Changes to Shark Reporting and Data Gaps Assessment Processes
This paper presents three proposals for streamlining and clarifying the shark-related content of SPC’s annual paper on “Scientific Data Available to the WCPFC”. The SPC paper provides a snapshot of the Commission’s data holdings but the format could be improved to better grasp where the most important shark data gaps lie. Once these gaps are clearly understood, studies such as those under the Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ) Tuna Project, can be developed to address and help remedy them. The proposals presented here would involve six additional annotations to the standard tables prepared each year by SPC, and would allow the tables to more closely reflect the WCPFC’s existing data rules. It is also proposed that guidelines be formulated for determining whether shark catch and catch/effort data are under-reported and that the key shark designations of mako and thresher sharks be confirmed on a species-specific basis.