At Least 1.3 Million Sharks Were Killed by Industrial Fishing in 2008

boy and shark photo

A little photoshop fun! Photo: egarc2, Flickr, CC

Many of Them From Endangered Species

According to a new report by Oceana, an important ocean conservation organization, more than 1.3 million highly migratory sharks were caught in the Atlantic Ocean during 2008, without international fisheries management. The actual number is probably significantly higher than that, but many countries aren't reporting shark catches or underreporting them, so it's hard to know exactly how bad the situation is. Meanwhile, the killing continues with total impunity...

Hammerhead shark photo

Photo: Wikipedia, CC

"Many highly migratory shark populations in the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea are significantly overexploited. For example, the North Atlantic population of oceanic whitetips has declined by an estimated 70 percent and hammerheads have declined by more than 99 percent in the Mediterranean. Despite this unacceptable situation, managers have all but ignored their responsibilities to protect sharks. [...] With the exception of a weak finning prohibition, these 1.3 million highly migratory sharks were caught freely, subject to no international management measures such as catch limits, size limits, time and area closures, or gear modifications." (source)

Oceana is calling on the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT), an inter-governmental fishery organization that is well positioned to protect sharks (despite their name, they don't just deal with tunas), to implement the following protections for sharks:

  • Prohibit the capture of endangered and vulnerable species, including hammerhead, oceanic whitetip, common thresher and porbeagle sharks;

  • Establish science-based, precautionary catch limits for other commonly caught species in ICCAT fisheries, especially for at-risk shortfin mako sharks; and

  • Improve the ICCAT shark finning ban by requiring sharks to be landed whole, with their fins still naturally attached

Via Discovery News, Oceana

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