The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks is the first global instrument for the conservation of migratory species of sharks.
At present time, it is estimated that one-quarter of chondrichthyan species are threatened worldwide (Dulvy et al. 2014). Sharks are under serious threat around the globe. In accordance with recent scientific studies (Worm et al. 2013) the number of sharks being killed every year ranges between 63 and 273 million individuals.
The MOU is a legally non-binding international instrument. It aims to achieve and maintain a favourable conservation status for migratory sharks based on the best available scientific information and taking into account the socio-economic value of these species for the people in various countries.
Currently 29 species of sharks are listed in Annex I of the MOU:
Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus)
Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias)
Longfin Mako Shark (Isurus paucus)
Porbeagle (Lamna nasus)
Shortfin Mako Shark (Isurus oxyrinchus)
Spiny Dogfish (Squalus acanthias)
Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus)
Silky Shark (Carcharhinus falciformis)
Great Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna mokarran)
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark (Sphyrna lewini)
Giant Manta Ray (Manta birostris)
Reef Manta Ray (Manta alfredi)
Annex I is open for further listings of species which may include any of the migratory species, subspecies or populations in the Class Chondrichthyes (sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras).
The objectives of the Conservation Plan are listed in Annex III:
In pursuing activities described under this objective, Signatories should endeavor to cooperate through regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), Regional Seas Conventions (RSCs) and biodiversity-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).
The Meeting of Signatories (MOS) is the decision-making body of the MOU and reviews the conservation status of migratory sharks and the implementation of the MOU and Conservation Plan. The MOU is open for signature by all Range States of migratory sharks and states and regional economic integration organizations, flag vessels of which are engaged outside its national jurisdictional limits in taking, or which have the potential to take, migratory sharks. The current number of Signatories is 41, including the European Union.
The Advisory Committee (AC) was established at the First Meeting of Signatories to the Sharks MOU (MOS1), which provides expert advice and suggestions on new initiatives and on the implementation of the MOU to the Secretariat and the Signatories.
Furthermore, at MOS1, HSI AU and HSI USA signed onto the MOU as Cooperating Partners. Seven new Cooperating Partners were accepted (the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Manta Trust, Mar Alliance, Project Aware, Shark Advocates International, the Shark Trust and the Wildlife Conservation Society), six of which signed the MOU at the , which was held in Costa Rica, February 2016. There are now nine Cooperating Partners.
The CMS Secretariat located in Bonn, Germany, acts as Secretariat to the Sharks MOU. It facilitates and promotes implementation of co-operative activities by the Signatory States.
|Title||Status||Status date||CMS Party number||Region|
|El Salvador||Range State||South & Central America & The Caribbean|
|Equatorial Guinea||Range State||114||Africa|
|European Union||MOU Signatory||2011||1||Europe|
|Grenada||Range State||South & Central America & The Caribbean|
|Guatemala||Range State||South & Central America & The Caribbean|
|Guyana||Range State||South & Central America & The Caribbean|
|Haiti||Range State||South & Central America & The Caribbean|