Voicing concern over dwindling catch of sharks compared to previous years, scientists at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute suggestself-imposed measures to conserve this threatened fish group.
The production of Elasmobranchs (sharks and rays) is experiencing a sharp fall while analysing the catch data of the last 20 years. They were speaking at a stakeholder workshop on conservation and trade of sharks held by CMFRI.
“Lack of regulatory measures and overfishing may even lead to the extinction of some shark stocks,Hence, it is high time the stakeholders gave thrust to conserve these species”said PU Zacharia, Head of the Demersal Fisheries Division of the CMFRI.
“However, unlike some other countries India has a good model of shark fishing that no practice of fishing for the lone purpose of shark fins is existing in the country. The meat and other parts of sharks except fins have huge demand within the country,” he said, adding that CMFRI submitted a National Plan of Action on Sharks to the Centre regarding the management of the sharks.
During the discussion, representatives of the shark traders asked to lift the ban of exporting shark fins flagging the concern that the fishermen community and traders were suffering a huge financial loss by abandoning the fins due to the ban. The fin has a huge demand in overseas markets, and neighbouring countries including Sri Lanka exports it. India loses a good amount of foreign currency in this regard, they pointed out.
Moreover, with the dwindling return from the fishing activity, fishermen are moving away from the occupation and younger generation is no longer fascinated with the profession, they added.
The workshop was part of a collaborative research project of the CMFRI and the FAO of the UN. The workshop was also aimed to create awareness among the stakeholders about the suggestions of the recently concluded CMFRI-FAO joint global meet on shark trade.