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Porbeagle sharks are one of the most endangered sharks in the Atlantic Ocean. Since 1961, their population has declined by up to 88%. Yet, on November 12th, Canada will stand in front of 47 other countries to defend its right to keep fishing this endangered shark.

Canada is now the only country on the Atlantic ocean directly targeting this shark and is allowing thousands to be caught as ‘bycatch’ in fisheries for other fish.

Sign our petition asking Gail Shea, Canada’s Fisheries Minister, to join the international consensus and protect the porbeagle, Canada’s shark. When you sign an email will be sent directly to the Minister.

For the last two years, Canada has single handedly blocked the adoption of a proposal to stop all fishing for the porbeagle shark in the Atlantic Ocean at the annual international fisheries management meeting for the Atlantic – ICCAT, the International Committee for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas. Let’s not let Canada continue this stalemate for another year.

 Canada’s own government science shows that even with no fishing porbeagles will take decades to recover. Yet, Canada continues to allow fishing that will push the recovery time to more than 100 years. This is not an acceptable risk for a shark that has been listed as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Canada’s own Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. The porbeagle spends much of its time in Canadian waters. What Canada does matters to the future of this shark. 

Fishing for porbeagle has been banned in European Union waters and the Mediterranean. This year’s ICCAT proposal will ensure porbeagles are not fished anywhere in the Atlantic.

Remind Canada’s Fisheries Minister the world is watching – it’s time for Canada to do its part. Stop risking the recovery of this endangered shark.

For background and resources: 

Letter to
Government of Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada's Minister for Fisheries and Oceans, Gail Shea
Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada Clair Dansereau
Dear Minister Shea,

I am writing today to urge you to support a proposed ban on retaining porbeagle sharks at the upcoming 18th Special Meeting of the International Committee for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) being held in Morocco from the 12th to the 19th of November.

Canada is now the only country out of 48 Member States to maintain a directed fishery for the porbeagle shark, which has been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as ‘Endangered’. For the last two years, Canada’s opposition at ICCAT has blocked consensus on Atlantic-wide protection for this shark. This November, I am asking you to reconsider your government’s past position and take the opportunity to give this endangered shark the best chance of recovery.

On the western side of the Atlantic, the porbeagle shark is often referred to as ‘Canada’s shark’ because it spends much of its lifecycle in our cool waters. Canada also leads the world in bycatch landings of porbeagle. Therefore Canada’s decision to allow fishing for this shark has a significant impact on its recovery. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has led the world in research on the porbeagle – documenting an 89% decline in population since 1961. DFO’s assessment shows that without fishing, this shark will need decades to recover, and continuing to allow fishing, even at a low level, pushes that recovery time to more than 100 years.

The decision that Canada makes this November will have a significant impact on the recovery of one of the most endangered species in Canadian territory and the chances for this species to thrive throughout the Atlantic. This November, you will have the chance to take a major step to enhance Canada’s international reputation for wildlife protection and implement a policy in line with Canada’s commitment to the precautionary approach to fisheries management. I hope that you agree this choice should be an easy one.

I urge you to take decisive action and end the two year stalemate – agree to protection for the porbeagle shark, Canada’s shark.

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