Clarification of WCPFC Shark Designations and Observer Data Collection Requirements in Response to WCPFC13 Decisions regarding Manta and Mobulid (Devil) Rays
Manta and mobulid (devil) rays were designated as key shark species for assessment by WCPFC13 in December 2016. At the same time, WCPFC13 called for changes in observer data collection for these species and asked SC13 to implement these changes. With a view to both clarifying the situation with regard to the specific tasks for SC13 regarding manta and mobulid (devil) rays, and more broadly for potential future decision-making on other species, this paper explores the definitions and implications of various WCPFC shark designations such as “key shark species”, “species of special interest” and “designated shark species”. It also considers various options for SC13 to reconcile the new observer data collection requirements for manta and mobulid (devil) rays with the existing framework, and recommends a simple and straightforward approach.