ICAR-CMFRI hosts FAO global expert meeting on shark trade

24 – 27 th July 2019, Cochin

ICAR-CMFRI hosts FAO global expert meeting on shark tradeThe ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Cochin hosted a four-day global expert meeting on shark use and trade in association with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations during 24th to 27th July 2019. The international meet was part of a collaborative research project between FAO and ICAR-CMFRI. The event, which was aimed at bringing together researchers in the spectrum to describe various methodologies being evolved and adopted in monitoring of sharks and rays, stressed the need for mapping the value chain of these species to manage and optimise the long term value of this commercial renewable resource, for the benefit of both, the stakeholders and the environment.

To address knowledge gaps in the fundamental information needed for management of existing shark and ray fishery across the globe, the meeting came up with a frame work to publish well-informed guidelines, that all countries could use to improve data collection and mapping of value chains to promote sustainable fishing and trade of this vulnerable marine resource group.

Dr. Kim Friedman, Senior Fishery Resources Officer of FAO led the discussions that primarily focussed on developing refined strategies for collecting and reporting information on use, markets and market chain for shark and ray commodities globally. He emphasised that there is severe shortage of data across the full value chain, that included species and commodity based information on consumption, local and retail sale including exports of these resources.

Dr A Gopalakrishnan, Director, ICAR-CMFRI elaborated the research achievements of ICAR-CMFRI in the conservation and sustainable utilisation of sharks and rays.  He said Institute has already developed Guidance for the National Plan of Action (NPOA) on Sharks,  Non-Detriment Findings (NDF) documentation and developed DNA barcodes of more than 100 elasmobranch (sharks, rays and guitar fish) species, that facilitates species identification. 

The meeting was successful in sharing ideas and finding new ways and means to tackle the issues in data collection process on shark trade. It was proposed to develop a comprehensive road map to face these challenges in the field. The output of the meeting is expected to have a constructive impact on the shark fishery in India where mapping of full value chain of shark trade is very much important as sharks are landed whole and every part of the shark is utilised in one form or the other, in the country.

The expert meeting, was attended by representatives from FAO in Rome, Italy and experts from UK, UAE, Australia, Mexico, Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Somalia, Myanmar and Namibia.