Future of Sharks: New plan adopted at UN

Whale sharks (above) along with mako, spiny dogfish, porbeagle, basking and white sharks are the focus of the new conservation agreement.[Photo: NOAA]

Government representatives from 50 countries have adopted a new plan for global shark conservation.

The decision, which involves lessening the threats to migratory sharks, was made at the first meeting of signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks in Bonn, Germany, last week.

Seventeen percent of the 1,000+ shark species are classified as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Most sharks grow slowly, mature late, and produce few offspring. This makes them particularly vulnerable to overfishing and means it is harder for them to recover once their populations have been depleted.

Under the new agreement, the participating countries will share information among governments, scientific institutions, international organizations and NGOs. Such an agreement is necessary because migratory sharks swim across international borders and high seas; collaboration is required for proper management.


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