Unfortunately, once again, we came across a news report that praises the illegal fishing of a protected sharks species, the Bluntnose Sixgill shark, Hexanchus griseus (SBL), a species protected by Greek law. The phenomenon of fishing Bluntnose Sixgill sharks is very common in Greece. So much so, that we often come across photos of the species from fish markets where they illegally sell them as the species “galeos” or promote their consumption stating that they are “exquisite delicacies”.
By systematically recording these phenomena and being in close cooperation with fishers and the relevant competent authorities, we have come to believe that most of such incidents and relevant press reports stem from the lack of knowledge of both fishers and the competent authorities in regard to the relevant legislation and the identification of species.
In the context of our project Alliance for Survival II, we aim to sensitize the public and enhance the knowledge of the fishing community and the competent authorities to address the phenomenon of bycatch of vulnerable species. The response to these efforts has been positive as more and more fishers are releasing not only protected species but also species that are vulnerable because they understand that in order for an ecosystem to be healthy the existence of top predators, such as sharks, is necessary.
In this context, a Citizen Guide has been created in which you can find out which competent authority you should contact in case you encounter an incident of illegal fishing, trade, or demonstration of a protected species of shark, batoid or sea turtle.
In the same context, an Identification Guide has been created, which is addressed to fishers and port authorities and includes all species of sharks, batoids and chimaeras that are present in the Greek seas, providing information not only on their identification and their conservation status but also for their protection status.
We hope that in the future we will not see any other incidents like these, or press reports of such in the news.
Find the Citizen Guide in Greek here
Find the Identification Species Guide in Greek here
Find the article from the incident in Corfu here