SHARK NEWS 16 NEWSLETTER OF THE IUCN SHARK SPECIALIST GROUP
International trade in white shark
Carcharodon carcharias products
from New Zealand
Department of Conservation, New Zealand
White sharks Carcharodon carcharias are widely distributed within
New Zealand's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), occurring in coastal
and oceanic waters from at least 330S to 52.50S, and are taken in a
number of non-commercial and commercial fisheries. Recreational
taken since 1975. All sharks taken are disposed of at sea unless
requested for research (L. Bell, DCC, pers. comm.). White sharks are
not considered capable of sustaining a target fishery in New Zealand
and commercial fisheries regulations prohibitdirected fisheries (Francis
1998). They are taken as bycatch, however, in bottom-set longline,
dropline and gill net fisheries, and occasionally in trawl and tuna
longline fisheries (Ministry of Fisheries Catch Effort Database, Duffy
unpubl. data). Landings and sale of bycatch is permitted.
Reported commercial landings have averaged only 197kg (s.e. 84)
green weight per year for the last nine years (Table 1). However,
problems with these data include misreporting of fin weight as green
weight and non-reporting. For example, in the 1999-2000 fishing
year total green weight for fisheries management area (FMA) 3 was
the same as the landed weight of fins reported for that FMA (Ministry
of Fisheries Catch Effort Database). Problems with the data can also
be seen in Table 1 where the reported landings for FMA3 and FMA5
in 1993-94 and 1997-98 respectively are well below the weights of
near-term embryos and the smallest known free-living white sharks
(Francis 1996). Significant non-reporting is evident when the landings
reported in Table 1 are compared to those estimated by the author
from media reports, fisher interviews and examination of specimens
(Table 2). Weights given in Table 2 were estimated from total length
using Compagno's updated length-weight formula (Compagno 2001).
The author's estimate of commercial landings from 1993-94 to 2002-
03, incomplete as it is, is more than 11 times reported landings forthe
same period (i.e. 20,750kg c.f. 1,797kg; 65 fish c.f. about 15). Non-
reporting appears to be particularly bad in FMAs 2, 4 and 8 but may
be an artefact of the author's intensive data collection in these areas.
A number of factors contributeto non-reporting. Most importantly,
fishers are only obliged to record catch and effort data for the five
most important species in each set or shot of their gear. As white
sharks are relatively uncommon they are unlikely to meet this
reporting criterion. Even if a large white shark does make up the bulk
of a particular catch fishers are unlikely to regard it as valued part of
the catch and therefore record it. Often only the head or jaws are
retained. The landed weight will only be reported if the meat and/or
fins are landed to a licensed fish receiver, and even then this is
dependent on the fisher correctly identifying the shark.
Commercial fisher removing the head ot a 4.5m white shark taken in hoveaux Strait, Goods in international trade
New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Gordon Pyper, ...i. i New Zealand.
No data are available on the volume of white shark goods imported
and customary fishers mainly take white sharks as bycatch in gillnets, and exported from New Zealand. Tariff codes for goods for human
and occasionally on longlines (Duffy unpubl. data). Sport fisheries for consumption are only available for six commercially important
white sharks in New Zealand are largely undeveloped and fishers chondrichthyan taxa. All remaining chondrichthyans are lumped
often tag and release those they do catch (Mossman 1993; Wilson under a generic code for "other" fishes. There is also only a single
2002). A protective beach meshing programme run by Dunedin code for goods not for human consumption made from fish, and
City Council (DCC) operates seasonally off Brighton, St. Clair and another for collections and collector's pieces of zoological interest
St. Kilda beaches. Although targeted, no white sharks have been W (The Working Tariff Document of New Zealand).
This special issue on CITES also includes ...
Shark conservation and management through CITES Trade in sawfish rostra
Spiny dogfish miss the boat Management challenges for freshwater stingrays
Global whale shark tourism Shark and ray sanctuary in Mauritania
Shark Specialist Group web site: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/organizations/SSG/SSG.htm
Table 1. Commercial landings (kg) of Carcharodon carcharias
in New Zealand waters reported by licensed fish receivers.
Fishing Year* Fishery Management Area Total
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1993-94 ... ... 6 ... ... ... ... .. ... 6
1994-95 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 37 37
1995-96 ... ... ... ... ... ... 200 ... ... 200
1996-97 136 ... ... ... ... 60 200 ... ... 396
1997-98 ... ... ... ... 5.1 ... ... ... ... 5.1
1998-99 ... .. .. .. ... ... ... 38 38
1999-00 ... 32 24 ... ... 228 ... ... 30 314
2000-01 ... ... ... ... 705 ... ... ... 48 753
2002-03 48 ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 48
Total 184 32 30 0 710.1 288 400 0 153 1797.1
Source: Catch Effort Database, Ministry of Fisheries. *1 October to 30 September.
Table 2. Estimated live weight in kg (no. of sharks bracketed)
of Carcharodon carcharias taken as bycatch in New Zealand
commercial fisheries recorded by the author.
Fishing Year* Fishery Management Area
1 2 4 5
890(2) ... 1
7 8 9
... 2,058(2) 2,058(2)
117(1) 25(1) 599(4)
... ... 2,336(5)
77(1) ... 77(1)
118(1) 252(1) 2,779(5)
870(1) 969(7) 6,278(16)
870(1) 279(7) 3,041(18)
,487(3) ... 2,508(7)
... 362(3) 388(4)
... 1,555(1) 1,967(2)
,689(9) 5,500(22) 24,670(71)
No commercial captures were recorded in 2002-03. *1 October to 30 September.
Reported commercial landings suggest white sharks are taken for
their fins and meat. However, as there no landed state codes for shark
heads or jaws, these data are unlikelyto capture sharks taken only fortheir
jaws or teeth (Ministry of Fisheries Catch Effort Database). Reported
landings of headed and gutted, and dressed carcasses are small and most
meat is probably sold domestically for "fish and chips". Although Hong
Kong traders do not consider white shark fins to be high quality (S. Clarke
pers. comm.) and domestic traders do not advertise top prices for them,
the value of shark fins is such that many commercial fishers routinely fin
all large sharks. Shark fins have only been reported by species since the
start of the 1999-2000 fishing year. Since then reported landings of white
shark fins total only 55kg (Ministry of Fisheries Catch Effort Database).
However, it is possiblesome landings have been reported underredundant
generic codes (C. Percy, Ministry of Fisheries, pers. comm.), and as
discussed above non-reporting is problematic. Most shark fins landed in
New Zealand are exported.
Although New Zealand fisheries regulations require commercial
fishers to land their catch to a licensed fish receiver and prohibit
customary and recreational fishers selling their catch, there are no
effective restrictions on the private sale of shark jaws and teeth.
Consequently foreign traders and collectors generally purchase white
shark jaws and teeth directly from the fisher. Between 1995 and 2001 a
Scottish collector purchased 24 white shark jaws of varying ages and
provenance from New Zealand (A. Sprott pers. comm.). Following
protection of white sharks in Australia in September 1999 Australian
buyers began sourcing jaws and teeth (including damaged, half pulp and
hollow shell teeth) from New Zealand. Prices for undamaged jaws and
teeth offered to New Zealand vendors are shown in Table 3. An
Australian advertisement for jaws and teeth ran in the fishing industry
magazine Seafood New Zealand from April 2000 to June 2001. A f
similar advertisement with a New Zealand contact ran in Seafood New
Zealand from August to December 2001. These advertisements have
ceased and it is not known if the company involved continues trading.
Sharkfin buyers occasionally purchase sharkjaws (C. Powell, commercial
fisher, pers. comm.) and some private trading occurs on the internet (The
New Zealand Herald, November 27, 2003).
Value of jaws and teeth in trade
The international trade in white shark jaws and teeth appears to be low
volume but high value. In 2002 reported US imports consisted of six
i... .1 ', 1 "skull", 300 teeth and 13kg of "bones" (A. Barden, TRAFFIC,
pers. comm.). A survey of 20 vendors (19 US, 1 Australian) trading on the
internet in October 2003 found 293 lots of shark jaws for sale with total
stated valueof US$65,937.Thissamplecontained atleast 55 elasmobranch
taxa, of which about half (50.5%) were carcharhinids (Table 4). White
shark jaws represented only 2.7% (n=8) of the lots (Table 4). Lots of
carcharhinid jaws often consisted of packages of several small jaws.
Large jaws were individually priced. Jaw prices varied according to
species, size and quality. White shark jaws attracted premium prices, and
comprised 60% of the total stated value (Table 4). Prices for six white
shark jaws, includingthree from New Zealand, ranged from US$1,350 to
$12,500. The next mostvaluable species were Greenland shark Somniosus
microcephalus (US$1,000 to $2,500) and goblin shark Mitsukurina
owstoni (US$2,100). Large tiger shark Galeocerdo cuveri jaws reached
US$499. Six vendors offered 90 white shark teeth for sale. Prices for
unmounted specimen teeth 11/6 in. to 2/4 in. enamel height ranged from
US$45 to $425. The highest price for a single tooth was US$1,150 for a
2/2 in. tooth with a "pearlized" epoxy cap.
Without accurate fisheries and trade data the impact of international trade
on the New Zealand white shark population can not be assessed.
However, the high value of jaws and teeth undoubtedly encourages
fishers to retain, rather than release white sharks. It also has the potential
to encourage illegal target fishing in areas where large adults are known
to aggregate. The latter has the potential to rapidly deplete local white
shark populations and stifle the development of ecotourism at these sites.
Large white sharks are known to aggregate at several sites around the
Chatham Islands east of South Island, NewZealand and two operators are
independently investigating white shark cage diving opportunities there.
Historicallythe sharks atthe Chathams have been fished fortheir liveroil,
and hunted for trophies and as pests.
Export of white shark goods from Australia, other than for scientific
or exhibition purposes, was prohibited in January 2002 after Australia had
listed the species on Appendix III of CITES. The 2003 internet survey
Table 3. Prices (Australian $) for undamaged white shark
jaws and teeth circulated in New Zealand in November 1999.
Tooth size (in.) Jaws Teeth
1 500 10
1 I/ 650 15
1 4 850 22
1 1,100 31
1 12 1,500 41
1 '/, 2,000 52
1 3/4 2,700 65
1 7 3,600 85
2 4,500 110
2 5,500 135
2 /4 6,500 160
2 3/ 7,750 190
2 V2 9,250 230
2 /, 12,000 280
2 /% and up 20,000 500
(Source: Vic Bond, SharkAus. 1 ... 1. ,I 1 ll.nl .i II i 1.11 1,,, I 1 n..
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 2
Table 4. Number and total stated value of elasmobranchjaws
offered for sale by 20 internet vendors.
Taxa No. US$
Unidentified carcharhinids 52 1,151.17
Carcharhinus spp. 128 5,501.00
Galeocerdo cuvier 22 4,173.99
Sphyrna spp. 10 559.00
Carcharodon carcharias 8 39,200.00
Isurus spp. 27 4,516.00
Batoids 24 985.00
Other 22 9,850.98
Total: 293 65,937.14
Note: total value was calculated from a sample of 269 jaws as prices were
unavailable for the remaining 24 (including two Carcharodon jaws).
found two US vendors i-i i, a total of 18 teeth imported from Australia
for sale. As Australia was the country of origin for three of the five
shipments of white shark goods reported imported to the US in 2002 it is
likely these teeth were legally obtained. However, lack of protection and
trade monitoring in New Zealand has led to official concerns that white
shark jaws and teeth taken illegally in Australia are being exported
through New Zealand (S. Williams, DEH, Australia, pers. comm.). The
only direct evidence for this appears to be a shipment of seven Australian
white shark jaws re-exported from Auckland, New Zealand, to Texas in
May 2001 (J. Nicodemus, NOAA special agent, pers. comm.; M. Shivji,
pers. comm). The company involved claimed the jaws had been exported
to New Zealand prior to full protection taking effect.
A genetic study (Pardini et al. 2001) and tag recapture off the
northwest North Island (B. Bruce, CSIRO, pers. comm.) indicate New
Zealand and Australian white sharks are a shared stock. It is not known
if this is a fishery relevant stock, but it is possible that depletion of white
sharks in New Zealand waters could undermine efforts to protect the
species in Australia.
Commercial landings data were provided by the New Zealand Ministry
of Fisheries Research Data Management Group. Wilbur Dovey,
Department of Conservation, Allan Bruford, New Zealand Customs
Service and Craig Pierce, Statistics NZ provided advice and information
on trade monitoring. Andrew Sprott, Edinburgh, provided detailed
information on New Zealand white shark jaws in his private collection.
Compagno, L.J.V. 2001. Sharksofthe world. An annotated and illustrated
catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2. FAO Species
Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1 Vol. 2. FAO, Rome. 269pp.
Francis, M.P. 1996. Observations on a pregnant white shark with a review
of reproductive biology. In: Klimley, A.P. and D.G. Ainley eds. Great
White Sharks: the biology of Carcharodon carcharias. Academic
Press, San Diego. Pp. 157-172.
Francis, M.P. 1998. New Zealand shark fisheries: development, size and
management. Marine and Freshwater Research, 49: 579-591.
Mossman, S. 1993. Counties strike it white. New Zealand Fishing News,
June 1993. Pp. 42-43.
Pardini, A.T., C. S. Jones, L. R. Noble, B. Kreiser, H. Malcolm, B.D. Bruce,
J.D. Stevens, G. Cliff, M.C. Scholl, M. Francis, C.A.J. Duffy and A.P.
Martin. 2001. Sex-biased dispersal of great white sharks. Nature412:
Wilson, G. 2002: The great white encounter. Fishing Action, 25: 24-30,
Atthe end of this IUCN Quadrennium, we have been reviewing Shark
Specialist Group (SSG) activities in 2001-2004. This has been an
extraordinary productive and busytime, duringwhich our membership
rose significantly to >170 individuals from >60 countries (although
Africa and Asia are still under-represented), organised into ten ocean
regions. The Quadriennium began in 2001 with the award of a grant
from the UK Department of Environment Global Wildlife Division for
the employment of a full time Programme Officer (Rachel Cavanagh),
which stimulated a huge increase in activity and productivity. This
was followed by a two-year grant for core funds from the David and
Lucile Packard Foundation for implementing our priority areas of
work. We have also received generous donations from the US State
Department's Voluntary Contributions to IUCN and sponsorship from
other sources, many of them for our Red List work programme.
These additional resources have enabled us to undertake a great
deal of work on CITES issues, implementation of the UN FAO IPOA-
Sharks, and other fisheries management and biodiversity initiatives.
Overall in 2001-04, the SSG was represented on the IUCN delegation
at two FAO COFI meetings, two COFI Fish Trade meetings, an FAO
Technical Consultation, three CITES Animals Committee meetings,
an intercessional Shark Working Group, and two meetings of the
Conference of Parties to CITES. Members also attended FAO expert
panels and many other fisheries meetings. Our input to these key
areas of work is described in more detail on pp. 4-5.
We have undertaken intensive work on our Red List Programme,
with five workshops held in 2003 and two in 2004 (see p. 19), 373
global and 67 regional species assessments completed and submitted
to IUCN. Several hundred more assessments are under review for the
2005 Red List (see our website for more information).
SSG participated in the 'Shattering the Myth' initiative on marine
species extinction risk, with representatives attending the World
Parks and the World Fisheries Congresses. We assisted IUCN with
developing their Information Paper in response to a draft European
Union finning regulation. A motion on Shark Finning will bring this
issue to the attention of the World Conservation Congress in 2004.
In addition to Shark News, we have put considerable resources
into improving our website, posting regular updates and information
documents. We will be posting our global status report there in the
nearfuture and updating iton line. Members have presented numerous
scientific and technical papers referringto SSG activities and prepared
a manual on Elasmobranch Fisheries Management Techniques,
intended to contribute towards sustainable shark fisheries and IPOA-
Sharks implementation, on behalf of the APEC Fisheries Working
Group (pdf on the website and see p. 18).
Planning is now underway for 2005-08. Our present grants end
in early 2005, yet demand for SSG advice and information continues
to rise. We really need a matching increase in funding in orderto meet
the many requests for assistance that we receive, but competition for
grant aid is becoming increasingly intense. Top priority will be
completing Red List assessments for all chondrichthyan taxa and
dissemination of the results, continued support for CITES activities
and promoting implementation of the IPOA-Sharks. We plan several
shark management workshops and a joint management workshop
with Project Seahorse and the Grouper and Wrasse Specialist Group.
Our work has only been possible through the huge efforts of our
members and generosity of our donors and other supporters (who are
too numerous to list on this page). Thank you and enjoy this special
Science and Research Unit, Department of Conservation Sarah Fowler and Rachel Cavanagh
P.O. Box 112, Hamilton, New Zealand IUCN Shark Specialist Group
Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org;, email@example.com
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 3
Shark Conservation and
Management through CITES
Sarah Fowler, IUCN SSC Shark Specialist Group, UK
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 that may become threatened in the absence of
such regulation. About 166 States are Party to CITES, which is one of
the most effective of the international wildlife conventions because
it has the power to suspend international trade in hugely valuable
wildlife products if Parties fail to comply with its provisions.
White shark Carcharodon carcharias jaws and teeth enter international trade as
desirable angling trophies and highly-priced curios. Photo: Rusty Hudson.
While a relatively small number of threatened species are listed
on Appendix I, which prohibits international trade other than under
exceptional circumstances, the great majority of species (nearly
30,000) are listed on Appendix II. Appendix II strictly regulates and
monitors trade, to ensure that it is not detrimental to the status of wild
trade and to submit a report to CoP10 in 1997, and for FAO and other
international fisheries organizations to improve their research
programmes and to submit new information to CoP11 in 1999.
Significant progress through FAO with the development and
adoption of the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation
and Management of Sharks (IPOA-Sharks) reported at CoP11 led to
the repeal of Res. Conf. 9.17 and may have contributed to the
rejection of proposals to list basking shark, whale shark and white
shark on Appendix II. By 2002, however, it had become apparent
from information collated by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and
TRAFFIC that, with a few notable exceptions, most states had made
no progress with implementation of the IPOA-Sharks, most fisheries
remained unmanaged and international trade was still unmonitored.
Therewas increasingevidenceof depletion of many shark populations.
A new Shark Resolution was therefore adopted to stimulate further
activity (see below) and two species, basking shark and whale shark,
were listed (by a narrow margin) on Appendix II.
Resolution Conf. 12.6:
Conservation and Management
This Resolution, adopted at CoP12 in 2002, recognized
the lack of progress with implementation of the IPOA-
Sharks and identified several actions to monitor and
redress this problem. Among these, the CITES AC was
critically review progress towards IPOA-Sharks
implementation before CoP13;
examine information provided by range States in
shark assessment reports and other available relevant
documents, with a view to identifying key species and
examining these for consideration and possible listing
make species-specific recommendations at the
13th meeting and subsequent meetings of the
Conference of the Parties if necessary on improving
the conservation status of sharks and the regulation of
international trade in these species.
This work has progressed fairly well during the
two meetings of the AC held since CoP12 and by an intercessional AC
Shark Working Group, despite the short interval between CoPs 12
and 13. There has been significant input from the Shark Specialist
Group, which has continued to review the implementation of the
IPOA-Sharks and has provided information on key species of concern
(see SSG website links to CITES).
populations, although the volumes of trade in these listed products Recommendations to CoP 13, October 2004
are largely regulated by the Parties that harvest them. Amendments to The AC's report (CoP13 Doc.35, www.cites.org) proposes a number
these two Appendices may only be proposed by States for debate at of important draft Decisions that will be debated and voted upon at
the Meeting of the Conference of Parties to CITES (CoP, held every CoP13. These include directing the CITES Secretariat to seek funding
two to three years), where a two-thirds majority vote is required for for a technical workshop on the conservation and management of
them to be adopted. (See www.cites.org for more information.) sharks for relevant experts and stakeholders (including representatives
CoP13, opening in Bangkok as we go to press, has the potential of major shark-fishing Parties, the AC, FAO, Regional Fisheries
to be an important influence on future shark conservation and Management Organizations, the fishery sector, IUCN/SSC Shark
management activities. Specialist Group and fishery experts). This will review progress with
the IPOA-Sharks, identify and prioritize key shark species, make
Sharks and CITES species-specific recommendations on improving the conservation
Sharks first appeared on the CITES agenda during CoP9 in 1994, when status of sharks and the regulation on international trade in these
Resolution Conf. 9.17 on 'The Status of International Trade in Shark species, and summarize its findings and recommendations for review
Species' was adopted in response to concern about the impact of and consideration by the AC. The AC will use the report to make
rising volumes of shark fin entering international trade. It called for their own species-specific recommendations, examine progress
the CITES Animals Committee (AC) to review all information with implementation of Conf. Res. 12.6 and assess the need to
- 1.. -1 ,:,i,, l h ,-,l, i. ilstatusofsharksandeffectsofinternational r update the Resolution, and report to CoP14.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 4
Furthermore, as directed by Res. Conf. 12.6, the AC
has recommended the following species-specific
recommendations by which Range States could improve
the conservation status of sharks and regulation of
international trade in species of particular concern:
* Range States of spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias and
school, tope or soupfin shark Galeorhinus galeus shall
improve data collection and reporting to FAO of catches,
landings and trade; improve research and fisheries
management measures, including collaborative research
and science-based management of shared stocks; develop
precautionary and adaptive management measures for
poorly-known stocks and rebuilding plans where
necessary; and seek assistance from FAO for capacity-
building in coastal shark fisheries management where
* Range States of porbeagle shark Lamna nasus shall
improve data collection and reporting to FAO, ICCAT
and other Relevant Regional Fisheries Organizations
(RFOs) on catches, landings and trade; urge the World
Customs Organization to establish a harmonized international
code for porbeagle sharks; and establish cooperative, bilateral and
multilateral research, stock assessment and fisheries management
programmes for shared stocks, through RFOs where appropriate.
* Range States of freshwater stingrays, family Potamotrygonidae,
shall review the status of these species, jointly examine cross-border
trade and illegal trade, and consider Appendix-Ill listings, where
appropriate, to control exports.
* Range States of sawfishes, family Pristidae, to undertake, as a
matter of urgency, a review of the status of these species in their
coastal waters, rivers and lakes and, if necessary, introduce
conservation and trade measures to reduce the risk of extinction.
* Range State ofgulper sharks, genus Centrophorus, shall adopt a
precautionary approach to the management of these and other deep
sea species, including monitoring of catches, landings and trade at
species level, preparation of good identification guides, improved
use of observers, and development of standard carcass forms to
improve reporting, which should include the species as well as their
* Range States of requiem sharks, genus Carcharhinus, guitarfishes,
order Rhinobatiformes and devil rays, family Mobulidae shall pay
particular attention to the management of fisheries and trade in these
taxa, including undertaking reviews of their conservation and trade
* All Parties shall develop, adopt and implement, through bilateral
arrangements, regional fisheries organization, FAO and other
international bodies, new international instruments and regional
agreements for the conservation and management of sharks of the
high seas, pelagic shark species and straddling shark stocks.
It remains to be seen how many of these Decisions are rejected,
adopted, amended or even added to during the debates at CoP13.
Shark listing proposals
Only one shark listing proposal survived the pre-conference Range
State consultation process and has been submitted for debate and
voting at CoP13.
Australia and Madagascar propose listing the white shark
Carcharodon carcharias on Appendix II in order to regulate
international trade in the low volume, high value products (jaws,
teeth and fins) of this rare and vulnerable top marine predator. The
proposal dI--, i .-' i ,ifi, i 1r and ongoingpopulation declines
in many centres of distribution that qualify the species for an 4
Europe is the world's largest importer of spiny dogfish, here smoked and sold as
'Schillerlocken'(upper centre). Photo: Sarah Fowler.
Appendix II listing. It points out that Appendix II listing would help
ensurethat exploitation of this globally threatened species is regulated
and monitored and that international trade is not detrimental to its
survival. It would also contribute to the implementation of national
conservation and management measures, the FAO IPOA-Sharks, UN
Fish Stocks Agreement, and the Convention for the Conservation of
An ad hoc FAO Expert Group has examined the listing proposal
and other available data, but was unable to determine whether the
species had declined sufficiently world-wideto meet the CITES listing
criteria (white sharks are so rarely recorded that quantitative data on
population trends are extremely hard to obtain).
Two draft Appendix II shark listing proposals were circulated by
Germany to Range States for comment at the end of 2003 and
presented to the AC in early 2004: the porbeagle shark Lamna nasus
and the spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias (see pp.6-7). Both these
species enter international trade in large quantities, much of this to
the EU, are widely distributed and highly migratory, and have been
very seriously depleted in some regions as a result of unregulated
target fisheries. Very few Range States are managing these species
with the aim of rebuilding stocks and developing sustainable fisheries.
Internal debates within the European Union resulted in agreement
that both species met the scientific criteria, but a vote on whether to
submit them to CoP13 failed to reach the necessary qualified majority
(in the case of spiny dogfish, this was primarily due to the large
number of abstentions rather than to a significant 'no' vote).
A draft proposal to list the globally Critically Endangered family
of sawfishes, Pristidae, on Appendix I of CITES did not get as far as full
Range State consultation. Had it done so, many Range States might
have been alerted to the extirpation of these species from their coastal
waters, estuaries, rivers and lakes (see pp.10-11).
The AC recommendations can, however, if adopted and
implemented, lead to the recovery and management of these and
other shark species of particular concern, as well as improved
international management of shared and high seas stocks. The draft
Decisions will hopefully be seen by Range States as a constructive
alternative to CITES listings and supported in debate.
News of the outcome of CoP13 will be published on the SSG
website and in the next issue of Shark News.
Co-Chair IUCN Shark Specialist Group,
Naturebureau International, Newbury, UK
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 5
Spiny dogfish miss the boat to
The Ocean Conservancy, Washington DC, USA
A proposal to monitor and control the international trade in spiny
dogfish sharks SqualusacanthiasundertheConvention on International
Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) was defeated before reaching
the 13th Conference of the Parties (CoP). Germany's proposal to list
spiny dogfish on CITES Appendix II failed to garner sufficient support
to be advanced (by the European Union (EU) to the 13th CoP in
October 2004. Despite this, draft Decisions from the CITES Animals
Committee (AC) offer some hope for improving the conservation
status of this often overlooked yet imperiled species.
Figure 1. Squalus acanthias catches in ICES areas, Northeast Atlantic.
A small shark found in temperate waters of both hemispheres, the
spiny dogfish is a very slow growing and long-lived species: maximum
reported age in the Northwest Atlantic is 40 years (females) and 35
years (males) (Nammack 1985). Estimates for other areas approach
100 years (Compagno 1984). Age at maturity varies among stocks:
from 12-23 years (females) and 6-14 years (males). Spiny dogfish
give birth after an 18-24 month gestation period; among the longest
of all animals (Compagno 1984). A 1998 study found spiny dogfish
to have the lowest intrinsic rebound potential of 26 shark species
analysed (Smith etal. 1998). These factors, along with thetendency
for fisheries to target reproductive females (due to their large
size), make spiny dogfish stocks particularly prone to depletion
and slow to recover.
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), dogfish
catches reached a peak in 1972 (73,500 metric tonnes (t)), then
declined and stabilized to between 36,000-51,000t in the 1990s,
with most of the catch coming from the North Atlantic. Northeast
Atlantic landings were sustained at levels of 30-50,000t per year for
most of the 1960s-1980s. Since the mid 1980s, landings in this region
declined sharply while those from elsewhere mostly increased. By
2001, Northeast Atlantic reported landings had dropped to 27% of
their historical peak. Northwest Atlantic catches were primarily from
foreign vessels from 1966-1977 with a peak of 25,000t in 1974. U.S.
vessels dominated the fishery until 2000 with peak catches in
1996 at 28,000t. Canadian catches rose nearly six times from \
1997-2001 and now represent the largest proportion of the
landings from this stock (NEFSC 2003).
Otherpopulations yielding significant landings are in the Northeast
Pacific (off western North America), the Southwest Pacific (mainly
New Zealand) and Northwest Pacific (Japan). Catches from Japanese
coastal and offshore fisheries dropped from more than 50,000t in
1952 to 10,000t in 1965 (Taniuchi 1990). Japanese offshore trawler
catches from the Pacific North Area declined to a record low of 115t
in 1999. (Government of Japan 2003). Catches of spiny dogfish in New
Zealand have more than doubled over the past decade, from 2,500-
5,000t in the late 1980s to 5,000-10,000t in the 1990s (MFish 2003).
Population trends and conservation status
The 2003 IUCN Red List assessment for Spiny Dogfish is "Near
Threatened" globally. Populations in the Northwest and Northeast
Atlantic, however, are currently assessed as "Vulnerable" and
"Endangered" respectively. The 2003 report of the EU 'Development
of Elasmobranch Assessments' (DELASS) Project assessed the Northeast
Atlantic spiny dogfish population as "severely
depleted" and suggested stock depletion to below
omass 5000o000 n 5% of carrying capacity (K) in 2001. Other
ed by up to 98% to c
2001 (DELASS 2003) scenarios carried out in this assessment revealed
population status as low as 2% of K.
Also in 2003, a Northwest Atlantic stock
assessment documented a 75% decline in
reproductive female dogfish since the US fishery
began in 1988 (NEFSC 2003). Consequently, the
number of pups has been at record low levels for
seven consecutive years (1997-2003); this
recruitment failure (Figure 2) is expected to
0 ^ ooo ,> 0o persist for several years. Recent declines in pup
survivorship, due likely to smaller mothers
producing smaller, weaker young, were also
reported. Recovery, even under optimistic assumptions, is estimated
to take two to three decades (NEFSC 2003).
In contrast to many other shark species, the most economically
valuable part of a spiny dogfish is not its fins or teeth, but its meat,
which enters international trade in very large quantities. European
demand drives dogfish fisheries around the world. In 2001, the EU
provided the world's largest market for spiny dogfish meat, consuming
at least 65% of world reported landings. France has been historically
the largest consumer of dogfish meat with the UK as its top European
supplier. From 1988-1994, Norway was the largest non-EU supplier
of fresh or chilled spiny dogfish to the EU, followed by the US. In the
late 1980s, depletion of European stocks led to increased imports
from other countries, principally the US and Argentina (Rose 1996).
In recent years, as the US Atlantic population declined and came
under management, trade increased in Atlantic Canada and several
countries in the Southern Hemisphere, notably New Zealand (Mfish
2003). Dogfish fins and liver oil are also traded (Rose 1996).
Only Canada, the U.S., the EC and Norway currently impose any
species-specific measures for spiny dogfish. To date, none of these
restrictions has led to rebuilding. New Zealand has proposed
precautionary limits on emerging fisheries beginning in October
2004 (Mfish 2003). Although U.S. federal Atlantic science-based
catch limits were implemented in 2000, those in adjoining state
waters were as much as 11 times higher until May 2004. In addition,
Canadian restrictions forthe same population are higherthan those
in U.S waters (Government of Canada 2002). Indeed, there are no
bilateral or international management measures for spiny dogfish
anywhere in the world, despite the need for consistent measures
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 6
Figure 2. Biomass estimates of Squalus acanthias pups, Northwest Atlantic (source:
National Marine Fisheries Service, Northeast Fisheries Science Center).
for shared, migratory stocks. Monitoring and reporting of dogfish
fisheries (target catch, bycatch, discards and landings) and of
international trade are also inadequate.
Attempts for spiny dogfish CITES listings
As early as 1996, conservation groups were calling for CITES protection
for these special sharks. Prior to CoP10, the U.S. rejected a proposal
from the Ocean Wildlife Campaign for listing spiny dogfish on
Appendix II. Although agreeing that the species met the criteria, the
U.S. was concerned over the complexities of implementation. In
1999, the Humane Society and the International Wildlife Coalition
formally requested that the U.S. propose spiny dogfish for listing in
Appendix II at CoP11. Federal officials acknowledged significant
decline and international trade in Northwest Atlantic dogfish and
noted that if such unmanaged exploitation continued, the species
would meet the criteria for listing in Appendix I. They concluded,
however, that a new fishery management plan could rebuild the
population and decided not to propose listing.
In 2003, Germany implemented Conference Res. 12.6 by
compiling information on the conservation status of and trade in two
nationally threatened German shark species (spiny dogfish and
porbeagle shark Lamna nasus). Deciding that they met the criteria for
listing on CITES Appendix II, a proposal was drafted for review by
CITES Parties. Such a listing would have resulted in trade monitoring
and regulation, but failed to gain the political approval of the
qualified majority of the 25 EC Member States and was not submitted
for consideration at CoP13 (Fowler et al. 2004).
Advice from the CITES Animals Committee
A Working Group of the CITES AC reviewed Germany's spiny dogfish
proposal in April 2004. Most members agreed that the species
appeared to meet the Appendix II criteria. The AC has since
recommended that Range States for spiny dogfish improve data
collection and reporting to FAO of catches, landings and trade;
improve research and management, including collaborative research
and science-based management of shared stocks; develop
precautionary and adaptive management for poorly-known stocks
(and rebuilding plans where necessary); and seek assistance from
FAO for capacity-building where necessary. These recommendations
will be considered at CoP13.
Since CITES took its first step towards international shark
conservation in 1994, spiny dogfish populations have continued
to deteriorate in places all over the globe. A CITES Appendix II
listing for spiny dogfish is wholly appropriate and could vastly -
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 7
improve the status of data collection and conservation of this
beleaguered species. Short of CITES listing, adoption and prompt
implementation of the draft Decision regarding spiny dogfish offered
by the Animals Committee (see pp.4-5) could go a long way towards
improving the outlook for the species. Still, considering the strong
case for CITES listing and the unfortunate, ongoing depletion of
stocks, the spiny dogfish is likely to continue to command the
attention of NGOs and concerned countries beyond CoP13.
Government of Canada. 2002. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. News
Release NR-MAR-02-07E. Thibault announces 2002 Dogfish
Management Plan for Maritimes Region. May 30, 2002.
Compagno, L.J.V. 1984. Sharks of the world. An annotated and illustrated
catalogue of sharks species known to date. Part 1. Hexanchiformes
to Lamniformes. FAO Fish Synop. 125:1-249. FAO, Rome, Italy.
Federal Republic of Germany. 2004. Proposal to include Spiny Dogfish
(Squalus .:.i:,iiin) in Appendix II CITES. Draft prepared on behalf
ofthe European Communityforthe European Regional' i.:rr-i, ,f ilir
CITES Parties, Brussels, Belgium.
Food and Agricultural Organization. 2002 Fisheries Global Information
System. Species Identification and Data Program. Squalus acanthias.
Fordham, S. 2004. AC20 Inf. 22: Conservation and Management Status
of Spiny Dogfish Sharks (Squalus acanthias). Twentieth meeting ofthe
CITES Animals Committee, Johannesburg, South Africa, 29 March-
2 April 2004. http://www.cites.org
Fowler, S., C. Raymakers and U Grimm. 2004. Trade in and Conservation
of two Shark Species, Porbeagle (Lamna nasus) and Spiny Dogfish
(Squalus acanthias). BfN-Skripten 118. Federal Agency for Nature
Conservation, Bonn, Germany.
Government of Japan. Fisheries Agency. 2003. Report on the Assessment
of Implementation of Japan's National Plan of Action for the
Conser' ir. I 1ii- 1 i I ii -nI,:, t SharksofFAO(Preliminaryversion).
AC19 Doc 18.3 Annex 1. 66 pp.
MFish (Minister of Fisheries). New Zealand. 2003. Introduction of New
Stocks into the QLIu r I I ii iy-i,, ii-it System on 1 October 2004. Final
Advice Paper. 511 p. [spiny dogfish section, pp. 425-437].
Nammack, M.F., J.A. Musick, and J.A. Colvocoresses. 1985. Life history
of spiny dogfish off the Northeastern United States. Trans. Am. Fish.
Soc. 114: 367-376.
NEFSC. 2003. 37th Northeast Regional Stock Assessment Workshop
(37th SAW) Advisory Report. Northeast Fisheries Science Center
Reference Document 03-17. 52 p. [dogfish section, pp. 19-30.]
Ocean Wildlife Campaign. 1996. Proposal in support of listing the spiny
dogfish (Squalus acanthias) of the Northwest Atlantic on Appendix II
of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
(CITES) at the Tenth Conference of the Parties. 21 pp.
Rose, D.A. 1996. An overview of world trade in sharks and other
cartilaginous fishes. TRAFFIC International. 106 pp.
Smith, S.E., Au, D.W., and Show, C. (1998). Intrinsic rebound potentials
of 26 species of Pacific sharks. Marine and Freshwater Research
Taniuchi, T. 1990. The role of elasmobranchs in Japanese fisheries.
NOAA Technical Report NMFS, 90: 415-426.
Sonja V. Fordham,
The Ocean Conservancy,
1725 DeSales Street NW, Suite 600,
Washington, D.C. 20036, USA
This article is largely based on an Information Document
presented to the 20th Meeting of the CITES AC (Fordham 2004).
Global whale shark tourism: a
"golden goose" of sustainable and
Rachel T. Graham
Wildlife Conservation Society, Belize.
International trade in their high value meat poses a considerable
threat to whale sharks. In 2002, the 12th meeting of the Conference
of Parties to CITES listed the species on Appendix II in an attempt to
ensure that international trade is not detrimental to their populations.
The value of whale shark ecotourism, particularly for developing
countries, was emphasised during the CoP12 debates.
The role of shark tourism
As management and conservation costs rise, wildlife is under pressure
to pay for itself. Whale sharks Rhincodon typus have not escaped this
expectation. Despite IUCN's Red List classification as "Vulnerable",
A juvenile male whale shark takes a close look at divers on the Belize Barrier Reef. Photo: Rachel T. Graham.
(Eckert and Stewart 2001, Eckert et al. 2002, Graham 2003), tourism
is lucky: whale sharks aggregate predictably near many coasts to
feed, often on a seasonal basis (Taylor 1996, Clark and Nelson 1997,
Colman 1997, Stevens et al. 1998, Heyman et al. 2001, Graham
2003). Such behaviour provides the accessibility and predictability
that underpin tourism success (Taylor 1996, Davis et al. 2001,
Newman et al. 2002, Alava et al. 2002, Graham 2003).
This predictable behaviour has also made whale sharks highly
vulnerableto fisheries. Although caught incidentally in many countries,
several target fisheries exist (Anon. 2002); these have proved
unsustainable following dramatic declines in catch per unit effort
over short time periods (Chen et al. 2002, Alava et al. 2002). Some
countries have protected whale sharks (Philippines, India, USA,
Mexico, Thailand, Maldives, Australia, Seychelles, Honduras) and
(, ,n i', n n,.l *i i- [, i l ,' ,t I i, ,i I i i ,.1o i ,l'l l6-- 11 11, 1 ,,11, 1 1, 1,, i,-,: rves
that encompass predictable whale shark aggregation grounds
I Jinl.... Reef, Australia; Gladden Spit, Belize; Holbox-Yucatan
Peninsula, Mexico; and the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador). In many
locations, enforcement of protective measures is poor with illegal
Fisheries taking place (Anon. 2002).
"A live shark is worth
more than a dead one"
This oft repeated argument merits closer
scrutiny for validation with respect to
whale sharks. In Taiwan, Chen and Phipps
(2002) documented whole whale sharks
sold for US$7,116 for a 2,000kg
individual and US$21,400foral 1, 111 il ,
shark, with retail prices for meat ranging
from US$4.9-17.2kg'. By comparison,
in Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia,
Davis etal. (1997) estimated whale shark
tourism revenues at Aus$4.7 million
(US$3.1 million) for a two-month season
and a more recent estimate (for 2002) is
Aus$12 million (US$7.8 million)(W. Aus.
Dept. of Cons. and Land Mngmt. pers.
comm. 2003). From visitor surveys
conducted in Belize in 2002, Graham
due in part to declines in both catch per unit effort and sightings in (2003) estimated the value of a six week whale shark tourism season
many areas, and the recent CITES Appendix II listing, some fisheries at US$3.7 million nationally and US$1.35 million to the five
continue to target this threatened species (Fowler 2000, Anon. 2002). stakeholder communities of the Gladden Spit Marine Reserve. This
Consequently, tourism is viewed as an important means of providing site on the Belize Barrier Reef hosts a seasonal congregation of whale
States, particularly developing countries, with a sustainable source of sharks that feed on the eggs of snappers (Heyman et al. 2001). There
revenue and endowing live whale sharks with value, are at least 12 additional sites worldwide for predictable sightings of
The rapid growth in popularity of "shark tourism" (Davis 1998, whale sharks, (Mexico-Baja, South Africa, Mozambique, Honduras,
Anderson 2002) has raised awareness about sharks and has even led the Seychelles, Galapagos (Ecuador), Thailand, Maldives, India,
to some shark conservation measures being adopted (Graham 2003). Japan, Malaysia and Philippines). With land-based tours from US$40-
Such changes in perceptions about sharks from revulsion to 266 per day and luxury live-aboard tourism worth considerably
fascination coupled with increased measures for their protection more, global whale shark tourism could be worth conservatively at
are timely in light of the dramatic declines documented in global least US$47.5 million annually'. With the exception of Australia, the
shark populations due to overfishing (Baum et al. 2003, Myers and majority of this revenue is captured by developing countries and
Worm 2003). presents a considerable incentive to conserve whale sharks.
Few sharks provide more emotional appeal than the whale shark. Populations are broadly distributed throughout the world's tropical
Unlike many other shark dives, viewing whale sharks does not seas with encounters confirmed in at least 120 countries (Fowler
involve baiting or feeding and is therefore closer to the "wild" 2000, CoP12 2002) and whale shark tourism is expanding: new sites
experience sought by visitors. In addition to their impressive size (up are being discovered and established sites are experiencing rapid
to 20m long) and title of "Largest Fish in the Sea" (Chen et al. 1997), rises in tourism (J. Ketchum pers. comm. 2002, M.C. Garcia pers.
they have several important assets for shark encounter tourism: comm. 2003, M. Alava pers. comm. 2002, Graham 2003).
docile nature, planktivorous, surface feeding and relatively slow
moving. Although global whale shark abundance remains Estimating US$ million site' yr' based on a quarter of Australia's yearly
revenue as whale shark tourism at other sites is not as developed as Ningaloo
unknown, and estimates hampered by their large-scale migrations Reef.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 8
Ascertaining a valuefor an individual shark is complex, particularly
if the population is unknown and the shark migrates between several
tourism sites. In Belize, a minimum of 106 individuals have been
photo-identified, and many travel throughout the Belize Barrier Reef
returning yearly to feed (Graham 2003). Using the 2002 Belize whale
shark tourism survey results, each shark is worth at least US$34,906
annually. Anderson and Ahmed (1993) recorded a similar annual
value of US$33,500 for each grey reef shark Carcharhinus
amblyrhynchos in the Maldives. If whale sharks live to at least 60
years old, as suggested by Pauly (2002), then an individual might be
worth US$2,094,340 over its lifetime providing it repeatedly visits the
tourism site. Several whale sharks tagged in Belize have moved
between Gladden Spit and tourism sites in Honduras and the Yucatan,
Mexico (Graham 2003), therefore producing greater revenue. If each
site generates as much as Gladden Spit, then a whale shark's value
could fiif- n -I, betripled to give US$104,718 individual' yr1 forthe
Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Immigration of new individualsto Gladden
Spit yearly suggests that the regional population is larger, thereby
decreasing the individual value of each shark. Nevertheless, the
economic argument for protecting whale sharks is undeniable.
Strict regulation is required
Although revenue from tourism is providing economic support for non-
consumptive use of high-profile wildlife such as whale sharks (Davies
1990, Graham 2003), tourism is not always the panacea of wildlife
conservation, as it can negatively impact the animals (Olson et al.
1997, Butynski and Kalina 1998, Isaacs 2000, Orams 2000, 2002).
Recent declines in whale shark sightings at Gladden Spit are perhaps
linked to the increase in number of divers and boats at the aggregation
site. Divers have been observed to affect the courtship and spawning
behaviour of aggregating snapper, thus potentially il.- .ily, whale
shark predictability (Graham 2003). In the Yucatan, Belize, Australia
and Donsol (Philippines), access to whale shark sites is restricted
through the exclusive use of trained local guides and/or by limiting
visitation. Western Australia only permits 15 licensed tour operators to
conduct whale shark tours (Davis 1998). In Belize, access is restricted:
only 6 boats with 14 divers each are allowed into the aggregation site
during any of the day's four two-hour slots. A better understanding of
the demands and pressures of wildlife tourism on target species is
needed to provide management and policy guidelines to help avoid
negative impacts to whale sharks. This is of particular concern at
aggregation sites located near large tourist destinations.
A whale shark's ability to "pay for itself" repeatedly through
tourism is clear. Moreover, tourism benefits are sustainable and more
widely distributed throughout communities and range nations than
through fisheries. However, the application of strict management
controls are necessary to foster the sustainability of whale shark
tourism, and ensure that tourism does not destroy its resource base
and kill the proverbial "golden goose".
Alava M.N.R., E.R.Z. Dolumbalo, A.A. Yaptinchay, and R.B. Trono.
2002. Fishery and trade of whale sharks and manta rays in the Bohol
Sea, Philippines. In: Fowler etal. eds, pp. 132-147.
Anderson, R.C. 2002. Elasmobranchs as a recreational resource. In:
Fowler et al. eds, pp. 46-50.
Anderson, R.C. and H. Ahmed. 1993. Shark fisheries of the Maldives.
Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. Maldives and the Food and
Agriculture Organisation, Rome. 73pp.
Anon. 2002. Proposal to include the whale shark Rhincodon typuson
Appendix II ofthe Convention on International Trade in Endangered \
Species. Proposed by India and Philippines. 24pp. www.cites.org
Baum, J.K., R.A. Myers, D.G. Kehler, B. Worm, S.J. Harley, and P.A. I'
Doherty. 2003. Collapse and conservation of shark populations in the
Northwest Atlantic. Science. 299 (5605): 389-392.
Butynski, T.M. and J. Kalina. 1998. Gorilla tourism: a critical look. In:
Conservation of Biological Resources (E.J. Milner-Gulland and R.
Mace, eds), pp. 294-313. Oxford. Blackwell Science Ltd.
Chen, C.T., K.M. Liu and S.J. Joung. 1997. Preliminary report on Taiwan's
whale shark fishery. TRAFFIC East Asia, Taipei, Taiwan.
Chen, V.Y. and M.J. Phipps. 2002. Managementand trade of whale sharks
in Taiwan. TRAFFIC East-Asia Report. Taipei. Taiwan. 35pp.
Chen, C.-T., K.-M. Liu and S.J. Joung. 2002. Preliminary report on
Taiwan's whale shark fishery. pp. 162-167. In: Fowler etal. eds, pp.
Clark, E. and D.R. Nelson. 1997. Young whale sharks, Rhincodon typus,
feeding on a copepod bloom near La Paz, Mexico. Environmental
Biology of Fishes. 50 (1): 63-73.
Colman, J.G. 1997. A review of the biology and ecology of the whale
shark. Journal of Fish Biology. 51 (6): 1219-1234.
Davis, D. 1998. Whale shark tourism in Ningaloo Marine Park, Australia.
Anthrozoos. 11 (1): 5-11.
Davis, D., S. Banks, A. Birtles, P. Valentine and M. Cuthill. 1997. Whale
sharks in Ningaloo Marine Park: managing tourism in an Australian
marine protected area. Tourism Management. 18 (5): 259-271.
Eckert, S.A. and B.S. Stewart. 2001. Telemetry and satellite tracking of
whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, in the Seaof Cortez, Mexico, and the
north Pacific Ocean. Environmental Biology of Fishes 60: 299-308.
Eckert, S.A., L.L. Dolar, G.L. Kooyman, W. Perrin and R.A. Rahman.
2002. Movement of whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) in South-East
Asian waters as determined by satellite telemetry. Journal of Zoology
Fowler, S.L. 2000. Whale shark Rhincodon typus policy research and
scoping study. The Nature Conservation Bureau, UK. 27pp.
Fowler, S.L., T.M. Reed, and F.A. Dipper (editors). 2002. Elasmobranch
Biodiversity Conservation and Management: Proceedings of the
International Seminar and Workshop, Sabah, Malaysia, July 1997.
IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.
Graham, R.T. 2003. Behaviour and conservation of whale sharks on the
Belize Barrier Reef. Ph.D., University of York, York, UK. 408pp.
Heyman, W.D., R.T. Graham, B. Kjerfve and R.E. Johannes. 2001. Whale
sharks Rhincodon typus aggregate to feed on fish spawn in Belize.
Marine Ecology-Progress Series. 215: 275-282.
Isaacs, J.C. 2000. The limited potential of ecotourism to contribute to
wildlife conservation. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 28 (1): 61-69.
Myers, R.A. and B. Worm. 2003. Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory
fish communities. Nature. 423: 280-281.
Olson, T.L., B.K. Gilbert and R.C. Squibb. 1997. The effects of increasing
human activity on brown bear use of an Alaskan River. Biological
Conservation. 82 (1): 95-99.
Orams, M.B. 2000. Tourists getting close to whales, is it what whale-
watching is all about? Tourism Management. 21 (6): 561-569.
Orams, M.B. 2002. Feeding wildlife as a tourism attraction: a review of
issues and impacts. Tourism Management. 23 (3): 281-293.
Stevens,J.D., B.M. Norman, J.S. Gunn and T.L.O. Davis. 1998. Movement
and behavioral patterns of whale sharks at Ningaloo Reef: the
implications for tourism. CSIRO Marine Research. 35pp.
Taylor, J.G. 1996. Seasonal occurrence, distribution and movements of
the whale shark, Rhincodon typus, at Ningaloo Reef, Western
Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research. 47 (4): 637-642.
Rachel T. Graham,
Wildlife Conservation Society,
61 Front Street, Punta Gorda, Belize.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 9
Quantifying trade in sawfish rostra: Trade in northern Brazil
As detailed in Charvet-Almeida (2002), local and international
two examples trade in sawfish meat, fins, and rostra occurs in several port cities
Matthew T. McDavitt and Patricia Charvet-Almeida along Brazil's northern coast. Saws from juvenile and neonate
sawfishes are sold to tourists for around US$3-8 each. Inexpensive
University of Virginia, USA; Federal University of Paraiba, Brazils are a li
and damaged saws are also cut into pieces and sold as a local folk
Sawfish fins are highly priced in some regions, they have valuable medicine, each 1-2cm chunk costing around US$1. Ground into
meat and their rostra are of high value as curios. At the 10th CITES a powder and infused in a tea, this is considered an effective
Conference of the Parties (CoP10) in 1997, the USA submitted a treatment for asthma.
proposal to list all sawfishes on Appendix I. This was rejected on Small and medium sized rostra (up to 100cm) also find their
votes, with lack of documented international trade cited as one of the way into the international cockfighting market, where rostral
arguments. Sawfishes were highlighted as a serious cause for concern teeth are utilized to fashion artificial spurs for roosters. Cockfighting
in a recentpapersubmittedbythelUCNSharkSpecialistGrouptothe is illegal in Brazil, so most rostra used for this purpose are
20th Meeting of the CITES Animals Committee (AC20 Inf. 21, see purchased by foreign buyers. Although several Latin American
www.cites.org). As a result, the Animals Committee has drafted the countries condone this traditional "sport", it remains unknown
following Decision, directed to Parties, for the consideration of how many rostra are used for this annually. Sawfish rostral teeth
CoP13 in October 2004 (CoP13 Doc. 35): became the favoured material for detachable spurs during the late
"Range States of sawfishes, family Pristidae, shall undertake, as a 1970s, after endangered sea turtle shell became too scarce to
matter of urgency, a review of the status of these species in their harvest, and extensive testing revealed that rostral teeth were
coastal waters, rivers and lakes and, if necessary, introduce more durable than other potential animal materials (Cogorno
conservation and trade measures to reduce the risk of extinction." Ventura 2002). According to a recent article on the history of
l artificial spur selection in Peru, participants
_, .J prefer rostral teeth from juvenile females, where
wish ,rosr-- . .I.. l the tooth has a black vein running through it
i rn 1 '. ed W l and a translucent "caramel"-colored tip (ibid.).
i5 r Each tooth is split longitudinally into four
i sections, and then polished. Care is taken to
o maintain flexibility, so sawfish spurs are often
g o c refrigerated, submerged in oil, and kept away
from heat. In 2002, a pair of spurs was worth
US$20 ibidd.) and there is evidence that scarcity
may be driving the price even higher. A major
Peruvian cockfighting website which sells both
raw rostral teeth and finished spurs, has doubled
ir e its prices since 2002; a pair of spurs now costs
US$42-48 (Gallos Pedraglio 2004). Given that
SPristis perotteti and P. pectinata rostra have
i .between 28 68 teeth each, the retail value of
one rostrum used forthis purpose could now be
as high as US$2,380-6,528. The site clearly
Sawfish rostra being sold at the Ver-O-Peso Market in Belem, Brazil, among other targets an international audience, including
medicinal folklore products. Photo: Anderson da Silva Viana. pricing for Peru, the United States, and "other countries".
Sawfishes rank iiii i n ,I di, iii .r endangered of all elasmobranchs, While data on the scale of trade for these diverse purposes are
having experienced massive population declines over much of their just beginning to be compiled, it is estimated that between 1,000-
range throughout the last century. These dramatic losses have been 1,500 small or medium size rostra (up to 100cm) are sold annually
primarily attributed to incidental take as bycatch in nets targeting at the Vigia market, one of five major markets in northern Brazil
other species. All seven nominal sawfish species have been listed as trading sawfish rostra.
Endangered or Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Larger rostra are often purchased by Asian shark fin buyers,
Threatened Species since 2000. More recently, several nations who also purchase sawfish fins, though these are locally deemed
including the United States, Australia, and Brazil, have enacted of intermediate quality. These buyers prefer huge rostra (between
legislation in an effort to protect vulnerable sawfish populations 120-180cm), paying between US$150-500 for each saw. Shark
within their waters. Though rarely targeted, sawfishes nonetheless fin buyers usually meet the fishing boats as they arrive at the
provide a valuable source of income for fishermen who take them as docks, paying in US$ or local currency for rostra ordered prior to
bycatch -their toothed rostra have long been valued as trophies and sale. It remains unclear what these rostra are used for or which
curios. Freeing a live sawfish from a net can be both dangerous and nations) import them, though it is probable that they are exported
costly: sawfishes are powerful animals and disentanglement often as curios. It is estimated that perhaps 90-180 large rostra are sold
requires expensive nets to be cut. Removing the rostrum from an annually at the Vigia market alone.
ensnared sawfish facilitates easy removal from the net with the Estimates of annual sawfish rostra sales are not currently
benefit of providing supplementary income. There is remarkably little available for the other four major ports/markets, but given that
data available concerningtrade in sawfish rostra. This article offers previous efforts to regularly market sawfish products have
observations on the current scale and character of trade in sawfish 4' resulted in population collapse (Thorson 1982), this activity
rostra from two divergent sources: bycatch from fisheries in should be monitored and reduced in order to avoid further
northern Brazil, and international online auctions hosted by eBay. I sawfish population declines.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 10
Trade on eBay
Established in September 1995, eBay has grown
into the world's largest online auction house,
hosting over 971 million auctions in 2003, with
morethan 114 million registered users worldwide .
(eBay Inc. 2004). The first attempt to quantify the
scale of trade in sawfish rostra on eBay was !S
initiated in February 2004 (by MatthewMcDavitt). .ll'' ?
This year-long survey will record various statistics
concerning the rostra sold, compiling data on
frequency of sale, average prices and lengths, species traded, sources
of rostra, and nationality of buyers and sellers. Table 1 presents
preliminary data compiled at the six-month mark of the study,
February 1-July 31, 2004.
The majority of eBay sellers (99%) and buyers (89%) who offered
or purchased sawfish rostra did not regularly trade in them. Only a
single seller offered more than two rostra during the six-month study
period, ..f ii 'i ten unique saws for auction. About two thirds of the
sales were domestic (64.3%), with international sales comprising
35.7%. Of the 122 unique rostra offered duringthe studyto date, only
a third included information on how the seller obtained the rostrum.
The most popular sources were: bought at an estate sale (33.3%),
inherited from a relative (33.3%), and found in a new residence
(13.9%). Only 6.7% of the listings provided capture location and
date, I illill, ill- Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania, with capture
dates ranging from 1900 -1968. It appears that, 1) most sawfish rostra
sold on eBay lack capture data, and 2) what data are available suggest
that the rostra offered are mainly older trophies, caught decades ago.
As demonstrated in Table 2, average sale prices for rostra vary
predictably with length. Interestingly, the Indo-Pacific species
Anoxypristis cuspidata dominates the offered rostra (40.2%), with the
remaining species more or less evenly distributed. It is currently
impossibleto distinguish P. perottetifrom P. microdon based on rostral
morphometrics, so these species were grouped as "L, y-.' ".li spp."
The United States leads as the largest buyer and seller of sawfish rostra
on eBay, followed by the United Kingdom, Australia, and several
European countries (Table 3). However, this distribution in nationality
is likely more a product of the comparative scale of eBay trade in each
country, rather than a reflection of national demand. Assuming the
Table 1. eBay Sales Data Overview.
Average rostra offered/month
Average rostra sold/month
Average length of rostra (mm)
Average sale price (US$)
Maximum price per rostrum (US$)
Average price/300mm (US$)
Projected rostra sold/year*
Estimated annual sales (US$)
"assumes six-month trends continue for entire year.
Table 2. eBay Sales Data by Species.
Percent of Average Average Sale
Rostra Offered Length (mm) Price (US$)
generally a mix of P. zijsron and P. pectinata, where photo did not allow
Pristis species are sought-after aquarium exhibits. Photo: Sun International Resorts,
Table 3. Nationality of Buyers and Sellers.
% of Sellers
% of Buyers
trends observed during the first half of this study continue, the annual
trade in sawfish rostra on eBay would total approximately 210 rostra
sold per year with a sales value of over US$25,000.
As these preliminary data from contrasting sources demonstrate,
trade in sawfish rostra, whether derived from recent bycatch or
historical trophies, occurs regularly, with large rostra yielding very
high prices. Surely trade in sawfish saws also occurs in other nations
where bycatch is taking place. Given the critical population status of
most or all sawfish species, it is crucial that this trade is at least
documented and urgently curtailed so that demand no longer provides
an incentive to kill entangled animals.
Charvet-Almeida, P. 2002. Sawfish Trade in the North of Brazil. Shark
Cogorno Ventura, C. 2002. Historia de las Armas Utilizadas para el
Combat en Peru. Website, U RL: http://www.gal lospedragl io.com/
eBay Inc, Announces Second Quarter 2004 Financial Results. Website,
Gallos Pedraglio. 2004. Accesorios Para Gallos. Website, URL: http:/
Thorson, T. B. 1982. The impact of commercial exploitation on sawfish
and shark populations in Lake Nicaragua. Fisheries, 7: 2-10.
Matthew T. McDavitt,
3371 Turnberry Circle, Charlottesville, VA 22911, USA.
Rua Mundurucus, 2445 ap. 1202-Batista Campos,
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 11
Conservation perspectives and
management challenges for
Maria L6cia G6es de Araujo, Patricia Charvet-Almeida,
Mauricio Pinto de Almeida and Henrique Pereira, Brazil.
South American freshwater stingrays belong to a single family
Potamotrygonidae, represent an important part of the Neotropical
ichthyofauna and belong to the only group of elasmobranchs
completely restricted to freshwater. Potamotrygonids exhibit some
life history features similarto their marine counterparts (low fecundity,
late maturation and slow growth), with the additional constraint of
being confined to freshwater habitats. Some are endemic to small
areas and thus have limited toleranceto both natural ai.l ,I Il ..[ I, .i
disturbances (Compagno and Cook 1995, Barcellos 1996).
Some of the main threats to potamotrygonids include artisanal
longline for food purposes, an activity not monitored until recently
and information is still limited. Commercial fisheries with trawl nets
along the Solim6es-Amazonas River system are known to capture
freshwater stingrays as bycatch, and again, limited information is
available. Negative 'persecution' fisheries occur in some areas,
actively encouraged by some tourism companies in an attempt to
avoid accidents involving tourists and freshwater stingrays. This
"beach cleaning" activity goes unregulated because the Brazilian
Environmental Agency (IBAMA) does not consider it an official type
of fishery. In addition, habitat damage such as can occur during
mining activities and dam construction, has the potential to threaten
freshwater stingray populations more severely than any of the fisheries
(Charvet-Almeida et al. 2002, Araujo et al. 2004).
Freshwater stingrays have been caught as ornamental fish for more
than two decades in the Brazilian Amazon, representing an important
income for some riparian communities. Several fishermen rely on this
activity for their subsistence at least during part of the year and most
are concerned about the conservation of this resource to guarantee
the continuity of their work. The ornamental fish industry is also
interested in maintaining freshwater stingray populations in order to
continue to meet market demands.
Until recently there was no regulation of this activity in Brazil and
no data existed priorto 1996 (Araujo 1998). In 1990 IBAMA prohibited
Table 1. Status of freshwater stingray ornamental trade
regulation in Brazil. (All these species are known to be in international trade
except for those marked *, for which no trade information is available).
Plesiotrygon iwamae, )
Paratrygon aiereba, )
Potamotrygon brachyura, )
P. castexi, P. constellata, P. dumerilii, Export from Brazil illegal
P. falkneri, P. histrix, P. humerosa, )
P. ocellata*, P. schuemacheri*, )
P. scobina and P. signata
P. motor Export from Brazil legal (5,500 units/year)
P. cf histrix Export from Brazil legal (5,000 units/year)
P. orbignyi Export from Brazil legal (2,000 units/year)
P. schroederi Export from Brazil legal (1,500 units/year)
P. henlei, P. leopoldi Export from Brazil legal (1,000 units/year)
P. magdalenae, P. yepezi No information available'
SThese species are in international trade but as they do not occur in Brazil, no
information is available . i.hI,.. any regulatory measures.
An ornamental fisherman handling a Potamotrygon leopoldi after capture. Photo:
the exportation of freshwater stingrays for ornamental purposes. In
1997, a partnership between IBAMA and scientific institutions led to
the development of a revised regulation with a species-specific export
quota system, and a prohibition on the ornamental fishery and export
of some species (IBAMA 022/98). A recent review of the regulation
resulted in more species included in this quota system (IBAMA 036/
2003). Official exportation statistics of freshwater stingray from Brazil
have been available since 1998.
International cooperation required
Many species of freshwater stingrays are found in more than one
country in the Neotropical region, although as yet there are no
records of shared stocks. Brazil is apparently the only country with a
specific regulation to control (and in some cases prohibit) the export
of freshwater stingray species for the ornamental trade (Table 1).
Trade data of potamotrygonids from other South American countries
are not available, yet there is evidence of unregulated ornamental
fisheries and export of species for which these activities are regulated
or prohibited in Brazil, for example, the collection of Paratrygon
aiereba for the ornamental trade is prohibited in Brazil, but this
species is legally exported from Peru.
The regulation of the international trade is difficult and complex.
For example, much of the trade occurs in the border areas between
Brazil and neighboring countries, and monitoring this is extremely
difficult due to the lack of safety in these regions. An international
partnership between range states to regulate the ornamental trade is
necessary. In addition, there are species on the market still unknown
to science; the existence of polychromatism confounds identification
(mainly diversedorsal colourpatterns withinthesamespecies)(Almeida
et al. 2002, Almeida et al. 2003, Almeida 2003); and given that so
little is known about this unique group of elasmobranchs, further
ecological research is required to guarantee adequate conservation
Sand management of the river stingrays.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 12
Almeida, M.P. 2003. Pesca, Policromatismo e Aspectos Sistematicos
de Potamotrygon scobina,Garman 1913 (Chondrichthyes:
Potamotrygonidae) da F : ,, i da Ilha de Colares da llha de Maraj6
-Para. Masters Dissertation. Belem, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi
and Universidade Federal do Pard. 145pp.
Almeida, M.P., P. Charvet-Almeida and M.L.G. Araujo. 2002.
Policromatismo em Especies de Raias de Agua Doce
(Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae) da F,; i., Norte do Brasil.
Abstracts of the III SBEEL Meeting, Joao Pessoa. pp. 24-25.
Almeida, M.P., P. Charvet-Almeidaand A.S. Viana. 2003. Polychromatic
and Morphometric Aspects ofthe Freshwater Stingray Potamotrygon
scobina (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae) in the Maraj6 Bay
I ii P ii t, Brazil). Abstracts ofthejoint I lr ,- ii, Irl. li ;. .l.I
and Herpetologists/19th Annual Meeting of the American
Elasmobranch Society (AES), Manaus (AM).
Araujo, M.L.G. 1998. Biologia Reprodutiva e Pesca de Potamotrygon
sp. C (Chondrichthyes Potamotrygonidae), no Medio Rio Negro,
Amazonas. Masters Dissertation. Manaus, Instituto Nacional de
Pesquisas da AmazOnia and Universidade do Amazonas. 171 pp.
Araujo, M.L.G., P. Charvet-Almeida, M.P. Almeida and H. Pereira.
2004. FreshwaterSti ngrays (Potamotrygonidae): status, conservation
and management challenges. CITES Animals Committee Information
document AC20 Inf.8. 6pp. http://www.cites.org/
Barcellos, J.F.M. 1996. F ,.l.,lI I, deAmOniae Ureiade Potamotrygon
sp. (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae) em Aguas AmazOnicas.
Masters Dissertation. Manaus, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da
Amazonia and Universidade do Amazonas. 120pp.
Charvet-Almeida, P. 2001. Ocorrencia, Biologia e Uso das Raias de
Agua Doce na Baia de Maraj6 (Para, Brasil), com fnfase na Biologia
de Plesiotrygon iwamae (Chondrichthyes: Potamotrygonidae).
Masters Dissertation. Belem, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi and
Universidade Federal do Para. 213pp.
Charvet-Almeida, P., M.L.G. AraOjo, R.S. Rosa, and G. Rincon. 2002.
Neotropical freshwater stingrays: diversity and conservation status.
IUCN Shark News 14: 1-2.
Compagno, L.J.V. and S.F. Cook. 1995. The exploitation and
conservation of freshwater elasmobranchs: status of taxa and
prospects for the future. In: The Biology of Freshwater
Elasmobranchs. Oetinger, M. I. and Zorzi, G. D. (eds). Journal of
Aquariculture and Aquatic Sciences, 7: 62-90.
IBAMA-Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais
Renovaveis. 1998. Portaria N'. 22/98.
IBAMA-Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais
Renovaveis. 2003. Portaria N. 036/03.
Maria Lucia Goes de Araujo, Universidade Estadual do Amazonas
Rua Carvalho Leal, 1777, Cachoeirinha, 69.065-001 Brazil.
Patricia Charvet-Almeida, Federal University of Paraiba/Museu
Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maurlcio Pinto de Almeida, Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi,
Henrique Pereira, Instituto Brasileiro de Meio Ambiente e
Recursos Naturais Renovaveis IBAMA-AM, Brazil.
The above article summarises an Information Document presented to
the 20th Meeting of the CITES Animals Committee (AraOjo et al.
2004). The next article (right) is taken from the final report by Getulio
Rincon on his IUCN Shark Specialist Group endorsed project
"Conservation of freshwater stingrays in the River Tocantins". This
was grant-aided by the Chicago Zoological Society's Chicago
Board of Trade Endangered Species Fund.
Freshwater Stingray Exhibition
Unesp-lnstituto de Biociencias, Brazil.
"I did not know they were so beautiful!" This was probably the most
commonly heard expression during the Freshwater Stingray
Conservation Project exhibition week in Maraba city, Brazil, held in
July in a central square aquarium close to the Tocantins river bank.
Ten specimens of Potamotrygon henlei(arraia de fogo) and Paratrygon
aiereba l1111i i, were exhibited in two glass aquariums and one
8,000 litre concrete tank, where about 4,000 local residents and
tourists of Maraba could seethem and find out more ilh... .,[ II, Ii l. ,,
and ecological importance of stingrays.
Potamotrygon henleibefore release. Photo: Fl. l ,.I I.... Conservation Project.
We aimed to demystify the aggressiveness of this feared group of
fishes and consequently reduce unnecessary persecution and mortality
(see p.12). Classes on the biology, ecology and conservation needs of
stingrays and the Tocantins river were provided twice a day, even in
the water with the animals. All children had the opportunity to see a
glove puppet play about stingrays and to choose a name for a young
stingray born during the exhibition week. Plastic bags were provided
to tourists to collect garbage and help keep the beaches clean. Three
thousand folders about stingrays and one thousand invitations to visit
the exhibition were distributed. The fishing community was also
invited to participate in the exhibition week and an oral presentation
about stingrays is scheduled for September, when all fishermen will
be able to plan actions on the conservation of stingrays and find
alternatives in orderto decrease fishing effort in the region of Maraba.
By the end of the exhibition, a petition for the protection of
freshwater stingrays had collected 1,400 signatures. Considering that
these animals are not popular with local residents, the great number
of visitors and signatures during the week are evidence of the interest
in these animals and understanding of their importance. All stingrays
were set free after the exhibition and some citizens helped us to
release them (see photo). We believe the project planted a very
important seed for the conservation of freshwater stingrays and
connected related social groups and government departments, so that
they can collaborate in finding alternatives for some environmentally
damaging actions. Much hard work is still required, however, to
change the popular local concept of infinite natural resources.
Wethankthe Chicago Zoological Society's Chicago Board of Trade
El i.I .-, :1.I 1 iS,., Fund for its support, the IUCN-SSC Shark Specialist
Group, NUPEC, Brazilian Elasmobranch Society-SBEEL, the city of
Maraba-Para, especially the Secretary of Tourism, Culture and Sports-
SECDETUR, Ray Troll, UniCEUB and Peixe Vivo.
Unesp-lnstituto de Biociencias, Depto de Ecologiia,
Rio Claro-SP, Brazil. Email: email@example.com
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 13
World's first international
elasmobranch fishing limit adopted:
Northwest Atlantic skates to receive
Quota Management in 2005
Sonja Fordham, The Ocean Conservancy, USA.
Five years after the adoption of the United Nations Food and
Agriculture Organisation International Plan of Action for Sharks
(IPOA-Sharks), the world's first international fishing limit for an
elasmobranch has been adopted. In September 2004, at their annual
meeting in Nova Scotia, Parties to the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries
Organization (NAFO) agreed to establish a total allowable catch
(TAC) for depleted thorny skates Amblyraja radiata in Canadian and
international waters around the Grand Bank (Division 3LNO).
Advice and allocation
NAFO scientists advised Parties that thorny skate catches from this
region in 2005 and 2006 should not exceed 11,000 tonnes (t). This
advice was incorporated into a proposal for a TAC from the US. In the
final consensus agreement, however, the TAC was set at 13,500t for
2005-2007. The majority of this annual quota will be divided among
the European Union (8,500t), Canada (2,250t) and Russia (2,250t).
The US will not receive a NAFO skate allocation.
Population and conservation status
The NAFO Scientific Council reported that thorny skate biomass
around the Grand Bank declined markedly from 1985 to 1994 and has
since remained low. Abundance in this area is currently near a
historic low. The remaining skates are concentrated on the
southwestern part of the Grand Bank, a phenomenon similar to that
observed for northern cod just prior to collapse. This "hyper-
a r-iegati in" leaves thorny skates increasingly vulnerable to fishing.
Catches can remain deceptively high as abundance declines.
The thorny skate is currently under review for addition to the
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species based on a recommendation
from the IUCN Shark Specialist Group Red List Workshop for North
and Central America held in June 2004. The US and Canada have
highlighted thorny skate as a species of concern. Canada has imposed
a thorny skate quota; the US prohibits possession of the species.
NAFO Parties on skates
The US unsuccessfully proposed science-based NAFO catch limits
for thorny skates in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, despite an international
symposium on elasmobranch fisheries convened by NAFO the week
before, no other NAFO Parties supported skate limits. In 2003 and
2004, Canada and Japan voiced support for regulating NAFO skate
fisheries. After the TAC was agreed this year, the US submitted a
statement expressing disappointment that the limit exceeds the
scientific advice. Many NAFO decisions are reached in closed
meetings, so positions of all Parties are not clear. Concerned readers
in NAFO member countries are encouraged to contact their fisheries
officials and request an official position on skates.
Although the new thorny skate limit is higher than the catch level
advised by scientists, it is the first of its kind in the world and
represents a significant step towards international conservation of
sharks, skates and rays. At the very least, the new TAC can prevent
NAFO thorny skate fisheries from continuing to expand.
The next challenge is to reduce future skate TACs to levels
consistent with scientific advice. This will be difficult without 'a
more pressure from conservationists and scientists from NAFO Parties
outside the US NAFO permits observers (if applications are submitted
well in advance and approved). The next annual meeting is scheduled
for Tallinn, Estonia in September 2005.
NAFO Contracting Parties include Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba,
Denmark (with respect to the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Estonia,
the European Union, France (with respectto Saint Pierre et Miquelon),
Iceland, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Russian
Federation, Ukraine and the United States.
For more information on NAFO, visit http://www.nafo.ca/
This thorny skate, captured by commercial trawl in the Gulf of Maine, was collected
by the University of New Hampshire as part of a Northeast Consortium project to
study their life history. Photo: Jeff Kneebone.
Pacific Shark Research Center releases
Life History Data Matrix
Peter Kyne, University of Queensland, Australia
Moss Landing Marine Laboratories' Pacific Shark Research Center
(PSRC) has released a web-based Life History Data Matrix (LHDM) for
eastern North Pacific chondrichthyans. The matrix presents and
consolidates essential information on 102 species of sharks, rays and
chimaeras known from the eastern Bering Sea to the southern tip of
Baja California, Mexico.
The release of the LHDM, one of the primary objectives of the
PSRC, represents a significant achievement for the group. Its creation
was based on an extensive literature review relating to the fauna in
the eastern North Pacific, as well as information from other locations
for wider-ranging species. Information from the literature was
complemented by data from ongoing field studies by the PSRC.
The matrix summarises information on taxonomy, geographic
range, age and growth, longevity, reproduction, demography, trophic
interactions, habitat utilization, genetics, recruitment, behaviour and
parasitology of each species. The matrix is displayed on a number of
spreadsheets, t..,irll-, with explanatory notes, a literature list and
While displaying what is known about the eastern North Pacific
fauna, the matrix also highlights, just as importantly, what is not
known, and will serve to direct future research in order to fill in gaps
in the knowledge of the regional fauna. It is hoped this matrix could
inspire those in other regions to compile and make available
The LHDM is available at the PSRC website (http://
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 14
A 6,000km2 coastal sanctuary for
sharks and rays in Mauritania,
Mathieu Ducrocq, Fondation Internationale du Banc d'Arguin
The Banc d'Arguin National Park (PNBA), in Mauritania, West Africa,
created in 1976, is one of the biggest marine protected areas (MPA) of
the continent. It consists of 6,000km2 of shallow water, seagrass beds,
islands, sandy plains and gigantic mudflats emerging at lowtide. It's the
destination for half of the palearctic migrating birds (from Northern
Europe and Siberia); over 2.5 million birds feed there every winter.
The PNBA protects about half of the Banc d'Arguin and Baie du
Levrier coastal ecosystem, forming a major natural tool for the
reconstitution of marine resources at a regional scale.
The Imraguen, small scale coastal fishermen, traditionally divided
their time between fishing for grey mullet and breeding camels in the
Sahara Desert. This changed when they inherited the wooden sailing
boats ofCanarian fishermen in the 1950s and started spending all year
in their villages, developing new fisheries. First they targeted sciaenids
then, with the rising global demand for shark fins in the mid 1980s,
they moved on to sharks, guitarfishes and sawfishes.
CARTE DU PARC NATIONAL DU BANC D'ARGUIN
____ 4.rr-,rldz: d1
The sawfishes are now extinct, and shark populations declined
steeplyduringthe 1990s. The Imraguen arethe only people authorized
to fish in the park, with a maximum of 110 wooden sailing boats;
motors are prohibited in the marine part of the PNBA.
In 1997, the Banc d'Arguin International Scientific Council asked
the PNBA to start a shark conservation project. Funded by the
International Foundation forthe Banc d'Arguin (FIBA), in 1998 the
project began to study exploited populations of sharks and rays by
monitoring landings in the Imraguen villages. t
Imraguen wooden rising ooats. rnoto Matnleu uucrocq.
Thefirst results showed thatthe Bancd'Arguin was avery important
place for the reproduction and breeding of many coastal shark species.
The fishermen were targeting great concentrations of pregnant females
of some species (Rhizoprionodon acutus, Paragaleus pectoralis and
Dasyatis marmorata) and juveniles of others (Sphyrna lewini,
Ginglymostoma cirratum, Carcharhinus brevipinna and Carcharhinus
11lniri .", ,,ns. 1. ,l.[1 I ""l I -,[:. .. l I ; 1 n1 ,r, ,.'r .u, Ili ,. Rhinobatos
cemiculus, with stock age structure demonstrating a strong reduction
in the proportion of adults in the catch. The total annual catch was
around 1,500 tonnes until 1998, before the first fishery reduction
measures were introduced.
Adopting a participatory approach, in late 1 998the FIBA and PNBA
established a consultation based on presenting the scientific results of
the study to fishermen and the fishing administration. Limits on shark
fisheries have since been negotiated and decided progressively during
annual negotiation workshops held jointly with the fishermen.
At the same time, FIBA funded projects to help fishermen living in
the PNBA develop new fishing activities, targeting teleost fishes and
iii', J' ii l i.-. ii ii; r I i. Ith ir activities. These included developing
local fish processing facilities and providing local cooperatives with
credits for buying cars and marketing their own fish products. (The
villages are 250km from the market, in the desert, and most of the
income from their sales of fish products were previously benefiting
other economic actors). As a result, theiroverall income has risen, and
shark exploitation has progressively fallen in relative economic
importance for the majority of the fishermen.
In December 2003, a final agreement was signed, halting all forms
of target fisheries for sharks and rays in the PNBA. While R. acutus, S.
lewini and Rhinoptera marginata are still taken as bycatch in nets
targeting sciaenids, other species are now well protected throughout
the PNBA. The future management of the sciaenid fishery will tend to
reduce the remaining shark bycatch by identifying and closing the
fishery duringthose periods and in those z i I ... I'-r il '.,- Iil.-i levels
of shark bycatch occur.
The PNBA is one of the leaders of the marine protected areas
involved in the regional marine conservation programme (IUCN,
WWF, FIBA and Wetlands International), but the sub-regional plan of
action forthe conservation and the management of sharks (Mauritania,
Senegal, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde Islands, also
funded by FIBA) now proposes that all MPAs in the sub-region should
also become non-fishing zones for sharks in future years. Indeed, shark
fishing is already prohibited in some small sub-regional MPAs: Joao-
Vieira Poilao Marine Turtles National Park (NP), Orango NP, Cacheu
Mangal NP and Urok Islands Community Management Area in Guinea
Bissau; Sine Saloum NP, Bamboung Bolon Marine Reserve and
Madeleine Islands NP in Senegal.
Fondation Internationale du Banc d'Arguin, La Tour du Valat, Le
Sambuc, 13200 Aries, France. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 15
Recent megamouth shark records
William White', Fahmi2 and Rachel Cavanagh3
'Murdoch University, Australia. 2Research Centre for Oceanography,
Jakarta, Indonesia. 1IUCN Shark Specialist Group.
A juvenile male megamouth shark Megachasma pelagios was found
stranded on Gapang Beach, Sabang in northern Sumatra, Indonesia
on 13 March 2004. The specimen was donated by Ton Egbers, Lumba
Lumba Dive Centre and will be stored at the Museum Zoologicum
Bogoriense in Bogor, Indonesia, the eighth megamouth to enter a
museum collection. This is the smallest megamouth specimen (1.77m
total length) examined to date and the 21st specimen reported since
the discovery of the species in 1976 off Hawaii (Taylor et al. 1983).
All previously examined specimens have been subadults or adults
with the exception of one juvenile specimen, a 1.90m male caught off
southern Brazil in 1995 (Amorim etal. 1995, 2000). Differences in the
morphology of the dorsal and anal fins of this Indonesian specimen
compared to other examined specimens were noted (White et al. in
press). This is the second record of a megamouth from Indonesia, the
first being a sighting in 1998 when a large megamouth was observed,
possibly being attacked or 'played with', by three sperm whales off
Nain Island, Bunaken Archipelago in North Sulawesi (Compagno
On 19 April 2004, the 22nd megamouth specimen, a 5.63m adult
female, was found washed ashore in Tokyo Bay, Japan. In addition,
at the time of going to press, a photo was sent to Miguel Romero (Shark
Specialist Group member from Peru) that clearly depicts the capture
of another (23rd) specimen. This was caught on 8th March 2004 off
the Pacific coast of South America between Peru and Ecuador
(02054.374, S, 81 14.858, W), and is the first known record from this
Amorim, A.F., L. Fagundes, C.A. Arfelli and F.E.S. Costa, 1995.
Occurrence of megamouth shark, Megachasma pelagios Taylor,
Compagno & Struhsaker, 1983, in the Atlantic. VII Requinao do
Grupo de tabalho Sobre Pesca E Pesquina De Tubaroes e raias no
Brasil (Rio Grande do Sul, 20-24 November 1995).
Amorim, A.F., C.A. Arfelli and J.I. Castro, 2000. Description of a
juvenile megamouth shark, Megachasma pelagios, caught off
Brazil. Environmental Biology of Fishes, 59: 117-123.
Compagno, L.J.V., 2001. Sharks of the world. An annotated and
illustrated catalogue of shark species known to date. Volume 2.
FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 1, Vol. 2., Rome.
Taylor, L.R., L.J.V. Compagno and P.J. Struhsaker, 1983. Megamouth a
new species, genus, and family of lamnoid shark (Megachasma
pelagios, family Megachasmidae) from the Hawaiian Islands.
Proceedings of the Californian Academy of Sciences, 43(8): 87-110.
White, W. T., Fahmi, Adrim, M. and Sumadhiharga, K. In Press. A
juvenile megamouth shark Megachasma pelagios (Lamniformes:
Megachasmidae) from Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Raffles Bulletin
William T. White, Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research,
Murdoch University, Murdoch 6150, Perth, Australia.
Fahmi, Research Centre for Oceanography, Jakarta, Indonesia.
Rachel Cavanagh, IUCN Shark Specialist Group, UK.
First record of the false catshark from the
east coast of Australia
Jeff Johnson and Peter Kyne,
A 2.77m false catshark Pseudotriakis microdon Capello, 1868 was
recently captured in the Coral Sea off Queensland, Australia. This
represents the second record of this species from Australia and the
first from off the east coast of the continent.
Pseudotriakis microdon is recorded predominately from the
Northern Hemisphere where it is known from the Western and
Eastern North Atlantic, the North Western Pacific (Japan and Taiwan)
and the Eastern Central Pacific (Hawaii). In the Southern Hemisphere
there exists only limited records; from the Aldabra Islands in the
Western Indian, and in the Australasian region from off New Zealand
and a single record off Cape Leeuwin, Western Australia (Allen and
Cowan 1995, Compagno 1998).
Photo: Jett Wright.
The recent specimen, a mature male, was captured by an
exploratory commercial fishing vessel using a multi-hook dropline
in 350m depth off Frederick Reef in the Coral Sea. Little is known
of the deepwater fauna of the seamounts and deepwater reefs in
this area, and this specimen represents a significant record of a
species that appears to be rare, particularly in the Southern
Tthe false catshark is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species. This indicates the lack of information on
this wide-ranging but sporadically distributed rare species. The false
catshark appears to have severely limited reproductive parameters
with a fecundity of two embryos (Yano 1992) and a gestation period
estimated at >1 year, and possibly greater than two or three years
(Yano, pers. comm.). Localised populations of this large shark could
be rapidly depleted if it began to be captured more regularly,
however, at present it is of little interest to fisheries and is only taken
as sporadic bycatch.
Allen, G.R. and Cowan, M.A. 1995. First record of the false catshark,
Pseudotriakis microdon, from Australian seas. Records of the
Western Australian Museum 17:235-236.
Compagno, L.J.V. 1998. Pseudotriakidae. False catsharks. Pp. 1296. In:
Carpenter, K.E. and Niem, V.H. (eds.). FAO Identification Guide for
Fishery Purposes. The living marine resources of the Western
Central Pacific. Volume 2. Cephalopods, crustaceans, holothurians
and sharks. FAO, Rome.
Yano, K. 1992. Comments on the reproductive mode of the false cat
shark Pseudotriakis microdon. Copeia 1992(2):460-468.
Jeff Johnson, Ichthyology, Queensland Museum,
Peter Kyne, University of Queensland, email@example.com
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 16
SSG Co-Chair Sarah Fowler awarded OBE
After over 20 years of dedication to marine conservation, Co-Chair of
the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, Sarah Fowler, has been honoured
as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2004
Queen's Birthday Honours list. It is great to see Sarah's tireless efforts
to strengthen international shark conservation and management
being recognized and rewarded at this high level.
Sarah has commissioned
and managed research on
sharks, and has personally
developed and run projects
in the UK and around the
world. Sarah has been
involved in the Shark
Specialist Group (SSG) since
its establishmentin 1 991 and
is currently Co-Chair with
John (Jack) Musick. Sarah
has represented the SSG at
many international fora,
including CITES and FAO.
She has also been a member
of the Board of Directors of the Marine Conservation Society, is
currently a Trustee of the Shark Trust (a UK registered charity), and
until last yearwas Presidentofthe European Elasmobranch Association.
Sarahw as i,:l-.1, il l- f i f,.iii, lih, I, ,iliofthe I '-, ir ...... i,0 im ,.-i
She has been appointed a member of the Marine Stewardship
Council's Stakeholder Council and was appointed to the Council of
English Nature earlier this year.
SSG Regional Vice-Chair Randall Arauz
Wins Prestigious Conservation Award
Congratulations are due to Randall Arauz who received the UK's top
conservation prize, the Whitley Gold Award, earlier this year from
HRH Princess Ann at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Randall, from Costa Rica, is President of 'PRETOMA' (http://
www.tortugamarina.org), Central American Director of the Sea Turtle
Restoration Project (http://www.seaturtles.org) and Regional Vice-
Chair of the newly established Central American branch of the
IUCN Shark Specialist Group (a title he shares with Oscar Sosa
The Whitley Awards recognize outstanding conservation work by
individuals around the world. "The commitment and dedication of
all our Whitley Award finalists is humbling and inspiring. We
short-listed 8 finalists from as far afield as the Gobi Desert in
Mongolia; the Pacific Islands; Costa Rica and Africa. They are all
fighting to save wildernesses from being ruined; wildlife from
being driven to extinction. They have achieved remarkable
successes. Each has overcome daunting obstacles to emerge as
national champions in their countries," said Edward Whitley,
founder of the Whitley Awards and Chairman of the Whitley Laing
Foundation. As winner of the top Gold Award, Randall has been
awarded f60,000 to further his work in marine conservation.
A main focus of Randall's work is on declining shark populations
in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A natural coordinator with endless
energy, Randall is dedicated to reducing the practise of shark
finning, as well as being closely involved in the protection of other
endangered marine species such as turtles and dolphins. As
Edward Whitley said "Aruaz can talk to anyone ranging from the
local fishermen to the fishing companies to the President of
Costa Rica. He has done the science, knows his facts and has
campaigned to change the fishing laws."
For more information go to http://www.whitleyaward.org
Compiled by Rachel Cavanagh and Peter Kyne
Shark product trade in Hong Kong and Mainland
China andimplementation of the CITES shark listings.
A report by TRAFFIC East Asia. ISBN: 962-86197-6-4.
This report examines the shark product trade, and regulatory and
monitoring systems in Mainland China and Hong Kong for
implementing the Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species ofWild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The basking shark Cetorhinus
maximus and whale shark Rhincodon typus were listed in Appendix
II following the 12th Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP12), in
November 2002, and the white shark Carcharodon carcharias was
listed in Appendix III, by Australia, in 2001. These listings require that
trade in products from these species be subject to a permitting system
for regulation and monitoring. Trade in the CITES-listed sharks
consists mainly of whale shark meat, white shark jaws and teeth; and
fins of all three species. Much of the shark product trade has
historically been concentrated in Chinese communities, particularly
Hong Kong, which has long served as an entrepOt for Mainland China.
The effectiveness of global shark trade regulation and monitoring
measures in these markets will thus have a major influence on the
overall effectiveness of global measures.
During the 1990s, Hong Kong controlled the majority of
unprocessed fins imports, but re-exported them to Mainland China
for processing. With the increasing economic liberalization of
Mainland China, Hong Kong traders no longer monopolize the trade
flow. This presents problems in quantifying the trade, since, for
reasons which remain unclear, Mainland China's shark fin import
figures do not seem to reflect the true quantities of fins in trade. The
best estimates of market parameters in 2000 suggest that the trade is
growing by more than five per cent a year, with Hong Kong capturing
50% of the global trade. A large proportion of traded shark fins are
eventually consumed in Mainland China and trade statistics showing
aten-fold increase in frozen shark meat imports to the Mainland since
1998 may also signal an expanding market for this product.
Dueto delays in overhauling its CITES-implementating legislation,
Hong Kong had not made legislative provision for implementing the
three shark listings at the time of writing, but intended to do so this
year. Mainland China implements CITES listingsthrough administrative
orders and implemented the Appendix-ll shark listings as soon as they
became effective, in February 2003. Hong Kong maintains a well-
developed import control system at air, sea and land checkpoints.
Enforcement personnel have the necessary tools to implement the
CITES controls but greater involvement of specialist personnel will be
necessary to identify products from listed shark species, particularly
in cases wherethese are mixed with products from similar, unregulated
species. Only limited information on the Customs control system of
Mainland China could be ascertained. However, several positive
actions were identified: a briefing was held by the CITES Management
Authority for trade representatives in Shenzhen (Guangdong Province
- Mainland China's main centre for shark fin imports) to inform them
ofthe new CITES requirements in early 2003; sharkfin tariff compliance
and food quality regulatory actions have been taken; and the Mainland
authorities implemented a single manifest system with Hong Kong in
January 2004 (i.e. authorities require that the same manifest (cargo
list) is presented to each jurisdiction). With the exception of the
activities of the Customs Authority in Mainland China, which
could not be fully assessed underthis study, all processes necessary
to allow the implementation of CITES listings appear to be in place
S in both jurisdictions.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 17
The prospects for improving the effectiveness of trade regulation
for protected species are considered in this report. Technology (X-ray
equipment and intelligence databases) is already at work in one or
both jurisdictions. Genetics-based tools for species identification are
technically feasible but will require effective cargo-screening
procedures as a pre-requisite for meaningful application. Customs
officials must be given species-specific guidance when screening
shipments which could contain products from listed sharks. In the
case of Hong Kong, it may be possible to increase the involvement of
protected species officers in the screening process without undue
labour demands. Differences between the regulatory frameworks for
protected species in Hong Kong and Mainland China should not
necessarily hinder co-operation and there are signs that greater
integration of Customs procedures, which may lead to broader co-
operation on related issues, is occurring.
Key recommendations of this study are:
* Given the heavy reliance on visual (including x-ray-enhanced)
screening by non-specialist Customs officers for inspecting cargo, it
is essential that basic information on shark products be included in,
and disseminated through, centralized intelligence databases as soon
as CITES shark listings take effect.
* Information on shark products such as likely size ranges, countries
of origin and methods of packing (e.g. frozen, dried, sorted or mixed)
should also be compiled and circulated.
* CITES Management Authorities should remain abreast of
developments in genetic identification tools for shark products and
consider producing guidelines,, 'i i rli use of forensic testing in
* Specialist officers should be involved in screening more frequently
through increased use of referral procedures.
* Channels of communication between both CITES Management
Authorities and respective trade communities should continue to be
* Hong Kong and Mainland China should use the opportunity
presented byiIi,'l miI ir i r l, i,. ih ,l,,-i n if'-ir system m to reconcile
discrepancies in commodity categories for shark products by amending
Customs codes, and to promote further integration of intelligence
* Mainland China should prioritize completion of its National Plan
of Action for Sharks, actively engage in relevant regional fisheries
organizations to ensure effective management of shark resources
harvested in high seas areas, and consider means of improving, or
initiating, shark catch documentation for its fleets operating in areas
not controlled by regional fisheries organizations.
* In order to ensure a proper balance of enforcement priorities, the
CITES Management Authorities of Mainland China and Hong Kong
should participate in decisions regarding the allocation of general
Customs compliance-monitoring resources.
The full report can be downloaded from: http://www.traffic.org/
To obtain a hard copy please contact: Samuel Lee, Programme
Officer, TRAFFIC East Asia. Tel: (852) 253-00-587, Fax: (852) 253-00-
864, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharks, Rays and Chimaeras of California
David A. Ebert. 2003. University of California Press, Berkeley. ISBN
0-520-22265-2 (hardcover); 0-520-23484-7 (paperback).
A practical field guide, this book summarises the present status of
knowledge on the 43 species of shark, 22 species of batoid (skates and
rays) and three species of chimaera found off the Californian coast.
Dr. David Ebert's extensive knowledge of the fauna of California
t.,-rll,- with his wide expertise on chondrichthyan diversity,
systematics and biology place him in an ideal position to author
this guide. The book's introduction details the history of research on
Californian chondrichthyans, the local marine environment,
chondrichthyan classification, distribution and general biology
(reproduction, migratory patterns, age and growth, size, food and
feeding behaviour, ecology, ecosystems, fisheries and shark attack).
Diagnostic keys are provided at the order, family and species level.
Each species account provides a species description, information on
habitat and range, natural history, human interactions (covering
fisheries, utilisation and attacks on humans) and nomenclature
(detailing how the species got it name and any systematic notes). For
each species, whole specimen, ventral snout and, for sharks, teeth
illustrations are shown (illustrations by Matthew D. Squillante). A
checklist of Californian species, glossary, contacts for museums and
research institutions, and a reference section are also provided,
t. ,rill., with illustrations of numerous eggcases. The guide has a
wide appeal, from i IrllI,,l.r. and natural historians to divers,
fishers and the general public alike. Due to the facts that a relatively
small 17% of sharks found in the state are endemic to the eastern
North Pacific (ENP); 60% of the state's batoids are endemic to the ENP
and that California itself has no endemic chondrichthyan species this
book should appeal not only to Californians but to the wider
Biology of Sharks and Their Relatives
Jeffrey C. Carrier, John A. Musick and Michael R. Heithaus (Eds).
2004. CRC Press, Boca Raton. ISBN 0-8493-1514-X.
F .... I, Io i rli, fi ., rl irt of Perry Gilbert's 1963 and 1967 collections
of research papers and William Hamlet's 1999 Sharks, Skates and
Rays: The Biology of Elasmobranch Fishes, this latest ,ff'-, i, i ,11 the
CRC Marine Biology Series presents a major collection on
chondrichthyan research. In contrastto Hamlett's work which focused
on anatomy and fine structure, this book, in the editors' words, has
"taken a different approach, and presents] a broad survey of the
evolution, ecology, behavior, and physiology of sharks and their
relatives". The book is divided into three parts Phylogeny and
Zoogeography; Form, Function and Physiological Processes; and
Ecology and Life History with 19 contributions from eminent
chondrichthyan researchers. This volume is easy to navigate through,
and each chapter provides an up-to-date summary and review of the
present state of knowledge in each field of chondrichthyan research.
It should also serve to inspire future research and direct efforts at
increasing our understanding of the fascinating biology and ecology
of sharks and their relatives.
Elasmobranch Fisheries Management Techniques
Edited by John A. Musick and Ram6n Bonfil, 2004. APEC Secretariat.
Available as a pdf from http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/organizations/
This manual provides the basic information to manage shark fisheries.
It was conceived and edited by John A. Musick and Ram6n Bonfil
under the auspices of the IUCN Shark Specialist Group with support
from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). The objective of
this comprehensive manual is to provide the information necessary
for fisheries managers to -il- rn -i, address the FAO International
Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks
(IPOA-Sharks), thus leading to sustainable shark fisheries.
The manual provides a step-by-step approach to collecting the
information necessary for adequate stock assessment and sustainable
shark management. Each chapter progresses from simple to more
complex techniques. The manual begins by explaining the
objectives of fisheries management and methods that may be used
Sto achieve those objectives. Chapter 3 describes how to identify
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 18
sharks and rays. Chapter 4 describes the value and iiirli I I. I. ,, of
tagging studies in shark management and Chapter 5 provides similar
treatmentforgenetictechniques. Chapter 6 explains howto determine
age and growth and Chapter 7 describes techniques to study
reproductive biology. Chapter 8 describes how to estimate mortality.
In Chapter 9 demographic population models are reviewed and in
Chapter 10 stock assessment and population dynamics models are
explained. Chapters 11 and 12 describe, respectively, fisheries-
dependent and fisheries-independent sampling procedures. Chapter
13 reviews options that may be available for managing elasmobranch
stocks. Lastly, Chapter 14 provides a brief overview of elasmobranch
Compiled by Peter Kyne
20th Meeting of the CITES Animals
Johannesburg, South Africa, 29 March-2 April 2004
Sarah Fowler represented the IUCN Shark Specialist Group, and other
SSG members were also present. A report by the Earth Negotiations
Bulletin is availableat:http://www.iisd.ca/cites/CITA20/. Shark-related
documents from this meeting are available via http://
4th World Fisheries Congress
Vancouver, Canada, 2-6 May 2004
The proceedings of the Congress will be published in approximately
one year. Copies will be available from the American Fisheries
Society at http://www.fisheries.org
IUCN Shark Specialist Group North and
Central America Red List Workshop
Sarasota, Florida, USA, 15-18 June 2004
Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida hosted this workshop focusing on
North and Central America, the sixth in the SSG's global series to
assess the conservation status of chondrichthyans for the IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species. More than 50 experts took part including
scientists from government agencies, universities, conservation groups
and private institutions.
Support was received from The Ocean Conservancy, The Bernice
Barbour Foundation, The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, The
Ocean Foundation, National Shark Research Consortium, NOAA/
NMFS and Mote's Center for Shark Research. Nearly 200 species
assessments were drafted and will be submitted to the 2005 IUCN Red
List of Threatened Species. A report will be prepared by the SSG
- ,.nin 11iib ih l -T conservation status of chondrichthyans in the region
and recommendations for their management.
IUCN Shark Specialist Group
International Batoid Red List Workshop
Cape Town, South Africa, 6-10 September 2004
The latest in a series of Red List workshops convened by the SSG, this
expert meeting focused on the often neglected batoid fauna. Hosted by
Marine and Coastal Management, South Africa and funded primarily
by Conservation International, this meeting drew t.,, rli,-i global
batoid experts from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Italy,
Japan, Malaysia, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, UK and
Assessments for over 300 species were drafted iiI I l.1l r .-'1 'raised
concern about the general status of batoid populations, which face
increasing pressure from both directed and bycatch fisheries. These
threats, t ',,,rl-i with an often narrow geographical range and/or
20th American Elasmobranch Society habitat specificity resulted in many recommendations for threatened
Meeting species listing. Concern was also raised over unresolved taxonomic
Norman, Oklahoma, USA, 26-31 May 2004 issues and the general lack of research and attention afforded this,
Abstracts are available from http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/ t il I,.-i.,.li i-, '.-..i.,..fchondrichthyans. Assessments undertaken
organizations/aes/abst2004.htm (oral)& http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/ at the workshop will be submitted to the 2005 IUCN Red List of
fish/organizations/aes/abst2004p.htm (posters). 9 Threatened Species.
Subscribing to Shark News
The SSG does not charge a formal subscription for this newsletter,
(administration costs would be too high, particularly when handling foreign
currency). We do, however, greatly welcome all institutional and personal
contributions towards the cost of printing, mailing, and other SSG work.
Currently, each issue costs around US$ 3,500, including printing, distribution
and editing. The mailing list is more than 900 worldwide, ranging from SSG
scientists and government agencies to interested members of the general
public. We welcome offers to part-sponsor Issue 17 ands have no sponsors for
future issues at this stage.
Donations may be made as follows:
1. by cheque or Bankers Order in US$ to Sonja Fordham at the
Ocean Conservancy (marked payable to "TOC Shark Specialist
Group, account number #3020"), or
2. by cheque or Bankers Order in sterling to Rachel Cavanagh
(made payable to the "Shark Specialist Group"), or
3. by credit card. Send details to Rachel Cavanagh.
Invoices for subscriptions (5.00 per issue) can be sent to
organizations or libraries unable to contribute without a formal request
for payment. All addresses are given below.
Donation for Shark News
I enclose a do natio n fo r : ........................................................
Please state the amount (in US$ or GBP if paying by cheque)
I wish to pay by Visa/MasterCard; please
charge my account with the following amount: ..................
M y num ber is ................................................... ....................
Expiry date ....................
Please check here if you want your donation to be anonymous:.........
N a m e :... ... ...... ...... ... ...... ...... ... ...... ...... ...
A d d re ss: ...... ...... ... ...... ...... ... ...... ...... ...... .....
Signature ....... ................. .............
Return to: Rachel Cavanagh, SSG Programme Officer, c/o TRAFFIC International, 219a Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 ODL, UK.
Please send donations in US$ to Sonja Fordham, Ocean Conservancy, 1725 DeSales Street NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 19
The National Aquarium in Baltimore (NAIB,
www.aqua.org) is a major feature of the Inner Harbor and
Maryland's premiertourist destination, drawing about 1.5
million visitors per year. NAIB displays a diversity of
fishes, invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and
mammals, many in complex multi-species exhibits. NAIB
staff support its mission: 'to stimulate interest in, develop
knowledge about, and inspire stewardship of aquatic environments'.
Elasmobranchs have been a focus of the Aquarium since its
inception. Representatives of fifteen families: nine shark species and
eleven batoid species from the Atlantic, Indo-Pacific, freshwater and
circumglobal species are displayed in two major exhibits: the one-
million litre'Wings in theWater' and the 850,000 litre' Open Ocean'.
The Aquarium educates visitors on the importance of elasmobranchs
to natural ecosystems and supports the education, conservation, and
research on elasmobranchs, both institutionally and collaboratively.
It has participated inthe National Marine Fisheries Service Cooperative
Shark Tagging Program since 1981.
The NAIB upholds high husbandry standards forcollection animals.
NAIB staff have been instrumental in advancing elasmobranch
husbandry and applied research in areas such astransport, maintaining
difficult species, collaborative husbandry and medical support of
injured specimens, and behavioral training.
Elasmobranch research has resulted in over 50
publications, presentations and abstracts at professional
conferences. The Aquarium also supports external
researchers through access to animals or specimens.
NAIB's Conservation Education Department is
extremely active from local to international level. It has
developed partnerships with local, state and federal agencies,
emphasises community involvement, and has provided letters of
support for relevant legislation and direct support to key groups
involved with elasmobranch conservation (e.g., the Ocean
Conservancy and the IUCN Shark Specialist Group). Its educational
programmes, including 'sleep with the sharks', reach school-age
children, I11 hlin r l i gain appreciation for elasmobranchs and their
important role as predator, understand the need fortheir conservation,
and replace several "myths" regarding sharks and rays with facts.
Elasmobranchs are fascinating species that play important roles in
marine and freshwater ecosystems. They will continue to comprise a
major component of NAIB's exhibits and remain a focus for education,
conservation, research and captive management programmes.
Alan D. Henningsen, NAIB, Pier 3, 501 E. Pratt Street,
Baltimore, MD 21202, USA. E-mail: email@example.com
We gratefully acknowledge the donations for newsletter production received from The National Aquarium in Baltimore, sponsor of this issue, and the
Wildlife Conservation Society, Christine Snovell and James Dyer.
European Elasmobranch Association Conference 2004 IUCN World Conservation Congress
London, England, 22-24 October 2004. Bangkok, Thailand, 17-25 November 2004. www.iucn.org
www.sharktrust.org/eea Theme: People and Nature Making a Difference.
4th International Fisheries Observer Conference
Sydney, Australia, 8-11 November 2004.
57th Annual Meeting of the Gulf and Caribbean
St Petersburg, Florida, USA, 8-11 November 2004.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Integrating Marine
and Human Ecology into Fisheries Management
Sarasota, Florida, USA, 9-11 November 2004.
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, usually one or two issues per annum.
Manuscripts should be sent to Rachel Cavanagh at
. They should be composed in
English, legibly typewritten and double-spaced. Tables and figures
must include captions and graphics should be camera-ready.
Length of features: (word counts include titles and references):
6th International Aquarium Congress
Monterey, California, USA, 5-10 December 2004. www.iac2004.org
7thIndo-Pacific Fish Conference
Taipei, Taiwan, 16-20 May 2005. www.ipfc7.org
21st American Elasmobranch Society Meeting
Tampa, Florida, USA, 6-11 July 2005.
SFirst International Marine Protected Areas Congress
Geelong, Australia, 23-27 October 2005.
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 ii rliiii, r ..long and complex. Author's name, affiliation
and address must be provided, with their fax number and email
address where available.
This newsletter is designed and produced by NatureBureau International,
36 Kingfisher Court, Hambridge Road, Newbury, Berkshire, RG14 5SJ, UK.
Shark News 16, October 2004 page 20