Good news for deep-sea sharks in the North-East Atlantic - the Council of Fisheries Ministers of the EU decided yesterday to keep the fishery for many vulnerable species closed for the next two years!
Sharks living in the deep ocean are among the most vulnerable marine species, since they have few offspring and their populations can take decades to recover from depletion. For this reason, roughly 20 species of deep-sea sharks are prohibited from being kept or landed in the North-East Atlantic. Based on the best available scientific advice, we at Oceana recommended that this closure should remain in place for 2015 and 2016, and are now pleased that the fisheries ministers have made the right decision. (We’re not so happy about what they did with other fish species, but that’s another story).
Not only that - the Council agreed to increase the scope of protection of deep-sea sharks, by extending the area covered by theprohibition on retention beyond the North-East Atlantic, to include EU waters of the Central East Atlantic (i.e., around the Canary Islands and Madeira).
This is also excellent news. Now the next obvious step is to review and expand the list of managed deep-sea shark species[i] to include all species of deep-sea sharks that are known to occur in the region, particularly threatened species or those closely related to species on the current list.
If you want to learn more about the uniqueness of the ‘species of the dark’ and what deep-sea sharks are used for in our daily life, just have a look at our deep-sea fisheries websection.
[i] Apristurus spp., Chlamydoselachus anguineus, Centrophorus spp., Centroscymnus coelolepis, Centroscymnus crepidater, Centroscyllium fabricii, Deania calcea, Dalatias licha, Etmopterus princeps, Etmopterus spinax, Galeus murinus, Hexanchus griseus, Oxynotus paradoxus, Scymnodon ringens and Somniosus microcephalus.