Workshop on Eastern Mediterranean Cartilaginous FishesBibliography of Cartilaginous Fishes

RECOMMENDATIONS

1. By-catch and Discard:

Conclusions

For the entire Mediterranean Sea the By-catch and Discard constitute one of the threats for the Elasmobranch Species.

Bycatch reduction helps also the efficiency of targeted catching

There are already some existent tools to reduce bycatch of elasmobranches. Some of them show to be widely efficient (E.G. elimination of steel lines, Trawler sorting-grids and escaping devices)

Specially regarding Chondrychtyans By-catch in certain age classes (i.e. aged females) has a sound effect on population depletion

It is urgent to record Eslasmobranches capture amounts by species in order to allow their fishery management

Recommendation of actions

The use of steel lines to attach the hooks should be abandoned

Capacity building to fishermen in order to adapt gears whenever recommended should be provided

Fishing in cartilaginous mating, spawning and nursery grounds should be regulated and monitored

Allowed commercial sizes for cartilaginous according to their life history has to be urgently defined in order to ensure sustainable exploited population

Discards should be released back to sea as soon as possible to ensure highest rates of survival

Studies on selectivity of gears and their improvement regarding the topic should be encouraged to reduce by-catch effects

Logbooks, landing sites, surveys and fishery observer programmes have to record elasmobranches by species

2. Information retrieval and diffusion

Conclusions

Standard protocols to record catch, fishing effort, rare species, etc need to be used in the whole region

There exists widespread confusion regarding local names of cartilaginous species at the fishermen communities. That problem affects proper record of data.

In spite that there are still many gaps regarding scientific knowledge of elasmobranches, specific funding to address them has not been prioritised.

A jointly shared Mediterranean database on elasmobranches is a priority.

Recommendation of actions

Protocol prepared by RAC/SPA within the framework of the AP…. should be used by all the riparian countries after being revised by experts from all the Mediterranean countries)

The recommended reference book for cartilaginous taxonomy in the Mediterranean will be the one being prepared by FAO for 2006

A poster or plankets with pictures of the most rare as well as threatened species of Mediterranean cartilaginous species, intended for identification by fishermen, needs to be produced in each country.

Educational packages on the elasmobranches problems addressed to fishermen and general public should be produced and widely distributed

Allocation of scholarships regarding elasmobranches ecology should be addressed by concerned funding institutions to improve expertise, especially in the developing Mediterranean countries

The database being prepared by RAC\SPA for the Mediterranean region and MEDLEM Database are both complementary and necessary. All the riparian countries should contribute with their data to them once finalized, while restricted access should be, voluntarily, as reduced as possible

3. Critical habitats

Conclusions

There is initial information regarding the location of critical habitats for cartilaginous in the Mediterranean. Some of them are very detailed while other ones concern less precise delimitations. That information is still limited and needs improvement.

Very specific populations of certain species may be using concrete restricted habitats, but it is necessary to ascertain genetically this aspect in the Region.

Recommendation of actions

A standard list and a map of critical habitats in the Mediterranean need to be settled, starting from this workshop results, and revised every year.

Genetic research on Mediterranean elasmobranches populations should be encouraged in the region. For that purpose countries should start to keep tissue samples of these species

4. Coordination and collaboration

Conclusions

Regarding collaboration does not exist a specific Mediterranean association addressing the conservation of Sharks. However, IUCN and The European Elasmobranch Association are organizations being active on this matter. At the same time Institutions such as GFCM and FAO play an important role regarding elasmobranches on the issue.

Recommendation of actions

At the same time that proposing RAC/SPA to present the conclusions of this meeting to the next meeting of the European Elasmobranch Association, it is proposed to suggest to the EEA to become a Euromediterranean one, allowing that way the membership to all the Mediterranean countries.

THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SHARK RESEARCH GROUP 
(EMSRG)

STATEMENT

The Eastern Mediterranean Shark Research Group (EMSRG) is established to follow common interests expressed by East Mediterranean bordering countries during the Workshop on Mediterranean Cartilaginous Fish, held in Istanbul, Turkey on 14-16 October 2005.

1. The EMSRG will collaborate in:
a. Fishery management of sharks
b. Research on shark ecology, biology, population dynamics and genetics, phylogeny and phylogeography
c. Protection of the standing populations of sharks
d. Producing tools for public awareness.
e. Exchange of information

2. The EMSRG is founded as a nongovermental organization (NGO) in Istanbul under the auspices of Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV, Turkey). Representatives of NGOs, Universities or ResearchCenters, countries in EMSRG; governmental organizations, although reported and consulted are not voting members in EMSRG.

3. EMSRG will organize an annual workshop in one of the member’s countries, in which research results, data or information will be presented and exchanged. During this meeting voting members will elect the president, two vice presidents and one secretary, for a period of two years.
4. Each country will contribute to the central budget for an annual contribution of US$3,000. The president is responsible, through his adulated institution, for the administration of the budget, for a period of 2 years.

5. President can be elected for 3 terms, vice-presidents and secretary for no more than 2 terms.

Objectives:

A. To establish a joint Multinational Management Program for Shark Fishery, acceptable for all countries members in EMSRG. This program will be proposed after the completion of scientific investigation of fisheries targeted species.

B. EMSRG will make efforts to recruit international funds in order to allocate scholarships for selected students to conduct shark research. EMSRG will make recommendations to countries’ member to conduct investigation in shark ecology at a national level. 

C. EMSRG will standardize methods of data collection and establish a databank, accessible for information retrieval by any member. 

D. Each member of EMSRG is taking upon himself to establish, or to maintain an existing reference collection of Elasmobranches. Specimens are accessible by loans, or exchanges among all members.

E. A reference collection of tissue samples for DNA analyses from all known elasmobranches is to be established and shared by all EMSRF members.

F. Mating and nursery grounds will be censused and EMSRG will make all necessary steps at the international level to declare these areas protected.

G. EMSRG will produce tools for public awareness: 
-to help fishermen to recognize the landed or by-catch species in order to provide more accurate fishery statistics.
-to change the known ‘image” of sharks to a friendly one.
These tools may be posters (multi-languages), series of slides, movies or books.

H. EMSRG will seek for collaboration with other national and international organization such as the FAO, ICCAT, RAC/SPA, and European Elasmobranch Association.

I. EMSRG will make efforts to arrange a research cruise in the LevantBasin of the Mediterranean Sea, in order to collect specimens and help national research as well as to encourage multinational cooperation.

Organization

1. Institution representatives: 
Chair by (Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), Turkey)

Dr. Avi Baranes ( Maritime collage at Ruppin Academy Center of Israel)

Dr. Manal Nader (University of Balamard, Lebanon)

2. A proposal for the Board of Directors to be elected

Dr. E. Mümtaz TIRASIN President
Dr. Manal Nader Vice-President
Dr. Avi Baranes Vice-President
Dr. Cemal Turan Secretary