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Prosecutor asks to revoke resolution authorizing shark fishing

Click on the flag for more information about Colombia COLOMBIA
Tuesday, December 03, 2019, 15:50 (GMT + 9)

The Attorney General's Office asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to modify, suspend, or revoke Resolution 350 of October 25, 2019, which establishes a shark fishing quota. The request is due to the fact that it considers that there is not enough scientific information, nor clarity about the control that will be carried out on the fishermen by the authorities.

Fernando Carrillo Flórez, Attorney General of the Nation. Photo: Archive

This was stated in a letter sent to the secretary general of the ministry, Ana María López Hernández, in which he warned about the absence of scientific studies in the country, which allow determining the effects of shark fishing on the trophic network (food web) , taking into account its position within it.

The Attorney General's Office recalled that Resolution 1743 of 2017 of the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development prohibits the practice of 'finning' (shark finning and retention, and discarding of the rest of the body to the sea), so Resolution 350 “should not include the term 'fin', since it could be interpreted as an authorization of the practice of 'finning', especially when referring to artisanal fishing ”.

Carcharhinus falciformis (Click on image to enlarge)

The controversial resolution authorizes the fishing of 125 tons of shark in the Colombian Caribbean Sea, of which 5.2 tons correspond to fins of the species Carcharhinus falciformis, and 350 tons of shark (of which 9.9 tons correspond to fins of Alopias pelagicus, Alopias supercilliosus and Sphyrna corona) in the Pacific.

Alopias superciliosus (Click on image to enlarge)

For the Public Ministry it is necessary to have enough data to support the statistical analysis differentiated by species, since each of them has its own growth rate, age of reproductive maturity, migratory patterns, among others, so “an analysis Group would not be reliable to determine the fishing stock and the respective quotas. ”

Alopias pelagicus (Click on image to enlarge)

Likewise, the Attorney General's Office requested clarification on the controls that the authorities will exercise for shark fishing, taking into account that artisanal fishermen take the product of their work to sites other than ports. It warned that to date there are no minimum sizes, which can lead to the exploitation of individuals that have not reached their reproductive maturity, putting the survival of populations at risk.

Sphyrna corona (Click on image to enlarge)

Finally, it warned of the lack of strict monitoring of the species Alopias pelagicus and Carcharhinus falciformis, listed as vulnerable in the Red Book of Marine Fish of Colombia and included in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade of Endagered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

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