Pacific Fisheries Coalition





caught shark



  sharks in murky waters

Shark Conference 2000
Honolulu, Hawaii February 21-24


Sponsored By:
The Barbara Delano Foundation
The Marisla Foundation
The David & Lucile Packard Foundation
The AVINA Foundation

Presented By:
Hawaii Audubon Society
Pacific Fisheries Coalition


Sharks have survived on Earth since before the time of the dinosaurs. They are the top predators in many marine ecosystems and therefore play a vital role in the health of our oceans. The survival of many species around the globe is now threatened by over-fishing.

According to FAO statistics over 100 million sharks are caught each year. However, since bycatch is not recorded, this is likely to be a significant underestimate. Sharks are increasingly used as a food source, predominantly in developing countries, as other fish stocks collapse.

Shark fisheries are generally poorly documented and poorly regulated, and in many cases appear to be unsustainable even in the short term. Sharks species have very slow reproduction rates and as such they are very vulnerable to over-fishing, compared to fish. This causes severe management problems because their response to any conservation measures is slow; in some cases positive results may not be seen for decades. The rise of the popularity of shark fin soup in Asia has also lead to a massive increase in the practice of finning, whereby the fins are removed and the dead or dying shark dumped back into the sea.

There is increasing concern among conservationist, fishery managers and fishermen that many shark populations are in sharp decline and a number of countries have introduced catch limits and finning bans, though such measures appear to be open to widespread abuse. Sharks have therefore become flagships of marine conservation.

Sharks are a flagship species to advance the debate on managing all international fisheries sustainably. With the first CITES listing proposed for sharks and a number of countries considering stricter management, 2000 may be a crucial year for shark conservation. Hawaii is a suitable location for an international conference.

The goals of the conference are:

  • Bring together key activists, conservationists, scientists, fisheries management experts, and marine enforcement experts under one roof.
  • Present a state of the planet review of sharks and current problems in their conservation.
  • Foster cooperation in advancing shark management issues and develop strategies implementation.
  • Give donors a chance to identify and assess the potential shark conservation programs.
  • Raise public awareness of the true nature of sharks and shark conservation issues in Hawaii and globally and the economic and ecological value of sharks.

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top and side photos by Dr. James P McVey, NOAA Sea Grant Program.

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