INTERNATIONAL POLICYShortfin Mako © Joe Romeiro.

We contribute to many international wildlife and fisheries meetings. Providing technical support to UK and EU delegations and lobby for positive change for sharks.  Maintaining a strong presence in these fora is essential.


CONVENTION ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES (CITES)

CITES is an international agreement between governments. Its aim is to ensure international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. International co-operation is a must to regulate trade. CITES was created in this spirit. Today it provides varying degrees of protection to more than 30,000 species. Whether they're traded as live specimens, fur coats or dried herbs.

Categorises are based on the status of populations and the level of monitoring they need. The 3 categories are Appendix I, Appendix II and Appendix III. The following sharks, skates and rays are listed under CITES:

Appendix I Appendix II
 
  • Sawfish (5 species)
  • Basking Shark
  • Hammerhead sharks (3 species)
  • Porbeagle Shark
  • Oceanic Whitetip Shark
  • Manta rays (2 species)
  • White Shark
  • Whale Shark
  • Devil rays (9 species)
  • Thresher sharks (3 species)
  • Silky Shark

We attend the Conference of the Parties as part of a coalition of conservation organisations. Together we work to secure CITES listings for vulnerable sharks, skates and rays.


CONVENTION FOR MIGRATORY SPECIES (CMS)

CMS is an important tool in promoting international cooperation for the protection and management of migratory species. It holds great potential to improve the outlook for threatened sharks and rays.

A significant number of threatened shark species are migratory. These require conservation and management measures on a global scale across their entire range.  The cooperation of nations in whose waters these sharks may be found is imperative.

The CMS Conference of the Parties  brings important opportunities for revitalising commitments to conserve sharks. For years we've worked with partners to advocate for greater protection of threatened sharks under the 2 CMS appendices.

  • CMS Appendix I - includes migratory species threatened with extinction. It's prohibited for any Range State to catch these species.
  • CMS Appendix II - includes migratory species with an unfavourable conservation status. Or those that would significantly benefit from international co-operation. Range States have to enter into agreements with each other to protect these species.

Beyond listing our focus is to ensure that there are concrete actions to protect listed species from overfishing.

Species Listed on CMS Appendix I & II: Species Listed on CMS Appendix II:
  • White Shark
  • Basking Shark 
  • All eleven manta & devil rays 
  • All five sawfishes 
  • Whale Shark
  • Both makos
  • Spiny Dogfish
  • Porbeagle 
  • All three thresher sharks
  • Great Hammerhead 
  • Scalloped Hammerhead 
  • Silky Shark 


REGIONAL FISHERIES MANAGEMENT ORGANISATIONS (RFMOs)

An RFMO is an international body. It's made up of countries in the region (coastal states) and countries that have fishing interests in a specific sea area. Some RFMOs have an advisory role only. But most seek to adopt fisheries conservation and management measures that are binding on their members.

Although there are 17 RFMOs worldwide, just 5 cover 91% of the world’s oceans. These manage tuna and other large fish such as sharks and billfish. There's a lot of pressure for them to deliver a sustainable future for the most threatened pelagic shark species. Yet only the Oceanic Whitetip Shark is currently listed as Prohibited across all 5 tuna-RFMOs.

We're increasingly engaging RFMOs in collaboration with other conservation Non-Governmental Organisations. Together we advocate for effective and enforceable conservation measures.

We're particularly involved with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). ICCAT is responsible for the conservation of tunas and tuna-like species (including sharks) in the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic fishing nations meet annually to discuss proposals.

We have official observer status at these meetings. We regularly attend to advocate for protection of threatened sharks in the high seas. Our current agenda is international catch limits for Blue Sharks and Shortfin Makos. We’re also continuing to strengthen the Finning Ban by pushing for sharks to be landed with their fins naturally attached in high seas fisheries.


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