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Statement from SHARKPROJECT International and International Pole & Line Foundation

SHARKPROJECT International and International Pole & Line Foundation address Panel 4 in preparation for ICCAT Round 3

SHARKPROJECT and The International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) hereby would urge that the Intersessional Meeting must agree on an immediate retention ban for shortfin mako sharks if the Commission is to fulfil its commitment to rebuild this stock by 2070

Appreciating the commitment of all parties to rebuilt North Atlantic shortfin mako stock by 2070 and the Commission Chair’s proposal as a basis for further discussion.

Supporting his intent “to avoid repeating the scenario faced last year“ while effective conservation measures are long time overdue and must not be postponed again.

Alarmed that 2020 catch data show overfishing continues and landings by Spain and Portugal have even increased compared to 2019 catches, with no live release data reported by the EU.

Re-emphasizing that continuing to enable economic incentives from landing dead mako sharks prevents best efforts being applied to avoid bycatch and to minimise post release mortality.

Highlighting that SCRS scientific advice – for a retention ban in the North and a TAC in the South - has been clear since 2017, with growing support:

  • PA4-09 is supported by Canada, Gabon, Sierra Leone, the United Kingdom, Senegal, Chinese Taipei, Guinea-Bissau, and The Gambia
  • Norway stated in its 2020 communication that only a retention ban provides a scientific basis for stock rebuilding by 2070
  • Multiple statements from observers at ICCAT, NGOs, retailers and seafood supply have been published in 2020 and 2021 explicitly supporting the SCRS advice
  • The EU’s Scientific Review Group (SRG) issued a negative opinion in December 2020 for non-detriment findings (NDFs) for North Atlantic shortfin mako considering all mako catches in the North Atlantic to be detrimental to the stock
  • More than 40 Members of the European Parliament sent an open letter to EU Commissioner Sinkevic╠îius in May 2021 supporting the retention ban
  • Recommendation nº12 published in June 2021 by the EU Outermost Regions Advisory Council (CCRUP) on “Measures for the Protection and Conservation of the Shortfin Mako Sharks” urging for the introduction of an immediate retention ban

 

Therefore, we are calling for all ICCAT Parties to finally agree on what is scientifically justified, long overdue, and essential to reduce total mortality to a level of << 300t, providing a scientifically sound probability for stock rebuilding in the North by 2070.
ICCAT must also apply a precautionary approach to prevent the South Atlantic stock facing a similar state in the near future.

We therefore urge to:

  • Introduce an immediate retention ban for shortfin mako in the North Atlantic
  • In 2022 introduce a TAC of not more than 2001 t for shortfin mako in the South Atlantic
  • Commit to further research and implementation of improved live release and bycatch avoidance strategies
  • Introduce a comprehensive Electronic Monitoring System (EMS) and increase human observer coverage to at least 20%
  • Conduct new stock assessments for shortfin mako sharks in the North and the South Atlantic at the latest by 2024