Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Search List

Fish and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). Further developing a risk assessment framework for fisheries species, and application of the framework to fished shark species. - MB0123

Over-exploitation of fish species has been identified as the dominant direct driver of biodiversity loss in the marine environment. The failure of fisheries management alone to protect fish stocks has led to increasing calls for the application of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), to marine species. It is in this context that the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) identified the need for a systematic review of commercially exploited fish species in order to identify those species for which the application of CITES or CMS may make a tangible difference to conservation and sustainable use. TRAFFIC was contracted to undertake such a review.

A peer review workshop considered the results of that study and recommended two steps to further refine the methods. Step 1: to focus on the intrinsic vulnerability study of one taxonomic group in trade has been conducted with a focus on sharks (see Oldfield et al 2012). Step 2: to further develop the assessment of management and compliance risk and apply this to the most vulnerable species identified in step 1. This current project is to address Step 2 in order to consider exposure and risk management using the 47 shark species which were identified as medium and high risk during the intrinsic vulnerability study. The assessment of management and compliance will be developed to ensure transparency in scoring. It will also allow for assessments to be repeated in future years to assess whether changes in management have reduced the risk.

The outputs of this project will combine results of assessment of intrinsic risk to sharks with the actual risks under fisheries management in place and its implementation. The results will identify species most at risk and the areas of management that could be addressed to reduce this risk.

The methods developed will also be suitable for application to other taxa.

The outputs of this work, and earlier work through JNCC, can then be considered during subsequent meetings of relevant MEAs with a view to guiding governments in their efforts to assess and identify aquatic species in trade that are at risk of over exploitation, and determine the most effective ways of reducing that risk.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : MB0123Fish and MEAs FINAL report 24 March 2014   (545k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex 4 Rapid M-Risk assessments 46 shark species Final   (10321k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : MB0123 Two page summary   (105k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2013

To: 2013

Cost: £67,826
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Traffic International