27 Mar 2012

Ban sought on retention of sharks at Pacific Fisheries meeting

7:38 am on 27 March 2012

A conservation group is seeking to ban the retention of sharks that get accidentally caught while fishing for tuna.

The US based Pew Environment group is attending the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission's annual meeting, which began on Monday in Guam.

More than 50 percent of the world's tuna catch comes from waters managed by the WCPFC.

The head of the Pew Environment delegation, Gerry Leape, says while Oceanic whitetip sharks are accidentally caught by tuna fishermen, there are no rules that enfore their release.

"What is happening now is they are not forced to released the oceanic whitetip sharks, so they keep them because their fins are valuable in the shark-fin trade. And so this measure will say that you can't keep them anymore and it would force more live release of these sharks once they are caught."

Gerry Leape says the proposal will be put to the fisheries commission to end this practice.