SPREP Director-General David Sheppard has welcomed yesterday’s decision by the Western Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) to introduce restrictions on fishing methods employed by members to catch sharks in Pacific Islands waters.
The WCPFC today approved a Conservation Management Measure put forward by the Forum Fisheries Agency on behalf of Pacific island members to ban either dedicated shark lines or wire traces on longlines.
“I congratulate Palau for again showing leadership in promoting a consensus on measures to mitigate and reduce shark catches by fishing nations operating in the region,” Mr Sheppard said.”Like several other Pacific island countries, Palau has taken the bold step of declaring its waters a shark sanctuary, and the decision by the Commission, that they have helped to broker, provides a small but significant step towards better protection and conservation management of sharks.”
“With so many species of sharks in our waters now in dire straits because of overfishing, the fleets of distant water fishing nations now need to take further steps to complement the initiatives that have been taken by Pacific island countries to conserve sharks, through the establishment of shark sanctuaries in their Exclusive Economic Zones and through their support for the global measures being taken by the Convention on Migratory Species and the Convention for International Trade in Endangered Species.”
“SPREP welcomes the commitment by Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan to take some small but significant steps to reduce their shark catch, but there is still much to be done to bring the catch of sharks in the Pacific islands to sustainable levels and encourage the rebuilding of the most seriously depleted species. We will work constructively with the members of SPREP, regional agencies, other fishing nations and stakeholders to build on today’s decision and secure a better future for sharks in our region,” Mr Sheppard concluded.