Science addresses the balance of shark fishing to ensure sustainability
The European Commission has called on the advice of scientists to expand their knowledge on shark fishing, and the role played by the various shark species in the marine ecosystem.
A committee led by AZTI-Tecnalia, a Marine and Technological Centre, will
advise the European Commission on how to make shark fishing more sustainable. The long term goal is to ensure shark fishing is conducted in a more balanced way. The 15 month project is part of the EU's ongoing intiative; Action Plan on Sharks, which has funding from the European Commission's Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries.
The project will study the impact on shark populations of fishing activity which targets tuna. There will also be analyses of the various shark species, which are caught in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Traditionally, European fleets have caught small shark off the coast and the scientific community has sufficient information on these catches. Yet the exploitation of sharks in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans has increased in recent years and not accurately documented. This problem is compounded by the fact that shark is also fished by tuna vessels of different nationalities, mainly Asian fishing fleets that operate in these oceans.
Despite the fact these vessels have been involved in the fishing of tuna and swordfish, they are catching more and more ocean shark. Shark are particularly vulnerable to overfishing, mainly due to their low reproductive capacity.This fact means that they are a species with a low capacity for recovery from overfishing and from other impacts caused by humans.
Hilario Murua, an AZTI-Tecnalia biologist and head of the scientific advisory committee of the Community Action Plan on Sharks says; 'So far we have obtained information on the catches and effort, distributions of sizes, biology and ecology of the various species caught by different tuna fleets in the three Oceans. The aim is to characterise the fisheries as well as to address the lack of data and establish the priorities to be met for a future evaluation that will ensure the sustainable management of these populations. A second phase aims to put forward a framework for research into and monitoring of the fisheries, and thus ensure the sustainability of these vulnerable populations.'
The European Commission's advisory committee on shark sustainabilty will also include researchers from; the Basque R+D centre's, Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO), French Institute for Exploration of the Sea (IFREMER), French Institute for Research for Development (IRD),and the Portuguese Institute for Fisheries and Sea Research (IPIMAR).
For more information, please visit:
Marine and Technological Centre
EU Action Plan for Sharks
Data Source Provider: Marine and Technological Centre
Document Reference: Based on information from the Marine and Technological Centre
Subject Index: Resources of the Sea, Fisheries