Sustainable
Margo B. Schulze-Haugen and Karyl K. Brewster-Geisz
Fishery for US Atlantic Spiny Dogfish Temporarily Halted
The 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Elasmobranch Update
Rachel Cavanagh and Sarah Fowler
Rachel Cavanagh and Sarah Fowler
Bayesian Methods in Shark Fishery Management
Elizabeth A. Babcock and Ellen K. Pikitch
United States Bans Shark Finning
Review of Non-food Fisheries
International Shark Conservation and Management Initiatives
Mike Pawson and Sarah Fowler
Environmental Hero Award
SSC Specialist Group Grants
Proposal To List Smalltooth Sawfish As Endangered
Recent Books & Publications
This Issue of Shark News is Sponsored by the US State Department
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-- S- -S SI
The economics of shark and ray watching in the Maldives
Charles Anderson and Ali Waheed, t *o
Marine Research Centre, Malo, Republic of Maldives
The Republic of Maldives is a country
composed entirely of coral atolls. Located in
the central Indian Ocean, its two major wi -
economic activities in the Maldives are fishing
and tourism Fishing has traditionally n b
1972, and has grown steadily since then, with
some 350,000 tourist arrivals expected in
1998. The main attractions for visitors are the
tropical beaches and coral reefs. The reefs are .
rich in marine life, which makes diving and
snorkeling particularly popular. Perhaps as
many as 50% of tourists go diving during their M -i
One of the greatest attractions for recreational
divers is observing large marine animals
underwater in their natural habitats. Sharks in
particular are always a major attraction. The
main shark species involved in the Maldives
are listed in Table 1, in approximate order of
Feeding wild stingrays is a tourist attraction on some
islands. Photo: Charles Anderson.
Table 1. Sharks regularly encountered by divers in the Maldives
English name Scientific name Maldivian name
Whitetip reef shark Triaenodon obesus Faana miyaru
Grey reef shark Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos Thila miyaru
Blacktip reef shark Carcharhinus melanopterus Falhu miyaru
Scalloped hammerhead Sphyrna lewini
Tawny nurse shark
Carcharhinus albimarginatus Kattafulhi miyaru
Divers might see sharks on almost any dive, but there are certain sites that offer a much higher chance of
seeing sharks than others. During a survey in 1992, the number of dives taking place annually at 35
specific shark-watching dive sites was estimated at 76,850. At an average cost of US$30 per dive, that
amounted to an annual expenditure by divers of about US$2.3 million on shark-watching dives (Anderson
and Ahmed 1993).
Anderson and Ahmed (1993) further estimated that in 1992 a single grey reef shark was worth about US
$33,500 per year at what was then the most popular shark watching site, 'Fish Head'. For all shark watching
dive sites, the average value of a live grey reef shark was estimated at about US$3,300 per year. Since
grey reef sharks can live for at least 18 years, and in the Maldives recognisable individuals have been seen
at dive sites for many years in a row, the total value of each shark is several times higher. In contrast, a
dead grey reef shark was calculated to have a one-time value of about US$32 to a local fisherman. Thus,
grey reef sharks were worth at least 100 times more alive at a dive site than dead on a fishing boat.
With such large sums of money involved in shark watching, there was (and is) considerable interest among
diving operators in preserving 'their' reef sharks. In view of the economic importance of diving tourism, and
in particular shark watching, fifteen top dive sites (9 of which were, or had been shark watching sites) were
declared marine protected areas in June 1995. This included 'Fish Head'. In addition, the catching of whale
sharks was banned (see Table 3).
Despite these measures, and increased awareness of the importance of sharks as tourist attractions,
fishing of reef sharks continued, even within the central tourism zone. As a result, shark numbers at what
was the most popular site (Fish Head) have decreased to such a low level (an average of only one shark
seen per dive in 1997, from a high of 20+ ten years earlier) that many dive operators no longer visit. The
loss of diving revenue from this one site has been roughly estimated at US$500,000 per year (Anderson
1998). A survey of departing divers carried out in late 1997 revealed that 58% saw fewer sharks than
expected during their visit, and 83% of repeat visitors thought that there had been a decrease in shark
numbers since their last visit (Waheed 1998).
Recognising the great economic importance of shark watching in the country, the Ministry of Fisheries and
Agriculture recently introduced a new regulation, banning all types of shark fishing within the main tourism
zone (defined as Baa, Lhaviyani, Kaafu, Alifu, Vaavu and Seenu Atolls, and the waters within 12 miles of
Some shark watching dive sites still have significant number of sharks in residence. Tourist arrivals have
increased substantially (from 212,000 in 1992 to about 350,000 in 1998), as has the average cost per dive
(to about US$35 each). Current expenditure by divers on shark watching in the Maldives is therefore likely
to be in excess of the US$2.3 million per year calculated in 1992. In addition, with fewer sharks, and at
least as much money being spent on seeing them, the value of each shark for diving tourism must have
increased significantly. On the basis of willingness to pay, Waheed (1998) estimated that reef sharks had a
nominal value of US$6.6 million as attractions for tourist divers in 1997. These estimates are of direct diving
revenue only; indirect revenues (including food, accommodation and transport) are several times higher.
In addition to sharks, other large marine animals are also major attractions to tourist divers. Rays are
especially popular. A total of 14 species of ray have been recorded from the Maldives so far. The main
species involved in tourist activities are listed in Table 2.
Manta rays migrate from side to side of the atoll chain in phase with the monsoons, in order to take
advantage of seasonal plankton blooms. They are common on the west side of the atolls during the
northeast monsoon, and on the east side during the southwest monsoon. Mantas are most frequently
watched by divers when they visit 'cleaning stations' on the reefs. In contrast, stingrays tend to be seen at
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particular locations year-round. Some dive operators feed stingrays in order to guarantee close encounters.
In addition, a few resorts feed stingrays in their lagoons, thereby providing an attraction for all their guests,
not just the divers.
Table 2. Ray species regularly encountered by tourists in the Maldives
English name Scientific name Maldivian name
Manta ray Manta birostris En madi
Black spotted stingray Taeniura meyeni Naru nagoo madi
Brown stingray Himantura fai Naru nagoo madi
Anderson and Hafiz (1997) suggested that the economic value of ray watching in the Maldives'must run
into many hundreds thousand dollars per year'. This is likely to be an underestimate. From a survey of
departing tourists, and on the basis of willingness to pay, Waheed (1998) estimated that manta rays alone
had a nominal value of US$7.8 million as attractions for tourist divers in 1997.
The value of rays as attractions for divers has been recognized by the Government of Maldives. At present,
few fishermen catch rays and there is minimal local demand for ray products. A fishery is only likely to
develop in response overseas demand. To forestall the development of an export-oriented fishery the
export of rays was banned from June 1995. The export of ray skins was specifically banned from January
Resolution of conflicting interests
There appear to be few problems afflicting ray resources in the Maldives. However, the reef shark
resources are seriously threatened by over-fishing. Related to this, there is a major conflict of interest
between reef shark fishermen and diving tourism operators.
The problem for fishermen is that tourism
does not necessarily bring them any direct
benefits. They are therefore inclined to
continue fishing for sharks, whatever the
costs to diving operators. There is little
demand for any shark products within the
Maldives. The fisheries are driven by the
high price of fins in the east Asian market.
As long as the demand for fins is high,
there will be a strong incentive to continue
shark fishing, even though stocks are
overfished, and despite the value of
sharks for tourism. However, fishermen do
benefit from tourism. Tourism is the
Maldives' greatest source of income, and
thus contributes enormously to social
development from which all Maldivians
benefit, even though fishermen do not
normally recognize this indirect benefit to
The ultimate prize for diving tourists. Photo: Charles
them. In addition, as new resorts are
developed, more and more fishermen are
finding employment in tourism. As one
example, there were 19 shark fishing
boats on the island of Dhangethi in south
Ari Atoll in July 1991, just before the
development of several resorts in that
area. By August 1992 seven boats had left
shark fishing to take employment at newly
opened resorts nearby (Anderson and
Ahmed, 1993). By August 1998, there
were 22 boats involved in tourism, and
only four engaged in shark fishing.
The problem for divers and diving tour operators is that reef sharks numbers have declined significantly in
recent years, as a direct result of fishing. Divers are leaving the Maldives disappointed because they have
seen so few sharks. As a direct result, some of these divers will not come back to the Maldives, thus
reducing future revenues. Dive operators cannot offer special shark diving excursions to sites such as Fish
Head (and thereby increase their revenue) now that shark sightings cannot be guaranteed.
The problem for the Government of Maldives is how to balance the demands of the tourism industry with
the rights and needs of the fishermen. Recognising the great economic importance of shark watching in the
country, it has introduced regulations aimed at promoting shark and ray conservation. This culminated in
the ban on all types of shark fishing within the main tourism zone. This ban should go a long way towards
conserving reef shark resources, although it may not be entirely effective, given the limited ability to police
and enforce it.
The various regulations (iulaan) relating to the conservation of reef sharks and rays are listed in Table 3.
These regulations have been gazetted under the Environment Law (Law 4/93) by the Ministry of Planning,
Human Resources and Environment; the Fisheries Law (5/87) by the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture;
and the Import-Export Law (31/79) by the Ministry of Trade, Industries and Labour.
Table 3. Summary of regulations relevant to the conservation of reef sharks and
rays in the Maldives
Regulation No. Effective Details
E-95/32 5 June 95 Creation of 15 marine protected areas (dive sites)
FA-A1/29/95/39 24 June 95 Whale shark fishing prohibited
A-23/95 25 June 95 Export of rays prohibited
A-26/95 (of 15.7.95) 1 Jan 96 Export of ray skins prohibited
FA-A1/29/98/39 8 Sept 98 All shark fishing in tourism zone prohibited
There is no doubt that reef shark resources have been overfished in recent years. There is also no doubt
that the revenue from shark watching far outweighs that from the export of reef shark products. From a
macroeconomic point of view it would make sense to ban all shark fishing and all shark product exports.
Since reef shark stocks appear to have been reduced to relatively low levels, such complete bans would
have little financial impact on reef shark fishermen, many of whom have already switched to other
occupations. However, such bans would have a major impact on the large and completely separate oceanic
shark fishery. It remains to be seen whether reef shark populations can recover to their former abundance
under the current regulation regime, or if a total ban on shark fishing and exports will be required.
Anderson R.C. 1998. Sharks mean business. Scientific American Presents, 9(3): 72-73.
Anderson R.C. and Ahmed H. 1993. Shark fisheries of the Maldives. Ministry of Fisheries &
Agriculture, Maldives & FAO, Rome, 73pp.
Anderson R.C. and A.Hafiz (In press) Elasmobranch fisheries in the Maldives. Proceedings of the
International Seminar and Workshop on Shark and Ray Biodiversity, Conservation and
Management. Sabah, Malaysia, July 1997.
Waheed A. 1998. Economic value of marine ecotourism to the Maldives. Unpublished B.Sc. thesis, Institute
of Marine Studies, University of Plymouth, UK. 68pp.
Charles Anderson, Marine Research Section, Ministry of Agriculture, Maldives,
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We apologise for this much overdue issue of Shark News which has been so greatly delayed due to the
time constraints of our voluntary editors. Now that we have employed a Programme Officer (see opposite),
Shark News will return to circulation on a regular basis of at least two issues per year. As so much time
has passed since the last, we decided to make this one a 'bumper' issue: there are so many books and
publications to review, several meetings have taken place, and many changes that have occurred since
we last produced a newsletter in late 1998. For those of you who have been unable to attend any of the
Shark Specialist Group meetings that have been held, we would like to take this opportunity now to update
you on the recent activities and progress of our Group. -.
Coordination of the IUCN Red List assessments
Red List assessments were prepared by numerous SSG experts for over 100 elasmobranch species
during 1999 and early 2000 (see p.8 for details). Details of those assessed as threatened were published *
in the 2000 IUCN Red List, www.redlist.org and provide a sobering perspective on their status. The IUCN
has requested that the SSG completes assessments for all chondrichthyan fish species by 2003, in order
to provide a full overview of our knowledge of the group.
FAO International Plan of Action (IPOA) Sharks
SSG members have provided advice on the implementation of the FAO IPOA-Sharks, and on the
development of national plans by shark fishing States, including USA, Australia and New Zealand.
Progress was reviewed by FAO at the 2001 Committee on Fisheries (COFI) meeting, attended by Co-
Chair Sarah Fowler on the IUCN Delegation. (See p.13 for more information on the FAO IPOA-Sharks.)
SSG experts appraised proposals for listing three species of shark on Appendices I and II of the
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, prior to the Conference of Parties in 2000,
where the SSG was represented by Co-Chair Sarah Fowler on the IUCN delegation (see page 9). SSG
experts have also contributed to the review of the CITES listing criteria and to the FAO review of these
criteria with specific reference to aquatic species.
Programme Officer Appointed
The SSG has received a grant of ae70,000 over three years from the Global Wildlife Division of the UK's
Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions towards the cost of employing a full-time SSG
Programme Officer. In March 2001, Rachel Cavanagh was appointed to this post, on an initial one-year
contract based in the Nature Bureau in the UK with SSG Co-Chair Sarah Fowler. Her role will be to
coordinate the work of the SSG under the management and guidance of the Co- and Deputy Chairs and
the other voluntary officers of the SSG's Executive Committee.
^^^^1~~~0 0^~ ~ 11iTT'^^^^^
Rachel Cavanagh, SSG Programme
Officer. Photo: Jack Musick.
Over the past few years, the SSG's activities in many areas has been hampered by our reliance on
volunteer members alone. An array of conservation objectives for elasmobranchs can now be more
effectively pursued and the SSG should become far more active and effective a group. The SSG's and
Programme Officer's work programme has been discussed at two SSG meetings in 2001: during the IPFC
in Durban, South Africa, and at the American Elasmobranch Society meeting in the USA.
Some of you will know Rachel already as a result of her past involvement in elasmobranch research and
conservation. In 1996 she spent some months working for Dr. Sonny Gruber on lemon sharks in Bimini,
the Bahamas. Later, she became an SSG volunteer with the Darwin Project on Elasmobranch
Biodiversity, Conservation and Management in Sabah, Malaysia, and played a key role in the rediscovery
of the Borneo River Shark. Rachel later organised an elasmobranch research expedition to Sarawak with
SSG volunteer Scott Mycock, and was one of the first members of the UK Shark Trust. For the past three
years Rachel has been working on her PhD in wildlife disease ecology and is now delighted to have
returned to the field of elasmobranchs, where her main interests and enthusiasm lie.
Status Report for the Chondrichthyan fishes
Editing of the final draft is underway, and we aim to publish later this year. We urgently need to include
updated information on management and conservation legislation being implemented for shark fisheries
and protected species around the world. The kind of information we are seeking appears in the tables on
pp.19 and 20 of the IUCN Occasional Paper Sharks and their Relatives (Camhi et al. 1998 see p.18 to
obtain a copy). The tables can also be viewed on the SSG website: www.flmnh.ufl.edulfishlOrganizations/
SSG/SSGDefault.html. Please contact Rachel Cavanagh (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have
relevant information; you will be gratefully acknowledged.
Sarah Fowler & Jack Musick, SSG Co-Chairs.
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Western Australia's dusky shark fishery: an example of a -
sustainable fishery for a long-lived, late maturing, slow
growing, low reproductive rate species?
Colin Simpfendorfer, Western Australian Marine Research
The dusky shark Carcharhinus obscurus is a species of shark with a strongly K-selected life history.
The young are born at 80 to 105 cm total length (TL) and on average grow less than 10 cm TL per year.
Individuals mature at approximately 20 years and may live to over 45 years. The average litter size for
mature females is ten, with litters produced every third, or possibly second year. The life history of the
dusky shark is therefore one that makes it particularly susceptible to overfishing by commercial fisheries.
For example, in the western North Atlantic, the abundance of dusky sharks has been estimated to have
declined by 60-80% between 1974 and 1991 because of heavy commercial and recreational fishing
(Musick et al. 1993).
New-born dusky shark. Photo: Colin Simpfendorfer
A commercial fishery exists in southwestern Australia for dusky sharks. Annual catches of this fishery
peaked at 600-700 mt during the early 1980s, and are currently around 450-500 mt. This fishery is unlike
any other for a large, long-lived species in that recently pupped juveniles are targeted using demersal
gillnets with a mesh size of 16.5-17.8 cm.
The Fisheries Department of Western Australia undertakes assessment of the fishery using a combination
of exploitation rates and demographic analysis. Exploitation rates are estimated from a tagging study of 1
recently pupped dusky sharks. Age-specific exploitation rates are used in the assessment based on
releases during the 1994 and 1995 pupping seasons. It was assumed that the size selectivity of the
gillnets used in the fishery meant that no sharks over six years of age were caught in the fishery. The
exploitation rate data are used in the demographic analysis along with life history information such as age
at maturity, maximum age, litter size, reproductive periodicity, and natural mortality. For the purposes of
the assessment, and the examination of uncertainty in the outcomes, a total of 17 scenarios were used
(one base case and 16 sensitivity tests for variations in life history and exploitation rate data), each
examining three levels of fishing: no fishing, exploitation rates experienced by the 1994 cohort, and
exploitation rates experienced by the 1995 cohort.
Results of the assessment indicated that the population was sustainable at the current levels of
exploitation. The annual rate of population increase without fishing was 4.3%, while with the current level
of exploitation is 2.3-2.7%. Sensitivity tests indicated that only if natural mortality was above expected
levels would there be a possibility that the current levels of exploitation could not be sustained.
The results of this assessment are interesting in that they indicate a possible strategy for commercially
exploiting long-lived, late maturing, slow growing, low reproductive rate species. This strategy is to target
fishing at the youngest age class. In the case of the Western Australian dusky shark population, only one
in six individuals survive to maturity (due to the late age at maturity) so most of the neonates caught would
have died anyway.
The application of this fishing strategy to other populations of long-lived, late maturing, species is probably
limited. The strategy works well with dusky sharks because of their large size at birth, which provides
fishermen with a product large enough to be commercially viable. In other species, individuals in the
youngest age class may be too small to be economically viable as a target. It is also a strategy that
applies to meat fisheries, since fin-based fisheries are most commonly driven by the desire for the largest
It is important that when a fishing strategy such as this is applied that only the desired age classes are
caught. There are two approaches that can be used to do this. One is the use of size-selective fishing gear
(e.g. gillnets), and the other is to fish in nursery areas.
In situations where there is also capture of other age classes, the advantages of this fishing strategy
quickly diminish. Exploitation rates of older age classes need only be in the order of 1% to 2% to result in
over-exploitation of the stock. In any fishery that employs this fishing strategy it is important that there is
an ongoing monitoring programme to estimate exploitation rates of both the target, as well as the non-
target age classes. The results of the sensitivity tests also indicate that if possible an accurate estimate of
the level of natural mortality will provide a decrease in the uncertainty of the assessment.
The results of the assessment of the Western Australian dusky shark fishery indicates the accepted
paradigm that strongly K-selected shark species cannot withstand targeted commercial fishing pressure
does not always hold true.
However, it is only an extreme fishing strategy, where the youngest age classes are caught, that may be
sustainable. Such a fishing strategy has limited applicability to most strongly K-selected shark species and
should be carefully examined before being implemented.
Current Address: Center for Shark Research, Mote Marine Lab,
1600 Ken Thompson Parkway,Sarasota, Florida, USA,
Fax:+1 941 388 4312. Email: email@example.com
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Shark Fisheries in Central America
Jorge M. Campos, Jose Rodrigo M. Rojas and Raul Campos *- *
In order to determine the status of shark fisheries in Central America a cooperative project was launched.
ProAmbiente and INRECOSMAR (local NGOs) had the leading role under a cooperative agreement with
PRADESPESCA, a project for fisheries development in the region funded by the European Community. *
Efforts concentrated on identifying available biological data, local publications on shark fisheries, formal
studies and publications, catch data on marketing and trade routes. According to Ruiz (1999),
Carcharhinus falciformis, Nasolamia velox, and Sphyrna lewini represent the largest catch in
Guatemala. C.yfalciformis and S.ylewini are species commonly captured in Honduras, El Salvador
and Panama (Salinas 1999, Villatoro 1999 and Ramirez and Medina 1999). In Costa Rica and Nicaragua
the shark species more frequently captured are Prionace glauca, C. falciformis, Mustelus sp., S.
ylewini and Alopias superciliosus (Hernandez and Maradiaga 1999).
Use of the resource
Guatemala is the country that best utilises sharks since, except for viscera, the whole animal is used (Ruiz
1997). Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica are the extreme cases where market exists only for meat and
fins (ProAmbiente 1999).
Sharks: Target fishery or incidental catch?
Shark landings in Central America come from two activities. One is coastal fishing, where sharks are
incidental or complementary catches of the shrimp (Penaeidae), lobster (Palinuridae), snapper
(Lutjanidae), drum (Sciaenidae) and grouper (Serranidae) fisheries. The other one is the pelagic fisheries
(long-lines), where sharks are incidental catch of mahi mahi Coriphaena hippurus, marlin Tretrapterus
audax and Makaira indica, sailfish Istiophorus platypterus, swordfish Xiphias gladius and tuna Thunnus
albacares and T. obesus (ProAmbiente, 1999).
Regional economic importance of shark trade
In Honduras, the economic importance of sharks in the fishery is unknown. Reports from Salinas (1998)
show that a portion of the shark catch is sold in local markets, mainly in Choluteca and Tegucigalpa, and
some is exported to Guatemala and El Salvador. In El Salvador, sharks represent an important source of
income for fishermen. In fact, between 1993 and 1997, 4,178,780 kg were landed, 12.3% of it was
exported at a value of $8,987,368 (CENDEPESCA, 1998). The main export markets were the United
States, Mexico and Asian countries (Villatoro 1997). In Nicaragua there is no historic data on prices or
shark products marketed. Costa Rica and the United States have become Nicaragua's main export
markets for shark fins and meat, respectively (Hern ndez and Maradiaga 1998). In Costa Rica, shark meat
and fins contribute up to 25% of the income generated by the fishery. Between 1987 and 1997, the volume
of shark fin trade was around 140,000 kg (INCOPESCA 1998), the price varied between $40 and $70 per
kilogram. Main export markets are Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and United States. In 1999 in Panama,
shark fin exports reached 67,582 kg with a value of $ 4,511,042. Principal markets were Hong Kong (67%
of shark fins) and the United States (25.7% of shark fin trade and more that 50% of shark meat) (Ramirez
and Medina 1999).
Management measures recommended
1. Identification of the most important fishing banks and seasonality of shark populations present at
those fishing grounds.
2. Research into basic fishery data such as growth, mortality, abundance, distribution, reproduction,
recruitment sizes, weight, sex size and age at sexual maturity and age structure of the
populations, particularly for species that are of economic importance in Central America.
3. Estimation of catch per unit of effort (CPUE) for shark species landed by national and international
fleets that fish Central American waters.
4. Establishment of a monitoring program to assess the mortality of sharks due to incidental fishing,
as well as the fraction of sharks species that are subject to incidental capture.
5. Design of management measures to continuously advise Central American fishing authorities and
companies on the sustainable use of this resource.
6. Integration of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and the United Nations
Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory
Fish Stocks to a regional fishery management scheme.
7. Design and implementation of a communication campaign to educate the public and interested
groups at national, regional and international levels about the threatened status of shark fisheries.
Centro de Desarrollo Pesquero (CENDEPESCA). 1988. Anuario de estadisticas pesqueras. Ministerio de
Agriculture y Ganaderia. Division de Administracion Pesquera. Departamento de Estadisticas. Nueva San
Hernandez, A. and J. Maradiaga. 1998. La pesqueria de peces pel gicos en el oce no Pacifico de
Nicaragua. Proyecto de Pesca de Mediana Altura (PMA). Direccion de Promocion y Desarrollo Pesquero.
Ministerio de Economia y Desarrollo. 124ypp.
INCOPESCA. 1998. Institute Costarricense de Pesca y Acuicultura. Estadisticas de pesca de Costa Rica,
1998. Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia. 52$pp.
ProAmbiente. 1999. Diagnostico de la pesca de tiburon en Centro America. Informe preliminary de
Ramirez, R. and E. Medina. 1999. Diagnostico pesquero del recurso tiburon en Panam Informe Tecnico.
Autoridad Maritima de Panam Direccion General de Recursos Marinos y Costeros. 26$pp.
Ruiz, C. 1997. Caracterizacion de la pesca y comercializacion del tiburon en el Pacifico de Guatemala.
Direccion General de Servicios Pecuarios. Direccion Tecnica de Pesca y Acuicultura. 459pp.
Ruiz, C. 1999. Informe tecnico de la pesca de tiburon en Guatemala. Direccion General de Servicios
Pecuarios. Direccion Tecnica de Pesca y Acuicultura. 15ypp.
Salinas, C. 1999. Situacion actual del recurso tiburon en Honduras. Documento Tecnico del Centro de
Investigation Pesquera del Caribe. Secretaria de Agricultura y Ganaderia. Direccion General de Pesca y
Villatoro, 0. 1997. Evaluacion de las poblaciones de tiburones en El Salvador y comentarios sobre su
sostenibilidad. Centro de Desarrollo Pesquero. Division de Investigacion Pesquera. Ministerio de
Agriculture y Ganaderia.
Jorge M. Campos, Instituto de Recursos Costeros y Marinos, Apartado Postal 108-2015, San Jos, Costa
Raul Campos, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
and Jose Rodrigo M. Rojas, Email: email@example.com
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Challenges of Atlantic shark management for a viable
and sustainable shark fishery
Margo B. Schulze-Haugen and Karyl K. Brewster-Geisz
Atlantic shark management has been, and continues to be, a challenge. Since the National Marine
Fisheries Service* (NMFS) established management measures in 1993 for 39 shark species along the
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, the management atmosphere has grown increasingly focused on
stopping overfishing and rebuilding shark stocks. The Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and
Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the primary domestic fisheries law, was amended in 1996 with -
3 new national standards, or requirements, as well as significant revisions of existing national standards.
These new national standards focused on reducing bycatch, identifying and protecting essential fish .
habitat, and protecting human safety at sea. Management measures must comply with numerous laws,
such as the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Regulatory Flexibility
Act, in addition to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
One factor contributing to the difficulties in shark management is the availability and reliability of data on
shark populations. In fact, lack of sufficient data time series (both in number and length) hampered the
establishment of the original fishery management plan (FMP). Since that time, improved data collection
has continued and has indicated the need for additional restrictions on harvest levels.
Summary Table: What the Final HMS FMP means to Atlantic shark fishermen i
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^^* 0 0^- jS^^^^
The following sharks cannot be kpl :rrm r..ily i r rTnr.ti'nally YtWhdjt, bar:in. ai \\3 I-Tr,. r wre sd If r. i lr-..
dusky, night, bignoe, GalqPgesCardb ureet, nrrwiCoo.h knglin mn-Yl bagey; *la teher ver&I.dll. sr.-Il. tgeyt rall.
Caribtkean sha:pno-. smalitad. aniJ AZllxtir anl shlrl-:
Mnageient Unit Species that canbe rtaned Quota Sie Limit Authorized Gears
Large Coastal Shariks Ridtck: Sandbar, silky, tiger 622 4.5 feet Longline; Oillnet,
-direct.d commercial (137 cm) Re. 1 a4.rel.
relteion limit of 4000 Ib fork length hunJi In. barL'il p"r
dw per trip
nidntal nretItonlimil tn-rid.g-t- Bl:i:k.tp Ltll. 196 None
spilinif tlriJm nurxe. fnvcm
harmf rhcad, rIalloped hmmirnhead,
Felg,: 5Airks Zhortlin mnkA fthrhAC.crine.C 488 None
no .diwrne r'.erl.n riil,, whitetip
incidental rtelaion limit
Smtll Coastal Sharks Atlantie shLarpose. black 319 None
no directed retention limit fietooth, boraethead
Deepwater and Other Sharks Catsharks, dogfish sharks, sawshaks, None None
L h.rt:, not relaeId rrnjmt tbe ir !-a: *. Lr 1umr.e r Lhal e'n.*i" es Llte rrr, itin npro t-k. litL/ofsvival
No ira ng any sh a no mater whs t specj es
Fhinri se:onsll JtnuIry l" June i0. July Ito Dciimkxr 31
--.r-i frall." que.ir. verhvr.-*:t in-l3nd h.irr 1 I AJ'.im-rimI,nW, peTin$glhatlyear
Limrltd a. SFs Eaxmped Fi.:hin; Pmmnl I'EFF= ref-juLngirn l:
Court dead discards against federal quotas; Coult ;t1.: l.ridiij alt'-r federal C,-*up ..gii.1.t ferd1 guota
For incidental limited wcss perrntit hldeirs: 5 laIw u.i a]t hart ;pe 3M it .ilfl l] po F l aE--ri sxntll lcastWA sharks
(all species coribined) per vessel per trip
langenlent lrn!i Sipcies dlrt cn be kepi Rerenuoln TInll AudEorized Gear
Large Coastal, Pelagic, and Small LCS: Sanlar.:l-y tiger. blactdip, I shark per vessel pe Rod and reel;
Coastal Sicks bull. 2rsr.t Lsrn nur;. snxar. trip(all speis ) with a handline; bandit gear
harnerhead, salloped. hmtehtad, 5 frd f.rirk- li-ngh
Veat harmerhead r.,,nimunmir ze.
allowance for] Atlatic
Pelagc. shortfinmak.Ihresher, sharpnse perpon
S.earn.: hlit;p pl-rb- ale. tlue per trip (no minimum
SCS Attrntic sharpnose, blacknose,
Harvestd shares must have fins, head, and tail attached (can be bled and tiled i fI ul it :rill rt.a:h f)
No recaioal limits on deepwater ad other sharks.
'Ts Llkle .n.arns i.>slirg ruij.unL. Pleaserefer to the regulation for details ocrent requirements.
For instance, based on the results of a 1996 stock assessment, NMFS decreased the 1997 commercial
fishery quota for large coastal sharks by 50 percent. After this quota cut, commercial fishermen sued
NMFS. In 1998, NMFS conducted a new stock assessment that, again, indicated the need for additional
harvest restrictions. As a result of the Magnuson-Stevens Act requirements, and equipped with this new
stock assessment, NMFS promulgated new management measures to rebuild Atlantic shark populations
(see summary table) as part of a new Highly Migratory Species FMP for Atlantic tunas, swordfish, and
sharks (HMS FMP). The final HMS FMP contains substantial analyses of socio-economic impacts, habitat
requirements, non-target catches and discards, and the adoption of the precautionary approach. For
species for which no new information is available, NMFS implemented several precautionary measures to
ensure that these species do not become depleted and that directed fisheries and/or markets do not
develop. NMFS estimates that the new shark management measures may have considerable negative
social and economic impacts on commercial and recreational fishermen. Commercial and recreational
fishermen sued NMFS on the new shark measures contained in the final HMS FMP. The lawsuit with
recreational fishermen is ongoing. The lawsuit with the commercial fishermen was consolidated with the
On June 30, 1999, NMFS received a Court Order from Judge Steven D. Merryday relative to the 1997 and
1999 lawsuits challenging the commercial harvest quotas for Atlantic sharks. This order put many of the
new shark management measures that were to go into effect July 1, 1999, on hold except for certain non-
quota related measures and all recreational shark measures. In December 2000, this lawsuit was settled.
NMFS determined that the settlement agreement was appropriate because it will conserve Atlantic sharks
while maintaining a sustainable fishery in the long-term; move the management process for Atlantic shark,
forward through quality-controlled scientific assessment and appropriate rulemaking; and promote
confidence in the management process and its underlying science.
In addition to other things, the settlement agreement calls for NMFS to maintain the 1997 commercial
quotas until the 1998 stock assessment is peer-reviewed (completion was expected in late spring 2001). If
the peer-review is negative, NMFS must maintain the 1997 commercial quotas until a new stock
assessment is peer-reviewed. Regardless of the results of the peer-review, the settlement agreement also
calls for new stock assessments for large and small coastal sharks.
In December 2000, the President signed the Shark Finning Prohibition Act (Public law 106-557). This Act
prohibits any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in shark finning at sea, possessing fins
aboard a fishing vessels without the corresponding carcass, and landing shark fins without a
corresponding carcass. NMFS is currently working on implementing the regulations in this Act.
Additionally, the Magnuson-Stevens Act is currently undergoing the re-authorization process which may
result in additional requirements. Other factors that continue to hamper Atlantic shark management are thE
lack of an international forum for scientific evaluation and management of pelagic species, widespread
problems with species-specific identification and the subsequent problems confounding species-specific
management, and overcapitalization and severe derby fishing conditions in commercial fisheries.
However, recent progress has been made on the international front through the Food and Agriculture
Organization's (FAO) International Plan of Action for Shark Conservation and Management (IPOA) and the
assessment of pelagic shark catch rates at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic
Tunas (ICCAT) Standing Committee on Research and Statistics meeting in May, 1999. In February 2001,
NMFS complied voluntarily with the IPOA by finalising its National Plan of Action for the Conservation and
Management of Sharks (NPOA). This relies on the current Magnuson-Stevens Act and calls for improved
data collection, stock assessments, and outreach for sharks across the United States. NMFS continues to
work toward improvements in data collection and scientific assessments. These actions will assist
management, both internationally and domestically, to take the steps necessary to ensure adequate
protection for all Atlantic sharks.
For copies of the final HMS FMP and implementing regulations, contact the authors. More information is
available on-line at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hmspg.html
*NMFS is the branch of the U.S. Federal government responsible for conservation and management of
Margo B. Schulze-Haugen & Karyl K. Brewster-Geisz
Highly Migratory Species Management Division, F/SF1,
National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA,
1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
Editor's note: Shortly before press time, NMFS announced their intention to reopen the Atlantic fishery for
large coastal sharks on July 1 to allow the second half of the annual quota to be taken. This fishery was to
remain closed if the 1998 large coastal shark assessment (the basis for the 1999 50% quota cut and
subsequent lawsuit) was upheld. The scientific peer review of the assessment, anticipated in the spring,
was significantly delayed and will not be completed before the fishery reopens, rendering the review
process moot in terms of 2001 Atlantic large coastal shark mortality.
Fishery for US Atlantic spiny dogfish temporarily halted
Sonja Fordham, The Ocean Conservancy
In accordance with a federal management plan, the commercial fishery for spiny dogfish Squalus
acanthias off the NE coast of the United States was closed in June as the first half of the annual quota
was reached. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts also announced that their state waters (shore out to
three miles) would be closed to dogfish fishing, in line with the federal closure and recent emergency
action by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC).
Such closures are key to the rebuilding of the overfished spiny dogfish population in the NW Atlantic, yet
somewhat surprising considering Massachusetts' opposition to the federal plan's low quotas; last year
Massachusetts imposed a state dogfish quota that was nearly twice that for federal waters, leading to a
67% quota overage in the first year of the plan. This overage was not deducted from the 2001 spiny
dogfish quota, the second half of which will be available to the fishery in the fall.
The US Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery began about a decade ago. In 1990, landings increased to 32 million
pounds, more than triple 1989 levels, then peaked in 1996 at over 60 million pounds. Landings in 1999
exceeded 32 million pounds. Massachusetts vessels have been responsible for more than half the US
Atlantic dogfish landings; North Carolina has ranked second. The majority of U.S. Atlantic spiny dogfish
are exported to Europe. Mature females are targeted to meet market demand for large fish.
The federal fishery management councils for the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions began developing
a fishery management plan for the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the mid 1990s. Controversy over
the catch cuts needed to rebuild the population, coupled with the low priority of the species led to
significant management delays. In early 2000, pressure from fishermen and Massachusetts congressmen
led to further postponements and a quota increase from the scientifically advised 2.9 million pounds to 4
million pounds. The first U.S. Atlantic dogfish regulations were not implemented until April 2000.
The unregulated, directed take of mature females and years of management delays have taken their toll.
Mature female dogfish are now depleted and the number of pups is at record low levels. The pulse of -
intermediate age females that once offered hoe Efor timely rebuilding has now also been significantly
reduced. Before the 2000 quota was grossly exceeded, population rebuilding was already expected to
take nearly two decades.
Although Massachusetts waters are temporarily closed to dogfish fishing, the state continues to argue for
a "constant harvest" approach that would allow nearly double the federal dogfish quota and continued
redirected fishing on mature females. Massachusetts, supported by states such as New Hampshire and
Maine, is expected to continue to push for quota increases. The ASMFC could change their dogfish
management strategy as early as July, while the federal plan may take a year or more to amend.
Sonja V. Fordham
Fish Conservation Project Manager
The Ocean Conservancy
1725 DeSales Street NW; Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036, USA
^H Washington, DC 20036, USA ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^
fax: +1 202 872 0619
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The 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species:
Rachel Cavanagh and Sarah Fowler, Shark Specialist Group
What is the Red List?
The IUCN Red List is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, global approach for evaluating the
conservation status of plant and animal species. It has no statutory force, but occupies a prominent role in
guiding the conservation activities of governments, NGOs and scientific institutions. The current Red List
Programme began when the Species Survival Commission launched an initiative to revise the listing -
system, in recognition of the need for a consistent and objective process to describe threatened species.
quantitative system of criteria for assigning species to Red List categories of threat was adopted by the .
IUCN in 1994.
Elasmobranchs and the Red List One of the recent introductions to the Red List Programme
was a call to improve the coverage of elasmobranchs, few of which had been assessed in the past (the
1996 Red List included just 32 species). In 1999, numerous members of the SSG prepared assessments
for over 100 species. Co-Chair Sarah Fowler coordinated a consultation of the entire SSG membership in
July 2000, during which assessments were finalised by consensus in preparation for publication of the
2000 Red List in October. The result is summarised below.
Elasmobranch assessments, 2000 Red List
The Red List Categories 2000 Red List Assessments
EX Extinct 0
EW Extinct in the Wild 0
CR Critically Endangered 3
EN Endangered 17
VU Vulnerable 19 r Tr ,
LR/cd Lower Risk/conservation dependent 4
LR/nt Lower Risk/near threatened 35
DD Data Deficient 17
LR/Ic Lower Risk/least concern 10
It is too early to attempt to draw any significant trends from the limited data available, although it is clear
that long-lived species with low fecundity are especially at risk, and groups such as the sawfish (Pristis
spp., see below) give particular cause for concern. There is an urgent need to review all chondrichthyan
species to give a balanced overview of the state of knowledge of the whole group.
Elasmobranchs identified as Critically Endangered, the most severe 'at risk' category, indicating that a
species is "facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future" were:
1. The largetooth sawfish Pristis perottetii: taken in (former) directed fisheries and extremely
vulnerable to bycatch in virtually all fisheries throughout its Atlantic and Eastern Pacific range. Its
status is known to be especially serious in parts of Central America, including Lake Nicaragua.
2. The common sawfish Pristis pristis: it is thought that this species will become extinct without
3. The Brazilian guitarfish Rhinobatus horkelii: its abundance has decreased by 96% over the ten
years from 1984, when landings peaked, to 1994. The inshore nursery grounds of this species are
heavily fished and it is quite likely that this endemic guitarfish could be driven to extinction in the
Three other species are identified as Endangered globally, but Critically Endangered in parts of their
range, these are the great-tooth (or freshwater) sawfish Pristis microdon (CR in SE Asia), the
smalltooth (or wide) sawfish Pristis pectinata (CR in the North and Southwest Atlantic see page 15)
and the common skate Raja (Dipturus) batis (CR in shelf seas). In addition, the giant freshwater
whipray Himantura chaophraya is classed as Vulnerable globally, but Critically Endangered in
Thailand and probably other localities.
Seventeen species of elasmobranchs have been listed as Endangered, meaning the taxon is "facing a
very high risk of extinction in the near future". These include the Ganges shark Glyphis gangeticus
and the speartooth shark Glyphis glyphis, both of which seem to be confined to rivers, estuaries and
coastal waters under significant development and exploitation pressures. This category also encompasses
four other sawfish species. Another 19 are Vulnerable.
Seventeen of the species assessed so far are Data Deficient, meaning that appropriate data on their
distribution and/or abundance is lacking. Indeed, a very large proportion of all chondrichthyan fish species
is likely to fall within this category.
It is most sobering, however, to note that less than 10% of the species assessed were considered to be
Lower Risk/least concern the only category of assessment not listed on the Red List database and
website because these species are considered not to be threatened or likely to become threatened in the
Current and Future Red List Assessments
You can search for all current threatened and Data Deficient elasmobranch Red Listings on www.redlist.
To suggest changes to any of the current listings, please contact Rachel Cavanagh
firstname.lastname@example.org who will be coordinating the SSG consultation and discussions on
future changes and additions. In addition, the IUCN has now requested that the SSG complete
assessments of all chondrichthyan species by the end of 2003. If you are interested in undertaking
assessments, please contact Rachel with details of the species you would be prepared to review.
The SSC Red List Programme Office has issued the timetable for submissions to the Red List. The CD-
ROM and website will be updated annually, and an analysis of the data produced in hard copy every four
to five years. Unless otherwise notified, the following schedule will apply every year:
30th April: deadline for any petitions against listings appearing in the previous edition of the IUCN Red
List. Petitions may only be based on the Red List Criteria and accompanying documentation.
31st August: deadline for the submission of new assessments, corrections, new documentation, etc.
31st August: deadline for the submission of justifications from the parties in petitions cases, if the matter
has not been resolved.
SSG Fund~ii r'^ngTni^^^
Mid-November: The Red List Standards Working Group and Petitions Subcommittee will meet by mid-
November to discuss and decide on the outcome of any petitions. This decision will appear in the next
issue of the Red List.
Early January: public launch of the Red List.
The 2000 IUCN Red List is not available in printed format because of the very large number of species
covered. It may, however, be consulted on the internet at http://www.redlist.org. Full details of the Red List
Categories and Criteria are also provided at this site. For general Red List enquiries email redlist@ssc
A publication and CD of The IUCN SSC 2000 Red List of Threatened Species, compiled by
Craig Hilton-Taylor, ISBN 2-8317-0564-9, is available from IUCN publications, fax +44 1223 277175, or
CITES Update t
Sarah Fowler and Rachel Cavanagh, Shark Specialist Group
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) came into force in 1975 in
response to concerns about the potential detrimental effects on species' survival of high levels of *
international trade in wild animals and plants. CITES establishes the international legal framework for the
prevention of trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, and for effective regulation of
international trade in other listed species which may become threatened in the absence of such regulation.
Over 150 countries are Party to CITES, which is one of the most effective of the international wildlife
conventions. Sharks first appeared on the CITES agenda during the 9th COP (Conference of Parties) in
1994, when Resolution 9.17 on 'The Status of International Trade in Shark Species' was passed. This
called for the Animals Committee of CITES to review all information concerning the biological status of
sharks and effects of international trade and to submit a report to the 10th COP in 1997, and called for
FAO and other international fisheries organizations to improve their research programmes and to submit
new information to the 11th COP in 1999.
The CITES Appendices
Appendix I lists about 820 species threatened with extinction and for which no international trade is
allowed (except under exceptional circumstances).
Appendix II lists about 29,000 species. International trade is strictly regulated and monitored to ensure
that it is not detrimental to their status, but Parties control the volumes of products they export.
Appendix III lists about 230 species identified by any Party as subject to regulation within its jurisdiction
in order to prevent or restrict exploitation, and as needing the cooperation of other Parties in the control of
Appendix IV governs the issue of the permits required before international trade in the species listed
on Appendices I-III can occur.
Amendments to the Appendices (addition or removal of species, or transfers between
Appendices) may only be proposed by States. Amendments to Appendix I & II listings are made at least
every two years at the COP and require a two-thirds majority vote to succeed.
Elasmobranch listing proposals
The first Chondrichthyan fish listing proposal was submitted to the 10th COP in Zimbabwe in 1997: the T
USA's Appendix I proposal for all species of sawfishes. Both the saws and fins of these Endangered or
Critically Endangered species enter international trade. Regardless, this proposal was rejected on votes
(see Shark News 10, 1998). Following this, three species were proposed for listing at the 11th COP in
Kenya, 2000: the white shark (Australia Appendix I), whale shark (USA Appendix II) and basking shark
(UK Appendix II). Several SSG members provided comments to IUCN during the preparation of the
IUCN Analyses of Proposals provided to Parties prior to the Conference, and Co-Chair Sarah Fowler
attended as a member of the IUCN Delegation. The white shark proposal (amended to Appendix II during
the meeting) and whale shark proposal failed to receive the necessary majority for adoption. The basking
shark proposal, considered to present a very strong case for listing, narrowly failed to reach the necessary
two-thirds majority vote in favour. Basking sharks have since been listed on Appendix III by the European
Union, but reservations by Japan and Norway mean that these countries will not declare their international
trade in this species.
While this article was being written, there were unconfirmed reports that Australia might shortly be
consulting other states on a proposal to list the white shark on Appendix III. This would support Australia's
domestic legislation protecting this species by ensuring that illegally exported jaws, teeth and fins are not
imported by other CITES Parties. A few states which have protected their whale shark populations may
also be considering Appendix III proposals for this species. The UK government has already announced
that it will be resubmitting its Appendix II proposal for the basking shark at the 12th COP in 2002. No other
Appendix I or II proposals have yet been made, but white and whale sharks could well be put forward
again before the deadline for proposals in May 2002 prior to next year's COP.
There is evidence from protective beach-netting, game fishing and commercial fishery catch per unit effort
that populations are declining. The species is not targeted by large commercial fisheries, but is taken as
bycatch, as a sport fish, and to supply the curio trade with teeth and jaws. The high price for the latter are
thought to stimulate directed take of this shark in coastal fisheries and by trophy anglers. An Appendix III
listing will require Australia to issue CITES permits to allow trade, and require all other parties trading in
this species to issue a Certificate of Origin. The requirement for permits will assist Australia to regulate
trade in specimens and enable all parties to gain a greater understanding of trade in the species and any
derivatives of the species.
Catches of this shark, which is of great ecotourism value, have apparently declined during short-term
target fisheries in several countries. It is classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Earlier this year
India followed the example of the Philippines by closing its whale shark fishery and strictly protecting the
species. They are also protected in Australia, the Maldives, Honduras, Malaysia and USA. The meat is
popular and expensive in some countries, particularly Taiwan, which appears to have been the main
export market for the Philippines and Indian fisheries. The fins are also highly prized in parts of China,
where prices of $15,000 each were reported in 1999/2000.
The basking shark is Red Listed as 'Vulnerable' globally, and 'Endangered' where fisheries have seriously
depleted populations. The high current value of the huge fins (and formerly liver oil) has stimulated
targeted fisheries and is an incentive for sharks taken in bycatch to be utilised rather than released alive.
The species is protected in only part of its range and none of its fisheries managed. The UK Appendix II
listing proposal is intended to ensure that its exploitation is regulated and monitored, and that fisheries
driven by international trade are not detrimental to its survival.
One reason for not accepting the listing proposals in 2000 made during sometimes heated debates at the
COP was that CITES was not the appropriate forum for managing sharks this is FAO's task through the
IPOA-Sharks (see p.13). Certainly, the IPOA notes that national Shark Plans should aim to facilitate the
identification and reporting of species-specific biological and trade data, and pay special attention to
vulnerable or threatened stocks, but does not specify how this should be undertaken. There are two main
schools of thought in this respect: those who feel that CITES has no place in the management of aquatic
species, and those who consider that CITES has a complementary role to fisheries management as the
only body capable of monitoring and regulating international trade in threatened species.
SSG Fund~ii r'^ngTni^^^
Bayesian methods in shark fishery management
Compared to classical statistics, Bayesian statistics are a fundamentally different way of approaching
parameter estimation, model fitting, and hypothesis testing. In the last decade, Bayesian statistics have
gone from an obscure method advocated by a minority of statisticians, to a standard method in fisheries
stock assessment. There are two main reasons for the increasing popularity of Bayesian statistics.
1. Bayesian methods allow the inclusion of information from diverse sources through the use of prior
2. Bay eian methods provide results in terms of probability distributions, which can be used in the
decision analyses that assessments must supply for fisheries management.
These advantages are particularly relevant to shark fisheries, where data are generally poor, and many
stocks are badly depleted. To demonstrate these points, we will describe the Bayesian surplus production
model for large coastal sharks in the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico from the 1998 Shark Evaluation
Workshop (NMFS 1998).
Surplus production models in the large coastal shark fishery
The U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico large coastal shark fishery is dominated by sandbar Carcharhinus
plumbeus and blacktip Carcharhinus limbatus sharks. The fishery is managed by a quota on commercial
shark landings, and bag limits in the recreational fishery. Previous assessments of large coastal sharks
(NMFS 1998, 1996) used a simple surplus production model.
Surplus production models are based on the following equation (paraphrased from Hilborn and Wauters
Population next year = population this year + surplus production catch
Assuming logistic population growth, the population's per capital growth rate will be highest at lowm
population levels, approaching the intrinsic rate of growth (r). However, the total surplus production is
highest when the population is at half of the carrying capacity (K). At K2, the surplus production is rK4, so
the maximum sustainable yield (or catch) is also rK/4.
The data required to estimate the parameters of this model are the total catch in each year, and at least
one time series of estimates of relative abundance, such as a catch per unit effort (CPUE) series.
A standard method of estimating r and K is to assume a population level at the beginning of l the CPUE
time series and use the logistic model to predict the whole time series, with an assumed value for r and for
K. The best estimates of r and K are those that cause the predicted time series and the observed time
series of CPUE to be the most similar (Hilborn and Walters 1992). There are several ways of finding these
best fit values, including minimizing the sum of the squared differences between the observed and
predicted CPUE values (sum of squares estimation), and finding the estimates that maximize the
likelihood of having observed the data given the parameters (maximum likelihood estimation).
This method works well if the data are informative, meaning that only a small range of parameter values
provide a good fit between the observed data and the predictions of the model. Unfortunately, for large
coastal sharks in the U.S Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, the catch per effort data are not informative with
respect to the critical parameters, r and K. The population began in the 1970s at an unknown level and
declined through the 1980s and 1990s. This so-called "one-way-trip trajectory" is a textbook example of
uninformative data (Hilborn and Walters 1992). These CPUE data could be from a relatively unproductive
population with a high starting biomass (low r and high K), or from a productive population with a low
starting biomass (high r and low K). A joint likelihood profile of r and K (Figure 1) shows this. The darker
regions in the graph represent combinations of r and K that provide a better fit between the model and the
6 9 11 14
Carrying capacity(K) in millions
Figure 1. Joint likelihood profile of r and K
for combined large coastal sharks, from
McAllister and Pikitch 1998a.
In the 1996 assessment of large coastal sharks (NMFS 1996) the surplus production model's maximum
likelihood estimate of r was 0.26. However, demographic analyses of sandbar and blacktip sharks
presented at the same meeting indicated that r was probably less than 0.10, based on age-at-maturity,
litter size, and other life history characteristics. The discrepancy between the demographic and surplus
production estimates of r are easily explained by the uninformative CPUE data-while an r of 0.26 was the
best fit estimate, the fit for r=0.1 or even r=0.05 was not significantly worse (Figure 1). Clearly, the
demographic information about r should be incorporated into the stock production analysis, and this is
precisely what a Bayesian prior will allow.
Bayesian statistics are not just another statistical model; they represent a fundamentally different
approach to parameter estimation (Dennis 1996). Classical or "frequentist" statistics consider a parameter,
such as r in the surplus production model, to be an unknown constant, while the data are considered to be
realizations of a random variable. Frequentist statistics can calculate the probability of a certain set of data
being collected given a certain set of parameters, but cannot assign probabilities to parameter values
(McAllister and Kirkwood 1998). Thus, a classical 95% confidence interval (Cl) does not imply that there is
a 95% chance that the interval contains the true parameter value. Rather, it implies that, if data were
collected and the analysis performed many times, 95% of the calculated Cl's would contain the actual
parameter value. Bayesian statistics, on the other hand, consider a parameter to be a random variable
with a distribution that reflects the uncertainty about the parameter (McAllister and Kirkwood 1998). So,
unlike a frequentist confidence interval, a Bayesian 95% Cl can be interpreted as having a 95% chance of
containing the true parameter value. For more information on the theoretical differences between
Bayesian and frequentist statistics, see McAllister and Kirkwood (1998) and Punt and Hilborn (1997) for
the Bayesian perspective; see Dennis (1996) for the frequentist perspective.
Bayesian estimation calculates a joint probability density function (pdf) of the parameters given the data,
SSG Fund~ii r'^ngTni^^^
called the posterior distribution because it is the pdf after the analysis. The pdf of the parameters before
the analysis is called the prior distribution. The posterior is calculated with Bayes' rule, which states that:
The posterior probability of the parameters is proportional to the likelihood of the data times the prior
probability of the parameters.
The likelihood of the data given the parameters is a probability density function that provides a measure of
the fit between the data and the model, given an assumed set of parameters. More formally, this likelihood
function represents the probability of obtaining the observed data if the assumed set of parameters
happened to be the true ones. Thus, the posterior pdf of the parameters is a function of both the fit
between the data and the model, and the prior information about the parameters. If the data are very
informative, then the posterior pdf will be determined by the data, and the prior will have little effect.
Conversely, if the data are uninformative, the posterior pdf will resemble the prior (McAllister and Kirkwooc
1998). In some cases, the posterior can be calculated analytically, however, for most fisheries models, the
posterior must be calculated with a numerical integration method, such as the Markov Chain Monte Carlo
(MCMC) or the Sampling Importance Resampling (SIR) algorithm (McAllister and Kirkwood 1998).
Much of the work of Bayesian estimation is in choosing appropriate prior distributions (McAllister and
Kirkwood 1998, Punt and Hilborn 1997). If information is available regarding the potential value of a
parameter, an informative prior can be developed. Expert knowledge and information from related species
can be used, so long as the information used to develop the prior is completely independent from the data
used in the analysis. For example, an assessment of a fish species could develop a prior for the intrinsic
rate of increase r from the distribution of r values for all the known species in the same genus. If there is
no available information about a parameter, an uninformative prior can be used. An uninformative prior
conveys ignorance about the value of the parameter, so that only the likelihood function provides
information about the parameter.
For the large coastal shark assessment, the demographic analyses were used to develop an informative
prior for r in a Bayesian surplus production model (McAllister and Pikitch 1998a, 1998b; NMFS 1998). The
demographic analysis was completely independent of the catch data, so it was a legitimate source of prior
information. AyBayesian stock production model for large coastal sharks, using an informative prior on r
generated the joint posterior on r and K shown in Figure 2, analogous to the joint likelihood surface in the
classical assessment (Figure 1). Note that the range of most likely values of r and K is much more
I' :5 ^
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Carrying capacity (K) in millions
Figure 2. Joint posterior of r and K, from McAllister and Pikitch
The Bayesian method allowed the unrelated information from a demographic model and a stock
production model to be combined, to increase the accuracy and precision of the estimates of r and K. The
ability to incorporate prior information about demographics into the production model was probably the
main reason why the Bayesian method was adopted for the most recent large coastal shark assessment
Bayesian decision analysis
Estimating r and K is only part of the function of an assessment. Fisheries managers are required to
decide on a management action, such as the total allowable catch (TAC) for large coastal sharks, when
there is uncertainty about the state of nature (stock size relative to K and the value of r). An assessment
must therefore calculate the probability of each competing hypothesis about the state of nature. Also, the
consequences of each proposed management action must be calculated under each state of nature, and
integrated across states of nature. The consequences of the management actions include such indicators
of policy performance as the probability of stock recovery to K/2 within 10 years or the probability of the
stock decreasing in the next 10 years (McAllister and Pikitch 1998b).
In Bayesian decision analysis, the posterior expected values and distributions of the indicators of policy
performance are calculated through Monte Carlo simulation as follows (McAllister and Pikitch 1998b). A
state of nature is drawn from the posterior pdf of the parameters from the assessment. These parameter
values are used to calculate the stock size trajectory throughout the time series, with the catch in the
future determined by the TAC being considered. This procedure is followed many times to determine the
probability of the population increasing in the next ten years and other indicators. These results can be
integrated across all the possible values of a parameter such as r, or calculated for several possible
ranges of the parameter (McAllister and Pikitch 1998b). Because Bayesian decision analysis presents
managers with decision tables and probability distributions instead of point estimates, management
decisions can be made with an awareness of uncertainty.
Bayesian methods allow uncertainty to be formally incorporated into an assessment, and allow all
available biological data to be included in the model. For many shark species there is little available
fisheries data, so that including biological information in the form of priors will greatly improve the accuracy
(and hence the usefulness) of the assessment models.
Dennis, B. 1996. Discussion: should ecologists become Bayesians? Ecological Applications 6(4): 1095-
Hilborn, R., E. K. Pikitch and M. K. McAllister. 1994. A Bayesian estimation and decision analysis for an
age-structured model using biomass survey data. Fisheries Research 19:17-30.
Hilborn R. and C. J. Walters. 1992. Quantitative fisheries stock assessment: choice, dynamics and
uncertainty. Chapman and Hall. New York.
McAllister, M. K. and E.K. Pikitch. 1998a. A Bayesian approach to assessment of sharks: fitting a
production model to large coastal shark data. Shark Evaluation Workshop 1998. SB-IV-26.
McAllister, M. K. and E. K. Pikitch. 1998b. Evaluating the potential for recovery of large coastal sharks: a
Bayesian decision analysis. Shark Evaluation Workshop 1998. SB-IV-27.
McAllister, M. K., E. K. Pikitch, A. E. Punt and R. Hilborn. 1994. A Bayesian approach to stock assessment
and harvest decisions using the sampling/importance resampling algorithm. Canadian Journal of Fisheries
and Aquatic Sciences 51:2673-2687.
McAllister, M.K., and Kirkwood, G. P. 1998. Bayesian stock assessment: a review and example
application using the logistic model. ICES Journal of Marine Science 55:1031-1060.
National Marine Fisheries Service. 1998. Report of the Shark Evaluation Workshop. National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Association. National Marine Fisheries Service. Southeast Fisheries Science Center. 3500
Delwood Beach Road. Panama City, FL 32408.
National Marine Fisheries Service. 1996. Report of the Shark Evaluation Workshop. National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Association. National Marine Fisheries Service. Southeast Fisheries Science Center. 75
Virginia Beach Dr. Miami, FL 33149.
Punt, A. E. and R. Hilborn. 1997. Fisheries stock assessment and decision analysis: the Bayesian
approach. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 7:35-63.
Elizabeth A. Babcock and Ellen K. Pikitch,
Marine Conservation Programs, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo, Bronx, NY 10460, USA.
Email: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
United States Bans Shark Finning
Sonja Fordham, The Ocean Conservancy .
Congress Takes Action
In late 2000, the United States Congress adopted legislation to prohibit shark finning the practice of
slicing off a shark's fins and discarding its carcass at sea in all US waters. Former US President Bill
Clinton signed the "Shark Finning Prohibition Act" into law last December. Prior to this overall ban, finning
was permitted in the US Pacific, yet prohibited since 1993 in the US Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and the
CaribbSen Sea. In addition to banning finning, the new legislation provides for initiation of related
international negotiations and authorizes shark fishery and population research.
Shark fins are the principal ingredients inn shark fin soup, an Asian delicacy that can sell for as much as
$100 a bowl. By the late 1990s, tens of thousands of sharks caught as bycatch were being killed just for
their fins in tuna and swordfish fisheries of the US Pacific. In 1998, the number of sharks finned in the
waters surrounding Hawaii topped 60,000. Because fins comprise only a small percentage of a shark's
bodyweight, finning wastes 95% or more of each shark. In addition, observer surveys from Honolulu based
longline vessels revealed that 86% of the sharks finned were brought to the boat alive. The waste
associated with finning prompted a call to ban the practice from conservationists, scientists, local
fishermen and the general public. Allowing finning in the US Pacific was also inconsistent with a number o
US fisheries policies and ran counter to the recommendations of several international fishery agreements,
including the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) International Plan of Action (IPOA)
The New Legislation
Under the new law, it is illegal to remove shark fins and discard the carcass at sea and land or have fins
on board without the corresponding carcass. In addition, the US Departments of Commerce and State are
directed to seek an international ban on finning and initiate amendment and development of bilateral and
multilateral shark agreements to protect sharks. The legislation calls for government investigation of the
nature and extent of finning and the transshipment of fins while the US is to urge other governments to
collect data regarding shark stock abundance, bycatch and trade, and submit National Plans of Action forA)
Sharks to FAO. The new law also authorizes a Department of Commerce shark research program in order
to collect data for assessments and to research fishing gear and practices that safeguard fishermen,
minimize incidental catch of sharks and maximize shark utilization. The government agencies are to
submit a report to Congress that sets forth a plan of action for international shark conservation and
evaluates the progress of existing efforts. Regulations to implement the new finning legislation were
released for public comment in June 2001.
International Finning Bans
Recognizing that cooperation among fishing nations s key to achieving effective management of migrato
fish stocks, the United States has been a leading proponent of international shark conservation initiatives.
In a statement released at the bill's signing, President Clinton reinforced US commitment to the FAO IPOA
for Sharks and pledged that the US would intensify efforts to achieve finning bans and related measures
by other nations and within international management bodies.
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trying at uape I own cocKS, bouthn
Photo: Bruce McCoubrey/WildAid.
Other national legislation
Countries which have already banned shark finning are Brazil, Costa Rica, Oman, South Africa and
Sonja V. Fordham
Fish Conservation Project Manager, The Ocean Conservancy
1725 DeSales Street, NW; Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Review of Non-food Fisheries
display, medicines, curiosities and art, household objects and fabrics, education and research, chemicals,
food for cultured species and mariculture seed. Please send ideas, references, data, advice and contacts
to Dr Amanda Vincent, c/o Anne-Marie Blais, Project Seahorse. Email: email@example.com
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International shark conservation and management -
Mike Pawson, CEFAS, Lowestoft, UK and Sarah Fowler, SSG
We are well aware that modern fishing technology and improved access to distant markets have together
caused an increase in fishing effort and catches of sharks, skates and rays, and there is concern of the
consequences for the populations of some species in several areas of the world's oceans. Because the
elasmobranchs' close stock-recruitment relationships denies them the variability which enables most
teleost fish populations to be boosted by better-than-average year classes, they have long recovery times *
in response to over-fishing. At present, there are few international management mechanisms effectively
addressing this, and management and conservation of elasmobranchs are held back by a lack of .f
knowledge of their biological parameters and of the statistics and practices employed in fisheries taking
FAO International Plan of Action for Sharks
FAO has concluded that "it is necessary to better manage directed shark (for which read 'all
chondrichthyan fish) catches and certain multispecies fisheries in which sharks constitute a significant
bycatch", and has recognized the importance of having international co-operation and co-ordination of
shark management plans. The International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of
Sharks (IPOA-Sharks) has therefore been developed, endorsed by the FAO Committee on Fisheries
(COFI) in February 1999, and was formally adopted by the FAO Conference in November 1999. Its
objective is to ensure the conservation and management of sharks and their long-term sustainable use,
and encompasses both target and non-target catches. For more information see Shark News no. 12 (p.5)
or the FAO Fisheries website (http://www.fao.org/waicent/faoinfo/fishery).
The IPOA encouraged States to adopt (by the COFI session in 2001) a National Plan of Action (NPOA
or Shark-plan) and to carry out regular assessments of the status of shark stocks subject to fishing. I
This would necessitate consistent collection of commercial data and improved species identification, and
would ultimately lead to the establishment of abundance indices and biological reference levels.
International collaboration on data collection and data sharing systems for stock assessment is particularly
important in relation to straddling, highly migratory and high seas stocks.
Committee on Fisheries (COFI) 2001
COFI is the only global inter-governmental forum examining major international fisheries and aquaculture
problems and issues. It addresses recommendations to governments, regional fishery bodies, NGOs,
fishworkers, FAO and the international community, and has also been used as a forum for the negotiation
of global agreements and non-binding instruments. The 24th COFI meeting took place in Rome on 26
February to 2 March 2001.
Shark management plans reviewed
The UN States present reviewed their progress with implementing the Code of Conduct on Responsible
Fisheries, including the IPOA-Sharks. The level of progress announced at the meeting was disappointing.
At least 125 nations are known to import shark fin into Hong Kong and are therefore assumed to have
active shark fisheries. Despite this, however, only 17 member states had reported that they were i
preparing NPOAs prior to COFI, about 15 were considering doing so and 47 had stated that were not
doing so. It was far from clear precisely how well advanced most of these plans were.
The USA's Shark Plan, the only national plan completed and available, may be downloaded from www.
nmfs.noaa.gov. This plan benefits from being able to build on a long history of shark fisheries assessment
and management in the USA, particularly on the Atlantic coast. The USA urged other states at COFI to
complete their shark plans, emphasising that this should only be the first step towards comprehensive
shark fisheries management at national, regional and global levels.
Australia presented a comprehensive shark fishery assessment, which will provide a sound basis for their
national plan, which is currently being developed.
The European Union tabled a 'preliminary draft assessment' which provided minimal information on shark
fisheries and existing and potential shark management activity in the EU.
No other shark assessments or National Shark Plans reported by other delegations to COFI as underway
or completed are available for study.
ICES Elasmobranch Study Group
In parallel with the development of the FAO IPOA-Sharks, the ICES Elasmobranch Study Group took the
initiative to develop a European proposal for elasmobranch stock assessments. Eighteen scientists from
eleven countries met in Santander in March 1999 assisted by an EC funded Concerted Action Project
entitled 'Preparation of a Proposal for Stock Assessment of some elasmobranch fishes in European
waters'. This was submitted successfully under the 1999 call for studies in support of the Common
Fisheries Policy (CFP), commenced in 1 January 2000 and is due for completion by 31st December 2002.
Development of Elasmobranch Assessments
The objective of this 3-year research programme, DELAS (Development of Elasmobranch Assessments),
is to improve the scientific basis for the management of fisheries taking elasmobranch species. This
project aims to collate existing data, to instigate the collection of new data and to develop standard
assessment methods for one or two representative species of each of four groups: pelagic sharks (blue
shark Prionace glauca), skates and rays (thornback ray Raja clavata and cuckoo ray Raja
naevus), coastal dogfish and catsharks (spurdog Squalus acanthias, and lesser spotted dogfish
Scyliorhinus canicula), and deep-water sharks (Portuguese dogfish Centroscymnus coelolepis,
leaf-scale gulper shark Centrophorus squamosus, kitefin shark Dalatias licha and blackmouth
catshark Galeus melastomus).
For this purpose, survey and fisheries data will be used to describe population distribution that, together
with genetic, tagging and biometric data, will be used to investigate stock separation. Commercial and
survey catch and effort series will be used to indicate abundance trends, and length (and possibly age)
distributions will be used to estimate historic and contemporary stock mortality rates. A key element of the
research is the development of life history models and the compilation of appropriate biological data,
which will be used to indicate whether current exploitation is sustainable.
This study will provide a dedicated database and preliminary assessments for some important
elasmobranch stocks, and will furnish ICES with a knowledge of data requirements and assessment
methods which can be applied to elasmobranch species in order to provide management advice for both
targeted fisheries and where elasmobranchs are taken as by-catch.
CEFAS Fisheries Laboratory
Lowestoft, Suffolk, UK, NR33 OHT
Sarah Fowler, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
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Environmental Hero Award
Sonja Fordham, Fisheries Project Manager for The Ocean Conservancy (formerly the Center for Marine
Conservation, CMC) has been named an Environmental Hero by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) in recognition of nearly a decade of defending depleted ocean fish. Sonja has
worked as a CMC fish advocate since 1991. She is a regular participant in the deliberations of NMFS, the
regional fishery management councils, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the US Congress
and several international fisheries bodies. Sonja is especially active in New England and Mid-Atlantic fish
issues, as well as in shark conservation, both in the USA and internationally. Her advocacy often focuses
on under-appreciated yet imperilled fish such as the spiny dogfish (cape shark), skates, groundfish and -.
Sonja Fordham receives her award from Andy Rosenberg, NOAA. Photo: The Ocean Conservancy.
During her nine years at CMC, Sonja has authored numerous reports and articles, become a resource for
the media and appealed to countless like-minded as well as opposing groups in the interest of fish c
conservation. Her most rewarding activities involve encouraging concerned citizens to "speak for the fish".
"I am deeply honored to receive this award as well as privileged to have worked with so many dedicated
and talented NOAA staff members over the years", remarked Sonja. "This honor also signals the
government's recognition of non-fishing interests as important stakeholders in the conservation of our
"The fish could not ask for a better advocate", stated Roger Rufe, CMC president.
Sonja is a long-term, active member of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and the American Elasmobranch
Society and maintains appointments to Mid-Atlantic Advisory Committees for dogfish and tilefish, the
NMFS Highly Migratory Species Advisory Panel and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO)
Consultative Committee. In recent years, she has served on several U.S. delegations to NAFO Annual
Meetings as well as those related to development and implementation of the 1999 United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of
Sharks, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Currently, Sonja has
been spending much of her time working to end the wasteful practice of shark finning and to close shark
conservation loopholes in Atlantic state waters.
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SSC Specialist Group Grants
The Chicago Zoological Society makes annual grants to IUCN Species Survival Commission Specialist
Groups from its Chicago Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund for small projects identified in Action
Plans or other group priority setting exercises. There are two grant cycles, one with awards in May and the
other with awards in October (subject to change on the latter date). The deadline for the October 2001
awards will be announced later in the year, but will likely be sometime in August 2001.
The Fund will support projects up to $5,000 (smaller requests will fare better). The Fund will consider
proposals that are on a specific threatened (or nearly threatened) species or a specific habitat that is of
high value or also threatened. Priority will be given to projects that are clearly of critical need for the
species or habitat, that are likely to provide good, immediate results. Education /communications projects
are welcome. Strict biological research projects are not a priority for this fund, unless there can be a direct
application of the results.
Projects that have been specifically identified in published or nearly published Action Plans take priority.
The Specialist Group Executive Committee must endorse any proposal submitted on the Group's behalf. It
is important that projects are considered important and of high quality by the group.
Proposals should be no more than two pages long, and preferably one page, including budget. The budge
should be very general, with categories of expenses, and a brief justification. The proposal should stress
the significance of and the general approach to the work, not a detailed methodology. The emphasis on
the written proposal should be on describing the outcomes and importance of the project. If a project is
included in an Action Plan, please provide a reference. Other references are not necessary. *
All applications must be made through the SSG Executive Committee. Please send them to Rachel
Cavanagh, SSG Programme Officer (address with Editorial Details on p.20).
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Proposal To List Smalltooth Sawfish As Endangered
Rachel Cavanagh, SSG Programme Officer .
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA) has
been seeking public comment on its proposal to list as endangered the US population of smalltooth
sawfish Pristis pectinata. An extensive review has concluded that the US population, currently *
restricted to South Florida, is in danger of extinction.
This large, widely distributed sawfish is listed as Endangered globally and Critically Endangered in the
North and Southwest Atlantic on the IUCN 2000 Red List (p. 8). It has been wholly or nearly extirpated
from large areas of its former range in the North Atlantic (Mediterranean, US Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico)
and the Southwest Atlantic coast by fishing and habitat modification. Its status elsewhere is uncertain but
likely to be similarly reduced.
NOAA Fisheries will make the final decision on whether to list the population of smalltooth sawfish as
endangered. The public had until July 15th, 2001 to comment on the proposal to: Chief, Protected
Resources Division, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 9721 Executive Center Drive North, St.Petersburg
FL 33702, USA. A copy of the proposal may be obtained by contacting this office at (+1) 727-570-5312 or
on-line at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/protres/species/fishlSmalltoothsawfish.html. This site contains
additional information, links to the status review for smalltooth sawfish, and the federal register notice.
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Tagging and tracking marine fish with electronic devices
7-11 February 2000, East-West Center, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Marine fishes are tagged and tracked with a suite of different electronic devices of varying degrees of
sophistication. In the past 5 years, these devices have yielded an impressive amount of information. This
symposium reviewed this information and identify future research challenges.
There were sessions on the results of tagging and tracking work to date, tracking with acoustic tags,
automated monitors, geo-locating archival tags, pop-off devices, 'cross-over' studies, unresolved *-
problems, remote recovery of data, geolocation algorithms, data management and GIS, integration of
results, fish mortality vs. tag mortality, future developments, applications from other fields, new sensors,
fish tracking data archive, and applications to fishery management, including behavior in stock
Papers will be published in the forthcoming 2001 special issue of Reviews in Fish and Fisheries Biology.
International Pelagic Shark Workshop
February 14-17, 2000, Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, California,
USA. Presented by the Ocean Wildlife Campaign. Pelagic sharks are targeted by
commercial and recreational fisheries worldwide and are taken in large numbers in the bycatch of other
fisheries. However, little information exists about trends in abundance or their ability to withstand fishing
pressure. Because of their highly migratory nature, data on catches, indices of abundance, and life history
parameters from all major pelagic shark fishing countries are required in order to effectively manage these
This workshop began to compile the information and expertise needed for pelagic shark management in
the Atlantic and Pacific.
Its objectives were:
to collate all available biological and fishery data for pelagic sharks that are subject to fisheries;
to evaluate the potential for assessing various pelagic shark populations;
to identify additional data and analyses required for assessment and for the purposes of fishery
management; and *
to publish the proceedings in a peer-reviewed volume.
Working group papers and posters were presented on the following:
Trends in Abundance of Pelagic Sharks and History of their Fisheries. Case studies of pelagic shark
fisheries, focusing on the data that are necessary to prepare a fishery management plan.
Life History, Stock Structure and Movement. Life history, intrinsic rates of increase, and genetics and
tagging as indicators of stock structure and migration.
Assessment Methods and Management Strategies for Pelagic Sharks. Assessment and management
methods appropriate to the particular needs of pelagic sharks.
The bibliography prepared for this meeting is available on the SSG website (see address on p. 1).
Proceedings are in preparation.
Shark Conference 2000
21-24 February 2000, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Organised by WildAid, the Hawaiian Audubon Society and the Western Pacific Fisheries Coalition, to brin
together some of the world's experts on sharks in order to compile the current knowledge of shark
populations worldwide and the effects of over-fishing, excessive by-catch, environmental factors and the
finning industry. To read the full report and find out more about WildAid's campaign, please visit http://ww
Sustainable Management of Sharks and Rays in West Africa
26-28 April 2000, Saint-Louis, Senegal.
This workshop was organised by FIBA (International Foundation of "Banc d'Arguin') in collaboration with
WWF and IUCN. The aims were to promote a regional policy for shark and ray fisheries, to identify
priorities for research and to define recommendations for the sustainable exploitation of sharks and rays i
West Africa. The critical situation of shark fisheries in the region and the drastic depletion in shark
populations was discussed, and a number of recommendations proposed. Among these, the principle of
full utilisation of shark catches and the constraint of landing sharks intact with their fins were unanimously
These recommendations will form the basis for a regional Plan of Action for Sharks. SSG member Bernar
Seret attended the workshop and new SSG member (now appointed Regional Vice-Chair) Mathieu
Ducrocq was recruited and will be taking the lead in West Africa on behalf of the SSG. We look forward tc
working with him on the Plan of Action and other elasmobranch conservation and management issues.
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4th Annual Meeting of the European Elasmobranch Society
28-30 September 2000, Livorno, Italy.
This EEA meeting helped turn the spotlight on Mediterranean sharks and rays very little is known about
these species, yet it is likely many are endangered. ICRAM (the Italian Central Institute for Applied Marine
Research) presented their National Shark Assessment in fact the first such in Europe. The EEA
participants endorsed the aims of the FAO IPOA for all shark species, congratulated the initiative of
ICRAM and offered the support and expertise of the EEA to other Member States of the European
Commission for the development and implementation of national and European Shark-plans.
Brazilian Elasmobranch Society/Sociedade Brasileira Para o Estudo dos
City of Santos-SP, November 2000.
The SBEEL meeting offered a great opportunity for discussions on the diversity of elasmobranch species
along the Brazilian coast; distribution, reproduction and growth; freshwater stingrays; fisheries and
conservation strategies. Ninety-four oral and poster presentations, small conferences and special topics of
discussion were presented by 200 researchers and students from Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, USA, UK
and Chile. The abstracts are available (mostly in Portuguese). Please contact Getulio Rincon:
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
6th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference
Durban, South Africa, 20-25 May 2001
Symposia were held with themes including pelagic, chondrichthyan, coastal, and reef fishes. Secretariat,
6th IPFC, Oceanographic Research Institute, PO Box 10712, Marine Parade, 4056 Durban, South Africa.
Fax: +27 31 337 2132. Email: email@example.com The SSG held a meeting during the conference, the
minutes of which will be posted on the SSG website in due course.
IFAW African Shark Conservation Workshop
Cape Town, South Africa, 30 May 3 June 2001
The workshop was attended by delegates from many African nations as well as SSG and IFAW
representatives. Themes included shark management and threats, research priorities and legislation.
Please contact Ntombentsha Nkwentsha, IFAW South Africa office for details. Fax: +27 21 465 6838.
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Recent Books & Publications
Sharks, Skates, and Rays:
The Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes
William C. Hamlett (Editor). 1999. 544 pp., 228 illus., hardcover.
The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.
US$115.00. ISBN 0-8018-6048-2.
In 1922, Dr Frank Daniel published the first edition of the now-classic book, The Elasmobranch
Fishes (first published 1922, revised 1928 and 1934). It represented the ultimate compilation of -
information on elasmobranch morphology of its time. Sharks, Skates, and Rays is a successor to this
classic work, providing a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of elasmobranch morphology. Daniel's
work has been built upon by keeping a systems approach, although the coverage has been expanded
from anatomy to include modern information on physiology and biochemistry. The new volume also
provides equal treatment for skates and rays.
The chapters take us through the many intriguing aspects of elasmobranch form and function that capture
the biologist's imagination today as they have for hundreds of years. The detail helps us understand
elasmobranchs as we know them to behave in the wild. For example, the chapter on special senses
describes the major senses, such as the eyes and olfactory systems, and the special receptors that, all
combined, make them powerful and effective predators. If you want a comprehensive review of the
different modes of reproduction, there is a chapter on both female and male systems, discussed from an
evolutionary perspective. The chapter on the urinary system synthesizes a disparate literature on
elasmobranch renal architecture, illustrating how the structure of this system reflects its function,
depending on whether the particular system is marine, euryhaline, or restricted to freshwater bodies. No
book on these fish would be complete without mention of the variety of tooth form, and all are included
here, fossils and recent, the incredible diversity showing that not all sharks are the typical 'Jaws'!
Overall the authors present a wide coverage of general introductory material for the relative novice to the
biology of these fish, but also review the latest technical citations, making the book a valuable primary
reference resource to all researchers in the field. All the authors are leading authorities in their respective
fields in elasmobranch biology. An annotated checklist compiled by Leonard J. V. Compagno is included
as an appendix, and includes all described species with a generalized listing of geographic distribution and *
habitat for each genus. More than 200 illustrations supplement the text.
William C. Hamlett is an associate professor of anatomy at Indiana University School of Medicine and an
adjunct associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Notre Dame.
Contents and contributors:
Foreword, William C. Hamlett.
Systematics and Body form, Leonard J.V. Compagno. *
Integumentary System and Teeth, Norman E. Kemp.
Endoskeleton, Leonard J.V. Compagno.
Muscular System, Karel F. Liem, Adam P. Summers, & Quentin Bone.
Digestive System, Suzanne Holmgren & Stephan Nilsson.
Respiratory System, P.J. Butler.
Circulatory System, Ramon Munoz-Chapuli & Geoffrey H. Satchell.
The Heart, Bruno Tota.
Nervous System, Michael R. Hoffman.
Special Senses, Horst Bleckmann & Michael H. Hoffman.
The Rectal Gland and Volume Homeostasis, Kenneth R. Olson.
Urinary System, Enrico Reale & Eric Lacy
Female Reproductive System, William C. Hamlett & Thomas J. Koob.
Male Reproductive System, William C. Hamlett.
The Conservation Handbook: Research,
Management and Policy
William J Sutherland. 2000. 278 pp., paperback. Blackwell Science.
24.95 ISBN 0-632-05344-5.
There are many books outlining the main concepts of conservation biology, but how does one put this
theoretical knowledge into practice? The aim of The Conservation Handbook is to provide clear
guidance on the implementation of conservation techniques, concentrating on what individuals can
actually do to tackle some of the problems. Although not a book specifically concerned with the
conservation of aquatic species and habitats, there are sections on fisheries monitoring and management.
The author (Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK), emphasises,
however, that many conservation problems and solutions are similar everywhere. The wide range of
methods described include those for ecological research, monitoring, planning, education, fund-raising,
habitat management and combining conservation with development. Nineteen case studies illustrate how
the methods have been applied.
The Handbook will be of interest to conservation biology students and practising conservationists
worldwide, and will be especially useful for conservation workers in developing countries.
For every copy sold, another copy will be sent free to a practising conservationist outside Western Europe,
North America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. If you know of someone outside these areas who will
benefit from this book, please send your name and address, and the name of the suggested recipient,
their address and a sentence or two explaining why they should be sent this book to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life in the Slow Lane: Ecology and Conservation of Long-Lived Marine Animals
American Fisheries Society Symposium 23. John A. Musick (Editor).
1999. 265 pp. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.
Long-lived marine animals, such as chondrichthyan fish, whales and sea turtles may not be able to
respond as strongly or as rapidly to compensate for reductions in population densities. These groups are
also particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic mortality and prone to population collapse. This book
presents the papers from the Symposium convened to enable scientists working with many different long-
lived marine taxa to discuss the ecological similarities and differences among the groups they study and to
examine management strategies that might lead to improved conservation of these vulnerable species.
John A. Musick is Co-Chair of the SSG and is Head of Vertebrate Biology at the Virginia Institute of Marine
The End of the Line?
WildAid Report, 2001
The report documents over two year's research in 12 countries, including many of the main consuming
markets and major shark fisheries. The report highlights the problems facing shark populations around the
world, including increases in shark catches and the globalization of the fin trade. There are specific
country studies, detailing how, in many parts of the developing world, artisanal fishermen are losing their
catches to modern technology; and how World Heritage Sites and Marine Reserves such as the
SSG Fund~ii r'^ngTni^^^
Galapagos Islands are being increasingly encroached upon by illegal fisheries for shark fins. The report
concludes with WildAids recommendations for improved shark fisheries management and conservation,
including a request for reduced consumption of shark fin soup worldwide.
For more information and details on how to obtain a copy of the report, please visit http://www.wildaid.org.
Shark Fisheries Management and Biology.
Marine and Freshwater Research, 49/7, 1998. 220 pp.
The collection of 23 papers in this special issue of Marine and Freshwater Research grew out of
the Sharks and Man Workshop held during the Second World Fisheries Congress in 1996. It makes a
valuable contribution towards redressing the lack of information on shark harvesting and biology,
particularly in terms of describing shark fisheries and their assessment, monitoring and management.
Some papers were presented at the workshop and others solicited to address gaps in the scientific
literature. All but two papers are sourced from the Southern Hemisphere, all are relevant to the
conservation of sharks and management of shark fisheries, and all were peer-reviewed.
The 'Shark Fisheries and Management' section reviews the broad issues confronting shark fisheries
management and shark conservation and describes some national or regional shark fisheries and their
management. 'Catch Monitoring and By-catch' papers describe at-sea-monitoring programmes for coastal
and offshore fisheries, raising issues such as discarding, by-catch, market grading, shark fishery
interactions with mammals, sea birds and turtles and the management of risk associated with interactions
between sharks and humans. The 'Life History and Stock Assessment' section includes a paper
comparing the productivities of 26 species of shark based on life history parameters. Others address
important components of shark biology required for stock assessment (reproduction, age and growth, and
gillnet selectivity). One paper applies a stock assessment with risk analysis based on demographic
parameters combined with fishing gear selectivity parameters and time series data of catch and catch per
unit effort. 'General Biology' includes papers on taxonomy and genetic studies relevant to stock
delineation, feeding and liver oils.
Order your copy from CSIRO Publishing, PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Vic. 3066, Australia. Cost is $60 ($A
in Australia/NZ, $US elsewhere) plus $8 postage per order. Cheques or Money Orders should be made
payable to CSIRO Publishing, or pay by credit card. International tel: +61 3 9662 7666, Fax: +61 3 9662
7555, Email: email@example.com Website: http://www.publish.csiro.au/journals/mfr.
Quaderni della Civica Stazione Idrobiologica di Milano. No. 22, Dicembre 1997.
Atti del Primo Convegno italiano sugli Elasmobranchi.
This special issue of Quaderni contains papers presented at a one day meeting of Italian elasmobranch
enthusiasts in 1995. They include studies of blue shark Prionace glauca, white shark Carcharodon
carcharias, and thresher shark Alopias vulpinus in the Adriatic Sea, and descriptions of tagging
projects and the Large Elasmobranchs Monitoring Programme (LEM) in the Mediterranean. Papers are
presented in English and Italian, with colour and black and white plates. Contact Aquario, Viale Gadio, 2 1-
20121 Milano MI, Italy.
Cetacea Informa, Anno Vii no. 13, 1998: Speciale squalid, Speciale scuole.
Produced (in Italian) by Fondazione Cetacea, Viale Milano 63, 47838 Riccione (RN) Italia. Fax + 39 541
691557. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tiburones del Mar de Alboran
F.J. Pinto de la Rosa. Servicio de Publicaciones, Centro de Ediciones de
la Diputaci6n de Malaga, Spain. 115pp + glossary and index.
Black and white plates. In Spanish.
Introduces sharks, their anatomy, classification, and describes those species most commonly reported
from the Alboran Sea (western Mediterranean).
The Basking Shark in Scotland
Denis Fairfax, 1998. 206 pp, hardback, black and white illustrations.
16.99. Tuckwell Press, East Linton, Scotland. ISBN 1-86232-094-2.
This book presents a detailed illustrated history of the fishery for this species in Scotland, based on
archival sources, early historical works and interviews with surviving shark hunters. The biology and
history of scientific and taxonomic studies are also described.
Proceedings of the 5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference
The Proceedings of the 5th Indo-Pacific Fish Conference (Noumea,
3-8 November 1997), including papers from the Symposium on
Chondrichthyan Fishes, are now available.
The volume contains 79 papers (866 pages). Copies are available for 400 F (French francs) each, plus
postage (67 F per copy within Europe, 75 F to Africa, and 110 F for other countries). Orders and payment
should be sent to the Societe Francaise d'lchtyologie, 43 rue Cuvier, 75231 Paris cedex 05, France.
Payment may also be made by bank transfer to Banque Nationale de Paris, No: 30004 00042 -
00000801019 27, or by credit card (Visa or Master). Send credit card details by fax (for the attention of
Bernard Seret, (33) 01.40.79.37.71) or by postal mail with your signature.
Report of the Consultation on the management of
fishing capacity, shark fisheries and incidental
catch of seabirds in longline fisheries
FAO Fisheries Report No. 593. FAO, Rome, Italy, 26-30 October
1998. ISBN 92-5-004266-3.
The meeting, attended by delegations from 80 Members of FAO and by observers, approved draft
International Plans of Action for the above three subjects. The report publishes these drafts in English,
French and Spanish. The Consultation also discussed at length the need to take urgent action to curb the
growing problems of flags of convenience and pirate fishing. It recommended that priority be given by FAC
Members to consider accepting the Agreement to Promote Compliance with International Conservation
and Management Measures by Fishing Vessels on the High Seas (Compliance Agreement).
Biology of the Megamouth Shark
K. Yano, J.F. Morrisssey, Y. Yabumoto and K. Nakaya (Eds), 1997.
xv+203 pp. Tokai University Press, Tokyo, Japan. ISBN 4-486-03111-3.
This volume represents the product of a unique international scientific collaboration arising from the
stranding of a 4.7m female megamouth shark Megachasma pelagios (only the seventh specimen known
to science) in Fukuoka, Japan, in 1994. The dissection (by 30 scientists) of the shark in 1995 was followed
by a symposium in March 1996, and the publication of 21 refereed papers (with colour and black and
white plates) in these proceedings. The preserved specimen is now on public display at Marine World
Copies of the publication are available from Tokai University Press, 2-28-4 Tomigaya, Shibuya-ku, 151
Japan. Fax. 81-3-5478-0870. Payment (5000 yen, equivalent to about US$45) can be made by VISA or
Fish bycatch in New Zealand tuna longline fisheries
M.P. Francis, L.H. Griggs, S.J.Baird, T.E. Murray and H.A. Dean.
1999. NIWA Technical Report 55. NIWA, P.O.Box 14-901,
Wellington, New Zealand. ISSN 1174-2631.18 pp plus numerous
tables and appendices.
The number of hooks set by tuna longline vessels in the New Zealand EEZ declined by about 90% from a
maximum of 24-27 million hooks per year in 1980-82, to 2-4 million hooks in 1994-1997. This report uses
scientific observer data to determine the fish species caught on tuna longlines and to estimate the amount
of fish taken on observed vessels, scaling up these estimates to provide estimates of total fish bycatch.
Analysis covers the period 1988/89 to 1996/97, when observer coverage was considered sufficiently
representative for analysis.
Blue shark (32%) and albacore (29%) dominated the catch, with southern bluefin tuna, Ray's bream,
porbeagle shark and mako shark the next abundant species, contributing 6-8% each.
In recent years (1994-1997), changes in fleet composition from mainly foreign and charter vessels to
mainly domestic vessels has resulted in a shift in species composition: the proportion of albacore has
increased (42%) and the proportion of blue shark decreased (23%).
Sharks and their Relatives: Ecology and Conservation
M. Camhi, S. Fowler, J. Musick, A. Brautigam and S. Fordham.
1998. Occasional Paper of the IUCN Species Survival
Commission No. 20. iv + 39 pp. No illustrations.
Now only 7 or $10 plus postage and packing (20% surface, 40% overseas airmail) from the SSG (see
addresses on p. 16).
This introduction to the ecology, status and conservation of sharks and their relatives is aimed at a genera
audience. It draws attention to the unique biology of this group of fishes and makes the case for expanded
political and financial investment in research, monitoring, and precautionary management for all fisheries
taking sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras as part of their catch.
This publication is an invaluable source of information for the interested naturalist, students and
managers. A particularly useful feature is the extensive use of tables to present the comparative life-
history traits of sharks compared with other long-lived taxa, IUCN Red List assessments, management
tools for domestic shark fisheries currently implemented by shark fishing nations, legally protected
species, and life history traits for over 40 species of elasmobranch. There is also a list of over 200 key
references, all of which are cited in the text.
Order your copy NOW!
Red Sea Sharks
Jeremy Stafford-Deitsch, 1999. 96ypp. Trident Press, London, UK.
This beautifully illustrated book is the latest in the IN DEPTH Divers' Guide series. It features wonderful
colour photographs by the author and excellent pen and ink drawings by lan Fergusson. The first part of
the book contains information on sharks and divers, sensory mechanisms, reproduction and development,
conservation, shark attacks and safety tips. The second part is dedicated to shark identification, with
double page spreads on the identification, distribution, size, habitat and diet of the fifteen species of shark
most likely to be encountered by divers in the Red Sea.
Available in hard back (14.95) and soft back (9.99). Postage within the UK is 3.00 per book, airmail
within Europe 4.00, and airmail outside Europe 9.50 per book. Contact Biblios Publishers' Distribution
Service, fax + 44 (0)1403 711143, or tel. + 44 (0)1403 710851.
Australian Seafood Handbook: an identification guide to domestic species
Yearsley, Last and Ward (eds.), 1999. 470 pp. CSIRO, Australia.
This full-colour identification guide is intended to be a reference for all Australian professional and
recreational fishers, fishmongers, processors, biologists and seafood consumers. It contains everything
you need to know about recognizing and identifying the rich variety of seafood species found in Australian
waters. A chapter on cartilaginous fishes is included. There are colour photographs of 350 seafood
species and photographs of fish fillets. Protein fingerprints are included for 380 species and oil (fatty acid)
composition analyses are included for 200 species.
The Handbook is available in hardcover and waterproof versions. Prices (in US$ overseas, and Australian
dollars in Australia and NZ) are $39.95 + P&P for the hardcover and $75 + P&P for the waterproof.
Order copies from CSIRO Publishing, PO Box 1139, Collingwood, Vic 3066, Australia. Tel. (+61) (0)3
9662 7500, or fax. (+61) (0)3 9662 7555. http://www.publish.csiro.aulbooks, Email email@example.com
Sharks on the Line II: An Analysis of Pacific State Shark Fisheries
Merry Camhi, 1999. 116pp. National Audubon Society.
This report is the second in a series that looks at sharks and their fisheries on a state-by-state basis. The
first report (reviewed in Shark News 12) addressed the Atlantic and Gulf Coast States (Camhi, 1998),
and a 1999 Atlantic update is also now available (Camhi, 1999).
Sharks on the Line II focuses on fisheries and management for sharks, skates and rays in the five
Pacific states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. Bycatch is probably the greatest and
most insidious threat to sharks and skates in both US and international Pacific waters. Only a small
number of fisheries actually target elasmobranchs, and more than 75% of the reported shark landings and
almost 100% of the skate landings from the Pacific states are from bycatch. Less is known about the
regionwide status of shark species in US Pacific waters than in the Atlantic, and one of the main goals of
this report was to evaluate what each Pacific state is doing to manage its elasmobranch fisheries.
For a copy of this report and/or the first volume, contact Merry Camhi, Living Oceans Program, National
Audubon Society, 550 South Bay Avenue, Islip, NY, 11751, USA. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Case Studies of the Management of Elasmobranch Fisheries
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No.378. FAO, Rome, Italy, 1999.
920pp. (in two volumes). ISBN 92-5-104291-8.
The first volume of this publication contains analyses of elasmobranch fisheries in the Atlantic and Indian
Oceans, Malaysia and northern Australia. The second volume contains the case studies for Southern
Australia, the regional accounts and descriptions of the activities of NGOs and quality of reported landings
data. In general, the case studies cover the topics of the resource (species composition of fishery and
associated species either as bycatch or discards) and development and current status of the means of
prosecuting the fishery and the harvesting process. Fisheries management objectives and national
fisheries policies are described, and the authors provide a critical review of the policy setting process in
relation to elasmobranch fisheries, its successes, ongoing and unresolved problems and the nature of
A Preliminary Evaluation of the Status of Shark Species
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No.380. FAO, Rome, Italy, 1999. 72pp.
A preliminary evaluation of the status of shark species is made on the basis of available data, the
reproductive potential of each species, and the level of exploitation of the species. Exploited shark species
are classified numerically according to their vulnerability.
Shark Utilisation, Marketing and Trade
S. Vannuccini. 1999. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No.389. FAO,
Rome, Italy. 470pp. ISBN 92-5-104361-2.
Though sharks make up only a small part of the world's recorded fish landings, they are an extremely
valuable resource. The are exploited for their meat, fins, skin, liver, cartilage and other internal organs.
Shark skin is used to make leather and sandpaper, liver oil is used in the textile and leather industries, as
a medicine and health supplement, as an ingredient of cosmetics and as a lubricant. Shark fin is one of
the costliest marine commodities, and is used as a soup ingredient in Chinese communities all over the
This report brings together information from those parts of the world where sharks are important
economically, with the latest statistics available. The species used and the methods of preparation for the
various purposes are detailed.
Fisheries Management 1. Conservation and Management of Sharks.
FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries. No.4, Suppl. 1.
FAO, Rome, Italy, 2000. 37pp. ISBN 92-5-105514-3
These guidelines have been produced by SSG member Terry Walker to support implementation of the
International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks). They are
addressed primarily to decision-makers and policy-makers associated with conserving shark and other
chondrichthyan fish, and with managing these resources, but will also be of interest to fishing industries
and other parties.
The guidelines provide general advice and a framework for development and implementation of Shark
Plans and Assessment Reports prepared at national and regional levels. They are also intended for joint
Shark Plans for transboundary species of shark. They cover the four elements of the FAO Sustainable
Development Reference Scheme, which are:
Management for Sustainable Use
Science and Management of Shark Fisheries
Fisheries Research Vol. 39 No. 2. December 1998. Elsevier Science
Ltd. ISSN 0165-7836.
Papers in this collection include:
A review of the fishery for pelagic sharks in Atlantic Canada.
Pelagic shark fisheries along the west coast of the US and Baja California.
Shark bycatch in the Japanese high seas squid driftnet fishery in the North Pacific Ocean.
The phenomenon of apparent change of growth rate in gummy shark (Mustelus antarcticus)
harvested off southern Australia.
Implications of recent increases in catches on the dynamics of Northwest Atlantic spiny dogfish
Fishery biology and the demography of the Atlantic sharpnose shark, (Rhizoprionodon
terraenovae) in the southern Gulf of Mexico.
Demographic analysis as an aid in shark stock assessment and management.
Habitat management and closure of a nurse shark breeding and nursery ground.
Federal management of US Atlantic shark fisheries.
US and international mechanisms for protecting and managing shark resources.
Due to the late publication of this issue of Shark News the above collection of papers in the Fisheries
Research journal is somewhat outdated: resulting from a Symposium held in Florida, USA in 1995.
However, there is much useful information on shark fisheries and management to be found in this issue,
particularly as a background to the current situation. It serves as a good overview to the strengths and
limitations of available protective and management mechanisms for sharks. A combination of these
mechanisms will likely provide the best chance for sustainable management of sharks and prevent over-
utilization in the future.
The final message is clear: all countries need to give the highest priority to collection and sharing of data
on the population status and life-history parameters of elasmobranchs, and data by species on the level of
take in fisheries.
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Search Fishs Selections...
This issue of Shark News is sponsored by the US State
The United States Government (USG) recognizes and supports IUCN's important scientific work, and is a
major donor to IUCN. The U.S. State Department makes annual voluntary financial contributions to the
IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), assisting the IUCN Secretariat to support the major activities T
and programme priorities of the SSC. The State Department also contributes to a wide range of other
international organizations, including the United Nations Development Program, the United Nations
Environment Program, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification.
The Departments of State, Commerce (NOAA), Interior (FWS), and IUCN work closely each year to
determine funding priorities. Species conservation, including marine species, has long been and continues
to be one of the highest USG environmental priorities. Some of the funds to IUCN have, therefore, been
used to support activities of the Shark Specialist Group, the Seabird Group, and the Marine Turtle
Specialist Group. In total, the State Department contributed $110,000 in 2000/2001 to marine species
activities directed by the Executive Committees of these SSC Specialist Groups. These U.S. State funds
have supported much of the recent work of the Shark Specialist Group, including coordination of the
preparation of the 2000 Red List assessments, participation in meetings associated with implementation of
the FAO International Plan of Action for Sharks and FAO's review of the CITES listing criteria, preparation -
of the Chondrichthyan Fish Status Report, and for the printing of this issue of Shark News. We are
extremely grateful for this support.
Shark News is fundamental to the work of the Shark Specialist Group, linking experts from around the
world, publicising research and developments and confronts critical conservation issues. We urge other
organizations and individuals to sponsor upcoming issues of Shark News. With a growing global
distribution of almost 2,000 recipients, Shark News is becoming an increasingly important means of
communication among shark scientists and other elasmobranch enthusiasts. Please support this
newsletter by sending your contribution today, or even better, ask your institution to sponsor an issue.
Former sponsors have included the National Audubon Society's Living Ocean Program, Columbus Zoo,
WWF's Endangered Seas Campaign, the Center for Marine Conservation, and the Ocean Wildlife
Please contact Rachel Cavanagh for details on sponsoring part or all of an issue of Shark News.
We gratefully acknowledge the donations for newsletter production received from the following: The
National Audubon Society Living Oceans Program, The Shark Trust, SEAFDEC, Karger Libri, A.
Goldschmid, J. Makareincz, A. Moore, P. Queruel, Tony Page, Andrej Presern, C. Smith, and Christine
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Forthcoming meetings -
1st International Elasmobranch Husbandry Symposium
Orlando, Florida, USA, 3-7 October 2001
A forum for the presentation, discussion and dissemination of information detailing captive maintenance
and husbandry practices for elasmobranchs in public aquaria. For more details, please visit http://www.
5th European Elasmobranch Association Annual Meeting
German Elasmobranch Society, Kiel, Germany, 19-21 October 2001
The organizing committee encourages interested people, NGO representatives and especially scientists
on all educational academic levels from all European countries and beyond to participate and contribute to
the communication of current scientific research and conservation measures of chondrichthyes. For more
details, please visit http://www.elasmo.de
FAO Technical Consultation on CITES Criteria for aquatic species
Namibia, 22-26 October 2001
18th American Elasmobranch Society Meeting
Kansas City, Missouri, USA, July 2002
12th Conference of Parties to CITES
Santiago de Chile, 4-15th November 2002 s
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Shark News aims to provide a forum for exchange of information on all aspects of chondrichthyan
conservation matters for Shark Group members and other readers. It is not necessary to be a member of
the Shark Specialist Group in order to receive this newsletter.
We publish articles dealing with shark, skate, ray and chimaeroid fisheries, conservation and population
status issues around the world; circulate information on other relevant journals, publications and scientific
papers; alert our readers to current threats to chondrichthyans; and provide news of meetings. We do not
usually publish original scientific data, but aim to complement scientific journals. Published material
represents the authors' opinions only, and not those of IUCN or the Shark Specialist Group.
Publication dates are dependent upon sponsorship and receiving sufficient material for publication,
formerly three issues per annum.
Manuscripts should be sent to the editor at the address given on p.19. They should
be composed in English, legibly typewritten and double-spaced. Word-processed material on IBM-
compatible discs would be most gratefully received, or as email attachments. Tables and figures must
include captions and graphics should be camera-ready.
Length of features: (word counts include titles and references): The lead article, with two good size
illustrations, should be no more than 1,300-1,400 words. A single column article should be 550-600 words,
(450-500 words leaves space for a small illustration). A full page (2 column) article with good-sized '-
illustration should be 800-1000 words. Other main articles, for an inside two page spread with one large or -
two medium-sized illustrations, should be 1,800-2,000 words, depending on the number of illustrations.
Short newsy communications and letters are also welcome.
Writing style: This newsletter goes to members of the general public and to managers and policy-
makers, as well as to elasmobranch specialists, fisheries scientists and the conservation community. We
need a clear and brief style of writing. It is also essential to break up the text with plenty of sub-headings,
and to provide one or two photographs or graphics. There is room for small tables, but nothing too long
and complex. Author's name, affiliation and address must be provided, with their fax number and email
address where available.