Agri Business

Marine experts moot revisiting list of protected sharks and rays

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on February 09, 2020 Published on February 09, 2020

Almost two decades have elapsed since the inclusion of 10 species

Marine fishery experts have mooted revisiting the list of protected marine elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) in the Wildlife Protection Act (1972). Apart from the present status of common conservation measures for both terrestrial and marine organisms in the same Act, the latter should be given special attention for making the conservation measures implementable, they said.

They were speaking at a consultative workshop on threatened and protected elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) organised by the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI).

The meeting also called for periodic scientific assessment of the species protected under the WPA and modification in the listing, as almost two decades have elapsed since the inclusion of 10 species of elasmobranchs in the protected list.

Considering the complexity of use and stakeholder interaction in marine waters, a special provision for marine conservation may be brought in, experts suggested. The gathering felt that many of the species need special conservation attention.

White Paper planned

According to the decision taken at the three-day workshop, the CMFRI would take the lead in preparing a White Paper on the current status of the protected marine elasmobranchs. The workshop, which was attended by scientists and researchers from various government institutes and NGOs working in the area, also recommended that the policy decisions on marine life should only be taken after consulting the scientific community and stakeholders.

Some of the species in the protected list of the WPA may be modified by proper criteria, management measures and action plan, said E Vivekanandan, Emeritus Scientist at CMFRI.

To solve the knowledge gap in fishing and trade of sharks and rays, the workshop proposed a data-sharing platform that would have options for scientists, researchers as well as fishermen and other stakeholders to share their information. The meeting also stressed the need for establishing a network of researchers working in elasmobranchs to coordinate the studies on these species.

A stakeholder meeting of those involved in shark fishing and trade was held following the workshop. They pointed out that focus on fishing sharks was shifted post export ban of shark fin. Fishing trips for shark alone have considerably reduced following the ban coupled with extreme weather conditions like cyclone Ockhi, they said.

Published on February 09, 2020
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