Proposal 16: Spiny dogfish

 / ©: C. Raymakers / TRAFFIC
Spiny dogfish for sale in a European supermarket.
© C. Raymakers / TRAFFIC
Proposal: 16
Proponent: Germany (on behalf of the EU Member States)
Summary of proposal: Inclusion of Spiny dogfish Squalus acanthias in Appendix II, in accordance with Article II 2(a) with an annotation to delay implementation for 18 months.

WWF position SUPPORT
For WWF's full position, including the rationale and further information, please see page 13 in WWF Positions CITES COP14. Download PDF (3.6 MB | 48 pages)

Why is WWF supporting this proposal?

  • The spiny dogfish — a small and migratory shark — is vulnerable to overexploitation because of its late maturity, low reproductive capacity, and longevity
  • This vulnerability is further exacerbated by the fact that fisheries target aggregations of the species, which comprise mature, usually pregnant females; this results in male-biased populations with reduced productivity
  • The spiny dogfish is subject to unsustainable fisheries in several parts of its range, because of strong international demand for its meat (as much as 30% of production enters international trade and this is highly likely to be an under-estimate, according to a recent European Commission-commissioned report)
  • The main importer is the EU, with the major exporters including the US, Canada, Morocco, Iceland, Norway, and New Zealand
  • Stock assessments document a decline of over 95% from baseline in the Northeast Atlantic and a 75% reduction in mature females in the Northwest Atlantic in just ten years
  • All but 2 populations meet the criteria for inclusion in CITES Appendix II, based on such declines driven by the international demand
  • Inclusion of the species in Appendix II will help ensure that international trade will be supplied by sustainably managed fisheries that are not detrimental to the status of the wild populations
  • An Appendix II listing will complement and reinforce traditional fisheries management measures, and also contribute to implementation of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks.

Spiny dogfish quick facts

Current status: Vulnerable

Found in: Temperate waters, mainly in the Northwest and Northeast Atlantic (including the Mediterranean and Black Seas), Northeast and Northwest Pacific (including the Sea of Japan), South Atlantic, and Southeast Pacific off South America, and New Zealand, with smaller populations off South Africa and southern Australia

Males:
Mature at 6-14 years
80-100cm at maturity

Females:
Mature at 10-23 years
100-200cm at maturity

Reproduction: Pregnancy lasts 18-24 months with females giving birth every two years to litters of, on average, 2-11 pups - resulting in a limited reproductive capacity and one of the lowest population growth rates calculated for any shark species

Population status: Many populations are severely depleted as a result of overfishing

Traded as: Fresh and frozen meat, including fillets; as tails; in smoked form; as fins; and as a number of by-products including cartilage and liver, hides, teeth, and jaws

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