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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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UK Fisheries Minister: his views uncontrolled shark fisheries 2nd July 14

LONDON// UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice presented his views on uncontrolled shark fisheries yesterday at a series of Shark Trust No Limits? campaign events – part of SEA LIFE London Aquarium’s annual Ocean of Stars.

UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice © Andrew Aitchison.

UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice © Andrew Aitchison.

The huge turn-out tonight is testament to the importance the public place on sharks and on conserving sharks.

The work that SEA LIFE and the Shark Trust do raising awareness of the plight of these iconic species is really, really important, these are incredibly charismatic species yet they face a number of important threats: habitat loss, secondly climate change, thirdly – and perhaps most importantly – the damage caused by unregulated fishing practices.

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PRESS RELEASE: Sharks: No Limits? No Future! 1st July 14

Steve Backshall with UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice © Andrew Aitchison.

Steve Backshall with UK Fisheries Minister, George Eustice © Andrew Aitchison.

LONDON// Shark Trust Patron and wildlife presenter Steve Backshall and UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice will be presenting their views on uncontrolled shark fisheries today at a series of Shark Trust No Limits? campaign events – part of SEA LIFE London Aquarium’s annual Ocean of Stars.

Shark fishing is big business in Europe, with the European fleet’s effort focused on the Atlantic Ocean, where eight EU Member States, including Spain, Portugal, France and the UK, are responsible for 99% of EU shark landings.

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PRESS RELEASE: No Limits? to shark exploitation 27th May 14

No Limits? No Future! Logo.

No Limits? No Future! Lets stop uncontrolled shark fishing now!

PLYMOUTH// The Shark Trust is launching its No Limits? campaign today in response to the crisis posed by unlimited and escalating shark fishing pressure. With no catch limits set for many shark species, landings have soared over the past decade, placing huge pressure on shark populations. The Trust’s No Limits? campaign highlights 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.

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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
landings.

*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.

Over
88%

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

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

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

SIGN PETITION
15%
57%
15%
8%
2%
0.5%
1%
0.5%
15% 57% 15% 8% 2% 1% 1% 1%

Atlantic
Shark Landings

121,370
124,140
98,894
97,751
96,776
86,932
91,998
97,073
99,876
105,858
123,576
138,739
139,736
84,709
88,149
67,871
66,871
67,518
57,332
56,549
61,300
64,254
72,285
90,152
102,502
105,527
37,432
32,473
28,345
30,416
31,534
31,938
35,853
41,393
46,698
52,801
71,746
87,694
91,329