16 Nov 2009

Action to protect sharks in the Pacific

4:34 pm on 16 November 2009

The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme have launched the Pacific Islands Regional Plan of Action on Sharks.

Understood to be the first regional plan on sharks in the world, the strategy provides guidance to regional authorities on how to assess and manage the impacts of fisheries on sharks.

The plan aims to ensure that management arrangements for sharks within each countries' waters meet the requirements of the Conservation and Management Measure for Sharks adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission.

At least 80 species of sharks and rays occur within the Pacific.

With around half of these species considered to be highly migratory, there is a growing consensus that fishing impacts upon them must be internationally managed.

The action plan also aims to identify other initiatives, such as improved data collection and research, that might ensure the sustainable management of sharks

in national and international waters.