DOMINO'S BLOG: You win some, you lost some
The saying 'You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it' is very true when it comes to shark conservation. We are extremely disappointed by the outcomes of the 24th Regular International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). In a collaborative effort to promote the adoption of science-based shark management measures, Project AWARE joined NGO partners in Malta where the meeting was held last November to urge safeguards for sharks at risk. Despite an unprecedented number of ICCAT Parties, 30 out of 50, supporting a stronger shark-finning ban, ICCAT failed once again to take critical steps towards effective shark management in the Atlantic. Japan led the fight to kill EU proposals aimed at protecting common threshers and limiting catch of makos, while its attempt to raise proposed blue shark catch levels prevented consensus on that measure. The only shark measure agreed at ICCAT 2015 was a compromise between Canada and the EU aimed at conserving porbeagle sharks. On the bright side, the 'fins-attached' proposal gained 16 co-sponsors at the meeting - including Russia, Venezuela, Tunisia, and Nigeria - reaching a total of 30 Parties, and the US, EU and Senegal all vowed to continue to advocate for 'fins naturally attached' policies as the best way to prevent finning. The US also secured a 2016 ICCAT review of finning ban implementation. While we're frustrated with the outcomes of ICCAT 2015, we're overwhelmed by the extent of the public support for meaningful shark conservation. As new opportunities arise in 2016, we're hopeful that key shark conservation measures will be taken to protect sharks in peril. Some battles you win, some you lose, but it makes us all the more determined to continue the fight for the world's most-vulnerable shark species.
Photo credit: K.Vandevelde / BlueShark Conservation