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Recovery Strategy for the Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus) in Canadian Pacific Waters

2. Species Status Information

Globally, Basking Sharks fall under a variety of status designations. The IUCN Red List assessment has categorized Basking Sharks as Vulnerable globally and Endangered in the north Pacific (Fowler 2005). Basking Shark is listed under Appendix II of CITES (CITES 2009). Basking Sharks are also listed under Appendix I and II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) in 2005 (CMS 2010a). In February 2010, CMS delegates agreed on the content of a Memorandum of Understanding on the conservation of migratory sharks (CMS 2010b). In 2010, the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service under the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) identified the Pacific population of Basking Shark as a “species of concern” (NOAA, 2010).

The range of the Pacific population of Basking Shark occupies the continental shelf from central British Columbia to southern California (DFO 2009). Approximately 30% of its observed latitudinal range is in Canadian waters. Recent satellite tracking information from the North Atlantic suggests that Basking Sharks may migrate much larger distances and utilize deeper habitats than previously thought (Gore et al. 2008; Skomal et al. 2009). It is likely that the range of the Pacific population of Basking Shark is different than presently described.