Great news in the protection of sharks and rays

This week we have read lots of exciting articles on the protection of sharks and rays at last weeks CITES event. This means that scuba divers should be able to enjoy many more years of diving with these amazing creatures.

Diver Magazine recently covered the story:

Several species of sharks and rays are to receive protection from overfishing with an agreement reached at the 16th Conference of the Parties of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

At the conference, held in Bangkok, Thailand from 3 to 14 March, it was agreed that the oceanic whitetip, porbeagle and three species of hammerhead sharks, plus both types of manta ray, should be added to CITES’ Appendix II, which requires permits to ensure exports are sustainable and legal.

The creatures are already classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List, but the CITES listing will allow active protection to take place.

Nations to become signatories to the agreement are the 27 member states of the EU, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Comoros, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Egypt, Honduras, Mexico and the USA.

The shark and ray proposals received more than the two-thirds majority of votes required for adoption.

Japan, backed by Gambia and India, tried to challenge listing of the oceanic whitetip, as did Grenada and China regarding listing of the three hammerhead species.

CITES’ Appendix II already lists the great white, whale and basking sharks. However, these species are not targetted by commercial fisheries on the same scale as the species now to be added.

“With relief that the Committee decisions were not overturned, we now turn our focus to the essential phase of their implementation,” said Sonja Fordham, President of Shark Advocates International.

“We urge all parties to recognize the urgency of the shark and ray plight and to begin this work to ensure the sustainability of international trade in newly listed species as a matter of priority.”

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