Library:Global shark fishing mortality still rising despite widespread regulatory change (research)

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Global shark fishing mortality still rising despite widespread regulatory change (research)

Global shark fishing mortality still rising despite widespread regulatory change is an artcle published in Science on January 11, 2024, that addresses the ongoing challenges faced by the world's sharks despite increased attention and regulatory measures over the past decade. The study, conducted by Worm et al., assesses the impact of protective regulations on shark fishing mortality globally. The researchers estimate that total fishing mortality for sharks increased from 76 to 80 million between 2012 and 2019, with approximately 25 million of these being threatened species. While finning bans showed limited effectiveness, fishing regulations were found to reduce mortality.

The study analyzed global patterns of shark fishing mortality from 2012 to 2019, linking them to the regulatory landscape. The researchers observed a tenfold increase in international and national management measures addressing shark fishing and finning since 2000. Despite widespread legislation targeting shark finning, overall mortality continued to rise. The study identified that regional shark fishing or retention bans were more successful in reducing mortality compared to broad finning regulations.

Spatial analysis revealed that hotspots of shark fishing mortality are concentrated in coastal areas, including the Atlantic coast of the Americas, West Africa, the northern Indian Ocean, and the Coral Triangle. National waters accounted for the majority of shark fishing mortality, with an increase observed from 76 million sharks in 2012 to over 80 million in 2017. However, pelagic fisheries managed by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) experienced a 7.4% decrease in mortality.

The article emphasizes the complexity of assessing the effectiveness of regulatory measures, noting that only shark fishing prohibitions and accountable governance were associated with reduced mortality. The study also highlights expert perceptions gathered through interviews, indicating a decline in shark finning but varied opinions on fishing mortality trends. Some interviewees suggested that regulations against shark finning may have led to new markets for shark meat, contributing to increased overall mortality.

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