Fishing nations pledge shark, ray protection – The Peninsula

  • Date: 21-Nov-2023
  • Source: The Peninsula
  • Sector:Agriculture
  • Country:Egypt
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Fishing nations pledge shark, ray protection – The Peninsula

Cairo: Atlantic fishing nations have agreed to better protect sharks and rays by limiting the retention of several bycatch species, but advocacy groups warn progress is still lagging.

At the conclusion of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) this week, countries agreed on "new measures for the protection of cetaceans, whale sharks and mobulid rays" and the conservation of Atlantic blue sharks, according to a statement on Monday.

Sharks and rays are facing what conservationists have called an extinction crisis, with nearly two thirds of coral reef species at risk, according to a study this year that assessed data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Threatened by overfishing, sharks and rays must be better protected by governments and fisheries, according to the Shark League of the Atlantic and Mediterranean, an advocacy coalition advancing conservation policies.

The group said the steps taken by ICCAT were positive but did not go far enough "to properly safeguard such inherently vulnerable species" as manta and devil rays, and whale and blue sharks.

ICCAT, a grouping of 50 countries including some of the world's largest fishing nations, also reduced quotas for heavily fished blue sharks by 23 percent.

A new population assessment had warned