Ocean Partnership for Sustainable Fisheries and Biodiversity Conservation - Models for innovation and reform : Bay of Bengal Project

Sharks of the Bay of Bengal

Posted on August 30 2018

True sharks, rays, skates and chimaeras (chondrichthyans) comprise one of the most valuable group of marine organisms. Being apex predators, they control the ecosystem top down; and due to their larger body size and high price for all body parts, they are commercially valuable.

The biological attributes of the sharks make them highly vulnerable to overfishing. During the last few decades, there is a concern on their dwindling population around the world oceans and the Bay of Bengal (BoB) is no exception. Sharks also form a major by-catch in tuna fisheries. All countries surrounding the BoB are traditional shark fishing nations with India as one of the largest contributors. However, the Maldives, a decade back prohibited all types of shark fishing in their Exclusive Economic Zone.

To develop shark fisheries in a sustainable manner in the BoB region, the BOBP-IGO in association with the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project initiated formulation of National Plan of Action for Conservation and Management of Sharks (NPOA-Sharks) in its member-countries. The BOBP-IGO is now taking forward the finalisation of the NPOA-Sharks for India under the Ocean Partnerships Project funded by GEF/World Bank.

A set of posters depicting 21 species of true sharks, rays, guitarfish and sawfish commonly found in the Bay of Bengal has been prepared by the BOBP-IGO to support implementation of the NPOA-Sharks. These posters will be useful in creating awareness as also in the identification of the species.