The proposed purpose of the NPOA-Sharks 2013 is:
“To maintain the biodiversity and the long-term viability of all New Zealand shark populations by recognising their role in marine ecosystems, ensuring that any utilisation of sharks is sustainable, and that New Zealand receives positive recognition internationally for its efforts in shark conservation and management.”
The overall approach is to use science-based risk assessment to identify and appropriately manage risks to shark populations. The draft NPOA-Sharks 2013 contains goals and objectives covering:
Biodiversity and long term viability of shark populations – establishes a risk assessment approach, reviews of species characteristics and stock status to ensure that appropriate management and protection are applied to shark species; this may include catch limits and/or other controls on fishing under the Fisheries Act 1996, absolute protection under the Wildlife Act 1953, and/or protection of critical habitats.
Utilisation, waste reduction and the elimination of shark finning – measures to promote live release of sharks, encourage the full use of dead sharks, and to eliminate shark finning in New Zealand fisheries. A fishery-specific approach is proposed to allow for rapid action on shark finning to occur in fisheries where this will be relatively straight-forward, while providing time for strategies to be developed in a practical and enforceable manner in more complex fisheries. It is proposed to progressively implement this commitment over a two year period from the start of the next fishing year (i.e. 1 October 2014).
Communication and education – information sharing between all stakeholders on the conservation and management of sharks.
Non-fishing threats – measures to advance understanding and, where appropriate, management of threats to shark species which come from sources other than fishing.
International engagement – measures to guide New Zealand’s international engagement to promote conservation, protection and management of sharks.
Research and information – measures to improve the information available to conserve and manage New Zealand's shark populations, including the development of recovery plans for protected shark species where necessary. Research objectives in this section are based on independent advice from a review of shark research undertaken since 2008.