Shark conservation news: Fisheries closures, fish and chips, and a new shark sanctuary

It has been an exciting week for shark conservation! We can only hope that this provides some momentum for CITES, which begins tomorrow.

And now, for this week’s shark conservation news:

The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission declared a ban on commercial landings of all thresher sharks (each of the three thresher shark species is considered vulnerable globally by the IUCN).While threshers aren’t the most threatened sharks in the area, they are some of the most threatened sharks in the area with an active commercial fishery. Threshers also are common bycatch species, so I’m skeptical about the long-term effectiveness of this plan, but being killed as bycatch only is certainly better than being killed as bycatch and as a target species. H/T WWF Environmental News

Spiny dogfish is commonly sold in the United Kingdom as the fish in “fish and chips”. It has been illegal to harvest this species of shark in European waters for some time, so it is simply imported. However,they are one of the species up for CITES protection, which could end international trade of their meat. While I understand the cultural importance of fish and chips to the British, we probably don’t need to be using species that are long-lived and have few young for such a large-scale fishery. If I’ve learned anything from years living in the South, it’s that anything tastes good if you deep fry it. Let’s try to find a more sustainable fishery to use for fish and chips. H/T The Telegraph

Finally, the Maldives has made their territorial waters into a shark sanctuary. All shark fishing is banned within their nearly 100,000 square mile exclusive economic zone, and the buying and selling of shark fins within the Maldives is now illegal. Approximately 30 species of sharks are found in this area (though some only pass through as part of large migrations). H/T Oceanic Defense.