The “South Western Indian Ocean Sharks & Rays Status Report validation and road map preparation” Workshop will be held from 5th to 7th April 2017 in Mauritius. The workshop is organized by the Indian Ocean Commission Biodiversity programme in collaboration with the Nairobi Convention Secretariat and the World Conservation Society.
The World Conservation Society (WCS) has been collaborating with the Nairobi Convention Secretariat to deliver a regional review of the status of sharks and rays in the South Western Indian Ocean. WCS made several presentations on the preliminary findings of the regional status review and supported discussions on agenda items relating to sharks and rays at the 8th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP8) in Seychelles, in June 2015. Specific decisions on sharks and rays were deferred to the next CoP so that the regional status review could be finalized, reviewed and discussed in greater detail by the Nairobi Convention Member States.
The South Western Indian Ocean region (SWIO) is a global hotspot not only for sharks and rays biodiversity, but also of endemic, threatened and Data Deficient species. No fewer than 38 species (20%) are endemic to the SWIO region. Significant gaps in knowledge of sharks and rays exist in the SWIO region including distribution, ecology, reproductive biology, population status and trends. Gaps exist on the nature, extent, and impacts of fisheries on the status of sharks and rays, including gaps in the management, technical capacity, and awareness.
Objectives and expected results
The main objective of the workshop will be to present, validate and consolidate findings of the “South Western Indian Ocean Sharks & Rays Status Report”. Secondly, the workshop will prepare a roadmap that will include a) recommendations for priority next steps for sharks and rays under the auspices of the Nairobi Convention Member States, and b) a regional process to review sharks and rays for possible listing on the Annexes of the CITES Protocol and IUCN Red List.
The workshop will delve into the following issues:
• synthesis of the most up-to-date information available on chondrichthyan (sharks and rays) fish biodiversity in the SWIO, based on the regional status review and inputs from workshop participants. The segment will review species status, regional and national research and monitoring initiatives, and existing policy mandates and needs, including national and regional protection, such as under the Nairobi Convention.
• review of national and regional fisheries research and monitoring initiatives for chondrichthyans and priority needs for building more effective management frameworks, measures, and adaptive management programs for chondrichthyan species.
• review of collaborative regional efforts and agree on a roadmap for a regional plan of action.