Internationally, the UK's successful proposal to include basking shark on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 2002 and Appendix I & II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in 2005, are relatively recent and we have not yet made a full assessment of the success or otherwise of these actions. Nevertheless, Defra has funded two relevant studies:
an assessment of basking shark movements between 2001-04 in EU waters of the north-west Atlantic, which indicated broad distribution patterns; and
a study of the conservation status of migratory sharks, which will assist an international negotiation meeting (due to be held in December 2007 in Seychelles) to identify and elaborate further options for international co-operation on migratory sharks.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has tope listed as “vulnerable” in terms of its conservation status because there is the potential for “directed” commercial fisheries to reduce their population sizes to endangered or unsustainable levels. As a result of commercial interest in the species, Defra consulted on options to control or prevent the development of a directed fishery in English and Welsh waters. The results of this consultation are being considered with a view to Defra announcing conservation measures in the autumn of 2007.