Carlos Drews, head of WWF’s delegation at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) issued the following statement today in response to decisions from world governments to offer better protection for five species of sharks:
“This is a landmark moment showing that the world’s governments support sustainable fisheries and are concerned about the reckless over-exploitation of sharks for commercial use. Today’s decision will go a long way in slowing down the frenzied overfishing of sharks that is pushing them to the brink of collapse to feed the luxury goods market.”
“Regulating the trade of marine species like sharks, which are facing unprecedented commercial pressures, is key to saving them and ensuring our oceans contribute to food security by staying healthy and productive”.
“It has been shown today that governments followed the best available science to make decisions on commercially exploited marine life. We encourage governments to stick by these decisions and not reopen the debate before the end of the week – or put this victory for sharks at risk.”
All of the shark proposals under consideration could come up again before the CITES conference ends on Thursday.
Governments at CITES voted to accept all three species of sharks today proposed for listing on to CITES appendix II, which will regulate trade in shark fin and meat.
The species included:
Oceanic whitetip shark vote: Yes 92 (68.7%), No 42, Abs 8
Scalloped, great and smooth hammerhead shark vote: Yes 91 (70%), No 39, Abs 8
Porbeagle shark vote: Yes 93 (70.4%), No 39, Abs 8
Shark populations are decreasing at a rapid rate across the globe with losses of up to 86 per cent in some locations.
The market for shark products is first and foremost a luxury one with sharks fin selling for up to $135/kg in Hong Kong.
A listing of Appendix II will regulate trade internationally reducing the risk of extinction of these species.
This is not the first time that shark species have come up at CITES. Porbeagle missed out on being listed in 2010 by one vote on the last day when the proposal was re-opened.