The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) has adopted a ban on the catching of North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks.
While the ban is initially in place for two years, this move shifts the emphasis of the debate and parties will now have to justify the reopening of the fishery of an endangered shark, according to Ali Hood, Director of Conservation for the Shark Trust:
“At long last, we have the basis for a game-changing rebuilding plan, but it won’t be successful if we take our eyes off the EU and their egregious intent to resume fishing a decade before rebuilding is predicted to begin. In this moment, however, we focus on the overwhelming chorus of concern that helped us reach this critical breakthrough. We’re deeply grateful for the ‘voices for makos’ — the continuous calls from conservationists, divers, scientists, aquarists, retailers, and elected representatives to protect this beleaguered shark.”
Ian Campbell, Associate Director of Policy and Campaigns at the PADI AWARE Foundation, said:
“The recent critical protection measures coming out of the ICCAT annual meeting are a direct result of a global, collective effort by numerous organizations and individuals all working toward the common goal of protecting mako sharks in the Atlantic.
“Mako sharks, classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species, are particularly vulnerable to overfishing, especially in the North Atlantic, where we have witnessed populations decline severely. This ban is monumental and marks an important turning point for both the health of the mako shark population and, ultimately, the health of the ocean. We hope it will be the foundation for a much-needed recovery plan.”
(Featured image credit: Jacob Brunetti)