A whale shark caught as bycatch in the tuna purse seine fishery. Photo Credit: WCS Gabon

Animals Gabon17. July 2021

Endangered Sharks and Rays Get the Protection They Need

In Gabon, a conservation organization and the government worked hand-in-hand for decades to ensure the safety of sharks and rays: thanks to landmark measures put in place, the endangered sea animals are now better protected against fisheries and exportation.

Two new laws have been enforced for the protection of 69 endangered marine species, including Gabon’s most vulnerable sharks and rays. The first one concerns fisheries and the implementation of measures to release the pressure it imposes on these species, while making sure the industry remains sustainable. The second one is a ban on shark finning and the exportation of shark and ray products.

Thanks to the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society and the government, it is now prohibited to catch species such as thresher sharks, oceanic whitetip, scalloped hammerhead, and giant guitarfish until their populations stabilize and recover. The fishing industry will have to adapt its techniques so any bycatch of imperiled species – like manta and Mobula rays, whale sharks, all sawfish, and angel shark species – represents less than 1% of the total catch, and must be released immediately.


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