Sharks play an essential role in the marine ecosystem. As predators, they help to maintain balance in the food chain, eliminate sick and weak animals, and ensure species diversity; and may play a role in protecting coral reefs. But many species of migratory sharks and rays have become endangered due to overfishing and excessive bycatch in industrial fisheries. This report addresses the key legally binding international agreements that are concerned with the conservation and management of migratory sharks: those that migrate across national boundaries and into areas beyond national jurisdiction. It primarily examines three international agreements: the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention, which deals with conservation and management generally of marine resources in the area; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, which regulates international trade of species determined to be endangered; and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species, which focuses on the conservation of endangered or threatened species. The report also makes a number of recommendations to improve coordination of the implementation of these agreements for the better management and conservation of sharks. An Executive Summary is available here.
Integrating Legal Protections for Sharks and Rays into Western and Central Fisheries Commission Regulation