Articles and Interviews
Concerns & Recommendations - Resume of the article from Cat Dorey, Shannon Arnold, January 2020
Transparency is fundamental to good stakeholder engagement and partnership building.
Good transparency provides the foundations for ensuring that stakeholders feel valued and treated fairly. The credibility of eco-certification programs is fostered through transparent decision making.
Inadequate transparency is a commonly cited concern by stakeholders in a wide range of consultation and partnership processes. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) programme is not immune to this challenge. Increasingly, stakeholders cite fatigue and frustration with the MSC consultation process and opaque decision making.
MSC stakeholders hold a vast body of knowledge and experience in a wide range of relevant specialties from ocean law to marine ecology to human rights. They represent a range of interest groups andinstitutions, from government policy makers and fisheries managers, through all levels of the seafood industry and supply chain, to academics and NGOs.
Stakeholders need to assess where and when their input will be most valuable based on their available resources and time, who else is involved (e.g. to avoid duplication of effort and information), and the likely outcomes, especially where there are multiple ongoing MSC consultations on processand standards, as well as an increasing number of fisheries assessments underway.
The Sharks Educational Institute is member of the Make Stewardship Count Coalition, an international coalition of more than 90 NGOs and experts that aim to drive urgently needed improvements to the MSC standard and certication process.
Together with our colleagues we believe it is important that consumers can trust the MSC label and be confident that it represents seafood products that are sourced sustainably and responsibly, and are not associated with destructive or wasteful fishing practices.
"The extraordinary Broadnose sevengill shark: the importance of taking a good breath" in Spanish
(El extraordinario Tiburón Gatopardo: su gran diferencia es su sistema respiratorio)
in El Librito del Sur Nº8
A short resume from an article by Fernando Reis, SEI's executive director, published the 2nd Enero 2019 on "EL LIBRITO DEL SUR" in Argentina:
The Broadnose sevengill shark shark is one of the most important animals that can be found in Argentine waters. It usually lives in colder waters and has a lumbar coloration between gray and brown with numerous small black spots, being ventrally white, while newborns and juveniles may have a black tip on their dorsal and caudal fins.
Due to the few catches of this species recorded globally, and the general lack of knowledge of the number of existing specimens, their classification in the IUCN Red List of Endangered or Endangered Species (3) is, since 2005, of DD (Deficient Data, meaning a lack of sufficient capture data for a correct evaluation of the species status).
Resume of the feature article from Fernando Reis with photography by Philippe Lecomte published on the Magazine of the Emirates Diving Association, December 2018.
DIVING WITH SHARKS IN THE UAE
Yes! We can dive with sharks in UAE waters. Both in the Indian Ocean and in the Arabian Gulf.This may seem surprising for many divers that are used to travelling quite far away to find interesting propositions for shark diving, but the fact is that we can easily learn a lot about sharks if we try shark diving with some very particular species found in the Arabian Sea. I have had some recent experiences with Blacktip Reef Sharks on the East Coast of the UAE, and with Bamboo Shark species in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Shark Diving is probably one of the best conservation tools we can experience in marine education!
THE ACTUAL SHARKS’ STATUS
Fishing pressure on sharks has been increasing. Thanks to interviews with fishermen, the geographical extent, gear characteristics, sizes, and target of the species is known. Results collected by the preparation team of the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, showed that the fishery was highly opportunistic and varied considerably in fishing behaviours. The existence of a targeted shark fishery fuelled by the shark fin trade, and the high levels of bycatch recorded, indicate that this fishery is likely to have a substantial impact on shark populations locally. In fact, fishermen confirmed that the status of sharks had changed in recent years and that they were witnessing noticeable declines in catches, abundance and average sizes of sharks in UAE Arabian Gulf waters.
THE NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION
The UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment published a National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPACMS). Following the cultural heritage legacy from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who worked in consideration for the protection of the environment in the UAE, this nation is actually signatory to a number of regional and international agreements, including the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), Convention on International Trade of Endangered Fauna & Flora (CITES), Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), and the Regional Organisation for the Protection of the Marine Environment (ROPME).
THE ACTUAL SHARKS’ STATUS
Fishing pressure on sharks has been increasing. Thanks to interviews with fishermen, the geographical extent, gear characteristics, sizes, and target of the species is known. Results collected by the preparation team of the National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, showed that the fishery was highly opportunistic and varied considerably in fishing behaviours.
Sharks of shallow water habitats (like the Bamboo Sharks), on the coast and in the open ocean, are the most seriously threatened. Sharks longer than one metre (such as Blacktip Reef Sharks) have 50% more chance of being threatened.
WHAT IS THE NATIONAL PLAN MISSING?
As it happens with any plan of action, without previously defined quality measurement indicators, these objectives could risk becoming transformed no matter how good the intentions. It is understandable, despite this set of measures, that shark and batoid awareness is absolutely necessary to x quantified objectives for each specific indicator with the overall time period specified. Measuring those indicators in the beginning of the implementation period of the plan and to x quantified objectives to the end of the plan’s period is fundamental.
WHY ARE SHARKS SO IMPORTANT?
As it is known from science, the large majority of fish species that have evolved in the oceans over the last 450 million years, have been shaped by their predators, the sharks. In evolution, the most probable is that sharks are responsible for giving rise to camouflage, speed, fish sizes, schooling behaviour and underwater communication.
THE SHARKS’ VALUE
Numerous case studies around the world have demonstrated the economic value of the sustainable shark diving ecotourism. There is no doubt nowadays, that a living shark is much more pro table on long term than a dead shark once shed. In UAE, the Marine Reserves around Dibba Rock and Snoopy Island, in Fujairah, are starting to become evident of that too.We deeply believe the new National Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks is a very positive step in the right direction. Let’s hope it can also be managed in a transparent way, with quantified quality indicators and planned established targets.
FEATURE FERNANDO REIS PHOTOGRAPHY PHILIPPE LECOMTE
I have had some recent experiences with Blacktip Reef Sharks on the East Coast of the UAE, and with Bamboo Shark species in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. Shark Diving is probably one of the best conservation tools we can experience in marine education!
"The Spotback Skate and its size problem" in Spanish
(La Raya Pintada y su problema de tamaño)
in El Librito del Sur Nº7
A short resume from an article by Fernando Reis, SEI's executive director, published the 2nd November 2018 on "EL LIBRITO DEL SUR" in Argentina:
Also known as spotted stingray, it is a species of elasmobranch that inhabits the coastal bottoms of South America, and which has been classified as endangered for more than 14 years. Nowadays, there are few specimens captured by the fishermen of Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil.
Like many other species of oviparous rays, the Spotback Skate Atlantoraja castelnauideposits its eggs (large capsules that can occupy the entire palm of one hand), from January to October of each year. These capsules are rectangular measuring between 92 and 103 mm long and 72 and 80 mm wide.
The range of distribution of this species is very small on a global scale. It only inhabits coastal waters between southern Brazil, from Rio de Janeiro to Golfo San Jorge, in Argentina, between depths ranging from 20 m until little more than 200 m. If we lose it here in South America, it is lost in our entire planet.
Special thanks to:
Alejo Irigoyen - Researcher at the Center for the Study of Marine Systems (CESIMAR) and the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CCT CENPAT - CONICET), Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina.
Santiago A. Barbini – Researcher from the Research Group “Biología de Peces”, also researcher at the Marine and Coastal Research Institute (IIMyC), and at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CCT CENPAT – CONICET), National University Mar del Plata (UNMdP).