Highly Migratory Sharks Neglected in ICCAT | Oceana

Report | November, 2010

Highly Migratory Sharks Neglected in ICCAT


Many shark species migrate vast distances through our oceans, swimming across various national and International jurisdictional boundaries along their way. These species of sharks, like tunas and swordfish, call large swaths of the ocean their home and their populations cannot be claimed by any specific country.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the most important treaty for international maritime law, establishes that fishing nations must cooperate to ensure the conservation of “highly migratory species” (HMS) both within and beyond their exclusive economic zones through appropriate international organizations.

UNCLOS includes 72 shark species among its list of “highly migratory species” and thus these species should be under international management. Unfortunately, the management of shark fisheries has been virtually ignored on an international level.

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