Report | November, 2011
Vulnerable Sharks in the Atlantic Ocean: The Need for International Management
Many shark species migrate great distances across our oceans, crossing various jurisdictional boundaries along the way. These sharks, like tunas and swordfish, call large swaths of the oceans home and their populations cannot be claimed or effectively managed by any one country.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the primary international maritime treaty, establishes that fishing nations must cooperate to ensure the conservation of highly migratory species both within and beyond their exclusive economic zones, through appropriate international organizations.
Because highly migratory species require international cooperation for effective management, Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) have been established to manage fisheries for these species with the goal of long-term sustainability. In the Atlantic Ocean and adjacent seas, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) is the most relevant and appropriate international organization to manage highly migratory species, including sharks.