Project Description

The Mitigation Hierarchy for sharks

The conservation hierarchy principles have also recently been proposed by Booth et al. (2019) as a risk‐based framework for reconciling trade‐offs between shark conservation and fisheries objectives.

Though this has yet to be implemented in practice, the authours outline a holistic conceptual model for risks to sharks in fisheries, which includes biophysical, operational and socioeconomic considerations. They then demonstrate how this model, in conjunction with the Conservation Hierarchy action steps, can support risk-based least cost shark conservation.

Through providing examples from real-world fishery management problems, Booth et al. (2019) illustrate how the Conservation Hierarchy could be applied to a range of species, fisheries and contexts.

This research has been supported by a Pew Marine Fellowship for Prof. EJ Milner-Gulland.

CLICK FOR EXAMPLES OF SPECIFIC ACTIONS UNDER EACH CONSERVATION HIERARCHY STEP:

Goal: Healthy shark populations

Definition of step in shark fishing context

Avoid encounters of sharks with fishing gear, given sharks are present.

Example management actions to implement step

  • Spatio-temporal fishing closures
  • Depth restrictions (gear-based)

Definition of step in shark fishing context

Minimise capture of individuals in fishing gear, given shark-relevant fishing effort is present.

Example management actions to implement step

  • Gear-based restrictions and modifications to reduce selectivity for sharks
  • Depth restrictions (gear-based)
  • Electro-sensory attractants/deterrents
  • Fishing effort limits
  • Bait management
  • FAD management

Definition of step in shark fishing context

Remediate individuals by ensuring their safe return to the ocean and post-capture survival, given capture has occurred. Includes steps to increase escape if captured, prior to being brought on deck; and increase survival if brought on deck and subsequently release

Example management actions to implement step

  • Gear-based restrictions and modifications to reduce mortality and promote survival of sharks (e.g. nylon leader lines, exclusion/escape devices)
  • Post-capture handling and live release protocols

Definition of step in shark fishing context

Compensate for residual damage caused through off-site conservation efforts that increase in the probability of another individual in the same stock living to the same age/stage.

Example management actions to implement step

  • Levy bycatch taxes to finance off-site conservation efforts within the range of the catch- affected population
  • Proactively establishing marine protected areas in critical shark habitat
  • Developing international and national regulatory frameworks for shark fisheries and trade management
  • Management relevant research in to key fisheries threats, life histories and critical habitat
  • Combatting illegal trade of shark products, and ensuring legal trade is sustainable
  • Awareness-raising and behaviour change campaigns to reduce demand for/consumption of shark products

(Adapted from Booth et al. (2019) The mitigation hierarchy for sharks: A risk‐based framework for reconciling trade‐offs between shark conservation and fisheries objectives. Fish & Fisheries. DOI: 10.1111/faf.12429)