Pacific Islands Regional Plan of Action (PI-RPOA) on Sharks launched by FFA, SPC and SPREP

PACIFIC ISLANDS, MONDAY 9 NOVEMBER 2009: The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) today launched the Pacific Islands Regional Plan of Action (PI-RPOA) on Sharks*.
At least 80 species of sharks and rays occur within the Pacific Islands region. Around half of these species are considered to be highly migratory, therefore fishing impacts upon them must be internationally managed. Due to their low productivity and long life span, these species are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation. Sharks and rays are also of cultural significance to many Pacific Island communities.
 
The PI-RPOA Sharks is a response to both the International Plan of Action (IPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, which encourages assessments and management of shark fisheries, and to the Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) for Sharks adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), requires Commission members to set management arrangements for sharks, which address shark finning in the Pacific.
 
The PI-RPOA Sharks is the first regional plan on sharks in the world and provides guidance to Pacific Islands such as:
•    how to assess the impacts of fisheries on sharks;
•    how to ensure that management arrangements for sharks within their waters meet the requirements of the WCPFC CMM for sharks, and what improvements may be made to the CMM in the future;
•    how to identify other initiatives, such as improved data collection and research, that might ensure the sustainable management of sharks in national and international waters. 

The PI-RPOA Sharks is a collaborative project between FFA, SPC and SPREP that was primarily funded under the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement**.
 
The FFA, SPC and SPREP are now inviting requests from Pacific Islands for assistance to consider and implement actions proposed in the PI-RPOA Sharks, which should be forwarded to agency focal points – FFA: [email protected], SPC: [email protected], SPREP: [email protected].


*The PI-RPOA can be downloaded from www.ffa.int/sharks. For more information, please contact Anouk Ride, FFA Media and Publications: Tel: +677 94548 Email: [email protected] 


**More formally “Part VII of the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Staddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks”