NEWS | January, 2022
From | GOBI Newsletter Winter 2021–2022
Written by | Rima Jabado and Giuseppe Notarbartolo di Sciara
«To address the plight of sharks across the globe, the IUCN Species Survival Commission Shark Specialist Group, with support from the IUCN Global Marine and Polar Programme and the IUCN Task Force on Marine Mammal Protected Areas, is engaged in an effort to develop an expert-driven innovative approach to ensure that discrete portions of habitats, critical to shark species – Important Shark and Ray Areas (ISRA) – are delineated and used in various place-based conservation and management initiatives across the world’s ocean.
Recent innovations and developments in animal tracking, data collection and reporting have enabled the recognition of discrete areas of the ocean that are significant for various groups of endemic or highly mobile animals such as Important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs), Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and most recently, Important Marine Turtle Areas (IMTAs). The same approach can now be applied to shark conservation. Like their taxon-specific counterparts, ISRAs are intended to support environmental impact assessments of activities specifically affecting shark conservation, marine spatial planning exercises, marine protected area positioning, in all international, regional, national and local conservation contexts. Given the rapid degradation of the conservation status of a high proportion of shark species, along with the limited place-based protection these species have benefited from until now, implementing an ISRA approach at the global level is considered a matter of urgency.»