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Shark Biodiversity Management Plan Released

March 30, 2015

Department of Environmental Affairs

The Shark Biodiversity Management Plan has been published in Government Gazette 38607.

It was drawn up in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act of 2004.

The environmental affairs department called for comment on the plan last year.

The plan aims to drive the conservation of resident and migratory sharks in South African waters.

Implementation will take place at a national and international level.

According to the plan’s executive summary, threats to sharks include trophy hunting, marine debris, human interference, habitat degradation and climate change.

The plan will set targets to improve the status of sharks within local waters.

Specific objectives and actions are outlined in the plan.

The plan seeks to:

• Identify and protect critical shark habitats;
• Identify and mitigate threats to shark populations;
• Provide special treatment to threatened shark species;
• Enhance scientific knowledge to help with decision-making;
• Draw up conservation strategies to assist recovery of threatened species; and
• Institute a communication campaign to educate on socio-economic value of sharks.

The department will set up a steering committee to implement the plan.