The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

            A charity registered in Scotland - RegNo:: SC039015


Letter to Lochhead - Shark,Ray and Skate TACs

On behalf of the Sea Angling Conservation Network, a member of the Shark Alliance and a strong proponent of shark conservation, I am writing to request that you work to ensure that the final 2008 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits for sharks, skates, and rays be reduced substantially from the excessive levels recently proposed by the European Commission.

We are deeply dismayed that the Commission has proposed TACs for spurdog, porbeagle sharks and the North Sea skate and ray complex that are close to recent landings and therefore unlikely to be restrictive, much less restorative.

We are particularly concerned for the fate of the region’s spurdog (spiny dogfish) and porbeagle shark populations should these inflated TACs be adopted.  In both cases, the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has documented severe population declines and recommended an end to fishing and minimization of bycatch.  Both populations are considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN and will require decades to rebuild.  We feel strongly that it is high time to end the decades of overfishing that have plagued these two species in European waters.  Immediate cessation of fishing followed by prompt development of bycatch reduction measures are now necessary to avoid irreparable damage and put these key predators on the long road to recovery.

We have similar concerns over the proposed TAC for North Sea skates and rays, which also exceeds recent landings.  This limit should also be substantially reduced in order to restrict fishing and promote rebuilding. 

In summary, we respectfully urge you to ensure that the December EU Fishery Council agrees to begin the recovery of Europe’s overfished sharks, skates, and rays through:

  • 2008 Total Allowable Catch (TAC) limits of zero for porbeagle and spurdog, and
  • Reduction in the skate and ray TAC to well below recent landings.


Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing about the outcome of the December meeting.

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