Between 63 to 273 million sharks are killed each year in commercial fisheries to meet the high demand of shark fins. In Samoa, sharks are protected under the Implementation of Shark Sanctuary Provisions with the Marine Wildlife Protection Regulation 2018. To help Samoa enforce these Regulations is a special two day workshop. Hosted in partnership by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Government of Samoa (MNRE) and The Pew Charitable Trusts, the workshop aims to equip participants with a stronger understanding of the importance of sharks and rays as well as the conservation measures that regulate the commercial fishing and trade of all shark and ray species in Samoa. “I hope that the outcome of this workshop will strengthen the collaboration between relevant key agencies and also the local communities for a more holistic approach in enforcing the Marine Wildlife Protection Regulation for the protection of sharks, whales, dolphins and turtles within Samoa’s Exclusive Economic Zone,” said Ulu Bismarck Crawley, Chief Executive Officer of MNRE as he welcomed participants to the workshop.
Samoa has demonstrated leadership in the endeavour to protect sharks and rays. In October last year, Samoa successfully lobbied for the inclusion of blue sharks on Appendix II of the Convention on Migratory Species. It has been estimated that over 20 million blue sharks are caught annually. The island nation is also hosting a Pacific Ministerial Shark Symposium this week, bringing together Pacific island minsters and high level political representatives to agree on ways to improve shark conservation in the region. “SPREP applauds these initiatives and welcomes Samoa’s global leadership on marine protection, however, saying so doesn’t necessarily make it so and if the Government’s good intentions are to come into effect, it will require education, awareness raising and enforcement,” presented Mr Stuart Chape, Acting Deputy Director General and the Director of Island and Ocean Ecosystems of SPREP as he opened the workshop that began on 27 February. “Ladies and gentlemen, that will be your job. Without the dedication and commitment of all the government agencies, stakeholders and communities involved in ensuring compliance with the protection measures of the marine Wildlife Regulation and other legal statutes, the will be meaningless. Everyone must work together to make these initiatives a reality.”
Helping local agencies strengthen enforcement are a range of activities and sessions over the two days which span learning more about the role of shark sanctuaries, the need to meet national, regional and international obligations, as well as group discussions to on how different agencies can work together to enforce the regulations. The workshop brings together over 25 participants for two days starting 27 February, 2018. It is hosted at the SPREP Campus in Apia and is culmination of a partnership between SPREP, MNRE and Pew Charitable Trusts.
Article by: SPREP