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Provision of scientific advice for the purpose of the implementation of the EUPOA sharks. Final Report. European Commission, Studies for Carrying out the Common Fisheries Policy (MARE/2010/11 - LOT 2)









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    EU project for the provision of scientific advice for the purpose of the implementation of the EUPOA sharks: a brief overview of the results for Indian Ocean 2013
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    The objective of this project was to obtain scientific advice for the purpose of implementing the EUPOA on sharks as regards the facilitation of monitoring fisheries and shark stock assessment on a species-specific level in the high seas. The study was focused on major elasmobranch species caught by both artisal and industrial large pelagic fisheries on the High Seas of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific area, which are currently monitored and potentially maged by respective Tu RFMOs. Estimated “p otential” shark species catch in the Indian Ocean is around 160,000 t for 22,000 t. presently declared (7 times higher than declared). Considering all sharks that are not reported at species level, the total amount of shark declared was around 100,000 tons and, thus, the underreporting reduced to 1.6 times higher. 19 fisheries among the 195 fisheries found in IOTC database generate 86 % of potential investigated shark catches. In the Indian Ocean, Gillnet (GN) and a composition of Gillnet and Lo ngline (GN-LL) are the most impacting one with 61 % of the total estimated studied shark species catches (97,000 t). It is followed by longline (LL and LL-swo) with 18 % and other métiers (OTH) with 12 %, which precise gear composition is unknown. The blue shark is estimated to be the major shark catch in the Indian Ocean followed by silky shark, threshers, Oceanic whitetip, shortfin mako and hammerheads sharks. The research framework to be proposed is organized in three steps: (i) estimation of shark catches by species using the method proposed here which allows identifying the most impacted shark species and the métier most affecting those species; (ii) a prelimiry Ecological Risk Assessment (or other prelimiry assessment based on fishery indicators) by fleets which allows to identify the most vulnerable species to focus the efforts in conjunction with point (i); and (iii) specific recommendations of how to apply possible magement measures, to improve data collection and assessment o f those fleets/species identified as priorities based on points (ii) and (iii). The implementation of the three steps is highly related.
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    Report of the Ninth Session of the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch 2013
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    The Ninth Session of the Indian Ocean Tu Commission‘s (IOTC) Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch (WPEB) was held in La Reunion, France, from 12 to 16 September 2013. A total of 32 participants (48 in 2012) attended the Session. The meeting was opened by Mr Ludovic Courtois, Secrétaire général du Comité régiol des pêches maritimes et des élevages marins (CRPMEM) de La Réunion, who welcomed participants to La Reunion and formally opened the Ninth Session of the IOTC Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch. The Chair, Dr. Charles Anderson also subsequently welcomed participants to La Reunion, including the Invited Expert, Dr. Ronel Nel, from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Employment of a Fisheries Officer NOTING the rapidly increasing scientific workload at the IOTC Secretariat, including a wide range of additiol duties on ecosystems and bycatch assigned to it by the SC and the Commission, and that the new Fishery Officer (Science) supporting the IOTC scientific activities has not been given a mandate by the Commission to work on ecosystems and bycatch matters, the WPEB strongly RECOMMENDED that the Commission approve the hiring of a Fishery Officer (Bycatch) to work on bycatch matters in support of the scientific process. (para.12) Regiol observer scheme The WPEB RECOMMENDED that the Compliance Committee and Commission consider how to address the lack of implementation of regiol observer schemes by CPCs for their fleets and reporti ng to the IOTC Secretariat as per the provision of Resolution 11/04 on a Regiol Observer Scheme, noting the update provided in Appendix VI. (para.35) The WPEB RECOMMENDED that as a priority, the IOTC Secretariat should immediately commence work with CPCs that are yet to develop and implement a Regiol Observer Scheme that would meet the requirements contained in Resolution 11/04, and provide an update at the next session of the WPEB. (para.37) Training for CPCs having gillnet fleets on species id entification, bycatch mitigation and data collection methods and also to identify other potential sources of assistance – Development of plans of action The WPEB RECOMMENDED that the Commission allocate funds in its 2014 and 2015 budgets for the IOTC Secretariat to carry out training for CPCs having gillnet fleets on bycatch mitigation methods, species identification, and data collection methods (budget estimate: Table 4). (para.64) Ecological Risk Assessment: review of current knowledge and pot ential magement implications The WPEB RECOMMENDED that the Commission note the list of the 10 most vulnerable shark species to longline gear (Table 7) and purse seine gear (Table 8) in the Indian Ocean, as determined by a productivity susceptibility alysis, compared to the list of shark species/groups required to be recorded for each gear, contained in Resolution 13/03 on the recording of catch and effort by fishing vessels in the IOTC area of competence. At the next revision to Resolution 13/03 , the Commission may wish to add the missing species/groups of sharks and rays. (para.123) Review of data needs and way forward for the evaluation of shark stocks NOTING that Resolution 10/02 mandatory statistical requirements for IOTC Members and Cooperating Non- Contracting Parties (CPC's), makes provision for data to be reported to the IOTC on ?the most commonly caught shark species and, where possible, to the less common shark species?, without giving any list defining the most common and le ss common species, and recognising the general lack of shark data being recorded and reported to the IOTC Secretariat, the WPEB RECOMMENDED that Resolution 10/02 is revised in order to include the list of most commonly caught elasmobranch species (Table 10) for which nomil catch data shall be reported as part of the statistical requirement for IOTC CPCs. (para.138) Review of Resolution 12/04 on the conservation of marine turtles The WPEB RECOMMENDED that at the next revision of IOTC Resolution 1 2/04 on the conservation of marine turtles, the measure is strengthened to ensure that where possible, CPCs report annually on the total estimated level of incidental catches of marine turtles, by species, as provided at Table 12. (para.168) Resolution 10/02 Mandatory statistical [reporting] requirements for IOTC Members and Cooperating Non- Contracting Parties (CPCs) NOTING that Resolution 10/02 does not make provisions for data to be reported to the IOTC on marine turtles, the WPEB RECOMMENDED that Resolution 10/02 is revised in order to make the reporting requirements coherent with those stated in Resolution 12/04 on the conservation of marine turtles and Resolution 13/03 on On the recording of catch and effort by fishing vessels in the IOTC area of competence. (para.169) Format of future WPEB Sessions The WPEB RECOMMENDED that the SC note the following: (para.253) ? The WPEB DISCUSSED the future format in order to focus the efforts of scientists working on different groups of bycat ch species to address more efficiently, the mandate of the group. ? The WPEB CONSIDERED a range of options which the SC is asked to consider: o Option 1: The current WPEB be split into two; A dedicated Working Party on Sharks (WPS) and a Working Party on Ecosystems and Bycatch (WPEB). o Option 2: Retaining the WPEB in its current form, with alterting focus of sharks in one year, followed by other ecosystem and bycatch issues in the next year. o Option 3: Maintaining the WPEB with clear guideline s to deal with sharks every year, as well as other issues and bycatch groups in alterte years or as required. ? The WPEB AGREED that shark issues were important to address on a yearly basis. Election of a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson for the next biennium The WPEB RECOMMENDED that the SC note the new Chairperson, Dr. Rui Coelho (EU,Portugal) and Vice- Chairperson, Dr. Evgeny Romanov (La Réunion), of the WPEB for the next biennium. (para.263) Report of the Ninth Session of the Working Party o n Ecosystems and Bycatch The WPEB RECOMMENDED that the Scientific Committee consider the consolidated set of recommendations arising from WPEB09, provided at Appendix XXI, as well as the magement advice provided in the draft resource stock status summary for each of the seven shark species, as well of those for marine turtles and seabirds: (para.265) Sharks o Blue sharks (Prioce glauca) – Appendix X o Oceanic whitetip sharks (Carcharhinus longimanus) – Appendix XI o Scalloped hammerhead sharks ( Sphyr lewini) – Appendix XII o Shortfin mako sharks (Isurus oxyrinchus) – Appendix XIII o Silky sharks (Carcharhinus falciformis) – Appendix XIV o Bigeye thresher sharks (Alopias superciliosus) – Appendix XV o Pelagic thresher sharks (Alopias pelagicus) – Appendix XVI Other species/groups o Marine turtles – Appendix XVII o Seabirds – Appendix XVIII A summary of the stock status for some of the most commonly caught shark species caught in association with IOTC fisheries for tu and tu-like species is provided in Table 1.
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    Population trends in Pacific Oceanic sharks and the utility of regulations on shark Finning 2013
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    Accurate assessment of shark population status is essential for conservation but is often constrained by limited and unreliable data. To provide a basis for improved magement of shark resources, we alyzed a long-term record of species-specific catches, sizes, and sexes of sharks collected by onboard observers in the western and central Pacific Ocean from 1995 to 2010. Using generalized linear models, we estimated population-status indicators on the basis of catch rate and biological indicators o f fishing pressure on the basis of median size to identify trends for blue (Prioce glauca), mako (Isurus spp.), oceanic whitetip (Carcharhinus longimanus), and silky (Carcharhinus falciformis) sharks. Standardized catch rates of longline fleets declined significantly for blue sharks in the North Pacific (by 5% per year [CI 2% to 8%]), for mako sharks in the North Pacific (by 7% per year [CI 3% to 11%]), and for oceanic whitetip sharks in tropical waters (by 17% per year [CI 14% to 20%]). Median lengths of silky and oceanic whitetip sharks decreased significantly in their core habitat, and almost all sampled silky sharks were immature. Our results are consistent with results of alyses of similar data sets. Combined, these results and evidence of targeted fishing for sharks in some regiol fisheries heighten concerns for sustaible utilization, particularly for oceanic whitetip and North Pacific blue sharks. Regiol regulations that prohibit shark finning (removal of fins and discarding of the carcass) were ected in 2007 and are in many cases the only form of control on shark catches. However, there is little evidence of a reduction of finning in longline fisheries. In addition, silky and oceanic whitetip sharks are more frequently retained than finned, which suggests that even full implementation of and adherence to a finning prohibition may not substantially reduce mortality rates for these species. We argue that finning prohibitions divert attention from assessing whether catch levels are sustaible and that the need for magement of sharks should not be addressed by measures that are simple to implement but complex to enforce and evaluate.

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