2007 Management Resolutions

Resolution Regarding European Shark Conservation
American Elasmobranch Society
St Louis, MO
July 2007

Whereas eight 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 a Community Action Plan for Sharks as pledged under the IPOA;

Whereas in September 2006 the European Parliament called on the European Commission to strengthen its shark finning ban and develop an EU shark management plan by June 2007;

Whereas the EU finning regulation allows shark fins and carcasses to be landed in separate ports under the highest fin-to-carcass in the world, thereby seriously undermining the ban's effectiveness;

Whereas shark scientists at a 2006 technical workshop reviewed the available data regarding the EU finning ban and associated shark fisheries, and recommended improving the effectiveness of the finning ban by replacing the ratio with a requirement to land sharks with fins attached;

Whereas EU, Canadian, and US vessels often fish the same populations of highly migratory North Atlantic sharks;

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 develop a Community Plan of Action for sharks that includes science-based catch limits and requires that sharks be landed with fins attached.

Resolution Regarding Sharks at ICAAT
American Elasmobranch Society
St Louis, MO
July 2007

Whereas the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is capable of instituting restrictions on catches of Atlantic pelagic sharks;

Whereas the International Council for Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has recommended zero catch from the Northeast Atlantic porbeagle shark population as well as measures to reduce bycatch;

Whereas Canadian scientists have concluded that the Northwest Atlantic porbeagle population has declined to 12-15% of former levels and will require a century or more to recover from overfishing;

Whereas many Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) rejected a proposal to limit trade in porbeagle sharks based on a position that the responsibility for porbeagle conservation lies with ICCAT;

Whereas; ICCAT scientists have concluded that measures to reduce fishing mortality on North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks are necessary to improve the status of this population; and

Whereas shark scientists at a 2006 technical workshop examining shark fin removal issues concluded that requiring sharks be landed with their fins attached is the most effective method to ban finning and also improves species specific data collection, vital for assessments;

Therefore Be It Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges Parties to ICCAT to adopt a binding recommendation in 2007 to require that sharks be landed with their fins attached, all porbeagle sharks be carefully released, and fishing mortality on North Atlantic shortfin mako sharks be reduced.

Resolution Regarding NW Atlantic Sandbar and Porbeagle Sharks
American Elasmobranch Society
St Louis, MO
July 2007

Whereas the National Marine Fisheries Service is currently considering measures to rebuild NW Atlantic sandbar and porbeagle sharks under Amendment 2 to the Consolidated Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species;

Whereas the most recent, National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) peer-reviewed stock assessment for Northwest Atlantic sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) reveals that the population is overfished, experiencing overfishing, and will require as many as 70 years to recover from depletion;

Whereas Canadian scientists have determined that the Northwest Atlantic porbeagle (Lamna nasus) shark population has declined to 12-15% of former levels and will require a century or more to recover; and

Whereas commercial and recreational fishing is still allowed on these depleted porbeagle and sandbar shark populations;

Therefore be it resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the National Marine Fisheries Service to proceed with proposals to impose moratoria on fishing for Atlantic sandbar and porbeagle sharks under the Amendment 2 to the Consolidated Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species.

Resolution Regarding U.S. Northwest Atlantic Spiny Dogfish
American Elasmobranch Society
St Louis, MO
July 2007

Whereas mature female spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) in the Northwest Atlantic are depleted and recruitment failure has persisted for most of the last decade;

Whereas the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has implemented a federal Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery management plan (FMP) to end targeted fishing and rebuild the reproductive biomass over roughly twenty years;

Whereas over the last year the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) raised dogfish fishing limits far above those in place in federal waters to allow for targeted fishing on remaining mature female dogfish;

Whereas excessive state trip limits, now at five times the levels advised by scientists, led to a 50% overage in the last federal spiny dogfish quota;

Whereas fishermen have taken 42% of the current federal Atlantic spiny dogfish quota since the fishery opened in May (compared to 8% at this time last year) and are therefore poised for a substantial quota overage this year; and

Whereas excessive limits in state waters undermine state and federal dogfish recovery efforts as well as negotiations for cooperative management with Canada;

Therefore Be It Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the National Marine Fisheries Service to immediately close federal waters to spiny dogfish fishing until ASMFC and individual state dogfish limits are lowered to scientifically advised levels.

Resolution Regarding Northwest Atlantic Skates
American Elasmobranch Society
St Louis, MO
July 2007

Whereas the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has determined that several additional stocks of Western North Atlantic skates are overfished, thereby mandating amendment of the 2003 skate fishery management plan (FMP);

Whereas the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Shark Specialist Group has proposed Northwest Atlantic thorny skates (Amblyraja radiata) as threatened with extinction;

Whereas the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) reports that thorny skate biomass has not increased despite a 2003 prohibition on landings;

Whereas NMFS reports a decline of nearly 50% in winter skate (Leucoraja ocellata) biomass since FMP implementation and predicts that little skates (Leucoraja erinacea) and smooth skates (Malacoraja senta) will soon become overfished;

Whereas poor identification and insufficient monitoring continue to hamper collection of sorely needed species-specific data on skate catches;

Whereas the lack of data collected on skate catches and bycatch hinders more precise assessments, rebuilding estimates, and effective management; and

Whereas the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization (NAFO) set a quota for thorny skate in 2004 that exceeded scientific advice, but may be reviewed at this year's annual meeting of NAFO;

Therefore Be It Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society requests the National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure that the amendment to the Atlantic skate management plan includes science based limits on catch, bycatch reduction requirements, and measures to improve species specific data collection, and further urge NMFS to propose a reduction in the NAFO skate quota to no more than the level advised by the NAFO Scientific Council.