Convention on Migratory Species
Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) first global conservation instrument - and the first of its kind regarding sharks - was concluded in February 2010. The Shark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has the objective to ensure the conservation and management of migratory sharks and their long-term sustainable use, and that industry, consumers and conservation non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have critical complementary roles to play in achieving this objective. The Sharks MoU aims to improve the conservation status of migratory sharks listed in Appendices I and II of the Convention through concerted and coordinated action, including compliance and enforcement efforts, on the part of the States that exercise jurisdiction over the range of these populations, and States whose flag vessels are engaged outside national jurisdictional limits in activities that may affect these populations.
Although non-binding the agreement prohibits the practice of shark finning and the landing of fins, unless they are naturally attached to the trunk. A respective fishing permit is required too. It also provides for the use of devices to prevent bycatch and the presence of observers on board of vessels.
The initiative complements the National Action Plan as well as conservation efforts to be undertaken under the CMS Shark MoU. A permanent fishing ban has been imposed regarding the critically endangered Whale Shark, Basking Shark and Great White Shark, which are included on CMS Appendix I.
Currently there are 16 countries that have signed the sharks MoU; Congo, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Palau, Philippines, Senegal, Togo, USA, Nauru and Tuvalu, Australia, Chile and the most recent to sign was South Africa on 12 May 2011. The MoU currently applies to seven shark species listed on the CMS Appendices: Basking Shark, Great White Shark, Whale Shark, Shortfin and Longfin Mako Shark, Porbeagle and Northern hemisphere populations of the Spiny Dogfish.
For more information regarding the Shark MoU click here