Managing global shark fisheries: suggestions for prioritizing management strategies

Barker MJ, Schluessel V (2005) Managing global shark fisheries: suggestions for prioritizing management strategies. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 15:325–347. doi: 10.1002/aqc.660

1. Over the past two decades the number of fisheries targeting shark resources has increased dramatically. A combination of factors, including relatively slow growth rate, low fecundity and late age of maturity, result in low recovery rates from exploitation for most shark species. This, in turn, is reflected in the poor record of sustainability of shark fisheries. 2. One of the greatest challenges is to find a way to deal with the substantial levels of shark bycatch taken in many non-target fisheries. Poor general recording of shark landings and paucity of shark landing data at the species level also undermine the development of effective shark management strategies. 3. This paper reviews the problems that must be faced worldwide if shark resources are to be managed sustainably and lays out a comprehensive set of prioritized management strategies to facilitate the sustainable management of global shark fisheries. It is acknowledged that the majority of sharks are harvested in developing countries and that the management of shark resources in developing and developed countries will need to incorporate different management strategies relevant to local socio-economic agendas. The management recommendations deal with methods to improve the global regulation of fisheries, ways to improve global conservation ethics and encourage active participation in management, as well as means by which specific management strategies may be implemented.