ABSTRACT

Developments in international governance arrangements for sharks1 have generally been reactive and in response to obvious depletion of stocks. While, it may be said, this is not uncharacteristic of fisheries management generally, it is an approach that is particularly detrimental to sharks, since they are inherently more vulnerable to overfishing than most of their teleost counterparts. Further, the emergence of shark products as widely traded fisheries commodities over the last 25 years has coincided with a period in which the need for the adoption of precautionary and ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management generally has become widely accepted. In this environment, it might have been hoped that the mistakes leading to the need for retrospective management of species might have been behind us. However, sharks still struggle to attract the fisheries management attention they require.