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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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Hope Delayed for Sharks in Atlantic
19 November 2012 2:25 pm
Conservationists failed to win new protections for threatened sharks in the Atlantic Ocean at the annual meeting of a major international fisheries commission, but they hope to make significant progress over the next few years. That's because for the first time, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, which concluded its annual meeting today in Agadir, Morocco, has agreed to open its treaty for new changes, including to shark management. "This is unprecedented," says Elizabeth Wilson of the Pew Environment Group, an environmental advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.
ICCAT, which was established in 1966, manages some 30 species, including swordfish, marlin, and other tunalike species. But the commission does not set catch limits for sharks. Most kinds of sharks are caught accidentally by vessels hunting for tuna and tunalike species, although a few species, such as shortfin makos, are targeted directly for their meat and large fins.
At the meeting, member governments considered seven proposals to improve shark protections, such as tighter regulations on finning. But just one proposal passed—urging members to comply with measures already on the books. Country representatives did agree, however, to start negotiations to amend the treaty to include sharks. "It sets the stage for real shark management in the Atlantic," says Wilson, who expects the process will take a couple of years.
In other news, ICCAT agreed to keep its catch limits unchanged for highly endangered bluefin tuna. The scientific committee of ICCAT reported earlier this month that the populations in the East Atlantic and Mediterranean appear to be increasing for the first time in a decade, which led to calls for the limits to be increased. Because the amount of the recovery is uncertain, the scientific advisers recommended that the existing limits be kept in place.