Increasing fishing effort has caused declines in shark populations worldwide. Understanding biological and ecological characteristics of sharks is essential to effectively implement management measures, but to fully understand drivers of fishing pressure social factors must be considered through multidisciplinary and integrated approaches. The present study aimed to use fisher and trader knowledge to describe the shark catch and product supply chain in Northeastern Brazil, and evaluate perceptions regarding the regional conservation status of shark species. Non-systematic observations and structured individual interviews were conducted with experienced fishers and traders. The demand and economic value of shark fins has reportedly decreased over the last 10 years while the shark meat trade has increased slightly, including a small increase in the average price per kilogram of meat. Several threatened shark species were reportedly often captured off shore and traded at local markets. This reported and observed harvest breaches current Brazilian environmental laws. Fishing communities are aware of population declines of several shark species, but rarely take action to avoid capture of sharks. The continuing capture of sharks is mainly due to a lack of knowledge of environmental laws, lack of enforcement by responsible authorities, and difficulties encountered by fishers in finding alternative income streams. National and regional conservation measures are immediately required to reduce overfishing on shark populations in Northeastern Brazil. Social and economic improvements for poor fishing communities must also be implemented to achieve sustainable fisheries.
Martins, A. P. B., Feitosa, L. M., Lessa, R. P., Almeida, Z. S., Heupel, M., Silva, W. M., … Nunes, J. L. S. (2018). Analysis of the supply chain and conservation status of sharks (Elasmobranchii: Superorder Selachimorpha) based on fisher knowledge. PLoS ONE, 13(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193969