Under the ESA, NOAA Fisheries is required to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation and survival of listed species. NOAA Fisheries has developed a recovery outline to serve as an interim guidance document to direct recovery efforts, including recovery planning, for the oceanic whitetip shark until a full recovery plan is developed and approved. The recovery outline presents a preliminary strategy for recovery of the species and recommends high priority actions to stabilize and recover the species.
Recovery Planning Workshops
We held two recovery planning workshops for the oceanic whitetip shark—one on April 23-24, 2019 in Honolulu, Hawaiߵi, and another on November 13 and 14, 2019 in Miami, Florida. The purpose of these workshops was to gather information, facts, and perspectives on how to recover the oceanic whitetip shark, including identifying potential recovery criteria and actions to address the threats to the oceanic whitetip shark. Participants included federal and state agencies, scientific experts, commercial fishermen, conservation partners, and non-governmental organizations.
Draft Recovery Plan
Based on input provided at the recovery planning workshops and available data and scientific literature, we developed a Draft Recovery Plan in January 2023 (88 FR 4817). We are soliciting review and comment from the public and all interested parties on the Draft Recovery Plan, and will consider all substantive comments accepted through March 27, 2023, before submitting the Recovery Plan for final approval.
The Draft Recovery Plan follows the 3-part framework approach to recovery planning, in which recovery planning components are divided into three separate documents. The Draft Recovery Plan provides the foundation and overall road map for achieving the recovery goal. It contains the elements required to be in a recovery plan under the Endangered Species Act: (1) objective, measurable recovery criteria; (2) site-specific management actions necessary to conserve the species; and (3) estimates of the time and costs required to achieve the plan’s goals.
Draft Recovery Implementation Strategy
The Draft Recovery Implementation Strategy is a flexible, operational document that steps-down the recovery actions into more specifically defined activities that implement and support the recovery actions. The Recovery Implementation Strategy is intended to assist NOAA Fisheries and other stakeholders in planning and implementing activities to carry out the recovery actions in the recovery plan. The activities identified in the Recovery Implementation Strategy can be modified and adapted over time based on the progress of recovery and the availability of resources or new data or literature.
Recovery Status Review
Using the 2017 Status Review Report for the oceanic whitetip shark as a foundation, we developed an up-to-date Recovery Status Review for the species. A Recovery Status Review is a stand-alone document that provides all the detailed information on the species' biology, ecology, status and threats, and conservation efforts to date. This document was published in January 2023 and will be updated as necessary with new information. Traditionally, this information was included in the background of a recovery plan and became outdated quickly. As a stand-alone, living document, information can be kept more relevant.
Kristen Koyama, Oceanic Whitetip Shark Recovery Coordinator
For more information on oceanic whitetip sharks in our regions:
Adam Brame, Southeast Region
Chelsey Young, Pacific Islands Region
At the 2013 meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Parties agreed to include oceanic whitetip sharks in Appendix II of CITES, with the listing effective on September 14, 2014. The inclusion of oceanic whitetip sharks in CITES Appendix II helps ensure that the international trade for this species is legal and sustainable.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the government agency designated under the Endangered Species Act to carry out the provisions of CITES. NOAA Fisheries provides guidance and scientific support on marine issues given our technical expertise.