Solomon Islands Government Takes Lead on Conservation
At an announcement made today at the 9th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation & Protected Areas in Suva, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management & Meteorology (MECDM) of the Solomon Islands recognised the important role sharks play in the ocean environment, acting as an indicator for the health of marine ecosystems.
In doing so, the Solomon Islands government has made a commitment towards the protection of these majestic sea creatures by firstly addressing data gaps.
“It’s not just about the conservation of sharks, it’s about starting with one species and working towards a complete management system" said Dr Melchior Mataki, Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands’ Ministry for Environment.
“The Solomon Islands are committed ensuring that all fisheries resources are managed and developed in a sustainable manner, and that these resources are utilised at a level that shall ensure their optimum sustainable yield and not endangered by over-exploitation.”
“WWF applauds this important announcement from the Solomon Islands,” said Ian Campbell, WWF’s Global Shark Conservation Manager.
“There is a real lack of knowledge and understanding of shark populations and how they are used, not only in the waters of the Solomon Islands, but in the region as a whole.”
“This commitment should go a long way to addressing these issues. We would like to see other countries in the region following their lead. Also, it must be remembered that sharks are not just important to marine ecosystems, they also play a significant cultural role in Pacific Island communities,” Campbell further reiterated.
To achieve this ambitious target, the Solomon Islands, with support from WWF South Pacific, will work towards producing a comprehensive National Plan of Action for sharks, which WWF would like to see completed within the next 5 years.
This commitment will help ensure the sustainable utilisation of shark resources in the Solomon Islands.
Such a plan will go quite a fair way in addressing the problems of lack of knowledge of shark utilisation in the region and paucity of data within Solomon Islands’ waters.
When completed, it will contribute to a future in which sustainable fisheries thrive in healthy ecosystems, benefiting people, the fisheries industries and species that depend on them.