The Shark Alliance welcomes the European Commission’s proposal to at long last establish a fishing limit on the seriously overfished porbeagle shark. We are deeply disappointed, however, that the proposed limits for this species, and for similarly depleted spiny dogfish sharks, are still far out of line with scientific advice to end fishing. It is crucial that the Council improve rather than weaken these proposals later this month.
Whereas the proposed limits are headed in the right direction, suchsmall steps are not sufficient. Decades of overfishing have taken their toll on these slow-growing animals; fishing closures are now necessary to reverse dangerous population declines and put these important predators on the long road to recovery.
The Fisheries Commission has released its proposals for the 2007 EU fishing limits (total allowable catches or TACs) for the region’s ocean fish, including two types of sharks: spiny dogfish (or spurdog) and porbeagle sharks.
The Commission has proposed a TAC of 240 metric tons for porbeagle shark in the Northeast Atlantic. This limit is the first of its kind, but still contrary to the ICES scientific advice that called for no fishing and minimization of incidental catch in other fisheries (known as “bycatch”). For spiny dogfish, a reduction in TAC of only 20% (to 841t) in key areas of the Northeast Atlantic has been proposed, instead of the zero TAC that ICES advised.
The proposals now go to the Council of Ministers for consideration and final decision just days before Christmas.