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Virginia Institute of Marine Science
John A. Musick, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Ramon Bonfil, Wildlife Conservation Society
Management Techniques for Elasmobranch Fisheries
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper 474
Sharks and their relatives provide a multitude of usable products including: meat, fins, liver, skin, cartilage and jaws and teeth. Unfortunately, tens of millions of sharks taken in fisheries each year have their fins removed and their carcasses discarded overboard (Fowler and Musick, 2002). This practice, called finning, represents a considerable waste as the fins on average make up only about 5 % of the total weight of a shark (Vannuccini, 1999). Such waste is contrary to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (Article 7.2.2 (g)) which stresses the importance of avoiding waste and discards in fisheries. In addition, the FAO International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks (IPOA- Sharks) encourages full use of dead sharks and retention of sharks from which fins have been removed (paragraph 22). Therefore, this Section briefly reviews the wide spectrum of uses that may be afforded by elasmobranchs to encourage their more complete and effective use. For a more comprehensive review see Vannuccini (1999) wherein an entire volume (470 pages) is devoted to the subject. A strong word of caution is necessary here: full utilization of shark carcasses should not be used as a pretext to fish unsustainably (Camhi, 2002). The goal of this manual is to provide information necessary to lead to sustainable elasmobranch fisheries.
Musick, John A., "Shark Utilization" (2005). VIMS Books and Book Chapters. 25.