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Environmentalists are Concerned about Lack of Data on Shark Population in Panama

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 Environmentalists are Concerned about Lack of Data on Shark Population in Panama

EFE   Sat, 04/21/2018 - 21:43

The lack of documentation and the current fishing regulatory framework of different shark species in Panama are worrying, because it is not possible to carry out greater sustainability actions in the absence of data, specialists and researchers of the marine ecosystem said today.

"There is an information gap to know if fish species are disappearing where even the Water Resources Authority of Panama (ARAP) lacks that information to know the decreasing trend of production," said the science manager of the Mar Viva Foundation, Juan Posada.

He added that worldwide marine extractive products have a decreasing trend, which means that the Central American country does not escape from this reality.

Posada said that with the support of the communities, pilot plans have been implemented for decision making.

He said that with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) a guide has been designed for the responsible sighting of sharks and rays nationwide.

"It is recognized that sharks are worth more alive than dead, and this is manifested in ecological activity such as diving, where these species can be appreciated," the expert said.

According to Mar Viva, it is estimated that of the 37 commercially available species of this fish in the country, the hammerhead shark (Sphyrna mokarran) and the baby shark are the most endangered.

Meanwhile, the shark specialist and collaborator at the Ramsar Regional Center for the Western Hemisphere (Creho), Yehudi Rodríguez, said that regarding the health condition in the Caribbean, it is perceived that there is some improvement in the population of tiger shark species (Galeocerdo cuvier) and bull sharks (Carcharhinus leucas).

But for the Pacific watershed, cat sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) are seen but not so many bull and tiger sharks are spotted.

Rodríguez highlighted that the hammerhead shark that inhabits the Pacific ocean of Panama has been one of the most resilient species in the face of fishing pressure.

"In the country no law prevents you from fishing sharks, and in the case of species that are in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) the only issue stated is not to export," said Rodríguez.

He reported that in Panama an awareness campaign has been launched to avoid the consumption of shark meat, to avoid a greater impact on these marine species.

"Although we are doing well internationally, here is as if we were not doing anything, nobody can tell us anything about shark fishing," said the researcher.

Both experts participated today in the event "Action for Climate, Biodiversity and Ecosystems for Sustainable Development in Panama", with the presence of various international organizations.

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