There’s good news out of the CITES meeting in Thailand. As a follow up to our blog posting on the increasing dangers to sharks, the news from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is that on March 11, both sharks and manta rays received protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). According to the Service’s news release, CITES member nations voted to increase protections for five species of sharks as well as two species of manta rays.
As reported by UFSW, “Leading up to and during this meeting, the United States has worked with a coalition of countries committed to gaining support for these proposals—Brazil, Colombia, the European Union, Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador, Mexico, Comoros, and Egypt, among others.”
As we reported from ARKive
, “Commercial shark fishing is driven mainly by high demand for shark fin soup which is considered to be a delicacy in Asia. Sharks are often ‘finned’, which means their fins are removed, and the dead carcasses discarded at sea. However, they are also killed for sale of their meat, liver oil, cartilage and other body parts.”
‘We are extremely pleased that CITES member nations have given greater protections to these commercially exploited marine species,’ said Bryan Arroyo, head of the U.S. delegation to the treaty’s 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Bangkok. ‘Through the cooperation of the global community, we can begin addressing the threats posed by unsustainable global trade in shark fins and other parts and products of shark and ray species.”
The U.S. and Brazil co-sponsored a proposal by Colombia to add oceanic whitetip sharks
to the CITES Appendix II, which will increase its protection from commercial fishing. In addition, proposals to increase protection for three species of hammerhead sharks – scalloped hammerhead
, great hammerhead
, and smooth hammerhead – plus porbeagle sharks
and manta rays
, were adopted by member nations.
Says the USFW, “The United States strongly supported these marine species proposals and commends the leadership of the countries responsible for their submission.”