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Shark Fishing Decisions at Atlantic Tuna Meeting Fall Short 22nd November 17

Shortfin Mako © Charles Hood.

Shortfin Mako © Charles Hood.

Slow course set for protecting makos, stronger finning ban narrowly defeated at ICCAT

MOROCCO// Fishing nations gathered for the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have failed to adopt recommended limits to protect shortfin mako sharks from overfishing or strengthen the regional ban on shark finning. The only new shark agreement resulting from the eight day meeting takes a phased in approach to narrow the conditions under which shortfin makos can be landed, but includes numerous exceptions and applies only to the North Atlantic. ICCAT’s scientists had recommended mako catch cuts in the South Atlantic, and a full ban on retention in the North Atlantic to allow the depleted population to rebuild over 20 years.

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No Limits? The Mako’ver 14th July 17

Shortfin Mako © Charles Hood.With no catch limits set for many shark species, landings have soared over recent decades, placing huge pressure on shark populations. Launched in 2014, the Trust’s No Limits? campaign highlighted the urgent need to introduce science-based catch limits for Blue Sharks, Shortfin Mako, Tope, smoothhounds and catsharks – species accounting for over 97% of reported Atlantic shark landings.

In 2017 No Limits? is having a Mako’ver! Launching this #SharkAwarenessDay the Shark Trust is continuing its quest to stop uncontrolled shark fishing in the Atlantic high-seas. But this year we’re shifting our focus to Shortfin Mako – an exceptionally vulnerable species caught with no limits.

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PRESS RELEASE: Baby Step for Blue Sharks 21st November 16

fiona-ayerst-3ICCAT fishery managers aim to cap North Atlantic Blue Shark catch as momentum to ban at-sea fin removal grows

VILAMOURA, PORTUGAL// Fishing nations gathered for the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have taken a small yet unprecedented step toward establishing limits on Blue Shark catches from the North Atlantic, but failed to act on scientific advice to do the same for the South Atlantic. Countries also mounted an extraordinary effort to strengthen the international ban on shark “finning” that was eventually thwarted by Japan and China.

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ICCAT 2016 – Blue Shark on the agenda 16th November 16

fiona-ayerst-3PORTUGAL // The 20th meeting of ICCAT, the Atlantic high-seas management body, is running this week. ICCAT2016 presents the Shark Trust with an exciting opportunity to secure long-overdue management for Blue Shark, our flagship No Limits? species.

With Blue Shark accounting for the majority of reported shark landings globally, and as the dominant species within the shark fin trade, precautionary, science-based management is key to a sustainable future.

However, we can’t do this alone.  The Shark Trust will be collaborating on the ground with partners Project AWARE, Ecology Action Centre and Shark Advocates International – working to persuade the 51 Parties (50 countries and the EU) to adopt science-based catch limits, and follow-up on ICCAT’s acknowledgement that in 2015 there was majority support within the Parties for landing sharks with Fins Naturally Attached.

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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? 18th March 16

Blue Shark © Terry Goss.

Blue Shark © Terry Goss.

Leading shark charity calls for Europe to embed a ‘culture of sustainability’ in shark fisheries

UK// On Good Friday, millions of Britons will witness the extraordinary sight of scores of sharks feeding off a floating whale carcass in UK waters. In ‘Britain’s Sharks’, the second part of a new prime-time ITV documentary, viewers will see Ben Fogle and Ellie Harrison come face to face with more than a hundred Blue Sharks that call British waters home for part of the year.

Yet despite the large numbers of Blue Sharks seen in the film, this is a species with an uncertain future, fished in extraordinary numbers without any catch limits or management. The Shark Trust, a UK-based charity that works globally to safeguard the future of sharks, warns that while they may appear abundant now, populations could soon become threatened if uncontrolled fishing continues.

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Twenty-two Shark and Ray Species Added to Scope of Global Agreement 19th February 16

New commitments and partners agreed by Signatories to Convention on Migratory Species Shark MoU

COSTA RICA// Signatories to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Sharks have unanimously agreed to add twenty-two species of sharks and rays to the MoU scope, and to accept the applications of six conservation groups as Cooperating Partners in fulfilling MoU objectives. Conservationists are, in turn, calling on countries to take concrete national and international actions to fulfill new commitments to the imperiled species.

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PRESS RELEASE: Japan Blocks 4 out of 5 Shark Conservation Proposals at Atlantic Tuna Meeting 16th November 15

Blue Shark © Charles Hood.

Blue Shark © Charles Hood.

Unprecedented support for stronger ICCAT finning ban quashed. Mako & blue shark catches remain unlimited. Small step taken for threatened porbeagles

ST JULIAN’S, MALTA// Fishing nations at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have once again failed to adopt scientific advice and best practices to safeguard several species of oceanic sharks. The number of co-sponsors in an ongoing effort to strengthen the ICCAT ban on “finning” (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea) more than doubled to an unprecedented 30 of 50 Parties, yet was quashed by Japan with support from Korea, and China. Japan also led the fight to kill EU proposals aimed at protecting common threshers and limiting catch of makos, while its attempt to raise proposed blue shark catch levels prevented consensus on that measure. The only shark measure agreed was a compromise between Canada and the EU aimed at conserving porbeagle sharks.

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PRESS RELEASE: Atlantic Fishery Managers Fail Sharks Yet Again 17th November 14

ICCAT leaves high seas mako fishing unregulated, porbeagles under-protected, and finning ban weak.

GENOA, ITALY// Fishing nations at the annual meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) have failed to reach consensus on several shark conservation proposals, including a joint US-EU effort to establish catch limits for heavily fished shortfin makos, and an EU bid to protect threatened porbeagles. A multi-national effort to strengthen the ICCAT ban on shark finning (slicing off a shark’s fins and discarding the body at sea) was also defeated, despite a growing number of co-sponsoring countries. ICCAT’s inaction comes just a week after Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – 27 of which are also ICCAT Parties – demonstrated overwhelming support for shark conservation.

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Steve Backshall dives with sharks 10th July 14

Steve Backshall dives with sharks in support of the No Limits? campaign © Mike Kemp Inpictures.

Steve Backshall dives with sharks in support of the No Limits? campaign © Mike Kemp Inpictures.

LONDON// As an ambassador for the Shark Trust’s No Limits? campaign, wildlife presenter and Shark Trust patron Steve Backshall  took the plunge today with the sharks at SEA LIFE London Aquarium, demonstrating that their fearsome reputation is often misplaced and that focus should in fact be on the escalating scale of unmanaged shark fishing.

Steve’s dive was the latest in a series of events designed to bring the No Limits? campaign to public attention and to secure support for the main campaign objective: to stop uncontrolled shark fishing now!

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Steve Backshall supports No Limits? campaign 3rd July 14

UK// The Shark Trust is delighted that  wildlife writer, presenter and adventurer Steve Backshall, has joined the Trust as a patron and is supporting our No Limits? campaign.

Below Steve writes about his experiences diving with sharks and why it is vital that we control shark fishing now – No Limits? No Future!

Steve Backshall supports the No Limits? campaign © Andrew Aitchison.

Steve Backshall supports the No Limits? campaign © Andrew Aitchison.

Over the last year alone, I’ve had the great privilege of many hours underwater with sharks of various shapes and sizes. Many have been smaller species, such as the catsharks, Tope and smoothhound you commonly see on British dives. However, I’ve also dived outside the cage with Great White Sharks, gone nose to nose with Tigers and Bulls, and followed Pilot Whales in order to freedive with the Oceanic Whitetips that trail them. I’ve shared the seas with makos – the fastest shark on earth, as well as Lemon Sharks, Silkies and various reef sharks. Every encounter has been a true wonder, and I have learned to not only respect, but deeply love these majestic, exciting creatures. I’ve also found out through experience quite how harmless to humans these ancient animals really are.

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Why Are Limits Needed?

No Limits?

No Future!

In 2012 over 280,000t* of
sharks were reported landed
globally. The actual total
catch is likely to be 3 to 4
times higher
. EU vessels are
responsible for just over
40% of the reported

*roughly equivalent to 21,000 double decker buses.

Reported EU Landings

Atlantic & Med | To the nearest 100 Tonnes
Rollover sharks for numbers | 2000 - 2012

* conservative estimate of number of individual sharks based on reported landings

Over 97%

Of sharks caught and landed from the
Atlantic and Med are No Limits? species (2012)
(>6,400,000 sharks - conservative estimate based on reported landings)

92% Blue Shark

Percentage of reported Blue Shark landings from the Atlantic attributed to the EU fleet (2012)

(> 89% attributed to Spain)

A typical pelagic longliner sets:
3000 hooks, on 200 longlines, up to 60 miles long

Longline Fishing Boats

The largest EU shark fisheries are fished by pelagic longliners targeting tuna and swordfish.


of longline catches can be sharks.
In coastal waters trawlers and gillnets
also catch sharks in substantial


Sign the petition and support the Shark Trust's call for an end to uncontrolled shark fishing. No Limits? No Future.

15% 57% 15% 8% 2% 1% 1% 1%

Shark Landings