Canada - Consideration for the Development of a Measure to Protect Shark Species in the North Pacific Fisheries Commission Convention Area
During monitoring, control, and surveillance operations within the convention area over the past several years, Canada and the United States of America have been deeply troubled to observe incidents of shark finning and evidence of shark harvest while observing fishing vessels registered to the North Pacific Fisheries Commission. Without a directed shark fishery within the NPFC, Canada and the United States of America are concerned with incidents of unregulated shark harvest and the high incidence of unreported catch that is identified where shark or shark parts have been discovered during vessel inspections. The continued exploitation of sharks as bycatch or through targeted fishing practices worries Canada and the United States of America, given the lack of available data on catch or sustainable harvest levels and their particular vulnerability due to low biological productivity. Globally, shark populations are showing a rapid decline while markets for shark products continue to expand. As more species of shark are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), Canada and the United States see an urgent need for the North Pacific Fisheries Commission to adopt a measure that will promote the long-term conservation and management of shark populations.
Canada and the United States propose a simplified measure to protect shark species in the North Pacific Fisheries Commission (NPFC) Convention Area. This measure will prohibit the retention of shark or shark parts and would encourage reporting obligations for incidental encounters and releases within the NPFC Convention Area.