RFP: Blue Shark Valuation and Policy Analysis
Request for Proposals: Economic valuation of the global market for blue shark products and interdependent policy analysis for sustainable management and trade
SUBMIT BY 20 DEC 2021
A Nature analysis published in 2021 revealed that three-quarters of oceanic sharks and rays are threatened with extinction. However, functioning global management of shark catch (targeted or as bycatch) is conspicuously absent. In international waters, RFMOs have broadly failed to heed scientific advice to develop shark catch and bycatch limits, with the exception of ICCAT, which set catch limits for blue sharks in 2019. Within EEZs, particularly in developing coastal states hosting distant-water fishing (DWF) fleets, governments (with few exceptions) have been unable to adequately monitor and manage shark catch. Meanwhile, a high-value global industry in shark products continues unabated. The global shark fin trade is valued at USD $400 million per year despite declining trade volume since the early 2000s. At the same time, the value of the shark meat trade has dramatically increased, with a recent WWF report (July 2021) stating that the value of shark and ray meat between 2012 – 2019 (USD $2.6 billion) exceeded the value of shark fins (USD $1.5 billion).
Amongst commercially exploited species, blue sharks are one of the most fecund and globally abundant sharks. However, the population trend is decreasing, and the IUCN now categorizes the global population of blue sharks as “Near Threatened,” and the Mediterranean population as “Critically Endangered”. They are also the most frequently captured shark in pelagic fisheries, with an estimated 20 million killed annually, and are the world’s most traded shark, comprising up to 64% of the fin trade (current meat trade value is unknown). Yet, a full economic valuation of this commercially exploited shark species has never be done.
The purpose of this study is threefold: a) obtain a first-ever economic valuation of blue shark to recognize its importance within the global shark products trade; b) identify the gaps in governance and regulatory frameworks managing blue shark catch and trade; and c) detail the conservation implications on the global shark fin, shark meat, and shark by-products trade arising from the current state of blue shark catch management (or lack thereof).
Please download the full RFP below to see a proposed set of research questions, timeline, and instructions for submitting proposals.