Marine research in relation to sharks has tended to lag behind other species. Nevertheless, the disproportionate removal of sharks could have far-reaching effects, well beyond the survival of the species themselves, due to their key position in the ocean food chain. An increase in the harvesting of sharks over the last three decades has resulted in a rapid decline in numbers and the available data suggests that many shark species are now at risk of extinction. Despite the proliferation of international environmental law over the same period, these regimes have failed to halt the loss of sharks and other marine species. The global legal regimes that facilitate the protection and management of sharks are fragmented, divided between regulations aimed at utilization and conservation frameworks. These tensions have resulted in stagnation in the development of further law for the protection and management to sharks at the global level. Despite relatively few developments in international law, at the national level, many states have taken strong measures with a discernible shift towards non-consumptive utilization. In particular, some have sought to incentivise marine-based tourism associated with sharks. Shark-based eco-tourism can be both a vehicle for conservation and management and also a lens through which to examine existing frameworks. This chapter explores international legal governance, including the tensions between the resource utilization and environmental conservation regimes relating to shark conservation and management. Recent regional and national approaches are also examined, including the trend towards non-extractive shark-based eco-tourism activities. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the remaining challenges for shark conservation and management, and makes tentative recommendations for reform.
|Title of host publication||Advances in zoology research|
|Editors||Owen P Jenkins|
|Place of Publication||Hauppauge, N.Y.|
|Publisher||Nova Science Publications|
|Number of pages||26|
|Publication status||Published - 2012|