Draft Shark Research Plan: 2016-2020
This document represents a research plan for shark species of special interest (“key shark species”) to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). These species are referred to here as “key sharks”, and the research plan as the “shark research plan”. This plan is regional in scope and includes all research deemed necessary to support management of sharks as WCPFC fulfils its obligations under its convention. This plan may also support the efforts of its members to meet their obligations under other relevant international instruments. This scope draws heavily on the lessons learnt in the implementation of the first SRP. The context and background information within this plan is primarily focussed on the current key sharks, but to maintain flexibility, it also refers to other elasmobranchs as appropriate. Furthermore, this research plan should not be viewed as one that can only be implemented through the WCPFC SSP. The WCPFC budget may not be sufficient to complete all the required work for successful implementation of the plan; member countries and other organizations will be required to undertake some of this work through funding external to the WCPFC. A large body of work is already scheduled through the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) tuna Project (Nicol and Clark, 2014) and the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like species (ISC) has a Shark Working group that plans and undertakes shark research. This Shark Research Plan is structured as follows: 1. Description of the current context for shark research and management, including the WCPFC convention and relevant Conservation and Management Measures (CMMs), other relevant international and national instruments, and a summary of progress under the first SRP (2010-14); 2. Description of the current key sharks and their status (where known), specific data gaps, and applicable management measures; 3. Summaries of the current shark data available to the work of WCPFC; and 4. A five year work plan for current key sharks. Associated annexes include a list of ABNJ shark related work, and WCPFC related meetings, SRP related publications and shark reporting information.