Understanding and Mitigating Impacts to Whale Sharks in Purse Seine Fisheries of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean
CMM 2012-04 prohibits setting a purse seine on a school of tuna associated with a whale shark if the whale shark is sighted prior to commencement of the set. Implementation of this CMM on 1 January 2014 extended similar rules applicable within PNA waters to the entire WCPF Convention Area. With one year of data in hand, it is now possible to evaluate the scientific evidence for reduced impacts on whale sharks as a result of the measure. This paper supplements the review to be provided by the Secretariat as part of the Annual Report on the Regional Observer Programme (ROP) by considering this from two aspects: non-ROP reporting and the potential for advancement of simple guidelines on behaviors to avoid when releasing whale sharks. Findings on whale shark post-release survival from studies in the Atlantic purse seine fishery in 2014 are highlighted.