international trade regulation under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, or CITES, a move that could save these threatened species from total collapse.
required two-thirds of the 177 CITES member governments voted to
protect these animals—the oceanic whitetip and porbeagle sharks, three
species of hammerhead sharks, and the two species of manta rays—marking
an increase in the number of sharks protected by CITES from three to
"This is a major win for some of the world's most
threatened shark species, with action now required to control the
international trade in their fins," said Susan Lieberman, director of
international environment policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts.
"This victory indicates that the global community will collaborate to
address the plight of some of the most highly vulnerable sharks and
manta ray species. Today was the most significant day for the ocean in
the 40-year history of CITES."
Lieberman added that the gridlock created by those who oppose such
controls has been broken. Sharks are primarily traded to Asia for use in
shark fin soup. Manta rays are caught and killed for their gill
rakers—the part used to filter their food from the water—to make a
purported Asian health tonic.
"The tide is now turning for shark
conservation—with governments listening to the science and acting in the
interest of species conservation and sustainability," said Elizabeth
Wilson, manager of Pew's global shark conservation campaign. "With these
new protections, oceanic whitetip, porbeagle, and hammerhead sharks
will have the chance to recover and once again fulfill their role as top
predators in the marine ecosystem."
Pew added that this
commitment by the global community to shark conservation needs to be
fully implemented and enforced, and should be coupled with national and
regional efforts to ensure a sustainable future for these and other top
ocean predators, all of which are critical for the health of the wider
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, 143 shark species are threatened with extinction, but few management measures exist to protect them.
Votes from Committee I on Monday 11th March:
OCEANIC WHITETIP The vote was 92 For (68.6%), 42 Against, 8 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).
HAMMERHEADS The vote was 91 For (70%), 39 Against, 8 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).
PORBEAGLE SHARKS The vote was 93 For (70.45%), 39 Against, 8 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).
MANTA RAYS The vote was 96 For (80.7%), 23 Against, 7 Abstentions (and was taken by secret ballot).
About Shark Diver.
As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.