2003 Management Resolutions

U.S. Western North Atlantic Atlantic Spiny Dogfish
June 2003

WHEREAS the Western North Atlantic population of spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) is overfished, targeted mature females are depleted and recruitment failure has persisted for seven straight years;

WHEREAS the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has implemented a federal Atlantic spiny dogfish fishery management plan (FMP) developed by the Regional Fishery Management Councils to end directed fishing and rebuild the breeding stock over fifteen to twenty years;

WHEREAS excessive state landings have led to serious quota overages and a fishing mortality rate that exceeds the rebuilding rate by a factor of three;

WHEREAS last fall the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) adopted a coast-wide state spiny dogfish management plan that mirrors the federal strategy and includes the same low fishing mortality target;

WHEREAS despite this new agreement, a Massachusetts state official recently circumvented the ASMFC technical process, inserted his own calculations and prevailed in an attempt to more than double the 2003 dogfish quota and increase the trip limit by an order of magnitude in order to allow targeted fishing of remaining large females; 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 State of Massachusetts and the ASMFC to immediately end directed dogfish fishing in state waters and lower 2003 spiny dogfish catch limits to scientifically advised levels.

European Shark Finning
June 2003

WHEREAS the European Union is currently considering measures to address shark finning by member nations;

WHEREAS science-based proposals to end shark finning have been substantially weakened during recent negotiations;

WHEREAS the most recent compromise package would allow fins and carcasses to be landed separately, thereby rendering a finning ban meaningless;

WHEREAS there has been much debate regarding the appropriate fin to carcass ratio for this proposal with recommendations exceeding 14%;

WHEREAS some highly migratory North Atlantic sharks are taken by both EU and US vessels;

WHEREAS the US imposes a fin to carcass ratio of 5% which is science-based yet generous; and

WHEREAS the EU is the world’s largest exporter of shark fins and its member countries 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 pending shark finning regulations by requiring that fins and carcasses be landed together under a fin to carcass ratio not to exceed 5%.

U.S. Western North Atlantic Skates
June 2003

WHEREAS the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has determined that several stocks of Western North Atlantic skates are overfished, thereby prompting management under the Sustainable Fisheries Act;

WHEREAS a review in the American Fisheries Society journal Fisheries has listed both barndoor (Dipturus laevis) and thorny (Amblyraja radiata) skates in this region as “vulnerable,” meaning that they are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered with extinction in the near future;

WHEREAS skate landings in the northeastern US are near record high levels and the skate bycatch vastly exceeds landings;

WHEREAS there are currently no limits on skate landings or skate bycatch from the US western North Atlantic;

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

WHEREAS the NMFS has proposed and is accepting comment on an overdue skate management plan that would ban the possession of barndoor and thorny skates, limit landings in the wing fishery, and initiate species-specific data collection requirements for skate landings; and

WHEREAS proposed high possession limits for the wing fishery are estimated to have little conservation benefit and are not consistent with the precautionary approach warranted by these biologically vulnerable species;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Elasmobranch Society requests the National Marine Fisheries Service to reduce proposed landing limits for the skate wing fishery by 50% as part of immediate implementation of the US western North Atlantic skate management plan. AES expresses strong support for proposed species-specific skate data collection requirements, and possession bans for thorny and barndoor skates.

Threatened Brazilian Fishes
June 2003

WHEREAS the Brazilian Zoological Society (Sociedade Brasileira de Zoologia) and Biodiversitas Foundation (Fundacao Biodiversitas), and a Scientific Commission headed by Dr. Ricardo de Souza Rosa, established a scientifically based list of 166 fishes threatened with extiction in Brazil, and

WHEREAS threatened lists for other taxa have already been adopted by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (Ministerio do Meio Ambiente – MMA) and IBAMA (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Narurais Renovaveis),

Therefore be it resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society sincerely urges the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment to adopt the Rosa Commission list of threatened fishes as the Official Brazilian List in order to protect Brazil’s great heritage of fish biodiversity and to promote conservation and sustainable use of Brazilian fish species.