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Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments, which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Species listed in CITES are not necessarily categorised as endangered.
Because the trade in wild animals and plants crosses borders between countries, the effort to regulate this trade requires international co-operation to safeguard certain species from over-exploitation. CITES was conceived in the spirit of such cooperation. Today, it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species of animals and plants, whether they are traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.
The species listed under the CITES agreement are broken down into three categories, based on the status of their populations and therefore the level of monitoring required to sustain these species. The three categories are known as Appendix I, Appendix II and Appendix III.
The following elasmobranch (shark, skate and ray) species are listed under CITES:
- Sawfish (5 species) – Appendix I
- Basking Shark – Appendix II
- Hammerhead sharks (3 species) – Appendix II
- Porbeagle Shark – Appendix II
- Oceanic Whitetip Shark – Appendix II
- Manta rays (2 species) – Appendix II
- White Shark – Appendix II
- Whale Shark – Appendix II
- Devil rays (9 species) - Appendix II
- Thresher sharks (3 species) - Appendix II
- Silky Shark - Appendix II
17th CITES Conference of the Parties (CoP) - South Africa, 2016
The Shark Trust attended the 17th CoP as part of a coalition of conservation organisations working to secure CITES listings for 9 species of devil ray, 3 species of thresher shark and the Silky Shark. We were delighted by the decision to list all these proposed species under CITES Appendix II.
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