2005 Management Resolutions

Resolution Regarding Conservation of U.S. West Coast Spiny Dogfish
American Elasmobranch Society
Tampa, FL
July 2005

Whereas the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Pacific Fishery Management Council are considering measures to limit participation and catch in a developing fishery for spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias) off Washington, Oregon and California;

Whereas the exceptionally low intrinsic rate of increase associated with spiny dogfish sharks is well documented and warrants a cautious management approach;

Whereas management action came too late to conserve U.S. Atlantic dogfish and resulted in serious depletion of record high populations and recruitment failure within just ten years;

Whereas Northeast Pacific spiny dogfish grow even more slowly than those in the Northwest Atlantic;

Whereas a spiny dogfish stock assessment will not occur until 2007 and the status of Puget Sound spiny dogfish population is already of concern; and

Whereas spiny dogfish cross state and national boundaries off the U.S. west coast;

Therefore Be it Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the PFMC and NMFS to work cooperatively with Pacific states and Canada to impose precautionary limits on participation and catch in west coast spiny dogfish fisheries in order to conserve populations while comprehensive assessments and management programs are developed.

Resolution Regarding Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act Reauthorization
American Elasmobranch Society
Tampa, FL
July 2005

Whereas scientists nationwide, and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, have found that many of our nation’s fish populations are persistently overfished and in some cases in danger of collapse;

Whereas sound science is critical to successfully managing fish populations and ensuring their long-term sustainability;

Whereas the scientific committees convened by the nation’s eight Regional Fishery Management Councils are responsible for developing stock assessments and providing scientific advice on appropriate catch levels and identification of essential habitat for federal fish populations;

Whereas the Regional Fishery Management Councils, responsible for managing federal fisheries, face intense political pressure to improve short-term economic conditions of fisheries and often downplay or ignore recommendations from their scientific committees in favor of decisions that result in overfishing; and

Whereas the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy recommended amending the Magnuson-Stevens Act to strengthen the role of the Councils’ scientific committees and to require the Councils to conform their management decisions to the scientific determinations and recommendations of these committees;

Therefore Be it Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the U.S. Congress to pass legislation reauthorizing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act that serves to strengthen the role of science in fisheries management by requiring Councils to adhere to the advice of their scientific committees.

Resolution Regarding Amendment 2 to the Fishery Management Plan for U.S. Atlantic Sharks
American Elasmobranch Society
Tampa, FL
July 2005

Whereas the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is in the process of amending its fishery management plan (FMP) for Atlantic Highly Migratory Species (HMS) including sharks;

Whereas NMFS considers the large coastal shark complex to be both overfished and experiencing overfishing, while the IUCN (World Conservation Union) Shark Specialist Group (SSG) has proposed two Atlantic large coastal shark species, the great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran) and scalloped hammerhead (Sphyrna lewini), as “endangered” under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species;

Whereas the IUCN SSG and Canada have both proposed the porbeagle shark (Lamna nasus) for “endangered” status, based on a Canadian stock assessment that reveals an 89% decline in the Northwest Atlantic population since the 1960s;

Whereas exceptionally slow growing deepwater sharks have been severely depleted by fisheries in other parts of the world, and at least five populations of gulper sharks, including two species also found in the Northwest Atlantic (Centrophorus uyato and Centrophorus granulosus), are included on the IUCN Red List;

Whereas the NMFS has yet to address any of these species in the ongoing process to amend the Atlantic HMS FMP;

Whereas the NMFS has taken action in the past to prohibit the take of 19 other shark species considered especially vulnerable and/or poorly understood in terms of exploitation risk;

Therefore Be it Resolved that the American Elasmobranch Society urges the National Marine Fisheries Service to include in Draft Amendment 2 to the HMS FMP options for stopping overfishing of large coastal sharks and prohibiting directed fishing for other vulnerable and/or depleted sharks species, particularly porbeagles and deepwater sharks.