From the 14th to the 16th of November the city of Lisbon hosted the 12th Annual Scientific Meeting of the European Elasmobranch Association (EEA). The EEA was established in 1996 as a non-profit share-holding organization, which co-ordinates the activities of all national European organizations dedicated to the study, management or conservation of chondrichthyans (sharks, skates, rays and chimaeras).
This year the meeting was hosted by APECE (Portuguese organization for the elasmobranch’s conservation) at the Oceanário de Lisboa. Over a hundred assistants from research and conservation organizations, universities and government representatives presented their latest research in the field of biology and conservation of elasmobranches.
Alex Bartolí, head of elasmobrach conservation projects in Submón, and Aitana Oltra, author of the paper, presented the poster “Much more than one skate and two catsharks: the unreliability of official statistics from fish auctions in NE Spain” which, through a pilot study conducted at the harbour of Blanes, explains and shows the unreality of the statistics of elasmobranch fishing due to bad practices in the labelling during the auction.
On the other hand, the assembly of the EEA Congress approved four resolutions to be submitted to the annual meeting of the ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), 2009 EU fishing limits, and the European Community Plan of Action (CPOA) for Sharks, demanding an increase of elasmobranch protection and conservation strategies, as well as an effective management of their fisheries, based on scientific criteria.
– The EEA called on Parties to ICCAT to adopt binding measures to prohibit retaining exceptionally vulnerable bigeye threshers and exceptionally depleted porbeagle sharks, improve scientific observer coverage, reduce fishing mortality on shortfin mako sharks, and require that sharks be landed with their fins attached.
– Regarding the 2009 European Union (EU) fishing limits, the EEA urged EU Fisheries Ministers to adopt the European Commission’s science-based proposals to reduce total allowable catch limits for porbeagle sharks and spiny dogfish to zero and to prohibit retention of seriously depleted common skates, undulate rays, white skates, and angel sharks.
– The EEA urged countries to support proposals to list threatened migratory sharks on the CMS Appendices and to develop a binding agreement to complement existing measures and provide a framework for developing conservation measures for threatened migratory shark species. Parties will consider an EU proposal to add spiny dogfish and porbeagle sharks to the CMS Appendices, as well as a Croatian proposal to list longfin and shortfin mako sharks.
– The EEA agreed to call on the European Commission and EU Fisheries and Environment Ministries related to work together to finalize and implement a shark CPOA, as soon as possible, that sets the stage for science-based catch limits, protection for endangered species, recovery plans for depleted populations, conservation of biodiversity and habitat, and an overall higher priority and more precautionary approach to elasmobranch conservation.