2006 Management Resolutions

Resolution Regarding European Shark Conservation
American Elasmobranch Society
New Orleans, LA
July 2006

Whereas the European Parliament is currently reviewing the 2003 Regulation that banned shark finning by vessels from European Union (EU) Member States;

Whereas seven years after the adoption of the FAO International Plan of Action (IPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, the European Union has yet to develop the plan(s) of action for sharks called for in the IPOA;

Whereas the 2003 EU shark finning regulation allows fins and carcasses to be landed separately, thereby seriously undermining the ban's effectiveness;

Whereas the EU shark fin to carcass ratio of 5% whole weight is substantially more lenient that the scientifically derived 5% fin to dressed carcass weight used to enforce finning bans in the US, Canada, and Australia;

Whereas some highly migratory North Atlantic sharks are taken by EU, Canadian, and US vessels;

Whereas AES member scientists have recently confirmed that the 5% fin to dressed weight standard is an appropriate upper limit for mixed shark fisheries; and

Whereas EU Member States include major shark fishing nations, contribute significantly to global trade in shark fins, and support fishing vessels that operate all over the world;

Therefore Be it Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the European Union to improve their shark finning prohibition by requiring that fins and carcasses be landed together under a fin to carcass ratio not to exceed 5% dressed weight, and to develop a Regional Plan of Action for sharks that includes science-based catch limits.

Resolution Regarding NW Atlantic Sandbar Conservation
American Elasmobranch Society
New Orleans, LA
July 2006

Whereas the most recent, peer-reviewed stock assessment for northwest Atlantic Ocean sandbar sharks is significantly less optimistic than the previous assessment;

Whereas National Marine Fisheries Service scientists have determined that this sandbar population is in an overfished state and overfishing is occurring;

Whereas Atlantic sandbar sharks are now estimated to require more than 60 years to rebuild from their current overfished state; and

Whereas the sandbar shark has been the most important species in US Atlantic commercial and recreational shark fisheries;

Therefore Be it Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the National Marine Fisheries Service to immediately begin the process to reduce fishing mortality on sandbar sharks by strengthening Atlantic fishing regulations.

Resolution Regarding Atlantic States Shark Management
American Elasmobranch Society
New Orleans, LA
July 2006

Whereas the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has recently begun the process for developing an interstate management plan for Atlantic sharks;

Whereas several Atlantic states lack shark fishing regulations or have shark regulations that are less stringent than federal limits, and are thereby undermining the effectiveness of the federal Atlantic shark fishery management plan; and

Whereas the mating, pupping, and nursery grounds for most Atlantic coastal shark species occur in Atlantic state waters (within three miles from shore);

Therefore Be it Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to ensure Atlantic state waters are closed to shark fishing once federal shark quotas are reached, to protect key shark habitat in state waters, and to establish state shark catch limits that are at least as stringent as federal limits.

Resolution Regarding Use of MSY Values in NMFS Shark Assessment
American Elasmobranch Society
New Orleans, LA
July 2006

Whereas the National Marine Fisheries Service SEDAR assessment process has recently produced a stock assessment report for the large coastal shark complex, blacktip, and sandbar sharks; and

Whereas the SEDAR Review Panel in its Consensus Summary Report noted that the value for BMSY (50%) used in the NMFS surplus production assessment models could lead to risk prone and inappropriate reference points to determine if the sharks are overfished or if overfishing is occurring for slower growing species.

Therefore be it resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the National Marine Fisheries Service to adopt more precautionary values for BMSY in future surplus production model assessments for shark species with low productivity.