The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

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Step Forward for International Shark Conservation

A landmark agreement by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) aimed at reducing fishing on North Atlantic shortfin mako and porbeagle sharks was adopted as a binding measure at their annual meeting, which wrapped up on Sunday.

The international body failed to consider stronger protection for the porbeagle shark, endangered throughout the North Atlantic, but did direct its scientists to review the population’s status and develop conservation recommendations.

“ICCAT’s decision is a step forward on a long road to international shark conservation,” said Sonja Fordham, Shark Alliance Policy Director.

The European Community (EC) voiced concern for porbeagle sharks which are caught primarily in longline fisheries in the open ocean; sharks make up an increasingly significant portion of Spanish catches and are no longer bycatch.

Sandrine Polti, Oceana scientist said “This vulnerable species is clearly now a target of fishermen and must be managed accordingly. The fact that countries like Spain, the top shark fishing nation in Europe, are not even reporting shark catches to ICCAT is simply appalling.”

Heike Zidowitz, of the German shark science society, “It is imperative that the EU Fisheries Ministers reinforce stated commitments to conserve the European porbeagle population, the most depleted in the world, and agree at their meeting next month to end targeted porbeagle fishing and minimize bycatch"

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