National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks in the Maldives
The increased exploitation of sharks has raised global concerns over the sustainability of the species. Given the life-history characteristics of sharks; their late attainment of maturity, and slow growth coupled with their low reproductive output, have made them less resilient to increased fishing pressure. Recognizing the threats to shark populations worldwide, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations developed a guideline to manage and conserve the world’s shark populations. The guideline was endorsed as the International Plan of Action on Sharks (IPOA-Sharks) by FAO’s Committee on Fisheries in 1999. IPOA-Sharks is voluntary and proposes countries engaged in either directed or non-directed exploitations of sharks to develop a National Plan of Action on the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA-Sharks). Maldives is committed to sustainably manage the marine resources of the country. In 2010 shark fisheries of Maldives were completely banned to address the growing concerns of depleting shark stocks. NPOA-Sharks was developed to address these concerns and to ensure the conservation of the shark fauna while safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders. NPOA-Sharks provides a history of shark fishing in Maldives, examines the level of alignment of the fisheries management system of Maldives with the objectives of the IPOA-Sharks and sets out an action plan to sustainably conserve the shark resources. The NPOA-Sharks was developed by Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture with assistance from the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project (BoBLME).