THE WAY AHEAD

Asian Geographic - - Environment -

Per­haps one of the more ob­vi­ous ap­proaches to com­ple­ment na­tional ef­forts is to re­quire the fish­eries that source them to be ver­i­fied as sus­tain­able by a global or­gan­i­sa­tion. The Marine Stew­ard­ship Coun­cil (MSC), an in­ter­na­tional cer­ti­fi­ca­tion body for sus­tain­able fish­ing, judges sus­tain­able fish­ing ac­cord­ing to mea­surements of healthy pop­u­la­tions of species, as well as man­age­ment mea­sures that pre­vent over­fish­ing and harm to the en­vi­ron­ment.

Elaine Tan from WWF says: “The de­vel­op­ment of sus­tain­able fish­eries for sharks is an im­por­tant part of the so­lu­tion to the shark cri­sis. But so far, only one shark fish­ery in the world has been cer­ti­fied sus­tain­able by the MSC – for spiny dog­fish in the US.”

While this does il­lus­trate cer­tain prob­lems – why would na­tions, es­pe­cially de­vel­op­ing ones, con­sent to sus­tain­able stan­dards and hurt their fish­ing in­dus­try? – it would un­doubt­edly be to the ben­e­fit of shark pop­u­la­tions.

For now, at least, the road ahead for na­tions with large ports is to im­ple­ment ap­pro­pri­ate cod­ing and to prop­erly en­force their con­trols. In this way, un­sus­tain­able fish­eries that tar­get sharks in­dis­crim­i­nately (or seek to cir­cum­vent reg­u­la­tions) are cut off from ex­ploit­ing the in­ter­na­tional mar­ket. Along­side ed­u­ca­tion – from cities to iso­lated fish­ing vil­lages – which will strengthen peo­ple’s re­solve to get their na­tions to live up to in­ter­na­tional obli­ga­tions, things may just start to change for the bet­ter for sharks. ag

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