Development of a comprehensive shark conservation and management measure for the WCPFC
This paper responds to WCPFC13’s tasking of the Scientific Committee and the Technical and Compliance Committee, with the support of the Secretariat, to work towards the development of a comprehensive approach to shark and ray conservation and management for adoption at WCPFC15. To assist with consideration of the range of issues involved, this paper presents a summary of the WCPFC’s progress with regard to utilization and finning, no-retention, safe release, mitigation, management plans, assessment, limit reference points and data reporting requirements. Recognizing that recent discussions of shark-related issues have been contentious, a “bottom-up” approach based on “nationally-determined contributions” is proposed. This type of approach would allow for basic points of agreement to be articulated and widely embraced, and for specific national actions to be counted as contributions toward the collective goal. SC13 is invited to consider whether this or another approach should be followed in responding to WCPFC13’s tasking and to recommend a process under which work can progress.