17 Nov 2009

Hopes of strong Pacific support for new plan to protect sharks

2:25 pm on 17 November 2009

It's hoped there will be strong interest from Pacific nations in the just launched regional action plan on sharks.

Understood to be the first such plan in the world, the strategy provides guidance to regional authorities on how to assess and manage the impact of fisheries on sharks and to ensure individual nations have strong preservation measures in place.

The Forum Fisheries Agency is one of the regional bodies supporting the plan, and its spokesperson, Anouk Ride, says Pacific nations have strong reasons to preserve shark populations:

"To Pacific Island countries sharks often have cultural value as well and so there is the impetus to care for the species so that it is still around for the children of children rather than something their grandfathers and grandmothers have seen."

Anouk Ride says sharks are also a valuable tourist attraction and PNG and Palau already have strong protective legislation in place.

Practical measures already introduced by the regional Tuna Commission include on board observers and requirements for fishing boats to carry more shark carcasses rather than just the fins.