Friday, July 05, 2013

Norway's Spurdogs at Risk!

Looks like those Viking haier need all the hjelp they can get!

Boy was I wrong!

Forget what I said about not worrying.
This is what Lill writes
Also working to enhance the current legislation in Norway, for better protection of these little guys (or shall we say girls, many of them seem to be pregnant females). 
Even though it is illegal to operate a directed fishery for spiny dogfish in Norway, it is still allowed as by catch - up to 15 percent of the catches, settled on a half year basis. . When fishermen encounter giant numbers of sharks (schools of up to 20,000 individuals have been recorded); this often results in a substantial loss of sharks. 
Now that the rules have changed from weekly to half year basis, it allows the fishermen to take more sharks than before, as by catch. The sharks are migratory, and while in Norway, they stay on the coast for about 3-4 weeks at a time. Thus, fishermen can allocate the sharks with all catches they make in six months. 
Indeed - this really, REALLY sucks!
Talk about a bloody loophole the size of a barn door - and assuming that pigghå means Spurdog, the allowable bycatch may even be as high as 20%

Readers may remember that Lill is one of the principals of Norway's Shark conservation org Hjelp Havets Haier (= Save the Sharks of the Sea) which is undoubtedly working on this matter.
Should you want to get involved, please contact them here - and should there be a need for wider public participation, you will probably find an appeal on their Facebook page, and I shall be happy to pick it up and propagate it here. 

Keep watching this space for updates!


Fredrik Myhre said...


First of all, thank you very much for “spreading the word” and it’s fantastic to read about your work at Fiji! :)

Just some comments on the topic "Norwegian shark management":
Sharks and rays are to be «classified» as «priority species» in Norwegian waters by the Ministry of Fisheries (FKD) and the Directorate of Fisheries for 2012 and 2013 (and also 2014 it looks like). The spiny dogfish / spurdog (Squalus acanthias) is being put as the main species in this.

Horrible enough I just got a message from one of the advisors at the FKD that the finance for this prioritization is cancelled. They even have withdrawn the new position opening up at the University of Tromsø for a “shark researcher” (we don’t have any really dedicated “shark person” at our research institutes in Norway at the moment).

The spiny dogfish used to be fished in large numbers here in Norwegian waters, due to its meat. The numbers severely decreased due to large overfishing over a forty year period and is now listed as “critical endangered” on our national red list of threatened species of 2010 (one of three fish species under this criteria).

Unfortunately, the government (FKD) has the last year opened up for a 15 percent bycath quota, which is to be calculated over 6 months (it used to be 20 percent on a weekly basis – which due to the fact that the spiny dogfish is highly migratory and only in sever conflict with fishermen’s gear for 3-6 weeks a year was most likely not as damaging as the new regime).

Hjelp Havets Haier (HHH) are doing lobby work towards both the government and the fishermen in order to come to better management regime when it comes to endangered sharks and rays, and the spiny dogfish (and probeagle & basking shark) in particular. We are in regular dialog with both stakeholders and also have communication with the marked side. Of course, we also give input to the open hearings that includes management of sharks & rays.

If you should have any questions regarding our work or sharks in Norwegian waters, please feel free to contact me by writing to:

PS! HHH are away the whole of next week – diving with schools of spiny dogfish.

All the best
Fredrik Myhre
executive director

DaShark said...

Thank you Fredrik!

That's of course terribly frustrating - please keep me in the loop, especially when it comes to any assistance from the outside!

Enjoy the pigghå - they look like fun lil fellas!