Press Release - PACIFIC ISLANDS, MONDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2009: The Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) today launched the Pacific Islands Regional Plan of Action (PI-RPOA) on Sharks*.

At least 80 species of sharks and rays occur within the Pacific Islands region. Around half of these species are considered to be highly migratory, therefore fishing impacts upon them must be internationally managed. Due to their low productivity and long life span, these species are particularly vulnerable to overexploitation. Sharks and rays are also of cultural significance to many Pacific Island communities.

The PI-RPOA Sharks is a response to both the International Plan of Action (IPOA) for the Conservation and Management of Sharks, which encourages assessments and management of shark fisheries, and to the Conservation and Management Measure (CMM) for Sharks adopted by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). The measure requires Commission members to set management arrangements for sharks that address shark finning in the Pacific.

The PI-RPOA Sharks is the first regional plan on sharks in the world and provides guidance to Pacific Islands authorities on:
. how to assess the impacts of fisheries on sharks;
. how to ensure that management arrangements for sharks within their waters meet the requirements of the WCPFC CMM for sharks, and what improvements may be made to the CMM in the future;
. how to identify other initiatives, such as improved data collection and research, that might ensure the sustainable management of sharks in national and international waters.
The PI-RPOA Sharks is a collaborative project between FFA, SPC and SPREP primarily funded under the United Nations Fish Stocks Agreement**.

The FFA, SPC and SPREP are now inviting requests from Pacific Island countries and territories for assistance to consider and implement actions proposed in the PI-RPOA Sharks. Requests should be forwarded to agency focal points - FFA:, SPC:, SPREP:

*The PI-RPOA can be downloaded from For more information, please contact Anouk Ride, FFA Media and Publications: Tel: +677 94548 Email:

**More formally "Part VII of the Agreement for the Implementation of the Provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea of 10 December 1982 relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and Highly Migratory Fish Stocks"