On 30th December 2020, a series of videos were circulated, depicting the capture and inhumane handling of an adult shark along the Tarreau Coastline.
The species captured was identified as the Shortfin Mako Shark known to inhabit tropical seas. Dominica does not have an active shark fishery (as a targeted fish species). However, from time to time various species of sharks are landed as mainly bycatch (fish caught in the process of fishing for other species).
The Shortfin Mako Shark is listed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a species that is near threatened, meaning that the population is on the decline.
The FAO Code for Responsible Fisheries Article 7.2.2. (g) states that pollution, waste, discards, catch by lost or abandoned gear, catch of non-target species, both fish and non-fish species, and impacts on associated or dependent species are minimized, through measures including, to the extent practicable, the development and use of selective, environmentally safe and cost-effective fishing gear and techniques. Therefore, if any sharks are caught they are to be consumed, thus minimizing waste and discards.
It must be clearly expressed that the Fisheries Division does not condone the inhumane capture or harvest of any fish species and that the method by which the shark was caught is not a recognized humane fishing method and does not in any way portray the manner in which sharks or any other fish species are handled by bonafide fishers in Dominica.
Furthermore, to ensure this is not the norm, the Fisheries Division provides up to date training and sensitization sessions for fisherfolk through its Basic Fisherman’s Training Course on topics such as but not limited to fisheries, fish conservation, fish management, proper harvest and post-harvest handling techniques.