Tue, Mar 26, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Fisheries Agency’s new rule aims to help shark research

FACT FISHING:A sudden rise in reports of catches of three shark species has prompted the agency to devise regulations aiming to aid scientific research

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A new regulation requiring fishing management departments and research laboratories to report the capture of great white sharks, basking sharks or megamouth sharks within 24 hours after returning to land after will take effect on Monday next week, the Fisheries Agency announced yesterday.

The agency said the new regulation will require fishermen to report all catches of the three shark species and keep the sharks’ bodies for at least 24 hours before making use of them, so that academic units can collect samples and have priority in purchasing body parts to conduct research.

The aim of the regulation is to enable scientists to gather more data to evaluate the standing of sharks as fishing resources.

The agency said once the regulation is implemented, fishermen who do not report their catch will face a fine of between NT$30,000 and NT$150,000.

There were five white sharks, one basking shark and three megamouth sharks reported caught between 1994 and 2009 by Taiwanese fishing crews.

However, last year saw four white sharks and one megamouth shark catches reported, so more research is needed to confirm whether the increased amount was caused by climate change, a change in the Kurosiro Current, or other reasons, the agency said.

In November last year, several environmental groups held a press conference urging the government to ban fishing of the three species, but the agency said that because there was insufficient data on the population of these species in the waters surrounding Taiwan, it is difficult to determine whether such measures are necessary.

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