Improving shark conservation and management in Canada: Recommendations for the National Plan of Action for Sharks
Davis, Brendal A
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The International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA-sharks) is a voluntary instrument developed by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Its implementation on a national scale has been slow for most States, including Canada. Although Canada is often considered a leading country in shark management, their 2007 National Plan of Action (NPOA) is vague and unspecific, with no set timelines, priorities, or action plans to mitigate threats to sharks. There is a widely recognized need to improve upon the existing NPOA in 2012 and also an opportunity to develop Regional Plans of Action (RPOAs) to address region-specific issues. This thesis reviews and compares the existing NPOAs for Canada and Australia, highlights cuttingedge policies and management measures applicable to sharks, and considers the multistakeholder input from the first Atlantic Canada Shark Forum (ACSF). From this research it is proposed that Canada adopt six steps when revising their NPOA and developing an RPOA, including in this order: (1) engage stakeholders and conduct a shark assessment report (SAR), (2) include and address all ten IPOA objectives, (3) prioritize national and regional shark conservation and management issues, (4) create actions with firm timelines and identify the responsible agencies, (5) build research capacity, and (6) review the NPOA every four years for its effectiveness towards the conservation of sharks. Finally, recommended actions are provided as the minimum NPOA/RPOA shark plan content for data collection/scientific research, management/conservation, education, and coordination.